CONFIRMED BY ILL. SUPREME COURT– YOU ARE VIEWING THE MOST DANGEROUS BLOG IN ILLINOIS. This blog warranted a 3 year suspension by the ARDC/Jerome Larkin! Mottos: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant". Justice Louis Brandeis ; "If the truth can destroy something, then it deserves to be destroyed" Carl Sagan; "Justice is Truth in Action" Benjamin Disraeli. Illinois uses the ARDC to quash dissenting attorney activist blogs ; "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments" — (1776-First Amendment preamble adopted by 8 US colonies)
Hmmm. this is a great idea. Maybe I should keep these references for court corruption victims at my offices.
NOTE: I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.
I kindly encourage you to share and post it in your and the public interest.
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to insert the issue of
unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse
in the presidential campaign
thus giving our common cause
the strongest publicity boost;
learning basic law
by studying introductory law books
used by law students
so as to avoid the application to your brief of
Nonsense in, dismissal out
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
M.B.A., University of Michigan Business School
D.E.A., La Sorbonne, Paris
You may share and post this email
in its entirety, without deletion, addition, or modification,
and with attribution to its author
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.,
and the link to his website http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org.
Dear Ms. Traci, Ms. McKinney, Mr. Reddick, Mr. Munson, Dr. Hamilton, Mr. Straw, M. Huang, Mr. Darby, Mr. Vrooman, and Advocates of Honest Judiciaries,
Thank you for your emails and your kind words about my work.
Introductory books for law students rather than professional practice books for lawyers that pro ses should study because KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and ignorance invites predators
Your statement that you “started studying actual law” could mean either of two things:
You are in law school: If so -or if you are in any other educational institution, such as a journalism, business, or Information Technology school- you can be instrumental in causing one or several student organizations jointly to invite me to make a presentation on how the students can carve a market niche by representing or reporting on people who will be outraged upon being informed that:
1) judges do not read the vast majority of briefs, although each party must spend $1Ks and even $10Ks to produce its brief(†>OL2:760); and
2) judges intercept people’s mail and email communications(†>OL2:781), whereby they deprive people of their First Amendment rights of “freedom of speech, of the press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble [through the Internet and on social media too], and to petition the Government [of which judges are the third branch] for a redress of grievances”(†>OL2:792¶1).
You are now self-teaching the law by reading law books as opposed to relying on TV legal dramas and what pro ses claim to be the law and its meaning, which leads to their case beingofficially counted as one third of a case(†>OL2:455§B)from the moment of filing it in court: If so, you can benefit substantially from studying the key subjects of law that first year law students (1L) study in law school, namely, civil and criminal procedure, torts, criminal law, property, contracts, constitutional law, and law research and writing, as well as the specific law subject of your case:
1) To engage in that study you can read, in addition to the professional practice law books and multi-volume encyclopedic series listed in the article below, the following series of introductory books, known as black letter law books or hornbooks, that law students read:
In either case, you can take action in the mass emailing campaign to inform the public and presidential candidates about, and outrage them at, unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse of power.
The objective is to take advantage of the opportunity to cause the presidential candidates to advance their own electoral interest in attracting national media and public attention by denouncing the harm that unaccountable judges inflict on parties and the rest of the public.
Candidates can make their denunciation at a press conference, at every interview, rally, and townhall meeting, and in their political platform laid out on their websites.
Thereby they would unwittingly give our common interest in honest judiciaries the strongest publicity boost by inserting the issue of unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse in the presidential campaign and thereafter in the national debate and party agenda.
Media dissemination of news on presidential candidates addressing that issue will provide the strongest to boost to our effort to inform and outrage the public and form a national civic movement for judicial abuse of power exposure, redress, and reform.
Therefore, I encourage you to take action by sharing the article below, as well as similar ones that I have written and will continue writing, with your friends and family, and posting them to social media as widely as possible. You can do the latter and effectively reach a large number of people by posting the articles to Yahoogroups and Googlegroups, such as those listed at†>OL2:433.
Moreover, you can also arrange for me to make my Programmatic Presentation(†>OL2:821-824) to you and your group of classmates and professors, victims of, and witnesses to, judges’ abuse, potential investors in Judicial Discipline Reform(OL2:914), and other people interested in honest judiciaries. The presentation can be delivered in person if all my expenses are paid, or via video conference, e.g., through Skype.
Answering questions of general or individual interest
This and other articles of mine may elicit in you questions. You may find their answers by using the binocular icon on the two pdf files containing the more than 1,200+ pages of my two-volume study of judges and their judiciaries, titled and downloadable thus:
Exposing Judges’ Unaccountability and
Consequent Riskless Wrongdoing: Pioneering the news and publishing field of
judicial unaccountability reporting* †
In each downloaded file, go to the Menu bar >View >Navigation Panels >Bookmarks panel and use its bookmarks, which make navigating to the contents’ numerous(*†>blue references) very easy.
To questions of general interest to readers and the public at large I try to work answers somewhere into the body of subsequent emails and articles.
To ask me your personal questions you may retain my services either on a flat fee per a piece of work or on an hourly basis, as described in my model letter of engagement(*>OL:383).
To expect that I drop what I am doing in the public interest to answer every question of every reader or work pro bono for everybody who contacts me by email, mail, and phone is neither reasonable nor fair to me. “Oh, no, no, no! I don’t expect you to work for me or be my private instructor for free. I just want to pick your brain…clean”. That is called consulting and it entails the payment of a fee.
I encourage you tovisit the website of Judicial Discipline Reform at, and subscribe for free to its articles thus
1) a clearinghouse for complaints about judges that anybody can upload; and
2) a research center, run on a for-profit basis for investors(†>OL2:914), where subscribers can search many complaints for the most persuasive type of evidence, i.e., patterns, trends, and schemes of abuse of power;
tour(*>OL:197§G) of Programmatic Presentations(†>OL2:821-824) on forming a national civic movement for judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform;
call for unprecedented citizen hearings(†>OL2:812§E) on judges’ abuse, to be held at universities and media stations, and conducted by journalists, journalism professors, and business professors, and Information Technology experts;
investigation of the potentially most outrageous abuse: judges’ interception of people’s communications(†>OL2:781); and
creation of the institute for judicial unaccountability reporting and reform advocacy(*jur:131§5).
Put your money
where your outrage at abuse and
passion for justice are.
NOTE: Given the interference with Dr. Cordero’s email and e-cloud storage accounts described at *>ggl:1 et seq. and †>OL2:781, when emailing him, copy the above bloc of his email addresses and paste it in the To: line of your email so as to enhance the chances of your email reaching him at least at one of those addresses.
NOTE: I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.
I kindly encourage you to share and post it in your and the public interest.
To subscribe for free to articles similar to the one hereunder go to >http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org >left panel >↓Register.
The need for pro ses to learn the basics of the law
before attempting to represent themselves
and write their own briefs,
lest they bring upon themselves
the application of judges’ saying:
Nonsense in, dismissal out
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
M.B.A., University of Michigan Business School
D.E.A., La Sorbonne, Paris
You may share and post this email
in its entirety, without deletion, addition, or modification,
and with attribution to its author
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.,
and the link to his website http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org.
Dear Dr. H, Pro ses, and Advocates of Honest Judiciaries,
Is there any justification for judges’ and other officers’ saying ‘Nonsense in, dismissal out’?
Your email contains the following strings of slapped-together terms that make no sense whatsoever.
When you, though an educated person holding a doctorate, can make so many and gross mistakes in dealing with the law, can the average pro se, who may not have gone to college or even finished high school, realistically expect to do better?
You and all other pro ses and self-improvised lawyers can benefit from reading the terms below and asking yourselves whether you understand them and, more importantly, whether you understand what you say in your own briefs and letters to public officers.
“the strict scrutiny to detect”
“arguments unique to church arrests without jurisdiction with the separation of Church & State Watson v. Jones (1871)”
“to deepen our argument with probable cause to show that we have been subjected to illegal arrests in the preponderance of the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt”
1) the proper phrase is ‘probable cause to believe that X committed the offense charged’
2) ‘arrests in the preponderance of the evidence’ is nonsense
3) ‘the preponderance of the evidence’ is the lowest standard of proof of evidence applied in civil cases; it means that ‘there is 50+% chance that the evidence proves what it offers to prove’;
4) ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is the highest standard of proof of guilt applied only in criminal cases
5) you have conflated two of the three standards of prove! (the intermediary standard of proof is ‘clear and convincing evidence’.
Judges are not the lawyers of pro ses. They are not supposed to rewrite their briefs so that they make sense. When they read something like the above quotes, they repeat once more: “Nonsense in, dismissal out”.
If you and the other pro ses do not read even the articles, such as mine, written by a lawyer on their behalf, there is every reason to assume that you have not read any legal treatise to acquire even a basic understanding of the law, e.g., those published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw and listed athttps://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/products/westlaw/secondary-sources.
Although lawyers did slog through three grueling years learning the law at law school, they nevertheless consult secondary sources as the first step in preparing to write a brief. Among those sources are these:
In each downloaded file, go to the Menu bar >View >Navigation Panels >Bookmarks panel and use its bookmarks, which make navigating to the contents’ numerous(*†>blue references) very easy.
When you skip the arduous work of learning the basics and jump right into the decisive work of writing a brief, the result is inevitable: Nonsense in, dismissal out.
You should start that work by reading the whole of the article hereunder.
A realistic strategy, based on statistical facts, current events, and electoral interests, for advancing our common cause of judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform
The article below makes it patently evident how unrealistic it is that by merely writing to prosecutors and public integrity officers about your or somebody else’s case they are going to believe what a pro se says, especially in spite of nonsense similar to that pointed above, and start investigating judges.
Those pro ses who have a sense of reality and a minimum understanding of statistics should think carefully about this: In the last 230 years since the creation of the Federal Judiciary in 1789, the number of federal judges impeached and removed is 8!(*>jur:21§a) The chances that a pro se may cause officers to investigate judges are close to zero. It is an exercise in futility and ignorance.
That is why the article below sets forth a qualitatively and quantitatively different strategy for advancing judicial abuse of power exposure, redress, and reform.
It aims to impeach judges with their own official statistics submitted to Congress as required by law.
It concerns all the complaints submitted to them, not just one’s personal anecdote of abuse by the judge in one’s case.
It applies strategic thinking, rather than one’s own experience of abuse, to appeal to each of the 24 presidential candidates, who are desperate to gain national media and public attention, to actin their own electoral interestto denounce judges’ abuse as a realistic way of approaching the huge(†>OL2:719¶¶6-8) untapped voting bloc of The Dissatisfied with the Judicial and Legal System.
If you read the article below, you can benefit from it. Then we can join forces to take the concrete, realistic, and feasible steps of its strategy for judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform.
I cannot help all those who contact me by mail, email, and phone asking for my help pro bono. It is not realistic or fair to ask me to do so. “Oh, no, no, no! I don’t want you to work for me for free. I just want to pick your brain…clean”. That is called consulting and it entails the payment of a fee. Hence, if you want to retain me to render you any legal service, read my model letter of engagement(*>OL:383).
Put your money
where your outrage at abuse and
passion for justice are.
to the professional law research and writing, and
strategic thinking of Judicial Discipline Reform
We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records.
USA TODAY is leading a national effort to obtain and publish disciplinary and misconduct records for thousands of police officers.
John Kelly and Mark Nichols, USA TODAYUpdated 6:33 a.m. CDT May 23, 2019
At least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the USA have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade, an investigation by USA TODAY Network found.
Officers have beaten members of the public, planted evidence and used their badges to harass women. They have lied, stolen, dealt drugs, driven drunk and abused their spouses.
Despite their role as public servants, the men and women who swear an oath to keep communities safe can generally avoid public scrutiny for their misdeeds.
The records of their misconduct are filed away, rarely seen by anyone outside their departments. Police unions and their political allies have worked to put special protections in place ensuring some records are shielded from public view, or even destroyed.
Reporters from USA TODAY, its 100-plus affiliated newsrooms and the nonprofit Invisible Institute in Chicago have spent more than a year creating the biggest collection of police misconduct records.
USA TODAY Network has gathered discipline and accountability records on more than 85,000 law enforcement officers and has started releasing them to the public. The first collection published is a list of more than 30,000 officers who have been decertified, essentially banned from the profession, in 44 states. Search our exclusive database by officer, department or state.
Most misconduct involves routine infractions, but the records reveal tens of thousands of cases of serious misconduct and abuse. They include 22,924 investigations of officers using excessive force, 3,145 allegations of rape, child molestation and other sexual misconduct and 2,307 cases of domestic violence by officers.
Dishonesty is a frequent problem. The records document at least 2,227 instances of perjury, tampering with evidence or witnesses or falsifying reports. There were 418 reports of officers obstructing investigations, most often when they or someone they knew were targets.
Less than 10% of officers in most police forces get investigated for misconduct. Yet some officers are consistently under investigation. Nearly 2,500 have been investigated on 10 or more charges. Twenty faced 100 or more allegations yet kept their badge for years.
The level of oversight varies widely from state to state. Georgia and Florida decertified thousands of police officers for everything from crimes to questions about their fitness to serve; other states banned almost none.
That includes Maryland, home to the Baltimore Police Department, which regularly has been in the news for criminal behavior by police. Over nearly a decade, Maryland revoked the certifications of just four officers.
We’re making those records public
The records USA TODAY and its partners gathered include tens of thousands of internal investigations, lawsuit settlements and secret separation deals.
