Thursday, September 30, 2010

Miscarriage of Justice in Maricopa County, Part II: Feeling the Heat

NOTE: My two-part series is going to be a three-part series, as a casual question from Kerwyn tonight has led to some facts that, frankly, the police, prosecutors, and investigators in the case involving the 14-year-old boy in Phoenix are not going to be able to sidestep. So, as you will see, Part II is going to be dedicated to some common sense about Phoenix, Arizona, in June.

As you can see from the Accu-Weather temperature list from June, 2010, Phoenix is one very hot place in the summer. (I remember driving there the first Saturday of June, 2006, and it was 114 degrees in the late afternoon in Needles, California, which is just across the Colorado River from Arizona.)

OK, let us do some thinking, which is not what police and prosecutors often do. (Scheming, yes; thinking, generally not.) According to our crack "investigators" Carola Jacobson's son was supposed to have coerced three other young children into an unfinished attic -- really, a little more than a crawl space -- that was NOT AIR CONDITIONED during three consecutive days in June.

Think about it. As I noted in this post, a woman died in Arizona after being left in a "punishment shack" in 107-degree heat for four hours. However, we are supposed to believe that for three days in a row, four young children did "sex play" in a tiny attic room in the middle of the day for several hours at a time, but no one got sick from the heat. Furthermore, we are supposed to believe that they actually could pull off such a feat. Right.

To give readers a better sense of the alleged "crime scene," I have put a couple of pictures of that attic space and would ask them to visualize four children rolling about the floor, at least two of them naked, on days when no one would want to stay in such a hotbox for more than a few seconds.

No doubt, the authorities will try to come up with something that will explain away that which cannot be explained. That is typical of police and prosecutors today. I remember the Duke Lacrosse Case when the Durham police and prosecutor Mike Nifong desperately tried to come up with an explanation that could fit the facts as everyone knew them.

Other than some Duke faculty members and hardcore feminists and racialists, the square peg could not be pounded into the round hole. Likewise, the authorities in Maricopa County want us to believe that for three days in a row, the 14-year-old boy forced three other children into a room where temperatures easily could have been above 125 degrees. Furthermore, we are asked to believe that he forced them in that tiny space to do all sorts of sex play for several hours. Right.

In Part III, we will take a hard look at the police reports. As readers will see, there are even more holes in the prosecution's case, not that police and prosecutors in Maricopa County -- or most other places in the USA, for that matter -- care about the truth.

However, there ARE people in this country who do care about the truth, and we won't be silent.

Miscarriage of Justice in Maricopa County, Part I

In my post last week on the current brutality in Maricopa County, Arizona, I did not give any names in the case which I now am following, given that the principals all are juveniles. However, this post will name some names and explain what is happening and why I will not back down from reporting the case.

I also will explain the problems that criminal defendants have in dealing with attorneys, especially attorneys that are unethical or simply see their jobs as offering their clients up to prosecutors as so many sacrifices. Let me begin.

This past year, Phoenix police arrested a 14-year-old boy, on charges of child molestation. In typical Maricopa County fashion, the boy is being held in juvenile detention without bond, and the prosecutors are threatening to have him tried as an adult.

His mother, Carola Jacobson, contacted me and we have talked several times and emailed, so I am about as up on this case as I can be. However, I have not simply taken her word for it that her son is innocent; instead, Kerwyn and I have read the police reports and Kerwyn, being someone who knows both the details of these reports and the various police tactics, has told me that the interviewing techniques used by the police on these children are inappropriate at best and brutal at worst.

Furthermore, when placed in context with one another, the various statements simply don't make sense, according to Kerwyn. What is bad, however, is that if the police reports, which invariably are "sanitized" to place police in the best light, describe testimony which Kerwyn calls "babbling bullsh-t," then one only can imagine what the transcripts and videotapes are going to show.

According to the police, prosecutors, and child "protective" services people, Ms. Jacobson's son "coerced" some other children into playing "Truth or Dare" with one another in the attic of his house. Interestingly, the "investigators" claim that the children were there against their will and that the accused kept them from leaving. Conversely, the boy denies having ANY involvement with these "activities."

However, since this is alleged to have happened on at least three occasions, one is left to wonder why these "terrified" children came back to the Jacobson house for more. (I'm sure that the prosecution and investigators can come up with some lies on that one, just as the LMJC prosecutors were able to explain away the odd fact that Tonya Craft's "victims" came back to her house even though they supposedly were terrified of the "abuse.") In my post on the actual police reports, I will deal specifically with the logical difficulties.

(The reason that the authorities continue to hold the boy is that the families of the so-called victims claim that their children are "terrified" of the boy's release, and that he poses a "danger to the community." Right. Kids who willingly went to a boy's house numerous times suddenly are frightened of the same boy. Give me a break.)

This case, however, has some very interesting and compelling twists. First, Ms. Jacobson is from Germany (I have told her she is like Tonya Craft with a German accent), and her son is a German citizen. The brutality being shown toward this boy is not going to resonate with the German authorities, who are going to want to know how the child's rights are being protected by the American "justice" system.

In other words, we have the possible makings of an international incident and a number of us are wondering how this will figure into the larger mix. Given the very bad PR that Maricopa County already has managed to create with its brutal system of "justice," I doubt that the German government will be pleased to see one of its citizens -- and a child at that -- being brutalized by the local authorities.

Second, there have been lawyer difficulties. After her son's arrest, Ms. Jacobson contacted attorney Michael Urbano, who assured her that he would fight for his rights and all that. She told him up front that she and her son wanted NO plea deals, but almost immediately, Urbano was trying to talk the boy into taking a plea.

The last straw was the hearing this week regarding the boy's possible release to home confinement. Not only was Urbano unprepared, but he finally admitted to Ms. Jacobson that he had not even read the police reports, nor had he filed a request for discovery materials, including the interview transcripts. In other words, he was doing nothing but setting up his "client" in the name of defending him.

That was enough, and Ms. Jacobson now has a new attorney, and things look a bit more promising. In my second post in this brief series, I will look closely at what came from the police reports.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eric Holder and Prosecutorial Misconduct

It seems that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants federal prosecutors to be ethical, and he has really ramped up the effort. Yes, he required that U.S. attorneys attend a half-day seminar on fulfilling their constitutional duties of turning over evidence to the defense. Wow! That guy really has a sense of his obligations, does he not?

The new USA Today series on prosecutorial misconduct in the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) seems to have Holder a bit worried, as it makes his department look bad. However, before there was USA Today, there was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which published a devastating series in 1998 on DOJ misconduct.

What is significant here is that Holder was Deputy Attorney General under Janet "Waco" Reno, one of the most dishonest and venal prosecutors ever to hold any position of authority in this country, and much of the PG's series deals with the wrongdoing of the Reno DOJ. Reno's conduct as a prosecutor in Florida (even before she ordered the biggest U.S. Government massacre of civilians since Wounded Knee a century before Waco) made Chris Arnt and Len Gregor look to be honest professionals. I'm not kidding. Reno was so bad that Dorothy Rabinowitz actually won a Pulitzer Prize writing, in part, about Reno's lies and prosecutorial misconduct.

Bill Moushey, a hard-working son of a police officer, is a blue-collar sort of guy who has a good moral compass and a real heart for people wrongly charged. The opening paragraphs to his series says it all, not only about the series, but how Moushey sees the substance of wrongdoing:
Hundreds of times during the past 10 years, federal agents and prosecutors have pursued justice by breaking the law.

They lied, hid evidence, distorted facts, engaged in cover-ups, paid for perjury and set up innocent people in a relentless effort to win indictments, guilty pleas and convictions, a two-year Post-Gazette investigation found.

Rarely were these federal officials punished for their misconduct. Rarely did they admit their conduct was wrong.

New laws and court rulings that encourage federal law enforcement officers to press the boundaries of their power while providing few safeguards against abuse fueled their actions.

Victims of this misconduct sometimes lost their jobs, assets and even families. Some remain in prison because prosecutors withheld favorable evidence or allowed fabricated testimony. Some criminals walk free as a reward for conspiring with the government in its effort to deny others their rights.
What is the fundamental problem here? Lies. It is NOT somehow a lack of "ethical" training on behalf of federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors don't lie because they missed a half-day seminar on ethics. No, they lie for one of two reasons:
  • They are fundamentally dishonest, or are pathological liars;
  • They know that (1) they probably won't get caught and if they ARE caught (2) nothing will happen to them.
My sense is that there are a couple of dynamics. First, and most important, people who enjoy bullying others will naturally gravitate to being federal prosecutors. These people really love the prospect of destroying the lives of others. I'm not kidding; they LOVE it. It's fun, at least for them.

Second, the "go along to get along" culture of the DOJ assures that people who actually have a conscience either will capitulate and become what they have hated or they will leave (or be driven out by the bad guys). Thus, the bad people are left and they dominate the system.

For that matter, one does not have to be a federal prosecutor to be abusive. Like the feds, state prosecutors have absolute immunity, so they really don't have to worry if they lie, hide evidence and the like, even if they are caught. Hey, they're just "doing their jobs," right?

