It’s the climate

This article originally appeared on the US~Observer.

A picture is worth a thousand words. At least that’s what I’m told. I wonder what this image will conjure to those involved in the making of the subject matter.

We live in a society, now, that relies on others to clean up after us, all the while believing and bellyaching that global change must occur in order to save our planet from a “man-made” planetary climate change.

For those of you old enough to remember, back in the ’70s there used to be public service announcements that would show images of rivers and streams, forests and meadows, all covered in garbage and then an image of an old Native American man with tears streaming down his face. The message was clear and simple. Perhaps if we had listened then, we wouldn’t be living in an over-polluted world now. The PSAs were eventually pulled, the lesson was lost and the littering continues unabated.

Perhaps if this personal responsibility were enforced and littering fines were actually levied and not just left to be another unenforced law, things would change. I wonder, too, just how much money would have been raised through the fining of these wrongdoers. Would it have offset the tax burden on law-abiding, non-polluting citizens?

When traveling abroad, I found the amount of trash in the streets was a telltale sign of how good a country was. Unfortunately for us, we are no longer leading by example. Living in this service-oriented, capitalist-driven experiment has left us lazy and complacent. Someone gets paid to clean up after us, right? Fortunately for Grants Pass, Oregon, where “It’s the Climate” is the motto, this is thankfully true and the massive amount of personal debris that remained on the sidewalks and in the streets after a celebratory parade was removed by city employees. Generally, that’s a thankless job.

Thank you.

I, however, wish we didn’t need you. I wish people lived with a sense of personal responsibility for their environment and world, a world which is much better off with far less garbage destroying its beauty, ecosystems, rivers, oceans and forests.

And for those of you who throw your crap out of your car or onto the streets, or just leave it lying around: Shame on you. You are worse than locust plagues that leave nothing behind. Trash your house, not mine.

It is truly the current climate of personal thinking that has mired us in our own muck and left our world aching. I wonder, however, if it is too late or if we can learn the lessons of a lone Indian crying for what has already been lost.

Can we ever live in a climate of change for the better, or are we already doomed by our own overindulgent laziness? Time will tell.

–Ron Lee

Everything I know about politics I learned from ‘Star Wars’

This article originally appeared on the US~Observer.

“Duh, duh, duh, dah-dee-duh, da-dee-duh…” The Imperial March by John Williams

You know it; it’s a piece of musical composition magic that evokes images of dark lords and ominous agendas of absolute control over everything good and free.

Never before had the concept of politics been introduced to me in my youth better than when I was gripped by the intense sci-fi drama that was “Star Wars.” I was 7 years old when “Star Wars” first made its way onto the silver screen, and the impact it had on me was life-altering.

“Star Wars” made real-world history exciting for me. For not only was the drama of good versus evil prevalent in our history as a country, it is all that has ever been throughout world history. For instance, the similarity between our forefathers’ fight for independence from an oppressive monarchy and that of a rebel alliance fighting a dark emperor who yoked the people to his will was not lost on me. However, in “Star Wars” the rebel alliance fought to restore its representative form of governance (the Old Republic, as it was called in the films). Our forefathers fought to establish the first (and only) of its kind, constitutional republic. So perhaps the analogy is better served in these modern times of ours as our country devolves into a centrally controlled regulatory state that determines for its people what is best for them.

“Star Wars’” bold vision of a political polarity became affirmed for me as truth when I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the political differences between a “free” state and that of a “controlled” state.

I was traveling through Europe with my grandparents at about the same time “The Empire Strikes Back” was first released, and we toured West Berlin. It was a glorious city with happy people who were very willing to show hospitality and friendliness. What a stark contrast to that of East Berlin. Even the passage into the East through the famed Checkpoint Charlie was reminiscent of moving through an Imperial Stormtrooper stronghold. As we moved deeper into the city, I looked out of our tour bus’ window and noticed that the citizens of East Berlin walked solemnly, with heads held low. There were no cheery faces, no glee, no children’s laughing voices echoing through the streets playing in the parks. But there were armed army men scattered throughout watching the people move about the streets.

Our tour guide, an East German who got on at the checkpoint along with a new driver, refused to answer many of the questions we asked him, simple questions like “Is life good here?” and “Don’t you ever want to leave?” I mean we were free Americans trying to understand an oppressed people’s perspective. At one stop, a beautiful cathedral in East Berlin, our tour guide stepped off the bus with us. He walked close and spoke softly, “I couldn’t answer your questions; the bus driver watches me.” He went on to tell us that he had evacuated his family and had come back to his home to get a few things but was caught by the closing of the border between the East and West. He told us that he missed getting back to them by five minutes. His eyes welled with tears as he told us he hadn’t seen them since, that he only had limited contact with them over the years. “But,” he said, and I will remember this always, “life is good if you do what you are told.” He went on to say he had a good job and a nice apartment, but all he wanted was to be with his family — something he said could happen for him soon. He explained that East Germany had been “releasing” retired senior citizens to the West because it couldn’t afford to pay for them, and that he wasn’t that far away. It was then that I realized the polarizing truth between the light and dark side of what George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars universe, coined as “the Force.” Not only was it a way to look at the world in a quasi-religious fashion, it was the clear-cut difference between political styles: oppression and freedom.

“Star Wars” introduced the concept of freedom to me by showing that darkness could manifest itself through the complete control of a people, and it helped me realize that my life had meaning beyond being a production drone or faceless stormtrooper controlled by some far off regime. It was through my imaginary battles between Jedi and dark lords that I concluded I would dare to fight for freedom and for my country, which embodied freedom’s very essence; that I would fight for everything that is just and true and right; that I would be a Jedi.

Here we are today. Our government is taking control. Everything is emergent, now. The economy, healthcare, the automotive industry, tobacco, immigration, the Internet, Ebola: all are dire issues, and guess who is here to save you from these catastrophes — the U.S. government. Like Palpatine, the once-senator from Naboo turned emperor in “Star Wars” who created a war and rallied the old republic behind him (and his ultimate agenda for controlling everything) by propagating a fear of the proposed alternatives, Obama the once-senator from Illinois turned president has presented to the public the frightening future without government intervention, and the picture he paints is of a broke country whose people are sick and intolerant of each other. In reality, the opposite is true and has been proven time and again throughout history. Less control has always equaled more prosperity.

Bottom line, a just society is one based on personal freedoms and restrictions on government control; anything else becomes an evil empire, and people are waking up to this fact. They are seeing the writing on the wall and viewing reality through the fictitious truths told on the silver screen like in “Star Wars,” where a righteous few fight for their sovereignty against all odds. The Rebel Alliance, the Jedi, the common people and the little Ewoks all rose to meet the challenge and fight against corrupt evil control. Will it happen here, now? Will a united alliance emerge to rescue the country and save the day? Cheesy, I know, but true nonetheless.

With all of my heart, I hope the political lessons of “Star Wars” have not been lost on the multitude who found themselves so enthralled with the films.

–By Ron Lee

Our Broken System: Lessons from Ferguson

This article was published originally by the US~Observer.

We, the people, lost in Ferguson, Missouri — not because the people took to the streets and smashed and burned and shot and looted, however mindless those activities were and made humanity seem. It was a greater loss, the further erosion of our rights and just superiority as sovereign citizens above government officials who are nothing more than our employees. In a system of justice that I know — and report on regularly — that lies and steals and cheats to get its man, I know, too, it protects its own with the same vigilance. And the lack of an indictment was, to me, no exception. It was a reminder that the system is broken and the media manipulative, that the world we live in is controlled — and not fairly or justly.

What I personally took away from the explanation of how and why the grand jury came to its decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson is that had he been anyone other than a police officer, he would likely be facing charges.

Let’s be real. A grand jury isn’t a magical group of people who know all and see all; it is a group of people who get to see only the evidence the prosecuting attorney decides to show them. So if the prosecutor has an agenda to not prosecute, the evidence will reflect that agenda. And the grand jury will come back with the corresponding ruling. It’s that simple, and everything is supported by the government’s own statistics. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in only 11 of them.

It really is an “us” and “them” thing now. And no matter what your ethnicity, we as citizens just got reminded that to be them means they get treated differently than if they were us.

It’s sad. And what is worse is you have the mainstream media out there promoting this as either right (Fox News: a triumph of a system that you can trust in) or wrong, but both sides are calling it a race issue and not seeing it for what it really is — a miscarriage of justice, pure and simple.

Police agencies have paid out millions of dollars in civil liability claims across this country where bad police officers have killed, maimed or otherwise harmed the citizens they are supposed to protect. But few, if any, ever face criminal charges for their obviously criminal actions. If they are held civilly liable, they should be held criminally liable as well.

Every day, there is more evidence of corrupt police officers overstepping their bounds and abusing their authority. And there are more people facing false charges, stacked by scum-sucking prosecuting attorneys who just want a conviction. What a joke.

So what is the solution?

In our day and age of technology, there is no reason that every police officer shouldn’t be mandated to wear a personal recording device to ensure that all of the unadulterated evidence is available to the public.

Also, we have to eliminate the immunity prosecutors and judges enjoy. With their protections gone, bad police officers will have no one to protect them. The system will be taken back by the public it is supposed to serve.

We have to ensure our justice system blindly seeks justice and the corruption that now plagues it is extinguished.

I invite all righteous prosecutors, police officers, public defenders and truly unbiased judges to join me at the US~Observer as we continue our fight against everything that is wrong in the system. Join us as contributors and expose those who violate their oaths and harm the citizens.

We have to make sure that what happened in Ferguson, and in every other city where the system has overstepped its bounds, doesn’t ever happen again. That is something I am sure we can all agree on.

Read my last article, “Obstruction of Justice.”

–Ron Lee

 

Fighting for innocence from behind bars

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are in prison. You’re there for one of the most heinous crimes anyone can be accused of; and you are, in fact, innocent. You see, you were a wrestler and, after a severe knee injury, a wrestling referee. You loved the sport and being able to mentor the young wrestlers in your community, especially those who were having trouble in life. You had been likened to being everyone’s big brother.

One night, you allowed two of these troubled youths to spend the night at your home. It’s your first mistake. Because of the pain in your knees, you take some strong, yet effective, pain medication and head off to bed, leaving the two youths unaccompanied. That’s your second mistake.

While you were sleeping, one of the boys, Patrick O’Neil, who just happens to be a former Washington state champion, “rapes the other young man,” Steven Atter, who is semi-homeless at the time. According to Atter, O’Neil then “messes” with you while you’re “out” by taking sexually explicit pictures in what could be considered a professional “setup” and then places the pictures on your computer.

When you find out what happened, you confront the young “rapist.” And the next thing you know, he has gone to the police and accused you of sex abuse. The police immediately place the blame on you, because you are the “adult.” They start their one-sided investigation, ignoring your story. When other young wrestlers, including Atter, try to tell the police that it was O’Neil who molested them and many others and that you would never do anything out of line with any of them, the police ignore this extremely relevant and valid evidence. A corrupt prosecutor named Mark Roe becomes involved. In your third mistake, you hire an allegedly incompetent, thieving attorney named John Crowley. The news media start their false, yet sensational, stories about the “monster who rapes children.” And your life begins to take an uncontrollable, downward spiral that you can’t stop — all for a series of mistakes, none of which were crimes.

It plays like a movie, doesn’t it? A sick, twisted tale of deceit, where you are the innocent victim. Sadly, this is the true story of Eugene Brian Garvie, who has had to endure this miscarriage of justice since 2006.

Enter the US~Observer

In what can be described as a break in the case, the US~Observer began investigating and found more than enough evidence that proved O’Neil was the sexual predator and not Garvie. In the article “Wrestling Champ O’Neil — Serial Rapist? Innocent Referee in Prison?,” we outlined our case of Garvie’s innocence — the bombshell being, of course, the statement of the supposed victim himself, Atter. There were also several other people who stepped forward claiming to be sexually abused by O’Neil and also indicating that there were as many as 100 other victims. We made all of our evidence available to Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe’s office, who should have pursued O’Neil and applied this information to Garvie’s case. But what came of it? Nothing!

