Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hal Turner - The Voice of Madness?

Let us first state the obvious: We don't want a single judge murdered. Ever.

We likewise believe hate speech should be prosecuted because most physical violence begins with threats of violence.

Having said that, riddle us this: Why hasn't a single journalist picked up on the excellent Hal Turner example of state and federal misogyny?

Compared to women and children, how many judges have been murdered over the past two decades? Perhaps three or four judges. Compare that to the thousands of women and children murdered annually.

When did judges become more important than others?

Thus Hal Turner, (who clearly appears to have serious mental health issues) is in jail with no bond, is being treated more harshly than perpetrators who routinely, and sometime, very specifically, threaten women and children. Why?

Each year thousands of women plead with judges for protection orders or restraining order after their husband's threaten to kill them and the kids. (Women married to policemen suffer the worst.)

However, seldom are their first requests for restraining orders answered in the affirmative.

Ironically, the very same judges who ran for office on a "law and order" mandate, appear to be more worried about economic fallout for the perpetrator because a police officer deprived of his weapon could lose his job, than his or her intended victim.

Strange as it seems, judges who express enormous concern for their own safety, don't seem as concerned for the safety of others including rator who has threatened the victim, rather than the health and safety of the intended victim.

Although anyone over twelve knows the person most likely to kill you is sits across from you at the dinner table.

So, while women reporting specific intentions have trouble getting orders of protection, or restraining orders, and kids pleas are ignored, it's worth noting Hal Turner only said he *thought* judges should be killed.

We think that's hate speech and Hal should be prosecuted. But the reaction has been such a wonderful example of elitism and misogyny we just couldn't pass it up.

Judges in Nevada support AB99, which allows them to hide information that is public to anyone else. This bill supports false disclosures. When did judges become more important than average individuals?

What about false disclosure makes sense and why does it also protect prosecutors and other court personnel?

Particularly when considering in the past two decades, how many judges have been murdered compared to how many families have been murdered?

Will "seasoned journalists" cover State and Federally sponsored misogyny?

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Castle Rock vs. Gonzales) the police "aren't required" to enforce restraining orders.

But with thousands of attempted murders in this country, some husbands (or boyfriends) are arrested and almost immediately or'd or released on a low bail amount.

Some of them return home and finish the job. Not Hal Turner.

Hal Turner - with his dangerous comments and mental health issues - now finds himself off-the-air and in the clink. Why don't women enjoy the same protection as judges? Scarier still, why hasn't a single journalist picked up on the misogyny and elitism heaped on judges?

A tip for women and children.

Worried about your safety? Try to remember if your abuser ever threatened a judge. Then file a report. It could save your life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NE: Lincoln County Judge Kent Florom testifies before commission

In clicking the link above, Judge Kent it seems, to have noticed his inappropriate behavior.

He said, "“I got to watch my big mouth." Unfortunately Judge Florom didn't add that his behavior needed to change. In fairness, Judge Florom also called himself a "dumb-ass." But aside from that, he clearly and repeatedly demonstrated he loves baseball *and* throwing his weight around.

Quoting from the North Platt Bulletin:

The complaint said Florom used his judicial influence to intervene in the criminal case of Sharon Kramer, a high school teacher and softball coach who was convicted of stealing funds from the high school booster club concession stand in March 2008. She was eventually fired from the school and lost her teaching certificate for two years.

Florom, an assistant coach on Kramer’s Sensations traveling softball team, recused himself from hearing Kramer’s case because of the association.

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling prosecuted Kramer’s case.

The complaint said in March of 2008, Florom encountered Harling in the courthouse and asked her if the charges could be avoided if Kramer paid restitution, the complaint said.

Florom testified Tuesday that other first-time misdemeanor theft offenders paid the restitution and were fined $150. He said he questioned Harling to find out what kind of charge Kramer was facing. He said the Sensations annual budget was $15,000 and he was worried that “Sharon had stolen from that fund and didn’t want anything to do with that.”

Florom testified that he made a joke to Russ Jones, Kramer’s attorney, after Jones was complaining that Kramer’s retainer check had bounced.

“Heck, tell Rebecca (Harling) I’ll pay the restitution,” the complaint said Florom said. The complaint also said Florom offered to put Kramer “on double secret probation.”

Jones conveyed the conversation to Harling according to the complaint, but Jones believed Florom was joking.

Florom testified Tuesday that his office on the second floor of the Lincoln County Courthouse was where attorneys gathered and they often kidded and ribbed each other. He said he went too far.

Florom said he would apologize to everyone after “this ordeal is over” but did not want to call his “sincerity into question.”

