Friday, December 31, 2010

Silencing Siobhan

As a former collegiate middle-distance runner, I have a high tolerance for pain. In fact, I only have “lost it” one time, and that was when I showed up in the emergency room with a kidney stone. (At that point, I realized that if I were tortured, I would talk.)

Thank goodness, a friend of mine was the ER doctor on call and he quickly gave me four hits of morphine, which quickly quieted me and made the rest of the morning a bit more tolerable. It was only the second time I had taken morphine, and both times the alternative was experiencing pain beyond my toleration limits.

When I was in graduate school at Auburn University, my wife worked as a counselor at a local hospital, and one of her clients was a man who was 92 years old who had been put into care because he was “suicidal.” What had driven him to such a state? The government said he was “addicted” to pain medication and denied him the drugs that that kept him from being in a state of constant pain.

Unfortunately, this man’s story is the story of a lot of people in this country who live in agony due to health conditions or have complications post-surgery that leave them debilitated. Siobhan Reynolds had a husband with a serious congenital connective disorder who seemed to be responding to treatment from Dr. William Hurwitz, who then was a highly-respected pain specialist practicing in Virginia.

Unfortunately for both Soibhan’s husband and Dr. Hurwitz, Paul McNulty was the U.S. attorney in that area and he had dedicated himself to the directives from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, which ramped up not only the Drug War but also the entire culture of lying and misconduct that now is utterly out of control at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic). One of the areas of emphasis for the McNulty-Ashcroft DOJ was going after doctors writing pain prescriptions, and Dr. Hurwitz’s high profile made him the perfect target for the feds.

Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine has documented the Hurwitz persecution here, here, and here, and Harvey Silverglate gives the case a lot of attention in his outstanding Three Felonies a Day. McNulty’s efforts to destroy Dr. Hurwitz also translated into an effort to destroy those patients who had responded positively to the doctor’s treatments, and one of those patients was Siobhan’s husband Sean.

Two years after Dr. Hurwitz was convicted by a federal jury, Sean died of a cerebral brain hemorrhage, and whether or not it was due to the fact that his debilitating pain elevated his blood pressure to dangerous levels, nonetheless he was dead and his wife blamed the feds. Unlike many people who just accept federally-sponsored injustices and just go away, Siobhan Reynolds fought back by establishing the Pain Relief Network, which became a voice in support of doctors accused by federal prosecutors of writing pain prescriptions that, according to the government, “have no medical purpose.”

Ironically, physicians do not determine what constitutes a “medical purpose.” That is done by political appointees and bureaucrats at the Drug Enforcement Administration and DOJ, even though none of them are medically qualified to make such judgments. However, they are “politically-qualified,” and they do have the power and authority to destroy the lives of others, and many of them revel in just that.

Ms. Reynolds was not someone who would be silenced. Radley Balko writes:
Reynolds coached doctors under investigation on how to fight back. She says she's never been compensated to intervene on behalf of a doctor, other than an occasional airline ticket or hotel accommodations while she was in town to help out. "I moved in with my mother," she says. She played a crucial role in getting media outlets like Newsweek and the New York Times to look at the real problem of undertreated pain. At the same time, Reynolds' passion can make her seem unreasonable and extreme. She has been sharply critical of the medical establishment for failing to stand up for accused physicians, and she has angered more than a few prosecutors, regulators, and politicians.
Unfortunately for Ms. Reynolds and for all of the people she had helped, the feds decided that the last thing they wanted was a public critic who might actually be responsible for holding federal prosecutors and investigators responsible for what they were doing and saying. When Ms. Reynolds and the Pain Relief Network decided to support Stephen and Linda Schneider, who were on trial in Kansas for (What else?) writing pain medication prescriptions that “had no medical purpose, federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway fought back by abusing the law.