Then we ran our follow-up, “‘Serial Rapist’ Headline Brings Silence,” and again we were met with… silence. Not one person stepped forward in objection or denial of anything that had been written; no demand for retraction or lawsuit claiming libel was received. That in itself can be offered as proof that if it were untrue, Edward Snook and the US~Observer would have been sued long ago. It proves, as well, how depraved and destructive the criminal justice system in Snohomish County, Washington, is — to let an innocent man rot in prison while the real perpetrator is free and, according to US~Observer sources, (up to six months ago) is reportedly snorting cocaine and still raping other young men.

Garvie’s legal options

Garvie was sentenced to 158 months to life at his sentencing by Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Wynne on Aug. 1, 2007, after Garvie gave in and agreed to a coerced plea deal. The plea agreement was deceitfully crafted by Snohomish County prosecutor Roe’s office and Garvie’s then-attorney Crowley. Biased and prejudiced Judge Wynne rubber-stamped the corrupt agreement.

In short, Garvie wanted to enter an “Alford Plea,” which means that the defendant is pleading guilty because he believes he can’t win at trial, yet wants to maintain his innocence. Garvie pleaded to four felony counts of sex abuse, when he had no idea whatsoever that he would eventually be forced to admit his guilt or remain in prison for life.

At sentencing, Garvie stated: “Yes, I have something to say, Your Honor. For the record, I’m taking advantage of the plea because, with the allegation and lack of testimony from my witness, I feel I will be convicted. I see it as my best course of action. I am maintaining my innocence.” (Ex. H, Sentencing Hearing, at 5-6.)

WA State CrR 4.2(d) provides: “The court shall not accept a plea of guilty, without first determining that it is made voluntarily, competently, and with an understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea. The court shall not enter a judgment upon a plea of guilty unless it is satisfied that there is a factual basis for the plea.” Wynne has absolutely no excuse for accepting the plea.

Without question, Wynne violated the law; Roe conducted a false and malicious prosecution; and Garvie’s own attorney did nothing to help his innocent client.

Garvie is now represented by a highly qualified attorney from Spokane, Washington, named Ken Kato, who on Nov. 4 filed a personal restraint petition (PRP) with the Court of Appeals Division 1 of the State of Washington. The US~Observer has closely reviewed the PRP that Kato prepared and filed for Garvie, and we find it to be not only sufficient but expertly drafted. The only question is: Will the Court of Appeals cover up for Wynne’s corrupt acceptance of Garvie’s extorted plea or will it hold Wynne accountable?

The system’s obstruction of justice?

In the article “Wrestling Champ O’Neil – Serial Rapist? Innocent Referee in Prison?,” we told how eyewitness Atter had been threatened and basically told to remain silent regarding the truth about this case or he would be “imprisoned.” Well, Atter did not remain silent and he is currently in jail; is this a coincidence? We are informed that people are currently attempting to place money on his inmate account to enable him to make calls and that Roe or those he is directing have intercepted the funds in an effort to silence him. We are also informed that Garvie supporter Michelle Hill has been contacted by Roe’s office for the purpose of taking part in a deposition. Hill reportedly has refused to cooperate; we commend her for this action. You see, Roe is plenty worried after reading Kato’s PRP. He is reacting as any cornered criminal would; he is attempting to obfuscate the truth.

It is highly recommend you get on the computer and read the entire history of this case at www.usobserver.com. You will be shocked and most likely find that this is probably the most alarming and tragic story you have ever read — one that not only reads like a movie, but will most likely end up being one. The ending, however, has yet to be written. It will either be an inspiring film about how an innocent man was vindicated or a tragedy describing how the system fails the innocent and lauds the truly guilty.

–Edward Snook and Ron Lee

Note: Anyone with information on those involved in destroying Brian Garvie’s life are urged to contact Edward Snook at 541-474-7885 or by email sent to editor@usobserver.com. All communications are strictly confidential.

What will John Goodman do?

SCREENSHOT/John Goodman appeared in court on Wednesday, but his sentencing was delayed.

This article was published originally by the US~Observer.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Jurors have found John Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter vehicular homicide, failure to render aid, and vehicular homicide, failure to render aid, for a second time. Goodman’s sentencing was scheduled for Wednesday but delayed until today. Appeals, bond and other issues will be addressed in the near future. So what does all of this mean for Goodman?

Statistically, there’s a 94.4 percent chance that he will lose his appeal in Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal. However, I believe Goodman has a higher chance of winning. But the figures don’t lie; it will be a challenge. Even if his appeal is granted, he’s back to square one: a new trial.

Considering other case(s) similar to Goodman’s, there’s no telling whether he will be granted bond today. Sitting in jail, Goodman will have limited time to weigh his options. Another key issue is Goodman’s financial situation. Despite being deemed the “Billionaire Polo Mogul,” it’s likely the mainstream media had it all wrong, very wrong. Goodman’s status is now likely to be indigent. That means broke!

Despite the evidence in favor of his innocence, his attorneys were limited at trial by Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath regarding what evidence they could use, especially considering this was Goodman’s second trial. (The state intentionally disposed of Goodman’s vehicle — the main piece of evidence.) The jurors did not see every piece of evidence. Furthermore, I believe Goodman’s attorneys were easily outperformed by prosecutors Alan Johnson and Sherri Collins.

Other options are still on the plate for Goodman, and we don’t expect him to be idle in proving his innocence. Facing a possible 16-year sentence, Goodman should consider all options, as the choices he’s made thus far have fallen well short of proving his innocence. Having looked at every aspect of Goodman’s case, I believe he should not have been convicted and his innocence is still possible. If he makes the right decisions moving forward, which now requires more help from family and friends, it’s likely Goodman’s conviction could be overturned. Having the right team in his corner is more important now than ever.

What will Goodman do?

Subscribe to US~Observer news alerts to stay informed on this case.

–Joseph Snook

Note: The US~Observer urges anyone with information of any nature on Judge Jeffrey Colbath or any others involved in this case to contact us at 541-474-7885 or by email to editor@usobserver.com.

Utah lawmaker: The key to statehood rights is the transfer of public lands

This article was published originally by the US~Observer.

If we fail to secure our statehood rights to the transfer of the public lands, it will not be because it is illegal, unconstitutional or impossible. If we fail to enforce this “solemn compact” of statehood, it will be because our leaders lack the knowledge or the courage to do what has already been done.

Raising a voice

As much as 90 percent of the lands in Illinois, Missouri and several other states were federally controlled for decades when Thomas Hart Benton was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1821. In “A Thirty Years View,” Benton recounts: “My election to the Senate of the United States… found me doing battle for an ameliorated system of disposing our public lands; and with some success. I resolved to move against the whole system…”

Thanks to one man, Illinois, Missouri and neighboring states have, on average, less than 5 percent federally controlled lands today. So distinguished was Benton’s courage that President John F. Kennedy featured him in his best-selling book, “Profiles in Courage.”

Is that just ancient history? Well, upon admission to the Union in 1959, the state of Hawaii exercised courage and compelled the federal government to transfer title to all the public lands directly to the state. Its Enabling Act of March 18, 1959 includes, “The United States grants to the state of Hawaii, effective upon its admission into the Union, the United States’ title to all the public lands… title to which is held by the United States immediately prior to its admission into the Union.”

A federal obligation

Some ignorantly assert that it would be illegal or unconstitutional for Western states to compel the federal government to transfer title of the public lands to the states even though it’s been done before — repeatedly.

Public lands held in trust

The public lands question is older than our nation. By 1780, in the midst of battling for independence, the 13 states had run completely out of money. In this dire circumstance, seven states pledged in trust to the confederated government their claims over all the Western lands, but only to:

  1. Create “distinct republican states,” with “the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence as the other states.”
  2. And use the proceeds from the transfer of these Western lands, if any, to pay the debts from the Revolution.

Courts, Congresses, presidents and the language of the statehood-enabling acts reaffirmed these solemn compacts, but for which our nation may have perished at its birth.

String of broken promises

In 1976, Congress enacted a policy to unilaterally alter this 200-year-old obligation, moving to retain forever the public lands in federal ownership with the Federal Lands Policy Management Act. Under FLPMA, Congress promised there would be multiple use/sustained yield with local planning on the public lands. Congress also promised to pay Western states and communities for not using their lands and resources to fund the education of their own children and care for their own communities. These promises are known as payment in lieu of taxes (PILT), secure rural schools funds (SRS) and federal mineral lease payments (FML).

PILT payments, by some estimates, were only 13 cents on the dollar of the average taxable value of the land. SRS payments were only a fraction of the revenues local communities had generated from harvesting timber. Traditionally, timber harvesting kept the forest fuel loads in check and local economies thriving. As for FML, states east of Colorado with the same statehood promises retained 100 percent of their mineral lease royalties instead of the 48 percent promised to Western states by Congress.

FLPMA imposed an untenable deal upon the Western states to be paid paltry amounts for not using their own lands and resources. This year, under the guise of “sequestration” to cut federal expenses, the federal government began limiting Western revenues in the form of PILT, SRS and FML cutbacks.

So Congress breaks its 200-year-old obligation to dispose of the public lands. Instead, it promises PILT, SRS and FML concessions, as well as multiple use/sustained yield with local planning to placate Western states. Now it is reneging on even those terrible substitute promises while imposing ever-increasing restrictions on states, communities, businesses and individuals, preventing them from using their own lands and resources to care for their own communities, lands and forests and grow the national economy in the process.

Blessing state sovereignty

Fortunately, in 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for a resolution of this economic and environmental dilemma facing not only Western states but also our nation. In Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that “the consequences of a State’s admission are instantaneous,” such that Congress does not have the authority to unilaterally alter or diminish “the uniquely sovereign character of that event” particularly “where virtually all of the State’s public lands are at stake.” This makes sense. If Congress could unilaterally alter or diminish the very terms of statehood, states would cease to be states and would become mere administrative subdivisions of an all-powerful national government.

The only solution big enough to promote the health, access and productivity of our lands is within our reach. We must choose this to fund education, better care for our lands and forests, protect access, create jobs, and grow local, state and national economies and tax bases. If we don’t, we will answer to our children, to future generations of our states and to our nation as a whole that we failed, not because it was illegal, unconstitutional or impossible, but because we and our leaders simply lacked the knowledge and the courage.

–Ken Ivory

Ken Ivory is a member of the Utah House of Representatives and the president of American Lands Council. He sponsored HB148, the Transfer of Public Lands Act, and is building a coalition to spread the knowledge that statehood promises to transfer title to public lands are the same east and west of Colorado. “It’s been done before and it’s the only solution big enough.” For information or to offer support, go to www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org.

Obstruction of justice

This article was published originally by the US~Observer.

What is justice exactly, and what does it mean to you? Does it mean that someone gets what he deserves? Does it mean that truth is adhered to and reason is afforded to those who stand in front of it? Does it mean that when someone goes through the system and they are ruled or determined to be guilty or innocent, they have been served with it? Or, is it simpler? Justice being blind, does a simple fact establish it? No matter how it is determined, justice can almost always be defined as a state of being that is right, without wrong.

The cornerstone of our system of justice was established in the Constitution. Even in the preamble, the founders set forth their intentions:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And then in the bill of rights under the 5th Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Then again in the 6th Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

It is clear that the founders of the United States took the role of justice seriously.

Today, establishing justice for an individual has become a tricky affair. More laws, rules and processes have been added over time in an effort to clarify the procedures of the system rather than ensuring an individual’s right to impartiality and fairness. The result is that facts are dismissed because of objections, precedence and shortsighted legislative actions that end up obscuring truth from those who are to judge.

This system is a mechanized behemoth beholden to no one. If you disagree, you are scrutinized and ostracized. If you stand against it, you are guilty of obstructing it.

We now have a system that pursues the accused without regard for truth. Its sole purpose is to convict. Prosecutors, and even judges, often turn a blind eye to evidence if it “inconveniently” challenges their assertions. From the moment of an arrest, the machine grinds out press releases informing the public of the dirty deed. The mainstream media gluttonously laps up any presumed guilt and passes it on.

