About jmdenison

Patent and Trademark Attorney practicing in Chicago, Illinois accepting clients nationwide. We also do trademarks, general intellectual property and business litigation. See our website at www.DenisonLaw.com. Now suspended for 3 years by the Illinois Atty Regn and Disciplinary Commission for blogging about corruption and telling truths that the ARDC wants to cover up. Still a patent agent, tho.

From FB: Govt takes babies from women who home birth in State of Washington

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.

Erica May 1

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.

See Also:

Why are Medical Professionals who Deliver Babies in Hospitals Choosing to have their Own Babies at Home?

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From FB: MD killed a score+ of elderly patients with overdoses at end of life

doesn’t this happen frequently in probate?

https://news.yahoo.com/news/prosecutor-discuss-doctor-accused-ordering-135651694.html

Doctor accused of murder in 25 patient overdose deaths

KANTELE FRANKO

Associated Press
Authorities say a patient has died amid an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease
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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.

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This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the doctor’s name to Husel in one instance, instead of Hussel.

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Follow Franko on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kantele10 .

From Eliz. Avery on FB: Harrowing tale of corrupt CPS

From Joanne;

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!!!!

From CLS: Handy Guide to Public Corruption Statutes–Bribery, Fraud, RICO, etc.

https://www.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/public-integrity/a_guide_to_commonly_used_federal_statutes_in_public_corruption_cases.pdf

The Federal Bribery Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)
A. Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 201(b):
Whoever—
(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;
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. . . 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
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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).
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Gratuites, 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)
A) Relevant statutory language:
18 U.S.C. § 201(c):
Whoever—
(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).
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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
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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
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(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).
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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 . . . .
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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
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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).
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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.
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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—
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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).
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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

From MK: Betty Finnegan, age 79, medical kidnapped and placed into gship and nursing home against her will, then drugged, now near death

June 5, 2019

Active Senior Medically Kidnapped from her Home and Forced onto Drugs in Nursing Home Now Near Death

Beverly_Finnegan-768x576

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.

Lonnie Brennan, reporter for the Boston Broadside, writes:

Hmm, they tell her she has an ailment which they don’t treat her for, and she’s the paranoid one?

Sisters Forever

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.

Beverly Finnegan- Christmas party

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.

Beverly Finnegan order

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.

Photo -Beverly Finnegan Sr. Tech

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.

Beverly_Finnegan_prior_w

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.

See:

Massachusetts Senior Citizen and Attorney Medically Kidnapped – Estate Plundered – Represents National Epidemic

Belanger Tweeted about Beverley’s case:

https://twitter.com/BelangerLaw/status/943114859482316800

How You Can Help

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.

Comment on this article at MedicalKidnap.com.

From FB: Sharing food in public parks covered under 1st Amendment says 11 Cir.

In a colorful decision that managed to invoke the Boston Tea Party, Lady Macbeth and Jesus of Nazareth, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that feeding the homeless is “expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.” The decision revives a challenge brought by a local chapter of Food Not Bombs, which sued Fort Lauderdale, Florida for requiring a permit to share food in public parks.

Thanks to the city’s ordinance, Fort Lauderdale has become infamous for cracking down on compassion. In 2014, police arrested a 90-year-old man and two ministers who were simply trying to share food with the homeless.

“We are very pleased with this ruling, and we look forward to continuing our community organizing in Fort Lauderdale,” Nathan Pim, a member of Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs and a plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. “We hope we are one step closer to something we’ve fought for over many years—simply being able to help people without being threatened with arrest by people who should be working with us.”

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – NOVEMBER 12: A Fort Lauderdale Police Officer watches as Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old chef, carries food to be dished out to the homeless in violation of a recently passed city law on November 12, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The city said they passed the ordinance which tightens restrictions on outdoor feedings in public spaces for sanitary and security reason, but Mr. Abbott continued to feed the homeless in a city park where he has twice been cited for violating the new ordinance. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Every week at Stranahan Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Food Not Bombs offers free vegetarian and vegan meals to the public. Although many of the participants at these events are homeless individuals, Food Not Bombs is not a charity.

Originally started in the early 1980s by anti-nuclear activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Food Not Bombs protests war and poverty. Today, this network of social justice pacifists claims over 5,000 chapters worldwide. Writing for the court, Judge Adalberto Jordan explained that for the Fort Lauderdale chapter, “providing food in a visible public space” is “an act of political solidarity meant to convey the organization’s message.”

But in October 2014, Fort Lauderdale enacted an ordinance that bans sharing food in public parks, unless the hosts obtain a “conditional use permit” from the city. Event organizers also must comply with the city’s regulations for “social services facilities,” which cover “outdoor food distribution centers…used to furnish meals to members of the public without cost or at a very low cost.”

In February 2015, Food Not Bombs sued the city, claiming that the ordinance and associated park rule violated their right to free speech and free association, and were “unconstitutionally vague.” A year later, a federal district court dismissed their case, and held that their food sharing events were outside the scope of the First Amendment because they did not convey a “particularized message.”

