Monday, October 23, 2017

Missouri public defender system, which is handling Carol's "assault on a cop" case, is so slammed with work that it can't take on new Greene Co. murder case


Jeremy Lynn
The Missouri public defender's office that is handling my wife Carol's "assault of a law enforcement officer" case says it is too busy to take on a recent Greene County murder case.

Rod Hackathorn, head of the public defender's office in Springfield, sent a letter to the court last week, saying his staff is handling such heavy caseloads that they cannot take on the case of Dameon Clinghan, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 7 killing of Tyler Rambo. The public defender's office has sent several such letters recently, stating that its office is violating Missouri Supreme Court rules because of excessive caseloads.

How does that make us feel about the quality of Carol's representation? Not very good. Missouri has the second most poorly funded public defender's system in the country, which is one reason Carol was not anxious to have the system represent her. In fact, Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto pretty much forced Carol to fill out a PD application.

Funding woes certainly are a major factor behind the overwhelming caseloads. But our experiences suggest other factors are in play:

(1) Corrupt cops and prosecutors don't help -- Carol's case is a classic "cover charge," designed to thwart her efforts to achieve civil justice for the police brutality that left her with a shattered left arm. The case never should have been brought because even the alleged "victim," Officer Jeremy Lynn, admits he caused contact with Carol, not the other way around -- meaning she could not have assaulted him, under Missouri law. But Sheriff Jim Arnott, who was on the scene for our eviction, stood five feet away as his officers body slammed Carol butt-first to the ground, yanking viciously on her arms, and verbally stated, "She assaulted a police officer." In other words, the police brutality was so obvious and disturbing that Arnott felt the need to concoct a "cover charge" on the spot.

Prosecutor Dan Patterson waited until the last day before the one-year statute of limitations ran out, to file charges based on Arnott's bogus claims. Talk about collusion.

A reasonable assumption would be that Arnott and Patterson are aware the public defender's office is overwhelmed. And a citizen might think, knowing that, the sheriff and PA would bring only cases that had at least a whiff of merit. But dumping bogus cases like Carol's on a system that already is struggling to stay afloat, just makes the situation worse -- and it is a disservice to Missouri taxpayers.

(2) Calcified judges don't help -- As we've reported previously, Judge Palmietto has made correct rulings and asked probing questions that indicate she has the integrity and intellect to handle Carol's case properly. But we don't understand why the judge is acting so slowly. If the public defender's caseload is excessive, one can assume judges' dockets also are overloaded. You'd think that might motivate Palmietto to dismiss the charges -- especially since Carol, while acting pro se,  filed documents in March, April, and May that, by law, should have forced the charges to be dropped months ago. Palmietto has stated in court that she is aware those motions have been filed, but we've seen no sign that she has considered them. Since Carol's injuries were disclosed in court about a month ago, Palmietto has made statements indicating she suspects the charges against Carol are bogus. So, why hasn't she considered motions that are on the docket, make the lawful ruling to dismiss the charges, and do everyone in a swamped system (including herself) a favor?

(3) Public defenders themselves sometimes don't help -- Patty Poe, Carol's attorney, is one of those overwhelmed public defenders. So why does Poe seem reluctant to have Carol's case dismissed. She repeatedly has discussed with us various options for the case going to trial. But the case, by law, can't go to trial. Carol has spelled out for her five or six grounds upon which the charges must be dropped, but Poe seems reluctant to take action on them.

Poe does seem willing to do at least a limited amount of discovery, which we appreciate, and it has yielded some valuable information. But discovery, which is for producing facts, should not be necessary because this case must be dismissed as a matter of law. Poe, in her own self interest, should want Carol's case booted ASAP. So, why hasn't she taken action?

It should not be hard. As already noted, the so-called "victim" has made statements in writing to show that Carol did not assault him -- as the offense is defined under Missouri law. Will Poe file the appropriate motion? She hasn't yet, but she soon will receive pressure from us to do just that.

Bottom line: Inadequate funding is a major cause of what has been described as a "constitutional crisis" with Missouri's PD system. But members of the "justice system" contribute to the problem by bringing bogus cases and allowing them to linger much longer than they should on the docket -- even when facts and law plainly show they must be dismissed.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of stuff that usually happens in Alabama. Thanks to Missouri for helping us look good, for a change.

legalschnauzer said...

I've said this before, but it gives me a chuckle, so I'll repeat: The southern half of Missouri -- below KC, Columbia, and StL -- is just Alabama with snowballs.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the Missouri PDs ask Jeff Sessions for enhanced federal funding? I'm sure that will work.

Anonymous said...

With the system so slammed, they'll probably try to pressure Carol into taking a plea.

legalschnauzer said...

@2:05 --

They've already offered a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS), which was rejected in about .00001 seconds. If they think Carol will plead guilty to something she didn't do -- which their own "victim" says she didn't do -- they are out of their minds. Why?

(1) Carol is not prone to taking the blame for something she didn't do; neither am I;

(2) If Carol were prone to plead guilty, she would have to climb over my dead body to do it;

(3) This is Roger talking -- not Carol -- but Carol will go to jail before she cops a plea in this case.

(4) Neither of us is prone to letting bad actors get away with abusing us. We soon will be filing a federal lawsuit for the wrongs Missouri cops, lawyers, and a landlord have committed against us.

Anonymous said...