Anyway, when faced with Mr. Moushey's series, Holder took a much different view of things, writing a letter to the P-G. You can read Holder's missives, but I like what the P-G said at the end of his letter:
Editors' note: The Justice Department was repeatedly given the opportunity to express its views on these and other cases before and during publication of the series. In every case cited here, the department refused.
This is quite significant, for Mr. Moushey knew that these particular cases were problematic and he wanted to make sure he had the right information. However, Holder's strategy was to stonewall all requests, and then afterward claim that the series was defective because it had some "wrong" information.

In other words, Holder was not interested in getting at the truth. Instead, he gave the usual platitudes such as:
Federal prosecutors work around the clock putting criminals behind bars. Their work has helped reduce the national crime rate for more than six years in a row. And they are among the most respected and trusted lawyers in the nation.
I read something like that, and say to myself: What crap! It reminded me of a question and answer session I once had with the former Sen. Jim Sasser of Tennessee.

I asked Sasser why it was that Congress exempted itself from laws it imposes on the rest of us. (There actually was a Constitutional reason for it -- to keep Congress separate from the control of the executive branch, but Sasser didn't know that answer.) In reply, Sasser told me that members of Congress were great people, some of the greatest people he had known.

The translation: "We don't have to obey laws because we are great people." Sorry, folks, that dog won't hunt.

So, while I am glad to see (once again) the exposure of crimes committed by federal prosecutors, nonetheless, Holder's response leaves me cold. The guy has NO INTENTION at all of doing what is right. Instead, he creates an illusion that the feds finally have learned their lessons and they will do better next time.

Yeah, all it takes is three hours in an "ethics" seminar. I'll believe THAT when I see it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not a Good Day for Prosecutors

Everyone once in a while, even prosecutors have a tough day, and today (Monday, September 27) was one of them. I begin with the dismissal of felony "wiretapping" charges in Harford County, Maryland, in which one of the country's most abusive prosecutors, Joseph Casilly, took it on the chin. A circuit court judge dismissed charges against Anthony Graber, who had recorded a traffic stop with his helmet cam. (Graber was stopped for traffic violations, and recorded the whole proceedings, and then put it on the Internet.)

Casilly, who was responsible for the false prosecution of Valerie Carlton in a case that had a lot of similarities to that of Tonya Craft (except Carlton was jailed for 13 months before Casilly dropped the child molestation charges), had charged Graber under Maryland's vague "wiretapping" law. In my view, this "law" exists solely to protect corrupt government officials from citizens who might secretly record the officials while they are engaging in extortion or worse. After all, if it is illegal to secretly record a government official committing a crime, then that is one more privilege that they have over the "mundanes" who are not employed by the state. Judge Emory A. Pitt, Jr., actually demonstrated some understanding of the law, something that escapes most prosecutors.

On another happy note, Kenneth "The Prize" Kratz, the Wisconsin DA who apparently gets his jollies by "sexting" crime victims, is going to resign. After the Wisconsin state bar refused to discipline him, the state's governor, Jim Doyle, decided to find a way to remove this miscreant and now Kratz is leaving office and his "six-figure" salary.

Can Kratz make it as an attorney in the real world? We shall see. If there were justice, he would be disbarred.

My last note deals with the suicide of a federal prosecutor, someone who was part of the crooked prosecution last year of the late Ted Stevens, then a U.S. Senator from Alaska. Nick Marsh, a DOJ lawyer with the misnamed "Public Integrity" office, was one of the prosecutor under investigation for alleged criminal conduct in that case, and apparently he killed himself last weekend.

I hate to say it, but the "strain" of what surely will be a whitewashed "investigation" is NOTHING like the strain that prosecutors put on innocent people every day. Marsh was out to destroy Sen. Stevens, and did not care if he had to lie to do it, and I find it ironic that he was not able to withstand what many Americans have had to endure because of people like Marsh. As I noted on a post on the Lew Rockwell blog, had the guy showed integrity a year ago, he would not have been in this situation.

Yes, I guess I feel sorry for his family, although Marsh's suicide to me is like the suicide of Adolph Hitler or Joseph Goebbels. The world is better off without people like that. And, yes, I mean it when I include Marsh in that mix, for Marsh was part of a governmental regime that has declared war on decent, honest people. He believed he was immune to the law, and I guess he was wrong.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Prosecutors Lying and Not Being Punished; We're Shocked, SHOCKED!

USA Today has discovered that federal prosecutors often engage in misconduct and they are shocked, SHOCKED. Of course, they continue to insist that we are dealing with just "a few bad apples."

Once upon a time, I believed that most prosecutors, state and federal, were fair and honest people who wanted to do the right thing, who were doing the Lord's Work, and were saving us from criminals and those dastardly defense lawyers who worked overtime to give us O.J. Verdicts. If there was any misconduct on their part, well, it was those "bad apples," not the system itself.

What a difference a decade makes. After reading The Tyranny of Good Intentions by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton, I began to get a sense of how modern prosecutors have twisted and destroyed the law, and how lawmakers and an intellectually lazy public have contributed to this destruction. I never would look at law and especially prosecutors and police again.

Roberts and Stratton included material from a hard-hitting series that Bill Moushey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote in 1998, called "Win at all Costs," and after I read the series itself, I realized that the entire system was utterly rotten. Not only did federal prosecutors and officers lie -- and get caught lying -- none of them ever faced a second of punishment, no matter how egregious and illegal their conduct.

This is not an accident, nor is it just a situation of some people being asleep at the switch. It is deliberate, and people who are employed as prosecutors and police are sending the message to the rest of us: people in those "professions" can do what they damn well please, and no one is going to do anything about it.

Take the case that is featured in the USA Today story about Nino Lyons. He was convicted and sentenced to prison because federal prosecutors knowingly suborned perjury, hid exculpatory evidence, lied to jurors, and generally did what they wanted.

Thanks to some sleuthing from defense attorneys looking over one sentence in the sentencing report, the defense found what prosecutors had been doing. Lyons served three years in prison before a judge vacated his conviction:
In July (2010), U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell did more than overturn Lyons' conviction: He declared that Lyons was innocent.

Neither the Justice Department nor the lead prosecutor in the Lyons case, Bruce Hinshelwood, would explain the events that cost Lyons his home, his businesses and nearly three years of freedom. The department investigated Hinshelwood but refused to say whether he was punished; records obtained by USA TODAY show that the agency regulating Florida lawyers ordered him to attend a one-day ethics workshop, scheduled for Friday.

Asked about Presnell's ruling exonerating Lyons, Hinshelwood said only, "It is of no concern to me." (Emphasis mine)
If you want to know what Hinshelwood's "punishment" was, it was having to attend a one-day seminar in ethics. Yes, that is right, a man who orchestrated a huge criminal conspiracy had to spend a day listening to someone speak about "ethics," as though that would make a difference.

Why do the Hinshelwoods and the Gregors and Arnts and Nortons and Franklins of the prosecutorial world have the green light to break the law with impunity and face no punishment? In economics, we call it "Capture Theory," in which agents who are supposed to be regulated by outside entities manage to "capture" the regulatory apparatus. That clearly has happened here, and once that happens, it almost is impossible to right the ship.

Yes, there really are government agencies that are supposed to police the behavior of prosecutors at the state and federal levels, but it rarely is done. Read through the USA Today article and you will understand what I mean. Unlike the authors, however, I believe that most of the apples in the barrel are thoroughly rotten, and that the term "honest prosecutor" is fast becoming an oxymoron.

(And since police themselves made up the term "testilying," well, we can say that their very words condemn them. If a police officer is testifying on a witness stand, a juror can be sure that he or she probably is lying. It has come to that.)

No civilized society can withstand this kind of an onslaught. When people in power misuse their power simply because they can do it, then there is no more law, and there certainly is no order.

The irony is that Americans empowered police and prosecutors in the name of "law and order," but by destroying the protections our Constitution gave us, we find in the end that we have neither.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Phoenix, Maricopa County, and Brutality to Children

Phoenix, Arizona, and the surrounding Maricopa County long have had a reputation of having its legal institutions being synonymous with lawlessness. Here is a place where a mentally-ill female prisoner literally was tortured to death by being put in a metal shack for four hours, exposed to the brutal desert heat until she died.

(After World War II, German and Japanese soldiers who did such things to American prisoners of war were executed. Maricopa County has decided that no one on the prison staff would be prosecuted. Please do not try this at home with anyone you know as only police and prosecutors have a "get out of jail free" card.)

Arizona's brutality is not limited to torturing mentally-ill women to death, however. No, the state also brutalizes children, and in the coming weeks, I will be dealing with an egregious case that reflects just how Phoenix and Maricopa County used unconscionable interrogation tactics on a young child in order to get him to say what the detective wanted him to say, rather than telling what most likely was the truth.

This particular case is more proof that Arizona, Phoenix, and Maricopa County operate according to a code of "ethics" that make the LMJC look like a paragon of justice. That's right: these are people who make people like Tim Deal and Holly Kittle look to be competent and truthful. Lord help us.