They include names of at least 5,000 police officers whose credibility as witnesses has been called into question. These officers have been placed on Brady lists, created to track officers whose actions must be disclosed to defendants if their testimony is relied upon to prosecute someone.
Search the list of more than 30,000 police officers banned by 44 states.
USA TODAY plans to publish many of those records to give the public an opportunity to examine their police department and the broader issue of police misconduct, as well as to help identify decertified officers who continue to work in law enforcement.
Seth Stoughton, who worked as a police officer for five years and teaches law at the University of South Carolina, said expanding public access to those kinds of records is critical to keep good cops employed and bad cops unemployed.
“No one is in a position to assess whether an officer candidate can do the job well and the way that we expect the job to be done better than the officer’s former employer,” Stoughton said.
“Officers are public servants. They police in our name,” he said. There is a “strong public interest in identifying how officers are using their public authority.”
Dan Hils, president of the Cincinnati Police Department’s branch of the Fraternal Order of Policemen union, said people should consider there are more than 750,000 law enforcement officers in the country when looking at individual misconduct data.
“The scrutiny is way tighter on police officers than most folks, and that’s why sometimes you see high numbers of misconduct cases,” Hils said. “But I believe that policemen tend to be more honest and more trustworthy than the average citizen.”
Hils said he has no issue with USA TODAY publishing public records of conduct, saying it is the news media’s “right and responsibility to investigate police and the authority of government. You’re supposed to be a watchdog.”
The first set of records USA TODAY is releasing is an exclusive nationwide database of about 30,000 people whom state governments banned from the profession by revoking their certification to be law enforcement officers.
For years, a private police organization has assembled such a list from more than 40 states and encourages police agencies to screen new hires. The list is kept secret from anyone outside law enforcement.
The information includes the officers’ names, the department they worked for when the state revoked their certification and – in most cases – the reasons why.
The list is incomplete because of the absence of records from states such as California, which has the largest number of law enforcement officers in the USA.
Bringing important facts to policing debate
USA TODAY’s collection of police misconduct records comes amid a nationwide debate over law enforcement tactics, including concern that some officers or agencies unfairly target minorities.
A series of killings of black people by police over the past five years in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Chicago, Sacramento, California, and elsewhere have sparked unrest and a reckoning that put pressure on cities and mayors to crack down on misconduct and abuses.
The Trump administration has backed away from more than a decade of Justice Department investigations and court actions against police departments it determined were deeply biased or corrupt.
In 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would leave policing the police to local authorities, saying federal investigations hurt crime fighting.
Laurie Robinson, co-chair of the 2014 White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, said transparency about police conduct is critical to trust between police and residents.
“It’s about the people who you have hired to protect you,” she said. “Traditionally, we would say for sure that policing has not been a transparent entity in the U.S. Transparency is just a very key step along the way to repairing our relationships.”
Help us investigate
The number of police agencies and officers in the USA is so large that the blind spots are vast. We need your help.
Though the records USA TODAY Network gathered are probably the most expansive ever collected, there is much more to be added. The collection includes several types of statewide data, but most misconduct is documented by individual departments.
Journalists obtained records from more than 700 law enforcement agencies, but the records are not complete for all of those agencies, and there are more than 18,000 police forces across the USA. The records requests were focused largely on the biggest 100 police agencies as well as clusters of smaller departments in surrounding areas, partly to examine movement of officers between departments in regions.
Share your stories of police misconduct with us
We want to hear from you if you believe you’ve encountered misconduct by a law enforcement officer or agency. You can send tips and records about an officer or agency to email@example.com.
USA TODAY aims to identify other media organizations willing to partner in gathering new records and sharing documents they’ve already gathered. The Invisible Institute, a journalism nonprofit in Chicago focused on police accountability, has done so for more than a year and contributed records from dozens of police departments.
Reporters need help getting documents – and other kinds of tips – from the public, watchdog groups, researchers and even officers and prosecutors themselves.
If you have access to citizen complaints about police, internal affairs investigation records, secret settlement deals between agencies and departing officers or anything that sheds light on how agencies police their officers, we want to hear from you.
Contributing: James Pilcher and Eric Litke.
The team behind this investigation
REPORTING AND ANALYSIS: Mark Nichols, Eric Litke, James Pilcher, Aaron Hegarty, Andrew Ford, Brett Kelman, John Kelly, Matt Wynn, Steve Reilly, Megan Cassidy, Ryan Martin, Jonathan Anderson, Andrew Wolfson, Bethany Bruner, Benjamin Lanka, Gabriella Novello, Mark Hannan
FROM THE INVISIBLE INSTITUTE: Sam Stecklow, Andrew Fan, Bocar Ba
EDITING: Chris Davis, John Kelly, Brad Heath
GRAPHICS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: Jim Sergent, Karl Gelles
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY: Phil Didion, Christopher Powers, David Hamlin, Robert Lindeman
DIGITAL PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: Spencer Holladay, Annette Meade, Craig Johnson, Ryan Marx, Chris Amico, Josh Miller
SOCIAL MEDIA, ENGAGEMENT AND PROMOTION: Anne Godlasky, Alia Dastagir
Originally Published 8:15 p.m. CDT Apr. 24, 2019
Updated 6:33 a.m. CDT May 23, 2019
Fired for a felony, again for perjury. Meet the new police chief.
TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) — A Harris County judge has ordered Child Protective Services to pay a Tomball family $127,000 after finding they wrongfully removed their children from their home.
It started as an accidental fall for Melissa and Dillon Bright’s 5-month-old son Mason. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found he had two fractures in his skull.
The family says that because doctors did not believe the second fracture came from the fall, they were investigated for child abuse.
“We were just completely oblivious to the fact that they were accusing us of abuse,” Melissa said.
CPS placed the children with another family member. The Brights tell ABC13 that in the meantime they sought a second opinion from another doctor.
That doctor explained that the second fracture could have in fact come from the same fall.
While still in placement with another family member, the Brights say they reached out to CPS numerous times to tell them this information, and to also request that the children be moved closer to home due to medical issues their youngest son was having.
With no response, the Brights say they informed CPS they would be bringing both of their children back home.
The family’s attorney says during that time they were contacted by their caseworker, who asked how the children were. The Brights say they responded with happy photographs and stated they were well, but later things would go wrong again.
During another hearing, the Brights say they were shocked to learn that CPS told a judge they had no knowledge of the children being back home. The family attorney says the judge was convinced to order another removal.
The Brights say they had no idea where their children were taken at first, and when they were finally able to see them, their 2-year old daughter Charlotte had a black eye. Melissa says the only explanation CPS had was that she fell from a bed.
The family’s attorney, Dennis Slate, says they later found several inconsistencies in reports from CPS.
A judge ruled Thursday that there was no solid or substantial reason to interfere with the Bright family.
ABC13 reached out to CPS, who said that the caseworker who was assigned to the Brights is still employed.
They would not comment on whether or not he is being investigated, but did say they are exploring all options, including a possible appeal to the judge’s decision.
When Lanre Amu was a lawyer, he fought tirelessly for the rights of many people, often without pay. He served the poor, the person of color and the immigrant.
He was well educated and held three degrees, on in engineering, an MBA and a JD. He is a devout Christian and follows the principles of Jesus.
However, when he exposed corruption of certain high powered judges in Cook County, the power that be, Jerome Larkin and James Grogin of the ARDC (Atty Regn and Disciplinary Commission) put him through a kangaroo trial with absolutely no witnesses and against him and awarded him a 4 year suspension for revealing publicly the fact that Judge Lynn Egan was having her brother’s law firm appear in front of her and was granting all their motions (no matter how stupid), and denying all of Amu’s motions.
He complained, and the ARDC went after him like gang busters to remove his license.
they succeeded with their crony minions and Mr. Amu was awarded a 4 year suspension for speaking out against corruption.
His suspension was up about 1.5 years ago and this is what he has to say:
On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 6:36 PM ‘Lanre O. Amu <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I am proud of you Ken, and even at 93+++ they should give you back your Illinois law license, apologize, clear your name, and pay damages for the harm caused! That is my view of these things. Its only fair.
I am personally very hopeful. But will never give up.
It should be comforting for us to know that these lawyers: the late Nelson Mandela suffered the same fate in South Africa with his law license, and that the late Mahatma Ghandi also suffered the same fate in South Africa with his law license. Mahatma Ghandi championed freedom from British Colonialism in India and the winds of that change liberated Africa. Nelson Mandela championed the end of Apartheid in South Africa. To be in the league of these legal giants of Civil and Human Rights is a tall order!
If I have to lie to get the Illinois law license back, then that law license not worth it for me. I must get it back with a straight face, an apology, and compensation! That is what should be done.
They lied, not me! My law license was suspended without any human being testifying under Oath or presenting any evidence under Oath to any wrongdoing by me! I was the only witness at my IARDC kangaroo trial and I denied making any false statement. I affirmed the truth of my statements with supporting evidence and without contradiction. So, how was I found guilty of making a false statement?
After Illinois Supreme Court’s Suspension came all of a sudden Chicago Crain’s Investigation confirming what I unearthed and exonerating me of false accusation by the IARDC, but they (IARDC and Illinois Supreme Court) still did not reverse their perversion of justice! We contacted the FBI, Department of Justice, etc., etc., no response.
On all these: I am supposed to apologize, affirm I have been rehabilitated from lying, and will not lie or tell the TRUTH like that again. It will never happen as long as I am living on earth!
Three things are not long hidden: The Sun, the Moon and the TRUTH!
It may take some time. But no surrender for me. The TRUTH will ultimately come out!
My regards to everyone.
Thanks a million!
‘Lanre O. Amu
Formerly Licesed Attorney Illinois
So, if anyone is wondering why there are so many lying corrupt attorneys in Illinois (including our politicians who have gone to prison, many of these were in fact crooked attorneys) take a look at my case, Ken Ditkowsky’s case and the case of Lanre Amu. If you speak out against corruption in Illinois, the ARDC will go right after you in an attempt to silence you and Jerome Larkin will sign all the pleadings.
And Illinois is still ranked as the most corrupt State in the Nation, and one of the most corrupt cities now.
The ARDC clearly is part of the system of corruption in Chicago and Illinois because Ken Ditkowsky and Lanre Amu did nothing wrong, but they spoke out against corruption. Lanre Amu was cleared by Crain’s Chicago Business. Complaints were filed against Judge Egan, but the Illinois JIB did nothing. Lynn Egan sat on the Board of Directors for a Hospital and was hearing their cases. When the hospital found out, Lynn Egan had to resign and apologize to the Board. But the Illinois JIB (Judicial Inquiry Board) did nothing.
It’s time to clean up the JIB and the ARDC in Illinois
A judge bullied a mother into agreeing to care orders for her two children, the Court of Appeal has found. The orders made by Her Honour Judge Carr QC in Sheffield were set aside by the Court of Appeal and replaced with short-term interim care orders.
The Court of Appeal raised a number of serious concerns in its judgment. The now common practice of judges making up their minds about a case before the parties put their arguments forward during hearings was noted, a phenomenon that will be familiar to lay advisors and families who have been forced to represent themselves in their own family cases.
Lord Justice Peter Jackson sitting at the Court of Appeal said that there had been “a serious procedural irregularity.”
The judgment says: “consent or non-opposition to the interim care order was not freely given, but was secured by oppressive behaviour on the part of the judge in the form of inappropriate warnings and inducements”. These included:
The judge repeatedly isolating the mother and threatening her
The judge making fun of her counsel
The Court of Appeal also noted that family law and social work professionals in the case appeared to know very little about the case’s details and that the local authority had mishandled the case and its approach to the appeal.
Legal Futures offers the background to the case and quotes from the judgment, which contain some of the judge’s comments:
Before the mother’s barrister was able to brief the judge on his instructions to contest the care order, HHJ Carr told him that “if it is heard today I shall certainly make findings that your client will be stuck with”.
Her Honour HHJ Carr used the following language, which amounted to bullying and coercive threats, before hearing the case: ‘very risky for her’; ‘a very very precarious position’; ‘inevitably, I’m going to make findings… that that is significant harm. I don’t think there’s any question about it’; ‘not… without some consequences’… “oh, nonsense” and “preposterous proposition you’re putting to me, it’ll fall on deaf ears.”
HHJ Carr also threatened the mother by telling her that she would probably send any findings to the police and make sure that they go to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Jackson LJ said: The only conclusion that the mother and her advisers could draw from this and similar statements… is that the judge had made up her mind and was sure to make adverse findings that would be damaging to her in the long run.”
This kind of behaviour is commonplace in the family courts. We would like to invite all those lay advisors and parents who have experienced this kind of bullying and pre-emptive decision making to leave their comments below this piece as the site is read by judges and politicians. Thank you.
HOW CAN ILLINOIS EVER PASS A BUDGET WHEN IT APPEARS CRONYISM, RACISM AND CORRUPTION IS RUNNING THE STATE?
MOST IMPORTANTLY WITH JUDGES TRESPASSING UPON THE LAWS AND COMMITTING TREASON IT APPEARS THE ON PERSONS EMPLOYED ARE THOSE WHO ARE CRIMINALLY MINDED TO MAINTAIN THEIR POSITIONS UNLAWFULLY.
Please find below a complaint I filed against Administrator Jerome Larkin who covers (read: enables) massive fraud upon IL court systems committed by certain corrupt and dishonest lawyers whom Larkin helps to maintain their legal licenses while harass and oppress ethical lawyers who fulfill their duties and report corruption.