I would think there would be plenty of trial lawyers just waiting to get a piece of the government money. Have you considered going that route to get some civil action----then hire a seasoned defense attorney to handle this case.
just my two cents.

legalschnauzer said...

@2:26 --

We are considering all options, including the one you mention. The challenge is that our civil claim is not just about government money. It also is about a landlord and multiple lawyers who are liable. We've talked with several lawyers who have no problem suing the cops, but they want to let the other parties (especially the lawyers) skate. We're not looking to let anyone skate. Many lawyers want to protect their own, so that's a challenge we are facing.

e.a.f. said...

some times it is all about the money. If the P>D. office doesn't continue with this politically motivated arrest/trial, we don't really know what could happen. there is an agenda here and it has little to do with justice. For the defendant's lawyer, who is part of the public "justice" system. to move for dismissal may have a negative impact on her organization. the judge may be under similar constraints. I don't know who provides security in court houses in Missouri, but if its the police, then who knows how slow they could be the next time there is a problem in the judge's court room.

It maybe that some want the trial to play out so the police dept. can be exposed, but this is a stretch.

Given the free enterprise attitude of Americans it is interesting they don't hire outside lawyers for major cases such as murder. In British Columbia if there is a huge case, private lawyers have to take the case and they negotiate their fees with the provincial governments, well the A.G's office. There have also been cases where defendants hire lawyers, trial is so long and complicated, the defendants run out of money to pay the lawyers, so the government takes over. Sometimes those lawyers will make a couple of million if the trial is long and complicated.

If the law says they have to provide defense, then there must be a belief that defendants deserve adequate representation. therefore over worked lawyers aren't providing the defense the Constitution/Supreme Court envisioned.

Perhaps a class action suit on behalf of defendants who felt they didn't get a defense worth the time.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Thanks for a great comment. All the way up in Canada, you have a good sense of what's going on here in the Heartland. I think all the possibilities you mention could be in play with Carol's case. The key word you mention is "agenda." Someone has one that caused this case to be brought. Perhaps they thought Carol would fold, but I think they see now that's not going to happen, so perhaps they are rethinking this thing. Re: courthouse security, the sheriff's office is in the courthouse, and deputies provide security. They are all over the place. It has crossed my mind, as it has yours, that this might be dragging out in order to unmask the sheriff's office. But I think that is unlikely, given the fact these folks all tend to be part of the same tribe.

I do think there are connections from Alabama to Missouri, and uncovering that might be the key to the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Your insistence that Carol go to jail before working out a deal where she will not only not be incarcerated but the verdict eventually vacated is the most supremely selfish thing I have ever heard you say. She has been martyr enough to your delusions. You have remarked on her occasional confusion and Inabilitynto make herself understood. I think the attorney and judge need to know about the pressure you intend to put on your wife if she should ever disagree with you, and appoint a guardian for her as well as a lawyer.

legalschnauzer said...

You're the same clown who claims to know what "caused contact" means? Don't think I'll be taking advice from you, legal or otherwise.

I've said multiple times here that this case can't go to trial, by law, so going to jail cannot be an issue. Of course, I know courts can be corrupt, and if someone thinks they can get away with corrupt actions by threatening Carol with jail time . . . my view is that's not going to work, and they had best rethink. If you want to know Carol's thoughts, you can ask her; she has the same contact info as I do.

You seem to have no concern that the system in Greene County might be corrupt, which suggests to me that you are part of it.

I don't recall remarking on Carol having confusion or inability to make herself understood, but if I did, it probably was in the context of GCSO deputies giving her a concussion that has gone untreated. But I guess she is supposed to say it was her fault that her head was banged against a wall?

As for your last sentence, that is so laughable to almost be off the charts. No. 1, you are putting words in my mouth I didn't say. No. 2, I think maybe the judge and attorney need to be a bit more concerned with corrupt sheriffs and prosecutors who bring bogus charges to protect their own asses. No. 3, Carol has a mind of her own, and she isn't a martyr for me or anyone else. Again, if you want to know what she thinks, you are welcome to contact her.

Anonymous said...

You should fire Poe and insist on going forward pro se. You actually have a better handle on the law and the court system than Poe or most lawyers do. It's obvious.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:58 --

Well, I can only represent myself pro se, and Carol is the defendant in this matter. Even though she's my wife, I can't represent her. Nice little trick the legal lobby came up with to prevent competition from regular citizens, I guess. And yet, when you hire a lawyer, they often won't do the job they've been hired to do. Catch-22.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:58. You could just ghostwrite for her. You've proven yourself absolutely competent (moreso than most lawyers) to defend yourself against the powers that are trying to silence you.

legalschnauzer said...

If they had beaten me up, and broken my arm, and brought bogus "assault" charges against me, I could represent myself. But they chose to beat up, Carol, and bring bogus charges against her, so I can't represent her. I'm not a party to the case.

As an aside, I think it's possible Carol was targeted for that very reason. It's possible whoever is behind this knew I had represented myself in court and had at least some experience and comfort with it (although it's still a hard thing to do, and I would rather have representation from a competent/honest attorney, if one exists). Carol doesn't have that experience, so the idea of representing herself is more unappealing to her than it is to me. Even so, she still might wind up representing herself -- depending on how Ms. Poe conducts herself moving forward. It's also possible that Carol will find a private attorney to represent her.

Carol has several options. In my view, pleading guilty to something she didn't do is not one of them, and that will not happen.