"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.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The #JudgeBrendaWeaver saga, Part IX - how to tamper with court audio recordings, get away with it and quash members of the public who want to expose that criminal behavior. A comparative table with a doppleganger case from Louisiana.

This is my 9th blog in the new series of blogs about misconduct of State of Georgia Judge Brenda Weaver who sought to retaliate against and quash people who wanted to expose her tampering with court records by any means, pulling all of her powerful connections, through egregious abuse of power and paying off co-conspirators with money or lucrative promotions.

You can see blogs, Part I through VIII, on the right of this blog in the list of articles.

I also wrote on this blog before the Georgia case even happened, about a similar case in Louisiana, when an attorney was suspended for a year for providing hard proof (testimony of a technician who verified that tampering of a court audio file did occur) that a court audio was tampered with - and the way it was tampered with and who was trying to block the attorney's access to that audio and was paid off for doing that, and who benefited from such tampering, clearly pointed at the judge whose misconduct was the basis of the attorney's actions - discovery as part of due diligence in preparation to a motion to recuse the judge.

When comparing these two cases, one cannot help thinking that Judge Brenda Weaver from Georgia received training from Judge Phyllis Keaty from Louisiana as to how to tamper with court audio files and quash those who want to access that tampered record and prove that it is tampered.

So far, I created a comparative table of these two cases, and am going to publish documents from both cases showing how exactly the tampering - and cover up - occurred.


Why court audio was tampered with

A judge (Phyllis Keaty) failed to disclose a disqualifying financial conflict of interest in a divorce proceeding, namely, that the judge held a financial interest in the real estate company the judge appointed to sell the property of spouses as part of equitable distribution

A judge (Richard Bradley), a sheriff and a sheriff’s investigator repeatedly used a racial slur about an African American witness, laughing and joking about it, during an open court criminal proceeding
The essence of tampering with court audio

The judge’s disclosure was separately recorded and added to the court audio, and the transcript was changed to match the changed by the court stenographer to match court audio

The use by the judge and the police officers of the racial slur was erased from the court audio, and the transcript was changed by the court stenographer to match the changed court audio

Name of the judge or judges involved

Phyllis Keaty, Susan Theall
Roger Bradley, Brenda Weaver, Mary Beth Priest, John Worcester, Alan Wigington

Connections between judges involved and roles of judges in the access to records case

Susan Theall reportedly represented attorney Christine Mire in her own divorce proceedings, as well as was Christine Mire’s former employer and close friend, and thus knew a lot of privileged information about Christine Mire.

Susan Theall replaced Judge Keaty on the bench when Keaty was promoted to appellate court, after
Susan Theall:
·         Represented the opponent of Christine Mire’s client in front of Judge Keaty, while
·         Employing Judge Keaty’s law clerk as a secretary;
·         Refused to disqualify herself from the case (same as the judge) claiming the judge’s law clerk will be barred from access to the divorce file as a secretary for Susan Theall;
·         Disqualified herself from the divorce case of Christine Mire’s cleint only after Judge Keaty’s law clerk/secretary actually authored a letter to Christine Mire as secretary of Susan Theall, confirming that the law clerk of judge Keaty was not barred from handling the case as a secretary to a party’s attorney, on top of handling the same as a law clerk for the presiding judge;
·         Then, Theall represented the court stenographer opposing Christine Mire’s and her client’s access to the audio of proceedings when the transcript did not match their recollection of what occurred in court;
·         Actively supported Keaty in her election campaign to become an appellate judge, being publicly part of Keaty’s “online community” in her election campaign;
·         One year after her support of Keaty in Keaty’s election campaign, Theall took Keaty’s seat on the bench;
·         Despite the fact that Theall, as Christine Mire’s own attorney in her own divorce action, was barred by attorney-client privilege from disclosing any information regarding Christine Mire’s supposed psychological conditions, Theall testified against Mire in her disciplinary proceeding brought based on Keaty’s complaint and claimed that Mire has psychological problems and draws out litigation for frivolous reasons.

Judge Roger Bradley was the main culprit, uttering racial slurs against the African American witness Allen DeRae Green

Judge Brenda Weaver ordered stenographer Rhonda Stubblefield (according to the stenographer’s statement to journalist Mark Thomason) to erase the racial slurs from the transcript and the audio.

Judge Brenda Weaver used Judge Bradley’s “slush account” funded by the three local counties to pay off Rhonda Stubblefield’s attorney Mary Beth Priest, $17,000, for defense against the open records petition by Mark Thomason and for counterclaim against Mark Thomason; and nominated Mary Priest during those proceedings to become a judge in the place of Roger Bradley.

