Monday, February 28, 2011

Michael Rasmussen's Trial is Postponed Until May

The latest news is that Michael Rasmussen's trial will be postponed until May 16. This is due to a private family matter with his attorney.

The bad news is that Mr. Rasmussen remains in jail for the next 2-1/2 months. However, the good news is that the defense gets to strengthen its case.

One thing I have learned in my experience in blogging on these kinds of cases is that bad cases tend to grow worse over time, and that if the police and prosecutors have built charges on sandy ground, the ground turns into quicksand. That is the situation with this one, as the prosecution has had two years to "get its story straight," and so far every new bit of information helps, not hurts, Mr. Rasmussen.

Anyway, stay tuned. In the meantime, there is the Jacobson case in Arizona, as well as the wrongful imprisonment of Courtney Bisbee, and both of them will be receiving some attention. Furthermore, there is the upcoming trial of James Combs in Catoosa County, which will feature some of the same faces that polluted the courthouse during Tonya Craft's trial.

So, there is much work to be done.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part V: Some Questions for Det. Kim Selkirk

Michael Rasmussen will go on trial this week in Charles County, accused of molesting and sexually assaulting his daughter Apryl, who now is an adult. The person who has most pushed the charges has been Charles County Det. Kim Selkirk, the former bank teller who now wants to help convince a jury to throw Mr. Rasmussen into prison for the rest of his life.

Given the seriousness of the charges, and given the seriousness of the potential outcome, I believe that some questions are in order for Selkirk, who most certainly will be testifying under oath during the trial. (Testifying "under oath" means that if Selkirk does not tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," then she is committing perjury, which is a felony in the State of Maryland. However, don't hold your breath, as police regularly lie under oath and they are charged with perjury only when it is politically-expedient for prosecutors to do so.)

Here are some questions that I would like to ask Selkirk:
  1. You claim that Mr. Rasmussen "confessed" to you and Det. Austin when he was arrested in March, 2010, yet you failed to record the so-called confession. Can you explain why you would not record such a thing, given that before then, Mr. Rasmussen was not willing to talk to you or Det. Austin because he had clearly said that he did not trust you?
  2.  What made Mr. Rasmussen suddenly trust you on this occasion, and if you proved so trustworthy to him, why did he refuse to sign the "confession" that you so graciously wrote up for him?
  3. How was it that you managed to misquote Mr. Rasmussen regarding Apryl's question, "Do you want me to lie to the police?" As per the recorded conversation -- a conversation to which you were privy when it was being recorded -- Mr. Rasmussen clearly tells his daughter, "Tell them what you feel." Can you explain to me, then, how it was that you claimed in those notes you took during the supposed "confession" that Mr. Rasmussen told his daughter to lie when, in fact, nowhere in that conversation he said such a thing?
  4. Did you take Mr. Rasmussen's five-year-old stepdaughter to the police headquarters, where you interrogated her for a long time, trying to get her to claim Mr. Rasmussen had molested her?
  5. If you took that little girl to be interrogated and spent time questioning her, can you explain why you did not take notes or record the conversation?
  6. If that conversation took place, did you attempt to follow the standard protocol when authorities interview children who they believe might have been abused? Did you have a forensic interviewer there, or have an official who was experienced in interviewing young children?
  7. Is it true that the child insisted that her stepfather had NOT molested her?
  8. Is it true that you got angry at her because she would not say what you wanted her to say?
  9. Have you had any conversations with that child's father or have you taken part in any scheme to try to have the children taken away not only from Mr. Rasmussen -- who has not been accused of molesting them -- as well as their mother, despite the fact that the courts clearly had given her custody?
  10. Have you made any other misrepresentations of what you claim Mr. Rasmussen said in the recorded phone conversation with Apryl versus what Mr. Rasmussen actually said? If that is true, and you cannot even truthfully report on something for which there is a recording (I'm asking hypothetically, of course), then why should anyone believe your recollection of this supposed "confession" when all there is to show for the conversation are your notes, notes that we know already have serious inaccuracies?
Now, I have just asked a few hypothetical questions, although I am sure that Mr. Rasmussen's attorney will have even more questions for Selkirk when he cross-examines her next week. However, I would like to end this post with just one more question for the detective: When you raise your right hand as you are being sworn in as a witness, will you have the fingers of your left hand crossed as you put them behind your back? Just wondering.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part IV: "The Lady or the Tiger?"

The charges against Michael Rasmussen exist for one reason, and one reason only: His oldest daughter, Apryl, was furious that he married a woman who had children, and he was giving attention to them instead of her. That is correct; this is a case that has its roots in pure jealousy and revenge.

Apryl came from a previous marriage, and over the years, as friends have told us, she and her mother pretty much got what they wanted from Michael. After the divorce, Apryl lived with her father, who adored her. As Michael's wife, Becky, has told me, he had pictures of her all over the house.

Michael and Becky lived with each other for several years before they agreed to marry, and that is when the trouble started. As is going to be revealed in court, Apryl told a number of people that she would not stand for her father paying attention to other children, and that he needed to understand that point.

So, she made accusations of child molestation against him. Unfortunately for her, when she was 10 years old, she had been questioned by a forensic psychologist about allegations of child molestation and she vehemently denied any sort of thing. Yet, in the phone conversation with her father (which will be covered in a future post), she tells him that she always has remembered his alleged molestation.

