MPD documents from ACLU Lawsuit.

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In the witness room at the ACLU trial, from left: Spencer Kaaz, Earle Fisher, Keedran Franklin, Fergus Nolan, Paul Garner.  Photo and artwork by  Elaine Blanchard.  The book in the bottom left corner is my copy of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, which I bought just for the trial.

The 2018 lawsuit which ACLU fought and won has produced tens of thousands of pages of documents.

“On March 2, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee intervened in Blanchard v. City of Memphis, a lawsuit challenging the City of Memphis’ creation of a list of people, including multiple members of the Black Lives Matter movement and other local political activists and organizers, who require a police escort while visiting City Hall.”

ACLU won the case and a court monitor was tasked with supervising changes at MPD.  Documents from the case can be found on the ACLU website, the Court Monitor website, and on the City sitePACER contains all the publicly available documents from the case.  It requires a free registration and they will bill you after 150 pages in a quarter.   There are more documents here.

All those documents

We viewed the wealth of documents produced by the trial as the added bonus, over and above the effects of the judgement.   The documents offer a new and unique insight into the corrupt nature and practices at MPD.  But who had time to download and read through tens of thousands of pages of dry legalese?

To provide a narrative, and to avoid further torment to people already maligned in the police material, I provide a personalized romp through the papers focused on what they say about me.   The other people mentioned have given permission to use their mugshots.

The Saul Alinsky Thread

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From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 177.   This is from a section titled “Blue Suede Shoes Post-Investigation Follow-up”, about the August 2016 Graceland police riot.   I was not at Graceland for either of the two protests that July and August.

And I never read the Alinsky book.   But facts are not a requirement for a Joint Intelligence Bulletin.

These JIBs were circulated daily to law enforcement and to commercial firms in the Memphis area.   They have resulted in all sorts of problems to the people featured, including difficulty in finding employment.

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From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 186.  This is from a section about the July 2016 Bridge protest.   I wasn’t at this protest either.   I was out on bail, with a long court date, from the Memorial Day Greensward arrest and I was avoiding protests on the advice of my attorney.   I have never met Dana Asbury, and I knew Spencer Kaaz and Maureen Spain casually from that Greensward protest.  We did not embarrass MPD and pit them against the citizens of Memphis.  MPD did that to themselves.

Paul Garner’s Book Review

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This post by Paul Garner of Mid South Peace and Justice Center was featured in an email by Det. Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.   It is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 213.   Garner posted a book review, 58 people “liked” it and Reynolds included the Facebook avatars and names of all 58 in a JIB.  JIBs were widely circulated among law enforcement and a list of Memphis businesses.

This sheds light on the previous two images, both showing quotes from the Alinsky book.   The thing is, I have never read the book.   I ordered the book in August 2018 just before the trial, when I saw the above material.  While in the witness room during the ACLU trial, I made a point of carrying it around.   But I was never able to finish it.  The writing is poor and the insights trivial.

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Saul Alinsky in 1968 (Getty Images)

As this article in Vox, by Dylan Matthews explains, Alinsky was literally demonized by the far-right.  “(Ben) Carson explained (erroneously), Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to none other than … Satan himself!”.  The book was dedicates to Alinsky’s mother.  Because Hillary Clinton wrote a thesis about Alinsky, and because  Rudy Giuliani attacked Barack Obama for being “educated in the Saul Alinsky methods.” Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Andrew Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Monica Crowley and Bill O’Reilly repeatedly ranted about Alinsky.

Bob Smith AKA Tim Reynolds is using coded far right ideology when they invoke Alinsky.   Never mind it was just a few people reading a book review, as protected by the First Amendment.

The truth of the matter is that Saul Alinsky was an old, non violent white man and we old, non violent white men are harmless and impotent.

At the Greensward.

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Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 222 to 251 lists 30 people Bob Smith friended  since July 2015.  Names of mutual friends are redacted.

Bob Smith friended me on Facebook in May 2016, the same month as Spencer Kaaz.   Prior to this, Bob Smith friended Tami Sawyer, Paul Garner, Ian Jeffries, Bradley Watkins and Athena Palmer between July and November 2015.  This time coincided with the killing of Darrius Stewart, the campaign to restart CLERB and Garner’s false arrest for photographing police at Manna House.

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This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 178, in a section titled “Blue Suede Shoes”, a reference to the Graceland protests, which I did not attend.   The only group I was a member of at the time was Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which engages members of Congress on climate change policy.   That and the Greensward constituted my ‘radical agenda’.