Judge Priest currently employs Roger Bradley’s secretary Wilma Housley who is reportedly and likely privy to how the money was paid by Judge Weaver out of Housley’s former employer’s slush account to Housley’s new employer Mary Priest.

Judge John Worcester was at the same time the judge who signed Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey’s arrest warrant and was listed as a witness for the prosecution in the criminal proceeding commenced by Judge Weaver’s former law clerk and employee of Judge Weaver’s husband Alison Sosebee.

Judge/magistrate Alan Wigington, who urgently came to jail to force pre-trial conditions on Mark Thomason and his attorney (who was on the brink of a diabetic coma), in order to take care of the fallout in the media when arrest of Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey became known to the press, was an employee of Brenda Weaver in one of her “accountability courts”, and who she supported for a magistrate position with a statement that he supposedly be the only person who would do things the way she would want them done
Who raised the issue and how

A client in a divorce proceeding and his attorney (Mire), through discovery efforts in preparation of a motion to recuse a judge, through a lawsuit seeking access to records, and in a disciplinary proceeding against the attorney, brought by the judge

A journalist (Thomason) and his attorney (Stookey), through Open Records Requests, an access-to-records petition to the court, and a subpoena upon a bank to access a public record, a court operating account (after that account was used by the interfering judge to pay off the attorney for the stenographer)

Names of stenographers who prepared the transcripts and the audio

Kathy Mathews
Rhonda Stubblefield
Actions of stenographers when requests were made for audio to verify court transcripts

Became defensive in an e-mail to the attorney requesting access to the audio, claimed that such a request is a challenge to her professional integrity, then hired an attorney close to the judge involved, then hired an attorney who also represented the judge’s law clerk, moved for a protective order and sanctions against the party and attorney requesting access to the audio

Counter-sued for defamation
Consequences for people who made the request to access the records
Christine Mire lost her law license for a year
Mark Thomason and his attorney Russel Stookey were arrested, thrown in jail, starved, humiliated, mistreated, deprived of medical treatment and reasonable accommodations for disabilities (Stookey).

Now that the disciplinary action against Judge Weaver is dismissed by a “friendly” Judicial Qualifications Commission where members of the Commission were either representing Weaver in a related proceeding, employed her daughter, were appointed by her former boyfriend, or whose livelihoods were “regulated”/controlled by Judge Weaver through their law licenses – it is likely that the State Bar of the State of Georgia, using the language of the dismissal bashing the journalist and his attorney for supposedly making false allegations against a good and honest judge for personal reasons, will proceed against attorney Russell Stookey.

Mark Thomason lost his publishing business since, reportedly, Judge Weaver’s and the Fannin County Sheriff’s friends visited advertisers with his publishing business and threatened consequences if they continue to buy advertisement with Mark Thomason.

Was tampering with court audio proven and how?
Yes, through testimony of a technician who confirmed that the audio was “spliced” and the disclosure of Judge Keaty’s disqualifying conflict of interest added to it.

No, Judge Christian handling the Open Records Petition of Mark Thomason, dismissed the petition after claiming that, since the transcript matches the audio, the petition became pointless.

The audio which contained, according to Mark Thomason who heard it, conspicuous pauses where the racial slurs, according to witnesses in open court proceedings before Judge Bradley, were supposed to appear, was not released to Mark Thomason or the public.

Judge Christian
·         never ordered sequestration of Rhonda Stubblefield’s equipment during the proceedings,
·         improperly allowed Rhonda Stubblefield to be the person showing the audio during the court proceedings and operating the equipment,  
·         scolded and stifled Mark Thomason’s remarks that the pauses on the audio demonstrate that the audio was tampered with and
·         never ordered technical expertise of authenticity of the audio, therefore acting as an ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT in tampering with the court audio.

Was the tampered audio made public?

Were people responsible for tampering with court records punished or disciplined in any way?

Did people who brought tampering with the court audio to public attention suffer any retaliation?

Yes, loss of livelihood
Yes, arrest, criminal charges and loss of livelihood.
Were people who helped judges keep tampering of the court audio under wrap receive any kind of benefit from the judiciary system?


Attorney #SusanTheall got help to become a judge in Judge Keaty’s place, for her “loyalty”;

Stenographer #KathyMathews retained her business with the courts for her “loyalty”


Judge Weaver’s former law clerk Alison Sosebee was re-elected as the DA, and sworn in for her 2nd term in December, 2016.  There are rumors that Judge Weaver prepares her as her own successor in the judicial position. 