The system knows the benefits of a public whose opinion is that a charged person is a guilty one; the verdict is secured before the trial even takes place. This has resulted in a growing number of falsely charged people facing the fight of their lives while mistakenly thinking that our justice system is designed to be just. Justice can’t be had when impartiality is lost.

The system itself is guilty of obstruction of justice. We either live with it, knowing that you will be considered guilty until proven innocent; or we change it, fighting it with everything we have because it is the right thing to do.

It comes down to how you define justice. For me, justice is truth. It is sacred. It is an absolute, and it is our right to seek it on all those who deny it.

–Ron Lee

Writer’s note: Only through meeting force with force can an individual who is wrongfully charged be victorious and truly find vindication. Let the US~Observer take your case and force justice.

Vindicated, but at a high cost

This is the second installment of a two-part series. Read the first installment, US~Observer client acquitted, another corrupt prosecutor exposed.” 

Crook County, Ore. — Matthew Rinehart faced charges related to a sexual encounter with Diane Pike. As US~Observer previously reported, the charges were “all for one allegedly routine and common event that took place on October 6th at his grandparents’ home where the two were living and sleeping together.”

To make it more difficult to prepare for Rinehart’s trial, the state had the court put Rinehart in jail two weeks before trial because, the state said, he had contacted minors in violation of his pre-trial release conditions. The conditions of Rinehart’s conditional release were a byproduct of false and malicious charges. And I assure any who punish him for this that they will, in turn, be punishing themselves publicly.

Rinehart’s attorney, James E. Leuenberger, did not reveal the state’s greatest weakness in its case until he cross-examined Pike during the trial. It was then that he got her to admit that she had told a Crook County deputy sheriff that shortly after she had awoken on the floor, she had gone back to sleep and been awakened by Rinehart’s 6-year-old, 40-pound sister getting on Pike’s bed. Remember that she supposedly had just slept through Rinehart’s being on top of her.

The second greatest weakness in the state’s case was Pike. She put put on the worst, least convincing performance of her acting career. Whenever the jury was in the courtroom, Pike looked sad and faked tears. Shortly after Leuenberger began cross-examining her, she jumped off the witness stand and ran out of the courtroom. When the jury was not in the courtroom, Pike laughed and smiled. Pike even smiled at Rinehart in the courtroom when the jury was out. Leuenberger got Pike to admit to the jury that she was laughing and smiling immediately before the jury returned to the courtroom.

Leuenberger also demonstrated that Pike had a motive to lie. On Oct. 1, 2012, Pike’s parents had kicked her out their home because she had spent the prior night with Rinehart. The next day, Pike’s mother continued to condemn Pike. The next day, Rinehart made sure Pike got examined and treated for what turned out to be a urinary tract infection. Two days later, when Pike was starting to recover from her urinary tract infection, she decided that she wanted to return to her parents. Pike figured that the way to have her parents accept her back was to accuse Rinehart of a crime. Pike accused Rinehart. Pike’s parents took her back.

Pike had enough of a conscience to send Rinehart text messages telling him she regretted sending him to jail.

A responsible jury

On July 7, 12 Crook County jurors began hearing the state’s case. They heard two deputies, a nurse and Pike.

As the case continued, the jury endured warm afternoons as the heat in the courtroom rose to more than 90 degrees because air conditioning could not be used when the jury was in the courtroom. Notwithstanding the heat and the seriousness of the charges, the jury remained cheerful throughout. There is a saying among defense attorneys: “A happy jury is a defense jury.” That old saying proved true.

The jury heard closing arguments and received its instructions from Judge Daniel Ahern at about 11:15 a.m. on July 10. It took them just long enough to finish their lunch to reach their “not guilty” verdicts for all three counts.

Justice was done. The cost was high. Rinehart spent a year and half in jail awaiting his trial. His grandparents spent thousands of dollars for his attorney. The state (actually the taxpayers) paid for Rinehart’s experts and well-known, professional private investigator Mike Kastelic, who helped Leuenberger prepare for trial. The taxpayers also paid for the work of Dr. Robert Julien and forensic nurse Shirley Fitzgerald, each of whom testified for Rinehart.

And then there is the anxiety, the real damages

Rinehart’s grandfather suffered a heart attack early on. His grandmother suffered a heart attack shortly before trial. His mother has a brain tumor. Rinehart faced a possible 20-year sentence or longer had he been convicted and he would have been a registered sex offender for life.

That cost is too high, readers!

–Edward Snook

Note: All of us at the US~Observer highly commend the jury in the Rinehart case. They paid attention and saw right through the attempted false prosecution of Matthew Rinehart.

One juror stated, “I was a Juror in this trial. Unbelievable. I am glad Matthew is back with his family. It sickens me that he was incarcerated for almost 2 years for something he didn’t do. Diane Pike is the one that should be tried!”

The work of Rinehart’s jury is far from over. They need to continue showing their responsibility by sharing this tragic story with others in Crook County, Oregon, and then the voters of Crook County need to get rid of corrupt District Attorney Daina Vitolins and those who assist her in attempting to prosecute the innocent. Rinehart is not Vitolins’ first victim, and he will not be her last — unless residents of Crook County take action.

Most hardworking taxpayers have no idea about the vast amount of money it takes to conduct an attempted false prosecution, nor do they realize the pain and grief that it places on innocent defendants and their families. We sincerely hope that Rinehart’s story sheds much-needed light on both.

US~Observer client acquitted, another corrupt prosecutor exposed

Crook County, Ore. — As previously reported in the US~Observer:

18 year old Matthew Rinehart and his live-in girlfriend Diane Pike were sleeping together on October 6, 2012. According to witnesses, the two were involved in a very sensual and continuing sexual relationship. Pike was the same age as Rinehart and she was reportedly the aggressor during many of their intimate encounters.

Pike’s parents were very upset about the relationship and were applying severe pressure on Pike to end her “love affair” with Matt. Apparently, on October 6th, their pressure finally produced the intended results. Diane Pike accused Matthew Rinehart of “taking advantage of her,” of sexually assaulting her while she was “physically helpless.”

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office took over and teamed up with the District Attorney’s Office to file not only false, but completely ludicrous criminal charges against Rinehart.

Matthew Rinehart was arraigned on October 10, 2012 on three counts – Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree, Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree, and Sodomy in the First Degree, all for one allegedly routine and common event that took place on October 6th at his grandparents’ home where the two were living and sleeping together.

The US~Observer laid out more than sufficient evidence of Rinehart’s innocence in the two articles we published on this case to have his case dropped: “Innocent Matt Rinehart Jailed On Unbelievable Rape Charges” and “DA Vitolins Continues Rinehart Abuse — Blatant Crook County Corruption.” Instead, Crook County District Attorney Daina Vitolins continued wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars and continued her vicious and unwarranted attack on an innocent young man. Vitolins was aided by an either completely ignorant or corrupted Crook County deputy sheriff named Theresa Plinski, who was more than willing to assist Vitolins in this attempted false prosecution.

Trial charades and expert defense

Plinski and Vitolins promoted Pike’s absolute lie that she was asleep while a man who was roughly her height, weight and age was on top of her for more than five minutes because an antibiotic Pike had been taking had “knocked her out.”

There must be only three people on Earth who would say that Pike’s antibiotic could have knocked her out: Pike, Plinski and Vitolins. The nurse who examined Pike on Oct. 6 testified at trial that she had never heard of the antibiotic causing unconsciousness. Esteemed physician and drug expert Robert Julien testified at trial that there is no known incident of Pike’s antibiotic ever causing unconsciousness in any adult when administered orally in the dose she took.

Keep in mind as you read on that Pike’s charges against Rinehart were recognized by the US~Observer to be both false and ridiculous well more than a year and a half ago, at which time we presented our absolute evidence to Vitolins.

With the US~Observer’s help, Rinehart’s grandparents found and hired James E. Leuenberger to represent him. Leuenberger brought several of the weaknesses of the case to the attention of the state. He showed the state that the medical literature did not show that Pike’s antibiotic had unconsciousness as a side effect. He told the state that no normal woman would remain asleep while a man of her size and weight dry humped her unless she was under the influence of intoxicants and there was no evidence that either Pike or Rinehart had taken any alcohol or any drug other than Pike’s antibiotic. He reminded the state that Pike and Rinehart had a consensual sexual relationship for several months prior to Oct. 6, 2012. He reminded the state that Pike had gotten into Rinehart’s bed willingly a few hours before she alleged she was “knocked out” and “taken advantage of.”

Months before trial, Leuenberger sent the state a picture of Pike taken by the nurse who examined her on Oct. 6. The picture showed Pike with a big smile on her face. Leuenberger told the state that a picture is worth a thousand words and that the picture of Pike’s smile said she was not distressed. Vitolins paid no attention to the facts presented by Leuenberger, as she continued her bloodthirsty pursuit of Rinehart.

Shortly before trial, Leuenberger told the state that he intended to use an audio recording of Pike’s Oct. 8, 2012 statement to Plinksi to show that on that date, Pike was happy and lighthearted and laughing.

Unlike victims of sexual abuse who are almost universally distressed, hurt and sad, Pike exhibited no nonverbal cues in the Oct. 6 photograph or the Oct. 8 audio recording that she was distressed, hurt or sad.

Notwithstanding the weaknesses in the state’s case, the state insisted on a trial. Why? The best explanation for the state going forward, apart from the fact that this district attorney is an extremely evil person, is Vitolins must have thought they could use Rinehart’s words against him. Rinehart, a very immature 18-year-old in October 2012, had confirmed that he had told Pike that he might have taken advantage of her and that he had broken her heart. Vitolins must have thought that Rinehart would convict himself if he were to testify at trial. Vitolins knew that Rinehart had been badly hurt physically and emotionally when he was a child. Damaged people often hurt themselves. In short, Vitolins was merely exposing her own corrupt and perverse nature as she continued her attempts to destroy an innocent Rinehart. She certainly wasn’t seeking justice, by any stretch of the imagination.

–Edward Snook
Investigative Reporter

Practical solutions for freeing the innocent

This is the second installment of a two-part series from the US~Observer. Read the first installment, “What every American needs to know.”

There are many writers who have opined about the causes and the conditions that create the “perfect storm” countenancing the imprisonment of the innocent. There are few who offer solutions, and most look back and see what’s happened but can’t see the pathway for the future. “I can see what went wrong,” they say; but they have no generally applicable remedies.

There are three causes to abuse of the innocent: corrupt investigators, corrupt prosecutors and corrupt judges.

There are three remedies: honorable defense attorneys, knowledgeable trial support and public opinion influenced by fair and honest news reporting.

Public opinion must be expressed in socially acceptable ways to be effective, such as when Mark Taylor, the first male victim shot in the Columbine massacre, was imprisoned by the state of Arizona in a phony mental-health hold from 2010 to 2011. He was prohibited from contacting or being contacted by his family. Taylor was guilty of politically incorrect advocacy against antidepressants and Big Pharma, which he said was responsible for the deaths at Columbine.

It was a so-called “human rights” worker from the Arizona governor’s office who was principally responsible for Taylor’s false imprisonment, which provoked the flood of cards, letters, faxes, emails, phone calls and protest signs into Gov. Jan Brewer’s Office in droves with the message: “We are informed. We know what you’re doing. Let Mark Taylor go or we are going to make a huge stink that will come upon you.” The public was alerted and responded well, as did the alternate talk-radio media, abuzz with the story. The court of public opinion was in full swing. Two attorneys, one from Arizona and the other from Colorado, collaborated by filing parallel suits, one in each state, as a platform to release Taylor. And on March 29, 2011, the pressure was too great, the governor’s office relented and Taylor was sent home.

Could lightning strike again? Could an informed public with unrelenting demands secure the release of other innocent people? All it takes is the will of the people exercising the prerogative to be involved, staying vigilant and demanding for others the liberty we need most for ourselves — understanding that if we don’t take a stand, it will be everlastingly too late. Even the mainstream media is covering the fact that President Obama is systematically deconstructing the American republic. Hello, are we in the last days or what?

