Inventor thrives despite imprisonment

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — There are few people in this generation who can be considered true geniuses, ones with inventive minds that have the ability to think outside the box and solve problems creatively and intuitively. Of recent fame was Steve Jobs, whose Apple empire began in a garage. Typically, we look to Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison as leading examples.

In the laboratory, hundreds of experiments are often necessary, but the true genius has an abiding sure knowledge that the thing being invented will work. Edison’s light bulb, for instance, required him to try and fail about 20,000 times to find material that would work for the filament. He tried using everything available — even human hair — until he got it right.

Now imagine that Einstein, Edison or Tesla had been jailed when they were developing their creations; imagine they were placed in a prison cell the size of a small closet and only allowed to have a pencil and a few sheets of paper. Although trapped, these geniuses, who by their very nature are compelled to invent, would press on despite their surroundings, inventing the things that were in their mind. They report that they were driven by a vision, and history records that human society seems to place a curse on those with this amazing talent.

So it is with former Idaho County, Idaho, resident David R. Hinkson, the inventor of WaterOz dietary supplements. He invented products providing mineral replacement therapy for those who want better health when their body, organs and systems have been deprived of essential minerals. We all know that many of our soils are depleted so that the plant grown in mineral deficient soil does not have the food value it should.

But Hinkson was given a vision of how to take pure raw minerals and turn them into consumable liquids in a process he calls “ionization.” The ionized mineral is then poured into a controlled, purified water so that a mere teaspoon is enough to affect the aging process caused by lack of essential minerals.

Unfortunately for Hinkson, he was caught in a trap set by a blackmailing criminal, an Idaho County resident named Elven Joe Swisher. This villain falsely bore witness against Hinkson, as he promised he would if Hinkson refused to sign over half of his business (extortion). This cowardly, sniveling ex-con, himself convicted of perjury, forgery, theft of government property and stolen valor, is considered by many people, including members of his own family, a sociopath who was guilty of lying to the jurors in Hinkson’s trial. But what’s worse is the trial judge and prosecutor both vouched for Swisher’s credibility to the jury, basing Hinkson’s conviction on a complete falsehood.

The majority of judicial graybeards on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals failed to recognize that a person, such as Hinkson, sent to prison solely on the testimony of a convicted perjurer, Swisher, should receive a new trial. Certainly, justice demands Hinkson be given a fair trial. But then there are the politics of this situation.

Yes, the politics in Idaho County contributed to Hinkson’s unfair conviction, leaving him confined to a prison cell where he can develop his inventions only on paper. By the way, the latest thing he is working on is a transformer that every homeowner can afford, which uses magnetic power to deliver enough electricity to run a household and put the excess into the grid, so that the power company sends the homeowner a check every month. The tragedy of our prison system in American is that once a person is convicted, he is forgotten and his family often experiences shame.

But maybe not so much for Hinkson. Newspaper publisher Edward Snook of the US~Observer was astonished that Hinkson, of all those innocent persons victimized by a corrupt system, was the most highly recognized nationwide. Snook said, “The American public is aware of David and that he was falsely convicted of crimes he did not commit; and, in fact, these were make-believe crimes that never occurred.”

After 12 years in prison, having been railroaded by a lying appellate court judge, Richard C. Tallman — who served by designation as the trial court judge in the Hinkson case, had a private ex parte meeting with Swisher immediately prior to his testimony and embraced Swisher’s lies as if he were a credible witness — Hinkson’s creativity has survived. And despite the gross unfairness, Hinkson has been inventing many things that will benefit mankind, despite those who have tried to destroy and silence him. Hinkson envisions a better world for humanity, instead of playing the victim role. He creates amazing things that will benefit society (without a laboratory, tools or assistance). He visualizes and implements where possible, and that’s why we call him “Amazing Dave” and say he should receive an award as Inventor of the Year.

–Kelly Stone

Note: The US~Observer has taken on Hinkson’s absolutely false conviction, and we look forward to seeing this innocent veteran released from prison. It is simply a matter of how much effort it will take. I urge anyone with information on Swisher or the Hinkson case to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or send an email to editor@usobserver.com.

Coma causes man’s friend to be wrongfully convicted

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. — Brad Scott is presently filing a motion for post-conviction relief, asking the court to reopen his case based on new evidence. Scott was previously sentenced to seven years in prison for a conviction of BUI (boating under the influence) with a GBI (great bodily injury) enhancement, on Dec. 8, 2011.

On July 18, 2009, friends Scott and Rel Vrooman were attending a weekend function at White’s Landing on Catalina Island, a California. The two friends of roughly 25 years were traveling back from Avalon toward White’s Landing when their small, motor-powered, inflatable tender (dinghy) suddenly struck another boat, which was reportedly anchored in an area that was “outside the typical moorage and anchorage area.” Both men sustained serious injuries, requiring medical evacuation by helicopter to Harbor UCLA Hospital. Both men had been drinking alcohol.

It was after midnight; and the two unconscious, injured friends left initial responders puzzled about what actually happened as they began to receive medical attention. Scott was the first to regain consciousness. Still dazed from the accident, he awoke in the hospital to learn that Vrooman was in an induced coma and had sustained severe brain trauma, among several other injuries. Scott was diagnosed with a concussion and whiplash, and he was released later that day.

Concerned for Vrooman, Scott began seeking helpful information. Scott knew that Vrooman was the boat operator at the time of the accident; and he feared that if Vrooman awoke, he may say something without proper legal guidance. At the advice of a friend who was retired from law enforcement, Scott and others were urged to tell Vrooman’s family, “When Rel wakes up, if he doesn’t know who was driving, don’t say anything to anyone.” After the statement was made to Vrooman’s family, concerns over who was operating the boat began to surface. Not knowing Scott very well, some family members grew skeptical of his intent. Causing more concern was the fact that Scott owned the boat involved in the accident. At the advice of a family friend, Vrooman’s family retained the prominent Southern California law firm Aitken, Aitken and Cohn.

After being placed in a medically induced coma for 10 days and spending one and a half months in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) after the accident, Vrooman regained consciousness. Although he was alive, his memory loss and near complete loss of vision left a question mark as to how speedy, if at all, his recovery would be.

For the next eight months, neither Scott nor Vrooman was charged with any crime. Several experts agree the evidence did not show Scott was the operator; and without Scott’s stating that Vrooman was the driver, charges remained unfiled. According to witness statements, pressure to file charges was reportedly mounting against the sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office from Aitken and Aitken and the firm’s private investigator. Pressure, coupled with faulty evidence, led to Scott’s arrest and charges on March 6, 2010.

At the advice of his former corporate attorney, Larry Rubaum, Scott hired attorney Howard E. Lowe. Scott remained confident that the evidence would clearly show his innocence.

The first person to see Scott and Vrooman in the dingy after the accident was Marissa Brown, owner of the sailboat “Black Dahlia.” Brown and her husband David Brown were on their boat as the inflatable dinghy hit it, about 1:15 a.m. After speaking with investigators associated with Aitken and Aitken, Marissa Brown reportedly couldn’t quite remember with certainty where Scott or Vrooman were post-accident. Although, on the morning after the accident and during the preliminary hearings, she reportedly knew exactly where each man was located, since she stated she had jumped into her skiff (small boat) and piloted over to the dingy to hold Rel’s head & arm out of the water as she towed the dinghy back to her sailboat. Her husband, David Brown, offered conflicting information almost a year and a half later that was never given to authorities on the morning after the accident. His recollection of where the men were lying after the accident conflicted with his wife’s initial statement taken shortly after the accident. The “altered” recollection of events made it more plausible that Scott was actually the driver.

The injuries sustained during the accident were representative of Vrooman’s being behind the helm (steering column) of the boat and Scott’s being a passenger next to him on the bench seat to the left of the helm. Vrooman had broken four of his ribs and his collar bone, which was indicative of someone being behind the steering console and sustaining that type of injury on impact. The evidence that Scott’s defense obtained, including accident reconstruction reports from the defense’s expert as well as from the insurance company’s independent expert, appeared to be sufficient enough to prompt prosecuting attorney David Dixon to dismiss Scott’s charges.

Shockingly, former sheriff-turned-prosecutor Dixon did not dismiss.

According to documents obtained, crucial testimony for the defense from the biomechanical engineer’s accident reconstructionist was not permitted at trial. One witness stated, “Judge (Joan Comparet-) Cassani sustained the prosecutions objections, disallowing very important evidence for Scott intended to be presented to jurors.” First, retired deputy sheriff Oliver Grani was not allowed to tell the court that he had instructed Scott and others to tell Vrooman, “It would be best if Rel doesn’t remember who was driving, not to say anything at all.” Second, a mutual friend who was with Scott and Vrooman during the weekend of the accident would have testified that he was with them while Vrooman was operating the dinghy earlier that day. He would have also stated that Vrooman, when operating the boat, “often stands up” to see over the bow as speeds increase and lift the front end of the boat. Again, Comparet-Cassani didn’t allow the jurors to hear this evidence.

This would normally alarm me; however, I found while investigating this particular judge that she had been admonished on three separate occasions by the California State Commission on Judicial Performance, prior to Scott’s trial. On one occasion she ordered that a shock belt be placed on a defendant, and then she ordered that the defendant be shocked for being disruptive.

According to witnesses, other crucial evidence for the defense was not allowed during trial. Possibly the most concerning testimony came from Vrooman himself when he stated during trial that he could “not remember who was driving the boat.” Vrooman was in an induced coma for 10 days and in ICU for a month and a half, after sustaining memory loss. At trial, Vrooman was clueless about who was driving the boat. He was even chastised during court proceedings by Comparet-Cassani, who implied that he could remember who was driving but wasn’t being truthful.

In a blink of an eye, Scott was convicted and sent to prison. After reading all trial transcripts, etc., it was absolutely a foregone conclusion that Comparet-Cassani and Dixon were going to see to it that Scott would be found guilty.

After his conviction, a friend of Scott’s found the US~Observer and convinced us to look into his “false conviction.”

During our investigation, we determined that the evidence was completely contrary to Scott’s guilt. After going through transcripts, police reports, in-depth accident reconstruction reports and other evidence, we finally traveled to Huntington Beach, California, to meet with Vrooman. He was still suffering from his injuries sustained during the tragic accident. However, after speaking with Vrooman over a period of approximately one year, he began to regain his vision out of his left eye, which was a huge medical breakthrough. Next, he started regaining memory.

In an affidavit obtained by the US~Observer, Vrooman stated that as time elapsed, “I began to regain my memory and would experience glimpses of the accident.” Time continued to help Vrooman regain his memory. And as of July 19, 2014, Vrooman confirmed in a sworn affidavit, “I now clearly remember driving the boat when the accident occurred.” During many of our conversations with Vrooman, we could visibly see him struggling to remember. His memory, just as his vision, was, without any question, slowly recovering.

Vrooman is concerned that he was taken advantage of while he was incapacitated. He stated that he dealt with attorney Michael Penn of the Aitken and Aitken firm, strictly by himself, even though he had a conservator appointed at that time. Witnesses believe that Vrooman’s law firm had a “close” or “influential” relationship with the local courts and prosecutor, which heavily influenced Scott’s prosecution and subsequent conviction.

It is our hope that Vrooman finds an attorney to help him file a lawsuit against the attorneys who allegedly took advantage of him while he was incapacitated. Despite the initial confusion, Vrooman’s family has been instrumental in helping him. Although Vrooman received $500,000 in an insurance settlement, his attorneys reportedly walked away with more than $300,000of that amount, all while Vrooman was “medically oblivious” to what was happening.

Today, Vrooman wakes up in a small trailer park with the sobering memory of his friend being falsely convicted. He also deals with ongoing medical issues and the thoughts of how he “was taken advantage of by his attorneys.” Vrooman is pursuing his dream of becoming a Spanish-speaking preacher in his community. His faith in God is something he graciously shares with others.

Scott has been ordered to not have any contact or speak with Vrooman as part of his five-year probation agreement, issued at his resentencing in May 2014. In all, Scott was incarcerated for almost one and a half years and served an additional 15 months in a lockdown program. Today, Scott remains a convicted, “serious violent felon.”

The Long Beach Superior Court is expected to hear and rule on the newly discovered evidence this summer.

–Joseph Snook

 

Jon Matteson acquitted of tax evasion

At the historic federal courthouse in Marquette, Michigan, on Washington Street near Lake Superior (known as the UP, or Upper Peninsula) and after a five-year criminal investigation and a four-count felony indictment, Jon Matteson — who lives in Moran, Michigan, and was in the marine-service business with two full-service marines on Gun Lake — was found not guilty on all four charges of income-tax evasion.

The jury trial began on Monday, May 18; and the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on Friday, May 22. Matteson, if convicted, faced up to 20 years in a federal prison and fines of up to $1 million. The case was prosecuted out of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. Attorney’s Office by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Rene Shekmer and IRS special agent Rick Pike. Matteson was defended by one of the nation’s top criminal defense lawyers, lead counsel Michael Minns, and his partner Ashley Arnett, both of the law firm Minns and Arnett (formerly The Minns Firm), and local counsel Karl Numinen.