The “reliable source” was far-right police infiltrator Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.

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This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 179.   It contains a lie.   I spent the entire morning taking photographs of the protest and the events preceding it.   I have 211 photos to prove this.  I never sat down or blocked Zoo officials, as the arrest ticket confirms.  Photographing police activities is protected by the first amendment and MPD photo policy.  At no point did any Greensward protest prevent a single visitor from accessing the Zoo, and Zoo attendance was up in the 2016 fiscal year ending June 30th 2016.   In fact, the Free Parking Brigade helped visitors find free parking in the area surrounding the Zoo and probably increased attendance.

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This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 180.   I was arrested while  I was “at the rear of the police van, attempting to take pictures”.  Bizarrely it goes on to say that I was arrested because the crowd started shouting after I was arrested.

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The Greensward, parking on the grass.   Photo:  Fergus Nolan

In any event, my case was dismissed and expunged so public officials should not be using these records and mugshots for any reason.

MPD used a conspiracy theory inspired by far-right media to imagine I and other dissidents were in some radical organization inspired by the hated Saul Alinsky, using the Zoo protest as a front.   They don’t seem to get it that saving a prime and priceless park is a legitimate end in itself.

In fact, contemporary police sources reveal, Maureen’s and my arrests were due to a police error.   All our activities on the Greensward were protected by the First Amendment.

Before my arrest, I cared about the environment and a patch of precious City grass.   Since being forcibly introduced to the workings of the criminal justice system, I have spent some time exposing its internal workings.   I have never been radicalized, as I work within the system and under the protection of the first amendment, but I have gone from a few hours per week in the Park to full time exposing corruption.   I did not choose MPD, they picked me.  And dozens of innocent people who care about our city.

My role in the Greensward

I was active in the Greensward movement.   I worked with the media operations, photographed events at the park; helped analyze the Zoo finances and distances traveled by Zoo visitors; and critique the Zoo’s Economic Impact Study.   I organized the Chuck Brady Limerick Competition and various weekend activities to help get crowds to the park in April and May.  I am admin of “The Fringe Element” facebook group.

The Greensward arrests.

Certain police sympathizers in the Park Protectors (Greensward) movement objected to comments I made in the social media.  I wrote about the massive police presence on April 2nd and 3rd when 75 officers, with armored vehicles, helicopters, horses, three paddy wagons and a command center, threatened peaceful park users at a cost of $38K.

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Black-clad paramilitary MPD officers with AR-15 ammo pouches, at Latino Fest on the Greensward, May 7th 2016, photo Fergus Nolan

I also wrote about the Latino festival in early May which was attended by TACT officers and their Lenco armored vehicle.    I also made other first amendment protected comments about MPD and police in general.

My work in the Greensward protests was only about the Greensward protest.

I have never been a police fan, and the police intimidation on the Greensward did not dispose me more kindly.  Growing up in Northside Dublin, we knew that “all pigs are scum” and I repeated this bon mot frequently.  After interacting with MPD I now realize that the Garda Siochana of my youth were not so bad.

In 2016, police sympathizers were highly mobilized in reaction to the 2015 City actions on reducing retiree benefits and after MPA president Mike Williams lost his run for Mayor.   These cop fans infiltrated the Greensward movement.

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Maureen Spain is arrested 5/30/2016 Photo: The Commercial Appeal.

Kathy Hurley, a police fan and Mike Williams’ former campaign manager,  published a post with my photo and shared it with the MPA facebook page, saying that I intended to attack police at the Memorial Day protest, which was a complete lie.   Due to my immigration status I decided not to sit down at the protest and instead spent the morning taking photos.   Some cops apparently noticed me photographing the paddy wagon, recognized me from Hurley’s photo, and jumped me six or seven minutes before the end of a notice period that MPD Major Reynolds had given in an ultimatum.

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Officer Richard Rouse dispensing doughnuts at the “Cop Stop” before the protest.  Photo Fergus Nolan

Police fans had organized a “cop stop” for the protest.   The idea was to bribe the police at the protest with doughnuts so they would not intervene.   This hare-brained idea was countered when the police brass ordered their members not to attend the cop stop.    They made an exception by appointing Richard Rouse as “liaison” to the park protectors.  Rouse dispensed doughnuts, schmoozed with Park Protectors all morning, reported what he found to police brass and later arrested Maureen Spain.  This demonstrates the futility of community members engaging with police, even with doughnuts.

