Hearne’s police chief suspended without pay (he should have been fired)

KBTX reported Tuesday night that Hearne Police Chief Thomas Williams was suspended without pay, and Mayor Ruben Gomez advised the station to get a copy of a Texas Rangers investigative report to understand why.

No need to wait. You can read a redacted copy of the report by clicking here, and yes, it’s really bad.  I reported back in February that Chief Wiggum Williams admitted in federal court that he had flushed marijuana down a toilet at police headquarters. At the time, he testified that it was only marijuana, and he claimed that it was not evidence (prompting a very skeptical look from U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin). Here’s an excerpt from the report written by Ranger Steven Jeter:

I asked Chief Williams if he had any knowledge of anyone flushing drugs down HPD’s toilets. Chief Williams confessed he and Yohner [i.e., former Sgt. Stephen Yohner, a.k.a., “Sgt. Tallywaker“] flushed unknown amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs down the HPD toilet without a destruction order or without knowledge of whether the criminal cases related to the drugs were dispositioned. Chief Williams admitted that he and Yohner did not attempt to locate any case file or locate any suspect information for the now destroyed drugs. Chief Williams stated they flushed the drugs on Yohner’s last day at HPD.  According to Chief Williams, the drugs were found in a drawer located in Yohner’s desk at HPD. While flushing the drugs, the toilet clogged and a plunger was used to unclog the toilet.

The report also references rumors that Chief Williams was selling seized drugs on the street, as well as an accusation from Yohner’s ex-wife that Yohner either kept or sold drugs and evidence that he seized.  … Read more

Corrupt bar prosecutors may finally get prosecuted

The California Bar’s top attorney and its former chief disciplinary prosecutor are under investigation for professional misconduct, according to a letter that I received today.

Attorney Edward J. McIntyre of San Diego wrote in a letter dated August 12, 2018 that he was appointed special deputy trial counsel to investigate my bar grievances against seven current and former bar attorneys, including General Counsel Vanessa Holton and former Interim Chief Trial Counsel Gregory Dresser.

It’s been a long time coming.

I first blogged about corruption in the California Bar on May 9, 2016, after bar prosecutors violated the law by withholding exculpatory evidence during the prosecution of my former client.  Ironically, one of those bar prosecutors, Cydney Batchelor, had chaired the bar’s task force on prosecutorial misconduct.  In a bizarre attempt to defend herself, she admitted that she had withheld the exculpatory evidence, but her supervisors whitewashed the incident anyway.

Even though bar rules required Ms. Batchelor’s supervisors to appoint an outside attorney (like Mr. McIntyre) as special counsel, and even though I demanded a special counsel repeatedly, Ms. Batchelor’s superiors closed the case themselves.  A few months later, they reopened an old case against me that had been closed, and they sought my disbarment even though I had not been an active member of the California Bar in almost a decade. … Read more

Fifth Circuit investigates allegation that three bankruptcy judges covered up clerk’s sexual misconduct

It looks like the federal judiciary is having another #MeToo moment.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is investigating three San Antonio bankruptcy judges in response to allegations that they covered up sexual misconduct by the former court clerk and permitted retaliation against a whistleblower, according to records provided by a former employee.

In a May 14, 2018 letter to former court employee Alan Vest, a deputy clerk wrote that Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the Fifth Circuit appointed himself and two other judges, Fifth Circuit Judge Leslie H. Southwick and Northern District of Texas Judge Jane H. Boyle, to investigate the complaint that Mr. Vest filed against Chief Bankruptcy Judge Ronald B. King and Bankruptcy Judges Craig A. Gargotta and H. Christopher Mott of the Western District of Texas.

The investigation has not been reported publicly, and the three judges declined my requests for comment. The former clerk, George D. Prentice, now serves as the clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Arizona in Phoenix.

According to Mr. Vest, his troubles began almost eight years ago when he questioned the appointment of an inexperienced female candidate as head of his department. The woman originally was hired as a summer intern, then suddenly left her position without giving notice, he said.

Notwithstanding the bizarre circumstances of her departure, she was allowed to return to work a few months later, he said, then she was suddenly promoted to department head over far more experienced candidates. When he shared his concerns with Mr. Prentice that “something unseemly” had happened, Mr. Prentice became irate. … Read more

Is Judge Kyle Hawthorne trying to cover up real estate fraud by his former law firm?