Part of the problem, according to Florom, was that he “allowed attorneys to congregate in his office between court hearings in a effort to promote collegiality among members of the bar.”

Florom said he regretted his poor judgment knowing full well that this was a case pending before Judge Kent Turnbull.

Florom said he believed all parties to the conversation knew he was joking and that it was not an attempt to direct or influence the case. He said he believed he had both a personal and professional relationship with Harling and Jones.

On Tuesday, Florom expressed regret that his relationship with Harling wasn’t stronger.

On the day Kramer was scheduled to plead guilty, Jones advised Florom of the media’s interest in the hearing. Florom allegedly suggested and discussed with Jones how Kramer could enter her plea early to avoid an open court appearance.

The complaint said Jones interpreted Florom’s suggestion as trying to help a friend. He relayed the suggestions to Harling, who rejected them.

Florom said, in court documents, that it was Jones who made the requests and that he would approve a waiver on the matter if both Jones and Harling agreed.

Florom’s conduct caused unease and uncertainty among the attorneys, the complaint said. It also caused some to feel discomfort and disgust, according to the complaint.

A threat or a promise?

Most of Tuesday’s two-hour testimony centered on a phone call North Platte School Board Member Jim Paloucek made to Judge Florom.

The complaint also said Florom threatened Paloucek.

Florom sent a message to Paloucek through Jones on July 7, 2008.

“Tell your buddy (Jim Paloucek) if he comes after Sharon Kramer he’s going to be making an enemy he doesn’t want to make.”

Florom believed Kramer’s conviction had jeopardized her teaching position with North Platte High, according to the complaint, and he believed Paloucek might take official steps to affect Kramer’s position.

Jones conveyed the message to Paloucek who, along with law partners Royce Norman and Steve Herman, placed a speakerphone call to Florom at the courthouse.

Paloucek testified Tuesday that he advised Florom he was on speakerphone with the attorneys and asked him to confirm Jones’ message.

Paloucek said Florom was “matter-of-fact” when he confirmed that Paloucek would be “making a mistake”, taking any action against Kramer and stated “favors extended in the past would not be extended in the future.”

Paloucek said he was “shocked, confused and was physically shaking” after hearing Judge Florom’s remarks.

“It was bizarre,” Paloucek testified. “What would prompt this judge to do what he did?”

Paloucek testified that Judge Florom was trying to “strong-arm” him and used his position as a judge to do that.

“The context was professional,” Paloucek said. “This is what will happen to you if you take action against Kramer.”

“We wondered if he was having an affair with her,” Paloucek said.

Susan Kirchmann, Florom’s attorney, leaped up and shouted objection.


Retired Judge Robert Burkhart, who presided over the case, sustained the objection and struck the comment from the record.

Paloucek said the actions of Judge Florom were “out of character” for him but he also testified that it chilled his faith in Lincoln County Judges.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever go into a Lincoln County courtroom with the same feeling,” Paloucek said. He said he wondered if his law firm would be treated fairly.

Paloucek said it affected Jones and other attorneys too.

“Jones was scared for himself, his family, his practice,” Paloucek said. “I don’t know if what Judge Florom did was a criminal violation but it was a breech of ethics.”

Kirchmann asked Paloucek why he didn’t ask Florom if he was kidding.

“It was obvious he wasn’t,” Paloucek said.

North Platte attorney Royce Norman testified he was “disappointed” in Florom’s actions.

Norman said the three attorneys who heard Florom’s comments on the phone call immediately separated and made notes of the call.

Norman said they then “reluctantly” reported it to the Council for Discipline.

Norman said it was reported to them that Judge Florom had “declared war” on their law firm.

In the phone call, Florom suggested Paloucek and all members of their law firm request recusal from all cases in front of him.

“Judge, I’m going to have to do what I have to do,” Paloucek said.

Since that time, Norman said they have requested Florom recuse himself from their cases twice and he has both times.

One was a minor case, Norman said. The other delayed an adoption by three weeks.

“There is a continuing level of discomfort in the community,” Norman testified. “We will continue to request Judge Florom take himself off our cases.”

Norman said he had an out-of-town client ask him if he was “on the wrong side of the judges” in Lincoln County. He said he feared it would affect his law firm.

Both Norman and Paloucek believed Florom’s message to be a threat.

Florom testified that he was upset when he received the phone call having heard a rumor that Kramer could be fired from her coaching job with the Sensations.

Florom admitted saying what he said and said he regretted it.

“I am not a subtle man,” Florom said. “I would have been a lot better off if I’d said nothing.”

