"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The #JudgeBrendaWeaver saga, Part III - that racial slur that had to be erased

I had to start a new series of blogs about the atrocious behavior of Georgia State Judge Brenda Weaver, see Part I and Part II here - and the crew helping her in persecuting a journalist and an attorney, to the point of
  • financing a lawsuit against them out of her own "slush" account through which three counties, obviously appearing in front of "her" court as parties in litigation, regularly "financed" her "supplemental expenses" - in other words, regularly bribed her, as it happened also in Los Angeles County recently, where an identical scheme was exposed by attorney Dr. Richard Fine, PhD,
  • nominating to a judicial position the unscrupulous attorney, Mary Beth Priest, who agreed to counter-sue the journalist in an obviously frivolous defamation counterclaim for defamation of the court reporter; the judicial vacancy in question appeared when judge ran from the bench because of the racial slur that Mary Beth Priest helped keep out of the audio, transcript and public domain;  Mary Beth Priest was bought/bribed by Brenda Weaver not only with a judicial position, but also with plain old money, $17,000 out of her fund that was, according to witnesses, financed with bribes from 3 counties

  • nominating judge John Worcester to another Superior Court position at the same time with Mary Beth Priest, while John Worcester then inexplicably emerges as the judge signing the arrest warrant of Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey AND on the witness list in the same criminal proceeding - which was an absolute disqualification for Judge Worcester to sign the arrest warrant;
  • having Judge Widington who Brenda Weaver recommended to fill the vacancy of a magistrate because he will "do the job the way [she] would want it done" to handle the fallout in the criminal case after journalists picked up on the arrest of Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey (planned and boasted ahead of time by George Weaver, Brenda Weaver's husband, at the marina where they keep their boat and jet skis) - it was Judge Widington who quickly appeared in jail, and quickly coerced Thomason and Stookey, who was on the verge of a diabetic coma from starvation, to sign pre-trial "bond conditions" demanding both Thomason and Stookey to agree to warrantless searches, pee drug tests and to a stop of further journalistic investigation, agree to an order of protection which would functionally shut down Mark Thomason's newspaper by demanding them to keep away from the very public officials they usually investigated and wrote about;

  • having her own former law clerk Alison Sosebee who Brenda Weaver's husband George Weaver financially supported in her election campaign and who supported Brenda Weaver in her election campaign, charging the journalist and his attorney with felonies; 
  • having them arrested, harassed in two jails over the period of two days, starving them, while one of them was an elderly diabetic (there will be a separate blog about jail conditions and procedures in Fannin and Pickens County of the State of Georgia),
  • putting them into grand jury proceedings,
  • influencing that grand jury proceeding that, according to witnesses, initially did not want to return "a true bill"/indict (there will be a separate blog about that) and
  • backing off from criminal charges only after a public outcry.

By the way, there is a story to be told how Brenda Weaver herself obtained her own first judicial nomination - but that story is for another blog article.

The need for a new series of blogs about this dirty story arose because Brenda Weaver did not stop when she "agreed" to the dismissal of the charges against Mark Thomason and attorney Russel Stookey under pressure from the public and the journalistic community of the State of Georgia.

Instead, she pulled on the political connections she could pull to create a document that she could further use to discredit and destroy both Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey.

Let's remember that her connections were enough to thwart an FBI investigation (well, we know that FBI investigations can be easily thwarted nowadays, remember the little meeting in the airport between Loretty Lynch and Bill Clinton?), to thwart a disciplinary investigation despite TONS of documentary evidence reportedly submitted to JQC and despite MULTIPLE witnesses who were ready to come forward, but who JQC never bothered to interview.

Let's remember that her connections included the Governor who appointed TWO judges on her nominations EXACTLY at the time she wanted them to be nominated, and, as I am told by people with knowledge, her connections with Governors of the State of Georgia go all the way to her own initial nomination, as part of yet another "round table back room deal".

Let's remember that her connections included her former boyfriend the Speaker of the State of Georgia Legislature David Ralston, an attorney himself and an extremely "ethical" guy who, right before the jail ordeal with Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey happened, was found in an ethical violation as an attorney - and reacted by immediately appointing two of his own defense attorneys you know where - to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, bypassing the suggested recommendations by the State Bar of Georgia.

Sure, the Speaker may make such appointments independently.  And, sure that there is a conflict of interest in having the bar recommending attorneys (regulated by the judiciary) to regulate the judiciary. 

But, since in other circumstances the same Speaker usually followed recommendations of the Bar in appointing of attorneys to the JQC, here the Speaker surely created quite a different conflict of interest - preserving the "goodwill" of the judiciary to himself as a licensed attorney whose license was regulated by the judiciary. 

It is apparent how these things go - you appoint your defense attorney to "regulate" judges, so that you have a say which judge is to be regulated how, and the so-"regulated" judges will take it easy on regulating your own law license.