Not surprisingly, this is a child molestation case, another one in which the authorities are hellbent on pursuing a specific narrative, and they are willing to use whatever tactics necessary to get the story they want, the truth be damned. While Kerwyn and I went over the police reports, Kerwyn found something very, very disturbing: the "interviews" were not interviews at all; instead, they were interrogations in which Det. Terje Boe of the Phoenix Police Department threatened one child with a lie detector test, and continually told lies to the children in order to get them to change their stories.

Sitting with Boe was Jennifer Ingalls, an infamous Child Protective Services worker who already has been involved in some high-profile, false accusation cases, including one in which she tried to have parents who took photographs of their two very young children taking baths thrown into prison for "child pornography."

What we know so far is shocking. A 14-year-old boy is being held without bond in a juvenile detention facility in Phoenix, and the authorities are determined to try him as an adult. The only "evidence" of child molestation comes from some young children who were "encouraged" by Boe and Ingalls to change their stories, and who also have had their parents involved in telling the children what to say.

Not surprisingly, the authorities in Maricopa County (home of the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio) are making it difficult for the boy's mother even to get normal documents that are supposed to be made available quickly to defendants. In the meantime, the Maricopa County DA's office is trying to find a way to try this boy as an adult.

Yes, that is right. The same office that refused even to consider bringing the tiniest of criminal charges against prison workers who literally tortured a mentally-ill woman to death is teaming with local police to engage in brutality against a young teenager.

The "law" in Arizona definitely is skewed. Police gun down unarmed people and assault others, and Phoenix police are at the top among the largest U.S. cities in per population shootings. Phoenix and Maricopa County are places where people truly must fear the occupying costumed army known as the "police."

There will be more on this case as we get material. As in the Tonya Craft case, we will not back off.

Eyes on "the Prize," or Kenneth Kratz's Egotistical Adventure

The more I read about Kenneth Kratz, the sex-crazed Wisconsin DA whose behavior must make Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt and Len "The Man-Racist-Misogynist-Homophobe" Gregor envious, the more I realize he has some pretty kinky ideas about what makes for a great date. According to a woman who has come forward after the original "sexting" conduct of Kratz was made public:
...another woman claimed that during a date with Kratz, he invited her to an autopsy, "provided I act as his girlfriend and would wear high heels and a skirt."
Now, I have no idea if Kratz is into, well, something really nasty that perverts like Ted Bundy have done with dead women, but the idea of taking a date to an autopsy leaves me, uh, cold. (Not as cold as the body being examined, however, but close.)

And if that were not enough, a third woman now is making claims about his sexual behavior, according to the Associated Press:
She recalled him texting while he was on vacation in Michigan with his family asking her to impress him "in between naps." She said he later pestered her when she didn't answer.

She eventually told him she was not interested and he said he would stop. She said she didn't hear from him for months but then got a message in which he asked to meet in person to discuss "a personal matter."
While I don't know if Kratz ever has described himself as "The Man" like another egotistical prosecutor we know, he DID claim that he was "the prize." Perhaps he meant booby prize, I don't know. Maybe he and Gregor can compare notes. For that matter, I imagine that he and Arnt would get along, too.

The latest is that Kratz is on "medical leave." Hmm. Is he getting his Viagra dose adjusted? Has he suffered from carpal tunnel because he has been working his thumbs so hard? It's hard to know. Maybe he can go to the same clinic where Tiger Woods went to treat his "addictions."

Or maybe he can move to the LMJC, as I saw that Buzz's office recently advertised for a new ADA. Oh, he'd be the perfect hire for that place.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Skip Oliva on College Sports

As a former collegiate athlete at the University of Tennessee (track and cross-country, 1971-75), I have been blessed to have an inside view of college sports. I admit to following UT and other college sports and have no regrets about being part of that system.

However, as Skip Oliva notes in this article on Lew Rockwell's Page, there are real problems with that system, and they are borne of the hypocritical notion that colleges and universities are "protecting amateur athletics," as though this were a Holy Cause. Furthermore, we often fail to understand what really is behind this notion of "cheating" as defined by the NCAA and its groupies in the mainstream media.

Being that I saw "cheating" from a different vantage point (and, yes, pretty much everyone in college sports "cheats" at one level or another), my view of all of this is going to be quite different than the view of the typical sports journalist who seems to believe that the NCAA rules stand for All That Is Good And Holy.

As with so many other things in our current body politic that have created so much harm (i.e. the Federal Reserve System, and the exponential growth of federal regulatory agencies), the NCAA is a creation of the Progressive Era and, specifically, the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

(Yes, TR is a favorite of both Democrats and Republicans because he tried to run his office like a dictatorship, and today we love the "take-charge President," although we probably know in our heart of hearts that the President cannot really be an action hero like we saw on "Air Force One," or, as I call it, "Air Farce One.")

For all of the egalitarian talk that we have coming from our modern colleges and universities, the concept of amateurism was developed precisely to protect the wealthy and privileged from competition from people of the "lower classes."Mr. Oliva writes:
Amateurism itself is a class-based concept. In Walter Camp's day, an amateur was merely a generalist who didn't specialize in a particular sport or hobby. This excluded members of the "working classes," because their specialty in physical labor gave them an unfair advantage over gentlemen of the privileged classes (like Camp). The idea of paying amateur athletes was unnecessary, as their social position made it unnecessary.

By the early 20th century, academics transformed amateurism into a moral code consistent with collectivist principles. Howard Savage, a Carnegie Foundation official in the 1930s, said "professionalism in school and college athletics … is a most serious evil," and that amateurism represented "the moral struggle between force and the uses to which, with the sanction of our civilization, it may be used and should be put." In other words, athletes were barbarians who had to be tamed by the "civilizing" presence of academics. Savage noted that while it was acceptable for students in artistic fields to profit from their work – because they offered "tests of even temper and self-control" – it was never acceptable for athletes to profit from their efforts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Government "Expert" Witnesses: Fraud Abounds

One of the reasons that I am so down on the Children's Advocacy Center of the LMJC is that I see the real damage that so-called government expert witnesses can do. Perhaps we should not be surprised when Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt and Len "The Man-Racist-Misogynist-Homophobe" Gregor claim that the CAC witnesses were brilliant, while people like Dr. Nancy Aldridge and Dr. William Bernet, both highly respected in their fields, were "liars" and "whores."

Yes, it seems that along with foisting lies and bad services, governments also like to provide us with fraudulent "expert" witnesses, and perhaps the worst offenders are the prosecutors of Mississippi. Now, Mississippi has been a study in injustice for a long time, given its awful civil rights history which, like that of Georgia, includes numerous murders for which there were no prosecutions, much less no convictions. Georgia and Mississippi both made it de facto legal for whites to kill blacks and people of both states seemed to take pride in the fact that murder was legal there.

Today, the politicians and the "justice" system players like to claim that things have changed, but I don't think so. In Catoosa County, the authorities still are trying to wrongly convict Eric Echols who the last time I checked still was African-American. Mississippi does Catoosa County one better: the state has a number of blacks on death row, put there due to the fraudulent testimony of Steven Hayne and Michael West.

This latest dispatch from Radley Balko is the kind of thing that should make one's blood boil, as Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is trying to railroad a man to the execution chamber despite the fraudulence of the "expert" testimony that put him there. Mr. Balko writes about the upcoming execution of Eddie Lee Howard:
In 1994 Eddie Lee Howard was convicted of raping and murdering 84-year-old Georgia Kemp. Kemp was found dead in her Columbus, Mississippi, home by firefighters after a neighbor noticed smoke coming from the house. Investigators determined the fire was set intentionally.

Kemp's body was taken to controversial Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne, who would later lose his lucrative niche as the state's go-to guy for autopsies after years of criticism for sloppy work that rarely failed to confirm prosecutors' suspicions. Hayne concluded that Kemp died of knife wounds and said he found signs of rape, although the rape kit taken from Kemp turned up no biological evidence that the technology available at the time could test for DNA.

Three days after Kemp was buried, District Attorney Forrest Allgood, the chief prosecutor for the four counties of Mississippi's 16th District, zeroed in on Howard, who at the time was unemployed and living with a relative down the street from Kemp's house, as the culprit. Once Howard was identified as a suspect, Hayne suddenly recalled seeing marks on Kemp's body that could have been made by human teeth (Hayne's original autopsy report makes no mention of the bite marks). So Kemp's body was exhumed and given to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, dentist Michael West, a self-proclaimed expert in bite mark analysis and frequent beneficiary of Hayne's referrals. West confirmed that the marks were indeed bite impressions and that some of them could only have been made by Howard's upper teeth—a puzzling claim, since Howard's upper teeth were a mass-manufactured denture. Howard was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994. The Mississippi Supreme Court later gave Howard a new trial, ruling he was unfit to represent himself at trial. He was again convicted and again sentenced to death in 2000.

West's bite mark testimony is the only physical evidence linking Howard to the crime scene. (The other evidence against Howard includes incriminating statements he allegedly made to a police officer that were not recorded or written down and testimony from an ex-girlfriend that Howard smelled of smoke the day after Kemp's murder.) At the time of Howard's conviction, West was a star forensic witness, claiming to have perfected a method of bite mark analysis no other forensic specialist could duplicate. But since Howard's conviction, West has become the poster boy for forensic fakery.