We spoke to people knowledgeable about MPD regulations, who said that, if the police suspected I had a weapon, they should have jumped me, patted me down, and cut me loose.   Instead, they over-reacted, disobeyed Rudolph’s order to wait out the deadline, and retaliated.

In short, I was arrested because police and their supporters objected to my first amendment protected speech.  It is legal to criticize the police.

Bob Smith appears.

bob_smithBob Smith friended me in May 2016.   After the May 30th arrests, the Park Protector groups were in uproar and many of them wanted more direct action.  As admin of “The Fringe Element”, I was worried about some people, including Bob Smith, who were openly advocating more direct action.   Not wanting to have people planning things in an open group, I created a secret Facebook group on June 5th entitled “Kessler Associates” and added Bob Smith and about six other people to the group.

It had been standard practice among Park Protectors in April to internally manage any direct action, because we were fighting a PR battle in the media and it took six or seven weeks to get the media mostly favorable to us.   We had a group of marshals trained by Mid South Peace and Justice Center and took militants off-line into secret groups to let off steam.  This kept the media focused on moms and kids with balloons, and the like.

Kessler Associates discussed some possible actions, and was mainly a way for people to let off steam.   The main actions discussed were a possible “slow drive” to jam up traffic already bottlenecked at the Zoo parking lot entrance.  These plans require secrecy to stay legal.    It is legal to drive up to the Zoo window and count out 500 pennies, but if it is part of a plan to obstruct the entrance to a business, maybe not.   A vehicle might break down in traffic and hold things up quite innocently unless it is planned.  In the event, this group broke up on June 15th without executing any action, because operational security had been breached and we could not maintain plausible deniability.

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Redacted letter from Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.   From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement

Tim Reynolds literally tried to make a Federal case out of an idle comment about hacking the Zoo.  I did not say that I had recruited two hackers, because I hadn’t, and. in fact, there were no Federal or any other indictments arising from this group.   No crimes were committed during the 10 day lifetime of Kessler Associates, and no protests were organized.   No protests were needed because news coverage of the Memorial Day arrests had gone international during this time.  Our media operation was fully engaged.

I was aware of three other secret groups at the Greensward, none of which were infiltrated by Bob Smith.  Two of these group hosted early discussions about the Memorial Day protests, but the actual logistics were organized in physical meetings.  In fact, all three groups were dominated by police sympathizers and I was thrown out of them all more than a week before Memorial Day because I objected to the “Cop Stop” plan on the basis that no good can come from consorting with police.

The A-list discovered

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This letter was written by Officer Polk the day after I was told I needed an escort at City Hall.

Officer Polk, in the above memo, tried hard, after the fact, to create an offense to justify his action in requiring me to have an escort in City Hall.   The conversation I had with George Boyington was about the ineffective security at City Hall and how a determined effort to bring a weapon into the building would defeat the security.   The conversation with Boyington was overheard by Ursula Madden, the Mayor’s propagandist, but constituted free speech as no crime was contemplated and no provision of the First Amendment was violated.

There were no previous actions or threats towards the Mayor, and I was on the list because I had been falsely arrested at the Greensward because the police did not like my previous First Amendment speech directed at police.

As I wrote immediately after this notification, I was told I needed an escort because I was “on a list”.   When I asked why I was on the list, Lieut. Bonner was summoned and explained it was “because of the Mayor’s house”.    When I pointed out that I was not at the December 19th 2016 “Die-In”at the Mayor’s house, Bonner said “Then it was something you wrote on social media”.   As everything I wrote on social media was first amendment protected speech, I was listed and was being sanctioned in retaliation for first amendment speech.

I went home and wrote contemporary notes of the interaction, submitted an open records request for the list, notified the media and the rest is history.  Bruce Kramer called a meeting of blacklistees in his office, the Nashville office of ACLU became engaged and Blanchard et al, thanks to brilliant litigation by ACLU and a blustering defense by the City legal hacks, gave the people of Memphis the greatest legal win against the City since the original 1978 Kendrick consent decree.

In Summary

We saw how MPD, inspired by alt-right ideology, decided that literature fans were enemies of the state, created JIBs which slandered individuals and shared them with potential employers, accepted lies from their sycophantic supporters, breached training and discipline to arrest protesters without cause, lied about alleged crimes and escorted political opponents in City Hall in another breach of the First Amendment.