Treadway unsuccessfully demanded a gag order against Ms. Reynolds and the PRN, and then sought a change of venue, which the judge in the case also refused. Undaunted, Treadway first started a campaign of harassing Dr. Schneider’s patients and then Treadway decided to seek possible criminal charges for “obstruction of justice” against Ms. Reynolds. Radley Balko writes:
Treadway then launched a grand jury investigation of Reynolds, presumably for obstruction of justice, though she told Reynolds' attorney that she would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was under way. She issued Reynolds a sweeping subpoena demanding all of her records for every case in which she has ever advocated on behalf of a doctor or patient—every e-mail, letter, and phone record, as well as Facebook wall posts and status updates. Complying cost Reynolds tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor. With help from the ACLU, Reynolds sued to have the subpoena quashed. She lost. A second judge, Julie A. Robinson, hit her with a $200 fine for contempt each day she didn't comply. Robinson also declined Reynolds' request to make the subpoena and related proceedings public, effectively imposing a seal on the subpoena, Reynolds' challenge to it, and any materials related to either.
What makes things even worse is that Treadway is demanding that the grand jury proceedings and material be kept secret. The irony should not be lost here. Federal prosecutors are notorious for leaking grand jury material when it helps their cases. For example, the reason Martha Stewart even met with federal investigators (the meeting that was ground zero for the charges against her) without counsel was because U.S. Attorney James Comey’s staff illegally was leaking grand jury material to the media in order to damage the stock price of Martha Stewart Living.

(While it is a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison for leaking grand jury material, no federal prosecutor ever has been indicted or convicted of such acts, despite the fact that this is a known and regular practice of the feds. So, Treadway is able to pursue a “Heads I win, tails you lose” strategy, given that she does not have to worry about accountability.)

The investigation has depleted the funds for the PRN and Ms. Reynolds finally shut it down. In announcing the closing of her organization, Ms. Reynolds pointed out the legal irony in a recent Facebook post:
It is important to note that PRN has been refused standing in federal court to sue the federal government in defense of the patients’ Constitutional rights; this, when the Sierra Club has been given leave to sue powerful entities on behalf of insects.
She closes with this warning:
The Drug War is a beast. I believe that the only effort that has a chance at changing the current state of affairs is the Liberty Movement, informally led by Congressman Ron Paul. (Emphasis mine)
Thus, it ends for Siobhan Reynolds. A federal prosecutor is trying to bring criminal charges against someone who simply had the courage to speak out against prosecutorial misconduct and to stand up for those patients who must suffer needlessly because, frankly, prosecutors want to boost their own careers by destroying the lives of doctors, their families, and their patients.

Ms. Reynolds did not quit because she lost courage; she quit because the government stacked the deck against her. She quit because a federal prosecutor is able to manipulate the legal system and the judges refuse to object to an obvious injustice.

Siobhan Reynolds is a remarkable person, someone who has my full admiration and the admiration of many other people. Furthermore, she has paid a real price for standing up to the feds and now has exposed just what a morally-bankrupt operation the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) really is, and the feds do not take kindly to people who reveal the immorality of federal prosecutors.

Indeed, the Drug War is a beast, but it is a beast only because of the beasts that inhabit that zoo known as the DOJ. The beasts at the DOJ demonstrate the conscience of a snake and the morality of a shark. Would be that Siobhan could have stood against them longer, but even for that brief time, she was able to get out the message that those who pursue the Drug War against doctors do not do so because of concern for patients, but because the real purpose of the DOJ is to destroy the innocent.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jacob Sullum: Maybe the Obama Administration Should Look in the Mirror

Jacob Sullum (who is a columnist for Reason Magazine article and is the editor for the article that Kerwyn and I have written on the Tonya Craft case), has a great column today pointing out just how much buck-passing goes on in government in general and the Obama administration in particular.

Jacob writes:
Two weeks ago, writing in The Washington Post, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius argued that Americans must be forced to buy government-approved medical coverage to prevent "unfair cost-shifting" by uninsured patients. They neglected to mention that the federal government mandates such cost shifting by requiring hospitals to treat all comers, regardless of their ability to pay.