West, who once claimed he could trace the tooth marks in a half-eaten bologna sandwich at a crime scene to a defendant while excluding everyone else on the planet, has had to resign from two professional forensics organizations due to his habit of giving testimony unsupported by science. In 2001 (as I reported last year) a defense lawyer caught West in a sting aimed at revealing him as a charlatan: West matched the dental mold of a private investigator to unrelated photos of bite marks from a crime committed eight years earlier. West even sent back a video in which he methodically went through his technique. Despite all this, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Howard's conviction and death sentence in 2006. With respect to West, the majority concluded, "Just because Dr. West has been wrong a lot, does not mean, without something more, that he was wrong here."

Since then a wave of new revelations (described in more detail below) has confirmed that Steven Hayne and Michael West are not credible expert witnesses. Last month Howard and his attorneys at the Mississippi Innocence Project cited some of that evidence in asking the Mississippi Supreme Court for a new trial. In response, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood does not argue that Michael West is a credible expert or that his testimony in Howard's case had any scientific foundation. Instead Hood argues that because the Mississippi Supreme Court already has upheld West's testimony in the face of criticism, Howard is procedurally barred from again citing West's quackery in a bid for a new trial.

The argument may arguably be legally correct, but Hood is not obligated to make it. Hood, whose duty is not just to win cases but to pursue justice, should have the decency to review every case in which West has ever testified. Instead, in the face of growing evidence that the criminal justice system he presides over has been corrupted by unreliable expert witnesses, Hood is essentially arguing that Eddie Lee Howard should be sent to the death chamber on a technicality.
Now, if you think Jim Hood is a liar and a charlatan, you are right. But, replace his name with Thurbert Baker or Len Gregor, Buzz Franklin, or Chris Arnt, and you have the same kind of person.

More and more, we are seeing dishonest and venal people self-selecting into the office of prosecutor. For the most part, Americans are quite satisfied with this sorry state of affairs -- or they are satisfied until something happens to them and then they begin to understand what is happening.

Prosecutors are more likely to try to get fraudulent "expert" witnesses because they are more likely to lie, as we saw Suzi Thorne do during Tonya Craft's trial. When I asked Ione Sells about Nancy Aldridge having testified for the prosecution, she laughed and said, "She has not testified for the prosecution since 2007." My sense is that she is right, but if I understand the present mentality in the typical prosecutor's office, the last thing prosecutors want is an expert witness who is both competent AND truthful.

No, prosecutors are quite happy with people like Steven Hayne and Michael West. The LMJC is not alone in being Perjury Central.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is the Eastwood Church's New Motto "Perjury, not Purity"?

The Eastwood Church, which is the church home of serial perjurers Joal and Sarah Henke, likes to fashion itself as part of the "Emergent Church" movement which claims to emphasize "deeds, not creeds." That is a nice way of saying that the church has a pretty nebulous belief system into which a lot of heresy can be stuffed.

I recently visited its website and read its "mission" statement, and in reading it, I can see how Joal and Sarah believe they are justified by their lies, and there is nothing in Eastwood's "mission" that contradicts that point. An especially telling paragraph states:
Jesus was extremely critical of the religious leaders of His day because they set rules above relationships. We desire to follow in His footsteps and place people above these man-made rules -- whether they are cultural, traditional, or religious.
This sounds good on the surface, but it actually undercuts the Gospel and it certainly can be used as a tool for deceitful, predatory people like Joal Henke. I will explain why I believe that.

Jesus did not speak out against the Law, no matter how much the Emergents want us to believe He did. Furthermore, He did not condemn the Pharisees and other religious leaders for following the Law; he condemned them for breaking the spirit of the Law, for placing the rules that made up their interpretations of the Law above the Law itself.

This is much different than what the Eastwood people want us to believe. They want us to think that as long as we claim to have a "relationship" with Jesus, then everything else is fine. The fact that a number of Eastwood members refused even to look at the evidence and instead blindly followed Joal and Sarah -- despite their obvious perjury -- seems to be living proof that they don't consider things like "truth" to be relevant. In the Emergent view, "truth" is relative; it is subordinate to relationships, and because of it, one can justify almost any behavior that clearly violates the Law of God.

As I am going to point out in future posts, there is no question that the Henkes lied on the stand. They were part of a prosecution strategy that kept introducing "new, I just remembered" material in an attempt to fill the obvious holes in the prosecution's evidence against Tonya Craft. Furthermore, Sarah kept a Facebook page up during the whole trial in which her featured picture was that of her holding Tonya's daughter, claiming that the child was her own.

This, people, is sick, sick, sick. It is evil. It is a woman being willing to lie in a court of law in an attempt to steal the child of another woman, and receiving encouragement from her church in telling those lies.

However, because the lies were about "relationships," the Eastwood Church swallowed the falsehoods whole and justified the action with its "mission" statement. The members of that church fool no one other than themselves, and they certainly don't fool God.

So, if the Eastwood Church needs a new motto, it can be: "Perjury, not Purity."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prosecutors REALLY Gone Wild!

Perhaps the biggest lie today in American "justice" circles is that most cops, judges, and prosecutors really are honest, conscientious, and diligent truth-seekers and that the problem lies with "a few bad apples." From my view, the entire barrel is rotten with a few "good apples" left. However, because dishonesty reigns at all levels, the few honest people in the system over time are driven out.

Furthermore, while much of this blog in recent months has concentrated upon the crimes committed by the government "officers of the court" of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, in truth, the problem is everywhere in the USA. Here is a story from Wisconsin in which yet another "get tough" prosecutor who has concentrated on "sex crimes" has been engaging in what at very-best can be considered near-criminal behavior involving, well, sexual conduct.

Yes, this one must be read to be believed, but I will say I am not surprised. After all, people who live in the LMJC have contacted me about the sexual behavior of certain "officers of the court" in the past, and all I can say is the motto of the LMJC should be: "Sex crimes for me, but not for thee!"

In this story, the "get-tough" prosecutor, Kenneth Kratz, sent a crime victim a number of text messages in which he "seems" to be soliciting sex from her. Read on:
A Wisconsin prosecutor known for two decades as an advocate for crime victims says he is embarrassed about sending sexually suggestive text messages to a strangulation victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend, but will remain in office.

Kenneth Kratz, the district attorney for Calumet County north of Milwaukee, issued the statement Wednesday after The Associated Press reported on 30 texts he sent to a 26-year-old woman who had complained to police last year.

A police report shows he repeatedly sent Stephanie Van Groll text messages in October 2009 trying to spark an affair.

"Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA ... the riskier the better?" Kratz, 50, wrote in one message. In another, he wrote: "I would not expect you to be the other woman. I would want you to be so hot and treat me so well that you'd be THE woman! R U that good?"
(Hey, Buzz! Contact this guy and offer him a job in the LMJC. He sounds like your kind of guy! He'd be perfect for your office, given the fact that it is populated by liars and, frankly, sexual perverts, if Len Gregor's "thong" fixation at the Tonya Craft trial is any indication of the mindset of your office.)

The story is shocking -- yes, shocking -- and I can guarantee you that any of us who did the same thing in Kratz's district would be prosecuted, convicted, and put into prison for many years. Kratz, however, has the very best kind of immunity: he is the law.

Apparently, someone did report him to the Wisconsin State Bar, and while I doubt that the people were told (like I was told by a spokesperson from the Georgia State Bar about "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man"), "He's just doing his job," nonetheless, it is plain that NOTHING was done about this sexual predator:
In a combative interview in his office, Kratz did not deny sending the messages and expressed concern their publication would unfairly embarrass him personally and professionally. He said the Office of Lawyer Regulation found in March he did not violate any rules governing attorney misconduct, but refused to provide a copy of what he said was the report clearing him. That office cannot comment on investigations.
Oh, it gets even better:
Hours later, Kratz issued a statement acknowledging sending the messages and saying he "was embarrassed at this lapse of judgment."

"I have never been the subject of attorney discipline during my entire 25-year career, and until today, have enjoyed a spotless reputation as a vigorous advocate for crime victims," he said.
Does anyone for even a second believe that he would buy that "lapse in judgment" argument if he were charging someone else with a crime similar to what he did? Right. Look at what happened to Tonya Craft. We were told to believe that a woman with a good reputation around children all of a sudden decided to molest three girls, including her own daughter, while not touching numerous other girls who were at her house every day. Yeah, right. All of a sudden, Tonya Craft turned into someone who sexually preyed on children, and when the jurors saw through those lies, Buzz Franklin and his little minions went around the LMJC crying "O.J. Verdict! O.J. Verdict!"

No, my sense is that this prosecutor did not engage in a "sudden lapse of judgment." He certainly would not hold other people to such standards, but he is permitted to apply them to himself? And get away with it?

So, if readers want to get a sense of the REAL "justice" system in the USA, look no farther than Wisconsin, where prosecutors are permitted to moonlight as sexual predators and get away with it. THAT is the "justice" in the United States; there is none other.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

There is Perjury, and then there is PERJURY: Why I Call the LMJC "Perjury Central"

In describing the criminal gangs that run the LMJC, I have called the whole organization "Perjury Central," and I don't believe I am exaggerating. Now, perjury is quite common these days among police officers (they proudly call it "testilying") all over the country, so having some of its principals lying on the stand is not unique to the "law enforcement" people of Northwest Georgia.