Mike Rallings sent an email to all his members in February 2017 explaining the first amendment.   He said that criticizing police is protected by the first amendment.   You’d think that the basic constitutional law of the nation would be the first thing they’d teach recruits at the academy.

I was lucky.   I was able to insulate myself against MPD slander by retiring a little early, but in the years following, dozens of City political opponents were followed, surveilled, arrested and slandered in JIBs circulated to potential employers.  Their worst “crimes” were using the First Amendment to assemble, march and speak out against injustice.  Harm was done to many young lives.

— concluded —

Dan Rosson placed on AoA by City

We have another Authorization of Agency case to share, this time that of Dan Rosson, against whom Memphis Animal Services, in collaboration with City Chief Operating Officer Doug McEwen, have created an AoA.  Once again, the City has used AoA to silence a political opponent.

AoA and the City Blacklist.

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Mike Rallings and Jim Strickland’s Blacklist.  Photo, The Commercial Appeal.

Authorization of Agency first came to public attention when the City’s Blacklist was published on half a dozen AoA forms.  Placement on Jim Strickland’s AoA was purportedly in retaliation for a December 19th Die-In action at Strickland’s, but it contained over forty activists’ names, far more than the ten or so protesters at that action.  The list was correctly interpreted as a City action against a list of activists which MPD was managing in contravention of the 1978 Kendrick Consent Decree.   The ACLU took the City and MPD to court and won.

AoA used against Zoo critics.

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Hunter Demster being cuffed by Officer Dan Adams at the Zoo

We publish some research on Authorization of Agency, compiling almost 1,700 AoA records obtained from MPD via Open Records Request.   While 84.9% of the AoA victims were  African Americans victims of police racism, a few, featuring Hunter Demster, Maureen Spain and myself were clearly in retaliation by the Zoo and MPD for harmless political speech.  In my case, I was on two AoAs, one issued days after my 2016 arrest at the Zoo, which was judged by the courts to be a wrongful arrest, dismissed and expunged.   My second Zoo AoA was illegally created by forging my name to an existing, pre-signed AoA with Hunter Demster, after we uneventfully visited the Zoo.   Again, this was an act of political retaliation, supported by MPD files collected in violation of Kendrick.

MPD working for private employer with AoA.

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Rodney Fisher (Photo: Facebook)

Last week, we wrote about Rodney Fisher’s AoA at DHL/Nike.  In this case, Mr. Fisher’s employer used MPD to inform him that he had been fired, in retaliation for political speech at his place of employment.  The MPD Lieutentant Colonel who ordered the patrolman to inform Mr. Fisher was quoted as saying he had been targeted for non-existent “threats” made via social media, indicating that Mr. Fisher’s first amendment speech on political subjects had been investigated, and that a social media search had been performed by MPD.

New:  Dan Rosson’s AoA

Now, we have a new AoA of concern, against animal activist and dog rescue volunteer, Dan Rosson.   In this case, city employees at Memphis Animal Shelter and City Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowan, were behind the retaliatory use of AoA.

AOA

Dan Rosson was a long-time volunteer at Memphis Animal Services.  He was a dog foster, caring for shelter dogs at his home, and performing various tasks at the shelter.   He photographed dogs and helped document their temperaments among other valuable services that saved money for the City and the lives of many dogs scheduled for euthanasia.

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Dan Rosson (photo Dan Rosson)

Mr Rosson recounts an incident at a Collierville vet, when a dog, which had been secretly labeled as potentially vicious by MAS. attacked another dog.   Rosson subsequently, at an April 2018 MAS advisory board meeting, called for volunteers to be warned about dogs labeled as problematic.   Mr Rosson, in the following months, also shared a long list of administrative issues at MAS that he wanted addressed.

On February 13th 2019 Mr Rosson posted on Facebook about some critically ill pups who needed urgent veterinary treatment.   He had been banned from transporting animals and no-one else was available to drive the pups to the vet.

Mr Rosson, as a proponent of the humane treatment of animals, was upset at the unnecessary suffering caused by the delay in the treatment of the canines.

On February 14th, Mr Rosson circulated a petition to volunteers and others, and engaged in first amendment protected speech critical of the City administration of MAS.  The petition asked the City to promote due process and prevent First Amendment abuse by MAS officials, naming  MAS director Alexis Pugh.

