Friday, March 26, 2010
03262010 - Attorney John Rhame - Filing Lazy Judge Rule against Johnson not in best interest - Johnson's failure to issue property settlement order - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation
03262010 - Attorney John Rhame's refusal to file Lazy Judge Rule - Magistrate Johnson's failure to issue property settlement order - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation
03262010 - Indiana Judiciary Commission notified - Magistrate Johnson's failure to issue final divorce settlement rulings - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation
|Subject:||How long does a Judge have to issue a final ruling?|
|Date:||Fri, Mar 26, 2010 8:47 am|
Is there a time limit in which a Judge must issue a ruling on a divorce property settlement? My divorce was finalized in September 2008. The property settlement hearing was not held until January 2010. And now I am being told that Magistrate Johnson may take up to a year to make a final ruling on my property settlement. How long can the court drag out my divorce? Can they drag it out indefinately, in the hopes that I will just go away without a penny?
Silence: the number one killer of victims of officer involved domestic violence.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
03162010 - News Article - Pastrick judgment could foster others - Public corruption case a model, law professor says - ROBERT CANTRELL
Pastrick judgment could foster others
Public corruption case a model, law professor says
March 16, 2010
The $108 million judgment against former East Chicago mayor Robert Pastrick in Indiana's landmark racketeering lawsuit could be the start of a trend, says Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey.
Civil racketeering lawsuits could be used to win massive settlements from crooked politicians and to cripple political machines, much in the way the racketeering cases have been used to break up mob organizations and corrupt unions, said Blakey, who helped write the federal racketeering law and drafted the state's lawsuit against Pastrick.
The case was a first, Blakey said, but it should not be the last of its kind.
"It took 40 years for anybody to bring this kind of suit, but it finally happened," Blakey said. "Now we have a precedent. If you steal it, you have to give it back."
That precedent could easily be applied to former Illinois governors George Ryan or Rod Blagojevich, Blakey said. Or to incumbent East Chicago Mayor George Pabey, who was indicted in February by federal prosecutors who allege he had city workers renovate a home he owns in Gary.
"This establishes the principal of liability. It can be used in every other situation," Blakey said. "Why hasn't the attorney general in Illinois gone after George Ryan? I don't know."
A spokesman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan did not return a call from the Post-Tribune.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organization statute, or RICO, was the foundation of the civil lawsuit against Pastrick and co-defendants James Fife III and Frank Kollintzas. It was created in the 1970s to prosecute complex organized criminal enterprises.
A civil lawsuit such as the East Chicago RICO case won't end in jail time for a defendant, but it does allow the plaintiff -- a city, county or state -- to recover damages equal to three times the amount stolen or misused.
"This is exactly what RICO was intended to do," Blakey said. "There are still political machines in lots of cities."
One advantage a civil prosecution has over a criminal one is that a lower burden of proof is required in a civil case. In criminal cases, a jury must find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But civil cases require a lower standard of guilt, and that a preponderance of evidence shows the defendant did what is alleged.
Tried on the criminal charge of murder in criminal court, O.J. Simpson was acquitted. Facing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court, he was found liable and ordered to pay $35 million to the families of his victims.
Valparaiso attorney Bryan Truitt, whose clients include public corruption defendants Robert Cantrell, Roosevelt Powell and former Pastrick administration official Ed Maldonado, said he supports civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutions."But I don't think you're going to see the government getting paid these massive judgment amounts," said Truitt, who said Maldonado settled out of the Pastrick RICO case without paying part of the $108 million because he already was ordered to pay $24 million in restitution from his criminal conviction.
"Going to any great expense by the government to get a huge judgment no one is going to pay would be pointless," Truitt said. "But they're going to be better able to pay if they're not in jail."
Sunday, March 14, 2010
|Subject:||PPO EXTENSION REQUEST|
|Date:||Sun, Mar 14, 2010 1:24 pm|
|Attachments:||RICE1.jpg (1209K), RICE2.jpg (622K), SEPT_18A.jpg (1674K), SEPT_18B.jpg (1320K)|
Judge Julia Jent,
Since you issued me my first PPO against my ex husband [James Thomas] in August 2007, I thought you might want to know what happened with my case. I remember you stating how afraid you were for me.