“Who’s next?” is the first question we should ask, and the second is: “Who will come to our rescue when it’s me or a member of my family?”

Consider the following three abbreviated case studies:

  1. David Hinkson was an effective advocate for the underdog. He is a veteran who was in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict. He helped others protect their property rights from those embedded in the crony system. Hinkson’s passport proves he was out of the United States when accused of soliciting to murder federal officials. It was suppressed by Federal Judge Richard C. Tallman, an appellate level judge who sat as an Idaho trial court judge. And no offer of proof was made by Hinkson’s attorney, who let him down. (www.rolandhinksonfiles.com)
  2. Edgar Steele, also a veteran of the Vietnam era, helped protect individual rights for those persecuted by the so-called child protective system; and then he had the unmitigated gall to defend those who wanted to exercise religious freedom. Steele’s expert witness proof that the government’s audio recordings were fabricated was suppressed by another federal judge, Lynn Winmill of Idaho. And no offer of proof was made by Steele’s attorney who let him down. Sadly, Edgar Steele died on Sept. 4.
  3. Schaeffer Cox, a minister, exercised religious freedom and freedom of speech. The FBI put out a bounty offering $350,000 to anyone who could get him to commit a crime, which attracted a “take-down team” of criminals who regularly worked with the FBI as confidential informants, willing to make up stories. Audio recordings made by the FBI that absolutely proved he had no intent or involvement in any crimes or plans to commit a crime were suppressed by a corrupt federal judge in Alaska. Bail was set at $3 million so that he could not assist in his own defense. (www.freeschaffercox.com)

What these and so many others have in common is that they committed no crime, were falsely accused of law violations that never occurred (actually accused of crimes made up by corrupt FBI agents) and were convicted with lengthy prison sentences that exceed their life expectancies.

The other common elements for these three are that the prosecutors knowingly introduced false testimony and the judges suppressed exculpatory evidence. In other words, each of them was set up and convicted of fictitious crimes made up by the government simply to silence them.

These statements are provable in the absolute, but no court will hear them because the judges use procedural excuses to block the accused from proving their innocence. Make no mistake about it; the presumption of innocence is dead in the American justice system. But what’s worse: If accused today, you must prove your innocence or you will be found guilty; and the judges are programmed to prohibit you from presenting exculpatory evidence. The only defense is to have as your attorney, one who is well schooled in the corruption of government officials and who has the integrity, fortitude and chutzpah to make an offer of proof on the record each time the trial judge denies the admission of evidence that would show innocence.

It takes great preparation, foresight and guts to stand before a judge who can hold you in contempt and send you to jail for defending your client and say these words: “If you will not allow this witness to testify, I will make the following offer of proof as to what that witness would have said.”

Judges consider it an affront to their dignity if someone demands the right to honorably defend himself when Constitutional rights are being systematically denied. But that’s what it takes, because the innocent must present evidence at trial or they will have nothing for an appeal court to review on appeal; then they will never see the light of day again.

A warning to all: Even if you are innocent and can prove you are innocent, you must assume you will be convicted. Then you must stand your ground and find the way to make your case through offers of proof. You must get the court of public opinion to send out continual messages that you are being persecuted. If the judge denies the right to present the offer of proof, you’d better have it in writing and have a legal assistant immediately file the written version with the court clerk to make a record, or you will ultimately lose because the appellate court must have evidence that was presented at the trial which can be considered. This is about taking action when the opportunity presents itself by those knowledgeable and skilled in the art of defending the innocent.

There is no glory in defending the innocent any more, there is only satisfaction when, like the starfish thrown from the sandy beach back into the ocean, it makes a difference to that one. I hope and pray that those who read this article are willing to step up and send cards, letters, emails, faxes and make phone calls to the officials responsible for imprisonment of the innocent, just as they did with Taylor, so that when it happens to you or one of your loved ones, others will do it for you. In this way, maybe, just maybe, a defense can be etched from the government’s foregone conclusion of guilt; and then if others are willing to step up, we can save each other from the guillotine — or, frankly, all will be lost.

There is a ray of hope: The U.S. Supreme Court, in May 2013 handed down a ruling in McQuiggin v. Perkins that allows one who is actually innocent to pass through a “gateway” in order to avoid the procedural bars that prohibit him from proving his innocence, even years after his conviction occurred. There may be light at the end of the tunnel for some, if they get the right help in time.

–Wesley Hoyt
Former Prosecuting Attorney

Wesley W. Hoyt is now in the private practice of law admitted in Colorado and Idaho with special “pro hac” admissions in several other western states. He spends the majority of his time representing the innocent who have been falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. He can be contacted through Independent News International World Report or by email at hoytlaw@hotmail.com.

What every American needs to know

This is the first installment of a two-part series from the US~Observer.

Is there doubt that we live in perilous times? Anyone who has missed this point, please go back to History 101 and consult 2 Timothy 3:1 “… in the last days perilous times shall come.”

Ancient writings show mankind obtained its basic needs in spite of perils. Call it survival; humans are a hearty bunch when they work together and put their collective minds to it. Perils are a part of life in all ages. Spoiled we are with more than 200 years of peace in America, forged from the evils of a king that allowed those loyal to him to rape, plunder, pillage and burn fellow humans with impunity. (Quartering soldiers in your house meant that the soldiers could and would rape your women; why do you think so many were outraged? See the Declaration of Independence.) The secret to success for all tyrants is in allowing their lieutenants to have anything they want as long as they are loyal to the dictator.

“A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it,” was the watchword of our forefathers. Who questions that the Constitution was divinely inspired? This generation must decide if we will be able to keep it, with all its warts and imperfections. Our Constitution worked fairly well in the pioneering and post-World War II eras because cleansing flowed from adversity; it was truly “do or die,” which causes most people to “buck up.” Prosperity, on the other hand, has made us soft as a nation; the entitlement mentality today breeds an unhealthy loyalty and a lack of resolve to stand up for what’s right.

Now, far too many people are lulled into a deep sleep by the distractions of today and ignore the iconic lessons of the past. We threw off tyranny once; but continual vigilance requires acknowledgment of repeated patterns of despotism, else they pass right over our heads unnoticed and will visit us again.

When it comes to the innocent being persecuted in America, those aware are asking the proverbial question: “Who’s next?” And those suffering cognitive dissonance are in denial, qua: “It couldn’t happen here” and “my government wouldn’t do that” are common retorts. The voluntarily uninformed claim the ostrich privilege (head-in-the-sand style ignorance) and will say in the crunch: “I didn’t know,” “nobody told me” or “how did that happen?”

Let’s cut to the chase. Who among you would not defend a child wrongfully accused or a loved one indicted for something they did not do? Yet, there is a plague of fabricated charges and an epidemic of false accusations sweeping the nation, spawned by unscrupulous officials, sending numerous innocent people to prison for life-long sentences.

–Wesley Hoyt
Former Prosecuting Attorney

Wesley W. Hoyt is now in the private practice of law admitted in Colorado and Idaho with special “pro hac” admissions in several other western states. He spends the majority of his time representing the innocent who have been falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. He can be contacted through Independent News International World Report or by email at hoytlaw@hotmail.com.

Corruption in Goodman’s second trial may be worse than in the first

WPTV Contact 5

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The US~Observer reported recently that “Polo Mogul” John B. Goodman is factually innocent. In our article “Florida’s John B. Goodman NOT GUILTY,” we provided documented proof of corruption, both in the literal manufacturing of the case and during Goodman’s first trial; we also present absolute proof of John Goodman’s innocence in this article.

As Goodman’s second trial approaches, more issues are appearing in the mainstream media to prejudice Goodman and his due process rights, just as the state-fed media did in his first trial.

Motions designed to save time and minimize the chance of more bad rulings during the upcoming trial have been either denied or pushed off until trial by Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath. Of great interest is Colbath’s decision to pick a jury of Goodman’s peers from a different district and then bring them back for sequestration in West Palm Beach. The defense has argued vehemently for a change of venue given the negative press generated nonstop for the past four years since Goodman’s alleged crime. Colbath has denied numerous change of venue motions and insists on trying the case for the second time in his home court, most likely for political reasons. A juror faced with three to four weeks of sequestration might just be resentful of the defendant. Colbath is quick to point out that it worked just fine in the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman cases, which shows yet another nod to the media of his perceived self-importance.

More troubling about the press is that they are now gaining momentum in blaming Goodman for the cost to taxpayers. He is entitled to a fair trial. By no fault of his own he was granted a new trial due to jury misconduct. How is he to blame for the costs? Additionally, the court has imposed onerous costs on Goodman in the form of deputy escorts and a hearing in Tallahassee that was unnecessary, yet forced on him by the prosecutor’s office. Goodman was willing to defend his blood motion exposing that Officer Troy Snelgrove of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) facilitated the use of the wrong needle size in front of Colbath, without dragging the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) into it.

The clincher

Technically, there should be no second trial; and Colbath knows it. The state prosecutor’s office released both the Bentley and Hyundai after Goodman’s initial conviction and before his sentencing. The defense has maintained since 2010 that Goodman’s Bentley malfunctioned in the moments before the fatal car crash that killed Scott Wilson, thus making the cars key pieces of exculpatory evidence necessary to present a complete defense. The prosecutors knew the case would be appealed and unilaterally released these critical pieces of evidence without notice to the defense or the court. So, based on the fact the evidence was destroyed, Goodman can’t have a fair and impartial trial. Both the prosecution and Colbath know this fact quite well, yet pro-prosecution Colbath keeps on covering for and protecting these totally corrupted prosecutors.

The fact is Goodman is entitled to a brand-new trial, provided for by the U.S. constitution, as if no trial had previously occurred. But because of Prosecutor Ellen Roberts’ seemingly premeditated actions and Colbath’s collusion, Goodman factually can’t receive a fair trial as federal law demands. Let’s not forget that the sworn job of the state prosecutors is to seek truth and justice — a job that, at least in this case, has gone unfulfilled.

The state prosecutors and, in particular, Colbath are the ones costing the taxpayers millions of dollars by pursuing this case. The judge had the duty to uphold the law but instead chose to ignore it when he summarily denied the motion to dismiss back in March and again in September, when it was presented to him for reconsideration. Along with their wasted tax dollars, people should be worried that their constitutional rights may be denied in the future just like Goodman’s have now.

Again, I want to stress that an innocent Goodman has been forced to spend many millions of dollars to defend himself against patently false and manufactured criminal charges in Florida’s 15th Judicial District. We should all be asking ourselves why the media in West Palm Beach have all failed to demand an answer to this question: Why would a legal system force a man who is to be presumed innocent to spend millions of dollars on his defense when justice should administered openly, freely and without cost?

That’s the kind of information and awareness that should be coming from the local press on this trial. Instead, the fine people of Florida keep getting mainstream media that tow government line, and interject their own commentary as if it were truth.

–Edward Snook

Note: We would like to thank all who have provided information on Colbath and the prosecutors in this case. Much of that valid information will be used at the appropriate time. We would also continue to urge anyone with information of any nature on Colbath or any others involved in this case to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or by email to editor@usobserver.com.

Deputy failed to preserve evidence

WPTV Contact 5

This is the sixth and final installment in a series by the US~Observer. Read “Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty,” “Not enough evidence to prove Goodman is guilty,” “Failure to render aid? He didn’t see another car,” “Making Goodman the fall guy” and Drinking? Yes. Drunk? No proof.” 

“Polo Mogul” John Goodman is facing a retrial on charges related to a 2010 accident that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson. Jury selection begins Monday.

Apparently, not one single photo was taken by Deputy Troy Snelgrove of Wilson’s car upside down in the canal. Is it not important to document where Wilson’s car was found? According to the prosecution, it is considered “hyperbole” to ask such a question.

As Snelgrove documented Goodman’s belongings, he managed to take a photo of Goodman’s bag, along with financial documents that were found in the back seat of his Bentley. But the bag and documents have allegedly disappeared. According to the West Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, they were never there.