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Memphis City COO Doug McGowan.  Photo: City.   We apologize for the aesthetics

On February 18th, Mr Rosson posted that City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowan had allegedly called Rosson’s former employer, University of Tennessee.  Mr Rosson is retired from UT but had availed of the customary policy of allowing retirees to continue using their UT email.   UT canceled Mr Rosson’s email account with resultant chilling effect on his ability to engage in free speech on this issue.

On the 20th, Mr Rosson received some Open Records Requests information from the City attempting to clarify the MAS policies on administering volunteers and asking for records on his own case, and the petition was delivered to the Mayor and City Council.   That was the day the AoA was signed by Alexis Pugh.

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Alexis Pugh (Photo WKNO)

On February 21st Mr Rosson was informed that he would be arrested if he set foot at MAS and was informed of other charges made by Pugh against him.   These additional charges might constitute illegal acts but were not recorded (as sometimes happens) as marginal notes on the AoA.  This suggests that MPD was maintaining other documents relating to Mr Rosson.   This implies the existence of an investigation, which, being likely to uncover political information relating to Mr Rosson’s communications with the City and MAS, should have been approved by Police Director Rallings pursuant to the Kendrick Consent Decree, which had been well aired in Federal court by this time.

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Some cute rescue puppies.  We could not leave you with those administrator photos.  

The accusations made by MAS management, if they could be substantiated, should have resulted in a police investigation.  Mr Rosson has not been charged with any offense relating to alleged incidents at MAS.

We believe that Mr Rosson’s case is an clear example of AoA being used by MPD to harass political opponents of the City, which is a pattern we have been seeing  lot of.

Note on Authorization of Agency.

If you are told, by MPD or property management, that you will be arrested if you set foot on a given property, ask if you are on an AoA.

If you are on an AoA, you can get the document for free via the City Open Records portal.  You need to specify a date range, which should be a few days before and after the date you are informed.  You need the address of the premised, and also the MPD precinct and ward in which it is located, which you can look up in the link.

Sometimes AoAs are placed without informing the victim.   In this case you find out about it at some later point, when you visit the premises.   In that case, figure out when the AoA was placed and straddle that date in your open records request.

Share your AoA adventures with us.  If you feel that the AoA is the result of an MPD investigation not approved by the Director, or if its deficient due process is being used to threaten or intimidate you, or to impede your constitutional rights, contact the MPD Court Monitor. Read our AoA information.   If you are arrested for trespass on an unposted location without being given notice to depart, share this information with your attorney.

— concluded —

Hammer Award: Judge Chris Craft

The DA’s office, long before Amy Weirich’s regime, has owned the Hammer Award.   We’ll be awarding our Hammer Award to judges as well as prosecutors.

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Judge Chris Craft

 

hammerawardOur June award winner is Judge Chris Craft, Shelby Criminal Court Division VIII.    We outline his bio towards the end of this piece, but right now we’re going to jump into why Craft gets the Hammer Award.

 

Craft’s Crowning Achievement:  Nuora Jackson

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Nuora Jackson

Chris Craft played a leading role in the false imprisonment of Nuora Jackson.  Emily Bazelon, in her book “Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration” spends six chapters examining Jackson’s agonizing journey through the legal system.   Amy Weirich was the prosecutor in her 2009 trial, and hid exculpatory evidence in a Brady violation

During her closing argument, Weirich said “Just tell us where you were, that’s all we are asking, Nuora”.   This was a reference to an unexplained hour in the timeline of the night of the murder, and the fact that Nuora had not taken the stand during the trial.  Jackson’s attorney, Valerie Corder, objected on the basis that the prosecution is not allowed to use a defendant’s constitutional right not to testify as a sign of guilt.

Judge Chris Craft refused a mistrial.   In Nuora’s 2013 Supreme Court appeal, Corder played a five second video of Weirich charging across the courtroom at Jackson with her demand for testimony, and the supreme court justices wanted to see it again.   This, and a note which was “disappeared” from the evidence, formed the basis for Jackson’s eventual retrial.     Chris Craft bent over backwards to allow Weirich’s obvious malpractice.    Weirich eventually received a “private reprimand” from the Board for Professional Responsibility for her malpractice in this case.

In the Tennessee Supreme Court’s judgement, Given that the impropriety of any comment upon a defendant’s exercise of the Fifth Amendment right not to testify is so well settled as to require little discussion, it is not at all clear why any prosecutor would venture into this forbidden territory”.   

It is also not clear why any judge would allow it. 

The Earley Story case.