Holder and Sebelius also misleadingly implied that the individual insurance mandate is aimed at addressing uncompensated care, which according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation represents less than 3 percent of health care spending. The main reason ObamaCare compels people to buy insurance is not so they can pay their own bills but so they can pay other people's bills. Since the new system requires insurers to cover everyone while forbidding them to charge sicker policyholders more, it needs to conscript people who hardly use health care so they can subsidize the expenses of people who use it a lot.

The Obama administration's refusal to acknowledge that coercion begets coercion when the government meddles in the health care market was one of the year's most memorable examples of blame shifting.
From there he goes to the latest McDonald's lawsuit (McDonald's does not help us enough in saying "no" to our children) to the TSA's excuse that they have to abuse us at airports because last year a Nigerian hid a bomb in his underwear (that did not go off, but did ensure that he would produce no future offspring).

Lest we think that our "betters" in Washington are going to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong, perhaps the litany of excuses from Jake Blues as to why he jilted his fiance (played by Carrie Fisher) will better describe the Washington blame-shifting culture:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

America's Newest Crime: "Cutting the Cheese" During Class

Camille Tilley has sent me this link, and it definitely puts things into perspective. The USA, with 5 percent of the world's population, has a quarter of the world's prisoners.

Here are some highlights (or maybe "lowlights" is more appropriate):

#1 A Michigan man has been charged with a felony and could face up to 5 years in prison for reading his wife’s email.

#2 A 49-year-old Queens woman had bruises all over her body after she was handcuffed, arrested and brutally beaten by NYPD officers. So what was her offense? The officers thought that her little dog had left some poop that she didn’t clean up.

#3 A 56-year-old woman who was once a rape victim refused to let airport security officials feel her breasts so she was thrown to the floor, put in handcuffs and arrested.

#4 In Milwaukee, one man was recently fined $500 for swearing on a public bus.

#5 Several years ago a 12-year-old boy in South Carolina was actually arrested by police for opening up a Christmas present early against his family’s wishes.


#8 Back in 2008, a 13-year-old boy in Florida was actually arrested by police for farting in class.

#9 The feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.

#10 A few years ago a 10-year-old girl was arrested and charged with a felony for bringing a small steak knife to school. It turns out that all she wanted to do was to cut up her lunch so that she could eat it.

#11 On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Islamic festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within three minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

And, the ultimate:

#14 A few years ago a 70 year old grandmother was actually put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for having a brown lawn.

Yes, who says that our wonderful police state is falling down on the job. Furthermore, the vast internal spy network being developed with "cooperation" between state, local, and federal authorities is sure to further stuff our prisons.

Welcome to Prison Nation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jury Nullification: Frankly, We Need More of It

While an undergraduate, I took a course in American Journalism History and found that perhaps the most important freedom of the press case in the nation's history was decided by jury nullification. In 1735, the British Crown put John Peter Zenger on trial in New York City for "seditious libel."

Zenger's attorney, Andrew Hamilton, convinced jurors to ignore the law and decide on the merits of the case, establishing both the tradition of jury nullification and the primacy of truth in libel cases. Both still stand, although both continually are under fire.

Jury nullification got a very bad name during the Civil Rights Era when southern juries often would acquit white defendants of murdering blacks, or prosecutors might even avoid indicting people at all, even knowing that they were guilty of murder. (Or, when blacks were on trial, juries would ignore the evidence and convict out of racial prejudice, as what happened in the notorious Scottsboro Boys case.)

Many people also have said that the acquittal of O.J. Simpson was an example of jury nullification, but I believe that the prosecution did a miserable job in presenting the evidence and Simpson's defense managed to establish reasonable doubt. Given that Simpson now resides in a Nevada prison, where he is likely to remain for another decade at least, the not-guilty verdict against him has lost some of its edge.

Nonetheless, despite the bad name jury nullification has received, juror and potential jurors should know that they do have the legal power to declare a defendant "not guilty" even if they understand that he or she actually committed the act for which there is a charge. This article in the LA Times deals with jury nullification issues on marijuana possession, but it seems to me that jurors need to take a much harder view on other subjects.

