Egregious Public Defender Misconduct

by Crane-Station

Several publishers I queried for Frog Gravy asked about the details of my legal case. How do you get convicted of a DUI without drugs or alcohol in the blood? How do you get convicted of possession, when 3 officers search you, your car and belongings for 1.25 hours by the side of the road and found no contraband? For the past year, I have investigated my own public defender’s case file, and have made some shocking discoveries. This is the first of at least ten things I found. I will post the others separately. I always assumed prosecutors were dirty. I never dreamed that one who is a public defender, and ‘Advocate’ for the indigent and underserved, could be so disgusting, as to go to any lengths possible, to ensure maximum harm to a client, resorting even, to criminal activity.

Due to the post’s length, you may wish to read it in parts. Rest assured, 10 or 12 equally horrendous examples will follow.

Background: Basic Case Summary

1. My true name is Rachel Ahmann Leatherman.

2. On or about June 26, 2006, I was arrested and charged in McCracken County with possession of cocaine (crack), tampering with evidence and DUI.

3. Private counsel represented me for a Preliminary Hearing and a Suppression Hearing. I obtained transcripts of these hearings, and ordered additional official transcripts that included a Grand Jury hearing transcript, and a 911 call transcript.

4. The trial court appointed attorney Chris McNeill [McNeill], Director of the Department of Public Advocacy to represent me after finding me indigent. McNeill represented me through the trial and beyond, which included a period of time from conviction through final sentencing, until Julia Pearson in Frankfort’s DPA office assumed appellate representation duties.

5. My trial began on January 22, 2008 and ended on January 23, 2008. I was convicted by a jury of all three charges. In March, 2008, I was sentenced to eight years in prison.

6. I appealed the convictions. All were affirmed in a published opinion by the Court of Appeals.

7. The Supreme Court of Kentucky denied review on 2/15/2012. The United States Supreme Court denied cert on or about 10/15/2012.

8. Sometime after the United States Supreme Court denied cert, I requested by FOIA some materials related to my case, including McNeill’s case file. I reviewed the materials in the late fall of 2012 and for the next several months, and I continue to review the materials today.

9. My Bar complaint is against Chris McNeill [McNeill].

10. McNeill heads the DPA office in Paducah. He has several Western Kentucky counties under his purview as a public advocate as well. He also has a main role in Drug Court. McNeill has been given awards recently, from the KBA, namely, where the KBA, in 2012, awarded McNeill with a “Professionalism and Excellence Award.” He was also given a trial award in 2012.
http://dpa.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/A4E59688-A807-4914-BAC3-3FB616475BD6/0/2012AnnualReportDraftFINAL090612REDUCED.pdf

11. The Commonwealth appointed James Harris [Harris] to prosecute my case sometime after my hearing on suppression in November, 2006. My understanding is that Harris works part time for the Commonwealth and maintains an outside office and legal practice in Paducah.

12. I believe that McNeill acted unethically and violated the Professional Code of Conduct that states:
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION
RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY
PRACTICE OF LAW
SCR 3.130(8.4) Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce
another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or
fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(e) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable Rules of
Judicial Conduct or other law.
HISTORY; Amended by Order 2009-05, eff. 7-15-09; adopted by Order 89-1, eff. 1-1-90

I.
McNeill filed an ex-parte post-trial, secret agreed “supplementary order” without my knowledge or consent, and without motion, hearing or response from me, denying my pre-trial suppression motion.
The agreed order set aside suppression hearing testimony and substituted it with trial testimony and additional false statements of material fact. The order was devastating.

In reality, Harris wrote the order and faxed it to McNeill on September 27, 2007, four months before the trial, and four months before trial testimony had yet occurred.

McNeill concealed that he had the order prior to trial and still denies that he knew anything about it until he received a copy of it. In addition, McNeill refused to take corrective action, ignoring multiple written requests.

The agreed order, that accurately ‘predicted’ trial testimony four months prior to trial, is quoted verbatim in the published Court of Appeals opinion affirming my convictions. In addition, there are significant changes, from the faxed proposed order to the actual order, and from the first to the second, to the third (post trial) orders that must be carefully compared to the actual 911 call, the 911 dispatch recordings and all pre-trial under-oath testimony, because these changes indicate and reflect a deliberate effort to 1) suborn perjury pursuant to specific suppression issues at trial and 2) remove, delete, alter or otherwise hide from the record, both testimonial as well as recorded evidence in a criminal trial, essentially disappearing any and all evidence and testimony that supported my defense in any way.