With a photograph taken showing they were there, followed by a claim they were never there, it shows the sheriff’s department is perfectly capable of compulsively lying to obtain a conviction. It’s either that or they are completely incompetent. Either way, they can’t be trusted.

Can Snelgrove, who can’t even account for evidence that he took photos of and can’t even take photos of other pertinent evidence, be relied upon to conduct an accurate accident reconstruction?

Prosecutor Sherri Collins: Obstruction of justice?

In 2012, Goodman was on house arrest while appealing his conviction. His ankle monitor broke in October. During a December bond violation hearing wherein Goodman was alleged to have “broken his ankle monitor” himself, prosecutor Sherri Collins outright threatened former West Palm Beach deputy Bridgette Bott “not to testify.” According to Bott, the threats occurred just outside the courtroom and kept her from testifying in the first hearing. However, an attorney (a prior assistant prosecutor) who has no association with Goodman also overheard the conversation and came forward, which allowed for another hearing on the matter, wherein Bott did testify.

Bott had been working as part of Goodman’s court-ordered security detail, and her account of Goodman allegedly breaking his monitor was significantly different from the other deputy who testified for the state. According to Bott, Goodman did not break his monitor as the other officer claimed. Her testimony proved that some members of the sheriff’s department were willing to lie to put Goodman behind bars.

Goodman was released from jail and his bond was reinstated.

As for Collins’ threatening Bott, Collins walked away scot-free with no punishment whatsoever. Collins is still part of the state’s prosecution team for Goodman’s upcoming trial.

Bott has since been suspended by the Sheriff’s Department and has a pending lawsuit against West Palm Beach Sheriff Rick Bradshaw.

Judge Jeffrey Colbath biased?

Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath is assigned to preside over Goodman’s upcoming trial. Is Colbath biased? If so, why? Colbath disallowed the blog written by the state’s main witness, Lisa Pembleton, from being entered as evidence for the jury to see in Goodman’s first trail. This was evidence specific to her accounts of that night, yet the jury was not allowed to see it. Was this because she talked about a dream that happened before the events unfolded? Could Colbath have kept the jury from questioning the state’s main witness’ credibility?

I’m not one to delve into speculation, but why in the world would Goodman feel comfortable with Colbath presiding for a second time? Considering the following statements during Goodman’s sentencing after his original conviction, it would seem impossible to expect that Colbath could be a neutral referee in any further court proceedings involving Goodman.

Statements made by Colbath include:

  • “I agree with the jury’s verdict.”
  • “Mr. Goodman was extremely intoxicated. His blood alcohol level verified that …”
  • “He had an opportunity to try to save Mr. Wilson.”
  • “He could have gotten in that canal.”
  • “He knew he pushed that car in the canal. He left because he tried to save himself.”
  • “Mr. Goodman seems to me to be the perfect candidate to be a flight risk.”

Juror misconduct

Juror misconduct is the reason for Goodman’s new trial.

Two jurors wrote to the judge about their “pressure to render a guilty verdict.” This was not disclosed to Goodman’s defense until one of the jurors contacted them directly. Didn’t Colbath have a duty to inform both parties? Again, is this fair? It hardly shows impartiality.

Why would one juror lie during voir dire (jury selection), then vote to convict Goodman?

Closing argument

This case exemplifies the saying “It’s hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

Sadly, a life has been lost; and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wilson family. Yet certain facts still remain. Several people in charge of handling this case have consistently used speculation as fact in order to portray Goodman’s guilt. Some of those very people may have even committed crimes in an attempt to obtain another “win.”

One thing is sure: Wilson was failed by some of the same people who claim Goodman is guilty. Perhaps if they had acted, Wilson would be here today.

The evidence in this case justifies a “not guilty” verdict. It is the state’s burden to prove Goodman’s guilt, and it has failed miserably to do so.

–Joseph Snook

Note: For those who still have doubt, or would like to see something that is not made available through US~Observer’s hyperlinks, please email: editor@usobserver.com. We will gladly supply you with more evidence.

Drinking? Yes. Drunk? No proof

This is the fifth in a series by the US~Observer. Read “Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty,” “Not enough evidence to prove Goodman is guilty,” “Failure to render aid? He didn’t see another car” and “Making Goodman the fall guy.”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Polo Mogul” John Goodman is facing a retrial on charges related to a 2010 accident that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson.

Goodman had consumed alcohol before the accident. But was he impaired? He claims that he was not intoxicated, not even close. He had just wrapped up a charity event with professionals who were likely gracious givers. Goodman then went to a restaurant and bar for roughly one hour, before he headed home. When he closed his tab at 12:37 a.m., his bill was $212. Eighteen drinks were purchased. The state will argue that he was intoxicated, based off of this information alone. Goodman claims to have purchased nearly all of those drinks for friends; 16 of the drinks were shots. That’s the only answer that was given to this writer. So without speculating, I ask: Where is proof otherwise? There isn’t any.

The bartender, the manager, the valet crew, the servers, Goodman’s friends and the people in attendance whom he didn’t even know won’t say he was drunk. Not one of the witnesses at either establishment where Goodman was that night will testify that he was drunk or that he “drank several drinks.” Is this because they are all liars? Doubtful. The state, fighting tooth and nail to get its assertions confirmed, reportedly threatened the bartender, among others. It continue to get nowhere. Could this be because Goodman was telling the truth? To assume different would again be mere speculation.

According to Goodman, he drank at a polo barn shortly after the accident. He informed Deputy Ricardo Safford about going to the barn during their communication while they were driving back to the scene. Safford not only denies that this conversation ever took place, he still to this day denies ever going to Kris Kampsen’s barn, where Goodman drank post-crash.

Why would Safford lie? Could it possibly be due to the fact that Goodman consumed alcohol post-crash? Wouldn’t that ruin the state’s alleged .17 blood draw from Goodman while he was at Wellington Regional Hospital?

Three (1, 2, 3) witnesses have already stated on the record that Safford came to the property where the polo barn was, went to each of their trailers and woke them up, and asked them questions at about 3:30 a.m. on that day. But Safford still claims that he wasn’t there.

Unfortunately for Safford, Goodman’s defense is armed with more than two witnesses this time. Now, the third witness has been deposed and confirms what the other two have said all along. More importantly, Safford’s own GPS unit from his patrol vehicle (click here to verify Safford’s unit ID, then click here and scroll down to page 3, for 20100212034458ES, look at time and location, double check coordinates here, you will have to re-enter the coordinates under ” Show Point from Latitude and Longitude”) confirms that he was at the polo barn where Goodman was post-crash (see image below). During Safford’s deposition, he agreed with every location his GPS indicated he was at that night, except for the polo barn. Will he be charged with perjury? Doubtful. It seems that three witnesses and a state-owned GPS unit are no match for a sheriff’s deputy’s word in Florida.

So why wouldn’t Goodman’s defense just subpoena the deputy’s dash cam or audio/video camera? Easy, right? Well, there are no dash cam videos. Magically, it is all gone. There is no personal audio or video from Safford. It, too, has seemingly disappeared into thin air. Again, the state of Florida (Safford) has failed to do something as simple as preserve evidence. Or did the deputies have this evidence but it didn’t confirm the lies they created, so they decided to cover it up?

Finally, the blood draw. Experts for both the prosecution and defense fought over the admissibility of this evidence. While at the hospital, Deputy Troy Snelgrove’s blood draw kit was not used in its entirety. Instead, a nurse drew Goodman’s blood, using all of the contents from the deputy’s blood draw kit, except one thing: the needle. She used a smaller, 25-gauge butterfly needle. This might not seem like a big deal to a normal person, but it has proven to be significant. According to many doctors, including Adam Bromberg, M.D., (who, by the way, was not retained by the defense), this needle issue presents a big problem. During a deposition, Bromberg was asked if a smaller-gauge needle could cause hemolysis in blood samples. Bromberg replied: “There’s a lot of factors that cause hemolysis in blood samples. Needle size is definitely one of them.” The destruction of red blood cells can cause inaccurate test results, like a .17 blood draw that the state maintains would be Goodman’s at 3:30 a.m., almost three hours after the accident occurred.

Bottom line, experts state the blood draw procedure was inaccurate. And Goodman is said to be appealing its inclusion as evidence, something that could have far-reaching effects on Florida law regarding blood draws. Regardless, if he had consumed everything the prosecution claims, Goodman would have been so sloppy drunk upon leaving the bar that everyone would have noticed. Yet not one witness claims he was intoxicated. So Goodman had to have had drinks in the barn as he has maintained. This makes the state’s charges of DUI at the time of the accident completely unprovable.

Making Goodman the fall guy

This is the fourth in a series by the US~Observer. Read “Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty,” “Not enough evidence to prove Goodman is guilty” and “Failure to render aid? He didn’t see another car.”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Polo Mogul” John Goodman is facing a retrial on charges related to a 2010 accident that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson. In his first trial, Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter failure to render aid. But Goodman didn’t see Wilson’s vehicle.

The US~Observer interviewed a witness, the girl who stated she found Wilson’s vehicle. She said: “I was there, they didn’t take my information… It still haunts me, that night, because no one helped.”

Q: Did you in fact state to the deputy on the scene that you wanted to help save the person in the canal?

A: Yes, of course! Who wouldn’t want to try and help? There was a car flipped over.

Q: Were you at any time instructed not to try and help?

A: Yes.

It was also reported that one deputy stated he would not enter into the canal because he was concerned with getting “pesticide poisoning.”

None of the witnesses were ever mentioned in any law enforcement report other than dispatch records. Does that cause concern?

The facts show that the witnesses were likely on the scene eight to 15 minutes after the accident. Law enforcement was likely on the scene within 15 to 18 minutes after the accident. Since it was determined that Wilson drowned, wouldn’t it be safe to consider that Wilson could likely have been alive when the witnesses and/or sheriff’s deputies first arrived? And no one helped him. It is outrageous and, in my opinion, criminal that the state is trying to make Goodman the fall guy and accountable for something only speculation can imply, claiming he saw the vehicle, when others who had not just been in a traumatic accident did not. The fact is 911 was informed of it and advised bystanders to do nothing. The police saw it and did nothing. Where are their criminal charges of failure to render aid?

None of the nine Fire Rescue responders found Wilson in the canal. It was reported that one responder put on a wet suit (no mask or oxygen tank) and felt around the car with his hands. He claimed no one was in the vehicle. Did they fail to render proper aid? None of them was charged with a crime, yet they reportedly failed to do their job. Interestingly, two rescue responders out of the nine on the scene were disciplined. One responder received a “written warning.” The other received a “written reprimand.” The Palm Beach Post reported: “A written warning, said Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Don DeLucia, is the mildest form of punishment for firefighters.” Is there a double standard here?

An hour and a half passed before the tow truck pulled Wilson’s car out of the canal. At 2:31:52 a.m., Wilson’s body was discovered. “CONFIRMED, S/7.. THERE WAS A BODY IN THE VEH…”

Other than speculating that Goodman was completely aware of Wilson’s car being in the canal, only one piece of evidence I’ve seen thus far suggests (erroneously) that Goodman knew Wilson’s car was in the canal before he left the scene: Deputy Troy Snelgrove’s co-authored article, with animation attached. According to the article, Snelgrove created an animation that is “worth a million” words. As Snelgrove reconstructed the scene, his article stated:

Although this information and technology was compelling, Snelgrove still wondered how he could validate the scanner’s representation of evidence. He decided that by overlaying the 2D diagrams on top of the 3D scanned crash scene, this would provide the verification Snelgrove needed.

Did his reconstruction represent fact, or was it created to allusively prove Snelgrove’s unfounded assumptions?

Snelgrove’s animation “showed that Goodman spent approximately six seconds in front of his vehicle, standing in the sand on the top of the canal bank, presumably watching the Hyundai sink into the water.” Wow. What scientific algorithm did Snelgrove use to determine the exact time Goodman stood there? Maybe Snelgrove has a crystal ball that we could use to see everything Goodman did after the crash, not just during the six seconds he allegedly stood in front of his car. Snelgrove’s “determinations” are nothing more than pure speculation.