However, the LMJC goes well beyond the garden-variety perjury we see from cops, who tend to believe that the person they targeted is guilty, and that a small lie really does not change the larger picture. That is immoral, in my view, but, nonetheless, it also is understandable.

I would call that "perjury with a small 'p'." It's bad, but it really does not go to the heart of the system. Instead, we tend to see it almost as an occupational hazard, something we don't like, something of which we cannot approve, but still an issue that we cannot solve no matter how much we might want to try to do so.

From what I observed in Tonya Craft's trial, however, the kind of perjury I described above is a mere pittance to what went on every day in "judge" Brian Outhouse's courtroom. The perjury we saw there was massive, and it not only was tolerated -- even encouraged -- by "judge" Outhouse, but it was clear that the lies were part of a deliberate prosecution scheme.

Over the next week or so, I want to concentrate on the perjury and outright fabrication that was committed by the prosecution and its witnesses. We have been through some of these incidents before, although not in much detail. However, readers also are going to see how the under-oath testimony of Joal and Sarah Henke changed dramatically between their depositions, which were taken in 2009, and their April 2010 trial appearance.

The Henkes' testimonies simply are stunning in their dishonesty, and not only did the prosecutors not try to stop the lies, they actually knew that what Joal and Sarah were going to say would be wildly different than to what they said a year before. There is no way to reconcile the two sets of testimonies, both taken under oath. If one is true, the other is false, and both were done under oath, under the weight of someone being charged with perjury.

Here are some things I plan to cover, and I promise to have some new details to these situations, as I have written on them before:
  • The comparison of the Henke depositions with the trial testimony of Joal and Sarah. This also will include the fabricated "document" that Sarah claimed to have written, but was not included in the discovery materials;
  •  Sandra Lamb's litany of lies while on the stand;
  • Sherry Wilson and the "hand rape," her "power bill" escapade, and her claim that no one had threatened Tonya;
  •  Suzi Thorne's lie that a "hand rape" had been disclosed to her and the lies she told to Tonya's daughter while interrogating her;
  • Tim Deal's fabrication of a document and lying about when he wrote it;
  • Chris Arnt's lies to the jury during closing arguments, something the jurors said afterward that they resented, as it demonstrated Arnt's disrespect of them;
  • Laurie Evans' bizarre and dishonest testimony while on the stand;
I also will deal with other incidents of lies, and outright perjury. What one has to remember is that perjury was CENTRAL to the prosecution's charges against Tonya Craft. The perjury did not come in the heat of battle or the fog of war. It was not a slip of the tongue, nor was it incidental to the actual charges at hand.

No, this was a case that was built on perjury and perjury sustained the prosecution's theme throughout the entire sorry proceedings. As I go through this upcoming list, I hope that readers will keep in mind that ALL of these people still are employed with the LMJC. "judge" Brian Outhouse still sits as a judge, Len "The Man" Gregor and Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt prosecute criminal cases, Tim Deal and Steven Keith still "investigate" so-called crimes, Suzi Thorne still does "forensic" interviews, Laurie Evans still works as a "therapist" for the Children's Advocacy Center, and Sandra Lamb and Sherry Wilson don't have to worry about the law even though they committed felonies in broad daylight.

In short, the criminal enterprise known as the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit remains open for business. Abandon all hope, ye honest people who have to deal with these people, for not one of them has even a whit of conscience.

A Wonderful Interlude from Herbert Howells: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

When I lived in Chattanooga, I sang in the Chattanooga Bach Choir from 1989 to 1995 (when I left to go to Auburn for graduate school), and I have many fond memories of the many wonderful anthems and other pieces we sang. (There were some magnificent voices in that choir and it was a privilege just to be able to sit among these people.)

Our director, Jim Greasby, especially loved the music of Herbert Howells, and one day we rehearsed (but did not sing in concert) Howells' "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem," which comes from Psalm 22. This is an especially moving piece and is meaningful to me as I see turmoil and wrongdoing going on all around us. Howells wrote this in 1941, while Europe and Great Britain were seeing very dark days as the German Wehrmacht was rolling through Europe and North Africa seemingly unstoppable.

It reminds me that God is on His Throne and that, indeed, the "Peace of Jerusalem" is not far off. I hope this piece is as meaningful to you as it is to me.

I also add Howells' "Magnificat," and "Nunc Dimitis," which we sang at an evensong at Christ Episcopal on McCallie Avenue (which had a wonderful acoustic) in November, 1989.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Me no Nifong!!

During the decisive Battle of San Jacinto in April, 1836, when Texans under the command of Sam Houston were routing the Mexican army under Santa Anna, frightened Mexican soldiers threw down their arms and yelled, "Me no Alamo!" Today, prosecutors around the country are paraphrasing that call for mercy with their "Me no Nifong!" claims.

Yet, as I watch Buzz Franklin and his gang of criminals at work, I can see that these are people who actually learned from the Master Himself: Nifong. It was Nifong, after all, who knew that early on, he had no case against any of the Duke University lacrosse players, even going so far as to tell one of his investigators, "We're fu*ked," and then trying to figure how in the world he could make his frame work.

One of the things he did rivaled anything Franklin and Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt, Len "Racist-Misogynist-Homophobe-The Man" Gregor, and Alan "Wannabe" Norton might think of doing. When it became clear that Nifong wanted to indict Reade Seligmann for the alleged rape (that never happened) of Crystal Mangum, Mr. Seligmann's defense desperately tried to get Nifong to look at clear, photographic and digital evidence that Reade was not even at the place where and when the alleged rape was supposed to have occurred.

However, Nifong, claiming he did "not have the time to read fiction," refused even to look at anything that Mr. Seligmann's attorney provided. After Mr. Seligmann was indicted, his attorney, the late Kirk Osborn, posted the material on the Internet (something that openly enraged Nifong, who went on an obscenity-screaming rampage at the Durham County Courthouse). Furthermore, CNN and other news outlets did an interview with Moez Elmostafa, the immigrant African cab driver who had given Reade a ride to the bank, where his digitized photo was taken at an automated teller.

When I saw the interview, I immediately wrote a letter to Bill Thomas, an attorney representing other lacrosse players, and told him that Mr. Elmostafa was in grave danger, and that Nifong would try to trump up charges against him. My instincts were on the mark, unfortunately.

Shortly after the interview, Nifong's investigator, Linwood Wilson (who now faces criminal charges on another matter in Delaware for felony threats against his estranged wife) found that there was an outstanding shoplifting warrant against Mr. Elmostafa. (As would be found out later, the charge was unfounded, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.)

Mr. Elmostafa had given a ride to a woman who, it turned out, had shoplifted some purses from a department store. That Mr. Elmostafa had cooperated with police in helping them arrest the woman apparently had fallen through the evidence cracks. When he was arrested, Nifong's people asked him if he was willing to change his story on giving Mr. Seligmann a ride; he refused, and Nifong had him arrested and charged.

The woman in question by then was out of jail, but Nifong sent Durham police to raid her home, and police found items they believed MIGHT have been stolen. They they charged her with theft, but promised her a great deal: she could be let off the hook IF she would testify that Mr. Elmostafa was her accomplice.

As it turned out, the woman refused to lie (unlike the "officers of the court" who are sworn to tell the truth) and the prosecution's case against Mr. Elmostafa crashed and burned at trial. Even though Durham police officers sat behind Elmostafa, trying to stare him down and intimidate him, the judge ruled him not guilty and Nifong's attempted frame-up fell apart.

What it took was an honest man who refused to lie and another person who was a thief, yet would not commit perjury in order to send an innocent man to jail. The authorities were dishonest and craven but even though they had a lot of power, they could not win. That would not be Nifong's last defeat, and in the end, he destroyed his career and did millions of dollars of damage.

In Tonya Craft's case, it took honest people like Kim Walker, who was pressured and threatened by LMJC officials and Sandra Lamb, yet refused to have her child used as a pawn in Buzz Franklin's Nifongesque scheme to wrongly convict someone. It took teachers from Chickamauga Elementary School who were willing to testify for Ms. Craft, despite opposition from the authorities and their own principal, who clearly was in Nifong's Franklin's camp.

(These same teachers have received what effectively were letters of reprimand in their personnel files. Yes, the letters came from Sandra Lamb, but any letter in one's file is an official document, and legally speaking, it is no different than a reprimand coming from the principal or some other school official.)

The teachers showed courage and integrity. Buzz Franklin and the rest of the LMJC, people who are sworn always to be truthful when operating in a court of law, showed dishonesty, no integrity, and arrogance that told everyone they KNEW they were above the law. To be honest, while I think that arrogance plays a part in all of this along with, well, lack of intelligence, there are other factors, too. (Let's face it; "judge" Brian Outhouse probably got a raise in pay when he became a judge, as he seems not to have the intelligence of a real lawyer.)

First, these are people who have utter contempt for the law. They are like children who are permitted to make up the rules as they go along and have a rich mommy and daddy who enable this misbehavior. In the case of judges and prosecutors in the LMJC, the oversight agencies in Georgia simply refuse to hold any of these people to any kinds of standards of competency, legality, and ethics.