The government had previously indicted the trustee of Matteson’s trust, Herb Friske, who pleaded guilty and received time in prison. Friske, during the trial of Matteson, testified that he pleaded guilty after Pike conducted a raid on his home, breaking down the door in the wee hours of the morning, handcuffing his ill wife, cuffing his son and restraining him on the floor with four officers holding M16s to his head. Friske testified Pike threatened him with nine years in prison and that both his wife and his son would be indicted if he did not agree to plead guilty to a felony.

Both Friske and Matteson had purchased trusts from alleged expert David Simmons, who operated out of Sarasota, Florida. Simmons had secretly cooperated with the IRS to accuse and convict his two former clients of tax evasion by voluntarily testifying before a grand jury against each client: Friske in 2010 and Matteson in December 2014. Both Friske and Matteson claimed that they had paid Simmons a great deal of money to give them tax and trust-planning advice. Simmons, however, had twice secretly testified before grand juries that he did not do that. During the trial itself, Simmons testified that he never gave legal advice or accounting advice or any other advice regarding trusts.

Matteson’s former tax preparer, Bill Ayers, testified that he quit doing Matteson’s tax returns when Pike approached him and “suggested” that Ayers quit doing Matteson’s work. Ayers testified that he was then fearful of losing his license if he did not do as Pike asked.

During a blistering cross-examination by Minns, Simmons admitted that he had worked for A.L. Williams and was called a “termite.” Williams’ “termites” would “sell” generally elderly customers on the idea that they should convert the valuable equity in their whole life insurance policies into cash and “invest” the cash with them. Most of Williams’ “termite” customers lost all or most of their equity in their insurance. Simmons angrily responded that he failed to see what his past had to do with Matteson’s trial. Minns calmly smiled and told him, “That’s for the jury to decide.” And in short order, it would.

Simmons also admitted that he had a $1 million tax lien against him, that he had been ordered by the Florida State Bar not to practice law, that he had signed a consent agreement, that he had been found guilty of using a false Social Security number and that had been found guilty by a tax court judge of selling useless trusts of the same nature as the one he had sold both Friske and Matteson.

Pike never took the witness stand to explain his actions. In his closing argument Minns asked the jury why the IRS would separate a legitimate tax preparer from his client, Matteson, while simultaneously doing nothing to separate him or anyone else from con man termite Simmons.

IRS revenue officer Jaime Howard testified that Matteson owed back taxes for incorrectly prepared returns in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in substantial amounts. However, on cross examination by Minns she admitted she may have gotten her figures wrong and it was possible that Matteson owed no taxes and, in fact, was due a refund. Earlier, on cross-examination, another IRS agent, Victoria O’Brien, was interrogated by Arnett, who introduced a refund check for 2013 in the amount of $529 through the IRS agent. The agent agreed it was a bona fide refund check from the IRS, and she admitted under Arnett’s continued and forceful questioning that it meant the IRS believed no taxes were due as of 2013 on any returns previously filed. The government gave no clear explanation for this inconsistency.

In his final argument to the jurors, Minns reminded them that one IRS expert said she wasn’t sure a tax was owed and another said the refund for 2013, received in 2014, meant no tax was owed for the previous years.

The jury deliberated for two hours on Thursday afternoon and continued until 11 on Friday morning before reaching its unanimous not guilty verdict on all counts. Shekmer appeared to be shocked by the verdict and asked that the jury be polled. Twelve jurors then rose and one by one said that “not guilty” was his or her verdict.

The case was tried in a small, old courthouse near Lake Superior to a full courtroom of supporters of the Matteson family, onlookers who simply came to watch Minns’ trial expertise (some of whom traveled hundreds of miles) and numerous IRS officials who also tend to flock to these trials when Minns is leading the defense.

The US~Observer has found only nine acquittals on criminal tax evasion counts this entire year by American juries. All nine belong to Minns and Arnett. If you are aware of a bona fide not guilty jury verdict this year, particularly if it involved misconduct by government officials, please notify the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or send an email to editor@usobserver.com.

If you or anyone you know has done business with Simmons, or purchased trust products, or received legal or accounting advice from him, please notify us as well.

–Edward Snook

Recommendations to the Idaho Board of Professional Land Surveyors

This is the fourth installment of a four-part series. Read the first installment, “‘Dysfunctional’ surveying system in Idaho,”  the second installment, “A question of ethics” and the third installment, Idaho property owners fighting neighbors’ encroachment.” 

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — Sydney (Butch) and Dorothy Walker are suing their neighbors — Bessie Harmon, Etta Harmon, Ellen Hoiland, Dean Hoiland and Elvin Hoiland — to protect their property boundaries. The Idaho Board of Professional Land Surveyors should not even be involved in this case while it is being adjudicated. However, since the board chose to jump in, I must address board issues in this article; and I must include the board and the board members in my investigation.

When I questioned surveyor John Russell, he informed me that the board had hired him and that this case was different from most cases. Russell stated that he wrote his report for the board’s executive director, Keith Simila, and that he was asked to write his opinion as opposed to his factual finding. Russell said that, historically, the board wants facts. I would publicly ask Simila: Why is this case different, and who have you been “dealing” with? Opinions suggest that decisions are politically motivated.

I’m sure the board is aware that reporter Cynthia Sewell of the Idaho Statesman wrote an article in March of 2015 that stated:

Idaho is one of eight states without an agency or independent commission to oversee state ethics laws. It is one of three states with no financial disclosure requirements for state, judicial, county and city elected officials and it has no “revolving door” policy. These shortcomings are part of the reason the state has received a D- in a national survey rating government corruption risk.

My final recommendations to Simila and his board would be: Start demanding that your surveyors practice actual ethics. Have the deceitful and dishonest surveyors involved prosecuted. And do not attempt to influence ongoing litigation by board action and stop playing your “behind closed doors” favoritism regarding the Walkers and their case. If you don’t, I assure you that further exposure will follow.

–Edward Snook

Edward Snook’s Note: I urge anyone with information on this case or any of the people involved to call me at 541-474-7885 or send an email to ed@usobserver.com.

Idaho property owners fighting neighbors’ encroachment

This is the third installment of a four-part series. Read the first installment, “‘Dysfunctional’ surveying system in Idaho,” and the second installment, “A question of ethics.”

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — In a recent conversation I had wherein surveyor Carl Edwards’ southwest corner of Section 24 was referred to as possibly being fraudulent, Sydney (Butch) and Dorothy Walker’s second surveyor, Steve Wellington, said: “I always figured it was either fraud or gross negligence, but I had no proof of either one.” Wellington continued, “Now he’s got his son (Hunter Edwards) trying to perpetuate…” All I have to say about this statement by Wellington is that he could only have concluded this by looking at evidence (surveys, etc.) and surveying Section 24 (which he has done). It is clear that Wellington is merely attempting to limit his possible liability by stating, “[B]ut I had no proof of either one.”

Cutting to the chase, Wellington took much less time to “complete his work” for the Walkers. Wellington reportedly took only one year to file his Record of Survey. And get this: He saved the Walkers some money. The Walkers only had to pay Wellington a whopping $30,059.36 for his “work.”

Unlike Chad Erickson’s $37,856.00 survey, the Walkers were going to use Wellington’s $30,059.36 survey in court. However, two years after filing his Record of Survey and approximately one month before the Walkers deadline for filing their amended complaint, Wellington did a 180. He allegedly told Dorothy Walker and her attorney in April of 2015, that he was under “duress” (pressure) by the Walkers’ Boise attorney when he filed his original Record of Survey and that he would have to file a corrected one. Surveyor John Russell told me that when he met with Wellington in Meridian, Idaho, Wellington told him he “was under a little duress” from Dorothy Walker when he filed his Record of Survey. Why would Wellington give such differing statements? What integrity, Mr. Wellington!

Wellington stated he is now required to file a corrected Record of Survey, but why wouldn’t he have done this long ago if that was true? If he was under duress when he filed over two years ago, wouldn’t that mean he knew at that time that he was filing a false survey? Having already had Erickson admit to me that he was communicating with Hunter Edwards about the Walkers’ survey, I can’t help but wonder if Wellington has been talking to Edwards and possibly others who are opposing the Walkers. You see, all the Walkers want is their property according to the original corners. In fact, surveyors call it the “law of original corners.” But those who are encroaching on the Walker property are pushing hard to nibble away big chunks of land for themselves.

I learned in late April from one of our sources that the Walkers’ current attorney was communicating with attorney David R. Risley, who represents the Harmons and the Hoilands, about a possible mediation regarding this case. And guess what? Risley wrote, “We would like to have a firm deposition date for Mr. Wellington scheduled for a week or so after the Mediation.” Why in the world would Risley bring up a deposition of Wellington in late April 2015, when Wellington filed his Record of Survey over two years ago? It appears to me that Risley must have known Wellington was going to change his Record of Survey, and he could only know this if Wellington had been speaking to either him or others associated with the Walkers opposition. Could the Walkers have paid their surveyor, Wellington, $30,059.36 to assist the very people they have filed lawsuits against? Talk about unethical!

Again, I would ask the Idaho Board of Professional Land Surveyors: Are all of these statements and actions ethical?

The Walkers are about to file their amended complaint to preserve the land that they paid for and that was originally deeded to them. The suit will include the Ray Zumwalt Estate and Mike Frei. The Freis were the original landowners who hired surveyor Carl Edwards back in 1977, when Edwards established a “new corner” for the Walker’s section of land, which, in turn, changed and affected additional properties. The US~Observer is continuing to not only compile facts in our effort to prove that Edward’s corner is “fraudulent” but to uncover the motive and intent behind his “fraud.”

I commend Dorothy Walker and her family for acting on their principles. She has been forced over the past five years to conduct an intense and very thorough study of surveying laws, principles, the history of surveys in the area where her property corners and boundaries are located, and the actual practice of surveying. She and her family know what property they purchased, and they are willing to fight for it. In light of the other 20 surveys or more — which are all different — that have been conducted regarding Section 24 in Grangeville, Idaho, I will choose to rely on the Walkers’ proven information as to original corners and the fact that the person they purchased from clearly described the boundaries of section 24 to them.

–Edward Snook

Edward Snook’s Note: I urge anyone with information on this case or any of the people involved to call me at 541-474-7885 or send an email to ed@usobserver.com.

A question of ethics

This is the second installment of a four-part series. Read the first installment, “‘Dysfunctional’ surveying system in Idaho.”

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — Surveyor Chad Erickson was hired by the Walkers in 2010. When Erickson referred to surveyor Carl Edwards’ Corner during a recent conversation with me, he stated, “When I looked at the aerial photo. I could tell that Edwards’ corner was nothing.” And this “took me a year and a half.” He continued, “You’ve probably heard (surveyor Pete) Ketchum and others say that my monument was in err because I used Edwards’ stone. That’s true; that’s true.” At one point, Erickson claimed his own monument was “bogus.”

Keep in mind as you read this section on Erickson that he represented himself as a licensed professional to the Walkers. Further, surveyor ethics require a surveyor not take any action that is detrimental to their client, such as assisting the other side in a controversy. It is also a breach of ethics to attack a client who has hired you as an expert. You may not agree with that client. But under the rules of expert witnesses, once hired, the surveyor cannot start working for the other side.

Fast-forwarding to March 2015, we discovered that Erickson was published in American Surveyor Magazine. The article was titled, “One Room Schools, Aerial Photos, & Hokey Pokey Surveys.” In the article, Erickson does his best to make Dorothy Walker look dishonest and refers to two of the Walkers’ surveyors (hired after Erickson was fired by the Walkers) as “paladins,” because they identified the Walkers’ south property line — south of the line he previously thought should be established. Erickson stated in the article, “They and their opinions are now 80’ further south and 270 feet west and still going, apparent next stop, Pismo Beach, California.” Hyperbole aside, such name calling is strictly unethical.

Why would Erickson write this deceiving article over two years after the Walkers fired him, especially when he is bound by ethics not to attack a former client. Was he still mad over being fired? Or, given that in an interview he admitted to me that he was recently seen at the courthouse in Grangeville with Surveyor Hunter Edwards — who was working for the other side (the Harmons’ and the Hoilands’ surveyor and son of Carl Edwards) — did he write the article to hurt the Walkers and attempt to insure that the Walkers would lose their case or that the Harmons and the Hoilands would win theirs? If so, this is a strict violation of ethics.

Let’s deal with some of Erickson’s most damning statements. After his article was published, Erickson went to the Recorder’s Office at the courthouse in Grangeville and recorded the article (placed it into the public record). In the copy he recorded, he named Dorothy Walker and her “surveyors” (Pete Ketchum and Steve Wellington). He did not mention them by name in his published article.

When I first confronted Erickson about his article, I hit him straight on with a hard-to-answer question. His first response was, “I’m a little rattled right here, give me just a minute.” When I asked him why he didn’t name Dorothy Walker or the Walkers’ other two surveyors in his published article, but he did in the recorded one, he paused for a fair amount of time and then responded, “Oh dear, it is there.” Erickson was letting on like he was looking up what he had filed on his computer, while we were on the phone. I pressed Erickson at this point, asking who got him to file the article into the record. He finally told me, “The Board [Idaho State Board of Surveyors] hired a surveyor. I sent him the magazine article and he said, ‘this helps a lot’ and, ah, he said, ‘you need to record that.’” I then asked Erickson for the name of the surveyor who told him that he needed to record it and he stated, “It seemed like J.R. Russell.” After another pause, he concluded, “John Russell out of McCall.” I subsequently called Russell and informed him that Erickson had told me that Russell asked Erickson to record the article — that recording it would help a lot. Russell replied, “That is a lie!”