Complaint was filed with Cook County Board of Ethics, IL Supreme Court, Senate, and IL Attorney General and mailed to Chicago and Washington FBI offices.
I will provide updates how my Complaint was handled by authorities.
June 8, 2017
Re: Request to investigate ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin for corruptionand other misconduct.
Dear Honorable Committee on Ethics, IL Supreme Court and other Authorities:
Please find this Notice pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §4 and my demand to investigate for corruption and remove from the office ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin, for his willful misconduct in the office and conspiracy with certain lawyers who relentlessly commit fraud in our Courts; file forged documents accompanied by false statements; operate collection mills commonly known as “racket” and other malpractices. All of those violations are known by ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin who always covered for banks and HOAs lawyers’ fraudulent conduct, while readily attack and disbar ethical lawyers who expose corruption in our Court system.
Moreover, I respectfully demand to investigate Mr. Larkin for potential banks’ fraud and bribery scheme. According to research conducted by lawyer Kenneth Ditkowski, “Jerome Larkin, the Administrator of the ARDC has funneled several million dollars through his property in the last ten years. For example, Larkin took out a loan for $450,000 in December of 2001 and paid it back in exactly five years. In the meantime, he had taken out another $450,000 loan—in October of 2006, which he paid back in just a tad over four years, in January of 2011. In the meantime, he had taken out yet another mortgage—this one for $101,000—in November of 2009, which he was miraculously able to repay in just about a year. But his unusual loan behavior doesn’t stop here. In January of 2011, Larkin took out a whopping $750,000 mortgage on the same piece of property. Larkin must have a direct line to lottery bucks, because he was able to repay this loan by January of 2013. In the meantime . . . are you getting the picture yet? . . . he took out another $750,000 loan in December of 2012. Neither Jerome Larkin nor his wife, psychologist Antoinette Krakowski responded to telephone inquiries concerning the amount of money being funneled through their home.”
I further demand to investigate Mr. Larkin’s relationship with IL Democratic Party Speaker Michael Madigan, where Mrs. Julia Larkin, who I believe is Mr. Jerome Larkin’s daughter, worked from 2007 to January 2017 and was compensated $53,000.00 per year from taxpayers’ funds. Based on my observation of public records, and Mrs. Julia Larkin’s own words, she was not only a trusted political aid to Mr. Madigan whom she helped to support his preferred candidates elections, but also worked to advance Mr. Madigan’s personal legal practice where Mr. Madigan helps his wealthy friends and clients to lower their property taxes and pass the bill on IL taxpayers whose property taxes skyrocketed.
According to Mrs. Julia Larkin’s resume, her job as a Head of Opposition Research included “Reviewing wide range of complex documentation including but not limited to property tax documentation” which has very little to do with elections but directly related to Speaker Madigan’s personal legal practice, where I believe he used Mrs. Larkin’s services to advance his own profits, while Mrs. Larkin’s work was compensated from taxpayers funds.
I believe that Administrator Larkin, who must be aware of banks, HOAs and their lawyers collection mills and massive fraud in IL Court system under guise of certain corrupt judges, many of whom owe their positions of public Trust to Mr. Madigan , intentionally covered for lawyers and judges misconduct; and concentrated on prosecuting those lawyers who expose judicial corruption.
I submitted numerous complaints against certain lawyers, accompanied by facts and material evidence of fraud, perjury, obstruction of justice and other malpractices. All my complaints were closed by Jerome Larkin who always refused to investigate merits of my complaints. I demand investigation intoMr. Jerome Larkin’s professional misconduct as well as his suspicious manipulations with his property loans.
Mr. Larkin must be removed from his position as ARDC Administrator and this position must be transferred to an ethical person who will protect IL public from dishonest lawyers’ malpractices, not to cover for their misconduct.
He already was under investigation by the ARDC after threatening an ARDC employee.
The commission first filed a complaint against Franz in 2014, alleging that he pressured a client to sign a promissory note requiring the client to pay a $10,000 fee for legal representation in a divorce without informing the client of his options.
An additional count was added to the complaint last year, alleging that Franz challenged a client to a duel and insulted him during a dispute over fees.
In October, a third count was added to the pending complaint, accusing Franz of sending threatening emails and voicemails to a former client, commission counsel Scott Renfroe and ARDC administrator Jerome Larkin.
Franz allegedly threatened to kill Larkin over the ARDC’s efforts to sanction him as recently as September 2016, according to the complaint.
“Jerry Larkin, my name is Don Franz. I’m the attorney you are trying to murder because of the installment note, so the day you suspend me, I’m going to stop taking my pills, I’m going to get my affairs in order, I am going to kill you. Have a nice day,” Franz allegedly said in a voicemail message to Larkin on Sept. 14, 2016.
The ARDC, an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court, investigates alleged wrongdoing by Illinois attorneys, holds hearings on specific charges and recommends discipline when warranted.
The state Supreme Court announced disciplinary orders Friday during the September term of court. Sanctions are imposed when lawyers become engaged in professional misconduct by violating the state’s ethics law, according to the release.
Franz was licensed in 1993 and removed from the master roll March 10 after failing to register, according to the release.
Franz has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges against him, and he has tried to arguethat evidence collected during his arrest cannot be used against him in court. The most serious charge, a Class 2 felony, is punishable by up to seven years in prison if convicted.
warning, this is a tear jerker, and no, the family is back in Romania struggling to stay alive.
someone needs to start a Go Fund Me for them.
The US officials treated them like dirt.
The Foster Parents quit after this happened.
Fire the judge and everyone involved. We need to clean up the mess at the border. This should never have happened.
ALAMAZOO, Mich. — The text messages were coming in all day and night with only two data points: Gender and age. With each one that arrived, the on-call caseworker at Bethany Christian Services in Michigan had 15 minutes to find a foster home for another child who was en route from the border. On a brisk winter day in February 2018, Alma Acevedo got a message that caught her breath: “4 months. Boy.”
Since the summer of 2017, the 24-year-old social worker had been seeing a mysterious wave of children arriving from the border, most of them from Central America. Those who were old enough to talk said they had been separated from their parents. “The kids were just inconsolable, they’d be like, ‘Where’s my mommy? Where’s my daddy?’” Ms. Acevedo said. “And it was just constant crying after that.”
None of them had been this young, and few had come this far. When he arrived at her office after midnight, transported by two contract workers, the infant was striking, with long, curled eyelashes framing his deep brown eyes. His legs and arms were chubby, seeming to indicate that he had been cared for by someone. So why was he in Michigan?
Ms. Acevedo went to her computer and pulled up the only document that might help answer that question, a birth certificate from Romania naming the baby, Constantin Mutu, and his parents, Vasile and Florentina. She searched a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency database that showed the baby’s father was in federal custody in Pearsall, Tex.
Constantin was ultimately the youngest of thousands of children taken from their parents under a policy that was meant to deter families hoping to immigrate to the United States. It began nearly a year before the administration would acknowledge it publicly in May 2018, and the total number of those affected is still unknown. The government still has not told the Mutus why their son was taken from them, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment for this story.
An Exclusive from “The Weekly,” a New TV Series from The Times, on FX and Hulu
Watch Caitlin Dickerson’s episode on Baby Constantin.
The Youngest Known Child Separated From His Family at the U.S. Border Under Trump
In Constantin’s case, it would be months before his parents saw him again. Before then, his father would be sent for psychiatric evaluation in a Texas immigration detention center because he couldn’t stop crying; his mother would be hospitalized with hypertension from stress. Constantin would become attached to a middle-class American family, having spent the majority of his life in their tri-level house on a tree-lined street in rural Michigan, and then be sent home.
Now more than a year and a half old, the baby still can’t walk on his own, and has not spoken.
Though the vast majority of families streaming across the border from Mexico in recent months have come from Central America, running from poverty, drought and violence, the Mutus came from much further away — Romania, where a small but steady number of asylum seekers fleeing ethnic persecution have for years made their way to the United States.
As children growing up in their small hillside village, Vasile and Florentina Mutu helped their parents beg for money for food. They are members of the Roma minority group, which originated in India. In Romania, the Roma were enslaved for more than 500 years. Violent attacks against them persist throughout Europe. Exclusion from schools, jobs and social services is commonplace, and human rights groups have documented the practice of forced sterilizations.
A decade or so ago, as the Mutus recall, the first Roma family from their village announced that they were leaving for the United States. Word made its way back that the family had found great success — their children learned to speak perfect English, and they had become rich, though it wasn’t clear how. Over the years, more than a dozen other families followed, including Florentina’s older brother, who left a few years ago with his wife and three children. He had posted pictures on Facebook of palm trees, luxury car dealerships and American cash.
By the time their fifth child was born, the Mutus had settled into a system where they raised money elsewhere in Europe, begging and doing menial work, then came back for a few weeks at a time to Romania, where the money stretched further. They had occasional run-ins with police. Once, Mr. Mutu said, he was arrested for stealing cable from a construction site.
Vasile and Florentina Mutu with their children in Olteni, Romania, the village where they grew up.
Though most of their children had been born at home, Constantin had to be delivered by C-section. Vasile sold two pigs and a cow to pay a doctor to do the procedure. In a haze of pain while she was in labor, Florentina signed documents that she couldn’t read. When she returned to the hospital for an appointment to check on her recovery, a hospital employee told her that the doctor had also performed a tubal ligation. She and her husband had planned to have more children, as is traditional in their culture. They were devastated.
Soon after, in between middle-of-the-night feedings of Constantin and while the rest of their children slept, Vasile and Florentina formed a plan: They would try to seek asylum in the United States with their two youngest children and send for the others when they were settled.
Within weeks, the Mutus had sold their home to pay a man who would arrange to get them into America through Mexico. Florentina packed a suitcase with diapers, a change of clothes for each of them, holy oil and dried basil — a Romanian good luck charm. On the plane, Constantin started to run a fever.
Mexico City was a whirl of chaos and noise. They couldn’t understand the voices or signs in Spanish. Beggars banged on the window to their taxi to ask for money; though they had done the same themselves in Europe, it somehow seemed scarier. They met a smuggler who led them to a crowded bus headed for the border.
The Mutus found seats out of sight from one another, and for the next several hours, took turns caring for Nicolas, their 4-year-old, and Constantin, who was getting warmer. As they approached the border, they got off at a stop and split up to look for medicine. Mr. Mutu had settled into the last leg of the journey on the bus when Constantin started crying on his lap. Mr. Mutu stood up, shimmying toward the back of the bus to get a bottle.He spotted the seats where his wife and son had been sitting, which were now empty.
Mr. Mutu looked around frantically and pulled out his phone to call his wife, but both of them had drained their minutes by making calls back to Romania to check in with their other children. Unsure of what else to do, he paid a cabdriver to take him and Constantin to the foot bridge into the United States, thinking that he could call his wife when they reached the other side. It was dark outside when he reached an immigration officer stationed outside the American border. He told the officer that he wanted political asylum and was taken in to be interviewed with the help of an interpreter on the phone. Mr. Mutu explained that he had lost his wife and son, and that they were fleeing persecution in Romania.
A handful of officers entered the room. They took Constantin, placed him on a chair, and shackled Mr. Mutu’s hands and feet.
“The police wiped the floor with me,” he said through a translator, explaining that he was dragged out of the room while Constantin stayed behind with some of the officers. “I started crying because I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I couldn’t speak English. I told them, ‘I don’t understand. Why?’”
Florentina Mutu was still at the bus stop with Nicolas, crying on a bench since she had discovered that the bus had pulled away without her, when she got a call from her mother. Border officials had reached her in Romania and explained that she would also be arrested if she crossed the border. The relatives quickly scraped together money to get them home.
Constantin was placed with a foster family in Michigan while Ms. Acevedo worked to connect with his parents. She got a phone number for his mother in Romania and made a video call during what was the middle of the night there. A disheveled woman answered, sitting in darkness, looking like she had just been woken up. She spoke frantically, but Ms. Acevedo couldn’t understand, so she pulled up Google Translate on her computer and typed a message about Constantin in English, which she then played in Romanian.
Florentina Mutu started to sob. She repeated her full maiden name, which was listed on Constantin’s birth certificate, over and over. “She said it like 20 times,” Ms. Acevedo said “She said, ‘Florentina Ramona Patu,’ and I said ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ I just wanted her to know that he was somewhere. He wasn’t lost or disappeared or something. I wanted her to know that he was with people.”
Ms. Acevedo started making weekly video calls between Constantin and his mother, propping the baby up on the couch. Ms. Mutu would mostly cry as she spoke desperately to him in Romanian.
Vasile Mutu, still in detention, sank deeper into depression. He couldn’t sleep and refused most of the food that he was offered. Occasionally he was handed documents in English or Spanish, which he couldn’t read. He cried so much that his cell mates started beating him to make him be quiet. He thought about committing suicide. “No one was telling me anything. They kept telling me to wait and wait.”
Two months into his detention, an immigration officer came to Mr. Mutu with an offer. As he understood it, if he gave up his claim for asylum, he would be deported back to Romania with Constantin. He agreed, and on June 3, 2018, he was released from his cell and loaded into a van.
He looked everywhere for Constantin and asked the officers where his son was, but was not given a clear answer. At the airport, he refused to board without the baby. The immigration officers, he said, told him that Constantin would be handed to him once he had taken his seat. But the plane lifted off and the baby never came.
When Mr. Mutu arrived home, it felt more like walking into a funeral than a celebration.
