|Robert Vance Jr.|
Just when you think our "justice system" can't get any uglier, up pops a case like William B. Cashion and Western Steel Inc. v. Steven Mark Hayden, et al (Case No. CV-2012-209). After pondering some of the sordid details in this case, you might feel compelled to cleanse yourself with an industrial strength shower. (See key documents in Part 1 and Part 2 of a renewed motion for recusal, at the end of this post.)
Where to begin? Well, let's start with evidence of attempted bribery. From page 8 of Part 1 in the recusal motion:
At some point the office of Judge Robert Vance received cash from Western Steel and/or William Cashion.
Defendant Steven Mark Hayden (“Hayden”) was asked about his knowledge of these funds. Hayden testified that he knew only what he was told by Defendant, Frankie Cashion (“Frankie”). . . .
Hayden later filed a motion with the Court requesting disclosure regarding the bribe. . . .
From the deposition it is clear that Plaintiffs’ counsel had information regarding the details of this bribe.
Vance admits in the record that cash came his way--and yet, he has resisted all requests for him to step down from the case. Exhibits 8-11 in Part 2 of the recusal motion provide key evidence. From the motion:
At a subsequent hearing Judge Vance was asked about the aforementioned cash. . . . Judge Vance revealed that he had transmitted the funds to the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified as well.
Now we know that the bribery issue is serious enough for the FBI to be on alert--and the funds apparently came from the plaintiffs--but defendants are supposed to feel good about their chances of fair treatment in the case?
More details about the apparent bribe can be found in Exhibit 12. (See pages 31-33 of Exhibit 12 in Part 2 of the recusal motion below.) Vance says he received $500--five $100 bills--in an envelope that was sent to his home, apparently from Western Steel Inc. Vance described the envelope as "suspicious" and turned it over to authorities, who apparently have opened no case on the matter.
Plaintiff William B. Cashion is co-founder of Bessemer-based Western Steel Inc., and the record suggests he has a history of bribing public officials. Evidence includes an e-mail from Malcolm "Sandy" Wadsworth, one of Cashion's business associates, who says Cashion never has intended to use legitimate legal process in court cases that grew from his questionable investments in an Alabama gold mine.
The Wadsworth e-mail can be found as Exhibit A in Part 1 of the recusal motion below, and it says in part:
The Cashion team was completely against any peace discussions, they are happy with war, they are eager to fight and bent on destroying Mark Hayden in a Jefferson County Circuit Court. . . . (It was suggested that the deck is strongly stacked in Mr. Cashion’s favor in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Mr. Cashion has bragged to the Wadsworths about how he has influenced Judges to rule in his favor during two previous court battles. He also told the Wadsworths that this is what you have to do if you desire to win in an Alabama Court.)
The Wadswoth e-mail goes on to state:
“The Cashion team is not playing fair and [is] bent on destruction … Mr. Cashion believes in the divine right of money and he believes because he has it he can do whatever he wants, no matter the cost to others.”
Consider some of the disturbing language in the Wadsworth e-mail:
* "Mr. Cashion believes in the divine right of money . . . "
* "[Cashion] also told the Wadsworths that this is what you have to do if you desire to win in an Alabama court case."
Is William B. Cashion trying to "buy justice" in Judge Robert Vance Jr.'s court room? It sure looks that way, but that is not the most disturbing aspect of this case. Mr. Cashion is well into his 80s, he is a private citizen, and court documents suggest he might not be of sound mind.
But that is not the case with Robert Vance Jr. He is an elected official who appears to be Cashion's enabler. Vance is using public resources to subvert the 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection.
William B. Cashion might be an old, mean-spirited, guy, but the public's main concern should be with the actions of Judge Robert Vance Jr.
(To be continued)
Previously in the series:
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr. Faces Lawsuit Seeking $25 Million in Damages (May 20, 2013)
Federal Lawsuit Claims AL Judge Robert Vance Jr. Favors Large Law Firm That Backs Him Financially (May 30, 2013)
With $25 Million Federal Lawsuit As A Backdrop, Judge Robert Vance Jr. Resists Calls For His Recusal (June 20, 2013)
Federal Court Cites Immunity In Granting Dismissal Of A $25-Million Federal Lawsuit Against Judge Robert Vance (July 8, 2013)