I will leave it up to my readers to separate the lies and to decide why Erickson would take more than two years to complete a survey on his own that the Walkers can’t use and then write a damning article about his client in a national magazine when nobody was paying him to do it. Was it revenge? Last, but certainly not least, Erickson charged the Walkers a whopping “$37,856″ for this. That’s almost $40,000! Would the Idaho Board of Surveyors consider this charge ethical, and does it condone licensed surveyors writing defamatory articles about their own clients? Frankly, it is not ethical for the BOS to render a decision as long as there is unresolved litigation that a judge is supposed to resolve. Since this case is far from resolved, we see action by the BOS as an attempt at obstruction of justice.

During my conversation with Erickson, he did enlighten me about surveying in the State of Idaho. Erickson stated, “Why can’t one surveyor survey the same as the next surveyor? It’s because their profession is totally dysfunctional, and the state boards are the worst.” I was under the impression from what I have read about surveying that the board’s rules prohibit one surveyor from bad-mouthing another. And what about bad-mouthing the board?

–Edward Snook

Edward Snook’s Note: I urge anyone with information on this case or any of the people involved to call me at 541-474-7885 or send an email to ed@usobserver.com.

‘Dysfunctional’ surveying system in Idaho

This is the first installment of a four-part series.

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — The US~Observer‘s first article about the Walkers, their property, and the nightmare they have endured can be read here: “Allegedly fraudulent survey creates nightmare for landowners.” As our first article points out, we believe the Walkers’ property line dispute actually started back in 1977, when surveyor Carl Edwards set the southwest corner of their property more than 300 feet north of its original position — in a location we consider erroneous, at best.

One Idaho surveyor has stated: “Edward’s corner is so far out of place that is goes beyond incompetence. It almost has to be fraudulent.” Such misplacement of a survey monument will cause as much as a 35-acre shift in land ownership (that’s enough land for a small township).

In 1968, when Sydney (Butch) and Dorothy Walker purchased their property (hereinafter referred to as Section 24) just outside of Grangeville, Idaho, from Mary Hurley, Hurley showed the Walkers the original property corners and boundary lines of this land. A “mountain” of circumstantial evidence supports the legal description based on the original corners, including the sale of rock from the Walkers gravel pit, located on Section 24, to the Grangeville Highway District (GHD).

In late 2009, the Walkers were forced to file a civil lawsuit against neighbors Bessie Harmon, Etta Harmon, Ellen Hoiland, Dean Hoiland and Elvin Hoiland to protect their property boundaries.

The Walkers hired a Boise, Idaho, attorney to represent them. The Walkers then enlisted local surveyor Chad Erickson to assist them in reaffirming their property lines based on the original corners.

In December 2011, the Walkers fired Erickson allegedly because he started deviating from standard surveying practice, which will be described later. In January 2014, the Walkers, “unable to communicate with their attorney” and believing they were “not receiving adequate counsel,” fired him as well. They subsequently contacted the US~Observer to investigate their case.

On May 3, 2014, the Walkers hired attorney Wesley W. Hoyt of Clearwater, Idaho. During a hearing held on Dec. 16, 2014, District Judge John Stegner dismissed the Walkers’ original lawsuit and the flawed summary judgement motion filed by the opposition attorney. Stegner dismissed the Walkers’ claims without prejudice, meaning he was allowing them to file a new lawsuit with Hoyt’s representation. Stegner ruled at this hearing on a motion filed by the GHD’s attorney, Gary Jones, indicating that when the Walkers file their new lawsuit, they need to include all adjoining landowners who would be affected by a court ruling in this case. Walker’s Boise attorney had failed to do this in his original summary judgement motion along with numerous other failures. Stegner’s ruling allowed the Walkers to seek justice after they completed additional survey work to identify the original property corners and boundary lines.

Background and surveyor ethics

In 2009, the Walkers’ neighbors, the Harmons and the Hoilands, began building a home on what the Walkers believed was their property. The Walkers’ attorney subsequently sent the Harmons and the Hoilands a letter informing them that they were building on Walker property and to stop. The Harmons and the Hoilands ignored the demand letter and continued building not only the home, but a road across what had always been Walker property.

Since the Idaho Board of Surveyors (BOS) heavily promotes the position that it is all about “ethics,” we’ll reveal in installments what has transpired in the Walker case with the BOS and two of the surveyors hired by the Walkers.

–Edward Snook

Edward Snook’s note: I urge anyone with information on this case or any of the people involved to call me at 541-474-7885 or send an email to ed@usobserver.com.

The Jessica Morton story

US~Observer staff confirmed this first-person account from Jessica Morton.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — For all of you who don’t know me already, my name is Jessica Morton. I have lived in Grants Pass, Oregon, most of my life; went to Redwood Elementary, South Middle School and then Grants Pass High School.

While at Grants Pass High, I was a three-sport athlete. I participated in volleyball, basketball and softball. Beyond sports, I was part of leadership and Spanish Club, worked with the multi-handicapped/special education classrooms and was active in community service, helping with youth programs and wrapping presents for the unfortunate. During my junior year, our softball team went to the state playoffs; and this opened many doors for me. I went on to play summer ball and was seen by Bob Coolen, head coach at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. On the spot, he offered me a full-ride scholarship.

In 2003, I moved to Hawaii to fulfill my dream of playing Division I college softball at the University of Hawaii. I traveled all over the United States with my softball team, winning the Western Athletic Conference in 2004 and 2005, playing in Regionals and Super Regionals — almost making it to the Division 1 College World Series.

As soon as I went to Hawaii, I knew what I wanted study; I have always had a passion for helping children and working with special needs kids. I graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2008 with my bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in sociology and business.

After graduating, I immediately started working for Hawaii Behavioral Health and was considered a paraprofessional in my field of work. As such, I worked 1:1 with a boy who had autism, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. However, I soon had to make a tough decision when I found out that I was expecting my own little one. My fiancé and I decided that it was best we make the move back to Oregon.

In June of 2011, we moved back to good ol’ Grants Pass. Immediately upon arriving, we had an interview set up at Southern Oregon Adolescent Treatment Center (SOASTC), now known as Kairos. My fiancé and I were both hired and started June 16, 2011. I worked there until July 23, 2014.

While working there, I started as an on-call employee. In November 2011, I was encouraged by many staff and the program manager to apply for a supervisor position that was open. I ended up getting the position. While being supervisor, I became a tier II trainer and helped train staff members in collaborative problem solving (CPC).

On May 6, 2014, I was voted by co-workers to be “Employee of the Month” for the fourth time since being hired.

On Friday, May 9, 2014, I was asked by the program manager to attend a fundraiser for Kairos’ Celebration of Hope.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014, the admin-on-call contacted me and informed me that I was being put on administrative leave, which I would later find out was because of an allegation made by one of our troubled residents.

The false accuser

It is my opinion that the false accuser, upon coming to Kairos, was an aggressive, angry boy. He was easily upset. His way of showing that he was tough was punching walls, doors, fences and other objects. He did this often when he was feeling insecure and/or not getting attention.

While getting to know him, it became apparent that he was a very insecure boy with attachment issues. He always talked about his mother and how he wished she would be there for him. He really struggled with his mother issues and projected his feelings and emotions about his mom on both female staff and residents. He soon started acting out on his sexual urges after being in Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) for a few years. Soon he began pushing boundaries with female residents; and parameters had to be put in place in his behavioral support plan (BSP), which is documented.

He struggled, on a day-to-day basis, with boundaries set for both staff and residents. He would stand too close; try to turn a side hug into a full hug; hug for too long; poke; touch hair; engage in long, awkward handshakes; try to hold hands; and continuously be getting into your personal space. Every day, he was talked to about his boundaries. Plan B conversations (addressing/documenting his behaviors) were happening with many of the staff.

He often glorified his addiction to meth and his criminal history surrounding that time in his life. He talked about stealing from his family and friends, hurting family and friends, and not having any remorse for those actions. He told his stories several times a day with staff and peers. He, while at the facility, helped a peer sneak in meth; and they were able to use meth together. He was not removed from Kairos for doing this. According to other staff and the clinical team, he is a pathological liar and sociopath, and lied on a daily basis about random things. For example, he went to the therapist and asked what would happen if he had a phone; the therapist told him that it would just need to be locked up offline. The therapist came to me and said to keep an eye out because she thinks he has a phone. When I confronted him, he claimed, “I just wanted to see what you guys would do.” He lied about sexual encounters that he claimed to have had with other female residents. He lied about things he did on his day visits.

He engaged in several attention-seeking behaviors, trying to get attention from me. For example, Kairos was hosting a prom for residents; I had arranged for someone to come in and do the girls’ nails. I was with the girls having girl time; and he became very upset, wanting to have a check-in. I informed him that there were other staff members who could help him. He refused to check in with anyone else. He then decided to AWOP (away without permission). He hopped the fence, knowing that, as supervisor, I would have to be the one to assess the situation. He also self-harmed by cutting himself, punching walls and throwing objects, again knowing I would be the one assessing the situation. After his repeated inappropriate advances toward me and other female staff and peers, he became more aggressive, lying and complaining about me to staff. He asked peers about me and how I looked under my clothes.

Shortly after this, he made a false claim about me to staff, which they were required to share with law enforcement. I was subsequently fired from Kairos, with no support from my employer to denounce the false claims against me. Soon after, I began being harassed by the Grants Pass Police Department. Officers obtained a warrant, issued by Judge Lindy Baker, and forced me to strip naked so they could photograph my unclothed body. There has been no, nor will there be, any admission on my part — only adamant denial. There were no witnesses to the alleged sexual contact he claimed. There was no DNA. There was no evidence whatsoever other than an allegation from an alleged, diagnosed schizophrenic/bipolar 17-year-old, who had reportedly abused meth since the age of 13, and the hearsay he offered.

Almost one year passed before I was arrested on April 30, 2015. I am now facing six criminal counts, five misdemeanors and one felony. I posted bail for $2,000 that I had to borrow, since I am not employed. The local media showed my mug shot on television, claiming the false accuser was a “victim,” basically branding me a sexual predator without any of the facts of my case, other than what the police and the district attorney delivered to them. Not one person from the local media attempted to get my side of the story before branding me a criminal sexual predator for all of my friends, family, peers and others to see on live television, read in newspapers and hear on radio.

Over the past year, I have not only suffered the loss of my job and career, but my personal and family life has taken a huge toll from these wrongful allegations, causing my family and me a tremendous amount of stress and suffering.

Recently, Kairos fired several other employees, two of whom have been charged with crimes, and these incidents have been highly publicized within our community. Interestingly enough, I was indicted just a couple weeks after those cases were so prominently displayed to the public, even though the investigation into these false charges began almost an entire year ago. This has left me to wonder if the “warmed” public sentiment motivated the district attorney to pursue my case, making it politically motivated in a time when they are trying to pass a levy and get more funding from the taxpayers. It’s a tried and true tactic. Fortunately for me in my case, the majority of people are seeing these charges for what they really are: baseless allegations made by a desperate young man to get attention and pursued by a new DA who is looking to make a name for himself prosecuting Kairos employees. While I cannot speak on the other Kairos employees’ innocence or guilt, I can, without any doubt, declare my own innocence. In fact, I am shouting it for the world to hear!

I’m deeply saddened by the lack of investigative skills by the Grants Pass Police Department. And furthermore, I am extremely hurt by the explicit lack of professionalism displayed by Kairos and the company’s complete disregard and lack of support for its employees.

This next chapter in my young life will assuredly be one of the costliest, financially. Attorneys, court fees, expert witnesses and who knows what else are all looming in the short term. Long term, I plan on being victorious and declared, for all to know, the true victim of these false charges.

To donate to the Jessica Morton Defense Fund, click here.

–Jessica Morton

Florida minister appeals conviction for ‘peacefully resisting arrest’

VERO BEACH, Fla. — On Dec. 24, 2014, minister Fred Luongo, who was previously convicted of “peacefully resisting arrest” (aka resisting officer without violence to his or her person), filed an appeal with Florida’s Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Appeals Division. Luongo’s attorney, Jacob Noble, and the state are now filing responses, which are required before court dates are scheduled.

The minister claims he did not resist, ever. Furthermore, he claims to have been wrongfully arrested after his former neighbor, Jeff Gomez, claimed that Luongo “flipped him off,” which resulted in the minister’s arrest for violation of an injunction order that the minister claims was “wrongfully granted in the first place.” Luongo stated he has “suffered extreme abuse from his former neighbor Jeff Gomez (the accuser), the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department, and the local courts over the past several years.”