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Earley Story

Earley Story is a former Shelby County Deputy Sergeant jailer who was framed for the sale of marijuana on the basis of evidence by a paid confidential informant, in reprisal for blowing the whistle on conditions at the 201 Poplar jail.  After his 1998 conviction, Story, though he served no time, has constantly tried to assert his innocence.

Earley Story has a motion for a writ of “Error Coram Nobis” currently in Chris Craft’s Division VIII.   He filed a motion for Judge Craft to recuse himself.   The Post and Email blog details Story’s grounds for recusal.  “In February, Story was granted a hearing in Division VIII, where Judge Chris Craft presides.  In 2004, Craft denied Story’s post-conviction appeal; he also sentenced Story to ten days in jail after finding him in “contempt of court” for allegedly interrupting him in the courtroom.   Story has questioned not only Craft’s neutrality, but also why his recent request for a case review was not assigned to Division III, in accordance with Tennessee law, rather than in Division VIII.

Given Craft’s previous involvement, including his misrepresentation of Story as having accepted a guilty plea at a hearing of the private parole board to which Story’s case was sent.   Story has also sued Craft for alleged improprieties in the handling of his probation.

We were in court for Story’s February 11th, 2019 appearance in Craft’s court.   This was their first interaction, from my notes:

Judge Chris Craft: Do you have an attorney?
Earley Story: No
Judge Chris Craft: No What?
Earley Story: No Sir
Judge Chris Craft: No What?
Earley Story: No Sir Your Honor.
Judge Chris Craft: No What? Are you answering “is it raining”.
Earley Story: You asked if I have an attorney.
Judge Chris Craft: Sit down. (mumbles something) I’ll find you in contempt of court.

Considering that Judge Craft had sentenced Earley Story to ten days for contempt in 2004, we are inclined to take this threat at face value.

Michael Rimmer

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Michael Rimmer

Michael Rimmer was sentenced to death three times for an alleged 1998 murder.   Chris Craft presided over the 2016 retrial. and third death sentence.

He was granted a new trial in December 2013 because Thomas Henderson, a high-placed, veteran attorney in the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, did not give relevant evidence to Rimmer’s defense attorneys, a Brady violation.  The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Office of Professional Responsibility ordered a public censure of Henderson.

This case was documented in the 2017 Fair Punishment Project report.

Kendrick Watson

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Kendrick Watson

We saw the story of Kendrick Watson when we wrote about Celitria Watson, his sister, and April Malone, his significant other.   They were co-defendants in one of his cases.   A wiretap report, obtained under a warrant for Kendrick’s phone, was falsified by police and prosecutors.   This resulted in April and Celitria’s cases being severed from Kendricks, and dismissed.   Nonetheless, reports from this wiretap were used against Kendrick, and April and Celitria’s proof of evidence fabrication was not allowed in court.

Kendrick Watson had other issues with the legitimacy of the wiretap warrants, including a warrantless search of the phones of his associates following a traffic stop and some questions relating to a bank report used to obtain the warrant.

Perhaps this is a natural consequence of judges policing each other in a cozy manner, but Chris Craft, as the presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary, rejected Kendrick Watson’s complaint against Judge Lee Coffee, despite Coffee’s acceptance of tainted evidence.

Charles Thompson

Thompson was a shot-caller for the Traveling Vice Lords who was accused of ordering the killing of Deputy Deadrick Taylor in April 1996.   This appears to be part of a spike of deputy killings that happened around the time that a massive Jobs for Cash conspiracy was being revealed by an FBI inquiry and subsequent Federal trial of two of the conspirators.   Thompson was being held on a separate charge in 201 Poplar at the time he is supposed to have ordered the murder of the deputy.

Judge Chris Craft presided over Thompson’s conviction on docket 96 11968-96621546.

Thompson was mysteriously transferred under the Interstate Prisoner Transfer Compact and he is now believed to be in a Federal institution in Arkansas.   Charles Thompson had a close association with Jason White, his deputy in a prison gang.   White, while still in prison under a previous sentence, was framed on a planted meth bust, given an additional 60 year sentence, and, a few weeks ago, spirited away on another interstate prisoner transfer to a distant state.

Just City Court Watch Blog describes Craft interaction.

An extract from the Just City Court Watch Blog.