There are other things as well that are going to come out in the trial, and they are not going to bode well for the prosecution or the police. As I have written before, I believe that the police really don't believe that Mr. Rasmussen is guilty of anything, but that they have committed to this case and really don't care if their lies destroy another man's life. It has come to that.

Frank R. Stockton in 1882 published a story in The Century called "The Lady or the Tiger?" in which a commoner has a love affair with the king's daughter. He is arrested, and his "trial" takes place in an arena where there are two doors.

Behind one door is a beautiful lady who immediately would be given to the man as his wife. However, what is waiting behind the other door is a ferocious tiger. Before he chooses, he looks at the princess, who signals what door he is to open, and he opens it.

Stockton ends the story with the question of which door he chooses. In the case of Michael Rasmussen, it is clear that Apryl has chosen the tiger. In her view, if she cannot have him fully to herself, then neither Becky nor her children can have him at all. It is that simple, and it is that awful. If it means destroying her own father in order to get at Becky, then so be it.

I am not making up the attitudes. As the prosecution is going to be finding out in the trial scheduled for next week, Apryl has talked to a lot of people and she has spoken her mind on this subject. Furthermore, I have serious doubts that she will be a good prosecution witness. Moreover, she also asked for a restraining order against her father, claiming that she had "just remembered" that he tried to kill her by running over her in a car and that he had savagely beaten her mother. The judge seemed skeptical, and I suspect that her "recovered memory" here is not going to help her in court.

Once upon a time in America, pre-Mondale Act and all of the horror that has accompanied it, police and prosecutors would not have taken long to be onto Apryl's scheme and told her to take a hike. Unfortunately, police departments today are full of people like Kim Selkirk, who claim to see child molesters behind every bush and tree, and the lure of federal money for these cases has proven to be enough to break down the truth.

There is much more to this case that makes it abominable. And I will cover what I can in future posts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part III: Is It Torture, or Just Prudence?

When Americans think of prison, they think of it as a place where people are punished AFTER having been convicted either at a trial or after a guilty plea. The notion of someone being imprisoned and facing real prison conditions before a trial, and especially when there is serious question about someone's guilt seems, well, "un-American."

I hate to say it, but today, "un-American" means applying the standards of justice that are provided by the U.S. Constitution and our legal inheritance from the Rights of Englishmen that our colonial forebears gave us. Today, prosecutors and police have no obligation to follow the law, as the courts pretty much have told them that the law is whatever they want it to be.

My previous post -- including Kerwyn's comments -- lays out just a few real problems in the prosecution's case. In fact, the prosecution is so unsure that it even is presenting a truthful case that it has resorted to the "three bites of the apple" approach: continue to put Mr. Rasmussen on trial until he no longer can afford any defense counsel and is given a public defender, who then works hand-in-glove with his bosses (prosecutors, as in reality, public defenders might as well be employed by the prosecution) either to plead out his client or to present such an awful defense at trial that leads to a conviction.

As I see it, "three bites of the apple" is dishonest to the core and represents the worst that the state gives us in the administration of "justice." But it does not stop there.

Right now, Mr. Rasmussen is being held in solitary confinement at the Charles County jail. This is being done supposedly to "protect" him from other inmates, as "child molesters" always get "the treatment" from the regular prison body. (Keep in mind that "the treatment" is not possible unless the authorities work hand-in-glove with the inmates to make sure that a rape -- or worse -- occurs. The notion that jail or prison authorities are seeking to protect anyone but themselves is a very, very sick joke.)

So, Mr. Rasmussen is kept in his cell almost the entire day with no contact from anyone else. At last report, he had been in the same set of clothes for nearly a week with no opportunity to change.

Solitary confinement, or putting prisoners in "the hole," is a form of punishment, not protection. Charles County authorities know that their case is weak, that Det. Selkirk and Det. Austin have presented material that is questionable at the least and utterly dishonest at worst. They are aware of the huge discrepancies in the evidence, and much more (as Kerwyn and I will be presenting over the next several days).

So, as I see it, they are trying a new tactic: break the accused through a form of torture. Strip him of everything, give him a sense that there is no hope no matter how much he tells the truth, cut him off from everyone and everything, and then watch him utterly deteriorate.

This is reprehensible, but this is what is done in this country. It is ironic to hear Hillary Clinton lecturing others about freedom of speech and torture and all that, yet members of her own political party (Charles County is controlled by the Democratic Party) pretty much act as though they are Third World dictators.

(I will add that Republicans are not better, and that their "law-and-order" mantra is partly responsible for the deterioration of U.S. law. It seems that no Republican can run for office without declaring that he or she is "tough on crime," which really means that they are tough on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.)

The Charles County strategy is pretty obvious: break the prisoner. There is no case, the man is innocent, but the authorities want to win and they will win at all costs.

Because of the state of U.S. law today, torture is applied regularly by both people wearing the badges of Republican and Democrat. It is not a partisan thing; rather, it is what happens when justice becomes utterly politicized, and when those who are in charge of administering justice are not held accountable for their actions.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part II: The Detective's Questionable Integrity

In my first post on the Michael Rasmussen case, I noted that Kerwyn had uncovered a lot of material that proves devastating to the truthfulness of the three accusers. Since then, even more has happened to cut more holes in the prosecution's attempt to frame this man for "crimes" that never occurred.