Luongo’s criminal history shows nothing on record until Gomez purchased property next to his now-closed nonprofit food bank. It was shortly after they became neighbors that conflict arose. A detailed account of the problems can be read here (www.usobserver.com). Conducting further background checks on Luongo, it was apparent that he has spent many years of his life feeding the homeless and preaching. Several sources proved that he has dedicated much of his life to helping others. This begged the questions: Is he the type of person to commit such a crime? Would a minister “flip off” his neighbor? And was his arrest lawful or unlawful?

I found it difficult to fully understand how someone could be arrested and charged with peacefully resisting arrest, until I started talking to people associated with the minister’s case. His accuser, Gomez, has a reported longstanding relationship with the local police, even being referred to as a “friend” by Lt. Kent Campbell of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. Campbell arrested Luongo for peacefully resisting. Even more concerning, I learned that Campbell’s wife is employed by Gomez, the accuser, which paints a picture of bias and intent. Interestingly, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Sgt. Eric Flowers, informed me during a phone conversation that all of their vehicles have video capability and several of their deputies have cameras on their person. Yet Campbell, who arrested Luongo and is in charge of the entire department while in uniform, did not record Luongo “peacefully resisting arrest.” Why?

After my previous article on this case, I was contacted by Gomez and Deputy Teddy Floyd, who were both named in my previous article. They both claimed to have not lied, nor violated the minister in any way whatsoever. They agreed to contact me with proof that what I had published was not true, and I told them that in return I would remove the content and retract my previous article if they could support their claims with evidence. That was over three months ago. Both Gomez and Floyd never contacted me again.

Many of Luongo’s troubles with Gomez originated over property disputes. Gomez owns and operates Coast to Coast Landscaping, which is located directly next to the minister’s now-closed food bank. Witnesses reported that Gomez — either himself or through his employees — damaged the minister’s cargo truck, which was used to transport food for homeless people. Additionally, the minister’s plants were allegedly sprayed by Gomez’s employees with poison several times — always dying, causing the minister to replant. The minister was constantly touching dead plants, not knowing he was coming into direct contact with toxic poison. Luongo’s medical reports confirm the seriousness of the health problems that he endured as a result. The minister built several fences between his and Gomez’s properties, which were allegedly damaged by Gomez and/or his employees. The minister claims that each time police got involved, he was almost always arrested (arrested five times). Not knowing why, he began suffering from severe stress. Gomez was able to get multiple injunctions (restraining orders) against the minister, causing the minister’s business, health, and personal and family life to suffer immensely. In all, Lunogo has been “ordered” by the courts to undergo two mental evaluations. He passed both. He claims to be suffering from a case of self-described “abuse.”

Many people in the minister’s community have come forward, supporting him. He’s received many awards for his hard work. Multiple organizations and publications have recognized him for helping the homeless.

Subsequent to my first article, I contacted Indian River County Code Enforcement. It was Indian River Code Enforcement (employee’s name omitted as requested) that dealt with several complaints between the two neighbors. I was told by Code Enforcement that my previous article was “spot-on.”

While looking further into Gomez’s past, I discovered a lawsuit in which he was named as defendant. The suit, a claim of “Fair Labor Standards Act” violation, led me to believe that Luongo was not the only person with whom Gomez had legal problems. It appears Gomez was sued by Scott R. Slechta and possibly three other people in Broward County, Florida, on Oct. 10, 2013. According to PACER, an online court document site, a “judgment-jury verdict” was entered on Nov. 18, 2014.

Why was Gomez being sued by other(s) for reportedly failing to compensate them for their labor?

One witness, Steve Folds, submitted a sworn and notarized affidavit, revealing choice words that Gomez had toward Luongo, wherein Jeff Gomez told him, “… that mother F@#!ing Jesus freak. I’m ready to go to jail, I’m going to blow his fricking head off! He is gonna need God when I’m finished with him!”

Does that sound like a person who claims to be a nice guy?

Fliers of Luongo were recently plastered all over vehicles at a recent event in Vero Beach claiming he is a “schizophrenic” and a “violent con artist.” There are only a select few that Luongo believes are responsible for this act. The minister publicly asks for forgiveness of those who have done this to him and his business and family. Continuing, Luongo stated, “I pray that justice is served.” I commend him for his patience and understanding of others, especially considering all that he has endured.

Will Luongo’s conviction for peacefully resisting arrest be overturned so that he can move on with life? Please visit www.usobserver.com for updates on this case.

Anyone who has any information or anyone involved in this case is urged to contact the US~Observer (541-474-7885). We thank those who have already contacted us.

–Joseph Snook

Attorney malfeasance eroding real justice

Frustrated and tired, the words spilled from his mouth in disgust, booming in his deep powerful voice, “Attorney’s are thieving, corrupt, sons of bitches.” Ed Snook, lead investigator with the US~Observer, shook his head and looked toward the ground. He was at wit’s end. He continued softly about one of the stories he is working on, “We showed up at the courthouse early to talk with the attorneys who had told us they were ready for the upcoming trial. When they got there I asked them if they had subpoenaed the three key witnesses that vindicate their clients, and each one said, ‘what witnesses?’ Can you believe it? They’ve had these cases for nearly nine months and they don’t know a single thing about the cases they are representing! Even after we told them that they needed time to get these witnesses handled, two of them went into court and told the judge they were ready to proceed with trial! How can they be ready for trial, unless they just don’t care about their clients. And they don’t! They’re corrupt!”

Snook has seen his share of the “Injustice System” over the past 20-plus years investigating and fighting for the rights of thousands of falsely accused individuals who have sought out his expertise. Even though he is not an attorney and does not dole out legal advice, there is no one better at putting together a defense strategy with an attorney. He likes to say, “It’s all about the evidence.” It’s evidence that the US~Observer gathers when researching a story. It’s evidence that, for the most part, is never discovered by a lone attorney, as legal practice now appears to be nothing more than paper-pushing and court appearances, rather than researching and fighting for a client by using evidence. They don’t even like to return phone calls to clients, a fact I’m sure thousands who have used an attorney’s services can verify. And the most absurd fact is that most want their clients to take plea deals. They don’t care if they’re innocent!

It all comes down to economics. For instance, let’s say you hire an attorney to represent you in a criminal proceeding — and you are absolutely innocent — for a retainer of $50,000.00. Most assuredly you will find that very near your trial date your lawyer will be asking for more money. They do this because they know you are vulnerable and desperate. Then, when you get to court, they tell you the state has a pretty good case and that if it were them facing these charges, they’d take the deal and only spend a fraction of the time in prison because if you don’t, you could go to jail for a long time. They seem sincere. They act like they are representing your best interest. But really they see the simple fact that if you take the plea, they have just earned one heck of a payday. Why? Because they never even did any research or investigation into your case, whatsoever! They probably didn’t even think about you until they were faced with a meeting or a court appearance.

A man who never graduated from school might steal from a freight car. But a man who attends college and graduates as a lawyer might steal the whole railroad. — Theodore Roosevelt

Or, let’s turn it around. You are absolutely innocent and the district attorney has very little credible evidence of any wrongdoing. As a matter of fact, the DA has all the evidence in the world suggesting you didn’t do anything, yet the prosecution continues. Charges get stacked and a plea deal is offered. This is all economics as well. Every time a plea is taken, it is considered a conviction. How many times have you heard DAs flaunting their conviction percentages when it comes time to discuss next year’s budget? But, guess what? They aren’t convicting only the guilty — and they know it!

According to the Federal Government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, up to 12 percent of all state prisoners are factually innocent.

While Snook was so adamant about attorneys being corrupt, he admits that not all lawyers are shysters. “I was just at my wit’s end,” he said, talking about his frustrated rant. Who can blame him?

In my opinion, attorneys, along with everyone else involved in the justice system, seem to be just a little too concerned with the bottom line. As is said on the US~Observer investigations page, “Welcome to the largest racket in history.”

We have the heaviest concentration of lawyers on Earth — one for every five-hundred Americans; three times as many as are in England, four times as many as are in West Germany, twenty-one times as many as there are in Japan. We have more litigation, but I am not sure that we have more justice. No resources of talent and training in our own society, even including the medical care, is more wastefully or unfairly distributed than legal skills. Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people. We are over-lawyered and under-represented. — Jimmy Carter, Remarks at the 100th Anniversary Luncheon of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 4th, 1978.

The imprisonment of Francis Schaeffer Cox

The US~Observer has taken on the case of Francis Schaeffer Cox. If you have information on any of the players involved, please contact us immediately at editor@usobserver.com. While we are in the midst of our investigation, we feel this write-up, which appeared in the INI World Report, best describes what Cox has had to endure:

(ini-world-report.org) — While our tradition applauds those who stand up and exercise their constitutional rights, the government’s new definition of terrorism condemns such patriotic actions, as a young Alaskan, Fairbanks family man Schaeffer Cox, has unfortunately learned.

Schaeffer Cox came to the attention of the government’s Sovereign Citizen Task Force circa 2010 at the ripe old age of 26 as he was traveling about the country speaking about the dangerous path of destruction that the federal government has been following for far too long. Schaeffer was advocating a return to a constitutional form of government and encouraging people to prepare for the disaster that will occur if we do not do so. At that time, Schaeffer had thrice climbed Mt. McKinley and had already achieved renown for establishing the Second Amendment Task Force in Fairbanks and other Alaskan locales, and for creating the Liberty Bell, a network of concerned citizens who, upon being called, come to the scene to observe and record police encounters.

Schaeffer also had a budding political career, receiving nearly 40 percent of the vote running against an incumbent in the Republican primary for the Alaska House of Representatives.

The government’s response to all of this was to employ two despicable agents provocateur — crime creators — in efforts to intimidate, coerce, and otherwise pressure Schaeffer into “committing” a crime for which the government could then prosecute him into silence.

The first agent provocateur was Bill Fulton, an alcoholic prone to violent and otherwise-threatening outbursts, and who is perhaps more well known for torpedoing Joe Miller’s 2010 United States Senate campaign by handcuffing a local Anchorage reporter, all the while working as a federal agent.

The second such crime creator was Gerald “J.R.” Olson, a con man, sociopath, and convicted felon who was facing multiple new felony charges for taking many tens of thousands of dollars from the elderly and others under the guise of installing non-existent septic systems. For his part, Fulton openly strove to cause Schaeffer to engage in or commit to violence against the government. Fulton went so far as to place a knife to one of Schaeffer’s friend’s throats when Schaeffer emphatically rejected Fulton’s path. When all was said and done, the government paid Fulton via a compensation package worth well into the six-figure range.

Olson’s deceit was more subtle. He infiltrated Schaeffer’s small militia group and concocted a plan to kill two for every one of the militia members who went down. Schaeffer steadfastly rejected Olson’s plan, and on February 19, 2011, Schaeffer announced that he and his family were immediately leaving Fairbanks for the Lower 48. A desperate Olson promptly stole Schaeffer’s car battery and then kept a completely fatigued Schaeffer in Fairbanks with repeated false promises of a non-existent trucker who was on his way to Alaska and would transport Schaeffer and his family to the Lower 48. When all was said and done, Olson walked away from all his criminal charges, stole thousands of dollars of Schaeffer’s gold, and was asking to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government.

In early March of 2011, the government culminated its con via Olson by attempting to place in Schaeffer’s hands an illegal weapon as approximately 100 armed federal agents surrounded him. Who knows what would have happened had the property owner not fortuitously walked up to the vehicle in which Schaeffer was and asked what was going on and why all those armed agents were on his property.

Schaeffer was nonetheless charged with low-level federal weapons violations, and he and several others were simultaneously charged in the Alaska State courts with numerous other charges, including a conspiracy to kill a judicial officer. In October of 2011, his counsel in the State courts, Fairbanks attorney Robert John, succeeded in having all the State charges dismissed.

The government’s response was to up the ante in federal court, first adding more weapons charges and — when Schaeffer would not plead guilty to the added charges — then adding much more serious charges alleging purported plans to kill federal agents. All the charges were filed not in Fairbanks, where the events were alleged to have occurred and where people know the real Schaeffer Cox, but in Anchorage 350 miles away. Schaeffer was forced to trial in Anchorage in May and June of 2012 and was convicted of not only weapons-possession charges, but also of a charge of conspiracy to murder an unknown and unnamed federal agent. In early 2013, Schaeffer was sentenced to serve 26 years.

Ordinarily, Schaeffer would have been sent to the federal facility near Portland, Oregon, where many if not most Alaskans serve federal time and where Schaeffer’s wife Marti has family and would have moved with their two young children. Instead, the government shipped Schaeffer to its Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Marion, Illinois. At that CMU are housed numerous persons whom the government has branded as terrorists.

Schaeffer is presently in the midst of appealing his case.

Congressman reveals condition of U.S.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Holding this office should come with great responsibility. However, many Americans are finding that the elected official has abdicated both the office he holds and the judiciary committee for which he is responsible.

A great number of citizens have written to and or called Goodlatte’s office to report that Richard C. Tallman, a federal judge with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco (and, oddly enough, a Republican like Goodlatte), is alleged to have committed crimes when he presided over the trial of David Hinkson in 2005. One of the accusations against Tallman is that he committed perjury during the Hinkson trial. For a federal judge, the accusation of committing perjury from the bench is not only very serious, it is actually an accusation that the judge committed a felony crime and should be removed from the bench.