It is also important to note that Goodman, 50, had no criminal history prior to this accident. He has never had a DUI. He has never had a speeding ticket as an adult, and he had never been arrested prior to this tragic accident. Does that sound like a person who fails to render aid? Remember, Goodman had sustained several injuries himself, and his phone was dead. So I ask: How was he to help, especially considering he did not know about Wilson’s vehicle? It is an absolute fact that Goodman sought out a phone and called 911 after the accident. At this point, the only logical answer would be to indict everyone involved and to drop Goodman’s failure to render aid charges.

–Joseph Snook

Failure to render aid? He didn’t see another car

This is the third in a series by the US~Observer. Read the first part, “Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty,” and the second part, “Not enough evidence to prove Goodman is guilty.” 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Polo Mogul” John Goodman is facing a retrial on charges related to a 2010 accident that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson. In his first trial, Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter failure to render aid. But Goodman didn’t see Wilson’s vehicle.

Shortly after hitting his head during the accident, Goodman regained consciousness. As he stepped out of his car, he stated, he thought at first that it was a hit and run, as there was no other vehicle in sight. Visibility was reportedly very poor. He then thought that perhaps he’d hit a horse trailer being pulled by another vehicle, and it continued, leaving the scene. He reached for his phone to call someone for help, but it was dead. This was later confirmed through phone records and also by responding deputy Ricardo Safford.

Goodman’s car was totaled and his phone was dead. Being in the Wellington, Florida, countryside at almost 1 a.m., staying on the dark road waiting for someone to drive by didn’t seem to be the best option. His next thought was: Find a phone. Still shaky and disoriented from the accident, Goodman started walking down a dirt road, having seen what he thought was a light in the distance. It was later determined to be a large polo barn. Goodman walked around the bottom level of the barn, thinking there should be a landline phone, which is common in polo barns in case of emergencies. Goodman found nothing.

As he continued to search, he found stairs that went to the upper level. Finding the upstairs door unlocked, he went inside to what he described as a “man-cave” with a fully furnished office, a large flat-screen television mounted on the wall, desks and a shelf with liquor. Injured and thirsty, Goodman looked for water, but there was none. He consumed alcohol from the bar in an attempt to ease his pain as he continued searching for a phone. As he walked around the upstairs portion of the barn, he saw photos of his friend Kris Kampsen on the wall and finally realized where he was. Knowing now there was no phone, he looked from the balcony and saw another light in the distance. Goodman left the barn and headed toward this next place where he could hopefully get assistance.

Goodman approached the light and saw it was a small horse stable; he continued through the stable unable to find a phone. Next, he continued walking past the stable and noticed a small trailer. Goodman knocked and opened the door. Lisa Pembleton (now Del Mundo) was inside the trailer, and Goodman asked her if he could use her phone. She was obviously cautious and startled, as a complete stranger had just entered her trailer; but she provided her phone. Goodman’s first call was to his girlfriend. He informed her of his accident, completely unaware that there was another vehicle at the scene. Next, he called 911. It was reported that 54 minutes had elapsed between the time Goodman left the scene to find a phone and when he made his 911 call.

During his conversation with 911, Goodman was informed that sheriff’s deputies were looking for him. Goodman then flagged down the deputy as he left Pembleton’s trailer. At that time, Goodman was informed there was another vehicle at the scene of the accident.

If you did not know there was another vehicle involved, who would you call first? During a discussion with others regarding Goodman’s not knowing there was another vehicle at the scene, I was told their first call would be to a close family member or friend, next would likely be to insurance, followed by a tow truck and/or 911. I personally know from past vehicle accidents, my insurance company has always asked that I contact them first, if the accident is not life-threatening.

Pembleton later became the state’s main witness after speaking at length with deputies and prosecutors. She also allegedly had her legal counsel provided, free of charge, by an attorney friend of the Wilson family’s civil attorney. Conflict? Interestingly, Pembleton also wrote about the night in question on a blog. She stated, “I had a dream the week prior of a guy coming into my camper, saying he was in an accident and needed a phone…” Maybe she did have that dream, or maybe not. Would you give much weight to Pembleton’s testimony, given these statements?

Meanwhile, there had already been four other civilians who stopped at the scene. Two of them actually called 911 before deputies arrived. The first witness was Nicole Ocoro. She was returning home when she found Goodman’s Bentley “crashed on the side of the road.” Ocoro was asked “what did it hit” four separate times during her call to 911. First, Ocoro stated, “I — I don’t even know; I just saw it pulled off on the side of the road.” Ocoro, again, was asked twice what it hit before she gave her second answer. She stated, “I have no — It looks like another car hit it. There’s like (unintelligible).” Finally, Ocoro stated, “It — It must’ve been something else that hit it because there’s a nasty, like — the inside is all banged up and the wheel is at a slant. Like, it looks terrible.”

Ocoro never mentioned seeing another vehicle during her 911 call; and to this day, she states that she never saw Wilson’s vehicle before she left the scene.

Shortly after Ocoro left, Eli DeRosa and Stephen Chiappa stopped at the scene and called 911. During their call to 911, there was no mention of another vehicle. This is important, because these two witnesses were on location when deputies Mitch Reiger and Ricardo Safford arrived. Their names, information and a statement was reportedly never taken by responding deputies Reiger, Snelgrove or Safford.

Another witness, a young female who asked to remain anonymous, also arrived on the scene shortly after the two boys, just minutes before deputies. She stated she found Wilson’s vehicle in the canal, and the boys called 911 for a second time. This was the first time Wilson’s vehicle was discovered. According to transcripts, the boy who called was told by 911 dispatch, “I don’t want you going into the canal.”

Joseph Snook

Not enough evidence to prove Goodman is guilty

This is the second in a series by the US~Observer. Read the first part, “Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty.”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Polo Mogul” John Goodman is facing a retrial on charges related to a 2010 accident that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson. To claim first degree vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove that Goodman caused Wilson’s death by “… the operation of a motor vehicle … in a reckless manner likely to cause the death …” and that “At the time of the accident, the person [Goodman] knew, or should have known, that the accident occurred; and … The person [Goodman] failed to give information and render aid as required by s. 316.062.”

Goodman was driving a 2007 Bentley GTC when the accident occurred. During the first trial, Goodman’s defense claimed that his vehicle”surged” without his manually employing the throttle, which led to the collision. The reported speed at impact, by both the prosecution and the defense experts, clearly suggests that Goodman never “stopped” at the stop sign. But according to the state-provided 911 transcripts, Goodman told a 911 dispatcher that he had stopped. Could he have suffered a concussion and not known exactly what happened? Absolutely.

Have you ever been in a collision at more than 50 mph? The likelihood of trauma, not to mention misstated details of events, is highly plausible.

So could a Bentley surge out of control? After looking at online forums and after spending many hours talking with people who could possibly answer this question, I found a logical answer.

I talked to a technician at Carrera (Porsche) Motors. He stated he has “worked on Bentleys in the past.” At first, he laughed at the probability that a Bentley, known as one of the world’s most prestigious automobile manufacturers, could possibly surge. Then, I explained the circumstances. Later, his laugh became an “ahh!” after he looked further into the issue. During our second conversation he said, “There is an electronic control unit (ECU) or module that has proven to be a big problem for this year, make and model when it gets wet.” He continued, “There are currently 79 Bentley GTs (including GTCs) for sale in the U.S., and one of them lists that the ECU needs replaced.” He also stated that this module, if compromised, could possibly cause the vehicle to “advance uncontrollably.”

One certified technician verified that this issue exists, but I was still not entirely convinced. Next, I went to another exotic vehicle (vehicle type omitted intentionally) certified technician who has worked on”hundreds of Bentleys.” He explained in detail the issues that can arise from this particular module failing. The tech informed me that this particular module controls “air, fuel” and yes, “acceleration.” He stated that Toyota, VW (owns Bentley), GM, Lexus and other manufacturers have had similar problems. He continued, “Toyota has manufactured vehicles where it was estimated that 140 out of every 1 million cars would result in sudden accelerations. Was it unlikely to happen? Yes. But did it happen? Yes.”

Although the cause of the malfunction in Toyota was different than what has been reported in Bentley, the result is likely the same, possible surging. Bentley is obviously nowhere near as common of a vehicle as Toyota, so this issue is definitely not as common with Bentley, but it still exists, according the tech.

I was informed by the tech that vehicle manufacturers use what is known as “Technical Service Bulletins” (TSB) to inform techs how to fix certain problems. He stated that he has worked on roughly 200 Bentleys that were the same year, make and model as Goodman’s. He said it is common for techs to print these bulletins and keep them in a readily-accessible folder to refer back to when servicing each vehicle. He recalled fixing three Bentleys where the same particular module as Goodman’s was compromised, each time using the TSB to accurately fix the problem. But the problem that exists today: that particular TSB is nowhere to be found online, according to both techs I talked with.

The second technician believes that he knows someone who has that particular bulletin, but he was fearful of coming forward with that document, afraid he would never be able to retain employment in his line of work again. Apparently, Bentley did go to great lengths to keep this information private, according to the tech. He informed me that Bentley can also “update their bulletins, or delete them entirely.”

Why would Bentley do this? Could Goodman’s case be the cause of why this information was allegedly deleted? Could a $40 million insurance ($6 million more paid by another source) payout to Wilson’s family be an incentive to keep this a “hush-hush” issue with Bentley? Bentley would assuredly have liability if it was ever proven that Goodman’s car surged.

The second technician I spoke with gave very compelling details. It would be very wise of Goodman’s defense to use his knowledge to educate the jurors on all of the very technical information during the next trial.

Presumably, Bentley will be supplying their own “expert” for the prosecution during Goodman’s upcoming trial. You can bet they will be doing everything possible to protect their prestigious name.

It has also been reported that former prosecutor Ellen Roberts knew that deputy Troy Snelgrove had been given information by Bentley that suggested five or six other people had the same issues that Goodman’s defense claimed, but she reportedly did not disclose this information to the Defense. Is this withholding exculpatory evidence?

So what about that Bentley Goodman was driving on the night of the accident?

The new defense won’t be able to examine that Bentley. The defense experts won’t be able to examine it either, prohibiting their ability to conduct many necessary tests. Most importantly, the jury will not see the Bentley. They won’t see the reportedly problematic $5,000 module, which, by the way, was not replaced on Goodman’s vehicle according to service records (1, 2). Arguably, the jury won’t have the single most important piece of evidence to help them make an informed decision that could cost Goodman 30 years of his life.

Why not just get the Bentley back?

Goodman’s Bentley has been scrapped, sold for parts, and is currently in the hands of its third owner since Roberts released it from the state’s custody. Ask almost any attorney and he’ll tell you that all evidence should be preserved pending any appeals in a criminal case. So why would a “seasoned” prosecutor like Roberts do such a thing?

According to emails obtained and according to witnesses, Roberts had a very close relationship with the Wilson family’s civil attorney, Scott B. Smith of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey and Fronrath, sharing all sorts of information well before Goodman’s first trail was over. In fact, Roberts retired shortly after Goodman’s trial and took a job with the firm (Scott B. Smith) that represented the Wilsons. Could that be considered prosecutorial misconduct? Could Roberts have been guaranteed a spiff for her help?

Could Bentley have encouraged Roberts to dispose of Goodman’s vehicle? Could the Wilson’s civil attorney have coordinated this? There is no excuse for her actions when it pertains to getting rid of crucial legal evidence.

According to the Florida Bar, Roberts presumably violated her duty to preserve evidence:

…courts cannot tolerate the wrongful destruction of relevant evidence if litigation is reasonably foreseeable. By so doing, courts undermine the foundation of the legal system and destroy public confidence in our judicial process, which depends on the evidence.

What about Wilson and his vehicle? Was he really going the speed limit? How many driving violations did Wilson have prior to this accident? Why was his speedometer displaying 120 mph after it was pulled out of the canal? Why were his headlights in the “off” position? Could he have had any culpability in the crash itself? Wilson’s phone records suggest he may have been preoccupied with his cellular phone at the time of the accident.