The events surrounding the post-trial order are:
1. The trial took place on January 22, and 23, 2008. On January 23, 2008, after the jury convicted me on all charges and recommended an 8-year sentence, the trial court judge, Hon. Craig Clymer, ordered me into custody in the McCracken County Jail, where I began to serve my sentence, and also began to make plans to appeal all convictions. McNeill continued to represent me in the interim.

2. I told McNeill (through my husband), who had not represented me at the pretrial suppression hearing, that I wanted to appeal the convictions. The judge had issued an order denying suppression prior to trial, on January 18, 2008, that set aside a previous order, that was issued January 11, 2007.

3. I wished to appeal Judge Clymer’s denial of my motion to suppress evidence because his findings of fact were not supported by the testimony of the arresting officer, who was the only witness who testified at the suppression hearing, and the conclusions of law were also unsupported by the officer’s testimony.

4. On several occasions, my husband and I explained why we believed the trial court committed reversible error when it denied my motion to suppress. My husband provided written copies of all communications to McNeill. (McNeill spoke only to my husband, Fred Leatherman. He rarely spoke to me, let alone inform me of anything, directly.)The copies of my husband’s letters are in the case file. We told McNeill the following (see #5, for what we told McNeill, regarding my plans to appeal):

5. The arresting officer’s testimony raised three legal issues for the court to decide.

a. Pursuant to United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221 (1985), did the arresting officer have a reasonable suspicion to justify an investigatory stop of my vehicle based on the caller’s 911 call in which the caller said,

i. “There’s this lady talking to my neighbor in my neighbor’s yard and writing stuff down in a book and she had mentioned something about heroin and all that stuff.” When the dispatcher asked what I was writing in a notebook, the caller said he did not know.

ii. The dispatcher then told the officer that a woman in a neighborhood was “asking about 218A.” 218 A is a KRS statute.

iii. In Hensley the SCOTUS held that the trial court’s decision regarding reasonable suspicion must be based on what the caller said (not what the dispatcher said) and the caller’s statement in my case was insufficient to support a reasonable suspicion that I had committed a crime, was committing a crime, or was about to commit a crime.

iv. Judge Clymer had ignored Hensley, which is directly on point and binding authority on all state and federal courts in the nation.

b. In the alternative, did the arresting officer have a reasonable suspicion to justify an investigatory stop of my vehicle based on my driving? The officer testified that my driving was appropriate, saying that it did not draw his attention as to weaving, and that “speed wasn’t a factor,” during his testimony at the pretrial hearing.

c. Finally, did the arresting officer stop me or did I voluntarily initiate a citizen-police contact in which case the protection of the Fourth Amendment did not apply? Judge Clymer made findings and conclusions that the encounter was voluntary because the officer did not stop me. He claimed, in the January 18, 2008 order denying suppression, “The officer did not conduct a stop of the vehicle.” I disagreed, based on the officer’s testimony at suppression, the dispatch CAD sheet, and the dispatch audio communications, the verbal codes used in the dispatch audio communications, the dispatch time stamps, the in-dash cam videotape, and the officer’s uniform citation, and narrative, as well as his grand jury testimony.

i. In the suppression hearing and in previous hearings, the arresting officer repeatedly testified that he “stopped” me, or pulled me over, or “fell in behind” me and stopped me, or that he stopped me based upon a call, or that he “located the vehicle and stopped it.” The in-dash video shows me slowing to a stop in the emergency lane with my right turn signal on. The dash cam clearly shows that the officer’s flashing lights are on. In addition to his testimony that the officer stopped me based upon a call in all hearings prior to trial, both his written uniform citation as well as his written narrative report state that he stopped my vehicle (“I fell in behind the vehicle and stopped it.”) Also, on the dispatch tape, the officer states to dispatch, using call codes ‘stop and pickup’ and he tells dispatch, “We’re going inbound. I got her in front of me now. Pickup (at Cairo Road) and stop. I’m sorry, yeah, pickup.” He told dispatch he was stopping me and picking me up, before he ever spoke to me. The officer obviously stopped me. The court’s findings of fact regarding the stop were false, and the conclusions of law were also false.