Attached is a letter to Judge Thode, requesting that the PPO against my ex [from his criminal case] be extended. Yes, three years after my first escape from my abuser I am still stuck in Indiana.
Margie from the Prosecutor's Office Crime Victim Unit, informed me that there is a judiciary board, that reviews dv divorce cases, in an effort to improve the system in Porter County. How would I go about getting my divorce case reviewed by the board? The mistakes in my case illustrate the issues that need to be addressed by courts if they are going to insure the safety of victims.
For instance, were you aware that Attorney Donald Rice informs his dv victims that they cannot relocate during a divorce? How dangerous is that? But don't take my word for it. I've enclosed a letter from Rice informing me I could not relocate.
And the reason I'm still here in Indiana, within grasp of the abusing ex? I blew the whistle on attorneys not adhering to Local Court Rule 2100. But don't take my word for it. I've enclosed the court order vacating my property settlement due to Attorneys Rice and Shaw not adhering to Rule 2100.
Thank you for your time,
RE: Criminal case #64D06-0808-CM-8254 [James Clarence Thomas].
Could you please extend my PPO, as my ex will be released from probation on March 21, 2010.
I will not have the funds to relocate home to Michigan [and be safe from my ex / James Thomas] until Magistrate Johnson issues the property settlement in our divorce case. However, I have been informed that Magistrate Johnson may take from 6-12 months to issue my property settlement. Thus I will be ‘stuck’ in Indiana until the end of 2010, and I am terrified that my ex will kill me, during that time.
An audio tape of one of my ex’s violent attacks against me is enclosed in the criminal case file for this case. It will demonstrate to you why I am terrified of my ex, and have every reason to believe he will kill me. Also, the audio from my original PPO ex-parte hearing, [Judge Julia Jent. August 03, 2007], will give you more insight into how dangerous my ex is, and my need for the PPO to be extended.
Right now, I am so terrified of my ex, that I am doing everything possible to get away from him / return home to Michigan. However, since my ex is not paying his maintenance [Attorney Shaw stated after court in January 2010 that he had advised my ex not to pay the maintenance / my ex was approximately $20,000 in arrears at that time]; I am unemployed; I have no vehicle; and I have no property settlement, fleeing to safety is very difficult for me. My hands are tied here.
Desperate to escape my ex, I will be in Michigan this week. An attorney friend of mine is reviewing my divorce case, to see what other legal action I can take, so I can have the marital funds to escape my abuser ASAP [instead of waiting 6-12 months on Magistrate Johnson].
My divorce case is riddled with both court and attorney mistakes. In September 2008, I exposed that attorneys were not adhering to Porter County Local Court Rule 2100. Magistrate Johnson vacated my property settlement on the grounds the attorneys did not adhere to Rule 2100, and on points concerning their dishonesty. However, Magistrate Johnson failed to report either attorney to the proper authorities, or report their possible violation of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct [Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct RULE 2.15: Responding to Judicial and Lawyer Misconduct ].
Attorney Shaw continued to represent my ex in the divorce case, and he used the divorce to retaliate against me for blowing the whistle on the loophole attorneys were using to get around Rule 2100. Attorney Shaw’s questionable retaliatory actions left me with no funds to escape my ex and greatly increased my danger.
My hands are tied. The things that my ex and Attorney Shaw have been able to get away with in this divorce case are mind boggling. I have never felt so hopeless in my life. I have never felt so terrified. I have never felt so frustrated that I know my life is in danger and no one cares. Here I am fighting to get out of Indiana and away from my ex, and I am trapped by an attorney and a court system.
There is no one here in Indiana that will help me. I am convinced, after what I have endured in the Porter County divorce court system, that there is no escape from an abuser. If anything, the divorce has only endangered my life more, instead of assisting me in escaping safely. That is why I have to turn to an attorney in Michigan to get me out of here alive.
In May 2007, my ex abused me for the last time. In June 2007 I escaped my abuser and returned home to Michigan. I was working on Michigan officer involved domestic violence legislation; I had job offers. In August 2007, Attorney Donald Rice informed me that I did not have a right to move home to Michigan / escape my abuser during an Indiana divorce. This is how unsafe it is for victims of dv in Porter County. Were you aware that attorneys in your county were preventing victims of domestic violence from escaping their abusers?
