Why I was a threat to business as usual in Paducah.

May 31, 2014

Friday, May 29, 2014

Good morning:

Crane Station was represented early in the case by a lawyer I retained prior to the preliminary hearing. His name is Will Kautz. He cross examined Deputy McGuire at the preliminary hearing and at the suppression hearing six months later. He is the defense lawyer asking the questions in the court reporter’s transcripts.

We have no quarrel with Will. I think he is an exceptional trial lawyer and the admissions that he obtained from Deputy McGuire at both hearings set the deputy up to be impeached at the trial. That is what a good trial lawyer does.

You may have noticed that he did not confront the deputy at the suppression hearing with his prior inconsistent testimony at the preliminary hearing. Because he has been practicing law in this community for many years, he knew there was no chance to win the suppression hearing. Instead, he locked the deputy into the conflicting versions under oath so that the deputy could be exposed during the trial in front of the jury for the liar that he was.

From time to time readers have asked why the prosecution targeted Crane-Station.

The other half of this story, which we will delve into at length, is my story about my experiences as an assistant dean, associate professor of law and the director of clinical programs at the start-up American Justice School of Law in Paducah, KY. The school used my professional reputation and innocence project work to attract new students.

For example, Professor Jackie McMurtrie and I co-founded Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. I also recruited more than 40 lawyers in private practice to work pro bono and created 17 teams of lawyers and law students and assigned each team to represent a client who had pled guilty in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring case, an hysterical witch hunt prosecution.

Subsequent investigation established that the sex ring was the product of the fevered sexual imagination of one delusional police officer and several caseworkers employed by Children’s Protective Services who were prejudiced against poor and developmentally disabled adults who lived in a community in a trailer park on the edge of town. After deciding that the parents were perverts, the welfare workers removed two sisters from their home and placed them in foster care in the police officer’s home.

Given daily uninterrupted access to the girls and assistance from a psychologist who bought the theory hook, line and sinker, it did not take long to help the girls recall satanic sex orgies in the basement of a church that many of the families in the community attended. Supposedly the preacher and the Sunday school teacher presided over these orgies in which parents swapped their children with other parents. Pressured by the caseworkers, the psychologist and the police officer, other children corroborated the sisters.

Amazing what a counselor can get a child to say by using leading questions that seek the child’s agreement in order to help their “sick” parents get well.

Not surprisingly, relentless, confrontational and coercive interrogations of developmentally disabled adults by police tend to produce false confessions.

The lawyers appointed to represent the parents had apparently already decided their clients were guilty without doing any investigation or consulting any experts regarding false accusations by children, false confessions by adults, and community hysteria caused by beliefs in satanic orgies and prejudices against poor and developmentally disabled adults. They advised their clients to plead guilty.

In other words, the legal system in Wenatchee failed to function.

The lawyer-student teams persuaded the Washington State Court of Appeals to reverse the convictions of all 17 clients on the ground that no crime was committed.

Little wonder that my arrival in Paducah was viewed as a potential threat to business as usual. Those concerns increased after I blew the whistle on a scam by the owners of the law school to skim student loan proceeds for living expenses.

I was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle. Due to the adverse financial consequences that caused, I was unable to continue paying Will Kautz. He withdrew from the case, forcing Crane to plead indigency. The court appointed Chris McNeill, the director of the local Department of Public Advocacy, which is the public defender.

Despite Will Kautz’s splendid job setting the table for an evisceration of the deputy and my assistance in preparing a cross examination to fully exploit every inconsistency and lie, McNeill never used any of it. In fact, he never challenged the credibility of the deputy at all.

For example, the deputy went with the plain view story at the trial and McNeill never confronted him with his testimony at the preliminary hearing where he denied being able to see the suspected controlled substance from outside his vehicle and admitted that he did not see it until he pulled the seat cushion out.

In our next post, we will reveal why he pulled the seat cushion out and describe the trial judge’s improper and extremely prejudicial ruling that prevented Crane from putting on a defense all but guaranteeing that the jury would be left with no choice but to convict her.

Until next time.