While the months dragged on waiting for his day in immigration court, Constantin settled into a routine with his foster family, in their comfortable brick house on a hilly road in rural Michigan. The family, which had started fostering immigrant children a year earlier after a life-changing experience doing missionary work in Ethiopia, asked not to be identified in this story because it would violate the terms of their contract with the federal government. Their three daughters immediately became enamored with Constantin and would argue over who could pull him out of his crib when he woke up from a nap.
The baby’s foster mother meticulously documented his developments for Ms. Mutu, keeping in mind how hard it would be to miss moments like when he first scooted across the living room floor or developed the belly laugh that shook his whole body. “He would do new sounds or something, and they only do it for a short amount of time, and so you want his mom to be able to hear that,” she said. “And she always wondered if he had teeth yet, and so when he would smile, you could see. So I just wanted her to see that.”
She poured herself into caring for Constantin while she struggled to fathom how he had come into their home. “I can’t imagine being the person who grabs a hold of a child and takes them. I don’t know where you have to go in yourself to be able to do that job,” she said. “If we were in that situation, I would want someone to take care of my child. I would want them in a home, in a bed. I would want someone asking them, ‘What snack do you want before you go to bed at night? Do you want a pink toothbrush or a green toothbrush?’” she said. “Or rocking them in the middle of the night, helping them go back to bed when they have bad dreams.”
Constantin was still in diapers when he appeared in federal immigration court in Detroit, four months to the day after he had arrived in Michigan, on June 14, 2018. During the five-minute proceeding, he babbled on his foster mother’s lap as she sat on the defendant’s bench. His pro bono legal representative requested that he be returned to Romania as soon as possible at government expense.
A lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security argued against the request, stating that as an “arriving alien,” Constantin was not eligible for such help. The judge quickly ruled against her, questioning the idea “that the respondent should be responsible for making his own way back to Romania as an 8-month-old.” The judge granted the request made on behalf of Constantin, giving the government three months to either appeal or send him home.
By the time Constantin’s travel plans were booked for July — a few weeks after President Trump, facing a wave of public outrage, had rescinded the family separation policy — he was 9 months old and had spent the majority of his life in the custody of the United States government.
Florentina and Vasile Mutu didn’t sleep the night before the reunion. They were standing at baggage claim at the airport in Bucharest when they finally spotted Constantin, hours behind schedule, bobbing toward them in his foster mother’s arms. She handed the baby to his mother, but he screamed and reached back in the other direction, his face crumpling into a knot of terror.
When Florentina and Constantin were reunited after five months of separation, he wanted his foster mother.Credit
Vasile and Constantin at Florentina’s mother’s home, where the family is temporarily staying.
The Mutus had to stop several times on their way home to console Constantin, who bucked and wailed to the point of hyperventilation. For weeks afterward, his mother struggled to get him to eat or sleep and exchanged text messages with his foster mother, who offered advice on how he liked to be cuddled and fed. In the suitcase she had packed, she included $200 in cash — the daily allowance that Bethany Christian Services’s foster children receive — along with clothes, pacifiers, toys and books that Constantin liked, and his favorite blue-and-green striped blanket.
Florentina Mutu struggled with conflicting feelings of gratefulness and guilt. “He’s been spoiled,” she said. “He lived comfortably there, in a decent house. Not like we live here.”
The Mutus, who are pursuing a claim for damages against the United States, are back in the village where they grew up, crammed temporarily into a small house they share with another family — one bathroom with no shower shared among 11 people. They bathe with cups of water warmed on the stove and keep their clothes in an attic, climbing a rickety ladder every few days in order to change them.
Constantin has acclimated slowly. He’s sensitive to loud noises, and crowds make him cry, which is a problem, says his mother, because both are part of Roma culture. “He is not the same as he would be if we had raised him,” she said.
At 18 months old, he still can’t walk without holding onto someone’s hand. He babbles and squeals, but as far as words go, she said, “He says absolutely nothing.”
After Constantin’s return to Romania, his foster parents took two months off from fostering to adjust to him being gone. Ms. Acevedo quit her job after all of the separated children on her caseload were reunited with their parents. “I just couldn’t get over it,” she said. “So if I couldn’t get over it, imagine the kids.”
The Mutu family has returned to traveling through Europe to earn enough money to buy a new home. In the last few months, they have lived in a trailer and picked produce in Sicily, and gone to Ukraine and Poland to rummage for secondhand clothing that they can resell — Constantin and his siblings always in tow.
Both of the parents still dream out loud about returning to the United States. “I’d have to get to Canada,” Mr. Mutu said recently. ”From Canada, I could take a taxi to America, and pay seven or eight or ten thousand dollars to prepare the documents that I would need.”
Ms. Mutu’s brother, who has since returned from Florida, said he thinks they are deluded. He hated the United States, he said; it was full of struggling immigrants and other poor people. By then, he had admitted to them that he had ended up in a cramped, three-bedroom apartment shared with several other families, struggling to make the rent. The only food he could afford to eat, he said, was worse than what they had in Romania. “The laws are very strict there,” he said. “You can’t even beg there.”
“That’s not true,” Vasile Mutu shot back at the idea later. He had grown up looking at Americans — on television and now on social media — and saw their privilege not only in the way they dressed, but also how they moved and spoke, and in their expressions. The only poor people in America he saw were the ones who were detained with him at the border, hoping to get in.
Caitlin Dickerson is a national immigration reporter based in New York. Her work has focused on deportation and detention policy and the lives of immigrants. @itscaitlinhd
The 2nd oldest profession has not covered themselves with glory. The ABA and the Bar Associations set out rules. One rule (8.3) requires lawyers to report criminal activity amongst their fellows. However, if you report the wrong attorneys (and Judges) who commit crimes Rule 8.4 operates and immediately, the lawyer who reports the criminal activity is suspended or otherwise disciplined. Disbarrment is not uncommon.
We all know about Lanre Amu. He reported corruption of a judge. Immediately the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission got hot and bothered and told the Illinois Supreme Court 1) that that allegation was false and 2) it was a violation of Rule 8.4. As far as I am aware, his suspension is up, but they refuse to reinstate his license==for serious allegations he did not commit.
The problem that the IARDC had was the statement made by Amu was absolutely accurate and true and the IARDC’s administrator was under oath telling a bold faced lie. He was not even embarrassed when CRAINS CHICAGO BUSINESS independently made the very same averment of construction that Amu made. (This confirmed to the public that the IARDC and the legal community were perfectly willing to lie under oath for POLITICAL reasons et al and any interest that they had in the Rule of Law was non-existent.
Of course I and others have been writing concerning this outrage for some time and not accomplished even the stray thought of an HONEST INVESTIGATION to generate. Mr. Amu reports that even though the evidence of misconduct on the part of the IARDC, and the legal elite is overwhelming, to get back his licenses that ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT requires him to admit facts which everyone knows are not true – in short he has to admit that he lied even though everyone knows he did not.
Of course this situation is clear in Illinois. We produce more corrupt governor felons for the Federal penal system than any other State. We have on Governor in Federal custody, and our current governor was elected even though he openly and notoriously admitted publicly that he defrauded the COUNTY OF COOK out of $330,000.00. (As he is a billionaire – when caught- he paid the money back to the County. Mr. Amu’s license for complying with Rule 8.3 and 18 USCA 4 is forfeit!
Need the Illinois rationale. In the kangaroo disciplinary proceedings filed againt Attorney JoAnne Denison Mr. Larkin (the administrator of the IARDC) is reported to have written that exposing corrupt judges is akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”
Thus according to the gospel in force in Illinois, it is ethical for Illinois laws to perjure themselves on affidavits submitted to the government, when a judge – to enjoy conflicts of interest, and if you have enough clout evade the entire body of the RULE OF LAW. However, if you are a lawyer and you expose (or ask for an HONEST IVNESTIGATION) of a member of judiciary, judicial elite, or the political elite you are in violation of Rule 8.4 and your conduct is akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”
Indeed we have to take into account that we have corruption in the Courts — the guardianship scandal cannot exist without this overt corruption — BUT WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
1) the State of Illinois is currently removing newborns from the hospital without a warrant or court order. Then, the attorney appointed by the state a) refuses to show pleadings in advance to the father and b) refuses to argue the father’s 4th amedment rights and right to a warrant or court order before removal. The system is obviously fixed.
2) A mother pleads to get her kids back after psychopath father sets her up. She files pleadings in Cook County Domestic division explaining the situation. The trial court judge refuses to even look at her motion for 50 50 coparenting, to get her maintenance and child support back and for the father’s fraud in not listing all his assets. Mother is left penniless and sees her kids only once per month at Apnar Ghar, a sterile institutional room.
3) And we still have the same complaints flowing in about Cook County Probate. Caretakers are being evicted from their homes despite the fact they are on the title. The judges don’t seem to care. Mom is being drugged and APS doesn’t care. A relative is stealing and Illinois APS does not care. The guardian has a past criminal background of beating up women and DUIs and the probate court does not care.
Leaked photo shows mass trial with 37 accused unauthorized immigrants — shackled hand and foot — being processed all at once
If this is legal, what could then possibly stop the court system from guardianizing everyone over 60 in mass trials and forcing them in nursing homes and taking away their property? Seems scary to me. doesn’t even resemble justice at all to me. Who are the lawyers and judges involved? Shades of “kids for cash” if you ask me.
A leaked photo from a Texas courthouse shows 37 people accused of illegally entering the US being processed all at once.
In these kinds of trials, defendants are often expected to answer questions in unison to save time.
It’s illegal to take photos in federal court, but somebody broke the rules to get the image out.
The image has been circulating online in the legal community and was published recently by The Intercept.
Though they might be unfamiliar to many, trials like this have been going on in border courts for more than a decade.
The Trump’s administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy is making such scenes more common.
A leaked photograph shows 37 defendants in orange prison jumpsuits shackled at the hands and feet to be processed en masse as part of the ongoing US clampdown on illegal immigration.
The image, leaked to the media, gives an unfamiliar glimpse into “Operation Streamline,” a prosecution system in which up to 70 defendants in immigration cases can be charged and sentenced at once.
The photo, taken in the ceremonial courtroom at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos, Texas, was first sent to Debbie Nathan, a journalist in Texas covering the US-Mexico border, andpublished in The Intercept last week.
Taking and broadcasting photos in courtrooms is illegal under US law. The image has nonetheless been circulating among attorneys and legal workers in Texas since April, Nathan told Business Insider.
Such mass trials are not confined to Pecos: Similar scenes have been taking place in magistrate courts in the Texan cities of Brownsville, Laredo, and El Paso as recently as last week, Nathan told Business Insider. Defendants in Laredo and El Paso wore orange jumpsuits, while those in Brownsville were in street clothing, she said.
In Brownsville, a judge questioned and sentenced as many 40 defendants in one go, Nathan described in The Intercept. In unison, defendants answered questions such as “Are each of you satisfied with the help of the lawyer?” and “Has anyone offered you anything or threatened you?”
In one case, public defendants had less than two hours to speak with a total of 41 defendants, meaning they would have had just a few minutes with each of the accused.
Mass trials like this have been happening on and off since Operation Streamline came into force in 2005, Nathan said. But officials have been cracking down even harder on cases along the US-Mexico border immigration since last month, when the Trump administration instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy in which even those crossing the border fleeing violence would be prosecuted.
People fleeing violence or seeking asylum would be tried, and children would be separated from their parents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month.
Bhttp://medicalkidnap.com/2014/11/25/breastfed-homebirthed-babies-taken-away-from-parents-for-not-using-hospital/?fbclid=IwAR32CQKu_r9RoTqZZy6reaOyZQur1wLY9qxt0WAhS0q3YboRmKhWHVkJV8sreastfed, Homebirthed Babies Taken Away From Parents For Not Using Hospital
by Terri LaPoint Health Impact News
All three of their babies have been taken away from them and placed in the care of strangers. Levi was 10 months old when his mother, local singer and songwriter Erica May Rengo, gave birth to his twin brother and sister, at their home in Bellingham, Washington.
“Our birth was glorious,” she said, and the twins were reportedly healthy, full-term babies, who had no problem quickly figuring out how to breastfeed. The little family was overjoyed until CPS stepped in to “help.”
It is another medical kidnapping according to the parents. The Rengos have chosen a wholesome, holistic lifestyle, based in their Christian faith. But CPS has stepped in to override the parents’ decisions. Now Erica and Cleave are living what they call a nightmare, separated from their children for reasons that don’t make any sense at all to them.
Decision to Home Birth
It was only natural for Erica to choose normal, family-centered birth. Erica herself was born at home, and says that her mother was a homebirth educator and La Leche League leader (a world-wide support and education group for breastfeeding mothers). She and Cleave chose a birth-center birth with their first baby, but decided to birth at home the second time. She knew that her body was perfectly designed to work for birth. She believed this was the direction God was showing them for the birth. Erica was very careful during her pregnancy to watch her diet and exercise, in preparation for the birth. She read, researched, and prepared.
She describes her homebirth as “exquisite” and “empowering.” Morna Kai Grace and Daniel Clemente were born into their parents’ loving arms.
The birth was perfect. There were no complications with the birth or afterwards. But Erica and her husband Cleave agreed to allow the local paramedics in when someone called them, in an effort to appease concerned family members who were fearful of their decision to birth at home. That is where their problems began.
The Medical System Gets Involved
Sometime after the babies arrived on October 2, paramedics arrived to find the twins nursing and everybody doing fine. The twins each weighed over 5 lbs, and the paramedics allegedly verified that everyone appeared healthy. The paramedics allegedly recommended that they go to the hospital for evaluation, which is standard procedure for EMTs.