Florom said he was frustrated and angry and said he viewed the actions as a vendetta against Kramer made solely for political gain by elected officials.

“I wanted the world to know I was mad,” Florom testified when asked why he did it. “I did not have a specific plan.”

Florom testified that he “just needed to get it off my chest.” He testified that he wanted to insure he didn’t take his anger out on the attorneys or their clients so he asked them to request recusals from him.

Florom said a judge once got mad at him when he was a practicing attorney and took it out on his clients. He said he vowed never to do that when sworn in as a judge 17-years ago.

“If I’m mad at an attorney, I make sure that attorney knows it,” Florom said. “I would never take it out on an attorney in the courtroom.”

Florom admitted that his conduct was willful and that it violated one or more provisions of the Nebraska Code of Judicial Conduct.

“I know I shouldn’t talk like this but I’m a dumb ass,” Judge Florom said.

Undue influence

Florom was also accused of trying to influence the court case of L.W., a young woman who played shortstop for Florom’s softball team.

L.W. had been placed on probation in 2007 and, in March 2008, was back in court for a probation violation.

Florom, who heard the case in his court, transferred the case to Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull.

The complaint said Florom tried to influence L.W.’s caseworker from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Megan Luebbe. Florom allegedly told Luebbe that he was talking to her “as a softball coach, not a judge.” He emphasized L.W.’s softball talent and discussed placement recommendations that would allow L.W. to continue to play for Florom’s team, the complaint said.

Florom testified Tuesday that he was just telling Luebbe about the opportunities available for L.W. to get a scholarship. He said it was a “carrot before the donkey” principal.

Florom said he did speak to Luebbe but did not discuss what her recommendation to the court should be. Florom said he was concerned about L.W.’s well being and future success.

Florom also denied that he asked L.W.’s father to ask the other Lincoln County Judge, Kent Turnbull, for a delay on a hearing so his daughter could play in an out-of-town softball tournament, thus giving legal advice, the complaint said.

Florom and his wife served as chaperones for L.W. from a group home during the summer of 2008, the complaint said, and Florom’s position as a judge was a factor in Luebbe approving the outings.

The complaint said Florom made several comments to Harling, who prosecuted L.W.’s case.

“Take care of my shortstop,” Florom allegedly said.

Florom said he was simply “poking the bear” and teasing Harling.

Florom denied influencing the outcome of her case or any action or misconduct that would bring his judicial office into disrepute.

Florom said he no longer allows attorneys to gather in his office and “joke around.” He said he realizes the distinction between professional and personal and intends to keep the changes in place. He also said he should not have put Jones in the middle of his anger towards Paloucek and he shouldn’t have discussed the case with Harling.

Florom also admitted writing a letter of recommendation for Kramer on judicial stationary was not a prudent things to do.

Tuesday’s hearing lasted 4-1/2 hours. The results won’t be known for several months.

Florom could face a public reprimand, a maximum suspension of six months or even removal from the bench for his conduct.

Michael Heavican, Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, filed the complaint against Florom.

Ann Winter of Lincoln, a private attorney, prosecuted the case.

Judge Burkhard will send the evidence and a report to the Judicial Qualifications Committee who will review it and send it on to the Supreme Court with a recommendation.

The Nebraska Supreme Court will issue a final order and recommendation for the disposition of the case.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Judge Samuel Kent - Impeached.

We only hope the State of Oklahoma goes to school on this case. The State of Oklahoma should follow the federal example. We sincerely hope Democrats join Republicans and do the right thing for the child raped and the people of Oklahoma, in the case of Judge Thomas Bartheld.

UPDATE: Judge Kent finally resigned. He did so (from prison) about thirty seconds after the bill to impeach him went to the Senate.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More On Judge Bartheld - Bill O'Reilly.

Click here for coverage.

To the governor and attorney general: will there be a time you decide to put the welfare of children above party politics?

OK: Judge Bartheld. Will Officials Do the Right Thing?

Below is a transcript - (the typos are CNN's) of the interview with Rep. Mike Ritze regarding Oklahoma judge, Thomas Bartheld, which details the process Oklahoma officials must follow since the legislative session is over. The question however, is will State of Oklahoma officials act to rectify the problem.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's a sickening crime story. A man convicted of raping a 4-year-old girl in Oklahoma. You would think a low-life like that would spend the rest of his life in prison, right? But that's not what happened. Last month, 64-year-old David Harold Earls pleaded no contest to raping the little girl. The sentence was 20 years. But as part of a plea agreement, he will only serve one year behind bars.