ii. In addition to what he said to dispatch about the “stop and pickup” and when he said it, the officer never testified that I pulled over and stopped before he activated his emergency lights, and then he pulled in behind me and stopped, in any hearing or document, prior to trial, including the suppression hearing.

iii. The in-dash video camera videotape was given to the court to consider, at the suppression hearing. I had supplemented the record with both the 911 call tape and 911 call official transcript and the dispatch (including CAD call sheet) transcript (and tape), prior to January 18, 2008, when the court issued its second order denying suppression.

iv. Also, the blood test toxicology results for alcohol and drug content of my blood, were given to the court to consider at suppression. There was no alcohol (0.00), and there were “no drugs detected,” in my blood. Four roadside PBT tests were administered and recorded on the tape, and those indicated no alcohol.

v. Also at suppression, the officer admitted that other than a roadside HGN, he had no reason to suspect impaired driving. The officer admitted that a 1.25 hour search of me, my car, and my belongings, my pockets, my breasts, my crotch and my shoes was “thorough,” and that no contraband was found. The officer conceded that he would not arrest for a DUI based on HGN alone. The officer also conceded that “glassy eyes” could be due to any number of things. Nonetheless, he arrested me.

vi. Also, the tape shows the officer improperly administering the HGN, with me facing the strobing (flashing) lights, holding the pen too close and swiping it too quickly, all departures from NHTSA procedure.

d. Although nothing is a certainty on appeal, I believed the trial court’s order denying my motion to suppress evidence would not withstand appellate review and I so informed McNeill.

6. Sometime after my trial in 2008, while I was in jail awaiting sentencing, and after I had explained (through my husband) to McNeill both my intent to appeal as well as the legal and factual reasoning behind the suppression issue, I received in the mail a bewildering and unexpected new “supplementary” order from the court denying suppression. The order was dated January 28th, which was five days after the jury found me guilty.

7. The new, post-trial order was on a different basis and grounds than the pre-trial suppression order. The new order set aside everything that had been offered at suppression, and substituted it with trial testimony and other false statements that matched no testimony at any time. The trial testimony was a completely new and different (opposite) story, with new, added and different facts, and the trial testimony favored the Commonwealth completely.

8. The post-trial order eliminated Finding of Fact 1, which was a verbatim recitation of what the caller told the 911 operator, and replaced it with the arresting officer’s testimony at the trial that materially contradicted his testimony at the suppression hearing. With the exception of my driving that the officer witnessed, what the caller said in the call, was the only relevant information to consider in determining whether the he had a reasonable suspicion to pull me over, in the first place.

9. But in the new order, what the caller said was eliminated. In the new order, my driving had changed, from appropriate to “unusual, disturbing and suspicious.” The words “unusual,” disturbing,” “unusually” and “suspicious” are repeated over and over in the new ‘supplementary’ post-trial order. The words are repeated so often that they attract attention.

10. Although I had official court reporter transcripts with me during the trial of the arresting officer’s testimony at the suppression hearing, grand jury, and preliminary hearings available for McNeill to use in cross examining the arresting officer regarding his numerous prior inconsistent statements under oath, McNeill refused to use them to confront the new trial story.

11. Also, my husband provided McNeill with a list of 127 questions, regarding the officer’s changing stories in the previous hearings. McNeill refused to attack the arresting officer’s yet-again changed testimony at the trial. McNeill allowed the officer to testify to a new story at trial. The new story was new in ways that it coincidentally changed on certain specific issues that might arise on appeal.

12. The new story at trial changed on certain specific issues that my husband had addressed with McNeill, verbally, and in writing. My husband believed he was communicating with McNeill in confidence. Had my husband known that McNeill was betraying confidence, he would never have spoken to McNeill, nor would he have emailed McNeill. McNeill did not have consent and permission to share these communications. Nonetheless, I believe he betrayed my confidence, through my husband, continuously and intentionally.