201_poplar“April 10th, 2019 – An attorney believed to be representing the defendant pointed his finger at her and said, “Keep quiet!” as she was attempting to speak to Judge Craft and request a new attorney. When it came time for her case, the defendant wanted to be heard. After her attorney painted her as mentally incompetent, Judge Craft let her speak. She explained that there had been no communication between her and her attorney, and that she’s being ignored. As you can imagine, this is her only opportunity to advocate for herself — particularly since her attorney wasn’t. She had a difficult time staying quiet, but was never disrespectful in my opinion. After Judge Craft heard her out, there was more she wanted to say. However Judge Craft appeared annoyed at this point and said, “I’ll give you 10 days in jail for every word you say”. The defendant was quiet.”

Earley Story describes Craft intimidation

We previously saw a description of Judge Craft’s interrogation of Earley Story.  In conversation with Mr. Story, he described an interaction with Craft during the case when Craft sentenced Story to ten days for contempt.

Judge Craft would say something, then pause.   If Mr Story waited for the judge to continue, he was chided for being non-responsive.   If Mr Story spoke during the pause, Judge Craft would continue and accuse Mr Story of interrupting.

This is an excellent way of intimidating pro-se defendants, whether or not this effect is intended.

Biographical Details

Edited from noethics.net with additional details from the Daily News.

Chris Craft received his law license from the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1978 after graduating from Memphis State University.  From 1980 to 1982 he did graduate work at Memphis Theological Seminary in Law and Religion.
From 1978 to 1982 he practiced as a defense lawyer in the family firm.
Beginning in 1982 through 1994, Craft was employed as an assistant prosecutor in the Shelby County DA’s office. In 1994 he was appointed as a judge.
Chris Craft was appointed to Judge of Division VIII of the Shelby County Criminal Court in 1994 and was elected to that position in 1996.   He has been re-elected for eight year terms ever since, most recently in 2014, when he was unopposed.    He is next up for election in 2022.
In August 2011, Judge Craft was elected as the presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary. In a lame attempt at levity in responding to Sen. Beavers’ legislation, Judge Craft said, “It’s kind of hard for laypersons to understand the code of judicial conduct.”
This hyperbolic comment doesn’t pass the involuntary laugh test. Anyone could easily understand the mandates of the code of conduct.
Chris Craft is an elder and Sunday school teacher at Second Presbyterian Church and frequently extols the virtues of faith-based organizations.

The Hammer Award.

Judge Chris Craft, as a former prosecutor, is one of a number of judges who are former prosecutors.    We believe that exposure to the corrupt culture of the Shelby County DA’s office is a red flag.  We are following several other judges in that category.

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May 2019 Honoree Judge Chris Craft

Updates:  Chris Craft dismisses Earley Story’s writ of error coram nobis. 

Chris Craft named in article on class action suit against probation business.

— concluded —

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hammer Award: ADA Chris Scruggs

Daniel Connolly of The Commercial Appeal has recently outed Mike Cross, former Collierville and Shelby prosecutor, and Judge Jim Lammey for racism on social media.

hammerawardWe commend Mr Connolly’s enterprise and, seeing that we have our own research on prosecutorial and other criminal justice misconduct, we decided to follow his lead.

Our criterion for membership of our rogue’s gallery is something an ADA Hammer like Chris Scruggs would appreciate.   Three strikes and you’re in for good.   When we document three perversions of justice, you get our Hammer Award.

Shelby Co. District Attorney’s office has a hammer award, given to prosecutors who break the rules to get convictions.     This is our Hammer Award.

ADA Chris Scruggs

chris_scruggs
Scruggs

The first recipient of our Hammer Award is Chris Scruggs.    He’s a long time prosecutor and has headed up the West Tennessee Drug Task Force, an inter-agency unit, which works with the Multi Agency Gang Unit and its Organized Crime Unit.

Drug prosecutions are especially problematic, as a large part of mass incarceration. There are perverse incentives including civil forfeiture, which engenders corruption, and the imposition of minimum sentencing laws has made this area especially problematic.

Chris Scruggs taken to Federal Court

Celetria_april
Celitria Watson (L) and April Malone

We first encountered Chris Scruggs in the Federal case taken by April Malone and Celitria Watson against three DAs and three MPD police officers.   In this case, Ms Watson had an automated cloud back-up app running on her phone,  She was able to prove that the version of a wiretap log of her text messages had been altered by the prosecution and police to add incriminating statements.    In addition, a bogus bank Suspicious Activity Report was used to obtain the wiretap warrant.    The prosecution team was aware of the fabricated evidence.