The Rengos say they declined, telling them they didn’t want to expose their newborns to the dirty environment of the hospital. They were planning to follow recommendations they had found, which stated that newborn twins should stay home for the first six weeks of life, to give their immune systems the opportunity to build up.
CPS Shows Up
The parents’ believe that because they chose not to go to the hospital at that time, somebody called CPS. A couple of social workers showed up the next day, and wanted to see all of the children. CPS told Erica that they were “here to help.” But Erica says that is not at all what happened.
When the social worker found some eczema on Levi’s skin Erica told her that she was treating it with some herbal remedies, including comfrey and calendula, as well as applying coconut oil and giving probiotics. She was also doing an elimination diet to try to locate what could be causing the skin condition. Even though it was in the healing process, the social worker became critical that Erica wasn’t treating his eczema with steroids, a treatment option that Erica wanted to save as a last resort because of the side effects. The CPS agent would later testify to the judge that Erica had neglected to treat him completely.
Even so, the eczema was the only thing wrong. Erica says, “right away they found out that the children were not in danger.” The twins were completely healthy; the house was clean; and there are no drugs or alcohol involved.
The Rengos agreed to take the children to a pediatrician, who said the babies were doing fine. The only concern was that the twins were slow to gain weight. At the time, Erica was trying to maintain a supply for three breastfeeding babies. She says she followed the pediatrician’s advice to supplement with formula, and the babies promptly got back on track with weight gain.
This was allegedly verified by a nurse sent out by CPS to check on them.
Erica May and Cleave are holistic in their approach to life and health, preferring natural alternatives, like herbs and diet changes, to medicinal treatments. Those things appear to be options only if CPS is not involved.
CPS Takes Custody of Children
On November 6, CPS showed up at the front door while Erica was softly singing and playing her guitar to her resting babies. When she checked the door, they told her that they were there to take her children, citing neglect for not giving Levi steroids for his eczema, and the home-birth without medical prenatal care with the twins, as well as the allegations of abuse, accusations which Erica had already assured them were completely unfounded. She also had prenatal care, just not with a doctor.
With one baby on her back, the frightened mother fled out the back door with her children to a neighbor’s house, but police and CPS “hunted her down,” and took these breastfed babies from their mothers’ arms. The twins were 5 weeks old.
The Fight for Lilly Foundation, a non-profit group that fights for families affected by CPS corruption, posted the first information on their Facebook page about Erica May in Bellingham whose babies were taken by CPS because of a homebirth and her refusal to use steroids for the babies. Through the Lilly Foundation, Health Impact News was able to contact the family to find out what happened.
Erica broke down into sobs as I spoke with her. “My children were safe and healthy with me.” Since they have been taken by CPS, Levi has reportedly had pneumonia, and has reportedly been diagnosed with “behavioral problems” because he screams and cries all the time.
He is screaming, Erica says, because he wants his mom and dad.
Why Are Children with No History of Abuse Being Taken Away from Loving Parents for Medical Reasons?
Children who have allegedly not been abused in any way have been taken by CPS from loving parents for reasons so flimsy that it has left the Rengos and their friends stunned. Several of their friends write that Erica is “a great mama.”
“This is not the right thing to do to mothers and children,” Erica emphasizes. “If they thought we needed help, they should have brought help in, not taken the children out. They have suffered and I have suffered since our separation.”
Erica feels that she and her children are being abused by the system. When they separate babies from their loving mothers, she says “they are dehumanizing people. The outcome of that is so much worse than any kind of dispute for medical reasons.”
Cleave and Erica were supposed to have their visitation with their children on Monday, but there wasn’t a social worker available to supervise the visit. Levi’s first birthday is on Black Friday. The day will be black for Erica and Cleave, but for very different reasons than the holiday retailers. They will miss their first child’s first birthday because CPS won’t have any workers available to supervise a visit that day either.
The Stressful Separation of Infants from Parents
Erica is a brokenhearted postpartum mother who wants nothing more than to be at home with all of her children by her side. Research shows that infants do not comprehend separation from their mother; they feel abandoned when they aren’t with her. Has it really come to the point where CPS can justify the emotional trauma to the children simply because parents don’t choose to follow every recommendation of the medical associations?
In President Obama’s immigration speech last week, he asked, “Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?”
Yet it is this very nation whose Child Protection Service agencies have ripped tiny babies from their parents’ arms simply for the crime of disagreeing with a medical decision. If this could happen to a family who has only sought the most natural of care, then whose children are safe from CPS? Should this type of apparent medical tyranny be tolerated?
Erica May and Cleave Rengo face a court date on December 2. They don’t know what they will face then. Supporters are hoping that their story will be shared far and wide, and their children can be returned home quickly.
The Governor of Washington is Jay Inslee. His office number is 360-902-4111. You can email him from here.
The parents next court date is December 2, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. at the Whatcom County Courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham Washington.
Authorities say a patient has died amid an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio doctor was charged with murder Wednesday in the deaths of 25 hospital patients who, authorities say, were killed with deliberate overdoses of painkillers, many of them administered by other medical workers on his orders.
In one of the biggest cases of its kind ever brought against an American health care professional, William Husel was accused of ordering outsize doses of the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Many of the patients who died were on ventilators and receiving palliative care. The deaths occurred between 2015 and 2018.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien compared Husel’s actions to extinguishing a dwindling candle.
“That candle, while there may be just a half an inch of wax left, if I blow that candle out, I’m causing that flame to go out sooner than it would naturally,” O’Brien said.
Husel, 43, pleaded not guilty after turning himself in earlier in the day. A judge set bail at $1 million.
The doctor is the lone defendant. Authorities are not prosecuting nurses, pharmacists and others involved in the deaths, though dozens of hospital employees have been reported to professional boards for investigation and potential disciplinary action.
Husel’s lawyer said he was trying to provide “comfort care” for dying patients.
“At no time did Dr. Husel ever intend to euthanize anyone — euthanize meaning speed up death,” defense attorney Richard Blake said.
The patients were going to die whether they were being treated by Husel or another physician, Blake said.
The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System has publicly apologized. It issued a statement Wednesday pledging to continue cooperating with authorities and making “meaningful changes” to ensure such events never happen again.
The system found that Husel ordered potentially fatal drug doses for 29 patients, including five who might have received those drugs when there still was a chance to improve their conditions with treatment. The hospital system said six more patients got doses that were excessive but probably did not cause their deaths.
The murder charges were brought only in cases that involved fentanyl doses of at least 500 micrograms. The prosecutor said the investigation remains open and other cases are still under review.
Husel was fired in December and stripped of his medical license after concerns about his orders were brought to the attention of officials at Mount Carmel, where he had worked for five years.
Mount Carmel has said it should have investigated and taken action sooner. It has acknowledged that the doctor was not removed from patient care for four weeks after the concerns were raised, and three patients died during that time.
Police Sgt. Terry McConnell said none of the families who talked with investigators believed that what happened was “mercy treatment.”
Amy Pfaff, whose mother was among the patients whose deaths prompted the charges, said she still wonders about his motives.
“Trust me, I sit many hours sitting trying to figure out why would he do this to so many people, and I just don’t know,” Pfaff said.
More than two dozen wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed against the doctor and the hospital system, including one by Pfaff over the October 2017 death of her mother, Beverlee Schirtzinger.
The hospital system settled some of the cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
All employees who had a role in administering medication to the victims have been removed from patient care as a precaution, hospital officials have said.
All told, 48 nurses and pharmacists were reported to their respective professional boards. Thirty of those employees were put on leave, and 18 no longer work there, including some who left years ago, officials said.
Records show no prior disciplinary action against Husel by the Ohio State Medical Board. The board will not disclose whether it received any complaints that did not result in action.
The allegations against Husel recalled another Ohio case involving a former nurse’s aide dubbed the Angel of Death. That man, Donald Harvey, confessed in 1987 to killing 37 people, most of them hospital patients, over the span of two decades in Ohio and Kentucky. He was given multiple life sentences and died in 2017 after being attacked by a fellow inmate.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the doctor’s name to Husel in one instance, instead of Hussel.
With the advent of DNA testing and FB, it’s going to be harder and harder for these criminals to get away with sex trafficing via CPS and DCFS.
Please pray for Elizabeth Avery who was kind enough to share this brave tale on FB.
EA lives in California. Please contact her on fb if you know of a good lawyer that can help her sue corrupt CPS there.
CPS CRIMINALS TRAFFICKED ME INTO CHILD PORN FOR FOUR YEARS after they stole me from my family for practically no reason. My first raped happened in my first foster home where I had to have reconstructive surgery to fix my female parts in the hospital I was born in and then sent my father the bill. My family took this evidence to the judge and he didn’t care. Finally when I had reached age 7…4 years of being trafficked into SRA CHILD PORN…. I was ready to be adopted. One foster home gave me back and then I was adopted. I disclosed this abuse to my new adoptive mother thinking I was safe, they kidnapped me back and punished me by putting me into mental hospital where I was abused, tied down to beds and shot up with Thorazine, a dangerous drug. I was 9-11. Then I was sent to McLaren Hall, a warehouse in LA where thousands upon thousands of children are warehoused. A dangerous place for kids. Next was group homes and the streets until I made it to juvenile hall. At 15 I convinced a judge to emancipate me at 16, they did, to the streets where that same year….by the grace of GOD I FOUND MY FAMILY. They told my family I was dead!!! They told me my family didn’t want me and my dad raped me….. ALL LIES….CPS CRIMINALS DESTROY RHE LIVES OF CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES EVERYDAY. Do not believe a word they say. The lie, falsifying documents as they go and don’t give a flip about kids!!!!! PRAISE JESUS EVERYDAY FOR HIS RECOVERY OF MY HEART ♥️, mind and soul. HE RESTORED ME TO HIS FAMILY AND MINE!!!!
The Federal Bribery Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)
A. Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 201(b):
(a) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent—
(A) to influence any official act; or
(B) to influence such public official or person who has been selected to be a public official to commit or aid in committing, or collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
(C) to induce such public official or such person who has been selected to be a public official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official or person;
(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:
(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;
(B) being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
(C) being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person;
. . . shall be fined under this title . . . or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
18 U.S.C. § 201(b) is the statute most commonly used to prosecute bribery of federal public officials. In addition, many of the substantive concepts regarding the application of Section 201 apply to the other criminal statutes discussed below.
The federal bribery statute requires the government to prove that the defendants acted with corrupt intent to engage in a quid pro quo, that is, “a specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.” United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers, 526 U.S. 398, 404-05 (1999).
The statute applies to all federal public officials, including any “officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States” or any department, agency, or branch of the federal government in “any official function.” The statutory definition of federal public officials includes employees and agents of the District of Columbia and jurors. The federal bribery statute also applies to any person who has been nominated or appointed to be a public official.
The Supreme Court has construed the definition of public official in Section 201 broadly, to reach any person who “occupies a position of public trust with official federal responsibilities,” whatever the “form of delegation of authority.” Dixson v. United States, 465 U.S. 482, 496 (1984). Section 201 covers both federal public officials and those who bribe them.
The statute criminalizes “offer[ing]” or “promis[ing]” a bribe as well as “demand[ing]” or “seek[ing]” a bribe, so the government can often charge a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201 even when the bribe is never actually paid.
Considerations regarding “anything of value”
• The federal courts have held that the term “anything of value” in the federal bribery statute applies broadly to intangible as well as tangible payments. The thing of value need not go to the public official himself or herself.
• When the thing of value provided in exchange for the official act is a campaign contribution, the government must prove that the payment was made “in return for an explicit promise or undertaking by the official to perform or not to perform an official act.” McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257, 273 (1991).
• Logrolling: Logrolling, or the exchange of political favors, is not bribery. United States v. Blagojevich, 794 F.3d 729 (7th Cir. 2015).
Considerations regarding official act
• The federal bribery statute defines the term “official act” to mean “any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before any public official, in such official’s official capacity, or in such official’s place of trust or profit.” In McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016), the Supreme Court addressed the scope of this definition. The Court concluded that the term “official act” has two elements. First, there must be a question or matter that may be brought before a public official. This question or matter must be specific and focused and involve the formal exercise of governmental power, something akin to a lawsuit, an administrative decision, or a hearing. Second, there must be some decision or action on the question or matter. The Court concluded that setting up a meeting, calling another public official, or hosting an event does not, standing alone, qualify as an official act. A
public official can take an official act if that official uses his position to pressure or advise another official to perform an official act, knowing or intending that the official will rely on the pressure or advice to take an action on the question or matter. However, merely expressing support for a position is not an official act unless the public official intends to pressure or advise another official. For a recent application of McDonnell, see United States v. Silver, 2017 WL 2978386 (2d Cir. July 13, 2017).
• The public official need not have the actual power to perform the promised official act, as long as the public official tells the bribe payor that he has the power to perform the requested official act. Similarly, if the bribe payor believes the public official has the necessary power, that is enough.
Note that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the term “official act” in Section 201(b) likely will apply to a bribery charge under some other statutes as well, including extortion (18 U.S.C. § 1951) and honest services fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1346). Thus, for these kinds of cases, prosecutors should ensure that their jury instructions are consistent with McDonnell. McDonnell’s application to federal program bribery (§ 666) is not entirely settled. See U.S. v. Boyland, 2017 WL 2918840 (2d. Cir. July 10, 2017) (holding that McDonnell does not apply to § 666 charge); U.S. v. Porter, 2017 WL 1095040 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 22, 2017) (same).