Simply, there is not enough valid evidence to prove Goodman operated his vehicle in a reckless manner.

–Joseph Snook

 

Florida’s John B. Goodman is not guilty

This is the first in a series by the US~Observer.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Guilt is supposed to be determined by an impartial jury of our peers. Today, however, guilt is generally assumed upon the reading of charges and state-authorized and released details in the local daily paper, national tabloids if you’re “worthy” enough, and/or online on Facebook or Twitter. This poisoning of the jury pool is a delight to every prosecutor’s office across the country. However, fact is often very different from the state’s accounting of the details and, once revealed, paints a much different picture — often resulting in a truth-based perception that the charged person is not guilty or, in other words, innocent.

Now, you will finally be able to read about “Polo Mogul” John Goodman’s case from a significantly unique perspective based on the evidence. This is not what the assigned West Palm Beach prosecutors and a few deputies have reported to the mainstream media to pass on to the public. This reporting is the result of months of digging through evidence, testimony and communication with eyewitnesses and experts. More so, when the research began, the presumption was that Goodman was guilty. What I uncovered was that there is more than enough evidence to elicit a preponderance of innocence, not guilt, and that unless the state continually lies about the facts, or the jurists have a vendetta to convict, Goodman cannot be found guilty. Quite simply, there is no definitive evidence that can be considered beyond a reasonable doubt in favor of a guilty verdict; it is quite the opposite. Remember, the burden of proof is the state’s, not Goodman’s.

The John Goodman Case

On Feb. 12, 2010, Goodman, 47, was returning home from a YMCA charity event, then a dinner/social function, when his car suddenly collided with another vehicle driven by 23-year-old Scott Wilson. The events that followed tragically ended Wilson’s life and left John Goodman fighting for his innocence — for the second time in almost four years. The evidence obtained in this case gives convincing details of how sheriff’s deputies Ricardo Safford and Troy Snelgrove, along with prosecutors Ellen Roberts (retired) and Sherri Collins, allegedly committed crimes. The evidence reveals they lied, withheld exculpatory evidence, threatened one law enforcement officer to not testify (because it would hurt the states’ case), willfully and negligently destroyed key evidence, obstructed justice, failed to render aid and possibly accepted what could amount to bribes.

Goodman was originally convicted of DUI manslaughter/failure to render aid and vehicular homicide/failure to render aid on March 23, 2012. Legal experts have stated that trial errors “warranted a new trial” and most likely would have resulted in a successful appeal. However, juror misconduct was discovered. Because Goodman did not receive a review by an impartial jury, he secured the right to a new trial, currently scheduled for Oct. 6. The trial is supposed to take place as if the first trial’s outcome did not even exist, and Goodman is once again facing charges that carry a reported 30-year sentence if convicted.

The Accident

The accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. am on a dark February night. There were no eyewitnesses. The road conditions were normal, and the temperature was reported to be in the 50s. Visibility was an issue due to the accident’s rural location combined with a thumbnail moon. This made it difficult to see, which was expressed by two post-crash witnesses who called 911 and several other responders. In fact, five people claimed to have not seen Wilson’s car initially, as it was turned upside down and was mostly underwater in a nearby canal.

Goodman hit his head as a result of the collision, losing consciousness. When he “came to,” he was incredibly “disoriented” and concussed by the sheer momentum of the accident. The prosecution claims Goodman was traveling about 63 mph at impact. The previous defense claimed “between 49-58″ mph. Assuming either of those speeds, impact would cause someone’s head to be extremely jarred, at the very least. Goodman also sustained a wrist fracture, a “questionable fracture of the sternum” with “soft tissue swelling,” and a laceration and hematoma above his left eye. Goodman was transported to Wellington Regional Hospital, where he received medical attention from Dr. Adam Bromberg, who confirmed Goodman’s injuries.

Analysis of the skid marks show Wilson’s car spun violently after the collision. According to the prosecution in Goodman’s initial trial, Wilson died as a result of drowning. Wilson’s car was found just minutes after the accident by the fourth bystander to arrive on the scene; nobody else had seen his car. About five minutes later, the sheriff’s deputies arrived. But the responding deputies and fire and rescue personnel failed to find Wilson until 2:31 a.m. Why? It took authorities nearly an hour and a half after arriving on scene, fully aware of where Wilson’s vehicle was, before his body was discovered. The canal was shallow enough that the Hyundai Wilson was driving had its back tires sticking out of the water, according to witnesses.

The prosecution has, and will again, painted a picture that Goodman, whose blood alcohol level was allegedly above the legal limit, was drunk at the time of the accident; that he was the sole cause of the crash; and that he stood there callously watching Wilson’s car sink and then fled into the night. Case closed, right?

Not so fast.

–Joseph Snook

Editor’s note: Check back next week for the next part of the story.

Father’s Fight To Be Reunited With Daughter Pays Off

After the sudden loss of her mother in 2011, then-3-year-old Roselynn Sanchez became the unfortunate pawn in a custody battle between her living relatives. Roselynn’s biological father, Ryan Sanchez, who had separated from Roselynn’s mother prior to her death, was issued a court order to appear in Montana regarding custody of his daughter.

Roselynn’s two maternal grandparents, who were divorced, wanted Roselynn to remain in their custody and filed for custody in Montana, despite Roselynn’s only living parent (Sanchez) residing in Kansas.

Sanchez rushed to an attorney like most people would in a similar situation. Sadly, Sanchez quickly found out that his decision to do that was one that will weigh on him for many years to come.

The grandparents were given custody, all while his attorney was collecting legal fees.

Three years later, and after spending roughly $40,000 on his attorney, Sanchez is still baffled when trying to understand how he lost custody initially.

As the legal bills kept piling up, Sanchez had to work out of state in the oil fields in South Dakota, attempting to do everything possible to keep up with the financial strain. His wife, Andrea, was in Kansas, working hard herself and taking on this fight as her own, doing everything to help have her stepchild brought home.

As the bills continued to pile up, combined with the headache of dealing with an attorney who allegedly failed Sanchez greatly, Sanchez quickly found himself almost two years further into the seemingly never-ending custody battle without any meaningful resolution.

At that juncture, Sanchez’s father hired the US~Observer. After looking into the case, it was obvious that very little had been accomplished in court. Either Sanchez’s attorney Chris King of Wyoming was failing miserably to effectively assist his client, or the court was simply not interested in Roselynn’s being permanently reunited with her only living parent. This writer believes that Sanchez was being financially drained by his attorney.

The facts of the case were simple, yet the final outcome was not. The US~Observer reported on this case in March 2013.

It was reported that the judge presiding over this case, Blair Jones, had a direct connection to Roselynn’s maternal grandfather. No evidence of this was ever found. Shortly after the publication of our only article on this case, a final plan to determine permanent custody was arranged.

As the final custody hearing of Aug. 8, 2014, neared, Ryan and Andrea Sanchez were deeply concerned. What would the judge do? They had been labeled horrible things by the maternal grandparents. The claims were never proved as true, but it still caused them much grief. They had fought so hard for so long just to have their little girl. Making things worse, they received an email from their attorney just days before the hearing, demanding an extra $2,000 to “finish” the case. At a meeting with their attorney, just one day prior to the hearing, King allegedly threatened to “remove himself” from the case. The meeting ended abruptly, with tempers reportedly flaring.

What would you do if had paid almost $40,000 to an attorney who spent three years on your case without getting you custody of your daughter, then he suddenly demands an extra $2,000 along with allegedly threatening to drop your case?

Despite the troubles with King, the Sanchezes walked out of the meeting with their heads held high. They had done everything humanly possible to prove they deserved to parent their child. The next morning was a big day, and they needed to stay positive and look past King’s reported threats.

On Aug. 8, I received a phone call that brought tears to my eyes for many reasons.

“She’s coming home. We’re picking her up tomorrow at noon!” Ryan and Andrea followed by stating they were “happy, very happy!”

Jones finally ruled in their favor. He did the right thing in this case, despite the animosity between the two parties involved. Ryan Sanchez is Roselynn’s father — a damn good father, who has fought very hard to have the right to raise his daughter.

The US~Observer commends Jones for his just ruling. You never know what a judge is going to do these days, despite how obvious it may seem.

The US~Observer conducted a thorough investigation and subsequent report, along with other pertinent work, which Ryan stated “helped tremendously.” It was stated several times that our efforts caused “a big change for the good in this case.”

The US~Observer would also like to commend Andrea Earhart, the guardian ad litem in this case who helped give Roselynn a permanent foundation in her young life. Ultimately, Roselynn will be the one who benefits most from this.

On Aug. 12, Roselynn started school for her first time in Kansas. There will be many adjustments ahead, but one thing is certain: Roselynn is finally where she deserves to be — home.

It is this writer’s opinion that when going through a custody battle, an attorney is not always the most important “first” option, although legal counsel will likely be required at some point. You need to understand that having a good balance of advocates other than an attorney is equally as important. The US~Observer provides that option. Not all attorneys are the same. Before you hire one, ask them pertinent questions, talk to some former clients, be prudent in your decision-making process.

Congratulations to the Sanchez family. They truly deserve this moment.

As for King, if you ever consider hiring him, I would highly suggest contacting Ryan and Andrea Sanchez before writing him a check. They might just give you some wise advice.

–Joseph Snook

 

Return Of The King

King George III once believed that America was his land, the land of the crown of England, to be ruled over without the consent of the governed. His powers, even though partially limited by England’s ruling-class parliament, were sweeping through the use of royal proclamations, much like today’s executive orders.

It was one such decree that created further animosity between the colonists and the crown and is said to have contributed to the rising conflict that would later flare into the Revolutionary War: The Royal Proclamation of 1763. In effect, the king sought to manage the expansion of the colonists as well as control the headwaters of all rivers that flowed into the Atlantic by forming a line along the Appalachian Mountains. It was a line the colonists were forbidden to move beyond.

Per Wikipedia:

Colonial officials could not grant lands without royal approval, and the proclamation gave the crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from American Indians.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out all that well for King George; and I am perplexed as to why the same tactics are being put up with today under the guise of national monuments.

A national monument in the United States is land confiscated by the stroke of a presidential pen under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by an executive order asserting that certain lands are now protected under federal law and jurisdiction. In essence, if the king decrees it such, it is to be.

If there is land owned by citizens within the borders of a national monument, it does not become part of the monument until such time as the federal government acquires title. However, restrictions on land use will be imposed so as to not affect the monument. The land owner is essentially landlocked and forced to ultimately transfer title to the government.

All water rights within national monuments fall to the federal government. How interesting that the proposed Siskiyou Crest National Monument completely confiscates the headwaters of the Rogue and Applegate rivers; all of this, of course, is done under the guise of protection.

But who protects the people’s interests and the rights that we inherently have when the Constitution — the instrument that mandates the government not trample these rights — is utterly ignored by the whim of whatever president is in power?

The usurpation of land for use determined by a government and not by the people becomes, in essence, the king’s land. And with a reported 136 million acres in 71 national monuments located in 26 states, there is a lot of land owned by the crown.

The Power Of The King

The taking of land wouldn’t be possible without the power of the executive order, an instrument that has been used since 1789 to typically keep management in the executive branch and its agencies functioning. This could include something as small as extending one’s service beyond retirement age (something that if you look into the records happened quite often). But the power of the executive order has grown and is almost limitless, especially in times of crisis. The only challenge comes from Congress or by the courts; and this hasn’t happened as often as one might think, and definitely not often enough to curtail the ever-expanding power of the orders.

According to a Phyllis Schlafly Report titled “Power Grab Through Executive Orders”:

The term Executive Order does not appear in the Constitution. The Executive Order authority derives from the President’s Article II, Section 3 power to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” However, “laws” must mean laws that are already passed, not laws that an Executive Order purports to create. The validity of particular Executive Orders has often been questioned, but neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has ever defined the extent of their power, and courts have rarely invalidated or even reviewed EOs.