For people who would like to get a good across-the-board case narrative, I would urge that they read the comments on the Liestoppers board, which served as a very useful sounding board in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case (a case which brought a number of us today and got me started on blogging). Because of the information that is listed here, I see no use in reinventing the wheel.

Because Mr. Rasmussen is scheduled to go on trial next week for allegedly molesting his daughter, Apryl, I would like to concentrate on the charges she has made. As in all of the cases about which I (with the very, very able help of Kerwyn) have been writing, the more I find out, the more I realize that Mr. Rasmussen is an innocent man, and is the victim of lies not only by his 25-year-old daughter, but also the police.

As the Liestoppers narrative points out, the crux of the charges center on two events that occurred in early 2010. First, his daughter engaged him in a long phone call that not only was recorded by police, but actually set up by Det. Kim Selkirk of the Charles County Sheriff's Department, with Selkirk writing the questions for Apryl.

Second, after police arrested Mr. Rasmussen supposedly for "admitting" to crimes during the phone call, he went spoke to the police without counsel and "confessed" to a number of things that Selkirk claims were part of the phone call. Thus, Charles County had the basis for indicting and now trying him.

There is a huge problem, however, and I mean huge. Kerwyn has listened to the entire phone call and has transcribed much of it, and she tells me unequivocally that Selkirk's claims as to what was said during the call are false. I repeat, she tells me that Selkirk has utterly misrepresented the contents of that call.

For example, Selkirk writes in her notes (and claims that Mr. Rasmussen admitted to as much during the "confession") that Mr. Rasmussen told Apryl to lie to the police. He did not say anything of the sort, and Selkirk knows it (unless she has not listened to the tape, and if that is true, then she is lying when she claims to know the contents of the call).

Instead, when Apryl pointedly asks him, "Do you want me to lie to the police?" (and she asks him more than once), he replies, "Do what you feel." Never once does he instruct her to lie. That is not there, yet Selkirk has submitted notes that make that false claim. In other words, Selkirk is willing to commit a felony in order to try to win a conviction, and the Charles County State's Attorney's office is willing to go along with the scam.

That's right: scam. When a police officer lies and a prosecutor attempts to use that lie -- when knowing that the truth is otherwise -- then we have officers of the court breaking the law and destroying all of the ethical standards upon which courts supposedly are built.

But it gets worse. During the call, Mr. Rasmussen clearly states his disdain for Selkirk and says he will not talk to her at all. Suddenly, we are supposed to believe that this guy spills his guts in a long interview with the same detective.

Now, put yourselves in the shoes of a cop -- and I have spoken to other police officers and prosecutors about this very thing. Assume that you have wanted to get a confession from someone who will not speak to you, AND SUDDENLY HE STARTS TALKING.

What would you do? Obviously, the police officer would at least record the conversation on tape, or maybe videotape it. Selkirk did nothing of the sort. All that exist from the meeting are a hurriedly-written set of notes (which I have in my possession). No recording, nothing.

[Update: As Kerwyn notes in her comments, two detectives were involved in the questioning, Selkirk and Det. Austin. Austin claims that writing notes "distracted" Mr. Rasmussen, so the story is that he asked the questions and got Mr. Rasmussen to "tell all," and then Selkirk sat in another room, listened, and took notes.

Sorry, people. That doesn't fly. It does not explain why police failed to memorialize this alleged conversation with a recording. THAT is what they are supposed to do, and they failed to do it. Maybe, just maybe, they failed to do it because it didn't happen. Maybe, just maybe, there WAS no "confession," and we have two detectives writing fiction.

Don't kid yourselves about how police will operate in such situations. Because they have immunity and because they are protected by their unions and by their politicians, police know they can lie with impunity and many of the do just that.

Because I was not in the room, I cannot say for certain that Selkirk and Austin are not telling the truth. However, their very failure to follow procedure, and the fact that Selkirk's notes absolutely misrepresented conversations that occurred in the phone call between Mr. Rasmussen and Apryl lead me to be suspicious of what they are saying. End Update]

(Selkirk has claimed that even writing while Mr. Rasmussen supposedly was "confessing" distracted him, so she just listened. I'm sorry people, but her claim does not pass the smell test.)

Why does Selkirk lie? Yes, lie? Because she knows she can get away with it, and nothing will happen to her. In her former job as a bank teller, she could have gone to jail for lying to investigators about anything regarding her work and the transactions she was making.

Her current job, however, does not require honesty. The problem is that her notes are written down for everyone to see -- and soon enough, jurors will hear the entire telephone call between Apryl and Mr. Rasmussen and they, too, will know beyond a doubt that Selkirk and telling the truth apparently are mutually-exclusive things.

There will be more posts -- many more -- but for the time being, I want readers to understand that the person most responsible for pursuing the case has lied to a grand jury and lied to a judge in order to bring charges. We will look further at the contents of the telephone call and show how other things said don't match what Selkirk is claiming. One hopes that someone in a position of authority in the State of Maryland will deal properly with Selkirk, but I have my doubts, serious doubts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buzz's Big Gamble: Why RICO?

A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted yet another dishonest caper of Buzz Franklin, the DA who insists that any time a person is on trial for a crime, it really is the STATE that needs to receive a "fair trial." (Forget about a person charged with something getting a "fair trial" in the LMJC, which is supposed to happen, but is about as elusive as Vanderbilt winning the national championship in football.)