The recent "honest services fraud" conviction against Kevin Ring in Washington, D.C., is a case in point. Afterward, jurors said that the trial was a "waste of public resources":
"I saw it as a waste of time and money, but the law is what it is," said Andre Ruffin outside the courtroom as several of his fellow jurors nodded in agreement.
Yet, Kevin Ring is likely to spend much of his life in prison, and yet (as I read through the arguments before trial), prosecutors had to twist the law in order to justify their charges. It would have been much more effective to have had jurors send a clear message to the Department of Justice that its abusive and wrongful prosecutions need to come to an end.

But, then, we are dealing with Washington, where jurors mostly are Democrat bureaucrats who are used to demanding full obedience to them (see the TSA as an example). Thus, injustice is what I would expect from these tax-feeders.

To find out more about the legal powers that juries have, the Fully Informed Jury Association has a website explaining the rights and duties of jurors. The organization's statement says it all:
The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.
[Update, Monday, December 27]: Benjamin Shaw sent me this link of a case that cries out for jury nullification. A man read his wife's email and found out she was having an affair with a previous husband. The Oakland County, Michigan, prosecutor is trying to have him thrown into prison for five years.

This case is an outrage, but it is very typical of prosecutors today, who constantly are on the hunt for new prosecutions. Furthermore, prosecutors today don't care about intent; they just want to throw as many people into prison as possible. [End Update]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I would love to wish all of my loyal readers a most Merry Christmas. Here is a performance of Dan Forrest's "There Is Faint Music" by the University of Utah Singers. (Yes, yes, I like these people.)

So, please enjoy, have a wonderful day, and thank you for your encouragement. And to those who had to deal with false accusations this year, you can see that you have lots of friends who believe in your innocence.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Maricopa Madness, Part II

Since my last post, I have been to Pittsburgh and back, carrying a large sofa set in the back of my van. Fitting those sofa pieces into that van was a triumph of packing, one that I will carry for the rest of my days as a point of pride.

Indeed, I think the packing analogy seems to fit what is going on not only with Maricopa County prosecutors, but with American prosecutors in general. They have an institution called a court, and they have a jumbled bunch of information, and then they proceed to pack all of that information into what is called a criminal case.

Now, there are times when the information fits better than O.J.'s glove (lots better), and the case is obvious: the accused did it. There are other times when it is clear enough that the accused did it, but getting to a point of trial and a conviction takes some creativity, as the fellow and I had to employ in order to make everything fit.

And, then there are times when prosecutors engage in conduct for which the only analogy can be the venerable "I'll make it fit!" advertisement that Midas Mufflers ran many years ago on television. If anything can describe what Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and, to a lesser degree, Rachel Alexander have done in their prosecutorial tenure in Maricopa County, I think Midas ad "fits" better than anything else (to use an ironic term). Indeed, I don't have to make the case for disbarment fit at all; it is obvious to anyone who looks into this situation that these three miscreants do not need to be in positions of power and authority. They should be in jail.

What exactly did the Unholy Trinity do to have an investigator for the Arizona State Bar recommend that the man who narrowly missed winning the Republican primary for Arizona attorney general (and most likely would have won the general election) should have his law license taken away, along with his two partners-in-crime?

Thomas and Aubuchon worked together to indict and prosecute people who were political enemies of the infamous sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, as well as being seemingly vulnerable to abusive prosecutions.

The investigator's report is available here. The Phoenix New Times describes some of the allegations as follows:
A "reckless, four-year campaign of corruption and power abuse."

That's how retired Judge Charles E. Jones categorized the evidence against ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his one-time hatchet-woman, former Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon, in probable-cause statements filed today that could lead to disbarment for both lawyers.

Jones also slammed the pair's legal rampage as wasteful to the taxpayers and vindictive in the extreme.

"Motivation for much of the alleged impropriety appears retaliatory," noted Jones, "intended to do personal harm to the reputations of Judges, County Supervisors, and other county officials.

"Actions by Respondent appear intent on intimidation, focused on political gain, and appear fully disconnected from professional and prosecutorial standards long associated with the administration of justice, particularly criminal justice."
I remember when the North Carolina State Bar filed charges against Mike Nifong, charges that ultimately led to his disbarment. Like Nifong, Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander have claimed that the whole thing is nothing more than a "political witch hunt" in which the Unholy Trinity is being good conservatives who only care about law and order and good government. These are people who have scoffed at the law or who have de facto declared themselves to be the law.