13. Since the supplementary post-trial order relied on trial testimony, with added never-before-heard facts and since the post-trial order was to my extreme detriment, for appealing the suppression order issued prior to trial, I asked McNeill why this happened. He told me the trial court had acted alone (sua sponte), and that he had no idea why it had done such a thing.

14. However, the order states in the introduction that the court issued the order per defense specific request to consider additional information. This statement is false.

15. Despite many requests from me and my husband that McNeill file a motion to strike the supplementary order, however, he never did. He thus also allowed the court to believe I had insisted on the detrimental order.

16. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a copy of the supplementary order, containing materially different trial testimony, in McNeill’s case file, after I served a lengthy sentence. The order, with new and different trial testimony, was faxed to McNeill from Harris, and dated September 27, 2007, four months before my trial. At that time, the order, with testimony from a trial that was yet-to-occur, was unsigned. In addition, a memorandum accompanied the order.

17. McNeill not only knew about the order before Judge Clymer signed it, he knew about it four months before the witnesses testified at the trial. The order, which at one point McNeill labeled “work copy” in his own handwriting, was faxed to him from Harris on September 27, 2007, at 3:38 PM.

18. Incidentally, the order remained on Harris’s formatted letterhead in the record; the court signed the order after the trial without re-formatting it or re-typing it onto the court’s usual formatted letterhead. Since the order was misrepresented as an agreed order in a nonconsensual ex pare setting with the court after the conclusion of my criminal trial, the court did no re-format to the court’s usual letterhead, likely because the order did not originate with the court, nor was it typed on the court’s computer terminal.

19. One of the trial witnesses was the arresting officer who repeatedly contradicted his previous testimony under oath and his written reports, as well as the direct evidence in the recorded dispatch tapes. As I said previously, McNeill refused to cross examine the officer about those prior inconsistent statements and now I believe I know why he refused. McNeill knew well in advance that the story would be changed yet again, at trial.

20. Two of the trial witnesses were police officers who assisted the arresting officer at the scene of the investigatory stop and arrest. Neither of them had prepared written reports regarding the incident or testified about it until the trial, 18 months later and four months after the supplementary order accurately ‘predicted’ their testimony.

21. The first statement in the supplementary order, authored by Harris, is false. It reads, “The defendant has requested the Court to consider additional information and evidence supplementing the record in this case, based upon which the Court makes the following supplemental Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in denying defendant’s motion to suppress:” I made no such request. Not only was I in jail without a telephone card, I would never purposefully request something harmful, let alone devastating. (my italics)

22. Further, the order’s quoted trial testimony language contains many of the testimonial words of Harris, who introduced them for the first time at trial, in the form of his narratives and leading questions that had not been met with any objection from McNeill. Before that, the words of Harris, “unusual, disturbing and suspicious,” for example, had never been uttered by any witness in any hearing or witness document, in any court setting, prior to trial.

23. Harris testified at trial without being under oath and without being subject to cross examination, because McNeill allowed it, by refusing to object and preserve the record.

24. There was no hearing, no hearing proposal, no motion, no request for a motion, no request for a response from me, and the jail staff had not escorted me to Court. There was nothing pending with the court; the trial record was complete. I only received a letter after the trial, in the mail. I did not know about, nor did I agree to, anything whatsoever in the agreed order.

25. Since McNeill had adopted the position throughout the entire case pendency not to talk to me, but to use my husband as a middle person, I called my husband, who would in turn inform McNeill. It was in this manner that I requested that McNeill both preserve the record by objecting to the bizarre ‘supplementary’ order, and to move the court to strike the agreed order based on a ‘defense request’ from the record.

26. McNeill refused to take any action whatsoever to object to the post-trial order, despite both me and my husband, in the form of me on the phone to my husband, and in writing from my husband to McNeill, requesting that he do something.

For example, on 3/4/2008 and in McNeill’s case file, stamped pages 182, 183 and 184, my husband wrote to McNeill:
“Finally, please don’t forget to point out that the defense didn’t request the supplementary order.”

There are numerous other such pointed written requests, over the period between January and March, 2008, that constitute begging McNeill to perform one reasonable, basic and requested lawyer duty in my best interest in this matter. He refused.

29. McNeill answered the repeated requests with inaction and unanswered letters.

30. The post-trial supplementary order reflects an interaction between me (through counsel) and the court that never occurred.

