Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dancing with the Devils

Since we don't have television reception at our house and have not had it for a decade (and I don't miss it), I never have seen "Dancing with the Stars." I have no idea who does what and really don't care if Bristol Palin can do the Tango, or if she just falls over her own feet (like I would).

However, I am a bit interested when I see that the newest lineup of "stars" this fall includes the Evil Nancy Grace and the notorious Ron Artest, the NBA player Ron Artest, who forever was immortalized by his role in the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl of 2004. (Nonetheless, I will say that overall I prefer Artest to Grace.)

I only can wonder if the judges realize the fix they are in with these two, however. If Grace does not like their decisions, will she demand their arrest on trumped-up charges? (Grace is good at lying on her show and declaring innocent people to be guilty of non-existent crimes.)

Will Artest react to negative fan reaction by wading into the crowd and whacking a few people? Who knows? I guess that will be part of the intrigue. As for Grace, since she declared that the "Devil is dancing" after the Casey Anthony verdict, will the Nasty Nancy do a Tango with Beelzebub himself?

Alas, my readers will have to tell me what happens, as I will be missing another year of the boob tube. In the meantime, while Nancy Grace is treated like a celebrity, the "justice" system she has represented incarcerates millions, including thousands of innocent people. Dance away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yeah, a jobs program for out-of-work lawyers. Just what we need....

As the economy continues to crumble, the editors at the NY Times are becoming increasingly unhinged, and while it is hard to watch the greater collapse, nonetheless I must admit that these folks are providing some grim comic relief. An editorial today demands essentially that Congress create a program for out-of-work lawyers to represent poor people.

At one level, I don't mind seeing people receive legal help, and as I watch poor people being railroaded into prison because of the horrible tactics used by prosecutors as well as the hard fact that public defenders are terribly overworked, I agree that at all legal levels, the poor are getting the shaft. Unfortunately, what we see here is just another clueless suggestion from people who are becoming increasingly clueless themselves.

First, and most important, we need to ask why people in a society that supposedly is free actually need as much legal help as is necessary. Notice that the Progressive NYT never asks that question, given that these people actually believe that the "solution" to our problems is the massive expansion of the state. (A day never passes without the NYT editorializing for the growth of government and further intrusion into our lives.)

While the editorial addresses legal help in the civil arena (as though the help poor people get in the criminal area of law is adequate), nonetheless there is a much larger issue here that needs to be addressed, and that is the proliferation of laws and the increasing use of the courts to solve what used to be small disputes or problems. The Washington Post has highlighted a growing practice in Texas for students who misbehave in class to be made subject to criminal law. That's right, criminal law.

No doubt, people like Bill O'Reilly probably are applauding (O'Reilly's "solution" to everything is expansion of the police state), but as I read through this article, I am horrified at the consequences of what the authorities are doing. For example, a fourth-grade boy got into a fight on the bus and here is how the government handled it:
The child was ordered to do eight hours of community service and take classes in anger management and decision-making, at a cost of $370, Smith said. “I’m a single parent,” she said. “Four hundred dollars? I have two other boys.”
Yes, anger management. The ultimate bureaucratic solution to everything. And these people are serious.

At the federal level, laws are expanding and Congress is demanding that even more people go to prison. As the economy goes further into the tank, we are going to see demands for more criminalization of business failures and even more families destroyed as fathers (and sometimes mothers) are sent away for long prison terms because Congress and Obama want to blame anyone but themselves for the unfolding tragedy.

And what does the NYT do in the face of this? Oh, it comes up with a scheme to employ unemployed law school graduates. Yeah, that will work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The return of "Honest Services Fraud"

Neither Congress nor the president ever seem to learn anything. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down the "Honest Services Fraud" statute because it was too vague. So what do the clowns in Washington do? They look to create an even MORE expansive and vague law.

Apparently, the government is set to imprison thousands of business owners and managers for having the effrontery of being unsuccessful during the government-caused depression. And I guarantee that the return of this horrible law will create even more uncertainty, which in turn will help lengthen the depression.

Here is my recent commentary on the subject on Lew Rockwell's page.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brian House and the moral bankruptcy of judges

Brian House and I read the same Bible (I guess they read the Bible at Peavine Baptist Church, where House attends), but I don't think we find the same meaning in it. Where the Holy Scriptures admonish judges to act honestly, show integrity, and not to "pervert justice," House must interpret those passages to mean that judges are supposed to rig convictions and destroy the lives of innocent people.

As the child molestation trial of James Combs approaches, I still am thinking back to House's performance in the Tonya Craft trial. There is good reason that House had an ashen expression when he discovered the jury's verdict, as the jurors were openly declaring that House's best efforts to rig an illegal conviction were wrong, unjust, and his actions demonstrated that his judgeship is fraudulent.