Considerations regarding intent:
• The evidence of a quid pro quo need not be explicit. A corrupt agreement may be implied from the public official’s words and actions, as “otherwise the law’s effect could be frustrated by knowing winks and nods.” Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 274 (1992) (Kennedy, J., concurring).
• The fact that a payment to a public official may be motivated in part by friendship is not a defense, so long as one of the motive for the payment is to influence the public official to perform an official act. Similarly, it is not a legal defense to the crime of bribery that the public official would have performed the official act in question even without the bribe, for example because the official act was good for the community or beneficial to the public official’s career.
• A bribery scheme can be charged as a course of conduct—that is, an exchange of a series of things of value (or a “stream of benefits”) for a series of official actions. When a course of conduct bribery scheme is charged, the government is not required to prove a connection between each individual payment and a particular official action.
Charging Considerations: Section 201 is a relatively straightforward charge that is used in just about every case involving bribery of a federal public official.
Recent Examples: United States v. Fattah 83 F.Supp.3d 632 (2015) (E.D. Pa. Jan. 6, 2015); United States v. Menendez 109 F.Supp.3d 720 (2015); United States v. Young, No. 14-CR-4 (W.D. Va. 2015); United States v. Whitman et al. (M.D. Ga. 2014).
Gratuites, 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)
A) Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 201(c):
(1) otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty—
(A) directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official; or
(B) being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official or person;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
18 U.S.C. § 201(c) makes it a crime to offer or accept a gratuity. A gratuity is a thing of value given “for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by” a public official. Like the federal bribery statute, Section 201(c) applies only to federal public officials. Offering or accepting a gratuity is a lesser included offense of bribery.
Difference between Bribe and Gratuity: A gratuity, unlike a bribe, does not require proof of a quid pro quo or a corrupt intent to influence an official act. United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers of Cal., 526 U.S. 398, 404-05 (1999). As a practical matter, the difference between a bribe and a gratuity often comes down to timing. When the payment comes after the official act, the proper charge is probably gratuity, unless there is evidence of an agreement to make the payment before the official act. When the payment comes before the official act, the proper charge is probably bribery, because the connection between the payment and the official act will be circumstantial evidence that the payment was intended to influence the official act.
Payment to Public Official: Unlike a bribe, a gratuity must be paid to the public official personally.
Status Gratuities: A status gratuity is a payment made to a public official because of the official’s position rather than because of a specific official act. In Sun-Diamond, the Supreme Court rejected the concept of a status gratuity, holding that “the Government must prove a link between a thing of value conferred upon a federal official and a specific ‘official act’ for or because of which it was given.” 526 U.S. at 414.
Charging Considerations: As discussed above, when the thing of value is paid after the official act is performed, and there is no evidence of an agreement to provide the thing of value prior to the performance of the official act, gratuity may be the proper charge.
Recent Examples: United States v. Verrusio, No. 09-CR-64 (D.D.C. 2017); United States v. Greenhut, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156440 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2016); United States v. Kline (W.D.N.C. 2015).
Hobbs Act Extortion, 18 U.S.C. § 1951
A) Relevant Statutory Language
18 U.S.C. § 1951:
(a) Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
(b) As used in this section—
(2) The term “extortion” means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
The Hobbs Act makes it a crime to obtain property from another with that person’s consent under the color of official right in a manner that affects interstate commerce. (Under the Hobbs Act, extortion can also be committed through the use or threat of force, violence, or fear. However, these provisions are rarely used in the context of public corruption cases.)
The standard for proving extortion under the Hobbs Act is very similar to the standard for proving bribery: “The Government need only show that a public official has obtained a payment to which he was not entitled, knowing that the payment was made in return for official acts.” Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 268 (1992). Indeed, many of the concepts discussed above regarding the scope of the federal bribery statute also apply to the Hobbs Act (e.g., the public official need not actually have the power to take the official action, extortion can be charged as a course of conduct, the standard is heightened where the payment is made in the form of campaign contributions, etc.). For a recent, concise statement of how the Hobbs Act applies to extortion, see United States v. Buffis, 2017 App. LEXIS 15051 (1st Cir. Aug. 14 2017).
“Property”: The Hobbs Act uses the term “property” (rather than “anything of value”) to describe the thing exchanged for the official act. The courts have recognized that the term “property” as it is used in the Hobbs Act is “expansive,” and includes, “in a broad sense, any valuable right considered as a source or element of wealth, including a right to solicit business.” United States v. Arena, 180 F.3d 380, 392 (2d Cir. 1999). However, the Supreme Court has held that investment advice is not “property,” and therefore an attempt to compel a person to recommend that his employer approve an investment does not constitute extortion for purposes of the Hobbs Act. Sekhar v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2720 (2013). This is because obtaining property requires “not only the deprivation but also the acquisition of property.” Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 404 (2003). “The property extorted must therefore be transferable—that is, capable of passing from one person to another.” Sekhar, 133 S. Ct. at 2725.
In addition, several federal courts have concluded that the term “property” as it is used in the Hobbs Act does not include sexual activity in most circumstances. See Sharpe v. Kelley, 835 F. Supp. 33, 34 (D. Mass. 1993); United States v. Warme, No. 09-CR-19A, 2010 WL 125846, at *4 (W.D.N.Y. Jan. 7, 2010). This means that a public official who
demands sexual favors in exchange for an official act likely does not commit extortion under the Hobbs Act (though he or she may be violating some of the other statutes discussed herein).
Effect on Interstate Commerce: The Hobbs Act requires that the government prove an effect on interstate commerce. Because the Hobbs Act is imbued with the full reach of Congress’s Commerce Clause Power, the government can meet this element by establishing a de minimis effect on interstate commerce, or even the reasonable probability of an effect on interstate commerce. This low threshold can be met, for example, with evidence that the extortion payment would have been made using funds that a company would otherwise use to purchase items in interstate commerce, or that the payment was wired using an interstate transfer of funds. United States v. Mitov, 460 F.3d 901, 908-09 (7th Cir. 2006). This element can be tricky where the victim of the extortion is an individual, not a business, and therefore the funds that might be used to pay the public official would not necessarily otherwise flow through interstate commerce. E.g., United States v. Perrotta, 313 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 2002).
Charging Considerations: Extortion casts the bribe payor as a victim, and therefore may be an appropriate charge in a case where the public official aggressively solicited the bribe payment.
Note that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the term “official act” in McDonnell v. United States likely will apply to a bribery charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1951 as well. (See above in discussion of § 201 bribery offenses.) Thus, for these kinds of cases, prosecutors should ensure that their jury instructions are consistent with McDonnell.
Recent Examples: United States v. Boyland, 862 F.3d. 279 (2d Cir. 2017); United States v. Pomrenke, No. 15-CR-33 (W.D. Va. 2016); United States v. Infante (S.D. Tex. 2015); United States v. Raphael, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155246 (S.D. Ohio 2015); United States v. Willis, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77474 (D.V.I. 2015).
Federal Program Bribery, 18 U.S.C. § 666
A. Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 666:
(a) Whoever, if the circumstance described in subsection (b) of this section exists—
(1) being an agent of an organization, or of a State, local, or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof—
(A) embezzles, steals, obtains by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly converts to the use of any person other than the rightful owner or intentionally misapplies, property that—
(i) is valued at $5,000 or more, and
(ii) is owned by, or is under the care, custody, or control of such organization, government, or agency; or
(B) corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving any thing of value of $5,000 or more; or
(2) corruptly gives, offers, or agrees to give anything of value to any person, with intent to influence or reward an agent of an organization or of a State, local or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof, in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving anything of value of $5,000 or more;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
(b) The circumstance referred to in subsection (a) of this section is that the organization, government, or agency receives, in any one year period, benefits in excess of $10,000 under a Federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance, or other form of Federal assistance.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers:
The federal program bribery statute applies to agents and employees of state and local government entities that receive over $10,000 in federal funds in a given year. For those individuals, Section 666 prohibits both embezzlement and bribery. When the violation of Section 666 is based on bribery, the substantive concepts discussed above for Section 201 apply. The key issue in deciding whether to charge a state or local official under Section 666 is nearly always whether the government can meet the statute’s jurisdictional elements.
Value of Transaction: The value of the transaction at issue must be at least $5,000. When the defendant is charged with theft, fraud, or embezzlement, this requirement is simple—the defendant must have stolen or embezzled at least $5,000. When the defendant is charged with bribery, this requirement means the government must prove that the bribery related to business or transactions of the government entity that are valued at $5,000 or more.
When the official action involves a tangible item, like a government contract, the analysis is usually fairly straightforward—the question is whether the value of that item exceeds $5,000. But in some cases, the official action that is connected to the bribe payment may be intangible, such as payments to a state prison guard in exchange for extra conjugal visits or lenient treatment. In such cases, courts will typically look to the amount of the bribe payment as evidence of the value of the intangibles connected to the official act. E.g., United States v. Fernandez, 722 F.3d 1, 13 (1st Cir. 2013) (“Hence, when the subject matter of the bribe is a ‘thing of value’ without a fixed price, courts may look to the value of the bribe as evidence of the value of the ‘business, transaction, or series of transactions.’”); United States v. Marmolejo, 89 F.3d 1185, 1193-94 (5th Cir. 1996). But do not be confused by this principle! While courts may look to the value of the bribe in order to determine the value of the business or transaction at issue, Section 666 does not contain any requirement that the bribe payment be any particular amount. Rather, like Section 201, Section 666 requires only that the bribe payment be “anything of value.”
To meet the $5,000 requirement, the value of a series of transactions can be aggregated, so long as the transactions are part of a single plan and fall within a one-year period. United States v. Hines, 541 F.3d 833 (8th Cir. 2008).
Federal Funding Requirement: In addition to the $5,000 valuation requirement, Section 666 also requires that the defendant be an agent of a state or local government entity that receives over $10,000 in federal funds in a given year. The government need not prove that the federal funds are implicated in the bribery scheme. Sabri v. United States, 541 U.S. 600 (2004). This funding requirement can be met through evidence of federal funds provided under grants, contracts, subsidies, loans, guarantees, or insurance. Fischer v. United States, 529 U.S. 667 (2000). For a recent discussion of the challenges associated with proving the federal funding requirement, see United States v. Doran, 2017 WL 1487222 (11th Cir. Apr. 26, 2017).
Agent: The public official accepting the bribe must be an agent of the government entity that receives the federal funds. The statute defines an “agent” as “a person authorized to act on behalf of another person or a government and, in the case of an organization or government, includes a servant or employee, and a partner director, officer, manager, and representative.” As the federal courts have recognized, this definition is “an expansive one,” United States v. Lupton, 620 F.3d 790, 801 (7th Cir. 2010), and may include employment relationships not enumerated in the statute, like an independent contractor, so long as the evidence shows that the defendant had the authority to act on behalf of the government entity. Remember that the defendant must be an agent of the particular state or local government entity that receives at least $10,000 annually in federal funds.
Attempted Bribery: Section 666(a)(1)(B) makes it a crime to “accept or agree to accept, anything of value,” meaning that the statute is violated even if no payment is actually received.
Bona Fide Salary Exception: Section 666(c) provides that the statute “does not apply to bona fide salary, wages, fees, or other compensation paid, or expenses paid or reimbursed, in the usual course of business.” One might think that this provision simply means that a person cannot be prosecuted for federal program theft or bribery based on accepting bona fide compensation. But courts have applied subsection (c) to the entire statute. Thus, for example, courts have held that, in light of subsection (c), the federal funding requirement means that the government entity must receive $10,000 in federal funds annually after excepting bona fide salary paid to the entity by the federal government. United States v. Chafin, 808 F.3d 1263, 1273 (11th Cir. 2015). Similarly, the $5,000 transaction value requirement also does not include bona fide salary payments. United States v. Mills, 140 F.3d 630 (6th Cir. 1998).
Charging Considerations: As discussed above, Section 666 contains jurisdictional elements that can be difficult to meet in some cases. However, Section 666 also criminalizes a broader range of conduct than some of the other common corruption statutes, like embezzlement.
Recent Examples: United States v. Porter, No. 7:15-cr-022-DCR (E.D. Ky.); United States v. Arnold, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136003 (M.D. Tenn. 2016); United States v. Pomrenke, No. 15-CR-33 (W.D. Va. 2016); United States v. Maggio Docket No. 4:15-cr-00001 (E.D. Ark. 2015); United States v. Infante (S.D. Tex. 2015); United States v. Acevedo-Hernandez Civil No. 12-1763 (DRD) (D.P.R. 2014); United States v. Willis, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77474 (D.V.I. 2014).
Honest Services Mail and Wire Fraud: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1346
A) Relevant Statutory Language
18 U,S.C. §§ 1341 – Frauds and swindles:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, . . . for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both . . . .
18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 – Fraud by wire, radio, or television:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both . . . .
18 U.S.C. §§ 1346 – Definition of “scheme or artifice to defraud”:
For the purposes of this chapter, the term “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
The mail and wire fraud statutes make it a federal crime to knowingly devise or participate in a scheme to defraud that involves the use of the mails or interstate wires. Prior to McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350 (1987), the federal courts had interpreted the fraud statutes to criminalize both schemes to defraud individuals of tangible property (like money) and schemes to defraud individuals of intangible rights (like the public’s right to the honest services of public officials). After the Supreme Court’s decision in McNally limiting the reach of the fraud statutes to tangible fraud schemes, Congress responded by enacting 18 U.S.C. § 1346, which states that the mail and wire fraud statutes apply to “a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” In Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010), the Supreme Court interpreted Section 1346 to apply only to bribery and kickback schemes, and not to schemes to defraud individuals of other honest services (for example undisclosed conflicts of interest).
