The December 11 story in the Times-Free Press lays out the actual case in which Catoosa County authorities now are claiming that Higgenbottom murdered an infant named Christopher Breazeale in 1992. While I cannot claim to know if the charges are true, nonetheless the fact that Buzz Franklin's office is bringing them without revealing any new evidence is beyond troubling.
The first question I have, however, is this: Why does Vickie Scoggins have any say in this at all? This is the same Vickie Scoggins who swore up and down that the charges against Tonya Craft absolutely were true, the same Vickie Scoggins who worked closely with prosecutors Chris Arnt and Len Gregor and helped them to suborn perjury and went along with their lies.
Given the reprehensible and utterly dishonest conduct of Franklin's office all during the Craft case -- from before and during the trial -- one should question ANYTHING that these people do. Arnt could not even keep himself from lying to jurors in closing arguments, telling the Craft jury that Dr. Nancy Fajman had diagnosed injuries to one of the girls that had been caused by sexual abuse.
That Dr. Fajman had said exactly the opposite -- something that Arnt knew -- should tell us what we need to know about Buzz Franklin and people who work for him. Arnt and Gregor should have been disbarred for what they did during that trial and criminal charges filed against both of them. However, given that the "justice" system in the State of Georgia is run by, well, criminals, I guess that the Criminals In Charge decided to let criminal activity of their own get a free pass out of professional courtesy.
Now, neither Arnt nor Gregor will be prosecuting the Higgenbottom case. No, that has fallen to Alan Norton, who also is prosecuting the bogus case against James Combs. Because Norton works for Franklin and because he was the prosecutor against Eric Echols in which Norton was prepared to lie to jurors about what actually had occurred when Mr. Echols delivered some court papers to Sandra "Mommie Dearest" Lamb, I am not prepared to give him any benefit of the doubt. Which leads to my second question: Just what is this "new evidence" that Norton claims to have?
Let us keep some things in perspective here. First, "new evidence" with Franklin's people generally consists of those things the ancients once called lies. Remember the "new evidence" that Joal and Sarah Henke brought to the Craft trial? Yeah, both of them "just remembered" stuff that was 180 degrees from testimony they had given under oath a year before.
Gregor and Arnt were quick to use this "I just remembered" and "judge" brian outhouse was quick to give it his stamp of approval, even though all of them knew that the Henkes were lying. Observers in the courtroom were able to witness Arnt, Gregor, and outhouse commit a number of felonies by their bringing in the Henkes and their transparently dishonest testimony. Yes, suborning perjury in Georgia is a crime, although the authorities don't pursue it because if they did, there would be no prosecutors left to bring cases to trial in Georgia. Furthermore, because Gregor, Arnt, and outhouse had a number of illegal secret meetings before and during the trial to plan strategy, they participated in criminal conspiracy.
From what I can tell, Norton is going to have to fabricate something in the Higgenbottom case or suborn perjury. However, given that he works with Arnt and Gregor, I am sure that they have given him plenty of pointers on how to lie and break the law -- and not indict himself. According to the article in the TFP:
Alan Norton, a prosecutor from the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, said prosecutors are going to have to build their case by explaining what new evidence justifies bringing charges 19 years after the fact.Indeed, I also am suspicious. First, there are no "Perry Mason moments" in criminal court, even though outhouse tried to pull off something by letting in Joal Henke's "I just remembered" testimony and also allowing an obviously-fabricated document to be entered into evidence. If the prosecution has something, by law it MUST be shared with the defense, and that includes "new evidence."
But he wouldn't say what new evidence they have.
Court documents filed by Higgenbottom's attorney say the state didn't preserve vital evidence -- X-ray photographs, original autopsy photographs and physical specimens -- and that the case is too cold to prosecute.
They also want to know why, if a caseworker had such strong suspicions about Christopher's death, the state waited 192 months to do anything about it.
Second, we are dealing with prosecutors and judges in North Georgia that long ago decided that they could make up the law as they go along, and that they had absolute power. Grand juries in that circuit will indict anything, as I doubt that anyone serving on those bodies actually has a clue about the law.
I have no idea what happened in the death of Christopher Breazeale -- and neither do Vickie Scoggins nor Alan Norton. That is why I have no doubt that unless there really is "new evidence" and a real-live smoking gun, Norton and his people will make it up as they go along and hope that jurors in the case are not as wise to their tactics as were the Tonya Craft jurors.