To make matters more interesting, someone from the LMJC -- almost surely a person involved in "law enforcement" (which is an oxymoron if there ever was in North Georgia) -- continued to make a number of allegations against Joe Mowish in the comments section. When it was pointed out that none of what he said was true, and that he had offered no proof of his allegations, he then went on to rant that this blog was "anti-government."

(You see, according to the people who run the LMJC, if one does not support subornation of perjury, false charges, lying to juries, and various forms of official misconduct, then one is a danger to society. One not only is supposed to be utterly submissive when kneeling down before that citadel of mediocrity, "judge" brian outhouse, but one also must acknowledge the Great And Superior Wisdom from outhouse to the court bailiffs who do outhouse's dirty work.)

Since my original post, I have received a number of legal documents that demonstrate strongly that Mr. Mowish was not breaking the law, and that Buzz's entire show of force was legally questionable (which is about as gentle a word as I can use here) as one can imagine. This leads me to the larger question: Why RICO?

As I noted in the first post, RICO is based upon the creation of the fictitious crime of "racketeering." One does not "racketeer" anyone, not even on a tennis or racquetball court. Instead, "racketeering" is a "derivative crime" in which this purely contrived entry is composed of other smaller "crimes" that are rolled into one larger crime.

While the penalties for the smaller "crimes" generally are mild (in this case, both actions Buzz claimed happened were misdemeanors), RICO carries draconian penalties that give the authorities huge amounts of leverage when dealing with defendants. That is because the de facto standards for "proving" RICO violations are quite low, much lower than real "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" standards for normal crimes. In a real courtroom setting, the jurors actually are using the civil standards of "preponderance of the evidence," which means that prosecutors operate with huge advantages.

Why is that so? In Mr. Mowish's case, if Buzz were to charge him with misdemeanors, Mr. Mowish either could have a bench trial (with just a judge) or a jury trial, and either entity would have to determine that the evidence presented demonstrated that he was "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" of violating the law. If found guilty, Mr. Mowish either would pay a fine or serve a short jail sentence (or a combination of both).

(Again, I emphasize that the documents I have received point to the fact that Mr. Mowish did not violate the law and that the original misdemeanor counts cannot stand up to scrutiny.)

In a RICO trial, however, all that needs to be "prove" is "racketeering." In other words, the original law violations -- the misdemeanors -- do not have to be proven themselves. That's right. No matter what a prosecutor will tell you, one does not have to "prove" the underlying charges because the person is not on trial for them.

What generally happens is that prosecutors give evidence they claim shows that the defendant engaged in actions that violated the law, but the jurors do not have to engage the criminal "standard of proof" that those statutes were broken. The only "crime" to be "proven" is that of "racketeering," and because of the way that the laws are written, if a juror thinks that maybe the defendant violated the original laws, then that is all that is needed to "prove" the larger charge of "racketeering."

It is quite insidious, and that is why prosecutors at both state and federal levels love RICO. They are able to make really innocuous things morph into "racketeering," presenting the defendant as a mafioso or worse. People convicted can to go prison for 20 years or more simply for allegedly committing misdemeanors, as is the case here.

Notice that Buzz would not even try to "prove" the misdemeanor charges in a court of law. He knows he has no evidence so he is able to manipulate the law in order to create something that everyone involved in the case knows does not exist: a felony.

Buzz Franklin was elected DA of the LMJC in 1996, and since then, his office has conducted a virtual reign of terror. As we saw in the Tonya Craft trial, his underlings feel free to suborn perjury, to lie, to engage in activities that clearly are illegal, and to know no one can do anything about it.

Under Buzz Franklin, innocence and the truth are nothing but mere speed bumps on the way to conviction. All the while, the local press treats him as a hero and every lie he tells as Gospel Truth.

I have not lived in the LMJC since 1994 and must say that I am ashamed to have lived there at all, given what I am seeing in the courts. The "justice" system is the product of the people of North Georgia, and if this is the best that can be produced there, then God help everyone living in that district.

Yes, there are good, honest, and decent people there, including the jurors in Tonya's case. But I am afraid that the Buzz Franklins, the Tim Deals, the "Mommie Dearests" and their families, the Len Gregors, Chris Arnts, Alan Nortons, Phil Summers, "judge" brian outhouse, and the others simply have too much authority and power for good people to be able to live their lives in peace.

Furthermore, ministers (except for one who is a friend of mine and has been quite outspoken) and people at Covenant College -- the people with real influence in that district -- have chosen to ignore what is happening. Many of them operate on the belief that the only people charged with crimes there are guilty, and if people are innocent, well, that is THEIR problem, not ours. "Respectable" people don't get charged in the first place, and the most important thing is to be "respectable."

In many ways, this even is more tragic than just the misconduct. We have come to expect dishonesty in high places; unfortunately, people who could make a difference by showing some integrity and courage could do something but instead have decided to pretend that everything is fine.

Stand up for alleged child molesters? Oh, we can't do that! We are RESPECTABLE! Stand up for someone with video poker machines who is falsely charged? Why, video poker is bad and WE ARE RESPECTABLE!

Like Kevin Bacon's character at the end of "Animal House," they scream "All is well!" until they are trampled by the mob.