The honest services fraud statute is a powerful tool for the prosecution of corrupt state and local public officials. In most cases, the requirement of an interstate wire or mailing in furtherance of the fraud scheme is much easier to establish than the various jurisdictional limitations set forth in Section 666. In addition, a pattern of corrupt activity can be easily charged as a single honest services fraud scheme. And the pattern jury instructions for an honest services fraud charge contain language explaining to the jury the dangers of corrupt public officials.
Materiality: An honest services fraud charge requires the government to show that the scheme to defraud was accomplished “by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.” Note that when multiple defendants are charged with participating in a single fraud scheme, the government is not required to prove that each defendant made a false representation. Reistroffer v. United States, 258 F.2d 379, 387 (8th Cir. 1958). The false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises must be material. Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1, 25 (1999). A concealed bribe or kickback constitutes a material false pretense. United States v. Langford, 647 F.3d 1309, 1321 (11th Cir. 2011).
Interstate Wire or Mailing in Furtherance of the Scheme: A mailing or wire is in furtherance of a fraud scheme if it is a step in the execution of the scheme, as the scheme is conceived by the perpetrators. Note that mailings and wires that occur after the fraud scheme has been completed—for example wires related to the perpetrators’ expenditure of their ill-gotten gains—are not in furtherance of the scheme. E.g., United States v. Phillips, 704 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. 2012). E-mail communications and text messages will constitute interstate wires provided that they are routed through servers located outside the state where the e-mail or text was sent. Colony at Holbrook, Inc. v. Strata G.C., Inc., 928 F.Supp. 1224 (E.D.N.Y. 1996); Center Cadillac, Inc. v. Bank Leumi Trust Co. of New York, 808 F.Supp. 213 (S.D.N.Y. 1992), aff’d 99 F.3d 401 (2d Cir.1995 (summary order)). Internet services providers will provide information about the location of their servers during a particular time period in response to a grand jury or trial subpoena. Similarly, most bank transactions constitute interstate wires because banks typically route payments
through out-of-state locations. United States v. Mills, 199 F.3d 184,189 (5th Cir. 1999). Banks will provide information about the interstate nature of their transaction processing in response to a grand jury or trial subpoena.
The Duty of Honest Services: A defendant’s conduct violates the honest services fraud statute only if the defendant owes a duty of honest services. It is well established that state and local public officials owe a duty to the public at large not to engage in bribery or kickback schemes. However, the federal courts have upheld the application of the honest services fraud statute outside the public-sector context, where the evidence shows that the defendant owed a fiduciary duty to a particular entity and that the defendant breached that fiduciary duty by engaging in bribery or kickbacks. Thus, the courts have recognized that an employee owes a fiduciary duty to his or her employer, and therefore an employee can be prosecuted under the honest services fraud statute for accepting bribes in exchange for acts within the scope of employment. See, e.g., United States v. Rybicki, 354 F.3d 124 (2d Cir. 2003). In these so-called “private sector” honest services fraud cases, the government must establish the existence of a fiduciary duty in addition to all the other elements of a typical honest services fraud prosecution.
Tangible Fraud: If a defendant engages in a fraud scheme that involves both the deprivation of honest services through bribery or kickbacks and the deprivation of money or property using false or fraudulent representations, the defendant can be charged with a multi-object fraud scheme.
Charging Considerations: When the target of the investigation is a state or local official and the jurisdictional elements of Section 666 are difficult to establish, honest services fraud may be a good alternative or complementary charge. As the cases discussed above make clear, in most circumstances it will not be difficult to establish a wire or mailing in furtherance of the scheme.
Note that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the term “official act” in McDonnell v. United States likely will apply to a bribery charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1346 as well. (See above in discussion of § 201 bribery offenses.) Thus, for these kinds of cases, prosecutors should ensure that their jury instructions are consistent with McDonnell.
Recent Examples: United States v. Fattah, supra; United States v. Woods (W.D. Ark. 2017); United States v. Bills, No. 14-CR-135 (N.D. Ill. 2016); United States v. Pomrenke, supra; United States v. Arnold, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136003 (M.D. Tenn. 2016); United States v. Whitman et al. (M.D. Ga. 2014); United States v. Lustyik, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178251 (D. Ut. 2012).
False Statements: 18 U.S.C. § 1001
A) Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 1001:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, [and/or] imprisoned not more than 5 years . . . .
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
Section 1001 makes it a crime to make a false statement “in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States.” In corruption cases, it is common for defendants to attempt to conceal their crimes by making false statements to federal law enforcement officers, to regulators, and/or on paperwork like campaign finance reports and ethics disclosure forms.
Materiality: The plain language of Section 1001 includes materiality as an element. Materiality is a question of fact for the jury to decide. United States v. Valdez, 594 F.2d 725 (9th Cir. 1979); United States v. Kim, 808 F. Supp. 2d 44 (D.D.C. 2011).
Judicial and Legislative Exceptions: The statute contains narrow exceptions for statements made in certain judicial and legislative proceedings.
Other Obstruction Statutes To Consider Charging: Witness Tampering (18 U.S.C. § 1512), Falsification of Records (18 U.S.C. § 1519).
RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.
A) Synopsis of Relevant Statutory Language
The federal racketeering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., makes it a crime “to conduct or participate” in the affairs of an enterprise “through a pattern of racketeering activity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c). The statute also criminalizes a conspiracy to engage in such conduct. Id. § 1962(d). The RICO conspiracy provision does not require proof of an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The statute defines the term “racketeering activity” to include extortion, bribery, and mail and wire fraud. 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1). Note that federal program bribery, 18 U.S.C. § 666, is not a RICO predicate.
An “enterprise” is defined as “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1961(4). As the statutory language makes clear, a RICO enterprise can be an existing organization or an “association in fact,” which the Supreme Court has defined as a “group of persons associated together for a common purpose of engaging in a course of conduct.” United States v. Turkette, 452 U.S. 576, 583 (1981). The essential features of an association-in-fact enterprise are: “a purpose, relationships among those associated with the enterprise, and longevity sufficient to permit these associates to pursue the enterprise’s purpose.” Boyle v. United States, 556 U.S. 938, 946 (2009). An association-in-fact enterprise “need not have a hierarchical structure or ‘chain of command’; decisions may be made on an ad hoc basis and by any number of methods.” Id. at 948.
A pattern of racketeering activity “requires at least two acts of racketeering activity…the last of which occurred within ten years…after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1961(5). To establish a pattern of racketeering activity, the government must show that “the racketeering predicates are related, and that they amount to or pose a threat of continued criminal activity.” H.J., Inc. v. Nw. Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 239 (1989).
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
The federal courts have upheld application of the RICO statute to public corruption schemes, including cases in which the government charged the defendants under an “association-in-fact” enterprise theory. See, e.g., United States v. Ferriero, No. 13-CR-592 (D.N.J. 2016); United States v. Warner, 498 F.3d 666 (7th Cir. 2007); United States v. Cianci, 378 F.3d 71, 78 (1st Cir. 2004); United States v. Blandford, 33 F.3d 685 (6th Cir. 1984); United States v. Fattah, 2016 WL 1043554 (E.D. Pa. 2016); United States v. McDade, 827 F. Supp. 1153 (E.D. Pa. 1993).
The RICO statute can be used to bring together in a single charge a wide range of corrupt behavior. The federal courts have recognized that multiple conspiracies that would otherwise be tried separately can be charged as a single overarching racketeering conspiracies. See United States v. Riccobene (3d Cir.). In addition, RICO has a ten-year statute of limitations, and state crimes can be charged as RICO predicates. However, the jury instructions on the elements of RICO offenses are very dense, and therefore charging a RICO offense can introduce significant legal complications.
Theft Statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 641 and 18 U.S.C. § 654
A) Relevant Statutory Language
18 U.S.C. § 641 – Public money, property or records
Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof; or
Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; but if the value of such property in the aggregate, combining amounts from all the counts for which the defendant is convicted in a single case, does not exceed the sum of $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
18 U.S.C. § 654 – Officer or employee of United States converting property of another
Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, embezzles or wrongfully converts to his own use the money or property of another which comes into his possession or under his control in the execution of such office or employment, or under color or claim of authority as such officer or employee, shall be fined under this title or not more than the value of the money and property thus embezzled or converted, whichever is greater, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; but if the sum embezzled is $1,000 or less, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
18 U.S.C. § 641 prohibits the theft of government property. That statute makes it a crime to “embezzle, steal, purloin, or knowingly convert,” or “without authority, sell, convey, or dispose of any record, voucher, money, or things of value” of the United States. The statute also criminalizes knowingly receiving stolen property of the United States.
A similar statute, 18 U.S.C. § 654, prohibits theft by a federal public official. That statute makes it a crime for an officer or employee of the United States to “embezzle or wrongfully convert” the money or property of another “which comes into his possession or under his control” in the execution of his office or “under color or claim of authority” as a public official.
The scope of conduct prohibited by Section 641 is broad, and includes abuse or misuse of property as well as stealing or embezzlement. Morissette v. United States, 342 U.S. 246 (1952). The majority view is that Section 641 protects intangible property. United States v. Collins, 56 F.3d 1416, 1419 (D.C. Cir. 1995); United States v. Girard, 601 F.2d 69, 71 (2d Cir. 1979). The statute does not require the government to prove that the defendant knew that the property belonged to the United States. United States v. Matzkin, 14 F.3d 1014, 1020 (4th Cir. 1994).
Section 654 does not require that the stolen property belong to the United States. But it does require that the defendant gain possession of the property “either while properly performing his employment or while pretending to carry out the duties of his employment.” United States v. Rippon, 537 F. Supp. 789, 790 (C.D. Ill. 1982).
Recent Examples: United States v. Corrine Brown Case No. 3:16-cr-93-J-32JRK (M.D. Fl. 2016); United States v. Bowman (C.D. Cal. 2016); United States v. Lustyik, No. 13-CR-616 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).
The Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952
A) Relevant Statutory Language
18 U.S.C. § 1952:
(a)Whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any facility in interstate or foreign commerce, with intent to—
(1) distribute the proceeds of any unlawful activity; or
(2) commit any crime of violence to further any unlawful activity; or
(3) otherwise promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on, of any unlawful activity,
and thereafter performs or attempts to perform—
(B) an act described in paragraph (2) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) As used in this section (i) “unlawful activity” means . . . (1) extortion, bribery, or arson in violation of the laws of the State in which committed or of the United States . . .
B) Analysis and Practice Pointers
The Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952, makes it a crime to use a “facility in interstate or foreign commerce” with the intent to promote “any unlawful activity” and thereafter to perform “any unlawful activity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a). The statute defines “unlawful activity” to include “extortion [or] bribery…in violation of the laws of the State in which they are committed or of the United States.” Id. § 1952(b). This means that the Travel Act can be used to prosecute a defendant who commits bribery in violation of state law, so long as the defendant used an interstate facility.
Interstate Facility: The Travel Act’s jurisdictional nexus (use of a “facility in interstate…commerce”) is broader than those of the mail and wire fraud statutes. Any phone call, email, text message, mailing, or wire transmission will constitute the use of a facility in interstate commerce, even if the mail or wire did not actually cross state lines. United States v. Herrera, 584 F.2d 1137 (2d Cir. 1978).
Charging Considerations: A Travel Act charge may be appropriate where the state corruption statute covers broader conduct than the federal statutes discussed above and the conduct at issue is closer to the line. In addition, the Travel Act can be a useful charge when the evidence on jurisdictional elements for Section 666 or honest services fraud is weaker (for example, where the evidence shows phone calls or emails in furtherance of the scheme, but it is not clear whether those communications actually crossed state lines, making it easier to prove the use of an interstate facility than an interstate wire in furtherance of the scheme).
Recent Examples: United States v. Williams, No. 17-cr-137 (E.D. Pa. 2017
Active Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs in Nursing Home Now Near Death
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Earlier this year, Beverley Finnegan, age 69, of Newton, Massachusetts, could walk, talk, and discuss the events from the daily newspaper. That was before she was seized from the condo that she shared with her sister, forced by police into a nursing home, and drugged against her will.
Years before, she had named her sister as her medical proxy, but the state of Massachusetts has ignored her wishes and placed her under guardianship with strangers.
Her whole life, everything she had ever known, was gone with the stroke of a judge’s pen.
Now, she is on life support, and on Monday, December 18, guardians and their attorneys petitioned the court in the attempt to have Beverley Finnegan euthanized.
They go back to court on Friday, December 22. Janet Pidge is fighting for the very life of her beloved sister who is just one court decision away from having her life snuffed out forever.
All of this started because a doctor filed a report that she had a particular lung infection for which she refused treatment. He wrote that, without treatment, she would die within weeks or months.
Since the diagnosis more than a year ago and the subsequent day that the senior citizen was violently seized from her home “in her best interest,” the alleged lung infection has never been treated or addressed. Not once. Presumably, it doesn’t exist. It never did.
In documents filed with the court, her sister calls the Mycobacterium kansasii a “pretext” from which Beverley “was falsely said to suffer.”