31. The order is silent reflecting default agreement, as to any Commonwealth response to my nonexistent request that the court reconsider suppression again. Ironically, the only passive action in the fictitious order is the Commonwealth’s lack of response, in a nonconsensual agreed order, authored by none other than Harris.

32. I believe it is unethical for a public defender to present a fraudulent and detrimental agreed order with the prosecutor, denying pretrial suppression, to the trial court after trial in a secret ex parte setting for court signing, and then lie to the client, and refuse to take corrective action, when someone’s liberty and future is at stake.

33. There is now a 26-page published opinion affirming my conviction that bases the affirmation regarding suppression on the language and guidance of the fraudulent “supplementary” order. It is as if a 2006 pre-trial suppression hearing never took place. It was as if the other pre-trial hearings never even occurred. It was as if the 911 call and the 911 dispatch exchange never happened. It was as if a new and different case was presented at trial.

34. On pages 10, 11, 12 in the published opinion, the post-trial ‘agreed order’ is recited, verbatim.

RENDERED: JANUARY 21, 2011; 10:00 A.M.
TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
NO. 2008-CA-000849-MR
RACHEL LEATHERMAN APPELLANT
APPEAL FROM MCCRACKEN CIRCUIT COURT
v. HONORABLE CRAIG Z. CLYMER, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 06-CR-00408
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

35. The post-trial supplementary order was not an isolated incident. It was part of a pattern of deliberate acts, betrayal of trust and confidence, and outright lying. For example, McNeill assured me over and over “not to worry,” because the notice of appeal had been “filed” because he had “tendered” the notice of appeal on April 2, 2008. He failed to mention the fee, and had my husband not looked up the statute and paid the fee at the last minute (on April 30, 2008 with borrowed money), my appeal would have been dismissed outright.

to be continued

27 Responses to Egregious Public Defender Misconduct

  1. reader says:

    Dear Crane ~ Swinging by from firedoglake to read all. I know you been done wrong from the bits and pieces you have signaled from the beginning and more recently. I salute your courage and endurance yet again. Even in the face of discovering how badly you were wronged by those you should have been able to trust. Now, I will read it ALL! It’s a new day. Take care!

  2. colin black says:

    Crane you got screwed over .

    It happens all the time to criminals peronaly I only ever entered one not guilty plea in my life.

    Id pled to every thing Id ever been arrested for because I was guilty an career criminals ook upon arrest a the chance of detention as a risk of the trade.

    That’s why its true if you cant do time then don’t commit crime because theres always a risk you may get caught.

    I usesed to go beserk at fences people whom would buy stolen items from you.

    Offerrring you some insulting price with the refrain .

    Come on take the deal it never cost you nothing.

    Indeed it cost me and could have cost me everything my freedom if Id been caught .

    An the loss of ones freedom next to death is the ultimaye price to pay.

    Only one in my decade of crime ever ple not guilty and reason being I was not guilty.

    Long story short Id been in a realionship an business ship deal with a female.

    I wanted out it was I thought an amicable split .

    When I met her 6 years pprior she had nothing ,
    Living in a squat an a subsistence heroin dealer.

    On the dissiloution of our affair /partnership we had about 17 thousand pounds to split plus she had a lovely flat rented but filled with expensive things all of wich she would be keeping.

    She helped me pack my clothes supplied me with suitcases an even drove me to the station to leave them in overnigh lockers so I wouldn’t have to take them in the morning.

    Spent the night at the flat In Bristol with this Woman I was 26 She was 34.
    Next day as I boarded my train or attempting to board a train up to Edinburgh I was arrested by two plain clothes C I D
    Taken to a Police station whereup searching the luggage they found several stolen credit cards I knew nothing of as well as abought three grams of heroin again something I knew nought off.

    Needless to say my feet bareley touched the ground ttill I landed In a Prison Cell an my ex had all the time In the world to make sure I was never going to receive my half of our money.

    Money earned b t w with my investment an earned through my contacts .

    All she did was serve it up as she knew all the clientele.

    But give her her due she stiched me up like a kipper.

    An this was the only time In my life Id gone to trial an it was my farce.

    It was a Crown Court Trial an that means its not your lawer that knows the case inside out that defends you .
    He or She isn’t even there you have a Barrister an mine was so far beyond condescending it wasn’t fucking funny.