In my July 9, 2018 blog post, I tried to give 85th District Court Judge Kyle Hawthorne the benefit of the doubt. It turns out he didn’t deserve it.

I learned last week that Judge Hawthorne’s favoritism toward his former law firm and law partner was far worse than I knew. In fact, I believe it merits a criminal investigation.

In a motion that I filed this afternoon, I set forth evidence suggesting that Judge Hawthorne is aiding and abetting an alleged real estate fraud that involves his former partner, Jay Goss, and his former law firm, now known as Bruchez, Goss, Thornton, Meronoff & Briers, P.C.

According to the motion, it appears that Mr. Goss, his firm and his clients have tried to defraud some of the rightful owners of approximately 100 acres south of College Station. According to the pleadings and evidence in Gregg Falcone v. The Known and Unknown Heirs of Joshua Washington, Sr., Cause No. 16-000649-CV-85, the firm prepared deeds that omit the names of many of the owners, yet those same deeds purport to transfer 100 percent interest in the property to the firm’s clients. … Read more

A case study in good-old-boy judicial corruption

Buckle up, kids. It’s time to air some dirty laundry.

First, a little background: As a practicing lawyer, I’ve had to keep my mouth shut about a lot of things. Some of it is pretty straightforward, e.g., privileged communications from my client. Other things are much murkier, e.g., deciding when to speak up about the petty corruption and political favoritism that I routinely witness in the courtroom.

If you follow this blog, you might assume that I automatically blow the whistle every time I see judicial chicanery, but I don’t. I learned years ago (and the hard way) that judges are often quick to retaliate. When I speak up, there is a strong chance that one of my clients will suffer for it. I once criticized U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston for some grossly inappropriate comments that she made in the courtroom, and 361st District Judge Steve Smith decided to avenge her by retaliating against one of my clients in a totally unrelated case in Bryan. The judiciary is a fraternity, after all, and they protect their own.

On the other hand, there comes a point when playing nice is no longer good enough, because the frat boys just keep hurting your clients in order to help their friends. I reached my boiling point last week, so today I’m going to air some dirty laundry that I’ve been sitting on for years. … Read more

Maryland high court whitewashes criminal misconduct of Hillary Clinton lawyers

Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t be surprised.

Following the lead of the D.C. Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court whitewashed the criminal misconduct of three attorneys who destroyed more than 30,000 emails while representing Hillary Clinton. In an opinion issued this morning, Chief Justice Mary Ellen Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals wrote that a lower court lacked jurisdiction to compel the Attorney Grievance Commission to investigate David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, and Heather Samuelson.

The court’s jurisdictional conclusion is a plausible one, but it cleverly sidesteps the real scandal, which is found near the beginning of the opinion: the court refused to hear my cross-petition.  Allow me to translate. When Maryland bar prosecutors appealed to the Court of Appeals (“COA”), they argued that only the COA could compel them to investigate Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills, and Ms. Samuelson. If that’s true, I responded, then the COA itself should order bar prosecutors to investigate.  The COA’s response? It simply refused to hear my argument, and it did so without any explanation.

It’s hard to win an argument when the court refuses to hear it. Furthermore, as I noted in a post last year, the COA had serious conflicts of interest because it changed the rules after the fact in response to ex parte communications with bar counsel. When I asked the judges to recuse themselves, they likewise denied that request without an explanation.

Of course, if a peon lawyer like me had intentionally destroyed evidence that was covered by Congressional and court subpoenas, he or she would have been disbarred and sent to prison (although not necessarily in that order).  But Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills, and Ms. Samuelson are covered by the Clinton protection racket, ergo they need not worry about the rules and laws that apply to mere mortals. … Read more

Why won’t Seth Rich’s brother authorize Wikileaks to tell what it knows?

It’s time to call somebody’s bluff.

On May 30, 2018, I asked lawyers representing Aaron Rich to authorize Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and Kim Dotcom to reveal what they know about payments to Mr. Rich or his brother, murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich. Those lawyers have been stonewalling ever since.

As you may recall, Mr. Rich sued my client, Ed Butowsky, as well as The Washington Times, America First Media, and Matt Couch, in D.C. federal court on March 26, 2018, claiming they defamed him with allegations that he and his brother orchestrated leaks from the DNC to Wikileaks in exchange for cash.