With the Speaker of the Legislature on her side, the Chairman of the JQC representing her in an FBI investigation - which, according to witnesses, was going full speed into a federal criminal indictment of Brenda Weaver, had an approval of a federal judge, and then quickly folded for an unknown reason with insider sources quoting political connections being used to influence the U.S. Attorneys' Office - Brenda Weaver obtained a dismissal of iron-clad complaints against her for her atrocious CRIMINAL misconduct.

I will separately run a blog summarizing conflicts of interest and providing a whole list of people who should have recused from this case for absolute disqualification - but didn't.

Here is what was reported by several witnesses who did not know one another and did not have a reason to lie, to Mark Thomason as a journalist, as to what happened in court before Judge Bradley.

A gentleman by the name of Robert Vivian, who is white, charged with arson, was out on bond.

The prosecution was alleging that the defendant was trying to intimidate a witness - and that was a bond violation.

The prosecution asserted that Robert Vivian went to a female witness's house and intimidated her at a certain day at a certain time.

Robert Vivian, the defendant, hired Judge Brenda Weaver's husband, George Weaver, to defend him in that proceeding - which should have sent Brenda Weaver far away from being even remotely associated with anything related to this proceeding based on her husband's status as a witness and his personal interest in the case.

George Weaver was present in court that day as Robert Vivian's lawyer.

Well, George Weaver presented to the court an exculpatory security video from a local Ace Hardware store, purchasing lumber and building materials at the very same time as he was accused being in another location, at the female witness's house, allegedly intimidating her.

One of Robert Vivian's helpers was African American by the name of Allan Green who built houses.

The parties were prepared to call witnesses, and the Judge, Judge Roger Bradley, reportedly said - "Who is our next witness? I do not have the name here". 

And that's when the Sheriff spoke up and said: "Oh, it's old Nigger Ray outside".

The judge then said: "I am sorry?"

Then the prosecutor, the Assistant DA Morris Martin said - "All we have is a nickname, I believe", and the Sheriff's Investigator Justin Turner said: "That's right, it's Nigger Ray!". 

And, at that point the investigator and the Sheriff, according to witnesses, elbowed each other in the belly and laughed.

At that point Judge Roger Bradley reportedly said: "Nigger Ray?  That's funny.  You know, there used to be a guy named Nigger Bob who lived behind the courthouse here, and everybody knew that he was a bootlegger. So, Nigger Bob would make his moonshine all through the week and sell it to everybody in the Blue Ridge.  As a matter of fact, I think I might have bought some moonshine from Nigger Bob before. So, considering the fact that our next witness is Nigger Ray, does anybody know if Nigger Ray is related to Nigger Bob?"

According to witnesses, during all of this being said, Brenda Weaver's husband George Weaver, defense attorney for defendant Robert Vivian, was interrupting the judge, and, as soon as the judge finished his statement, George Weaver immediately called for a recess.

Since the proceeding was not recorded by the stenographer, but was audio recorded, too, there should have been George Weaver's statements on the court recording interrupting Judge Bradley in his racist reminiscences.

In fact, witnesses recall George Weaver saying on record, interrupting Judge Bradley - "No, no, no, his name is NOT Nigger Ray.  His name is Allen DeRay Green, and I ask if this court can take a recess".

According to witnesses, George Weaver then comes out of the courtroom, where Mr. Green is standing in the corridor, looks right at Mr. Green and says: "Ray, you won't believe what they've called you in there.  You need to hire an attorney, you are gonna own this county." 

Then, George Weaver began to explain what happened in the courtroom to Allen Green.

Several witnesses interviewed by Mark Thomason about what happened who did not know each other (names of witnesses are known, but I will not publish them here as yet) confirmed the story independently of one another.

So - that was the story why Judge Bradley resigned from the bench, why the transcript and the audio, as the Judicial Qualifications Commission confirmed in its order of dismissal of FOUR disciplinary complaints against Judge Brenda Weaver, who was the wife of a WITNESS in the proceeding where the sensitive information about the judge's, the sheriff's, the sheriff's investigator's and her own husband's statements disappeared without a trace from the transcript AND from the official court audio recording, did not have that story recorded and reflected in the official court record.

Here is what JQC "found" in the order of dismissal:

Yet, the Brenda Weaver-bought Judicial Qualifications Commission had to know, based on evidence provided to them, that Senior Judge Martha Christian DID have much more than "innuendo" or "speculation" to keep the case going and grant an investigation of the CRIMINAL TAMPERING OF THE COURT AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPT - but for some inexplicable reason did not do that.  It had affidavits of witnesses as to what was said that day in the courtroom - but chose not to interview them.

And, according to Mark Thomason who was allowed (not the first time, though, the first time Judge Christian allowed only attorneys to hear the tape) to hear the audio - and only in chambers of the judge. 

The hearing in chambers was with a court reporter, but somehow Mark Thomason has a hard time obtaining the transcript of that particular proceeding, that includes, according to Mark Thomason, arguments with Judge Christian that whenever the offensive racist language was supposed to be on the audio, there was a conspicuous long pause clearly indicating that the audio was "cleaned up". 