Instead, psychologists working for the agencies that have held her captive against her will have labeled Beverley Finnegan as combative and violent – for fighting those who broke into her home and forcibly took her away – and paranoid – for being suspicious of government officials and medical people.
Had these actions been taken by masked thugs, her responses would have been acceptable, expected even. But since it was doctors and people working for the government under color of law, she was apparently expected to submit and go away compliantly, without a fuss.
Hmm, they tell her she has an ailment which they don’t treat her for, and she’s the paranoid one?
Sisters Beverley Finnegan and Janet Pidge have always been close. After the death of Beverley’s husband and their only child, Janet moved into the upscale Newton condo that her sister owned. Since 2012, the sisters have owned the home jointly. They both worked, and enjoyed keeping up with the daily news and engaging in lively debate over current events.
Beverley was the one who handled the finances for the pair. She had the foresight to legally name Janet as her medical proxy in 2012 in the event of any future health problems. They may not have always trusted everything doctors said, but they trusted each other.
Doctor Files “Protective” Order
After an accidental fall in the summer of 2016, Beverley became involved with a doctor affiliated with Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Dr. Anne McKinley diagnosed her with a severe lung infection for which she would need long-term treatment, without which the doctor said she would be dead within weeks or months. That was September 2016.
Because Beverley made the decision to only follow up once with her, the doctor reportedly became concerned and filed an emergency protective order on September 26. This ignores the fact that she had been in the hospital two weeks prior.
On October 4, 2016, Elder Protective Services Caseworker Claire Wilms of Springwell, Inc., went to Beverley Finnegan’s condo with 2 police officers to investigate. They buzzed to be let into the building, but the sisters refused to allow them access. Another tenant reportedly let them in.
When the sisters refused to answer the door, they barged in anyway.
Beverley was reportedly furious at the intrusion into her home, and refused to answer Wilms’ questions about whether she knew that she was sick and needed medication. In her report to the court Wilms leaves out what they did to provoke the senior citizen at her home, but reports that Beverley was angry, agitated, yelled expletives, and threw a vase at them. At some point, a door was taken off of its hinges.
Thus, Beverley Finnegan has been labeled “paranoid” and “violent.”
Springwell is a private non-profit organization that provides and coordinates services to senior citizens. They work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to, in the words of their website, “alleviate or reduce risk of harm to elders.” Also, according to their website:
At Springwell, we believe that when you want support, you get to decide what type of support you need, when you need it, and who provides it.
Apparently, that means only if they agree with your decision.
Ms. Finnegan was forcibly taken by police to the hospital where a psychiatrist alleged that she was paranoid.
That time, Janet was able to contest the Section 12 mental health order and get her sister discharged home.
Undeterred, the doctor wrote a letter dated October 18, 2016. According to court documents, Dr. McKinley stated that Beverley “has refused further treatment” for the alleged Mycobacterium kansasii.
The treatment, according to Dr. McKinley, involves several medications that must be continued for at least a year while the patient is monitored for drug toxicity and visual and liver damage. She stated that Beverley must start treatment soon:
Should she fail to do so, I would expect that she will continue to decline and ultimately die from her infection in the coming weeks to months. Unfortunately, she is now refusing all care at Mount Auburn Hospital, and I fear that if she is not compelled to seek treatment, she will succumb to her illness. [emphasis added in court document]
In December 2016, caseworker Claire Wilms filed a petition with the court to have Beverley brought to a nursing home to have her mental and psychological health evaluated, citing the lung infection and the senior citizen’s tendency toward violence.
The family’s recently retained attorney, Lisa Belanger, points out that the only violent incident cited is when Beverley Finnegan fought those who broke into her home who were kidnapping her. At no time was she ever a threat to anyone who did not break into her house.
Wilms wanted Beverley to be evaluated by Dr. Elizabeth Nasser, PhD, “a neuropsychologist that Springwell retains to conduct capacity evaluations.”
As we have noted many times with Child Protective Services cases covered by Health Impact News, it is very common for those with vested financial interests in the outcome to conduct various evaluations of family members. Attorney Lisa Belanger told us:
It’s always the doctors and the guardians working hand-in-hand.
Wilms also told the court that Beverley’s sister Janet, who was legally the medical proxy, would interfere with them doing the evaluations on her sister:
I believe that the only safe and appropriate way that the Elder can be evaluated for capacity would be by way of an admission to an appropriate medical facility….
I also believe that if the Elder and Sister are notified of a hearing in this matter, it will make it very unlikely for Springwell to be able to have the Elder evaluated, and it could result in further violence.
“Protection” Needed to Prevent Her Death
On January 18, 2017, Judge Maureen H. Monks of the Middlesex County Probate and Family Court issued a protective order demanding that Beverley Finnegan be taken by the police to a medical facility for evaluation. The order temporarily also suspended Beverley’s chosen medical proxy, without any kind of evidentiary hearing.
The order was based on the supposed infection that would kill her if she didn’t get treatment.
Beverley was seized for the evaluation and has not been home since. She was involuntarily committed to care.
There have been five hearings during which the suspension of Janet as her sister’s medical proxy was temporarily extended again.
Beverley Finnegan now has a court-appointed guardian, and is under the care of Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
A guardian who had never seen her before, who has no relationship with her or her family, is the one who now has the power to make decisions regarding Ms. Finnegan’s life, including the selection of the nursing home.
The guardian had Beverley admitted into what her sister calls a “subpar” nursing home. Janet Pidge has been fighting to get her sister out ever since. Beverley has begged many times to be released from the home where she said she was being neglected and abused.
When she was forced into the nursing home, she was able to walk on her own. By late summer, she was in a wheelchair.
The Mycobacterium kansasii infection has yet to be treated in any way since she was placed in protective custody. Dr. McKinley stated that the protocol was a 3-drug regimen that must be continued for a year, and any cessation of the treatment could have devastating consequences to her health.
Attorney Lisa Belanger and Janet Pidge find this odd because at no time within the ensuing year were any of those medications ever given to Ms. Finnegan. Nor has there been any symptoms or further talk of the horrifying lung infection that was supposedly so serious that it necessitated violating a woman’s autonomy and right to be secure in her home and person.
Denied Food and Water
A legal intern accompanied Janet to visit Beverley in August and September of 2017 and what she saw horrified her. In affidavits submitted to the court, the intern reported that staff at the Kathleen Daniel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center told them at one visit that Beverley had been vomiting just about everything she ate.
They were surprised then, that Beverley devoured all of the food that Janet had brought to her, including “oriental food, dumplings, fresh fruit, and one half of a small raspberry pie.”
Beverley told them that the nursing home staff had not been giving her food or water and she was “ravenous.” She did not vomit or show any signs of stomach problems.
The intern noted that there were water pitchers in the other residents’ rooms, but not in Beverley’s. They had to ask for water. They spoke with staff and requested that they ensure that she always had water available.
When she returned with Janet for other visits, she found that there was never water in Beverley’s room, and that she always ate everything that her sister brought her. When the other residents were given lunch and dinner, no food trays were offered to Ms. Finnegan.
Janet visits her sister on a daily basis and spends 6 to 8 hours a day feeding, bathing, and caring for her sister. In one document, Janet stated that:
In the past month, not one day has a water pitcher been provided to Beverley, she has received unexplained injuries and a deterioration in her physical and mental condition.
During these visits, the intern says that Beverley was “bright, alert, talkative, and lucid.”
She asked me if I would go across the street to the store and buy her a newspaper and some magazines, and I did so.
Psychologist Testimony Used to Violate Civil Rights and Force Psyche Drugs
One psychologist said that Beverley likely had mental illness for many years because of her paranoia. Yet she has never before had any diagnosis of mental illness, nor is there any family history of such. She held down a successful career for 27 years in the technical sector.
According to the documents, Beverley Finnegan said that she was abused in the nursing home and expressed fear that she could be killed there. The doctors and attorneys call that paranoia and mental illness.
However, based on the notion that she was violent and paranoid, she was administered a couple of psychotropic drugs, against her wishes.
At least 2 of the medications that she was forced to take carry black box warning labels about their use in elderly patients, because they increase the risk of death, primarily from cardiovascular and infectious causes.
Beverley Now Near Death
On December 1, Janet says that her sister suffered a heart attack at the nursing home, but the staff did not call for help immediately. She begged for them to help Beverley, but they refused to give her oxygen. By the time the ambulance got her to the hospital, she was unresponsive and CPR was initiated at the hospital. She was reportedly without oxygen for around a half hour.
Beverley Finnegan is now on life support at Framington Union Hospital.
Janet remains by her sister’s side at the hospital as much as she possibly can, but she is powerless to stop the devastation that she see happening to her beloved sister. She prays regularly for Beverley.
On Monday, December 18, a week before Christmas, she and her attorney faced a gaggle of attorneys and guardians who stood together to petition the court for permission to pull the plug on her sister.
Lisa Belanger says that Janet has seen signs of responsiveness in her sister, but a hospital intern and another doctor that they had never met has reported to the court that Beverley is completely unresponsive and not likely to be able to come off of the ventilator. Dr. Aba Somers said that she will likely need a tracheostomy soon.
Janet vehemently disagrees with the doctor’s assessment. Her attorney says that Janet has seen some signs of responsiveness. Because they have not yet been given access to Beverley’s medical records, they have no way of knowing if she is truly as bad off as they say, or if her condition is simply due to her being sedated.
Janet Pidge’s role as medical proxy was never vacated, only temporarily suspended, and she is not ready to give up on her sister yet. There are too many unanswered questions.
According to Drugs.com, a website with medical information about pharmaceutical medications, an overdose of one of the psychotropic drugs that Beverley Finnegan has been given against her will can result in symptoms very much like those she exhibits:
The patient would appear comatose with respiratory depression and hypotension which could be severe enough to produce a shock-like state.
in prolonged cases of coma, [a] tracheostomy [may be needed to open the airway]. Respiratory depression may be counteracted by artificial respiration and mechanical respirators.
Attorneys Want to Take Beverley Off of Life Support
Dr. Aba Somers said that Beverley stated that he believes that a “Do Not Resuscitate” and “Do Not Intubate” order should be in place and that she should be given comfort measures only. He argues that she will be dependent upon the ventilator in his judgment and that she will be:
at constant risk of complications, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, line infections and decubitus ulcers.
As the group of attorneys for the hospital, Jewish Family Services, and Springwell agency gathered in Judge Mareen Monks’ courtroom on Monday, their arguments to the court were stunning to reporter Lonnie Brennan of the Boston Broadside.
He attended the hearing and told Health Impact News that 6 people stood up to say:
It’s time to pull the plug.
A 7th person remained seated while attorneys for Jewish Family Services and Springwell actually argued, out loud, that she should be removed from life support because it would be painful for Beverley Finnegan if she were to suffer another heart attack, because intubation and CPR hurt.
To which, Janet Pidge’s attorney Lisa Belanger countered:
And that would be worse than death?
Belanger said that the counsel for the hospital argued that it would be “brutalizing” to keep Beverley Finnegan alive on life support.
She said that really isn’t their decision to make:
The hospitals cannot be allowed to play God! This is a family matter.
Family Desires Ignored – Hospital and Attorneys Believe They Know Best
One of the attorneys who wants to euthanize Beverley Finnegan reportedly tried to soften his rhetoric by suggesting that, perhaps, they could obtain more of her previous medical records and find a previously undiscovered document that might shed light on what HER wishes would be. He suggested that he believes that she would not want to live like this, so they need to pull the plug.
But they DO know what she would want.
Beverley told her sister that she wants to live. She begged for months to go home. She was afraid for her life in the nursing home.
She assigned Janet as her medical proxy several years ago before this nightmare ever began. Her sister knows her, and based on what she knows about Beverley, Janet is fighting for her life. SHE, not the elder protective service people, truly cares about her.
Janet does not believe that all hope is truly lost for her sister.
Is Beverley truly unresponsive or is she being overly sedated to appear that she is unresponsive? Based on the apparently imaginary diagnosis of the lung infection used as grounds to take Ms. Finnegan against her will, it seems a fair question to ask.
Her sister and attorney have not seen the medical records, and they would really like to have a 2nd medical opinion – from a doctor who is not affiliated with the system that has caused so much harm, and a doctor who does not have a conflict of interest in the case.
The judge has given them until Friday, December 22, to find a doctor for an expert medical opinion, and Beverley’s medical records are to be given to the attorney.
Attorney Lisa Belanger of Belanger Law is well aware of the tyrannical overreach of guardianship. She is still fighting for her own father whose freedom was taken when he was medically kidnapped.
Beverley Finnegan’s life is on the line, and Janet Pidge and attorney Lisa Belanger are asking for all the help they can get to save her life. They ask for people to contact media, the governor, and legislators.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker may be reached at 617-725-4005 or contacted here. His Facebook is here. His Twitter is here.
State Representative Kay Khan may be reached at 617-722-2011 or contacted here. Her Facebook is here, and her Twitter is here.
State Senator Cynthia Creem may be reached at 617-722-1639 or contacted here. She is on Facebook here. Her Twitter is here.
The U.S. Senators for Massachusetts are Ted Markey and Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Ted Markey may be reached at 202 224 2742, or contacted here.
Senator Elizabeth Warren may be reached at 202 224 4543, or contacted here.
Attorney Lisa Siegel Belanger’s website is here. She has a great deal of information on her website about guardianship issues. Her Twitter is here.
Massachusetts Child Protective Services recently came under fire for not reporting serious harm to children in their care including rape and sexual molestation in foster homes. It appears that Adult Protective Services needs to be scrutinized as well.