But the Supreme Court rejected that line of reasoning more than two decades ago. In its 1995 decision, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, the High Court ruled that Massachusetts could not force veterans organizing a St. Patrick’s Day parade to include gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.

Writing for a unanimous court, Justice David Souter remarked that “the Constitution looks beyond written or spoken words as mediums of expression” and that “a narrow, succinctly articulable message is not a condition of constitutional protection.”

If the First Amendment were “confined to expressions conveying a ‘particularized message,’” Souter argued, then the Constitution “would never reach the unquestionably shielded painting of Jackson Pollock, music of Arnold Schoenberg, or Jabberwocky verse of Lewis Carroll.”

With that as precedent, the 11th Circuit ruled that to determine if an activity is expressive or not, “we ask whether the reasonable person would interpret it as some sort of message, not whether an observer would necessarily infer a specific message.” So for the Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs case, “the circumstances surrounding an event often help set the dividing line between activity that is sufficiently expressive and similar activity that is not.”

As Judge Jordan noted, walking or sitting down aren’t usually considered “expressive conduct,” but they certainly convey a message in the context of a picket line, a parade, or a sit-in. Likewise, when viewed in their full context, the Food Not Bombs events are “more than a picnic in the park.”

Since the chapter’s events are open to the public, occur against a backdrop of controversial homeless policies in Fort Lauderdale, take place near city government buildings, and involve “tables and banners (including one with its logo) and distribut[ing] literature,” the court concluded that a “reasonable observer would interpret its food sharing events as conveying some sort of message.”

“History may have been quite different had the Boston Tea Party been viewed as mere dislike for a certain brew and not a political protest against the taxation of the American colonies without representation,” Jordan wrote.

Having ruled that Food Not Bombs does  have a First Amendment right to share food, the 11th Circuit sent the case back down to the lower court to determine if the city’s ordinance violates those rights. The City of Fort Lauderdale did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The court’s opinion recognized sharing food with another human being is one of the oldest forms of human expression,” said Kirsten Anderson, litigation director at the Southern Legal Counsel and lead attorney on the case. “We think this decision strengthens our message to cities across the country that they need to invest in constructive solutions to homelessness instead of wasting government resources on punishing people who seek to offer aid.”

Hat tip to the Short Circuit newsletter from the Institute for Justice.

Follow the Institute for Justice on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m a writer and legislative analyst at the Institute for Justice (IJ), a public interest law firm. As a member of IJ’s Communications team, I regularly write opeds and …

From FB: Disabled man with TBI cries when told French court has ordered sedatives for him and food and water withheld.

Just freaking disgusting. This is actually a young man. The Vatican has spoken out against this crime. Where is the US?  The UN has already decided this is a serious crime.  Goddess bless this family

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/france-begins-starvation-of-vincent-lambert-as-11th-hour-appeals-to-save-him-fail

France begins starvation of Vincent Lambert as 11th-hour appeals to save him fail

May 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Vincent Lambert, France’s Terri Schiavo, was placed in an “end-of-life” process early on Monday morning, May 20, in defiance of the repeated request of the U.N.’s Committee for the Rights of Disabled Persons (CRPD), and of natural law that prohibits the deliberate killing of a human being. His hydration and feeding tube was pulled, and he was given deep sedation that is legally required to be maintained until death.

Vincent Lambert is expected to die — primarily of thirst — within a few days.

The procedure was initiated by Dr Vincent Sanchez of the University Hospital of Reims, contrary to his commitment, without warning his family. Vincent’s mother, Viviane, was not even given the chance to say goodbye to her son, for whose life she has been fighting since the first unsuccessful attempt to make him die by starvation in April 2013.

She saw Vincent for the last time on Sunday evening, following a public demonstration in front of the Reims hospital asking Dr Sanchez to stay execution and to respect the CRPD.

An emotional video of that last encounter was broadcast on the internet: it shows Vincent crying while his mother tells him how little hope was left.

All last-minute attempts to save Vincent failed, including a public letter from Viviane Lambert to President Emmanuel Macron and a massive phoning campaign to the Elysée, the présidential palace.

On May 18, Bishop Pierre d’Ornellas and other bishops and religious specialists of ethical issues published a mixed statement regretting that Vincent Lambert should be deprived of water and food but at the same time suggesting that the doctors who wanted to apply the procedure should “explain” their position better.

They wrote: “From an ethical point of view, it would be good if the conscience of citizens were not disturbed either by the unexplained decision suggesting that Mr. Vincent Lambert was led to his death, or by the failure to respect the word given by the State in signing the International Convention.”

On this Monday morning, Jean Paillot and Jérôme Triomphe filed two criminal complaints for “non-assistance to a person in danger,” asking substantial damages from Dr Sanchez and the hospital director.

But even if this should lead to a reversal of the process, a big question remains: what sort of sedation was given to Vincent, and can its effects be reversed?

The John Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family is holding its second public event in Rome on the theme of “Brain Death.” All the participants prayed for Vincent Lambert and his family.

 

Please pray for him and his family. The judges in this case should be imprisoned for murder.  jmho

Joanne