In fact, due to time he already spent in jail awaiting trial, he'll get out in three months. So, how can Earls, a man convicted of raping a 4-year-old girl, get such a sweet deal? The district attorney's office says it's all because the young rape victim behaved erratically in court. Take a listen.


LISA DIRDWELL, PITTSBURG CO. ASST. D.A.: There were some problems in her testimony, even at that point. She was able to say enough to get qualified that brought a little bit that -- what he did, but it also at that time when the defense attorney got to ask her some questions, which he's entitled to do, she said she forgot. We lost the little girl's testimony. We lost the majority of our evidence. It was out the window.


PHILLIPS: Well, talk about karma, because David Harold Earls now has terminal cancer. In addition, he will have to register as a sex offender, and he will be monitored while a free man. But how does a judge go along with the plea deal that allows a rapist to go free in just a few months? here's what Judge Thomas Bartheld said about his decision.


JUDGE THOMAS BARTHELD, OKLAHOMA DISTRICT COURT: They told me that they were in agreement, that the victim's family was in agreement, the advocates were in agreement, and the defendant was in agreement. So, I took the plea.


PHLLIPS: So, what do you think? Should the judge be fired? Well, pushing forward, a couple of Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to get the judge removed from the bench. And just this week another development -- the rapist's, 43-year-old's daughter, Denise Earls, says her father is a monster and that she raped her when she was a child. Denise joins me live from tulsa, along with Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze, he wants Judge Thomas Bartheld fired and taken off the bench.

Denise, I want to go ahead and start with you, when you heard about this 4-year-old girl being raped by your father you, as his daughter, also now someone that has now come forward and said he raped you as well when you were a child. What was your reaction when you heard about this case?

DENISE EARLS, DAUGHTER OF RAPIST: Well, I was completely outraged, because it brought back all the memories that I went through as a child. And just to know that he only got a year when I have a life sentence to deal with this. It's been very difficult. It's just knowing that someone else is -- not only myself, that it happened to me three times when I was a child, but now someone else is going through this. And it's very hard to -- to deal with. My heart goes out to them. My -- my father is a monster and he needs to stay -- he needs to stay in prison.

PHILLIPS: Let me ask you, why did you wait until now to come forward?

EARLS: Well, I am adult. I did confront him in the last time in 1992. I was 26 years old. I did tell him that -- I would never see him again. You know, like I say, I was an adult. The statute of limitations had run out and I wanted to just -- I was married, I have a daughter, I have family. And I just wanted to move on with my life.

PHILLIPS: What did he say to you when you confronted him, Denise?

EARLS: I said, you know, you have to admit this. You have to -- we have to talk about this, I said, because I'm having a hard time dealing with in my life. And he said, well, I don't remember. I was drunk. And I said, you know what, that is unacceptable? I said this is the last time that you will see me.

PHILLIPS: I did want to say, too, that we did call the jail where your dad is. He and his lawyer said no interview -- no comment. Also I want to point out the Oklahoma attorney general is now speaking with you. Listening to your accusations, and, quote, looking to see if there is any remedy to this plea deal that has just happened. Also looking in to possible criminal charges against your father for your accusations.

And so Representative Ritze, let me ask you, why did you get involved in this case? Did your constituents hear about this and complain to you?

Yes, ma'am. We had a public outcry from our constituents. I wear two -- three different hats. I'm a physician. I'm also a child abuse examiner, state medical examiner, police physician, and now state representative. And I lecture to law enforcement all the time. So, I know the laws. I have a master's in forensic science and our constituents were contacting us. We were deluged with hundreds of e- mails and phone calls and regular mail.

And as a result Representative Mike Reynolds from Oklahoma City and myself and other representatives around the state decided to invoke a resolution from Oklahoma statutes article seven, where we can actually bring it to the attention of the Oklahoma state house of representatives, which limits it to the trial, the judiciary as a jurisdiction or a hearing process. We also have contacted the supreme court of Oklahoma. The attorney general, the governor, none of them would -- have talked to us as of yet. But now that the media is exposing us -- exposing this locally and nationally, they're starting to talk.

PHILLIPS: So, tee did try to get in touch with the judge. We also got a no-comment and a no-call from his office as well. Do you really think you can get him taken off the bench?

RITZE: Well, at this point in time we're going through the process. The Oklahoma law is very clear that any member of the House of Representatives can petition this resolution or invoke this. And then it's taken over by an actual hearing process or what we would refer to like a grand jury process by the -- a special court for trial judges. And as a result, we feel like that the process must move forward.

Unfortunately we just finished our legislative session. And we will not be back in session until february of this next year. But, the supreme court, the governor, the attorney general, they can do something immediately, and that's what we're asking for.