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Arresting officer commits perjury

May 29, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Good morning:

Today we are going to review the plain-view rule and demonstrate that,

(1) The arresting officer in Crane-Station’s case committed perjury at her suppression hearing and again at trial;

(2) Her lawyer, Chris McNeill knew it and refused to expose his perjury at the trial.

The Plain View Rule

Pursuant to the plain-view rule, a police officer may seize any item without consent or a search warrant, if she:

(1) has a right to be where she is;

(2) sees it in plain view; and

(3) recognizes it to be evidence of a crime.

For example, if a police officer were to pull someone over and notice an ounce of cocaine in plain view on the console of the vehicle, she could seize it and arrest the driver for suspected possession of a controlled substance, provided, she had a right to be where she was.

In other words, if she had a reasonable suspicion to believe that the person she stopped was committing, had committed, or was about to commit a crime, the stop was lawful and she had a right to be where she was when she saw the suspected controlled substance in plain view. But if she did not have a reasonable suspicion, the stop would be unlawful and both her seizure of the suspected controlled substance and arrest of the driver would be unlawful.

The plain view rule is an exception to the search warrant requirement and every police officer knows it. During my 30-year-career as a criminal defense lawyer, I cannot even estimate the number of times that a client told me that an incriminating item seized by police was concealed and definitely not in plain view even though the arresting officer claimed that it was.

Police know that they are going to win swearing contests when it’s their word against the defendant’s and they are right.

The plain view rule is such a well known exception to the search warrant requirement that I cannot imagine any officer would testify under oath that he seized an item that was not in plain view and months later testify under oath in another hearing that the item was in plain view.

Yet, that is exactly what happened in Crane-Station’s case.

No competent criminal defense attorney would fail to confront a police officer who did that, yet that is exactly what her attorney, Chris McNeill, did.

His failure to do that was a violation of his duty to vigorously defend his client and he should be suspended or disbarred for doing that.

Deputy McGuire’s testimony at the preliminary hearing

At the preliminary hearing one week after the arrest, Deputy Eddie McGuire testified:

A. So you couldn’t just–the seat comes in and out, obviously, easily because it’s detached for the purposes of searching. And I just moved the seat back, and it was sitting right there.

Q. You couldn’t see it if you were standing outside the car looking in?

A. Right. I don’t believe you could.

Deputy McGuire’s testimony at the suppression hearing

Q: And what—At that point, what did you see?

A: I just seen the watch and then the small baggy sitting–it was in plain view right there in the crack where the seat belt comes up.

Q: So you could see both?

A: I could see both, yes sir.

Crane-Station here, with supporting documents. Official court reporter transcripts.

Click on the document for an enlarged view.

Preliminary hearing title page:
IMG_0001

Preliminary hearing, page 11:
IMG_0002

Suppression hearing title page:
IMG_0003

Suppression Hearing page 24:
IMG_0004
-now, the substance has moved, and it is in plain view.

Suppression hearing page 25:
IMG_0005

If you think this is bad, tune in again tomorrow. It gets worse. Much worse.

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From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

May 28, 2014

by Crane-Station

Rose, Iceberg (Schneewittchen)
By Yoko Nekonomania (Flickr: Rose, Iceberg (Schneewittchen)) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Letty Owings, age 89 shares:

When WWII came along, WWI was not very far off, because 1918 is not that far from 1941. When we were kids, WWI vets were still young, and we also reflected on the Civil War. In those days, it was very real, and then with the full mobilization of WWII, where we had limited goods and services with the war effort, it was very real, and the day that we now know as Memorial Day was a serious time.

Peonies were the flower because the United States began flowering at that time. People wore a rose. A red rose stood for someone who was still alive, and you wore a white rose, if you lost someone. People could look at the rose you were wearing, and know. People would decorate and maintain the graves during the 1930s, and put whatever they had, including roses, or peonies or other things. We called it Decoration Day, and if you went to a graveyard on Decoration Day, there was not a grave that was not decorated.

We have departed. We have departed to the point where veterans are out of sight and out of mind. You call the doctor and your appointment has been cancelled. You get to an appointment and you have to wait. When a man has been called to give of himself he should not be treated this way. Memorial day was a serious time, and a time for reflection and pause.