    I kept trying to explain things to him an he would continualy interrupt me an make me have to reiterate the same point an wasteing time.

    At the time of my arrest Id given a statement dictated an written transcribed by a secretery ,

    I simply explained the facts with a few ommisions I was leaveing this woman an had no idea any of the drugs or credit cards where there.

    And that there would be no way my finger prints or any thing would be found on said items.

    That obviously this is a woman scorned ya da ya da da thing shes plated them .

    An phoned you an told you the time of my train an bam In in hear under arrest .

    End of statement Im saying nothing else no lawer present .

    I say take me back to my cell..

    Half hour later two detectives come into my cell with printed transcript of my verbal statement .

    Ask me to read it an if I agree with its contents to sign it.

    Wich I do Its all correct an true so I sign it.

    About ten minutes after that they come get me out of cell to the front desks my solisitors on the phone.
    An this is important …my solister tapes all received calls in cases an stores an can transcribe them if nessessery an all calls an time s are looged so easily traced.

    He asks if Im ok I say yes asks if he should come down ?No says I .
    Let him know briefly what I thinks happening an that Ive given the police a full an frank statement denying any knowlage of the contraband an stolen cedit cards.

    So theres no reason for him to come to the sation an I will see him in magistraes an try for bail in the morning
    Bail was denied.

    Anyway 6 months an on remand an after 3 I get my papers of my case .

    There called Depos shors for depositions.

    An they contain everything .

    Wittness statemens lists of witnesses any physical evidence finger prints surveilence any thing an everything.

    An usealy there as thick as a friggin Bible

    So I wait for three months for my depos an I get them what looks like a brouchoure.

    I swear to God there was nothing there no mention of the friggin biatch that phoned 999 on my ass .

    No copy of my Statement Id diytated an sigened..

    Nothing jus some bs report of police randomly stoping me boarding a train an finding stolen c cards used in thousands of doddgy transactions.
    An 3 grams of heroin all found concealed within the lineing of a suitcase In my possession.

    It took nearly 8 months to get to trial an day of trial was the first time I met my Barrister.

    An discover he is a ginormous KHUNT…

    I start trying to explain the paucity of evidence thts missing from the events surrounding my case an he bacicily done a monty python sketch in front of my eyes.

    As I said this is missing that’s missing the fact an informant whom happped to be my ex is excluded he went.

    BLAH BLAH BLAH at the top of his voice an said LISTEN TO ME

    We are faceing a judge an jury in ten miutes .He then pointed to his desd ferret wig an said this means Im the Barrister Im the one whom studied law this is my job.

    Said in the tone off shut up an don’t even try to contribute to YOUR OWN DEFENCE because your a pleb.

    Spare you the gory details but if I had a Barrister whom had listened to me that day and a half I would have walked free.

    I didn’t an I was convicted by a majority verdict

    The very first witness the prosecution put up was a detective whom perjured himself?
    When asked what I had said about the drugs an the credit cards he said

    NOTHING.

    You mean to say he offered nop expenation or statement about them.
    No

    This was one of the two detectives whom interviewed me an later had me sign a copy of my statement.

    Now saying under oath that I had refused to talk to them .

    He went further when the prosecution asked is this normal for an innocent person to say nothinh.

    He stated that I point blank refused to leave my cell to talk to them an told them to F Off .

    I take it said the prosecuer this is why theres no statement fron mr black or no interview in the DEPOS

    CORRECT

    Of course my heart was soaring when I heard this I knew he had just lied.

    I knew by the look he gave me as he exeted he knew he had just lied but I knew with one simple telephone call to my solistor from my barrister we could prove he had lied.

    All that needed to be done was retrieve the taped call from the night of my arrest were it was confirmed not only by me but also by the desk seargant that I had indeed given a 3 page written statement regards my involvement with the suit case.

    An stated the suitcase was borrowed from the informant whom had me arrested.

    This tape could have been driven over to the court played in front of the Jury an I think the Judge would have dismissed it there an then.

    So when the court broke for lunch I sent an urgent message for the barrister to come an see me.

    He didn’t.

    Wouldn’t let me use a phone either.