Second, in economic analysis, we say that people tend to self-select themselves into certain occupations, and I think more and more, we are seeing people who both are incompetent AND who love to bully others become prosecutors. Since most people come out of law school with a lot of debt, no one is going to settle for the kind of crappy pay that new assistant district attorneys (ADAs) receive unless there are promises to help pay off the debt AND there are other personal rewards for the prosecutors.

Think about it. Why else would Len Gregor write in a public post:
Going to law school was one of the best choices I ever made. I love being a prosecutor. I love being the man. It was worth the time, effort, and money.
In other words, Gregor is writing that it is all about his ego, which is monstrous. Here is someone who was screaming in a courtroom at women who testified on behalf of Tonya about "boobs" and other body parts, and then was shocked, SHOCKED when the jurors concluded he was a boob himself. What kind of egomaniac would have a picture of himself taken next to a girl who is striking a very sexually-provocative pose, yet literally be screaming that because Tonya was photographed in a tasteful evening dress, she was a "narcissist" and, therefore, a child molester.

(Of course, Gregor also brags about his father being a West Point graduate. I have a colleague who went to West Point and I can tell the readers that he believes that Gregor's dishonesty is even more shameful because at least his father had some pretense of honor; Gregor has none. Notice that he and "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt ran and hid from the media after the trial like scared children, and then went on Channel 9 and outright lied again during their interview while the "reporter" asked them pathetic, softball questions. Yeah, Gregor really is "the man.")

Interestingly, the behavior of Gregor and Arnt before, during and after the trial actually mirrored what we saw from Mike Nifong. There never was a time when Nifong was not lying, and suborning perjury. Likewise, throughout the pretrial proceedings, during the trial, and afterward, the Dishonest Duo lied and lied and lied. Unlike Nifong, Arnt and Gregor work under a Georgia State Bar that refuses to discipline prosecutors no matter how illegal and unethical their behavior.

So, if "Alberto-Facebook," "the Misogynist-Racist-the man," and "Wannabe" declare "me no Nifong," don't believe them. One wonders of they have a shrine to Nifong in the Catoosa County Courthouse, complete with incense and candles. Maybe it is in the "secret room."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Radley Balko Makes a Case for Bifurcated or Two-Part Trials

A couple years ago, I published a paper in the Cumberland Law Review in which I dealt with a theory of how hoaxes occur in the courts. Two examples I used were the infamous Duke Lacrosse case and the Grant Snowden case in Florida in which an innocent man was sentence to prison for "child molestation" that never occurred. (Janet Reno was the district attorney, and I only hope she burns you-know-where for the lies and false testimony her office suborned in that case.)

Snowden's guilty verdict was overturned, but only after he spent 11 years in prison, and the Duke case imploded after it became abundantly clear that the prosecutor, Michael Nifong, was lying. In both situations, the underlying crimes for which people were being charged never occurred in the first place.

We are seeing an abundance of these kinds of false accusations, especially for "child molestation." Now, everyone wants a real child molester to be punished, but what we have been seeing in the last 30 years is a real uptick in false accusations, something I have covered in previous posts.

Unfortunately, as Radley Balko notes in this article, jurors then are asked to make not one, but two judgments: (1) Did a crime actually occur? and, (2) Is the person accused the one who committed it?

I happen to believe that this problem is more serious than most people realize, but as I watch American prosecutors in action, I am convinced that more and more they are unable to discern between acts that actually occurred and those that are imaginary. Furthermore, it seems that the "experts" often are less able to make common-sense judgments about a situation than are outsiders.

Regarding one solution -- bifurcated or two-part trials -- Mr. Balko writes:
... during a panel discussion at the Georgetown Law Center last year (disclosure: I moderated the panel), (John) Lentini suggested one reform that may help defendants in these cases obtain a fairer crack at justice: bifurcated trials. Courts would hold an initial trial to determine if a crime was committed, then a second to determine who committed it.

The problem, Lentini explained, is that by asking the jury to answer both questions at once, jurors are nudged toward answering both in the affirmative. The fact that there's someone sitting in the defendant's chair can push jurors toward concluding that at least some crime was committed. Once they've determined there was a crime, the person on trial is often seen as the only—or at least most likely—person to have committed it. Furthermore, when it comes to arson and infant death cases, there's often just one likely suspect, and the presence of that suspect as a defendant implies that a crime was definitely committed. In arson cases, it's the person who was home at the time of the fire. In infant death cases, it's the person who was with the child at the time the child died.

Lentini added that these trials can then too easily become little more than judgments of a defendant's character; if the scientific evidence is a wash, the verdict may hinge on whether jurors believe the defendant is a good person, or a person capable of violence.
Indeed, I believe that this is a very important point. As we saw during the Tonya Craft trial, it became exceedingly clear that there had been no abuse at all, and as we watched the prosecution and its witnesses attempt to create new stories (or, to be more accurate, new lies), people increasingly understood that the LMJC had created a major hoax.

Would such trials work in a place like the LMJC? That is a good question. From what I saw during the Tonya Craft trial, "judge" Brian Outhouse desperately was trying to rig the proceedings to fit whatever the prosecutors wanted. I cannot imagine there even being an honest trial in that district, given what I know of all of the LMJC players. For that matter, even a bifurcated trial would require at least some honesty on the part of the prosecution, and that is not even a remote possibility in Northwest Georgia, as prosecutors there have no problem lying in court and suborning perjury.

Thus, I can imagine that even in a situation in which it is clear that no crime was committed, the LMJC players would find a way to get around the problem. In order to have a situation in which real justice can occur, the players in the system have to have at least some commitment to doing what is right, and that is not going to happen anytime soon in the LMJC.

Nonetheless, I believe that Mr. Balko has brought up an interesting and important idea, and I am glad to know that there are some people left who want to see fair outcomes in criminal cases.

The CAC's "Date with Destiny" Fund-Raiser!

Last spring, it was "Casino Night," although the "Vegas Girls" changed their outfits from thongs to leotards, in keeping with Len "Racist-Misogynist-The Man" Gregor's aversion to skimpy clothing (unless the woman wearing skimpy clothing is standing next to him). This fall, it is the "Date with Destiny Bachelor Auction" fund raiser to be held Saturday, September 18, at 6 p.m.

Maybe it is just me, but I find the CAC's appeal to vices and near-naked women, along with all of the sexual innuendo that goes with a "bachelor auction" to be pretty disgusting and supposedly out-of-character for an organization whose employees believe that there is a child molester behind every bush and tree. (I guess the molesters replaced the communists, who used to be hiding there.)

Now, I have an idea for the ideal "date." Yes, some "lucky" bachelor in that auction can be "bought" by...Laurie Evans! Yes, this is the same Laurie Evans who makes wild claims while under oath, the same Laurie Evans who made child molestation claims against her ex-husband during their divorce (and the claims, of course, were unbelievable and did not stick).

Yes, by the time that date is over, no doubt that "lucky" bachelor will be accused of rape, sodomy, child molestation, and Lord knows what else. After all, the CAC needs to keep those clients coming. I'm sure that Evans will be wearing a wire and "The Man" and Tim Deal will be listening in order to make an arrest.

According to the advertisement for this affair, the "date" will take place right at the "Historic Ringgold Depot," so it will be a real challenge for the CAC and the LMJC authorities to find a way to claim that the rape, assault, sodomy, and child molestation took place RIGHT UNDER THE NOSES OF EVERYONE ELSE! However, given the vast creativity used by police and prosecutors in Tonya Craft's case, including forging TWO documents DURING the trial, I am sure that the authorities will be up to the task.

By the way, not all CACs in the country depend upon showgirls, gambling, and sexual innuendo to raise money. I heard about one in another state that had a family-oriented carnival. However, THAT CAC actually has standards about who it hires, and I can tell you without a doubt that NONE of the current staff of the CAC in Fort Oglethorpe or the Greenhouse would be eligible to work at that place.

Oh, I am sure that there will be lots of photographs afterward, courtesy of Holly Kittle Photography. So, all you "eligible" bachelors, grab your place and then wait to be charged with a sex crime. All in an evening's fun, I guess.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On Demonizing and Other Such Activities

As readers know, I take no prisoners on my blog. This is not exactly a tack taken to win friends and make people happy, and I remember one faculty member from Covenant College wrote that the tone of my blog "saddened" him. Well, I guess he will have to be sad when he reads my stuff.

Nonetheless, every once in a while I believe I need to step back and take a hard look at what I am doing and saying, as the perspective of things when one is in the middle of things. As always, there are the regrets, but there also comes the realization that I don't regret what I have been doing.

I have seen a lot of dishonest, abusive prosecutions in my life, but I never thought I would see something on the level of what occurred in the trial of Tonya Craft. Usually, prosecutors and police try to be somewhat discreet when they try to frame someone, judges at least want to give the impression that they are being fair, and witnesses generally will try to hide their perjury.