It was not like it is today. If we are fighting our wars out of sight and out of mind, and killing some here and some there for money, in Afganistan, or Iraq, and no one knows why or where, our veterans are similarly segregated on return, and relegated to out of sight, and out of mind. Back then Memorial Day was not about that the mall had a sale that day, or you went somewhere, of you counted the number of days off you had. It was based on a seriousness and a pause- like my Uncle Henry, who pulled himself around, paralyzed.

During WWII there was the wait, for the telegram. But today, we segregate the veterans, and no one cares.

Five days prior to Memorial Day in 2011, Jonathan Montana, a 65-year-old veteran, was waiting for his dialysis in the ER area of the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, California. He had a surgically implanted shunt in his arm, for the procedure. The hospital had established access with a needle for the dialysis, and he and his wife were waiting. After four hours, Jonathan became tired and decided to leave and go to the VA in Long Beach, CA for the procedure. He told his wife to get the car.

While she was gone, he informed nursing staff that he was leaving, and that he wanted to keep the established access site in place, so the VAMC Long Beach would not have to start over. The nursing staff called the VA police. The VA police arrived, tackled Jonathan to the floor and stomped and beat him. They stomped on Jonathan’s carotid artery, dissecting it, and causing Jonatahan to have a massive hemorrhagic stroke. His wife became concerned, waiting in the parking lot. She went inside. The ER staff told her that her husband had had a stroke. They did not mention that he had been attacked. Jonathan died in June, 2011.

On Mother’s Day of this year, just a couple of weeks before Memorial Day, Iraq and Afganistan Veteran Tommy Yancy, was pulled over for not having a front license plate. Five California Highway Patrol officers beat Tommy Yancy to death in the street while stunned onlookers filmed the horrific event on a cell phone while commenting, “too much excessive force” and “not resisting.”

How our veterans are treated today would have been unimaginable in days past. Everything has changed.

We have departed.


Seasonal Farming Tasks in the Great Depression

May 28, 2014

by Crane-Station

Old Horse Drawn Corn Planter
old horse drawn corn planter by Colbyt69, creative commons, flickr.

This is a true story from the Great Depression as told by Letty Owings, age 89. It is a true account of various farming tasks during the historic drought years of the mid-1930s.

Seasonal Farming Tasks in the Great Depression

In the spring of each year, the community farmers watched the sky and talked with each other in church about when to prepare the fields for planting. For corn, the fields had to be plowed and harrowed, and then the rows were set. The implements used to plow, break up and smooth the soil and form rows were horse-drawn. After the fields were prepared for planting, corn planters were also hitched to horses. A container on the corn planter was set to click open every three feet or so, and release three kernels of corn to the soil. So far, we are talking about mechanization.

The mechanization ended after the planting of the kernels. The next task involved human hands that belonged to kids, for the most part. Once the corn plants were about two inches tall, the kids in the community crawled up and down the corn rows, inspecting each three-plant corn hill, taking visual inventory. We crawled down each row with a knife and a bucket of kernels, to see if three plants were in each cluster. Less than three plants in a hill meant that there was a cutworm in the soil, dining. We dug and chopped the worm, and replaced the eaten kernel with the new kernel. This task was called “replanting the corn,” and if you were a kid, you got that assignment. Replanting the corn was labor intensive and ritually performed every year. In church, farmers would ask each other, “Did you replant your corn yet?”
Read the rest of this entry »


Justice John Paul Stevens Proposes Changes to the Constitution

May 28, 2014

by Crane-Station (Eighth Amendemnt) and Frederick Leatherman (the rest of it)

John Paul Stevens official SCOTUS portrait cropJustice John Paul Stevens Proposes Changes to the Constitution

Retired United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 94, recently toured with his new book, titled, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. He proposes changes to: the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, political gerrymandering, campaign finance, sovereign immunity, the death penalty, and the second amendment.

What does it take to amend the constitution?

Article V of the Constitution sets forth the process to be followed in amending the Constitution.