It seemed obvious to me that the fastest way to resolve the dispute was to authorize the people in the best position to know to tell what they know, hence my request that Mr. Rich authorize Wikileaks, et al. to speak freely. Apparently that idea struck a nerve.

On Friday evening, The Gateway Pundit, LawAndCrime.com, and Worldnetdaily broke the news that Mr. Rich’s lawyers had subpoenaed the Twitter records – including direct messages – of a number of right-leaning publications and authors. To the gullible masses, it might seem like Mr. Rich’s attorneys are aggressively trying to find the truth. In reality, it is the exact opposite: Mr. Rich’s attorneys are trying to intimidate anyone who asks inconvenient questions.

Like me, for example. My personal Twitter account was one of those covered by the subpoena. In other words, Mr. Rich’s lawyers tried to get the private communications of their opposing counsel by serving a subpoena on Twitter. … Read more

Sgt. Tallywacker rides again — hide the women and children!

A disgraced former Hearne Police Department sergeant is wearing a badge and gun again, according to records that I received today from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and it is only one example of a much larger problem.

Stephen Yohner, known on this blog as “Sgt. Tallywacker,” left Hearne PD last year amid accusations that he texted a photo of his gonads to a female officer.  He was also accused of taking money and drugs from crime scenes without properly accounting for the evidence, and he is named as a defendant in an ongoing civil rights lawsuit.  Nonetheless, he was commissioned on May 15, 2018 as a reserve officer by the police department in tiny Hico, Texas (home of the Billy the Kid Museum, as it happens).

I emailed City Administrator Adam Niolet and Police Chief Ronnie Ashmore a couple of my blog posts about Sgt. Tallywacker and asked if they knew about his history.  I received this response from Mr. Niolet:

I had no knowledge of the information you just sent over. Chief Ashmore retains the files on his reserve officers.  Chief Ashmore is on vacation but will return to duty on Monday.  I have notified him about your email.

 

I’ve got a feeling somebody will get called into the principal’s office on Monday morning.  It’s not like Sgt. Tallywacker’s reputation was a secret.  If you Google “Stephen Yohner,” a list of news articles and blog posts explains the circumstances of his departure from Hearne PD, and all of that should have shown up in any background investigation.

So how did he get hired? Did the chief not conduct a background investigation, or did he just ignore what he found? As you can see from my July 6, 2017 blog post, Sgt. Tallywacker had a shady history even before he was hired by Hearne.  … Read more

DOJ refuses to release records about Seth Rich murder

The U.S. Department of Justice will not release any records related to the murder of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to a letter that I received today from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Actually, they have refused to release any records about Seth Rich at all, e.g., whether he had a security clearance or a background check.

The same office originally refused to even search for records related to Seth Rich, but it was overruled on October 2, 2017 after I appealed to DOJ’s Office of Information Policy.  Six months later, they’re still refusing to release anything.

I have already filed suit against the FBI and DOJ to force the agencies to release records (DOJ’s answer to the lawsuit is due next Thursday), and I am not particularly surprised by the response thus far.  For one thing, the Freedom of Information Act grants broad exemptions for records pertaining to law enforcement and prosecution.

Even so, those exemptions have limits, and not everything should be protected by FOIA. I expect to show, for example, that the FBI lied by claiming that it has no records related to Seth Rich.  My sources tell me that the FBI assisted D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department in hacking some of Mr. Rich’s electronic devices, yet the FBI has refused to even search for records at its Washington Field Office, where the records would be kept. … Read more

Federal lawsuit seeks records about Seth Rich murder

This morning I filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that asks a federal judge in Brooklyn to order the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to release records concerning the murder of former Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich.

Back in October, I wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice ordering the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. to release records about the murder, but since that time not a single record has been produced.  Around the same time, the FBI refused to search for records in its Washington Field Office, even though that is where the records are most likely to be found.  The lawsuit notes that the FBI has a history of trying to hide records from FOIA requestors and Congress.

I also asked the court to order the National Security Administration to release all of its communications with members of Congress regarding Seth Rich, Julian Assange, and Kim Dotcom, among others.

As you are probably aware, Mr. Rich’s parents filed suit this week against Fox News, producer Malia Zimmerman, and frequent guest Ed Butowsky.  I think that was a serious tactical error.  All of the defendants now have the legal right to subpoena documents and witnesses, and you can be sure they will use that power aggressively. … Read more