    By time I finally did get a chance to speak to him nrext day it was to late.

    He did his Me Big Shot Barrister iprov again ,

    You little nonentity me no care Police lie Im going out for lunch with the presecuter an your going to jail.

    Im making the going to lunch speech up b t w.

    But that was his entie attitude.

    Im with you Crane I know how thease legal fuckwitts can an will throw you to the wolfs.

    They are all in the same union an we are there payola.

  3. Malamiyya says:

    What isn’t yet clear to me is why you were a target for arrest, for prosecutorial misconduct, and for deliberate misrepresentation by your Public Defender. Unless people were acting bad for the pure pleasure of screwing people over and chortling about it, what was the motive for this conspiracy? Do you have any clue?

    • fauxmccoy says:

      kickbacks from the private companies who run the jails in places like this. it’s a money racket. judges get some cash, prosecutors get some cash and on occasion, even the public defenders get a chance to supplement their income.

      private, for profit prisons ARE a racket.

      • Soulcatcher says:

        Boy isn’t that the truth. We have a friend who’s son is caught up in once of those exact scemes in one of those southern small towns, where the DA, is a cousin of the sheriff, who’s wife is sleeping with so, and so, who’s brother in law is head of the corrections dept, ect. They are getting kickbacks from private run group homes for children, who fund the jails, from what is being said. It is now in the appeal stage, things have a funny way of changing, once the new well know highly paid attorney sliped into town when the sun went down.

        CS and Fred, my thoughts are with you on your journey.

  4. Two sides to a story says:

    Get ’em, get ’em, get ’em, Crane! Hope you’ll find an awesome publisher (patience – they’re very slow to respond!) and get your story out to even more people.

    Sadly, I think this situation with a few small-town public defenders in the good old boy networks of certain counties in certain red states is not that uncommon. I lived in the most central (and white Republican, and later, after 9/11, Tea Party) county in a far southern SW state. There was an awesome juvenile PD in the community known for her scrapping hard for her clients, but many of the adult PDs were known to passively channel people right into the county slammer and state prisons. If you had business with the court (and the local cops, both town and sheriff’s department could be just as corrupt as the courts) and you didn’t get the right PD, you were far better off to try to somehow buy the best city representation from one of the major cities in the state that you could get, even if you had to go into hock for years. There were almost always longer sentences there for brown people than white, though they nailed plenty of white people for BS as well – LEO had way too much time on their hands and not that much serious crime to contend with. I suspect there was some even more deeply corrupt stuff going on in high places there than ever met the eye involving pedophilia and whatnot, but you didn’t dare start digging.

    • Corrupt Paducah says:

      Injustices like this happen everywhere, maybe more often (percentage-wise) in small towns. (It no way, is that to be read as condoning it!) It has nothing to do with the area being “White” or “Republican” or “Tea Party” or “Red State”. Kentucky has had 1 Republican governor in your lifetime. The state legislature is always firmly in Democratic hands. The local newspaper used to be called The Sun Democrat and they still skew greatly left. The case above is only evidence of small-town corruption by cops, lawyers, and judges. It happens every day in every city, just more often in Paducah, “The Most Corrupt Little Town in the Country.”
      Btw, I would have liked to have read the name of the unethical cop (there’s a redundancy) that made the arrest and changed his story to suit the case.
      Also, it is a bit off-putting (even if well-intentioned) to tell the victim to “get over it” or to “move on”, etc. The victim has every right to complain about her treatment and to seek redress. The fact that she was damaged (prison time, etc.) in ways that can NOT be undone goes without saying. The fact that the arresting officer later lost his job (for this case or others) in no way serves as redress. One would hope that the local newspaper would investigate and then excoriate, to the point of the victim receiving damages, apologies, and assurances that others won’t be similarly victimized. Sadly, I have little hope that any of that will happen in “The Most Corrupt Little Town in the Country.”

  5. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    I am both sad and incensed that you had to endure such injustice and serve prison time because of the lies and crookedness of the system that you found yourself in, Crane.

    I pray that justice will someday be served in your case.

    Mary is right. You were treated like Blacks have been treated throughout our country’s history. Members of the Black community have regularly been falsely accused of crimes they did not commit and have faced inequality in our justice system.

