Saturday, November 7, 2015

Doing what cops do best

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nightmare on Main Street: When Local Media and a Small Town's Local Prosecutor's Office team up to Make a Mountain out of a Mole Hill: The Curious Case of Ms. Keturah Krankovich of Harrison County OH

    Sometimes, in America, the flyover parts of hidden small sleepy town America, we find great and hidden things that help to build this nation and make it great again and again.

    And sometimes, in such same sleepy hollows we find very scary things that teach us, America is wrestling today with a very broken cirminal justice system, in direct contravention of the glory of the major contributions that such hidden places have provided via past great native American sons.

    In Harrison County, Ohio for the first part of the 20th century, the great find was coal and lots of it.   Mines and strippers, not the kind we know today who dance themselves into heroin highs but actually the kind who made millions off of the natural resource most abundant and known to the national rise to industrial prominence across the world; king coal was found in abundance in Harrison County in the early parts of the 20th century and the rest as they say was history.

    Before King Coal came along, however, something even more fundamental and more exacting and perhaps, way more important for all American's came from Harrison County, Ohio.  This national treasure came in the form of a individual Antebellum and Civil War and ReConstruction Era Congressman named John Bingham.  He did something for every immigrant, every grandchild of every slave man, woman, and child and just plain for every american alive today.  He wrote the first main two clauses of the 14th Amendment and then guided them through passage over a contentious congress, those most important of all law and its modern foundations; the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Perhaps, the two most important Clauses of All Modern American legal jurisprudence {and easily the bane of all first year Constitutional Law Law Students studies.}

   And in doing so, Harrison County's greatest native political and social son gave all of us, a gift that never will stop giving until the Republic itself is no longer, the great guarantee that our first Bill of Rights will be forever incorporated into the lives of every individual, every person and every single criminal case that will ever be tried in America until its end.

    But, almost 150 years later, something again is now happening again in Harrison County that is serving this nation in a major national way again;  the rise of the Southeastern Ohio oil and gas field and Harrison County is at the heart of this revival which is changing the face of our national and even international energy policy and transforming our national ability to become for the first time in fifty years a net exporter of natural gas and not an imagined dependent import as predicted by all the experts for the past forty years with all the dire consequences of what that may have portended for our country.

    But, this year, and for the Midwest Center's concern's, something is happening this year also in Harrison County that just isn't right.  Something has been done to an individual that seems out of balance, out of whack and just not in keeping with the great tradition and major Bingham contribution to the bulwok of our American constitutionalism and criminal justice system.  It begins and ends with what is happening to a local individual housewife, a career woman and mother and hard working individual who grew up on a large family's old farm, doing the things that so many homegrown towns' people of Cadiz and Jewett Ohio have done for decades if not for the past century or more; gathering up hay, running horses, picking the fall harvest, canning the same and just doing those things that all children do as they are raised on a farm in the otherwise rolling hills of southeastern, Ohio.

    First, there was the son, a 18 year old, who had a beautiful young girlfriend with a drug problem. Then, it became his own serious drug problem and then, it became a problem w the law, for him and his beautiful girlfriend while living at the mother's nice large home in the country.

     The son was caught and charged along w the girlfriend with stolen property and theft.   Both were charged and soon, the son was brought to court.   The charges were about to be dropped to misdemeanors and the mother and step father, a pharmacist were going to fly him to Florida to get him into a major drug rehab center.   (They had just discovered the week before, he was a IV heroin user.) 

   But something would happen, on the way to resolving his first brush with the law; he had an arraignment hearing, he was suffering from a broken front tooth from a fall down directly on his head and mouth the week prior.  He now had a dangling nerve on his front tooth and he was in withdrawls. 

    He was in need of serious medical attention at the local jail and wasn't receiving anything for either his front tooth pain and/or his withdraw symptoms ,which were significant at the time.

    Mom, who was a Acuity Care Nurse, making very good money while doing the late long 12 hour shifts helping human beings leave this earth in comfort and some measure of peace, was coming home from one of her particularly long series of such late night shifts and was very tired.  All she wanted to do was crawl into bed and get some rest, knowing her son's case was just beginning and that he had been accepted into the Florida rehabilitation center. 