Because of this, I need the PPO against my ex [James Clarence Thomas] extended until a Michigan attorney can figure out how to get me out of here safely.
Thank you for your time,
Silence: the number one killer of victims of officer involved domestic violence.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
MARK KIESLING: Cantrell shows no sign of rehabilitation
Mar 7, 2010
Ideally, prison is meant to rehabilitate an offender for release into society. Failing that, its purpose is to punish an offender for a crime of which he or she has been convicted.
If that's true, prison is not working so well in the case of Bob Cantrell.
Oh, it's working all right for him. It's just not working that all right for us, the residents of the region who were betrayed by his political shenanigans, in which he steered clients to an addiction rehab program. The program, in turn, paid him a finder's fee, although finding the clients was about as hard as finding a rhinoceros in a phone booth.
If you missed Times sports columnist Al Hamnik's fine exclusive interview with Cantrell, try to find a Friday paper either online, at the library or in your recycling bin. It's well worth the read and leaves one with the distinct impression Cantrell is being neither rehabilitated nor punished.
Cantrell was convicted of defrauding taxpayers in North Township, where he worked, by steering drug and alcohol offenders to Addiction and Family Counseling, run by Nancy Fromm, who testified she paid Cantrell a fee for each client he could turn up.
"I don't feel I was guilty. They put me in here because a woman said she gave me some money," Cantrell told Hamnik. "Other than that, I'm not embarrassed. I know deep down in my heart it's not true."
Well, OK, a federal jury and judge felt otherwise. But that's what an appeals court is for.
Asked how tough life is in the low-security Federal Correctional Center in Ashland, Ky., he said it is "more like what I would call a retirement home" than a prison. But he said he is not planning on retiring from Lake County politics.
"I'm not going to run away from (politics)," he said. "That's what may have got me here, but I've got a lot of friends out there."
One of his closest political students has been County Coroner Tom Philpot, who once gave credit to Cantrell for getting Philpot elected county clerk. Cantrell said he feels he will be "missed" in the race for sheriff, in which Philpot is a contender.
OK, just to be sure I've got it straight, convicted federal felon Bob Cantrell says his input will be missed in the election of the county's top law enforcement officer. Do you want a convicted felon helping elect your top cop? Apparently Cantrell thinks you do.
"Tell them I'll be back," he said. "My health is good. I'm going to be out of here one of these days. I feel I can walk around with my head (high). It's not a heinous crime. My crime was more of income tax evasion, which I think the judge went a little overboard giving me 78 months."
Maybe. A lot of people who have done a lot worse things than Cantrell have served less time, that's for sure.
But my guess, and I can't prove this, is that Cantrell still has his hand in Lake County politics from federal prison, and he's directing traffic from afar. His opinion from decades in the trenches still is valued, and like he said, he still has friends.
After all, it's the Lake County way.
Friday, March 5, 2010
03052010 - News Article - Former E.C. leader Cantrell plans to re-enter politics after prison - ROBERT CANTRELL
Former E.C. leader Cantrell plans to re-enter politics after prison
March 05, 2010
As longtime political operative Bob Cantrell sees it, he's currently on the inactive list and eager to get back in the game.
A member of East Chicago Washington High School's 1960 state champion basketball team, a Trester Award winner and starting guard on the University of Michigan's 1964 Final Four team, Cantrell is confined to the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Ky. He is serving a 78-month sentence for defrauding the taxpayers of North Township.
Coming across as positive and upbeat during a phone interview with The Times, Cantrell sounded like anything but a retired region politician with more than 40 years service.
"An old friend of mine, Jay Given, told me once that when the feds put a target on your back, just give up and say: 'Take me.' When they say U.S. Government versus Robert Cantrell ... a jury looked at it, and I was guilty before I even had a chance," said Cantrell, who once served as the East Chicago Republican Party chairman.
"It's not a heinous crime. My crime was more of income tax evasion, which I think the judge went a little overboard in giving me 78 months," Cantrell said. "That's why my appeal should work because there's people who do a lot of things -- robbery, guns, drugs -- who get 40 months. What did I really do?"