Moreover, the judge allowed the stenographer, the Defendant in the civil action for access to record, to CONTROL THE EVIDENCE and to show the actual audio tape - thus enabling her to stop it and start it and skip whatever portions she did not want to be heard.  In fact, this is NOT how evidence is to be shown in court, especially in such a contested matter, and the experienced Senior Judge Martha Christian cannot pretend she did not know it.

Rhonda Stubblefield's equipment containing the audio HAD to be SEIZED, submitted to a neutral court expert investigator to be SEQUESTERED in court and reviewed only with the help of a neutral court operator to show the evidence, and the Defendant should not have been allowed to handle the disputed evidence herself.

Moreover, in view of accusations of tampering with the records, the case should have been immediately transferred out of the court which was accused of tampering with the court records, to a completely different area where people who could be witnesses or perpetrators in such tampering would not have access to the evidence.

But that would have been done if proceedings were to be handled honestly.

What happened in these proceedings is:

  • Judge Martha Christian removed the hearing of the audio tape from the public courtroom in camera;
  • ordered it heard in camera first only by herself and attorneys - even though that audio WAS MADE PUBLIC because the Sheriff acknowledged to Mark Thomason later that he and his buddies were allowed to hear the same audio tape that was held in such secrecy by the court in an informal setting "around the water cooler";
  • then allowed the tape to be heard with participation of the parties - Mark Thomason and Rhonda Stubblefield, but allowed Rhonda Stubblefield to handle the equipment - raising the question why Rhonda Stubblefield was needed for that since she was needed for the initial review of the same audio tape by the judge and attorneys only;
  • allowed the equipment to be handled during review by the Defendant;
  • never ordered sequestration of the equipment and of the audio - ENABLING further tampering;
  • scolded the petitioner for raising the obvious issues of tampering with the court records, when he heard the conspicuous pauses in the audio that did not match SWORN witness accounts as to what happened; and
  • dismissed the proceedings quickly - because the obviously cooked transcript matched the obviously cooked audio of the court records.

Moreover, after the judge dismissed the petition for open records AND the respondent withdrew and agreed to dismissal of her defamation counterclaim, the judge somehow accepted a motion in a now dismissed proceeding where the judge already LOST JURISDICTION for attorney fees - because, as Brenda Weaver claimed in her letter to Mark Thomason, Brenda Weaver considered that the court reporter "prevailed".

Only after Stubblefield's new attorney Mr. Herman, Mary Beth Priest's 80-year-old law partner who stepped into the case after Mary Beth Priest was safely bought off by Brenda Weaver out of her bribe account AND by nomination to the "friendly" Governor for a judicial position made a faux pas, a slip of the tongue, demanding that the COUNTY taxpayers not suffer more than they already did, having to pay for Ms. Stubblefield's expenses - which was a CONFIRMATION OF DOUBLE BRIBERY - by the County to Brenda Weaver and by Brenda Weaver to Mary Priest and Rhonda Stubblefield - that Judge Christian summoned the remaining dregs of decency and dismissed the motion for attorney fees against Mark Thomason AND attorney Russell Stookey, the motion that she should never have considered in the first place.

Yet, even such an admission did not cause Judge Christian to reopen the case of access to records and court records tampering.  After all, she had her own judicial position to worry about.

By no stretch of imagination can SUCH proceedings be called "honest".

So, contrary to what the Judicial Qualifications Commission concluded, the fact that the (cooked) transcript matched the (cooked) audio was not the END, but was supposed to be the BEGINNING of an honest disciplinary AND CRIMINAL investigation against Judge Brenda Weaver, the court reporter Rhonda Stubblefield, and her attorney (now judge) Mary Beth Priest, and especially so because, according to Mark Thomason, court reporter Rhonda Stubblefield called him on the phone returning his calls for the audio (before the lawsuit) and, while being on speakerphone, in the presence of another witness, admitted that she was TOLD by Judge Weaver to not show in the transcript or audio anything that "you guys in the media are seeking".

But, the question now is - who is going to conduct that criminal investigation?

The Sheriff's office that is INVOLVED in the case as a co-conspirator and witness?

The District Attorney's office that is involved in the case as a co-conspirator and witness?

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office that is involved in the case as a co-conspirator after the fact and witness of Brenda Weaver pulling on her political strings and thwarting the FBI investigation, as well as the JQC disciplinary investigation?

How about honestly appointing a special investigator to investigate this DIRTY MESS?

Where an independent journalist and an independent attorney investigating public corruption of a judicial officer are cruelly prosecuted - and now defamed - by the same judicial officer?

The officer whose HUSBAND, for God's sake, was a WITNESS in the initial proceeding and who should not have been near the case?

As to how exactly courts cook transcripts and audios, the techniques that could have been used by stenographer Rhonda Stubblefield and Judge Brenda Weaver -

and I have a personal experience with such a thing, and will tell you about

  • an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute me for exposing that cooking in a criminal proceeding, about
  • a successful attempt to prosecute me in a disciplinary proceeding for that, and
  • about a successful attempt to prosecute another attorney, in another state, in a disciplinary proceeding, but for the same thing - for PROVING, through hard irrefutable evidence that courts cook their own records - 

Stay tuned.

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