*************************

My next several posts will deal almost exclusively with the Michael Rasmussen case in Maryland. The abuse of power and police and prosecutorial misconduct in that case is classic, and the posts will take apart the charges, the people making them, and how this holocaust came about in the first place.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maricopa County: You Cannot Make Up This Stuff

The Jacobson case goes on and on (and on), but there are some important developments. At a recent deposition, the Jacobson attorney deposed social worker Jennifer Ingalls, who accused police of asking leading questions of the children being interviewed. (Yes, I had to pull myself off the floor after hearing this.)

But, it gets better. The Jacobson attorney in his deposition with Det. Terge Boe, the illustrious "sex crimes" investigator in Phoenix, asked Boe if he asked leading questions, and if he had come to a conclusion first, and then tried to frame the questions to get the answers he wanted. Boe answered..."yes."

In places where prosecutors have an IQ of greater than 3, such admissions from the principal investigators would tell the DA's office that this is not evidence, but rather a toxic waste dump from which anyone with any sense would flee. However, this case is in Maricopa County, Arizona, where prosecutors compete with one another to see who can be named the biggest idiot in the state.

The ironically-named Noble Murphy (from now on to be called Ignoble Murphy) is the prosecutor in this case, and he declared to the Jacobson's attorney that he "has not lost a cast in seven years," which is a pretty stupid reason to continue this one.

In other words, Ignoble believes that the whole thing is nothing more than a game, which I doubt he would believe if his own life or the life of someone in his family were at stake. This is the kind of arrogance that permeates not only the DA's office in Maricopa County, but prosecutorial offices around this country.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part I

For almost a year, this blog has dealt with false accusation cases all over the country, and now I will be focusing on a case in the state where I have lived for nearly a decade: Maryland. As in the Tonya Craft case in North Georgia, the Jacobson situation in Phoenix, Arizona, and other cases that I have highlighted, I find that prosecutorial and police misconduct is not relegated to one location. Indeed, the disease of dishonesty in "law enforcement" is widespread.

Michael Rasmussen is a Washington, D.C., firefighter who is a year older and I, and who faces a life in prison if convicted of child molestation/sexual battery charges. The location is Charles County, a bedroom community of Washington, and a solid Democratic Party stronghold. (I emphasize this to point out that there is no political thread running through these false accusation cases, as both Republicans and Democrats are equal-opportunity liars and perjurers.)

Mr. Rasmussen and his wife contacted me last fall and told me their story. Michael had been accused by his 25-year-old daughter of molesting her when she was a young child, and then a cousin made similar charges as well. Since real-live sexual predators tend to prefer either boys or girls but not both, this point alone rang some very loud bells.

Although he promised to send me some material, I did not hear again from him for a long time. That was due in large part because prosecutors did not have ample evidence by which to make the charges stick, and it became apparent that the charges would be dropped.

Unfortunately, shortly before that was to happen, Mr. Rasmussen's cousin once again made charges that his uncle had sodomized and molested him, and this time the authorities arrested Mr. Rasmussen and put him under a million dollars bond, and he is in jail to be held until his first trial begins later this month. (Prosecutors have decided to hold three separate trials for him to deal with three different accusers. This is being done in order to bleed him financially to a point where he no longer can afford any representation but a court-ordered lawyer who will be under pressure to make a plea deal.)

(The "bite of the apple" strategy was made famous by Janet Reno, who used the one-child-at-a-time against Grant Snowden when she made the allegations of mass child molestation her top prosecutorial priority. Before Reno was done and moved to Washington, where she immediately launched the biggest government-caused massacre since Wounded Knee, she was a major player in the sex abuse hysteria cases that destroyed thousands of lives in this country. Reprehensible people -- and few people in this country's history have been more reprehensible than Reno -- use reprehensible tactics when evidence is not on their side. This time, the "Janet Reno" of Maryland is Anthony B. Covington, State's Attorney for Charles County Maryland.)

As I noted in a post earlier this month, America has a huge false accusation industry. It provides news for journalists, a way for vengeful ex-spouses or former boyfriends/girlfriends to get revenge or make the other person essentially disappear into prison, and lots of opportunities for police and prosecutors to be feted as heroes in the media.

In other words, it provides something for everyone -- except the innocent, who often face either prison or financial ruin. Furthermore, I see absolutely no stop to this holocaust because people in authority don't care or are craven, and most journalists get most of their news from the very people who are lying to them.

A week ago, I believed that Michael Rasmussen was headed for prison and there was little I could do except to rail against these charges. However, facts are stubborn things, and Kerwyn (who does research for me and who keeps me on an even keel when it comes to interpreting the facts) has unearthed a treasure trove of exculpatory material in just five days of digging.

The only reason that this case will come to trial is because of the brute force of the law, and the desire of prosecutors to go after the innocent. That's right; I believe that many prosecutors in this country have no conscience and would just as soon convict an innocent person as opposed to someone who is guilty. (No, not all prosecutors are so craven, but we are seeing a form of "Gresham's Law" at work in which the dishonest people drive out those who are honest.)

As I will demonstrate in future posts, the case against Michael Rasmussen is built upon lies. We will give proof -- proof -- that a police detective lied in writing her notes and deliberately presented a false picture of a recorded phone conversation between Mr. Rasmussen and his daughter. Keep in mind that the case is built around a supposed two-plus hour interview in which the detective alleges Mr. Rasmussen "confessed" to the accusations.