Furthermore, these three were the darlings of the Christian conservatives and the hard right of Arizona. (Alexander -- with her brother -- runs a blog called Intellectual Conservative which claims to be at least somewhat libertarian, although you could have fooled me.)

No doubt, many of the Usual Suspects (Arizona Right to Life, Focus on the Family, and other such groups) will claim that the "liberal establishment" is out to get these fine, upstanding Christians. As a theologically conservative evangelical (out of the Reformed camp), I had always thought that the Scriptures told people to do justice, not to make it up as they went along.

In fact, if the standards of Old Testament Law were applied to the behavior of the Unholy Trinity, they would be facing a mob that would be preparing to stone them into eternity. One cannot lie and "do justice." One cannot knowingly bring false charges and "do justice." One cannot go on moral crusades against innocent people and "do justice."

If you want to understand just how dishonest and vindictive the Unholy Trinity really are, read about the Matt Bandy case in which Thomas turned all of his tax-funded guns loose on a 16-year-old boy with no criminal record. It is absolutely clear that Thomas really did not care if Bandy was guilty or innocent of downloading child pornography on his computer. He just wanted to look good so people like James Dobson and Gary Bauer and their allies would declare him to be a hero "saving the children."

The culture of lying and abuse that pervaded Andrew Thomas' office when he was County Attorney of Maricopa County has managed to outlive Thomas' reign of terror. As Carola Jacobson has found, prosecutors in Maricopa County really don't care about guilt or innocence or even the truth. They just wanted to win, period, no matter what the costs and no matter if the innocent were destroyed.

THAT is the legacy of Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and Rachel Alexander. I do hope they enjoy their post-legal careers and only wish that they could enjoy their tarnished years while residing in the Crowbar Motel, which is where they belong.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Maricopa Madness, Part I

When Andrew Thomas resigned as DA for Maricopa County last April so that he could run for Arizona attorney general, it ultimately set off a chain of events that has so exposed the practices of prosecutors in that place that Thomas and two of his ringleaders, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, now are facing disbarment, which in this day of the unaccountable prosecutor is an amazing thing.

Before going further, I will say that there is so much happening there, mostly bad, that I cannot cover it in this space. Furthermore, I am coming in on this story in the same way a vulture comes onto a carcass. As carrion goes, this is pretty good stuff, but as a latecomer to the utter madness that is Maricopa County "justice," I pretty much am limited to repeating what others have written.

I have written much on prosecutorial misconduct, but I must admit that I was not prepared for the brand of "justice" in the capital city of Arizona, as I figured that the city was too sophisticated and diverse to have a gang of Michael Nifongs running the show in the DA's office. Durham, North Carolina, where Nifong did his damage in the Duke Lacrosse Case, has the uneasy relationship between the city, which has a lot of relatively poor African-Americans, and Duke University, which draws a number of wealthy and white students from out of the area.

Nifong simply exploited the divide and the American mainstream media, which always tries to frame black-white issues as though it always were Birmingham in 1964 and that Reade Seligmann was the second coming of Sam Bowers. Had outside bloggers and writers not intervened in that case, it is likely that Nifong still would be the DA there today, given the complete support he had from Duke University, the Durham government, the local AND national MSM, and the local political establishment.

In the Tonya Craft case, we saw that the "justice" players in the LMJC were trying their best to play to the stereotypes that New Yorkers might have of rural Georgia justice, but I must admit that Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and Rachel Alexander all out do Buzz Franklin, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt, Len "The Man/Racist" Gregor and "judge" brian outhouse, and that takes a monumental effort, believe me.

So, let us just say that the Terrible Trio of Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander are in some hot water, as even Arizona has its limits of outright criminal behavior by those who are sworn to uphold the law. Of course, these three legal stooges did not go quietly. No, they actually hired a private investigator to tail Colorado ethics investigator John Gleason, who investigated the officials for the state Bar of Arizona.