Why do I write about House more than a year after the Craft trial? I do it because he still is on the bench, bilking Georgia taxpayers for six-figures, and tag teaming with dishonest prosecutors like Chris Arnt to screw over innocent people. Let us revisit some of the things he did in that case that demonstrate beyond any doubt at all that he tried to rig a conviction.
    • He consistently refused to permit Tonya Craft's defense to admit exculpatory evidence even though the evidence was legitimate and documented. For example, after Sandra Lamb told the court that her daughter had not received acting lessons, House refused to let the defense enter the online IMDb resume of the child, despite the fact that it was a public link that anyone could look up on the web.
    • He permitted the admission of a forged document that Tim Deal created during the trial, a document that was not in his or any other files before the trial began. The prosecution had created a huge hole with the "hand rape" allegations and Deal had to cover for them. Do I believe that House knew the document was forged? Absolutely. I have no doubt at all.
    • He permitted Joal and Sarah Henke to give "I just remembered" testimony that was perjury on its face, and the testimony directly contradicted earlier sworn testimony that both had given a year before.
    • According to media representatives who were keeping count, he sustained 90 percent of the prosecution's objections and only 10 percent of the objections from the defense. 
    • He permitted prosecutors Arnt and Len Gregor to yell, make catcalls, throw books down on the table, scream at defense witnesses, verbally attack the defense team, and harass Craft all during the trial. Any attempt by the defense to protest this action was met with a personal attack from House himself who refused to discharge the ethical duties of his office.*
    • He had a long conversation with Sandra Lamb a few days before she testified, yet he did not report this illegal ex parte conversation to the defense. During the trial, a number of people contacted me to say that they saw House meeting with prosecutors on several occasions after court had ended for the day. One observer told me about seeing House and the prosecutors leave the courtroom together and enter a room adjacent to the courtroom. I have no doubt that he, Arnt and Gregor had illegal strategy sessions together, none of which were reported to the defense as required by Georgia's rules of ethics for judges.
    • All during the trial, he and the prosecutors (especially Arnt) had pre-worked signals in which House would look at Arnt, who then would signal to House what his next move should be. (More than one observer told this to me.)
    • Jurors after the trial said that one thing that really bothered them was the obvious prejudice that House showed against the defense and in favor of the prosecution. 
    • During a break in the trial, House spoke to a court employee and vilified both Craft and the defense in private conversation, not knowing that it was being recorded. While that recording has not been released, nonetheless, the incident demonstrated House's lack of integrity.
    This is only the tip of the crimes against justice that House committed during the trial, and it was clear that Arnt, Gregor, and Sandra Lamb were running the show and pulling his puppet strings. I wish that House were the only offender, but as I hear from people around the country, and I watch the performance of judges like the one who helped the prosecution railroad Brad Cooper into prison, I have come to see the situation in this country as being pretty hopeless.

    Yes, there are good judges out there, but the number of honest men and women wearing the black robes is dwindling. Furthermore, when the good ones retire, they are replaced by people like Brian House.

    As the conflagration known as World War I began, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey declared, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time." I must admit to believing the same about this country and our system of "justice." Americans once prized justice, but like so many things that have been good about this country, that also is in our past, not our present and certainly not our future.

    *Here are some things that the Georgia Judicial Code of Ethics includes. Compare this code with House's conduct and you will see that no one in authority in Georgia actually believes in these things, as those in power hold that living by the rules does not apply to them.

    Canon 1
    Judges Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary.
    An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. Judges shall participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe such standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.

    Canon 2
    Judges Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Their Activities.

    A. Judges shall respect and comply with the law* and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

    B. Judges shall not allow their family, social, political or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. Judges shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor should they convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence them. Judges should not testify voluntarily as character witnesses. (House also has done that in a recent divorce/custody case)

    Canon 3
    Judges Shall Perform the Duties of Their Office Impartially and Diligently

    On ex parte meetings, the Georgia code declares:

    Judges shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law*. Judges shall not initiate or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to them outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending proceeding, except that:

    (a) where circumstances require, ex parte communications for scheduling, where administrative purposes or emergencies that do not deal with substantive matters or issues on the merits are authorized; provided:

    (i) the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication, and

    (ii) the judge makes provision promptly to notify all other parties of the substance of the ex parte communication and allows an opportunity to respond.

    None of those things held during the trial. Instead, House was engaged in strategy sessions and his personal conversation with Lamb before her testimony demonstrated beyond a doubt that not only was he Lamb's sock puppet, but that he has absolutely NO RESPECT for the law and for the codes that supposedly are to govern his conduct.

    Yet, Brian House will continue as a judge, and I would not be surprised if the voters of the LMJC were to return this sorry person back to office for another four years in the 2012 elections. One hopes otherwise, but I cannot say I have much confidence in the political choices that Americans make.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Preparing to go to Riga, Latvia

    While we have not yet received our official referral from the Latvia government that we are assigned to Sintija, nonetheless we have been told to fly to Riga this coming Sunday, August 14. We will be flying with the children (lots of children) when they leave JFK International Airport after the five-week hosting program here.

    Right now, we are scheduled to come back to the USA on September 8. If all goes well in Riga, the Orphan Court there will grant us custody of Sintija, who then also would fly back with us to JFK. If we get that far, then there are two more trips to Riga to finalize the Latvian side of the adoption, and then to get the permanent visa from the U.S. Embassy there.

    Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. I will keep you posted as things develop.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Jim Broderick is re-indicted

    Ken Buck has not given up in pursuing perjury charges against Jim Broderick, the police detective who framed Tim Masters in his wrongful conviction for the murder of Peggy Hettrick. In last week's post, I noted how Buck could have looked the other way -- as so many prosecutors do -- but did the right thing, instead.

    The charges against Broderick were dismissed because the original indictment did not say when the perjury was discovered, which meant that the statute of limitations (three years) against Broderick would have kicked in for his testimony in 1991. This time, however, the indictment is more specific on the date.

    I applaud Buck for his diligence and his honesty, and I hope this good deed is rewarded, not punished.


    We will have some news soon on our pursuit of adoption of Sintija from Latvia. Stay tuned.