In a February 2010 opinion piece in The News Record, the student newspaper at the University of Cincinnati, Jeremy Davis wrote:

The Founding Fathers didn’t draft the Constitution with a central leader with extensive power in mind. Their experience of living under the rule of a despotic king fueled their attempts to prevent a tyrannical centralized government from taking hold here.

The nature of the presidency and its expanding power has been evolving more and more with each passing administration.

Then there are the chilling words of Harry V. Martin, who wrote:

the President now has the power to transfer whole populations to any part of the country, the power to suspend the Press and to force a national registration of all persons. The President, in essence, has dictatorial powers never provided to him under the Constitution. The President has the power to suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in a real or perceived emergency. Unlike Lincoln and Roosevelt, these powers are not derived from a wartime need, but from any crisis, domestic or foreign, hostile or economic. Roosevelt created extraordinary measures during the Great Depression, but any President faced with a similar, or lesser, economic crisis now has extraordinary powers to assume dictatorial status.

Clearly, the king has returned, with decree in hand; and the people are left powerless — left to tell tales of a once-great republic when liberty, freedom and justice existed for all.

Executive Orders Per President Since Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Barack Obama: 184 (so far)
George W. Bush: 291
Bill Clinton: 364
George H.W. Bush: 166
Ronald Reagan: 381
Jimmy Carter: 320
Gerald Ford: 169
Richard Nixon: 346
Lyndon Johnson: 324
John F. Kennedy: 214
Dwight Eisenhower: 486
Harry Truman: 896
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 3,728

Source: National Archives

–Ron Lee

An American Citizen’s Duty

Who are we anymore? Do we even know?

America has changed, folks. And though many people would like to pretend our society’s newfound political correctness has fostered a worldly humanity, nothing is further from the truth. This “correctness” has literally destroyed our own sense of belonging to, what was once, the greatest nation on the Earth. It has, literally, stripped us of the ability to unite in one American spirit.

Due in part to the lack of involvement by citizens, Big Brother and Uncle Sam have become Mom and Dad. Because of this, citizens are viewed as children who need to be told what to do, eat, listen to, buy, say and be. How sad it is that many revere this philosophy of irresponsibility? They believe if the government weren’t involved, people would get hurt or killed. They believe people would eat tainted meat and drive cars that are unsafe. They believe everyone would starve in the streets, and no one would be protected from the bully on Facebook. They believe that employers would enslave their employees and that, without government, the world would catch fire and would cease to exist. They also believe that they would no longer feel special; because if it weren’t for government, other people could call them plain Americans — not using the hyphenated term of their own desire to set them apart from the rest. And they readily believe that they are special and that they should have rights above everyone else.

So just what does it mean to be an American citizen anymore? Are we so far removed from having to do that we are simply complacent to just be whatever we’re told to be? When did the spirit that was the American way die? When was the American dream attained so the rest would be a nightmare of authoritarian rule? When did we give up on ourselves?

It used to be a citizen’s duty to protect the Republic and his or her neighbor. Well, we got so caught up with competing with our neighbors on a material level that kindness and fellowship fell from our way of life. We have, literally, become islands unto ourselves — afraid of everyone and everything around us.

The sad fact is most people need the government to be their parents and to protect them – even from themselves.

People are so far removed from the citizen’s duty of old that they have even lost the knowledge of the Republic, instead replacing it with a democracy that has been designed to give everyone the feeling of having a voice.

It’s a fake feeling, let me tell you.

It is time to do our citizen’s duty. Just what is that, you wonder?

Well, according to conventional modern interpretations, in order to be a good American you must (as Chris Seabury, an eHow contributor, lists):

Follow All Regulations

In America, it is a citizen’s duty to obey the laws enacted by the government, interpreted by the courts, and enforced by the police.

Jury Duty

Citizens are often called for jury duty, which they are required to perform. In the United States, all suspects have a right to due process and a trial by jury. Part of ensuring that the criminal justice system works properly is having citizens serve on juries in trials.

Witness

If you are witness to a crime, you could be summonsed [sic] as a witness. It is your duty as a citizen to inform the authorities of everything that you saw. You could also be called if you did not witness the crime but have information relevant to the case.

Taxes

It is all American citizens’ constitutional duty to pay taxes. Taxes are necessary to ensure that various services can be provided, such as national defense, infrastructure, public works, government operations and more.

Selective Service System

When American male citizens become 18 years old, they must register with the Selective Service System. Should the government employ a military draft, this is how the government would choose those who would be drafted.

Poppycock! Yeah, I just used that word. That list outlines a good little boy or girl who does what he or she is told. It has nothing to do with being an American, and honoring that which sets us apart.

I believe that to do our citizen’s duty, we have to become champions of the Constitution. Know it. Show it. Fight to your last breath to protect it. It is the Republic — at least the foundation that it was created upon. Get to know your neighbors and offer them a hand with something they need. Go to your city council and county commission meetings and be involved.

Perhaps the most applicable outline for a modern citizen’s duty comes from Jan. 26, 1883, when Theodore Roosevelt wrote “The Duties of American Citizenship.” It, in part, states:

It ought to be axiomatic in this country that every man must devote a reasonable share of his time to doing his duty in the Political life of the community. No man has a right to shirk his political duties under whatever plea of pleasure or business; and while such shirking may be pardoned in those of small means it is entirely unpardonable in those among whom it is most common — in the people whose circumstances give them freedom in the struggle for life. In so far as the community grows to think rightly, it will likewise grow to regard the young man of means who shirks his duty to the State in time of peace as being only one degree worse than the man who thus shirks it in time of war. A great many of our men in business, or of our young men who are bent on enjoying life (as they have a perfect right to do if only they do not sacrifice other things to enjoyment), rather plume themselves upon being good citizens if they even vote; yet voting is the very least of their duties, Nothing worth gaining is ever gained without effort. You can no more have freedom without striving and suffering for it than you can win success as a banker or a lawyer without labor and effort, without self-denial in youth and the display of a ready and alert intelligence in middle age. The people who say that they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying that they are unfit to live in a free community. Their place is under a despotism; or if they are content to do nothing but vote, you can take despotism tempered by an occasional plebiscite, like that of the second Napoleon. In one of Lowell’s magnificent stanzas about the Civil War he speaks of the fact which his countrymen were then learning, that freedom is not a gift that tarries long in the hands of cowards: nor yet does it tarry long in the hands of the sluggard and the idler, in the hands of the man so much absorbed in the pursuit of pleasure or in the pursuit of gain, or so much wrapped up in his own easy home life as to be unable to take his part in the rough struggle with his fellow men for political supremacy. If freedom is worth having, if the right of self-government is a valuable right, then the one and the other must be retained exactly as our forefathers acquired them, by labor, and especially by labor in organization, that is in combination with our fellows who have the same interests and the same principles. We should not accept the excuse of the business man who attributed his failure to the fact that his social duties were so pleasant and engrossing that he had no time left for work in his office; nor would we pay much heed to his further statement that he did not like business anyhow because he thought the morals of the business community by no means what they should be, and saw that the great successes were most often won by men of the Jay Gould stamp. It is just the same way with politics. It makes one feel half angry and half amused, and wholly contemptuous, to find men of high business or social standing in the community saying that they really have not got time to go to ward meetings, to organize political clubs, and to take a personal share in all the important details of practical politics; men who further urge against their going the fact that they think the condition of political morality low, and are afraid that they may be required to do what is not right if they go into politics.

The first duty of an American citizen, then, is that he shall work in politics; his second duty is that he shall do that work in a practical manner; and his third is that it shall be done in accord with the highest principles of honor and justice.

Finally, the man who wishes to do his duty as a citizen in our country must be imbued through and through with the spirit of Americanism. I am not saying this as a matter of spread-eagle rhetoric: I am saying it quite soberly as a piece of matter-of-fact, common-sense advice, derived from my own experience of others. Of course, the question of Americanism has several sides. If a man is an educated man, he must show his Americanism by not getting misled into following out and trying to apply all the theories of the political thinkers of other countries, such as Germany and France, to our own entirely different conditions. He must not get a fad, for instance, about responsible government; and above all things he must not, merely because he is intelligent, or a college professor well read in political literature, try to discuss our institutions when he has had no practical knowledge of how they are worked. Again, if he is a wealthy man, a man of means and standing, he must really feel, not merely affect to feel, that no social differences obtain save such as a man can in some way himself make by his own actions. People sometimes ask me if there is not a prejudice against a man of wealth and education in ward politics. I do not think that there is, unless the man in turn shows that he regards the facts of his having wealth and education as giving him a claim to superiority aside from the merit he is able to prove himself to have in actual service. Of course, if he feels that he ought to have a little better treatment than a carpenter, a plumber, or a butcher, who happens to stand beside him, he is going to be thrown out of the race very quickly, and probably quite roughly; and if he starts in to patronize and elaborately condescend to these men he will find that they resent this attitude even more. Do not let him think about the matter at all. Let him go into the political contest with no more thought of such matters than a college boy gives to the social standing of the members of his own and rival teams in a hotly contested football match. As soon as he begins to take an interest in politics (and he will speedily not only get interested for the sake of politics, but also take a good healthy interest in playing the game itself — an interest which is perfectly normal and praise-worthy, and to which only a prig would object), he will begin to work up the organization in the way that will be most effective, and he won’t care a rap about who is put to work with him, save in so far as he is a good fellow and an efficient worker. There was one time that a number of men who think as we do here tonight (one of the number being myself) got hold of one of the assembly districts of New York, and ran it in really an ideal way, better than any other assembly district has ever been run before or since by either party. We did it by hard work and good organization; by working practically, and yet by being honest and square in motive and method: especially did we do it by all turning in as straight-out Americans without any regard to distinctions of race origin. Among the many men who did a great deal in organizing our victories was the son of a Presbyterian clergyman, the nephew of a Hebrew rabbi, and two well-known Catholic gentlemen. We also had a Columbia College professor (the stroke-oar of a university crew), a noted retail butcher, and the editor of a local German paper, various brokers, bankers, lawyers, bricklayers and a stonemason who was particularly useful to us, although on questions of theoretic rather than applied politics he had a decidedly socialistic turn of mind.

Again, questions of race origin, like questions of creed, must not be considered: we wish to do good work, and we are all Americans, pure and simple. In the New York legislature, when it fell to my lot to choose a committee — which I always esteemed my most important duty at Albany — no less than three out of the four men I chose were of Irish birth or parentage; and three abler and more fearless and disinterested men never sat in a legislative body; while among my especial political and personal friends in that body was a gentleman from the southern tier of counties, who was, I incidentally found out, a German by birth, but who was just as straight United States as if his ancestors had come over here in the Mayflower or in Henry Hudson’s yacht. Of course, none of these men of Irish or German birth would have been worth their salt had they continued to act after coming here as Irishmen or Germans, or as anything but plain straight-out Americans. We have not any room here for a divided allegiance. A man has got to be an American and nothing else; and he has no business to be mixing us up with questions of foreign politics, British or Irish, German or French, and no business to try to perpetuate their language and customs in the land of complete religious toleration and equality. If, however, he does become honestly and in good faith an American, then he is entitled to stand precisely as all other Americans stand, and it is the height of un-Americanism to discriminate against him in any way because of creed or birthplace. No spirit can be more thoroughly alien to American institutions, than the spirit of the Know-Nothings.

In facing the future and in striving, each according to the measure of his individual capacity, to work out the salvation of our land, we should be neither timid pessimists nor foolish optimists. We should recognize the dangers that exist and that threaten us: we should neither overestimate them nor shrink from them, but steadily fronting them should set to work to overcome and beat them down. Grave perils are yet to be encountered in the stormy course of the Republic — perils from political corruption, perils from individual laziness, indolence and timidity, perils springing from the greed of the unscrupulous rich, and from the anarchic violence of the thriftless and turbulent poor. There is every reason why we should recognize them, but there is no reason why we should fear them or doubt our capacity to overcome them, if only each will, according to the measure of his ability, do his full duty, and endeavor so to live as to deserve the high praise of being called a good American citizen.

This is the citizen I want to be. How about you?

–Ron Lee