Yes, that's right. The Arizona State Bar hired Gleason, and then the Unholy Trinity actually tried to intimidate him by having him tailed. That alone should have been grounds for recommendation of disbarment, and I doubt it earned them brownie points with the very people who will sit in judgment over them when they have their hearings in 2011.

Bar hearings are not like regular criminal court proceedings, as they are administrative in nature. That means that the "innocent until proven guilty" standard for criminal cases does not hold.

Instead, the Unholy Trinity will be facing a group of people who will be inclined to disbar them, and it is up to Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander to try to do the impossible: convince their judges that they really don't deserve to be stripped of their law licenses.

In my next post on this subject, I will go into the outright criminal behavior of these three miscreants and demonstrate how they helped to set a standard -- make that sub-standard -- of justice in Maricopa County that meant prison for Courtney Bisbee and many other innocents.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Lord of the Small" by the Sterling Singers

[Update, December 20]: Here is the text for the anthem:

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who`ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear ChildrenThrough Mercy Filled Eyes!
[End Update]

Several years ago, my wife, Johanna, wrote a text called "Lord of the Small." Last year, she sent it to Dan Forrest, who was working on a commission to honor the memory of a 12-year-old girl in College Station, Texas, who died of cancer.

Dan saw that "Lord of the Small" fit the subject and wrote a beautiful melody for it. The result has been a piece that has been sung in churches not only in this country, but abroad, and I am thankful that God has seen to reward Johanna's efforts and allowed her to bless others with the simple theme that God does not manifest Himself in the proud and the powerful, but in those who are weak and frail and humble.

I especially am pleased that this was sung at the University of Utah, which is home to a wonderful choral program, led by Dr. Brady Allred.

(Thanks to Pastor Travis who found this video. Travis, by the way, was the ONLY pastor in the LMJC to speak out about the false accusations against Tonya Craft. I am not surprised that he is moved by the text of "Lord of the Small," as he understands that the Kingdom of God is not manifest by power and might, but by those who are weak and humble, yet bring God's message in a way that the proud and arrogant never could do.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Carol of Joy" by Dan Forrest sung by University of Utah Singers

One of my favorite contemporary Christmas choral works is "Carol of Joy," written by Dan Forrest, who also created the music for "Lord of the Small," which was written by my wife, Johanna Anderson.

The University of Utah Singers, along with the University of Utah Choir, led by Brady R. Allred, perform here.

Finals Week

We are giving final exams this week, which means I am grading and turning in grades. I hope to be finished today, so I can write some new posts.

Sorry for the inaction, but the day job calls....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maricopa County "Justice" and the Wrongful Conviction of Courtney Bisbee

Maricopa County, Arizona, has proven to be a cesspool of justice and the situation only looks to get worse. From the predations of Sheriff Joe "Pink Underwear" Arpaio to the contrived and false charges against the son of Carola Jacobson, the "justice" apparatus of that place proves to be something that makes the courtroom of Roland Friesler look to be paragon of goodness.

There are many issues I want to cover in the future about Maricopa County, including the continuing investigations into the clearly-criminal activity of former Maricopa County DA Andrew Thomas and his partner-in-crime Lisa Aubuchon. These two miscreants, who were politically allied with Arpaio, attempted to frame innocent people of crimes for political purposes, but the law might (I emphasize might) be catching up with them.

Yet, for all of the turmoil, an innocent woman named Courtney Bisbee quietly serves her prison time in Arizona, convicted by one of Thomas' henchmen in a case that every legal expert who has examined it calls a farce. She stands convicted of molesting a young teenager, although the teenager's brother has since said in a sworn affidavit that his family concocted the whole scheme for lawsuit purposes. (That also has been the motivation behind the accusations against the Jacobson boy.)

The Bisbee story is kept alive by her mother, Camille Tilley, who has proven to be quite formidable as a force against the injustice perpetrated by Thomas' people. I would urge readers to read this lengthy story in the Phoenix New Times that goes into detail about the case, and how the false accusations came about.