     But something else was brewing  along the same lines, which was in many ways unknown to her;  Her marriage, which had not been a particularly easy one, nor without significant challenges, was about to take a very serious downward turn and in fact, one that it would never quite recover from; Her pharmacist husband of 10 years, was about to file a divorce unbeknown to her, that very same week.  He had been thinking of this move for a couple of years in fact, and had, without telling her, consulted her two young children and said, he was about to seek a divorce from her;

   Elijah the troubled 18  yr old son and Vendela the slighter older daughter was told this several days by the departing husband, prior to the son's original appearance in court in Harrison County, Ohio's landmark turn of the century Courthouse.

    Mom, however, was unawares even though she knew something wasn't quite right on their last family vacation to their favorite vacation family past time; skiing.

    Mom had been 'absent' and not in a good way, as per the pharmacist husband who had consulted with lawyers for several months, if not years prior about seeking a divorce from her.   He had had it; she was a load and although beautiful and well trained as a nurse and quite homemaker and good cook, the ever mindful of his professional standing husband had had enough of his trophy wife; she was just too much and he believed, also out of control.

    But, Mom wasn't aware of this particular move and plan by the husband expressly, on the morning she came back from her night shift and was about to be called into the Harrison County Court by the son's lawyer for his arraignment.  "You must come, you got to be here", she remembered being told.  "It is important", so she did the motherly thing, despite her fatigued and the fact she knew her own mother, the son's maternal grandmother was going to attend that day's legal proceedings whether or not she attended.

   But mom went.   Keturah loved her son and she would agree to show up for him even at this very preliminary event.

    Life is odd.  Its the little moments and the little things that become a platform for change, major changes, good or bad.

   Sometimes, things happen when we least expect it and sometimes, those closest to us, either lead us into doing things that otherwise, we would not even think of on our own, or against our better judgement.

   Sometimes, mothers have compassion on their kids when they see them hurting.

    Sometimes, they react to the pain and voice of suffering coming from their one of their own, their only son.

    and sometimes, others take advantage of this moment and use it for their own purposes, in a very dark and deceitful manner.

     and sometimes, one is betrayed by a kiss, by the very one we were trying to answer his pain with a caring if not the most wise act requested by him.

     This is where the nightmare begins and where precisely life for Keturah changed, forever.

     It was in this cold dead of winter morning, inside a arraignment on several otherwise, not notable charges being brought against her son, at 18 years of age, when he was then that week accepted into a drug rehab facility in Florida.   It was then, life for mom would because she answered the phone call from her young son's lawyer telling her to be sure to come to her son's preliminary proceeding that early cold morning in the country town of Cadiz, Ohio.

   Life would take a turn.  At least for Keturah, she can always date precisely when it did for her;  Many of us, never get this blessing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Ninth Gets Real w Federal and State Prosecutors who Shave the Truth and Shape Testimony

This is a critical case development, one that ought not to have had to take a US Federal Court of Appeals to make a statement.   But in California, it did.  And a message is being sent.

Prosecutors have been shaving and shading the truth and testimony in criminal trials and other instances for decades and much has become a pattern and practice itself, all extremely dangerous and detrimental to American civil liberties.

This is a great case precedent and legal development for those concerned about who is policing those who prosecute and police us...  For too long, prosecutors have been getting away with murder when it comes to the truthfulness of their assertions and in court conduct and representations or should say, misrepresentations. People have gone to death row and to prison over such falsehoods, done almost without impunity or second thought in some jurisdictions.

In turn, this has allowed the prosecutors everywhere, to behave as if they are immune from what other counsel and defense counsel and lawyers are ethically bound by and have been seriously sanctioned because of similar use of damaging but false representations.  

Perhaps, finally, the Ninth Circuit has got it right, after so long.  Just maybe, it will become the standard across this nation, if the other US Court of Appeals follow their lead. After all, its only justice and truthfulness we're talking about and a nation's civil liberties.