Thursday, August 9, 2007

Financial Terrorists Ride Again

Let's return to the subject of financial terrorism. That's the term I coined to describe the efforts of the corrupt judges and attorneys involved in the Legal Schnauzer case.

I'm quite sure no one named Osama works in the Shelby County Courthouse in Columbiana, Alabama. But judges J. Michael Joiner, G. Dan Reeves, and Ron Jackson seem to operate like a well-known "Osama." These judges, in conjunction with their attorney cronies, figuratively flew an airplane into my financial picture, causing widespread destruction.

I noted in a recent post that, thanks to these financial terrorists, my wife and I have received communications from Ingram & Associates LLC, a Birmingham debt-collection law firm. The kind folks at Ingram & Associates LLC informed me that they had been hired by their client, American Express, to sue me. As a courtesy, they were contacting me in an effort to resolve the debt that they claimed I owed to their client, American Express. Absent a resolution, I could expect to be sued by their client, American Express.

My case, however, presents a bit of a problem for the charmers who work at Ingram & Associates LLC, at least if they intend to follow the rules of the Alabama State Bar.

Angie Ingram is described on the firm's Web site as "shareholder." Evidently she is the firm's chief attorney. That gives her a big responsibility when she is presented with evidence of professional misconduct by another lawyer or a judge.

Rule 8.3 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct states: "A lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of Rule 8.4 shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation."

Rule 8.4 lists seven specific forms of conduct that must be reported. Among the seven forms, the rule states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

* Commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

* Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;

* Knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable Canons of Judicial Ethics or other law . . .

Lawyers in the Legal Schnauzer case repeatedly violated these three tenets of Rule 8.4 (and the other four, for that matter.) You can read Rules 8.3 and 8.4 in their entirety.

The heart of the matter is summed up in the Comment to Rule 8.3:

"Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. . . . A lawyer is obliged to report every violation of the Rules. The failure to report a violation would itself be a professional offense."

So you see, at least on paper, the Alabama State Bar considers this a serious matter--and a serious obligation for Ms. Ingram.

My wife and I both informed Ms. Ingram's associates that any debt we allegedly owed was the result of criminal behavior by multiple Alabama judges and attorneys. In fact, a woman named Tracey Mize told me that this information already was in my file because my wife had shared it with her the previous evening. In other words, the information already was in Angie Ingram's possession.

"If in fact we are behind on payments to American Express," I told Ms. Mize, "it is because huge chunks of our personal funds were essentially stolen by Alabama judges and lawyers." I cited the specific law they had violated, 18 U.S. Code 1346 (honest services mail fraud).

I went on to inform Ms. Mize that an attorney who has knowledge of a crime committed by another lawyer or judge is obligated to report it. She admitted that she was aware of this.

But when I helpfully pointed out that this includes Angie Ingram, Ms. Mize was less than enthused.

Does Ingram & Associates LLC take seriously its obligations under the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct? More on that coming up.

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