The other day, our pastor preached about the lies that abound in our present society, and while he mentioned the lies told by government agents, I doubt most people in the congregation that day really understood how pervasive the official culture of lying really is in government at all levels in the USA. This blog deals with only a smidgen of the lies, and I see things only getting worse.

Yet, there are some small victories. Tonya Craft was acquitted, Eric Echols is a free man, and Carola Jacobson so far has been successful in chewing up the prosecutorial apparatus in Phoenix. There is much more, and I hope that in the near future, we can say that Courtney also is a free woman.

I will be doing more on this case and on what is happening in Phoenix. For now, read about Courtney Bisbee, and then realize this is the hell where our "leaders" want to take us. And don't forget that Arizona voters almost made Thomas the state's attorney general. There is much work to be done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Disheartening Story

In today's New York Times, Nicholas Kristof tells the story of the upcoming execution of Kevin Cooper. Despite the fact that a number of federal judges have declared that Cooper was framed by police in California, and despite the evidence that someone else committed the murders for which Cooper is supposed to die, the state-run machinery of death plows on.

This is a compelling story that I am sure some readers will dismiss as "liberal" nonsense. (No doubt, Ann Coulter believes Cooper is guilty because, well, a jury convicted him, and everyone knows that prosecutors always tell the truth.)

In my view, however, this goes well beyond the guilt or innocence of one man, or even the merits or demerits of state-sponsored executions. It goes beyond the race of the victims and Cooper's race. (The victims were white and Cooper is black.)

All of these are the platforms from which political groups operate, but there is something much more important than political victories and losses, and that is Truth itself. We finally have reached the era in the United States in which truth is irrelevant.

When Duke University fired lacrosse coach Mike Pressler in 2006 after three of his players were falsely accused of raping an African-American prostitute, the then-AD of Duke, Joe Alleva (who now is at LSU), declared emphatically, "It's not about the truth." Instead, it was about the political situation, and he decided that politics trumps truth, and the president of Duke, Richard Brodhead, supported Alleva's decision.

Duke University has the motto "Eruditio et Religio," which means "sanctified knowledge." In the lacrosse case, Duke mirrored the rest of American society when its leadership sought out a lie in place of the truth, all the while claiming that the lies they were telling were sanctified.

So, if Cooper is put to death, then we can say once again that political victories mean more to Americans than does the truth. No civilization can stand upon the sandy foundations of lies, and we are going to find out the hard way that "American Exceptionalism" does not mean that Americans are excused from the consequences of the lie.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tonya Craft Drops Her Federal Lawsuit -- For Now

Yes, the word finally is official: Tonya Craft has withdrawn her lawsuit against a number of people who played a role in accusing her of false charges. However, one might notice the tiny phrase, "without prejudice," that accompanies her action.

What is going on? Some people will claim that she dropped the suit because she was afraid that court proceedings ultimately would expose her as really being a child molester. Fat chance of that being true, but the trolls and Mommie Dearest dream on.

In reality, the suit had problems, although not necessarily with the facts. First, it was hurriedly prepared and filed shortly after the "not guilty" verdict came down, and it was filed by Scott and Cary King, who had been part of the criminal defense team.

Let's be honest; neither person was ready to be filing that kind of suit, and the original filing exposed that fact. Furthermore, Tonya was not involved in that portion of her case, given that she was focused on getting back her children and getting back a bit of normalcy in her life.

Second, while I like and respect the Kings, federal suits are not their forte. These guys are good "street fighters," and I would love to have them in my corner if I needed attorneys that were willing to do battle with thugs like Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor. But they are not the right people for this particular case, and both men realize this fact.

Thus, I believe I can make the following prediction: Tonya Craft will be re-filing her suit, but there will be a number of changes, and one of those changes will be addition of an attorney who has more expertise in these kinds of cases. My sources (and they are quite reliable) tell me that you can bank on that happening.