The accusations against Tallman come from professionals who work within our legal system and from the court record in the Hinkson case. I actually received the accusations myself from Hinkson’s current attorney, who just happens to have been a former deputy prosecutor. This gives tremendous credibility to these complaints of corruption, but Goodlatte has proven to date that he really doesn’t “give a damn.” Without question, Goodlatte and Tallman both know about and have been confronted with the accusations.

Let’s cut to the chase

The hard truth is that our federal government is in exactly the condition the government of King George was in when our Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence. A small portion of the Declaration reads, “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Honestly, what more needs to be said?

Let’s recap the facts in this case:

  • Tallman has been publicly accused of committing a serious felony crime.
  • The 9thS. Circuit Court of Appeals, which appointed Tallman to preside over the Hinkson case, has been covering up his alleged crimes.
  • Goodlatte has absolutely refused to investigate the allegations.
  • In fact, based on information the US~Observer has received, he won’t even acknowledge the accusations.
  • And last but certainly not least, our entire judicial, i.e., justice system is not merely “broken.” It has actually rotted from within.

The US~Observer published our initial article on Hinkson in our February edition, “Ninth Circuit Judge Richard C. Tallman is Above the Law and Congressman Bob Goodlatte Ignores Justice,” and we published an article on Hinkson by Pat Shannon in December 2014, “Veteran Falsely Convicted by a Lying Judge.” While I appreciate the few good responses and calls providing information on Tallman and Goodlatte, I am left completely disgusted that the majority of the American people can ignore the abuse that Hinkson has endured at the hands of our despicable ‘justice” system.

Anyone can do an Internet search for “David Hinkson” and read all about his innocence. I can factually repeat that he is an honorable veteran who had absolutely no criminal record whatsoever when he was set up by our justice system many years ago and sent to prison for 43 years. While I fully believe he is innocent, this article isn’t focusing on that truth. I could go on and write many pages about his false prosecution. However, this article is strictly about a judge who stands accused of perjury from the bench in Hinkson’s trial and the person (Goodlatte) whom we pay an enormous salary to, in order to protect all of us from such treachery.

Wake up, America! If our government can completely railroad Hinkson and send him off to prison, it can most certainly try to do the very same with any one of us. Get involved. And at the very least, demand an investigation.

You can contact me if you have information on Goodlatte or Tallman at 541-474-7885 or by email to editor@usobserver.com.

Call or write to Goodlatte:

2309 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5431
Fax: 202-225-9681
Committee Phone: 202-255-3951

–Edward Snook

We are at war

Many U.S. citizens are afraid of the judicial system, and rightfully so. We no longer enjoy “equal protection” under the law. Yet hope is not lost. The US~Observer’s plan to fight this inequality can and will win, with your help.

There is one phrase inscribed on the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.: “Equal Justice Under Law.” Unfortunately, the high court held in Imbler v. Pachtman (1976) that prosecutors are immune to civil lawsuits while they are preforming their jobs, even if they commit illegal acts.

Prosecutors, agencies, etc., routinely file false charges against innocent individuals. In fact, in more than 90 percent of criminal cases, prosecutors stack charges and then force plea bargains, which is absolute extortion. Prosecutors needlessly harass innocent people and use the mainstream media to enhance their cases, thereby tampering with the jury pool. They violate rights and break the law. And, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, we have had no way to hold them legally accountable.

The logic behind the Supreme Court ruling was that it would keep prosecutors from having to defend themselves against unwarranted and frivolous lawsuits — suits designed to muddy the system. But what the ruling accomplished was the creation of a class of citizenry that is above the law and can act in any fashion without fear of reprisal or accountability. In essence, the court destroyed the one covenant that the Founders held dear; and there is no longer equal justice under law in America.

As such, fear rises in us now when we are faced with going to court, hiring an attorney and dealing with unconstitutional agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, etc.

From simple traffic tickets to land-use violations, from abusive taxation to arbitrary fines and all too common false criminal charges, any prudent person can see that we are anything but “free.” We are subject to their laws — even the unjust ones. Yet they have remained above the law — until now.

Currently, our judges legislate from the bench, unconstitutionally creating law, called case law. As with all case law, you are required to have “standing” to challenge that “law.” The US~Observer currently has three separate cases that will provide “standing,” allowing lawsuits to be filed. One of them is already filed. The lawsuits, coupled with a massive US~Observer driven public relations and education campaign, will expose and destroy unconstitutional immunity once and for all.

With more than 4,200 cases won in 22 years of publication, the US~Observer has the fortitude, knowledge and strength to take this challenge all the way to the Supreme Court (so the justices can right their own wrong), if necessary. Along the way, and with your help, we will spread this message across the nation. Americans in great numbers who are fed up with injustice will finally have a voice that will be heard and acted upon. Our “public officials” will once again be restored to the status of “public servants.”

Today, you can help. Today, you can be a part of this first necessary step to reclaim America for the sake of all citizens and stop prosecutors from being above the law: Stop immunity and stop injustice. Pass on our information. Circulate our stories. Together, we will make a difference and the two classes will once again be equal, for all men (people) are created equal and the US~Observer, with your help, is the vehicle by which we can restore this principle.

Justice unequal stops today!

–Ron Lee

The republic is dead, and a storm is coming

“Wake up, America,” people cry. “Have hope, faith, and heart that the republic can survive,” others proclaim. Honestly, I don’t know why everyone can’t face the reality that it’s dead already; the dream, the great experiment of America, has failed. While the idea of an American republic has been kept alive to assuage the masses, the reality is it was taken from us years ago while we slept.

Face it; liberty is gone. Freedom exists now only in the ideology of the Constitution, not in the practice of “democracy” and a U.S. government that rules us with tens of thousands of “laws” that yoke us to an indentured servitude of paying for its spending spree. Those in government have completely usurped the power of the people, all under the guise of protecting the people from, well, themselves. That’s because, left to their own devices, the people would choose to do things that are bad for their bodies or maybe even good for their bodies, but bad for corporate profit bottom lines — lobbyist corporations, the bedfellows of government. The people, however, should have the absolute freedom to do, say, eat, be or think whatever they want; but they don’t, because Big Bro says, “no.” And that’s that. No more republic.

So where is the outrage? Where are the people fighting the overthrow of their God-given liberties? Where are the true patriots? Nowhere. They’re still talking about preparing for action while not even realizing the game is already over; the past inaction all these years has assured the king’s victory.

But, what if it weren’t over? What would be the threshold that government would have to cross to make the people rise to take back their Creator-given rights?

During a “Support Rural America Sheriffs’ Event” a while back, six sheriffs told their stories and imparted upon the constitutionally patriotic attendees that they would stand for the peoples’ constitutional rights. As I was listening, I found myself inspired to hope for the future by their stories. Then an analogy sprang to mind…

What if the people were like Israel, fighting against others who didn’t believe they should even exist — the people just wanting to be free and left alone, to have a country that is theirs.

The U.S. government is like Iran. It has grown ever powerful and believes it is because of it that the world is different today. It believes that the people shouldn’t freely have a country to call their own, and it is doing everything it can to make sure they don’t. In fact, it is building the potential to nuke the people’s constitutional rights once and for all and has plans to sell off their lands. The people, as intended, would cease to exist.

The Oath Keepers and the Constitutional Sheriffs, those who are in positions of power that truly believe in the constitutional republic, are likened to the international community that has protected the people all these years. They believe that you have to work within the confines of the government itself (“play by Iran’s rules”) in order to make a difference. They believe the courts aren’t corrupted beyond belief; they believe government still believes it is accountable. But they are wrong. And because of these beliefs they refuse to draw that line and truly support the people.

Right now, you could say I am like Benjamin Netanyahu. I am asking: “Where is the red line in the sand? What line does the government cross before we act? Dare I say before we revolt?” The question is, of course, moot, as the republic is gone already and the question was answered before it was asked: There is no line. We are ruled now by an elite few who can simply create law through executive order and administrative processes. We the people are slaves to our own insecurity while clinging to old ideologies long gone.

God bless America. You were loved.

–Ron Lee

The one about the fast defense attorney

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — I was working swing shift out of the Gold Hill Sub-Station, driving eastbound on Highway 234 in Sam’s Valley when I observed a vehicle coming toward me. The vehicle appeared to be hopping up and down, which usually indicates a very fast moving vehicle. When it was nearer to my patrol car, the moving radar started beeping, locked and indicated a speed of 97 mph. I unlocked the radar to get a second speed reading and again it locked on the same speed. The third time it locked on 99 mph.

I slowed and waited until the vehicle was near. I turned on my overhead warning lights and made my turn-around in preparation of stopping the vehicle. The operator pulled over, and I stopped behind it. As I got out of my patrol car, the operator also got out. As he walked back to me, I recognized him as a local defense attorney.

He began to speak telling me, “The only reason I was going that fast is I had read in the newspaper there was not going to be any cops on the roads due to all the layoffs.”

I turned his ticket over and after writing “unsolicited statement of citizen violator on the back,” I wrote down his statement verbatim.

He asked me, “Are you writing down what I said?”

I responded, “Yes,” completed the ticket, thanked him for his time, suggested he slow down and drive safely, and served him with the ticket.

The following day, I had the opportunity to contact the Justice Court judge on another case. On contact, the justice of the peace told me a story.

He told me: “I was in my office yesterday when an attorney came in and threw his speeding ticket you wrote him on my desk and asked, ‘Did you see what that red-headed SOB did?’”

The judge picked up the ticket, read it, leaned his chair back and tapped on the bulletin board behind him, saying, “Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger; he got me, too.”

–William Holden “Red” Smith

Note: In upcoming editions, the US~Observer will be featuring stories from the career of Red Smith, one of the most ethical individuals to have ever worn a badge. Besides, he has some really good stories
About the author: My name is William Holden Smith, but most people know me as Red Smith. That’s easier for people to remember, especially the young people. I’m married to a beautiful woman who was also a deputy sheriff, and I have three adult daughters and three adult stepsons. I’m proud of them all.
I graduated high school, also completed some college courses; if I had a degree, it would be in dealing with people. I think communication is the most important tool any person can have and especially a police officer. I’ve worked ranching, farming, manufacturing, construction and heavy equipment; and I’ve driven a truck and a school bus. I’ve also worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, as well as a cop. I’m retired from the sheriff’s office after being a reserve for years and then 28 years full-time. In retirement, I drove an armored truck and worked for three different municipal police departments and a constable’s office. Now, I’m trying the retirement thing again. Fair warning, though, I like to stay busy.

Parents enduring nightmare over charges related to their daughter

Rob and Nedra McKell were charged with various offenses related to their daughter, Summer McKell. Nedra McKell’s felony charges have all been dismissed in a plea deal that includes buying a two-year health insurance policy for her adopted, adult daughter, Summer McKell, and the stipulation that she not talk to the press about her husband’s upcoming trial or talk negatively to or about her daughter. If she plays nice for a period of one year, the remaining misdemeanor charge, violation of a protective order, to which she pleaded “no contest,” will be dismissed as well. This came just days after Nedra McKell fired her attorney, Mike Petro, for allegedly failing to adequately represent her and for borrowing a large sum of money from her husband while he was working on the McKells’ defense.

According to Rob McKell (who provided documented proof of the loan to the US~Observer), Petro had borrowed the money with the promise that he could make Nedra McKell’s charges all go away. He reportedly made the claim that he knew the prosecutor and that it shouldn’t be a problem to make the charges disappear. However, when Petro brought a “deal” to the table that would have meant Nedra McKell couldn’t testify effectively on Rob McKell’s behalf and that she would have been considered a felon, it was obvious he had to go. According to the McKells, Petro paid the loan back in full.

Is it a coincidence that the state made its second and acceptable plea in abeyance just days after Petro was fired? The second plea bargain was facilitated by new attorneys who had stepped in to represent Nedra McKell.

One thing is sure: Had the state really had such great evidence of crimes being committed by Nedra McKell, it wouldn’t have cut such an overwhelmingly pro-defense deal. Still, it smacks of being patently extortive, being that one of the requirements has to do with paying for the insurance. It doesn’t matter that she was going to be carrying health coverage on her daughter anyway. The state is just lucky that Nedra McKell had already opted to take a deal and not fight the obviously weak charges, for the sake of her family.

After receiving the previous offer from the state by Petro, Nedra McKell talked with individuals close to the US~Observer and made it clear that her intentions were to take a plea in abeyance if it meant that she could be an effective witness on behalf of her husband in his upcoming trial. Had she been considered a felon, her testimony would have been discredited. Nedra McKell also stated she wanted to do what was best for her family and thought that taking her charges to trial would put undue stress on everyone involved. Nedra McKell was especially fearful that her daughter, Summer McKell, would be forced to recall events that just never took place, all in an attempt to prosecute her and, ultimately, her husband Rob McKell. It’s something Nedra McKell feared would further harm her daughter’s psyche.