    Even being White with its advantages and benefits did not save you from being a target of this type of injustice. Even having the proof of a blood test, etc.

    I pray that the rest of your life will be blessed.

    Here is a *hug* for you.

  6. MDH says:

    “The arresting officer first claimed that he found a rock of crack behind and beneath his back seat after transporting her to a hospital for a blood draw. He later changed the location of the rock to plain view on the seat beside her…”

    How does that prove anything?

    This case stinks to high Heaven.

    • masonblue says:

      Yes, the change from ‘not in plain view’ to ‘in plain view’ was important for reasons I will explain in detail, in later portions of the complaint.

      • MDH says:

        A change in testimony should mean that the person testifying is either lying or not a reliable reporter of facts.

        Of course, as we learned with George Zimmerman, all one recognized as “one of the good guys” need do is keep throwing shit on the wall till some sticks and the authoritarian worshipers will eat it.

      • colin black says:

        I suppose anything dumped in back of a police car not in plain view be it crack be it a knife be it reefer ..

        Could have been planted by a previous occupant of the back seat ie another bad person under arrest looking to ditch evidence.

        But being in plain sight means its simply slipped out of the pocket of the latest incumbent /passenger of this patrol car ie Crane.

    • Oh, you should see the unbelievably juicy chain of evidence log. It goes from ‘heroin’ to ‘cocaine (all forms except crack)’ ‘1.000 grams and yellow’, to ‘off-white’ ‘crack cocaine base 0.144 grams’. It spends a couple of weeks outside the evidence locker totally unaccounted for, in addition to an unweighed, two day road trip to Madisonville, which normally takes an hour and a half to drive to.

      So. It changes identity, color, and description several times, plus it looses 86% of its weight for no reason.

      After my trial, the arresting officer lost his job, surprise surprise.

      Bottom line, he diverted it. At about the same time, there was so much unlabeled, unaccounted for and loose ‘evidence’ that someone took a GUN from the unit, tried to sell it at a swap meet, and then shot someone with it.

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        I am so sorry to read this Crane…..you have my total support!

      • Two sides to a story says:

        At least the arresting officer didn’t just get a letter placed in his file. It’s shocking how many abusive officers around the country accumulate handfuls of complaints and still work.

  7. Mary Davis says:

    Wow Crain, I am so sorry this happened to you. And you even served prison time. This is just not right. Sounds like you were treated like AA’s are treated every day in this twisted system of ours.

    On a more positive note. It is over now, and I hope you can move on. I just wish there was something you could do about the injustice.

    • masonblue says:

      It gets even worse, believe it or not! Chris McNeill is unfit to practice law, let alone represent indigent clients.

      • my reply on Fred’s screen (sometimes it’s a chore, switching back and forth! I have to be logged in as him to post, and then back to me to reply but often this takes several atempts!)

        • Xena says:

          @Crane-Station. Have Fred give you “Author” use of the blog. He can find the settings under “Users.” You can then sign-in using your own Word Press account and not have to post under his name then switch when posting in comments.

  8. In short, she had no alcohol and no drugs in her blood and there was nothing wrong with her driving. The cop pulled her over because a 911 caller reported that she had a conversation with a neighbor in the neighbor’s yard in which she mentioned “something about tar heroin.”

    Three cops did not find any drugs or paraphernalia at the scene of the stop after thoroughly searching her and her vehicle.

    Nevertheless, she was arrested for DUI.

    The arresting officer first claimed that he found a rock of crack behind and beneath his back seat after transporting her to a hospital for a blood draw. He later changed the location of the rock to plain view on the seat beside her.

    The case should have been dismissed after the suppression hearing because the cop lacked a reasonable suspicion to stop her and he lacked probable cause to arrest.

    The third suppression order denying the motion to suppress evidence was issued after trial with defense counsel’s consent. It was based on materially different testimony at trial as though that testimony occurred at the suppression hearing.

    The order was drafted 4 months before trial and presented to the judge for signature as an agreed order requested by the defense but without her knowledge or consent.

    Her lawyer denied he knew about the order before it was signed and filed by the judge even though he had a copy of it in his file bearing a fax transmission addressed to him from the prosecutor 4 months before the trial.

    Despite numerous requests to file a motion to set aside that order, he never did.

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