He was convicted in June 2008 of four counts of depriving the public of honest services, three counts of insurance fraud using the U.S. mail and four counts of filing false tax returns between 2000 and 2003.
"Some woman said I gave her cash, but she couldn't tell how much or when," Cantrell added. "She got home detention instead of four years in jail. Ever hear of such a thing?"
Through a network of mutual friends, Cantrell said he has heard fugitive Frankie Kollintzas, a former East Chicago city councilman, is now running a successful business in Greece.
Kollintzas, a fellow E.C. Washington classmate and one-time Highland boys basketball coach, was among a dozen former East Chicago city officials and vendors convicted of misappropriating more than $24 million in public funds to pay for sidewalks and free tree-trimming services to curry favor with voters in the city's 1999 mayoral election.
He fled the country days before his Feb. 25, 2005, sentencing and is believed to be hiding in Greece.
Cantrell said he believes the sentencing in both of their cases was extreme. Kollintzas was sentenced to 11 years and 4 months in federal prison in his own absence.
Asked if he'll return to politics when he's a free man, the 68-year-old Cantrell didn't hesitate answering.
"Yes, of course. I'm not going to run away from it. That's what may have got me here, but I've got a lot of friends out there," Cantrell said. "(Thomas) Philpot's running now (for Lake County sheriff), and I think I'll be missed in that race. That circuit court judge's race (between Merrillville Town Court Judge George Paras and Alex Dominguez) is going to be a good one, too. Some people get a little power, and they get carried away.
"My mother died at 96 last year. My dad was in his 80s, so I'm going to live a while. I don't plan on dying now. I plan on being around another 25 to 30 years. Tell them I'll be back."
Thursday, March 4, 2010
03042010 - Indiana Judiciary Commission - Magistrate Johnson not adhering to Porter County Court Rule 2100 / Disclosure of martial assets / Financial Declaration Forms - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation
|Subject:||PORTER COUNTY COURT NOT ADHERING TO LOCAL RULE 2100|
|Date:||Thu, Mar 4, 2010 1:12 pm|
|Attachments:||PORTER_COUNTY_LOCAL_COURT_RULE_2100.PDF (6209K), ATTORNEY_RICE_LETTER=_SEPT_2007.PDF (5965K)|
FROM: RENEE’ HARRINGTON
-PORTER COUNTY LOCAL COURT RULE 2100
-ATTORNEY DONALD RICE'S LETTER [9/2007] INSTRUCTING ME I COULD NOT RE-LOCATE TO / OBTAIN JOB IN MICHIGAN DURING DIVORCE.
RE: PORTER COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT [VALPARIASO, IN] NOT ADHERING TO PORTER COUNTY LOCAL COURT RULE 2100.
To who do I report the Porter County Court not adhering to its own local court rules, and how would I go about filing this?
In September 2008, I had my divorce property settlement [Cause # 64D01-0708-DR-7804. Valparaiso IN Porter County Superior Court. Judge Bradford / Magistrate Johnson], vacated on the grounds that my first divorce attorney [Donald Rice, Portage] and my ex’s divorce attorney [Jeffrey Shaw, Valparaiso], had not adhered to Local Court Rule 210: Mandatory exchange of financial declaration forms / mandatory discovery of marital assets.
Neither Attorney Rice nor Attorney Shaw were reprimanded by the court for failure to adhere to a local court rule. Instead, Attorney Shaw was allowed to retaliate against me [for blowing the whistle on the loophole in Rule 2100, that attorneys are using to avoid adhering to the Rule], by dragging the divorce case out as long as possible, in the hopes of wearing me out so I would just walk away from my interest in the marital assets [valued at over $200,000].
It is now almost two years later. Although the divorce was finalized, the property settlement has not been ordered. The final divorce hearing was on January 12, 2010. I have been told to expect Magistrate Johnson to take another 6-12 months to make a final decision on my divorce [instead of 30 days]. Magistrate Johnson is aware [through court testimony that my ex has threatened to kill me for pursuing a roperty settlement and that my ex is currently on probation]. Magistrate Johnson has also heard other testimony regarding my ex's abuse of me and violations of the PPO. He knows my ex is a danger to me. I have cried often on the stand about wanting to return home to Michigan / escape my abusive ex. My ex has even admitted on the stand, his abuse of me. And yet, instead of finalizing the property settlement so I can return home to Michigan safetly before my ex assaults or kills me, Magistrate Johnson is expecting me to sit here in danger, for another year?