Rob McKell’s upcoming trial, featuring ‘no legitimate evidence’ of guilt

Nedra McKell’s fears aren’t unfounded. Rob McKell is facing an upcoming trial, charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct with Summer McKell — something both Rob and Nedra McKell maintain never happened. During Rob McKell’s preliminary hearing, Whitnie Tate, the detective assigned to the case, admitted under oath that during an initial interview she had laid out ideas for Summer McKell as to the chronology of events, how many times things may have happened and even the finer details of those encounters. So, in essence, Summer McKell was led to recall events that were influenced by someone else. Furthermore, it’s been suggested that there was a plan by several of the children to get Rob McKell out of the home, because they thought he was “mean and controlling” and they wanted direct access to Nedra McKell’s wealth. This was covered extensively in the US~Observer article “‘$10-million and this goes away’ — Accuser’s ‘brother’ orchestrates false sex allegations?.”

According to a psychological assessment, Summer McKell needs to act out and she desperately wants attention — perhaps even going so far as reportedly sending nude pictures of herself to others on the Internet. It is something for which Summer McKell found herself in the center of an investigation. Utah County Deputy Jeff Wabel was involved in investigating her unwanted solicitations and was later called as a witness in Rob McKell’s preliminary hearing. Due to laws protecting the “victim,” he was not allowed to testify to the events that took place in that previous case. But he was allowed to state his opinion on whether or not Summer McKell was capable of lying, saying, “At the time I interviewed her… I didn’t feel she was completely truthful.”

Also during the preliminary hearing, even Tate claimed that Summer McKell told her that she wasn’t always truthful. And then again in more court proceedings, it came to light that Summer McKell admits to not always telling the truth. Yet here we have a case where the word of this one person can literally seal another’s fate, and the jury will most likely never be allowed to hear an accurate portrayal of a young woman who obfuscates the truth in order to get what she wants.

And it could just be that she wanted to mirror her sister Cheyenne McKell’s stated wants on the day she made the accusations. While they were all about to leave for a trip, Cheyenne McKell had suggested a way to call the police and get Rob McKell out of the house by claiming he was a felon in possession of firearms (according to criminal records, Rob McKell has never been a felon). It was then when Summer McKell spoke up and, from witness statements, said that she knew something that would get him in trouble. The next stop was the sheriff’s department where the accusations were formalized. One has to wonder about the integrity of the “witness” statements, as they were allowed to write their statements while sitting in their car together. A logical assumption can be had that they all discussed what to say, but that would be mere speculation. I would hope that Brooke McKell (who was present during this apparent conspiracy), Nedra McKell’s biological son, would come forward and tell the truth about this and make things right.

You can bet that Utah County Attorney Jeff R. Buhman doesn’t want the jury to hear about Cheyenne McKell conspiring. Nor does he want the jury to ever hear how troubled Summer McKell is and has been (long before the abuse was alleged to have occurred): that without “controlling” (caring) parents or guardians, she allegedly gets into drugs and sex and reportedly winds up hospitalized after overdosing and being found naked, as was recently told to the US~Observer.

While Buhman isn’t prosecuting the case himself, he is the elected official who signs off on all the prosecutions moving forward. This is one case of “he said she said” that should be causing him a little heartburn, as more statements of the alleged victim saying nothing ever happened are coming to light. You can rest assured that Buhman will want these witnesses barred from testifying, too.

We’d like to thank the responsible members within the Utah County Bureaucracy who have stepped forward with information on this case. True victims’ advocacy might not be about blindly believing the accusations of one person against another, but rather letting fact and material evidence determine who is and isn’t a victim; we thank you for recognizing that and knowing that justice can and will be had.

As the trial approaches, it has been reported that Rob McKell has fired his attorney Ron Yengich for ineffective assistance of counsel — as Yengich’s concerns have been for his own well-being, since he is purportedly fighting cancer, and not for the case of his client — and it is expected and highly likely that the trial will be pushed back yet again.

People close to the McKell family are shocked that these charges have gone as far as they have, as there is no physical evidence of, or admission to, any wrongdoing on the part of Rob McKell.

A long-time family friend even said, “I know that Summer has a problem telling the truth. I know that she can be manipulated. I also know that if I thought for one second that Rob had molested her sexually, I would have called the police myself.” This potential witness had a personal relationship with Summer McKell that pre-dates Rob McKell’s marriage to Nedra McKell. As a trusted friend, she had a conversation with Summer McKell about her problems during the time the alleged abuse was occurring. The friend maintains that she “asked her point blank if Rob had ever, ever been inappropriate with her. She adamantly said no.”

The US~Observer investigates each case on the evidence. From what we have found, Buhman has no proof of Rob McKell’s guilt other than the word of the alleged victim, who is on the record admitting that she lies and who has reportedly denied her own allegations. It’s a little unsettling to think that one person would be allowed to pursue the incarceration of another on such baseless grounds. But then again, any way the government can get its man, it usually tries to do it, especially when the officials are being pressured by overtly biased victim’s advocates.

Still, we here at the US~Observer hold out hope that Buhman just might grow a conscience, do what is right and just, and instruct his assistants to drop this case.

–Ron Lee

Note: Jeff Buhman has to understand by now that his office is conducting a false prosecution. The fine people of Utah County should contact his office immediately and demand that “witch hunts” not be tolerated and that to incarcerate someone for a crime should be dependent upon physical and or conclusive evidence, not off of one person’s say-so. He may be reached at 801-851-8026. It will be interesting to see if Buhman is indeed interested in a just outcome, or if he is the same as most other prosecuting attorneys, whose interest is a conviction, at all cost — blind to true justice.

Congressman ignores justice

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

In early December, Independent News International published an article about 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard C. Tallman titled “Veteran falsely convicted by a lying judge.” Overwhelmed with the factual veracity achieved in the article by its author, investigative journalist Pat Shannan (www.iniworldreport.com), the US~Observer carried the article nationwide.

I was left shaking my head in disgust after reading Shannan’s exposé of the actual crimes that Tallman allegedly committed in the process of helping the Department of Justice send David Hinkson, an innocent veteran and entrepreneur, to prison in 2005.

On Dec. 22, I wrote to Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, as it is his responsibility to investigate a member of the judiciary when he has been accused of committing perjury from the bench. Goodlatte has refused to respond to the US~Observer. I should note that the accusations contained in Shannan’s article went well beyond perjury, listing the actual crimes allegedly committed by Tallman in open court. In fact, it is said: “Judge Tallman turned his courtroom into a crime scene” in order to convict Hinkson, and Tallman was one of the alleged criminals. Goodlatte and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have now both turned their backs on justice and the public they purportedly serve.

Justice screams for information

The US~Observer intends to hold both Goodlatte and Tallman accountable; however, we need the public’s assistance to accomplish this. Do you know Tallman? Do you know someone who knows him? How about Goodlatte? Please realize this fact: If Tallman was brazen enough to allegedly commit actual crimes in the process of helping prosecute an outstanding citizen like Hinkson, he has most likely done other things in his past that are either unethical or illegal or both. If Goodlatte can ignore Tallman, then he is no better. Did you go to college with Tallman or Goodlatte? Were you married to one of them or one of their relatives? Did either of these worthless human beings abuse you or someone you know?

Also, if there is any person who is a resident of the Virginia congressional district that Goodlatte represents, please contact him, because he and his staff refuse to take calls, emails or letters from anyone who is not a constituent. He is violating his oath to the citizens of the United States because he does not simply represent constituents; he is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and, thus, represents all Americans. How can he even pretend to be fair-minded if he consistently refuses to hear about judges who violate their oaths of office and “commit high crimes and misdemeanors in their courtrooms?”

–Edward Snook
Investigative Reporter

Note: Please be responsible and help the US~Observer obtain justice for David Hinkson. Call 541-474-7885 or send an email to editor@usobserver.com. All calls and emails will be confidential.

Previous article: “Veteran falsely convicted by a lying judge”

Minister arrested 5 times

Fred Luongo has spent more than 10 days in jail for “five false arrests.”

This is the second installment of a two-part series, which began with “Minister who fed homeless harassed, allegedly poisoned by neighbor.” The article was published originally in its entirety by the US~Observer.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — In early 2009, Fred Luongo’s plants were killed again. He contacted law enforcement to file a complaint for trespass and destruction of his property. Luongo thought the only people possibly responsible for the damage were his neighbor, Jeff Gomez, or Gomez’s employees. Responding to the claim, Deputy Teddy Floyd arrived at Luongo’s property and allegedly convinced him to drop the complaint. According to Luongo, Floyd said, “Forgive the driveway (damage). Forgive the plants. You’re a man of faith.” Luongo reluctantly agreed with Floyd, giving Gomez the “benefit of the doubt.”

Shortly before the situation was resolved, Gomez arrived. Having had “no luck” dealing with Gomez, Luongo began walking away to avoid any conflict. As Luongo walked away, Floyd attempted convincing Luongo to “stay and fix the problem like men.” Luongo continued to walk away. He stated that Gomez shouted: “That’s OK. My wife’s at the courthouse right now getting an injunction on you. You threatened my kid on Saturday morning!” According to Luongo, he’s never threatened any child. Furthermore, he’s “never knowingly talked to Gomez’s kid.”

At this point, Luongo immediately contacted his attorney and was advised to lock his door and stay in his house. Sure enough, the next day, deputies knocked on Luongo’s door and served him with a temporary injunction (restraining order). Luongo claimed that Floyd lied on his report, which likely attributed toward the granted injunction.

The injunction was for “500 feet.” How could Luongo work at his food bank, which was obviously much less than 500 feet away? Eventually, the injunction was modified to “50 feet.” But soon after, Luongo wasn’t even willing to go back to work, in fear of being falsely arrested. According to Luongo, false claims from “flipping off Gomez” to “drawing religious symbols in the dirt with a garden hose” have all resulted in Luongo’s being wrongfully arrested.

Having back problems and a previous back surgery, Luongo’s false arrests have worsened his back problems. Luongo stated that in 2009, he was “handcuffed and put in a small chair by Deputy Henry Makaruo for 11 hours during Thanksgiving weekend.” Luongo alerted the deputy that he was hurt and tried to stand up, only to be told that if he “kept getting up,” he’d be “bound in a wheelchair hand and foot and (his) mouth would be gagged.” All of this was a direct result of “false allegations and arrests,” according to Luongo.

In all, Luongo has spent more than 10 days in jail for “five false arrests.” He’s lost his business, and he hasn’t lived at his personal residence in fear of being wrongfully arrested. Multiple Indian River County Sheriff’s deputies have aided in Luongo’s false arrests. One deputy stated to Luongo that Gomez “knows somebody at the Sheriff’s Office,” which allegedly was the reason why Luongo was having numerous unresolved problems with Gomez.

False conviction?

Luongo recently went to trial for “violation of injunction” and “resisting arrest.” The crime he allegedly committed: “flipping off Mr. Gomez.” Who arrested Luongo for his alleged crime? It was Lt. Kent Campbell of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department. What is the significance of Campbell’s arresting Fred? Campbell is a lieutenant. It’s not common for someone holding that title to make an arrest for violating an injunction order. You see, according to Campbell, he is “in charge of the entire county (Indian River) at night.” Campbell also stated he was responsible for two sergeants, a K-9 unit, patrol and 18 deputies. Campbell’s car wasn’t even equipped to transport criminals during Luongo’s arrest. Even more troubling, there was “no video or audio evidence gathered from Lt. Campbell’s car or person that supported Lt. Campbell’s claims.”

During a conversation with Eric Flowers, the sergeant of public affairs for the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, he stated, “All of our vehicles are equipped with dash cameras. We have several deputies who are wearing body cameras in a trial phase.” He continued, “The policy is that if they’re (deputies) involved in an incident ah, you know, they, they are required to record it. It is part of the policy.” Going even further, Flowers stated that “dash cameras have been used by the department for over 11 years.”

Is Campbell exempt from department policy? Why wasn’t there any video footage from his person or his vehicle? After all, he was the arresting law enforcement officer. Shouldn’t he, the person “in charge of Indian River County,” be setting the standard for other deputies?

Causing even more doubt, Campbell “knows” Luongo. He knows him well enough to refer to him by his first name, “Fred.” Are they friends? Doubtful. Furthermore, Campbell’s wife works for Gomez. Yes, Campbell has a direct connection to Gomez, who made the complaint. According to Campbell, he is also “friends” with Gomez. Conflict? Apparently not.

I found it interesting that Luongo’s attorney, Jacob Noble, asked Judge Joe Wild during Luongo’s recent trial to give a particular instruction to the jurors while they deliberated. The particular instruction, according to Judge Wild, was: “The fact that the witness is employed in law enforcement does not mean that his testimony deserves more or less consideration.” It was obvious that Campbell was seemingly biased, thus the need for that particular instruction. Wild continued, “OK. You are the first person to ask for that.” Not one other attorney, according to Wild, has asked that testimony of law enforcement be given “more or less consideration because of the job title.” Despite that instruction, Luongo ended up convicted of “resisting arrest without violence” and was acquitted of the injunction violation.

There are many issues with Luongo’s conviction, which will be addressed during his appeal.

It’s concerning that the alleged police abuse leveled against Luongo and others has increased distrust between law enforcement and the public. Luongo had “never been arrested in his entire life (44 years)” until Gomez moved next door. What is to become of Luongo, a minister who ran a food bank for more than two decades while preaching the word of God to the homeless? This writer believes that Luongo has a bright future ahead. The US~Observer is actively investigating this case and will continue to keep the public informed.