However, the police interrogation was not recorded or even memorialized in any reliable way, the police notes from the session give information that clearly contradicts what was said in the father-daughter phone conversation, and there are other red-flag issues with the accusers, their stories, and their family histories.

In other words, there is much to cover. I have no doubt that Michael Rasmussen is innocent of the charges, and I will defend him, his current wife, and I will have a first-rate researcher behind me. Over the next few weeks, much of this blog will be dedicated to getting out the information that can save Mr. Rasmussen's life, and that can keep his family from being destroyed by a vengeful ex-wife and a daughter who openly and clearly did not want her father to remarry.

We can be sure of a number of things: The police will lie; the prosecution witnesses will lie; and the prosecutors will do everything they can to avoid the truth. We also can be sure that Kerwyn, others that care, and I will do what we can to get out the information so that Michael Rasmussen can have a fighting chance to live.

Eric Echols -- Free at Last!

Well, a milestone of sorts was reached in Catoosa County the other day as LMJC ADA Alan Norton told the court, in essence, that the truth could not convict Eric Echols of a crime, so charges against Eric would be dropped. Norton did not add that the charge was a lie in the first place and that while his office was willing to lie and suborn perjury in court, apparently Buzz does not want to have someone make him look bad again.

Someone asked the following in the comment section of a previous post:
Charges against Eric Echols were dropped by the DA's office yesterday. Question. If a young child's coerced statement is sufficient evidence to railroad a woman to trial (keep in mind a child's statement is all they have sometimes), why isnt a video of an undeniable assault on a black man not sufficient evidence to at least charge her?
THAT is a very, very good question. Obviously, the LMJC and Buzz Franklin are not interested in pursuing those involved in committing real felonies (it is a felony to bring a false criminal report, not to mention commit perjury and suborn perjury), and now they find that it also might be difficult to bring false charges against an innocent person.

At this writing, Sandra Lamb, Joal and Sarah Henke, Dewayne and Sherri Wilson, Jerry McDonald, Suzi Thorne, Tim Deal, Chris Arnt and Len Gregor, all of whom committed felonies (and did so openly) during the case, are still at large. Deal is armed and dangerous. Approach all of them with caution, as they are people who know they have a free pass to break any law of their own choosing.

On the other hand, Eric is now free to pursue his life again, and for that I am grateful. As for the people who tried to take away that life, don't forget that the Georgia State Bar, the Georgia Attorney General, and the various judges that sit in the LMJC are not God.

From what I understand, all of the perps I listed claim to believe in God. Perhaps they should heed these words from Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." (ESV)

Future Posts: I will have more on Joe Mohwish's case, and I am about ready to start blogging on the charges against Michael Rasmussen in Charles County, Maryland. Both involve prosecutorial misconduct in a big way, and both clearly are based upon false charges.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is This Blog "Anti-Government"?

One of the ways to smear anyone today who points out abuses committed by government agents is to claim that the person making the point is "anti-government." Interestingly, the smear comes from both the right (Fox News) and the left (MSNBC, New York Times).

When I started this blog, I wanted to deal with issues of economics and some about criminal and civil justice, and it bumped along for about a year until Buzz Franklin and Chris Arnt decided to put Tonya Craft on trial for alleged child molestation. Because the charges were ludicrous and because it was obvious that Arnt, Franklin, and "judge" brian outhouse were tag-teaming to deny Ms. Craft even basic rights, and because even at its best, the local media was unable to say what needed to be said, so I figured that someone needed to fill the gap.

As in the Duke Lacrosse Case, the more I found out, the more I dug into the material, and the more I listened to people who knew something about the case, the more I realized this was an out-and-out railroad. As people know, I have very strong feelings regarding prosecutorial and police misconduct, and have zero tolerance for criminal behavior coming from prosecutors and cops.

Now, a lot of prosecutors and cops take offense at this, not because they actually are honest people, but they just don't like someone messing with their power parade. Furthermore, because they are officers of the court and have a sworn duty to tell the truth, when they lie or encourage lying, it goes to the heart of the system, and to the heart of our very society.

When a person charged with a crime lies under oath, that does not go to the heart of anything. Criminals lie, and that is expected. However, criminals don't represent a system of justice; they represent attempts to attack persons or their property; they are anti-social creatures and we regard them as such.

However, when a prosecutor suborns perjury, as we saw in the Craft case, what he is declaring is that the entire system of justice is a lie. When outhouse permitted Joal and Sarah Henke's testimony is court -- and I guarantee you that outhouse knew they were lying -- he was declaring to the world that his courtroom was about lies.

When outhouse held ex parte meetings with the prosecutors and prosecution witnesses and then refused to report them, he was declaring that his courtroom is a lie, and that he is free to flaunt the law, judicial ethics, and the very truth he was sworn to uphold. This is not trivial stuff. Outhouse is a judge who does everything in his power to keep the truth out of his courtroom.

Chris Arnt, Buzz Franklin and Len Gregor have very strict ethical guidelines for their profession, and they openly trashed them in the Craft case. This is not a matter of opinion; it is fact, as none of the people involved even attempted to hide their actions.