If you pull the case file on my divorce: my ex intentionally violated provisional orders; I have been without medical care for my Graves Disease; my ex refuses to pay his maintenance; my ex lied and claimed he was unemployed and $20,000 in back maintenance owed to me was forgiven; I am thousands of dollars in debt with attorney fees; I am thousands of dollars in debt to friends and family for household bills I paid, because my ex didn’t pay the utilities and my maintenance; etc.
I am unemployed. I do not have a job. I do not have any means of transportation. I am not receiving court ordered maintenance. I am financially broke. 100% of the marital assets are in my ex’s name. I was court ordered to put the marital home [where I reside] on the market. If the house sells before the property settlement is issued, I will be put out on the street / homeless, and all proceeds from the marital home will be put in trust with the divorce attorneys.
Meanwhile, my ex is grossing $100,000 a year and can afford his maintenance and provisional order obligations. But his attorney stated after the last hearing, that he has instructed my ex not to pay the maintenance.
Should I pursue a complaint? Or should I just walk away from everything? From what I have endured due to court mistakes and Attorney Shaw’s retaliation in this divorce, I have come to the realization that Magistrate Johnson may very well never issue a property settlement in my case.
A major concern of mine, is returning back home to Michigan before my ex is released from probation. I am terrified that he will come after me / kill me. However, with Magistrate Johnson forgiving my ex $20,000 in back maintenance; Magistrate Johnson taking only my ex’s word that he was unemployed and lowering my maintenance; Attorney Shaw instructing my ex to violate the maintenance order; and now Magistrate Johnson refusing to issue a property settlement decision within 30 days of the January 12, 2010 final hearing, I do not have the funds to relocate. When my ex is released from probation on March 21, 2010, I am going to be a sitting duck here in Portage IN, due to all court errors and Attorney Shaw’s retaliation against me.
What should I do about this? Am I supposed to just walk out the door of my home with nothing but the clothes on my back? Is this the lesson that the court wants to teach me and others who dare to disclose attorneys and the court not adhering to Local Court Rules? If so, what is the purpose of Local Court Rules, if the courts and the attorneys don’t adhere to them, and citizens get retaliated against for blowing the whistle / demanding they be adhered to. It’s almost as if I was a lesson to others to not question the attorneys and court in Porter County.
Thank you for your time,
3050 Eleanor Street
Portage, IN 46368
Silence: the number one killer of victims of officer involved domestic violence.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Enron appeal could affect local cases
March 2, 2010
The Supreme Court's ruling in Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling's case will have implications for local figures who also faced honest services fraud charges.
Just as in two other cases already before the high court, Skilling's lawyers also question whether the honest services law is too vague to be constitutional.
"I think everyone is expecting to see dramatic changes to the honest services law," said Bryan Truitt, attorney for Lake County political insider Robert Cantrell, who is serving a sentence of nearly seven years for insurance, tax and honest services counts. Truitt notes that federal prosecutors in February revised their indictment of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to remove honest services counts.
Cantrell's appeal likely will hinge on a ruling in the Skilling case, or on the cases of media mogul Conrad Black or Alaska legislator Bruce Weyhrauch.
A ruling also could mean former Calumet Township Trustee Dozier T. Allen's conviction on honest services counts could be tossed, said Scott L. King, Allen's attorney.
The charges against Allen and his three co-defendants involve both allegations of the theft of cash and the theft of citizens' rights to honest conduct by public officials, making it difficult for his conviction to stand if the honest services law is deemed unconstitutional, or defined more narrowly.
The statute is vague, and has allowed federal prosecutors to line up a series of convictions in high-profile cases, King admits."But when you have a statute that doesn't have a clear definition, and you throw in a backdrop where there's a basically negative view of public officials, that's a formula for convictions," said King, a former Gary mayor. "There was some abuse of the statute."