Here’s wikipedia:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

They made it difficult to amend the Constitution, but not impossible. After the two-thirds vote in the house, then three-quarters of the states have to also agree.

For a complete list of the six changes Justice Stevens proposes, go here.

Justice Stevens on the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment currently provides:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Justice Stevens has written in several dissenting opinions that our Founding Fathers did not want to maintain a standing army. Thus, their intent was to permit people to keep and bear arms in order to serve in a “well regulated militia,” as needed. They did not intend to create an absolute right to keep and bear arms against neighbors. Since we now have a standing military, there no longer exists any justification to keep and bear arms.

In addition, none of the other rights in the Bill of Rights are absolute, so there is no reason why the Second Amendment should be treated differently.

Justice Stevens’s proposal:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

His proposal is consistent with the intent of our Founding Fathers.

Justice Stevens on the Eighth Amendment and the Death Penalty

The Eighth Amendment provides:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.[2]

Justice Stevens adds five words to this and proposes:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments such as the death penalty inflicted.

He further comments:

For me, the question that cannot be avoided is whether the execution of only an ‘insignificant minimum’ of innocent citizens is tolerable in a civilized society. Given the availability of life imprisonment without the ability of parole as an alternative method of preventing the defendant from committing further crimes and deterring others from doing so, and the rules that prevent imposing an ‘eye for an eye’ form of retributive punishment, I find the answer to that question pellucidly clear. When it comes to state-mandated killings of innocent civilians, there can be no ‘insignificant minimum.’

There are seven general causes of wrongful conviction. Prosecutorial misconduct is one of them. And yet, prosecutors are not held accountable for anything that they do. Not only have innocent people been executed, but the real criminals have gone on to harm and kill. The idea of an acceptable par level of innocent people killed by state sanctioned homicide does not make sense.

I actually do not believe in prohibition-type things. That includes drugs, alcohol, that sort of thing, because there is little doubt that an underground and lucrative market will develop. Also on guns, there are people who hunt, and that sort of thing.

That said, I am not sure that when the founding fathers crafted the Second Amendment, that they envisioned what is going on today, with taking up arms, to defend against neighbors. On the issue of hunting, however, I believe that hunting was very popular at that time, as it is today.

I do not own a gun, nor do I ever want one, and also, my family was afflicted by gun violence in 1985, when my nephew and his girlfriend were both murdered by a person still unknown. When the Santa Barbara father of Chris Martinez spoke out and said that we think these things will not happen to us until they do- he was one hundred percent correct.

At that time I was a believer in the death penalty. But then, over the years I learned about the system, and I changed my mind. I believe that in many ways, throwing away the key to a locked door can be viewed as a harsher penalty.

Do you agree or disagree with Justice Stevens on these issues, or on the other issues that he proposed in his book? If the constitution were to change, would you, or would you not, support it? Do you believe that if the sale of firearms and ammunition was prohibited, that a black market would develop and grow for nefarious uses of guns, or not ?Are there other areas in the constitution that you believe deserve consideration?

Off-topic and unrelated:

Also note — Crane-Station here. We are currently resolving the power issue, and should be able to return home shortly. We are extremely grateful to anyone who was able to make a small donation, and we absolutely understand that many more are in our position, and that is something that we understand completely. The unannounced electric company sticker shock has left our small apartment community speechless. You can walk up and down the street and certainly not hear the likes of an air conditioner, for example. That said, we have whittled the sky-high bill down quite a lot…I know we are not alone, but I am not sure why these power companies have decided to engage in unannounced gouging. That said, we have turned nearly everything off, will wrap the water heater, move the cooking to a grill outside, and see how much it costs to run two computers and a refrigerator.

Public domain photo by Steve Petteway, photographer for the US Supreme Court, via Wikimedia Commons.


Begging

May 27, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good afternoon:

We were late posting today because our electricity was cut off and we had to hike two miles carrying our computers to a McDonalds wifi hot spot where we can connect to the internet. Our motorcycle is out of gas and we have no money to buy gas.