Attorney Mary Beth Priest who represented the stenographer against an access to audio request and was paid off by Judge Weaver ($17,000 from Judge Roger Bradley’s slush fund account financed by three counties, Fannin, Pickens and Gilmer) – same as attorney Susan Theall in Lousiana – was nominated by Weaver and appointed a judge, for the vacancy after Judge Roger Bradley’s resignation.

John Worcester was nominated and appointed to the judicial position at the same time as Mary Priest, and paid off the debt of loyalty by signing the arrest warrant against Mark Thomason and Russell Stookey, while appearing as a witness in the same criminal proceeding.

Alan Wigington remains a magistrate, after paying off his debt of loyalty to Brenda Weaver, imposing humiliating pre-trial conditions on Mark Thomason (a healthy man in his prime) and his attorney Russell Stookey (a disabled diabetic veteran in his 70s), while Russell Stookey was not given food for a long time and was likely incompetent to sign such documents. 

Both documents were signed without an attorney present.  Russell Stookey whose state of mind because of low blood sugar from starvation, was not qualified to act as Mark Thomason’s attorney, and, to my knowledge, was not hired as such and certainly could not be appointed as such since he was also arrested and in jail.

Stenographer #RhondaStubblefield retained her business with the court, in return for her “loyalty” to judge Weaver

You can see from the table that, in both cases:

  • court stenographers were obviously complicit with judges in tampering with the audio court recordings and transcripts - all the way while claiming in writing how proud they are of their professional integrity and how eager they are to maintain it, see, for example, how Kathy Mathews expressed it in her first defensive e-mail to attorney Christine Mire:
Without complicity of court stenographers, there is no way that the audio that is in exclusive control of court stenographers, on their own equipment, would become altered.

  • Judges in both states universally jumped to protect one another and "save face" instead of making judicial misconduct known, despite a disciplinary rule requiring attorneys and judges to report judicial misconduct;
  • Attorneys in both states were rewarded - by money and/or judicial positions - for helping judges and stenographers to cover up criminal misconduct;
  • The culprits who tampered with court records or ordered such tampering were not punished, but
  • Those members of the public who tried to do the right thing, get access to the altered audio and prove that it was altered through a technical expertise, were severely punished by loss of their livelihood (Mire, Thomason).

What is a remedy for that?

Remedies are easily ascertainable and are easy to accomplish.

  • Cameras in the courtroom - if the public was allowed to independently videotape what was happening in Judge Bradley's courtroom and in Judge Christian's courtroom, there would be no question as to what occurred when and no possibility to cook the transcript and the audio file;
  • An effective, citizen-operated system of discipline of judges - the "new and improved" Judicial Qualifications Commission in the State of Georgia where investigators and prosecutors represent judges, employ judge's relatives, are appointed by judge's former boyfriends, and have their own licenses and livelihoods regulated by the very judges they supposedly investigate and prosecute, is obviously a sham.  Public citizen panels, picked the same way as a jury is picked, must preside, publicly, over complaints against judges. 
  • Complaints against judges must be handled by grand juries, and citizens must have direct access to grand juries, without the barrier of prosecutors, "legal advisers" of the grand juries.  Not only it is inappropriate to allow a PARTY in the proceeding to be the legal advisor of a supposedly neutral court-like entity, but, prosecutors have their own licenses regulated by judges and would not allow judges to be prosecuted for that reason alone, without even speaking about egregious personal conflicts of interest like the ones existing in the Weaver-Sosebee's relationship;
  • Removal of attorney regulation from the hands of the judiciary that controls attorney independence (and ability to properly represent their clients) in situations of judicial misconduct, and abolition of attorney regulation by the government, since attorneys (especially civil rights attorneys) must SUE the government on behalf of their clients, and thus their livelihoods and independence of judgment and work cannot be CONTROLLED by the same government that they are suing on behalf of their clients.  Then, the government will not be able to use attorney regulation like it was used against attorney Mire, like it can now be used against attorney Stookey - as a sword of the corrupt judiciary instead of a shield for consumers of legal services.
I will continue to report on the Brenda Weaver and the Phyllis Keaty's cases of court audio tampering (in Georgia and Louisiana, respectively), with publication of documents.

Stay tuned.


  1. Tatiana, I appreciate your exhaustive, detailed commentaries on this appalling incident involving the collusion between Judge Weaver and DA Sosebee in Fannin County, GA, to effect the false arrest on trumped-up charges of publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney, Russell Stookey.
    Please note the "Judge Widdington" you reference is actually Judge Wigington.
    I look forward to your next commentary.
    Ralph Garner, Blue Ridge, GA