Why did they get away with it? Because they knew they could do it and pay no professional or legal price. While it is true that Arnt's political career may not turn out as rosy as he had hoped, nonetheless he, Gregor, nor Franklin have had to pay a dime in outside expenses, unlike Tonya Craft, who had to shell out more than a million dollars to fund her defense, or the family of James Combs, whom Franklin is trying to railroad with similar charges.

Prosecutors have a term they use to destroy people: "Bleed 'em and plead 'em." The idea is to use their powers to drain ordinary people of their finances so that they cannot afford decent legal representation, or that they run out of money.

This is not done to protect the public. This is done because prosecutors can do it. It is immoral, it is dishonest, and it is the standard way of doing things in this country.

However, according to a lot of people out there, even to timidly point out such things is to engage in "anti-government" behavior. Furthermore, you can bet that future governments at all levels will find ways to criminalize even the most gentle of criticism in the future, labeling it "anti-government terrorism."

So, I will say forthrightly that I am not "anti-government" per se. I am a believer in the message of Romans 13, although keep in mind that the same state Paul was describing in that passage later was lumped into the category of a "beast" in the book of Revelation.

I am against government agents who break the law, as we observed repeatedly during the Craft trial. People who do such things deserve all of the criticism they receive and more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Buzz Franklin: Gambling with the Law

When I last left Buzz Franklin last May, he was crying in his beer about having lost his opportunity to have Tonya Craft wrongly convicted of child molestation, and by blaming the news media (read that Melydia Clewell and Callie Starnes of WRCB-TV, and Kevin West of WGOW) and the "blogosphere" (read that me) for creating "an environment hostile to the State's ability to receive a fair trial and portrayed the victims and their families in a false and negative light."

I'd like to say that was b.s., but at least the bull can produce useful fertilizer, so I should not dignify Buzz's words in such a way. However, Buzz is not resting and now has decided to back off pursuing some ill-advised child molestations cases and, instead, pursue an ill-advised gambling/RICO case. Unfortunately, like in Tonya's case and the illegal arrest of Eric Echols, Buzz not only has decided the law does not apply in the LMJC, but his actions raise much larger questions.

The case in point is the January 4 indictment of Joseph A. Mohwish of Norcross, Georgia, on "the offense of Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" of Georgia (yeah, there is state RICO, too) for maintaining "an interest in a commercial gambling enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity" by having a couple places in Walker County that had video poker machines. Keep in mind that running a gambling operation in Georgia is a misdemeanor, but by appealing to the stupidity of Walker County grand jurors and a really evil state law, Buzz is able to take two alleged misdemeanors and roll them into a felony.

(This is like taking two speeding tickets and making them a "pattern of racketeering," which not only is morally reprehensible, but demonstrates the depraved nature of prosecutors who will misuse the law in this way.)

What Buzz has done might even be legal except for the fact that Mr. Mohwish had a permit to give the proceeds to a charity (Michigan Barber College, an African-American charity) and he stuck to the law. Furthermore, Mr. Mohwish has a Georgia Supreme Court decision that says that the non-cash redemption procedures and the other things tied to Georgia statutes in another case made the operation legal. If Mr. Mohwish went according to the law as the Georgia Supreme Court saw it (and the records indicate that he did, from what I can tell), then case law even precludes Franklin from seeking an indictment in the first place.

None of this surprises me. During the Tonya Craft trial, we saw Buzz's people involved with suborning perjury, lying to jurors, manufacturing false evidence, and generally engaging in all-around evil to try to get a conviction. Since the Georgia State Bar has declared that such actions fall into the "they're just doing their jobs" and the fact that prosecutors don't indict themselves, I am sure that Franklin, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man-Racist" Gregor believe that they, along with Sheriff Phil Summers, "judge" brian outhouse, and Det. Tim "Dirty" Deal are invulnerable. Indeed, in that jurisdiction, they ARE invulnerable because in North Georgia, those who are supposed to enforce the law have become major lawbreakers. There is nothing we can do but to point out this fact, given that no one in a position of authority in Georgia or the U.S. Department of Justice will do anything about it.

But, there is something else about this heavy-handed indictment against Mr. Mohwish that leaves me puzzled, and that is the simply question of "Why"? Why would Franklin go to such great lengths to shut down a couple of legal and very small Walker County operations?

As a trained economist who took a graduate field in regulation and industrial organization, I have written a lot about what economists call "Capture Theory." This is a theory of regulation that says that regulators over time tend to be "captured" by the entities that they regulate.

Now, places like Catoosa County do not have a vast army of regulators, and much of the local regulation is done by law enforcement personnel. Furthermore, we know that illegal operations from meth labs to prostitution and drug rings exist in Catoosa County, as they do in all rural areas, and we know that at least in some places in this country, law enforcement officers (including prosecutors) have been in cahoots with the criminal rings that they supposedly are trying to shut down.

One of the aspects of "Capture Theory" is that the "regulators" will try to impose costs upon competitors of "favored" firms, which is what we often saw in formerly regulated industries such as trucking, airlines, and telecommunications. For that matter, when Rudy Giuliani (who was the U.S. attorney for Manhattan and Southern New York) went after Michael Milken and Drexel Lambert in the late 1980s, we know that he was backed by established Wall Street firms that did not like competing with upstarts like Milken and Drexel.

I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Mohwish's operations were seen as competitors of other entities that have video poker (and perhaps illegal video poker outfits). The world of video poker is well beyond me; while I am addicted to playing Hearts on my computer, nonetheless I cannot imagine standing in a store and playing video poker for hours on end.