None of that was the case during the Craft trial. In fact, I don't think I ever have seen a trial in which the prosecution's dishonesty was more blatant and such that prosecutors did not even try to hide what they were doing. They appealed to what they hoped would be the lowest instincts of jurors -- racism, resentment against "outsiders," and homophobia (although Ms. Craft clearly is not a lesbian, no matter what French Smith and his daughter, Sandra Lamb, along with the Stinky Henkes might have to say) -- and the reluctance to take a hard look at evidence.

More important, they not only lied to jurors (and a number of jurors pointed out that Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt lied during his closing arguments), but they also encouraged their witnesses to lie, and especially Joal and Sarah Henke. Arnt and Len "The Racist-Misogynist-The Man" Gregor really made no bones about the fact that the Henkes were making up new stuff out of whole cloth, and I don't think they cared.

As I can see it, there is a real entitlement mentality with the LMJC crowd. First, they believe that they are entitled to do whatever they please, the law be damned. If it takes suborning perjury, forging documents, bullying witnesses, lying, or anything else that is dishonest and sleazy, they will do it. People like that should be given no quarter because as people in positions of authority, they are expected to maintain at least a MINIMAL level of integrity. However, when they decide that truth is whatever they wish to make of it, then I feel no obligation to hold back whatever it is that should be said about them.

If there was a "they will stop at nothing" moment, I think it was when Tim "Dirty" Deal insisted that the document that he and his friends obviously had just fabricated was authentic and had been in his files for nearly two years. That was not true and Deal knew it, and so did Gregor, who had the audacity to ask Deal if the "defense is lying." When that occurred, I knew that we were dealing with people who simply have no shred whatsoever of integrity or even human decency.

Yes, I am making a serious charge, one that if prosecuted could send people to prison, and I further believe that had "judge" Outhouse permitted the defense to have "Dirty's" computer checked and have the document's ink checked for when it was produced, the results would have demonstrated that the document was fabricated. However, I also believe that "judge" Outhouse knew that was to be the case as well and did what he could to protect his people. In other words, I am saying I believe that a judge was in on this whole caper, which is a serious, serious charge.

However, since prosecutors don't investigate themselves and the Georgia authorities and the feds refuse to get involved, nothing will happen to any of this band of criminals. And, yes, I believe that these people are as dishonest and venal as the worst set of lawbreakers that might be hauled into an LMJC courtroom. There really is no difference between someone who is charged with attempted murder and Chris Arnt, in my view, except I do believe that the person charged with attempted murder has a slim chance at being rehabilitated, while I believe Arnt is hopeless.

Furthermore, by putting an attack on the defense in his Facebook page -- something that Arnt KNEW violated the codes of ethics of his profession -- Arnt was letting it be known that he was above the law and had the right to do whatever he pleased. As for Len "Racist-Misogynist-The Man" Gregor, here is a guy who was screaming about a picture of a woman in an evening dress (claiming that made her a "narcissist"), but proudly had a picture of himself on his Facebook page standing next to a woman (who was not his wife) who was in a sexually-provocative pose. Again, we had a prosecutor saying that everyone else had to live to standards that he did not have to meet -- because he is a prosecutor, and prosecutors get to be "the man."

So, I have no problem at all making the statements I do about "judge" Outhouse, Arnt, Gregor, Deal, Steven Keith, and Alan Norton. None of them believe the law applies to them, they are willing to commit felonies, suborn perjury, lie, and generally piss on the law, all while claiming to be doing it "for the people."

As for the witnesses, I don't believe it is possible to demonize people like Sandra Lamb, Sherry Wilson, or the Henkes. Their words and deeds speak for themselves, and they knew exactly what they were doing when they lied under oath on the witness stand. Furthermore, all of them knew that "judge" Outhouse, Arnt, and Gregor had their backs, so they were free to lie, which they did.

This leaves the CAC witnesses. Readers already know the utter contempt I have for Ione Sells and her arrogant, eye-rolling crew. True, I am sure that Holly Kittle's husband, family, and friends have not appreciated my take on her performance either as an interviewer or as a prosecution witness.

Now, even though I believe that Kittle is a mediocre photographer, nonetheless I would prefer she do that job full-time and leave the CAC employment altogether. She has no business interviewing children, especially since she cannot tell the difference between legitimate statements and outright babbling nonsense. From what I can tell, she sees herself as someone whose job it is to help the prosecution make its case, no matter how dishonest or ridiculous it might be. Kittle is a good soldier, but that only puts her in the category of the Waffen SS, as those men also were very good soldiers for the Reich.

So, while I might be called out for "demonizing" certain people in the LMJC, nonetheless I believe my characterizations are not wrong. Yes, I am sure there are people who think Len Gregor is a great guy, but if they had to be on the receiving end of his dishonest and bullying tactics, I'm sure that their opinion of him would be much different.

Likewise, I am sure that there are people who believe Holly Kittle is a wonderful person and a good friend. However, they have never experienced Kittle interviewing their child or being in a situation in which Kittle was trying to get a child to say something against them that clearly was not true. Furthermore, no matter what one might say about her, eye-rolling, laughing rudely, and generally acting contemptuous is not behavior one expects from a real professional on a witness stand.

(Observers have told me that the difference between the CAC witnesses and the experts brought in by the defense, such as Nancy Aldridge, was night and day. Of course, Sells told me that those experts were a bunch of liars and her interviewers were superior. Yeah, in her dreams.)

In short, I will continue to take no prisoners. When the prosecutors, police, judges, and CAC personnel of the LMJC begin to act like professionals and honest, law-abiding citizens, I will look elsewhere on my blog. Until then, however, I am not going to back off an inch.

However, I have advice for all of the aforementioned people: just act in a manner that you demand from the rest of us, and then I won't have any reason to write the things I do. That is the deal I am offering to you, and it is much more fair than anything you have offered to others.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why Do Innocent People Get Railroaded in False Child Molestation Cases? (And Other Cases, Too)

Four years ago, a friend who was from England and I were discussing the placement of police surveillance cameras in commercial areas and elsewhere. While I told her I was wary of how the authorities would use those cameras, she replied, "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

Indeed, most Americans still believe that very thing. If they aren't breaking the law and if they are trying to be good, law-abiding citizens, then they won't have any problems. The other night, I spoke at length to a woman in North Carolina whose brother was falsely accused of child molestation, but who won acquittal, but only after an expensive trial and a huge personal cost to himself and his family.

She told me what I have heard many times, and I will put it into the following points:
  • Her brother believed in the "fairness of the system" and that if he was innocent, the authorities, who were as truth-seeking as he, would never charge him with crimes he did not commit;
  • Because he trusted "the system," he gladly spoke with police without an attorney present because, as everyone knows, the police only want to get at the truth;
  • Judges actually care about doing justice;
  • Good church-going Christians never would knowingly lie or mangle the truth in order to try to convict someone who clearly was innocent;
  • The police use highly-qualified and honest experts in helping them get at the truth (just like they do on CSI).
However, he soon found out that the people he trusted were not trustworthy. For example, he took a lie detector test administered by an agent of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). The administrator told him he flunked everything, including his own name and age, but would not let him see the results. (Given the recent scandal that has hit the SBI crime lab, I am not surprised that an SBI agent would try to cook the books on a polygraph, just as Georgia authorities are not to be trusted, either.)

What this man discovered -- the hard way -- was that police and prosecutors throughout the United States no longer care about who did what, or even if crimes have been committed. The SBI scandal in North Carolina, along with the FBI crime lab scandal of a decade ago, along with many other "forensic" scandals, demonstrate that in the world of prosecutors and police, at best we are dealing with depraved indifference and at worst outright criminal behavior.

So, why child molestation? First, as I have pointed out many times before, there is money in it from the federal government. Second, prosecutors and police can pose as heroes, for in American society, there is no lower form of life than a child molester, and the court systems are so rigged against anyone being charged with such a crime that it is all-too-easy for cops and prosecutors to play to the crowd.

Third, this is a crime that needs no evidence. All that is needed is an accusation, and the law requires that ANY accusation of this sort be investigated as though the charges were true. Since the vast majority of such cases have no physical evidence, all that is needed is for someone to make an accusation, and we have seen from the Tonya Craft case that no matter how ridiculous the accusations and no matter how preposterous they might be, there always will be people who will stand in line to believe anything.

Fourth, because all that is needed is some bullying behavior by police and prosecutors and dishonest "forensic" interviewing by people like the Suzi Thornes of that business, it is quite easy to bring charges. Furthermore, the simple accusation practically puts someone in prison, and the public generally will believe anything the cops say.

For example, when Tonya Craft was arrested two years ago, WTVC, Channel 9, immediately ran stories that claimed that the children were victims of Ms. Craft, and in this one, it is clear that the reporter believes that Ms. Craft is guilty and makes no bones about demonstrating her prejudices. It is hard for anyone -- and especially someone falsely accused -- to stand up to that kind of an assault.

Fifth, police and prosecutors have a decided advantage because they are not having to spend their own money. On the other side, however, people falsely accused must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend themselves, and if they don't have that money available, they likely are going to prison. Those are the cold and hard facts about "justice" in this country today. Furthermore, police and prosecutors have legal immunity, and they are protected by their friends in the courts and in the government agencies overseeing them.