We are poor. We survive on my fixed social security and the donations we get from this website. With the exception of our motorcycle and computers, everything we have came from second-hand stores and dumpsters. With very few exceptions, we get all of our food from dumpsters. We chose to live this way as a matter of principle and ask no one for pity.

I hate begging. When I ask for donations to keep the lights on, I mean exactly what I say.

The power company increased our rates by 33% a few months ago and plans further increases. To keep our power bill below our monthly rent, we have to forego heating or cooling our place.

Despite hundreds of visitors to our site everyday, we have received donations from only 4 people for a total of $45 this month. Yet, despite the lack of support, we hiked here in the heat to deliver our posts.

We are not trying to get rich here and we know times are tough for everyone, but we simply cannot go on like this.

We need your help.

We are not asking for much.

If everyone donated $5 or $10 per month, we would be okay.

I get my monthly check tomorrow, so we’ll get the lights turned back on and the motorcycle running.


Enough Is Enough No More Innocent Blood

May 27, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good afternoon:

I follow up today on yesterday’s post, Enough is enough: No more guns and repeal SYG laws that was inspired by the latest mass shooting case in which Elliot Rodger killed 7 people, including himself and wounded 7 others. I wrote about that here.

Before turning to the subject of today’s post, which is about amending the Second Amendment to outlaw the sale and possession of firearms, I am going to update readers on recent developments in the Elliot Rodger matter.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the girl he blamed for all of his problems and described as an “evil bitch” who teased and ridiculed him and “wounded [him] deeply” does not remember him.

The woman’s father said it was Saturday morning when his 20-year-old daughter realized Rodger had made her a part of his sick story. “She’s devastated by this.” “She doesn’t even remember this guy…she has always been the most delicate kid you would ever want to meet. For him to call her a bully, this kid was really disillusioned.”

“She was 10 years old,” the dad added. “He was two years older than her. He was in my son’s class. She was in the seventh grade and he was in the eighth grade…Can you imagine a 10-year-old kid bullying a 12-year-old? This little petite girl bullying him?”

Given Elliott’s delusions about himself and this new development, I am inclined to view much of what he says as a delusional egocentric interpretation of events in his life. We will have to wait and see, as more information comes out, but I would not be surprised to find out that he never even asked a girl out on a date.

Although this kid was very sick, he had the ability to snap it together when necessary to deal with authoritarian figures. For example, he did that when the police contacted him a few weeks ago. He denied thinking about harming himself or others, so the police had no choice except to say, “have a nice day,” and leave.

He had also jumped through the necessary hoops to purchase three handguns and plenty of ammo.

Elliot Roger is not the only mentally ill person in our society today who is considering or already has a plan to commit mass murder. No doubt there are others and we will read about their exploits in the coming months just as we read about his. Meanwhile, other people will continue to shoot and kill innocent people in less attention-getting ways. One or more of us might even become a victim of this senseless slaughter.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?

Former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 94, has written a book titled, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. He has a proposal to amend the Second Amendment that deserves serious consideration.

The Second Amendment currently provides:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Justice Stevens has written in several dissenting opinions that our Founding Fathers did not want to maintain a standing army. Thus, their intent was to permit people to keep and bear arms in order to serve in a “well regulated militia,” as needed. They did not intend to create an absolute right to keep and bear arms against neighbors. Since we now have a standing military, there no longer exists any justification to keep and bear arms.

In addition, none of the other rights in the Bill of Rights are absolute, so there is no reason why the Second Amendment should be treated differently.

Justice Stevens’s proposal:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

His proposal is consistent with the intent of our Founding Fathers.

Article V of the Constitution sets forth the process to be followed in amending the Constitution.

Here’s wikipedia:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

They made it difficult to amend the Constitution, but not impossible.

Not long ago, same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed impossible.

There is no greater force than an idea whose time has come.

How many more innocents will die at the hands of the mentally disturbed Jared Laughners, James Holmes, Adam Lanzas and Elliot Rodgers before we finally stand up to the craven politicians and the NRA and declare:

Sooner or later, this darkness has got to give.

“Enough Is Enough; No More Innocent blood”


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