In other words, Mommie Dearest and her friends do not yet need to dismiss the attorneys they have on retainer. Merry Christmas, and I do hope that those who are about to be sued again enjoy their upcoming "happy" New Year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tonya Craft Drops Her Suit Against Joal and Sarah Henke

The Chattanoogan today reports that Tonya Craft has dropped Joal and Sarah Henke from the federal lawsuit she filed against them and others last May. That does not surprise me at all for three reasons:
  • Tonya is not a vindictive person, and as one who has had a number of conversations and personal visits with her (including one a week ago Sunday), and I definitely believe her when she says she wants to get the issues with Joal and Sarah behind her;
  •  Tonya also has a real "fairness" gene and she clearly does not want to be engaged in the tit-for-tat actions like what Joal and Sarah did during the criminal trial and the custody hearing. This is a woman who does care about her children, and she is willing to do what it takes to give them as normal an upbringing as possible;
  • Joal certainly would be valuable as an "inside" witness to the goings on not only with the defendants in the lawsuit, but also about the roles played by Chris Arnt and Tim Deal. (As far as I can tell, Len "The Man" Gregor was added only to provide comic relief to the prosecutorial proceedings with his "boobs and thongs" outbursts as well as his head-scratching final comments about fishing lures; "judge" brian outhouse was supposed to play the "straight man" role, although he spent most of his time getting instructions from Arnt and ultimately made an utter fool of himself.)
Now, given Joal's penchant for lying under oath, I always would be wanting to discount anything that he has said. However, if he and Sarah were to play a role for the plaintiff, the outcome could be most interesting.

I say that because if the attorneys for the defense (Lamb, etc.) were to claim that Joal and Sarah were lying, then they also would be tacitly admitting that their OWN clients had lied, given that all of them were in this case together. Here is the problem: if the defense were to say that Joal was making up the allegations against Tonya out of whole cloth, then what does that say about their own clients, since they were making the same accusations against Tonya as well?!? As you can see, things would get very, very sticky.

Instead, the defense would have to make the bifurcated claim that Joal and Sarah were lying about Tonya but that their clients were telling the truth. That dog won't hunt, folks. There were too many phone calls and too much contact between Joal, Sarah, and the others bringing the charges for people to claim that Joal was lying independently.

Now, having Joal on one's side can be perilous. After all, he IS a pathological liar and while he claims to have "seen the light" in the current situation, I also know that people like Joal never accept defeat. Instead, they engage in what might be called a "tactical retreat." Furthermore, I can see him on the stand claiming that Tonya really was a child molester, but that since the courts had spoken, he had to do what he had to do.

As for the "Today Show" appearance, Tonya did well, Joal clearly equivocated on Matt Lauer's question about whether or not he believed Tonya was guilty of child molestation, and Lauer never followed up on anything important. Somehow, I was not surprised.

(The news story that was in the segment was typical of the really bad coverage "Today" gave the story last spring. with the reporter still trying to give the "both sides" approach, which was ridiculous, given what we know of the case. And if I have to watch Jerry McDonald's crocodile tears performance one more time, I'm throwing a shoe through my computer screen.)

At least this chapter is done. By the way, having met both of Tonya's children, I can say without any doubt that Tonya's daughter did not show any signs of the trauma one might expect from a child who was brutally molested by her mother. As I see it, the girl was doing what the significant adults in her life were telling her to do, and she obeyed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks and the LMJC Tactics

Julian Assange is a wanted man. Yes, while Sarah Palin wants him to be assassinated outright and others want him tried and convicted of treason (and then executed, after undue process of law), it seems that the actual "charges" against him come right out of the LMJC playbook: charge him with a "sex crime."

Somehow, I am not surprised, although I am kind of surprised that Chris Arnt has not yet claimed that Assange is wanted for child molestation in Northwest Georgia. Given that child molestation charges seem to dominate the criminal court dockets in the LMJC, what is another false charge, given that the LMJC specializes in prosecutors that suborn perjury, lie, and fabricate "evidence."

So, in this age of Political Correctness, suddenly the Swedes want us to believe that Assange is a deranged sex criminal (although the charges for which he is wanted in Sweden would bring only two years in prison upon conviction), and Interpol is looking everywhere for him. Somehow, I am not surprised.