This means that even when they lie in court and instruct witnesses to lie, that nothing ever happens to them. In Tonya's trial, for example, it was clear that both Joal Henke and Sandra Lamb were lying, and they had absolute proof that Lamb was testifying falsely. However, "judge" Outhouse made sure that jurors would not see the hard proof (her daughter's on-line acting resume) regarding Lamb by forbidding the corroborating material to be entered into evidence.

Keep in mind that Deal, Arnt, Gregor (and "judge" Outhouse, for that matter) felt free to forge a document in the middle of the trial and claim that the defense was lying about its previous existence. That was because they knew that since "judge" Outhouse had their backs and the Georgia authorities would not investigate, they could do whatever they wanted.

All too often, people will plead to something because if they fight the charges at a trial and lose, they are going to prison perhaps for the rest of their lives. The incentive is to plead out, serve some time, and then deal with the aftermath. Furthermore, as we saw in the Tonya Craft trial, police and prosecutors will lie, fabricate material "evidence," and get away with it, especially since judges in trials involving people charged with child molestation are hostile to defendants and are likely to work hand-in-glove with the prosecution, as we saw with "judge" Brian Outhouse in the Craft trial. In other words, the legal system is absolutely stacked against innocent defendants, and especially against innocent defendants charged with child molestation.

Like that man in North Carolina, most Americans have been brought up with the notion that the system is "fair," and that the players really care about right and wrong, guilt and innocence. However, when they get a taste of what it really is like, then they come to realize that everything they have been taught about the courts and about American justice in general is a very big lie.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jury and Witness Intimidation in the LMJC

[Update, September 7, 4 p.m.]: Tonya is doing a great job! One wonders if she has been doing all of this all her working life![End Update]

[Note]: Tonya Craft makes her radio debut on WGOW (102.3 FM) today at 3 p.m. on "The Truth of the Matter." If you can listen, please do. My sense is that whatever doubts people might have had about her guilt will be erased by how she handles herself and her audience.

True, there are some prosecutors and judges in the LMJC, along with witnesses who perjured themselves during Tonya's trial that are not going to like the show or how they are portrayed, but perhaps they should have thought about it before decided to press on with obvious lies. If there is one thing I can say about Tonya, it is that she is about the truth. [End Note]

Sometime in the next year, Eric Echols is supposed to be put on trial for alleged "witness intimidation" while he was questioning prosecution witnesses in the Tonya Craft case. Since we have the transcript and the audiotape of Mr. Echols' interview with Jerry McDonald, in which Mr. Echols was supposed to have threatened him, and since there are no threats in the document or the tape, there is no intimidation, and the arrest and charges are prima facae illegal. (Not that anyone employed by the LMJC feels bound by the law. Law is just for mundanes.)

To make matters more interesting, McDonald even said under oath during the Tonya Craft trial that he never had spoken with Mr. Echols, yet another example of an LMJC prosecution witness committing perjury. (That is why I call the LMJC, Perjury Central.)

Interestingly, we do have videotape of an attempt by a witness to intimidate and assault another witness, and that incident is on videotape. Sandra Lamb not only physically assaulted Mr. Echols but also used a racial slur in the process. Granted, we are talking about the State of Georgia, which never could get its "justice" apparatus to look into the dozens of brutal murders in which whites killed blacks and it was all perfectly legal, since judges and prosecutors in the Peach State don't believe they are bound by law, even God's Law.

(In fact, Georgia sheriffs and local "law enforcement" personnel either took part in or helped to cover up a number of these racial murders. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that the LMJC judges, police, and prosecutors continue the proud tradition of lawlessness by officials in that state. Don't forget that Sand Mountain, which is in the LMJC, for years had a sign declaring, "N****r, don't let the sun set on you," so we should not be surprised that prosecutor "The Man" tried to appeal to racial prejudice during Tonya's trial.)

However, since witness intimidation supposedly is a crime in the LMJC (although in Eric's case, there was no intimidation, hence, no crime), I would think that Tim "Dirty" Deal, Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt, and Len "The Man" Gregor would want to protect witnesses, given that they have a sworn duty to do so. Think again.

As I was going over some trial details, I came upon this gem from the Chattanoogan's very able Dennis Norwood in his account of Kim Walker's April 26 testimony:
Ms. Walker testified that she received a phone message on her cell phone while she was at the ball field from the same person saying, “You can call back or not call back. If you don’t call back, I have information on you and I will go forward with it.” “How did that make you feel,” asked Mr. Covert. “I felt threatened,” she answered. (Sandra Lamb was the person who made the threat.)
It also was clear from Ms. Walker's testimony that the prosecution and police were engaged in acts of intimidation to try to force her to get her own daughter to claim Tonya sexually molested her. The child was adamant that it did not happen, and so was Ms. Walker, but, as we have found out time and again, the people who run the LMJC are not interested in the truth when they believe lies will serve them much better.

Will anything be done about this? Probably not. We have to understand that the people who run the LMJC and who call the shots in Northwest Georgia are drunk with power and sincerely believe they are above the law. This is a sad fact of life in that part of the country, but it is a fact.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Well, Buzz, What Is It? In Secret or in Public?

[Note]: What I am writing in the James Combs case is not part of a "defense strategy," no matter what Buzz Franklin, Tim Deal, and others might be saying. I am a former resident of the LMJC who is sick of watching outright criminal behavior by those who are supposed to enforce the law and watching these people act like animals, destroying the lives of innocent people and their families. Thus, ANY claim by LMJC officials that I am acting in concert with the Combs defense is a lie, a very wicked and open lie. (Not that anyone in the LMJC is worried about being caught lying.) [End Note]

When Buzz Franklin issued his infamous May 14 press release excoriating the jury in the Tonya Craft trial for not following the instructions of his henchmen "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" to convict Ms. Craft with no credible evidence, he made the following statement:
Child molesters rarely commit their crime in public. Child molesters rarely confess. Child molesters are rarely caught on tape. Child molesters rarely leave behind physical evidence. A jury must often make a choice between the testimony of an abused child and the alleged perpetrator. If a jury refuses to convict without videotapes, confession or physical evidence, it will be impossible to convict most child molesters.
You see, in the James Combs case, Buzz and his lackey, Alan "Wannabe" Norton, along with Holly "Thumbs Up" Kittle and Tim "Dirty" Deal, are going to try to convince a jury that Mr. Combs committed his "crime" in a very public place: a classroom full of children. So, in this situation, we have Franklin in a quandary: Is this done in secret or in full view of lots of people? Buzz wants to have it both ways.

You see, in Tonya's case, he was claiming that the jury was wrong because Ms. Craft supposedly did it in "secret." Since the jurors did not think that the terribly contradictory testimony from ALL of the prosecution witnesses, plus the utter childish behavior from "adults" like Sandra Lamb, Sherry Wilson, Kelly McDonald, and the CAC crowd (not to mention the obvious perjury committed by many of the same) was "a compelling case for conviction," then the jurors were stupid and bad.

Now, the supposed ethical standards of the Georgia State Bar that apply to prosecutors (which are never enforced) say that prosecutors should not attack jurors after a verdict they don't like, but Buzz, like all of the others in the LMJC, is above being disciplined. The law does not apply to him or the ADAs or the judges or police, period.

In the Combs case, however, Buzz is changing his approach. Now we are supposed to believe that a man who has gone through a large number of legal background checks and never before has been accused of sexual misconduct suddenly is so overcome with lust that while he is sending two misbehaving boys to the principal's office, he first sexually molests them IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, but no one but the boys seem to notice. As I have said before, this does not pass anything close to a smell test.

Now, if I know how things work in the LMJC, "Dirty" Deal will try to work on the other children who were in the classroom, trying to get them to lie in order to give prosecutors what they want. (After the Tonya Craft debacle, the LMJC is DESPERATE for a child molestation conviction and will tell any lie and twist the law in order to try to achieve it.)

If you see how the police and prosecutors worked over Jerry McDonald, threatening him with prosecution if he did not say what prosecutors wanted, you can get an idea of how they are likely to proceed with the other children in the classroom and their families. (They threatened to charge him with "obstruction of justice," and I also guess that they threatened to charge him with perjury for not being willing to commit perjury. So goes the "law" in Northwest Georgia.)

Furthermore, Franklin's minions tried to pressure Kim Walker to claim that her daughter was a Tonya "molestation victim." In fact, the Walker child had an interview in which it was established that "nothing happened." Chris Arnt then demanded that the child be subjected to a SECOND interview, but Ms. Walker refused. Thus, when she testified for the Craft defense, she told of being threatened by some of the other parents and receiving pressure from prosecutors.

Interestingly, the prosecutors, who arrested private investigator Eric Echols for simply doing his job (and doing it legally), never seemed interested in looking into incidents of witness intimidation done by themselves and their own witnesses. But, then, the LMJC is a place where those entrusted with enforcing the law believe the law does not apply to them.

So, once again, Buzz Franklin and his gang of criminals will seek to take a good and decent person and try to railroad him into prison despite the fact that everyone in a position of authority in the LMJC knows that Mr. Combs is innocent of the charges. Unfortunately, innocence is the last thing that matters in the LMJC, where winning at all costs seems to be the motto.