Thus, I cannot say that any illegal video poker outfits exist in the LMJC, including Catoosa County, and I would not know one if I walked into it. Furthermore, I tend not to frequent truck stops and convenience stores in that area, even when I am visiting my family on Lookout Mountain. So, anything I say is just theorizing and nothing else.

However, given what we do know about the state of law enforcement in the LMJC, and given the fact that outhouse, Arnt, Gregor, Summers, and Deal were willing to flout or break the law and/or judicial and Georgia Bar ethics, I would not be surprised at anything these people do. Is the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Mohwish a warning to any potential competitors of potential illegal gambling operations in Catoosa County or elsewhere in the LMJC that competition won't be tolerated?

I don't know, and am not qualified to answer this question. However, given the facts that Mr. Mohwish seems to have been operating within the bounds of the law and that Franklin has used the felony RICO statutes to go after him, I cannot help but be suspicious.

As I have written before, the LMJC is an utterly lawless operation. It is a judicial district of dishonest and law-breaking prosecutors, cops who spit on the law, and judges who flout their duties and the laws that supposedly guide them. If there is more to the Mohwish indictment than meets the eye, I would not be surprised. Not in the least.

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I have written extensively (with Candice E. Jackson) on the federal RICO statutes here and here. The RICO "crimes" are fictitious entities, derived from other supposed illegal acts. The statutes are yet another abominable legacy of the Richard Nixon administration.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

America's False Accusation Industry

During Stalin's infamous Terror of the 1930s and 40s, if one wished to be rid of a troublesome neighbor or family member, all he had to do was to "denounce" that person to the authorities as "an enemy of the state." Soon afterward, a "Black Maria" truck would pull up to the apartment, the denounced person led away, and he or she then would disappear into the system until they were dead, either executed or thrown into one of Stalin's gulags.

Americans like to think that we are above all that, but this country has created its own version of The Terror: false accusations of child molestation and rape. Talk to the families of Duke University's lacrosse team who endured the false accusations of 2006-07. Talk to Tonya Craft or James Combs or Michael Rasmussen or any of thousands of others who have gone through this ordeal or who are going through it now.

We are long past the era in which the authorities -- those who are entrusted with finding the truth -- care whether or not the charges they are pursuing even are true (or logical, for that matter). For example, one of the charges against Tonya was based on a claim that she molested a child in her Catoosa County house -- before she even lived there!

(When that fact was pointed out to "judge" brian outhouse, he ignored the Laws of Time and Space and claimed that the prosecution had all-but-proven the charge, an action that could not have happened at either the time or the place that Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man-Racist" Gregor claimed. Ironically, at the point when outhouse was claiming the truth of the prosecution's case, the jurors already had decided that the prosecutors were wrong.)

When judges and prosecutors use their powers and authority to bring and maintain false charges, then all is lost in this country. When "protecting the system" becomes more important than protecting the truth, then there no longer is a justice system. Instead, we have a system in which people with bad motives are able to exercise raw power at the expense of the innocent. Like it or not -- and I, for one, don't like it -- that is the system we now have, and it clearly is attracting people like Arnt and Gregor who are fundamentally dishonest people and who use their authority to see how many felonies they can commit without being punished. (And the authorities never really punish their own.)

Last night, I found a wonderful website, The National Center for Reason and Justice. This site highlights a number of cases of false accusation and conviction in which falsely accused people have gone to prison based on spurious testimony with the authorities deliberately hiding exculpatory evidence and outright lying in court. I would urge readers to visit this site if for nothing else to see a small slice of the Hell that "American Justice" has created.

In my opening paragraph, I noted that one could be taken away in Stalin's Russia on the whim of someone else. Things are no different in this country today; only the circumstances have changed.

Sandra Lamb and the Wilsons wanted to extract "payback" on Tonya Craft, so they accused her of child molestation. Joal and Sarah "Clean-Shaven" Henke wanted Tonya out of the picture so that they could gain permanent custody of Tonya's children. Given that Arnt, Gregor, outhouse, and Tim "Dirty" Deal know the drill and were anxious to go along with the scam, along with people like Holly Kittle and Suzi "I Just Remembered" Thorne, it was not hard to put the whole thing into motion.

When one couples that situation with the policy of the Georgia State Bar not to discipline prosecutors no matter how egregious their actions, one can see that as long as people were willing to lie under oath (protected by the authorities), there was and is no limit to the dishonesty that people employed by the "justice" system will perform.

This evil is not limited to the LMJC; the United States is a country now that rewards false accusations. Parents involved in custody battles can make false accusations, knowing that people in authority will go along with the lies. People looking for financial payouts, like Crystal Mangum in the Duke case, will feel free to lie because they know there will be a gaggle of dishonest prosecutors, cops, and "intellectuals" (i.e., most of the Duke faculty) to stand behind them, no matter how fantastic the lies might be.

I appreciate the fact that there are people who DO care about justice and about right and wrong and speak out. That is why I appreciate the people who read this blog and who make comments and who refuse to follow the herd. It still is possible to make a difference.

My thanks to those of you who either have contributed or who have given personal support to our recent campaign on The Point. We have raised the original $5,000, which means that we can move more quickly to the next step. Thanks to all of you who care.