–Joseph Snook

Note: Do you know Jeff Gomez? Are you a resident of Vero Beach, Florida? Do you know Deputy Teddy Floyd or Lt. Kent Campbell? Have you been, or do you know others who have been, abused in Indian River County? Call 541-474-7885 or send an email to editor@usobserver.com.

Minister who fed homeless harassed, allegedly poisoned by neighbor

This is the first installment of a two-part series. The article was published originally in its entirety by the US~Observer.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Fred Luongo, a minister and food bank owner of more than 20 years from Vero Beach, Florida, has been forced to close down his nonprofit food bank. Fearing for his life, Luongo hasn’t even lived at his own home for over a year. His problems began in 2002 when his new neighbor opened up several businesses surrounding his home and nonprofit food bank, which are located on the same street. Since the arrival of Jeff Gomez, Luongo ‘s neighbor and also the owner of Coast to Coast Landscaping, among other businesses, life has been “anything but normal,” according to Luongo.

Luongo continued, “The neighborly relationship started out like you’d expect, friendly and respectful. Mr. Gomez first approached me offering to trim some bushes between our businesses. He was a landscape guy, and I was OK with that. Everything seemed normal.”

It wasn’t long before problems ensued. Sprinklers from Gomez’s property were reportedly spraying onto Luongo’s property, constantly hitting his food bank cargo truck. After addressing the issue in a respectful way, Luongo thought the problem was resolved, yet “the sprinklers continued.” The continuous spraying of Luongo ‘s truck caused rust, eventually requiring new paint. At this point, Luongo wondered, “Why?” Unable to resolve the problem peacefully, Luongo contacted code-enforcement and filed a complaint.

After receiving the complaint, Gomez entered Luongo’s food bank and confronted Luongo. Gomez asked that Luongo “personally contact him with any future problems,” according to Luongo. It wasn’t long before Luongo noticed his truck was still being sprayed by Gomez’s sprinklers.

Luongo approached Gomez, attempting to handle the problem like neighbors. But once he informed Gomez of the ongoing problem, like he was asked to do, Gomez allegedly responded, “I don’t have time for that.” Gomez then “slammed his door, nearly severing my thumbnail,” Luongo stated.

It was then obvious to Luongo that Gomez “wouldn’t peacefully resolve the problem.”

As time passed, Luongo grew increasingly worried about Gomez’s businesses. It was reported that Gomez owned around 40 large work trucks that were constantly speeding down the dirt road they shared, creating large amounts of dust. Luongo was also concerned for the safety of others, as some of the truck drivers consistently failed to make a “full stop” at the stop sign by Luongo’s food bank. The drivers were also constantly honking their horns, creating more concerns.

Next, Luongo noticed that his plants were “being hacked with machetes by Gomez’s employees.”

Looking back, Luongo recalled a time when Gomez inquired about buying Luongo ‘s property. Luongo originally claimed that he wasn’t interested in selling. Luongo responded to the request, “The food bank will stay open until I retire.”

Was Gomez purposely creating problems with Luongo to force the sale of Luongo’s property?

Luongo finally offered to sell above market value. The price Luongo wanted reflected the payoff for the land, along with the cost to reimburse contributors of the food bank. As Gomez rejected the offer, Luongo remembered Gomez saying: “I’m gonna take it from you, and there’s nothing you will be able to do about it.”

Soon after, Luongo’s plants at his food bank started dying. Unable to determine why they were dying, Luongo replanted them. They died again. Luongo replanted again. They died. Eventually, Luongo “discovered employees of Mr. Gomez were spraying my plants with what appeared to be poison.” Luongo eventually contacted the EPA, resulting in an investigation that led to “confirmation of poison present on his vegetation.”

During the time Luongo’s plants were “being sprayed,” Luongo suffered from several health complications before he found out about the poison he was constantly touching on his plants.

In 2007, prior to discovering the poison on his plants, Luongo had a fever of 104.1 on his birthday but was not able to pinpoint the exact cause. Luongo was hospitalized temporarily. He had fluid in his lungs, which confirmed an infection. Coupled with a high fever and wheezing while breathing, he was prescribed an antibiotic. Luongo was bedridden for several more weeks. After the prescription ended, Luongo was still ill, so he went to the emergency room three more times over a period of six or seven months. Luongo also went to several other doctors in the meantime, trying to find out the exact cause of his illness. In total, Luongo sought help from seven other doctors/specialists, but nothing was confirmed as the cause for his failing health. His appetite was extremely less than normal. His urine was burning for four consecutive years. He was bloating after eating minimal amounts of meals. The more he consumed, the worse he felt. Luongo began waking up with severe acid reflux, to the point he had to go to the emergency room again. Luongo had never had any problems with acid reflux.

His eyesight was dramatically affected. He went from using only reading glasses to permanent glasses in a short period of time. Luongo was finally diagnosed with blepharitis and conjunctivitis. His eyes were constantly burning, sensitive to light, sore, itchy and dry.

Was the spraying of his plants causing Luongo’s health problems? Luongo was continuously replanting vegetation without knowing his plants were “contaminated with poison.”

–Joseph Snook

No justice for property owner

VERO BEACH, Fla. — For years, Manuel Casares enjoyed the respect of his community. As a highly successful business professional, not only did he financially advise nationally prominent money managers with their personal investments, but he managed money for retired CEOs and wealthy businessmen. He was intimately involved with a number of local charitable organizations, and he was the president of Indian River Land Trust during the Campaign for McKee Botanical Gardens. According to others, Casares is “well-known and widely liked.”

These types of activities were just business as usual for members of his family and heritage. Casares was born in Washington, D.C., the son of diplomat parents from Spain and Ecuador. His father, who worked at the Spanish Embassy, was the son of prominent “hero” political journalist Manuel Casares Sanchez, who received the Civil Medal of Merit for his contributions in fighting communism. Two of Casares’ paternal great uncles were the lexicographers of the “Ideological Dictionary of the Spanish Language.” One great uncle, Julio Casares Sanchez, is considered to be “the Webster of Spain, writing language translation dictionaries in six languages.” Fluent in 17 languages, he had an academic career at the Real Academy of Spain and served in the Ministry of State in several Foreign Service envoys, including a delegation to Tokyo.

Casares’ forefathers were one of the founding families of San Sebastian, Spain, and they served as scribes and knights of the feudal kingdom in medieval times. Today, the family home serves as one of the cultural centers of San Sebastian, Spain.

Casares’ mother, Caridad Casares Urgelles Puente, shared equally in noble heritage, serving Ecuador as social secretary at the embassy in Washington, D.C., and then as a business development liaison at the consulate in New Orleans, followed by being Consul General for Ecuador in London, where her humor and liveliness got her personal invitations to dine with Queen Elizabeth. Her father, Jose Luis Urgelles Caamano, an attorney, left Spain, where he was born, to work in Ecuador and develop the family land grants in the province of El Oro. Working for a large banana grower/exporter near Guayaquil, he moved to Havana, Cuba, where he married Caridad Puente Duany. Returning to Ecuador, he developed some family lands into five plantations, growing bananas, rice, cacao and coffee. He eventually entered politics, becoming Ecuador’s Minister of Agriculture.

Casares’ political learning was greatly attributed to his father’s extensive home library. At age 16, he wanted to know why the U.S. was a republic. His father handed him a book containing the five dialogues of Plato, including “The Republic” (a discourse with Socrates). Abruptly, when Casares was only 18, his father died in an accident, making Casares “head of the household.” His duties included escorting his mother to black-tie functions at the U.S. State Department and other prominent Washington, D.C., social affairs. Casares soon found himself socializing with presidents, ambassadors, Henry Kissinger and other prominent world leaders. The most lavish event he attended was the Shah of Iran’s 50th birthday jubilee at the Iranian Embassy. Putting himself through college while working part time with some of Washington’s best caterers, Casares overheard many closed door deals between congressmen, senators, prominent businessmen and even some Supreme Court justices.

As Casares grew up, he continued living up to his family legacy. His life was full of family, and he was a very productive individual in his community. His life as he knew it would soon change, dramatically. While purchasing a “historic” home in 2005, he entrusted a realtor, with whom he is still in litigation today. Casares bought the historic home advertised as “restored” by Norris & Co., soon finding out that the home was anything but “restored.”

The freshly painted home was not restored at all. The renovations “hid the material defects” that negatively affected its value. Realtor Ron Hughes of Norris & Co. reportedly failed to disclose the flooding, hurricane repairs, termites and water-intrusion issues with Casares before the home was sold.

Shortly after purchasing the home, Casares was informed by professionals that it should be “torn down.” Hughes, as it turns out, allegedly had other issues with non-disclosure of material defects affecting the value of homes he was selling. Casares informed Hughes and Norris & Co. of the issues and sought legal help from attorneys. Casares eventually compiled enough evidence, begging the question: Does corruption in the legal system in Indian River County, Fla., rival that of Cook County, Ill.? Casares believes without any doubt that the answer would be “yes.”

After a year of wasting time with his first attorneys, Casares hired a Fort Pierce, Fla., attorney who filed a simple two-element claim: Johnson v. Davis, non-disclosure of hidden but known defects materially affecting the price of a home.

Attorneys who begged anonymity stated their firms had a policy not to take on cases like this one, where the unlawful acts of other attorneys had to be exposed for justice, for fear of the Bar finding any excuse to retaliate against them. Impartial Attorneys stated to Casares that “as neither fraud, nor negligence were pled in his complaint, under Florida law defenses for either would be unlawful, impertinent, and subject to sanctions both for the defendant and his or her attorney. Norris’ liability insurer knew, or should have known about Hughes/Norris non-disclosure issues as party to other suit(s) (the insurance agent was the spouse of a Norris principal partner).”

Defending claim under a “reservation of rights letter,” Norris’ insurer “threatened non-payment” if immaterial, non-judicial fraud was proven (no plaintiff would have either as part of claim or case as either would insure non-payment by insurer exclusions). Owners and managers of Norris and Hughes under defenses controlled by their insurer asserted an “unlawful negligence claim” and “fraudulently asserted no knowledge of defects” (which was impeached by six witnesses under oath in depositions).

Casares’ attorney failed to file a requisite motion (Fl. Statute 57.105) for sanctions against defendants Hughes and Norris and their attorney for the alleged fraud and negligence defenses. Negligence (when asserted as a count in complaints go to comparative fault under Florida law), would likely reduce Casares’ ability to recover his losses by 40 percent to 60 percent.

Casares, forced to maintain a water-damaged home eventually became ill form toxic black mold, hidden beneath the “freshly painted walls.” Making matters worse, Casares stated he was eventually “preyed upon by my (Manny’s) own attorney and defendants in a conspiracy which included adding negligence elements language to my amended complaint without my knowledge. The amended complaint included a personal injury claim for mold injury and damages (excluded from coverage by insurer).”

After nine years of legal battles, Casares finally sought alternative resolution to his ongoing legal issues. Deciding to take his case public, Casares contacted the US~Observer with hope of bringing justice to him and his family. All he originally wanted was to hold the realtor accountable. Now, he has discovered, “there are many more people involved than my original realtor — and the ability to get justice is largely obstructed by the good ol’ boys who are ‘deeply rooted’ in Indian River County, Fla.”

–Joseph Snook

Note: Many names were omitted from this article until further investigations are conducted. If you or anyone you know has any information regarding the people mentioned in this article, please contact the US~Observer immediately; this is an active investigation. You may reach us at: editor@usobserver.com or by calling (541) 474-7885.

24 arrests or citations, years of harassment

This is the third in a series. Read the first part, “Police harass bedridden woman,” and the second part, “Sheriff Mack witnessed mistreatment of woman by police.” The article was published originally in its entirety by the US~Observer.

TOMBALL, Texas — While waiting to legally evict Summer Marie Presswood and Ryan Roch, Nannette Carley was given no way to enter the property she so graciously allowed them to live in, and she had no legal method by which to remove her possessions. When Carley tried to ensure her property was not damaged or stolen by hiring private investigators and security to follow Presswood, the Tomball Police Department threatened to charge her with harassment. It was not the first time.

According to Carley, once she was finally allowed to enter the home she owned, she discovered that all of her new solid-wood and leather furniture and new appliances had been stolen, along with office equipment, sinks, faucets, showerheads, the garbage disposal, cabinet knobs, curtains, curtain rods, a trampoline, about $6000 worth of religious books, and other stored items and appliances. Carley explained, “The house was basically trashed and gutted!”

Carley immediately called TPD. The police first informed her that it was a civil issue, not theft. But upon her insistence, they hesitantly filed a report and promised to “arrest Presswood.”

Detective Albert Chambers was assigned to the case. After a brief investigation, he informed Carley that there was no way to prove that Presswood had stolen the items. This he insisted in spite of the fact that Presswood had returned Carley’s stolen cellphone and stolen car title to Chambers himself. Carley recalled, “a flat-screen television the same size and description of the one stolen (from Carley’s house) eventually turned up at the local pawn shop, pawned by Presswood; and at Presswood’s new home, a nearly new trampoline identical to the one missing (from Carley’s rental property) was proudly displayed,” but Chambers and his fellow officers at TPD did nothing.