PHILLIPS: And that's where the pressure needs to be. Denise, are you worried about your father back on the streets, that he will rape again?

EARLS: Yes, absolutely. And that does concern me very much. So, because they set a release date of September the 24th. Knowing my father's history, just with myself and now with -- with this new story, he will definitely do this again. The man does not need to get out. That's why I am speaking out today, because this must be stopped. This man has to be in prison for the rest of his life.

PHILLIPS: Final thought, from the representative -- Representative Ritze, the District Attorney Jim Bob miller, you know, he came forward and said this, quote, this is the best deal we could do. Why not go after the DA as well?

RITZE: Well, at this point in time we are looking in to that. If he keeps raising these options and we certainly will look in to that as legislators. If there is a mechanism that we can plug -- a loophole here, we're going to look at that very carefully. I know many judges, many people in law enforcement, that would have never taken this plea to a judge. And once you take it to a judge, I know many judges that would have never accepted a plea like this.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's sickening to think that he could be back on the streets. Denise, we sure appreciate you talking with us. It can't be easy for you.

And Representative Ritze, if you don't mind, we'd like to follow up on your efforts, and indeed see what happens to this judge.

RITZE: Anytime. Thank you, ma'am.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More on Judge Thomas Bartheld's inaccurate statement to media.

Three problems with Judge Thomas Bartheld's statement, “Some people think I could have given a different sentence, and I couldn’t. In any plea bargain, where there is a negotiated plea, the court can’t change it.

First: not exactly true. Judge Bartheld signed off on it. A fact he didn't initially mention.

Second: Media is not covering Judge Bartheld's verbal, sleight-of-hand.

Third: On June 15th, we called C.J. Murphy at the Attorney General's office asking the name of the individual heading the investigation into Judge Bartheld. In fact, we called three times over a two day period as Ms. Murphy did not respond to our calls.

When we finally spoke with Ms. Murphy however, she refused to identify the person heading the investigation, remarking it was "covert." After reminding Ms. Murphy while the AG's investigation might be covert, news of it was common knowledge. Ms. Murphy eventually realized the name of the individual in charge involves the public's right to know basic information.

Thus, after two days and a couple of hours later, anyone wishing to send information to the person heading the AG's investigation of Judge Thomas Bartheld, is the very pleasant, Thomas Gruber. Information can be mailed to 313 N.E. 21st Street, OKC, OK 73105.

Fourth and perhaps most important other than Judge Bartheld's attempt to save face:

what seems clear is the DA does not trust the jury system. The DA has proven he doesn't feel confident Oklahoma jurors could suss out the truth from a child who gives testimony one way and then the other. supports legislators call for removal of Judge Bartheld.

And we're not real crazy about Pittsburg County District Attorney J.B. Miller, either.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MS: "Scruggs - Part Two." Judge Bobby DeLaughter indicted.

Click the headline to see the document featuring the usual array of fraud, witness tampering charges. Did we mention, "corruption?" Kinda goes without saying. We're just sayin'

TX: Did Judge Woody Densen key his neighbor's car?

Click the headline. Although the video clearly shows Judge Woody Densen keying the car - twice (after first checking to make sure no one was looking), the question becomes, what will the DA do?

Sluggish DAs are a cause for concern in many states.

UPDATE: Judge Densen was indicted. There is no truth to the rumor his wife took his keys.

OK: Judge Thomas Bartheld and the David Earls case

By now national media is reporting on the case of David Earls largely suspended sentence for raping a five year old. The sentence was twenty years, nineteen suspended and credit for time served. Meaning Mr. Earls will be released shortly, and will have to register as a sex offender.

Judge Bartheld was quoted: "Some people think I could have given a different sentence, and I couldn’t,” says Bartheld. “In any plea bargain, where there is a negotiated plea, the court can’t change it.”

Three Problems:

1. As reported earlier, the parents, the advocate and DA Miller were afraid the little girl would "freeze up." It's problematic when the adults act based on their fears.

2. The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has opened an investigation, perhaps. Our calls to the AG's office to ask the name of the investigator heading up the alleged investigation were politely stonewalled. Sandy Byler informed us C.J. Murphy refused to identify the person heading the investigation. C.J. Did not return our call. By now most people realize a good government is a transparent one.

3. The job of the DA is to search for the truth. However, the pattern of DA's not trusting juries will find it, and only going with a slam-dunk conviction is increasingly, standard.

Mandated pay scales aside, it's common knowledge DA salaries are tied to conviction rates, although some dispute this. However, coverage to date hasn't addressed the equally important issue of DAs trusting juries.