Former Police Chief Robert Hauck was directly involved with this investigation, and he too failed to serve justice. Hauck, a Tomball, Texas, transplant from Los Angeles has a history of “covering up crimes,” allegations leveled by his department. And internal investigations all too often lead nowhere. One witness stated, “Police policing other police usually ends with nothing being accomplished for the real victims.”

Presswood and Roch were never arrested or charged with any crimes associated with the theft of Carley’s property.

Continuing with their harassment of Carley, TPD finally got the Harris County District Attorney’s office to bite on the bogus charge of felony evasion. Reportedly, Carley’s attorney, Andrea Kolsky, stated that charge should never have been filed in the first place. Hauck allegedly insisted that the District Attorney’s office “get her for something.” Succumbing to pressure from TPD and Hauck, the DA’s office refused to do the right thing and began prosecuting Carley.

On the day of her hearing, Carley stated that she “fell ill, vomiting and defecating blood.” Showing up late due to her physical condition, Judge Susan Brown sentenced her to five days in jail to “teach her a lesson about tardiness.” In no condition health-wise to spend time in jail, combined with fear of the lewd victimization she’d been subjected to by fellow prisoners during previous stints in jail, she took a plea bargain for “failure to stop,” avoiding jail time.

During this period of time, Tomball Police Officers Chris Burns and Alfred Hernandez were spotted by neighbors on at least “two occasions” performing illegal searches of Carley’s two properties while she was away. These same officers also allegedly sought entry to her home on four separate occasions, claiming 911 calls were received from the residence. Carley and her employees confirmed that all phone lines in the house had been previously disconnected, cut and capped. With no phone lines connected in Carley’s residence, there is absolutely no possibility that any 911 calls were made, begging a number of questions. Why were there claims of calls being made? If there were calls made, who made them and where did they come from? Is it possible that no calls were made and TPD chose to act in accordance with its own set of abusive rules?

Tomball, a small town (I’ve been there) of barely 11,000 people, has a police force that embraces the “police state” mentality. Does a town this small really need a police force like this?

Not one public official or employee has been arrested for their alleged crimes against Carley. According to Carley, Gary Hammond, the Tomball PD Internal Affairs officer, “investigated” a number of these issues and “failed to find any crimes committed by TPD.” Go figure.

In a desperate act to protect their own interests, “TPD refused to release video-taped footage of many incidents involving (Nannette),” stating that they, “lack the proper equipment to redact (edit out private information such as addresses, ID numbers, etc.) the footage.”

During all of the arrests, searches, citations and investigations, Carley was never found in possession of anything illegal. Furthermore, aside from the “failure to display” charge, which is currently in the appeals process, TPD had only two charges stick, both of which are highly suspicious. After more than 24 arrests or citations, years of harassment and numerous dropped charges, only one citation and one misdemeanor remain today.

The cost of all of this is astonishing. Carley closed her previously successful business, moved, attended dozens of court dates, lost $4,000 cash in the purse incident, suffered $60,000 in damage to her house, spent several nights in jail, spent thousands on jail bonds, paid $25,000 in security and investigative fees to protect her property, and racked up $25,000 in legal fees.

How much money has the city of Tomball spent to get one citation and one misdemeanor conviction of an ill woman described by many as a generous, successful, “Citizen of the Year?” Furthermore, how much more is it going to cost Tomball to undue this mess?

The US~Observer will be moving forward with further investigations until the issues and questions raised in this article are addressed and Carley is both vindicated and compensated for the unjust events that have taken place. We are confident that we will obtain evidence that forces the filing of charges against those who violated Carley’s rights.

–Edward Snook

Note: If you have any information regarding anyone in this article, please contact the US-Observer immediately at (541)-474-7885 or editor@usobserver.com.

Sheriff Mack witnessed mistreatment of woman by police

This is the second in a series. Read the first part, “Police harass bedridden woman.” The article was published originally in its entirety by the US~Observer.

TOMBALL, Texas — On Feb. 25, 2012, Nannette Carley was driving home after running errands when a Tomball Police Department vehicle began following her just a few blocks away from her house. She pulled into her driveway and removed her keys from the ignition only to be met by two TPD officers with their guns drawn, ordering her to step away from her vehicle. While in her own driveway, having committed no crime, Tomball officers arrested her for felony evasion. Unbeknownst to the two officers, former Sheriff Richard Mack, whose car they had passed in pursuit of Carley, witnessed the entire wrongful arrest and has provided a signed affidavit regarding this information.

Carley was taken to police headquarters. A little less than an hour later, her purse, which had been locked in the car she was ordered to exit at gunpoint, arrived at the police station, allegedly missing $4,000. Officer Chris Burns was responsible for the chain of custody of the purse, and he claimed to have no knowledge of the money or of what may have happened to it.

Having witnessed the arrest, Mack went to the police department to offer his assistance. He tried to reason with Tomball police officers, pointing out that the arrest he had just witnessed had no legal grounds. Nonetheless, they refused to give in, continuing their pursuit against Carley. Unfortunately for the Tomball Police Department, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office refused to charge Carley for felony evasion. Once again, she was released without any formal charges filed, but only after spending the entire day in jail before being released after midnight to walk home alone in the dark.

Mack later signed an affidavit, attesting to the abuse he witnessed (we strongly recommend reading this).

Tomball Police Department continued to “harass Nannette’s family, friends, and co-workers, constantly stopping and ticketing them for no apparent reason.” Nannette almost got used to the “sight of guns pointed her direction” every time Tomball police officers “unfoundedly pulled her over.” According to Carley, eventually, “the gun-wielding cops began to point their pieces at anyone riding along with me.”

In spite of the fact that the charges against Carley were consistently dismissed due to insufficient evidence for prosecution, the harassment escalated.

While Carley was on her way home from the pharmacy, Burns pulled her over. Knowing she had been unsuccessfully cited four or five times in the past for diving with a suspended license, Burns allegedly tried a new tactic. Since each of the previous citations had been dismissed on account of the fact that Carley did not have a suspended driver’s license, he charged her with failure to display driver’s license on demand. Well aware that a conviction for this charge could not be obtained without bending the truth, Burns allegedly “committed felony perjury” by reportedly lying on the witness stand to convict Carley.

Four witnesses subsequently came forward, attesting to the fact that Burns had committed felony perjury to get Carley convicted of a simple citation. They even sent affidavits of probable cause for Burns’ arrest to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, but Garcia allegedly, “did nothing, ignoring the affidavits, and refused Nannette’s requests for a meeting.”

After spending a number of nights in jail for another false arrest, Carley was released in late 2012, just in time to travel to Las Vegas to receive a “Citizen of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Association. Sheriff Jeff Christopher of Sussex County, Delaware, bestowed on her the title of “Honorary Deputy Sheriff.” These don’t sound like the kind of accolades given to criminals; nevertheless, Carley would be locked up by TPD again within 24 hours of returning home.

In June 2013, Carley had another encounter with Tomball PD. Carley had allowed one of her staff members to stay free of charge in a fully furnished home she owned a few doors down from where she lived herself. Unfortunately, Carley learned that this staff member was allegedly “stealing from her.” During a confrontation with the alleged thief/employee, the police were called. They threw Carley off of her own property, where she had been graciously allowing the alleged “thief” to stay. TPD allegedly threatened to charge Carley with trespass if she didn’t vacate the premises.

Witnesses recall that the woman who was staying in Carley’s home, Summer Marie Presswood, and her boyfriend, Ryan Roch, were “discovered with over $2,000 in stolen company products previously destined for Nannette’s customers.” Additionally, “$400 worth of stolen office supplies were found in the custody of Presswood and Roch.” Rather than arrest the alleged “thieves,” TPD threatened to arrest Carley if she insisted on pressing charges. A search of the home also allegedly revealed drugs and drug-use paraphernalia, but “TPD ignored the drugs.” Presswood and Roch were reportedly allowed to illegally squat in Carley’s newly furnished home.

Witnesses continued, “TPD promised Nannette that if she submitted a three-day vacate notice to the residents of her property, they would force Presswood and Roch to vacate once the three days were up.” In the meantime, Carley spent $7,000 to have private security officers ensure that none of her possessions or business products left the property. Three days passed, and TPD told Carley that she still needed to file a formal eviction notice if she wanted Presswood and Roch gone. Why?

Over the next 45 days, Carley worked tirelessly to legally evict Presswood and Roch. Several encounters between Carley, the two alleged “thieves” and TPD took place. Former Police Chief Robert Hauck, well aware of Carley’s situation as well as the alleged thievery and drug use going on in the house, promised Carley that he would “arrest Presswood and Roch if any of Nannette’s property was missing.”

–Edward Snook

Police harass bedridden woman

This is the first in a series. The article was published originally in its entirety by the US~Observer.

TOMBALL, Texas — Nannette Carley’s life was seemingly normal. She owned a small business, paid the bills, enjoyed her family — the kind of things most people take for granted. When she moved to the quaint, little city of Tomball, Texas, everything changed.

Within four years of her relocation to Tomball, the Tomball Police Department had reportedly charged her with infractions/crimes 24 separate times, arresting her on numerous occasions, which caused her to spend many nights in jail. Due to the arrests and incarcerations, Carley stated that she, “missed work, lost over $60,000 in personal property and spent countless, tireless hours along with her hard-earned money defending herself.” Nonetheless, she still had felony charges and impending court dates looming. At one point, Carley stated, she had seven cases with 16 separate charges set for trial on the same day. To complicate matters, Carley was battling a life-threatening thyroid disease that often left her bedridden. This same disease had killed Carley’s mother when she was Carley’s age.

The nightmare started in 2008 when Carley called the Tomball Police Department to report a stolen credit card. After an uncomfortable encounter with police regarding the matter, Carley regrettably remembers laughing in an attempt to ease what she described as an “awkward interaction.” Thus began Carley’s tumultuous relationship with the Tomball Police Department.

A few weeks later, Carley was pulled over just a few blocks away from her home by Officer Kenny Yoho. Her ex-husband, who was nearby, offered to produce Carley’s auto insurance documents, but Yoho allegedly refused acceptance. Yoho then inexplicably ordered Carley’s ex to leave. After Carley’s ex-husband obliged, Yoho wrote Carley a ticket for, of all things, not having current auto insurance. The ticket was later dismissed.

It wasn’t more than a month later that Carley had her next run-in with Tomball police. While visiting a nearby apartment complex, Carley was detained and questioned for almost an hour, despite the fact that no victim came forward and no crime had been committed. When she asked the Tomball Police Officers why she was being held against her will, they informed her they had received a complaint that “someone was trespassing at the apartments and wouldn’t leave.” Carley was eventually told she could leave.

As weeks passed, Carley stated that she received, “one ticket after another.” While she was able to prove her innocence against the unfounded accusations and citations, her health began to deteriorate, making it more difficult for her to keep up with the constant “barrage of attacks” by the Tomball police. The seemingly endless cycle of paperwork and court dates grew overwhelming, and she simply was not able to keep up. “In the beginning,” Nannette said, “I just thought they had me confused with someone else. What I later came to find out was that Tomball Police Officer DeWayne Eickenhorst was spreading lies about me at the department, touching off a ‘get her’ mentality amongst other Tomball police officers.” Ironically, it was actually other Tomball police officers who reportedly “informed” Carley of the slander.

It was only a matter of time before Carley missed a court date. After suffering a demobilizing heart attack and surgery, she asked to reschedule one of her court dates or for the court to dismiss the charges on account of her compromised state of health. According to Carley, in spite of her heartfelt and seemingly reasonable requests, Municipal Judge Andrea Jay Walker, along with Judge Laryssa Korduba-Hrncir and Judge George Covington “declined to help, resulting in Walker’s issuing warrants for (Carley’s) arrest.”

The harassment of Carley increased, and she soon suffered another heart attack, again requiring surgery. While Carley recovered at home, Officers Chris Burns and Alfred Hernandez parked their squad car nearby, reportedly setting up watch on a regular basis in front of Carley’s home. On one occasion, Carley remembered the officers “banged on her front door for over 45 minutes.” Meanwhile, Carley was suffering from her chronic illness, trying to recover from a heart attack, as she lay in bed unable to respond or get the rest she needed.

According to multiple sources, Burns and Hernandez would hide around the corner in the church parking lot or behind another car at the end of her street and monitor Carley’s friends, family and visitors — never wasting an opportunity to pull them over and write a ticket as they came and went. With seemingly unbreakable focus and patience, they waited to “pounce on me whenever I left the house,” Carley stated, “which wasn’t often, due to my compromised health.” While her caretakers did most of her errands, the few times she did leave the safety of her home, Tomball police were usually there to meet her.

According to Carley, Officer Virginia Gorman went as far as knocking on Carley’s door, demanding her identification so she could write her more tickets. When she refused to oblige Gorman, which she undeniably had the right to do, she was cited five times. Two weeks later, the U.S. Postal Service delivered the citations: two for a dog at large, two for an unvaccinated dog and one for failure to supply Gorman with identification. Carley stated that “these charges were absolutely false.”

Documents obtained through the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) subsequently revealed that Gorman lied on sworn statements in order to file charges and issue warrants against Carley.

–Edward Snook