Ms Malone and Ms. Watson were able to prove their innocence and their cases were severed and dismissed, but Kendrick Watson, Celitria’s brother and April’s significant other, was given and additional nine years on his sentence using the same fabricated evidence.  April’s mother, Patricia Malone, took a misdemeanor plea for time served.

Chris Scruggs and Planted Weed

thorne_peters_portraitcropOur piece on Thorne Peters‘ bust at Imbiblio’s night club describes how Chris Scruggs had to recuse himself from a second trial of Peters and others because of his misconduct in the first case.

In the initial December 2008 raid, some weed which had been thrown down in commonly accessible areas was found, but this was not allowed as evidence because there was no search warrant.   The arrest affidavit was altered months later to add a small baggie of weed supposedly found in the cruiser used to transport Peters, and the case was dismissed.

In addition to the evidence tampering, this case showed the abuse of bail.   Peters was held on $400K bail and ended up serving 19 months on a charge which had a maximum penalty of less than one year.  Peters’ insistence on his day in court called the DA’s bluff.    The DA’s expected to plead out, which would make the weakness of their case moot.

Peters was again arrested in July 2009 on the evidence of a confidential informant, Ashley Egan, who was paid $2000 for her testimony.   Egan was later sentenced to several terms of imprisonment, was described by her SCSO handlers as a junkie and was a client of the mental health court, which usually requires mental health treatment for its defendants.      Chris Scruggs, who had been cited for his role in the 2008 bust, recused himself from this case in October 2010, after the snitch testimony had been given.

Third Strike:   Jason White’s case

jason_white_cropThe 2016 cases of Jason White, Kristina Cole and Montez Mullins is especially egregious.   Bartlett police intercepted a package containing a pound of meth, relabeled it with Kristina Cole’s address, got a dubious warrant for the altered address, and busted her.   They confiscated her phone and sent some text messages to a phone they thought, but never proved, belonged to her incarcerated boyfriend, Jason White.  They subsequently added Montez Mullins, who admitted to organizing the shipment, to the docket.    The defendants were sentenced to  a total of 113 1/2 years.

The arresting officer testified to the changing of the destination address and the bogus text messages on the stand, so Scruggs, as the prosecutor, would have known these facts while being briefed on the case before trial.   Cole and White were innocent bystanders to Mullins’ prison meth distribution scheme.

Chris Scruggs:  Congratulations

hammeraward

 

Chris Scruggs is a deserving recipient of our first Hammer Award.

We will be awarding future Hammer Awards to prosecutors, judges, law enforcement and individuals who get three strikes for overzealous enforcement of mass incarceration.

 

 

 

–Concluded

 

 

 

 

Witnesses to Jobs for Cash conspiracy murdered in Sheriff’s Office Cover-up?

We now enter a truly bizarre world of cover-ups, conspiracy and corruption.   In our “Prosecutor!!!” series, we picked up on the first Sheriff Dept. cover-up, where Earley Story’s evidence of jail conditions, as provided to the FBI, is discredited by a bogus prosecution.   The evidence in his case was created by confidential informant #2282, Alfredo Shaw at the behest of deputies and prosecutors.   Twenty years later, convicted death row inmate Tony Carruthers gets evidence about Shaw in discovery and sends it to Mr. Story, who, decades after his conviction, is still fighting to prove his innocence.  We looked into Shaw and found that he has apparently given testimony in up to fourteen other cases.

ACGilless
Sheriff AC Gilless

We looked for the other cases where Shaw might have helped fabricate evidence for prosecutors.    We found two jailer deputies, Bernard Kimmons and Victor Campbell, who were arrested with Earley Story on January 31st 1997.  They were prosecuted by the same team of deputies, prosecutors, judges, undercover officer and confidential informant Alfredo Shaw.   We found at least four alleged weed buys by Shaw that were not documented in the CI ledger which Carruthers provided.     So we looked into this and talked to dozens of witnesses.   Bernard Kimmons would not comment, and we have not found Victor Campbell yet.

 

Alfredo-Shaw-mugshot-36147747.400x800
CI #2282 Alfredo Shaw

We examined the evidence provided at the trial of Roderick Cobb and found that it had been fabricated.   Evidence had been planted, including a pair of handcuffs of the wrong type, and the gun that did the killing.  The since-discredited Deputy Medical Examiner OC Smith, the one who gagged himself with barbed wire, hung a bomb around his neck, lied to the FBI and was convicted and fired, created testimony.  He moved a bullet wound and concocted a bizarre story of how Cobb was supposed to have drawn a twice-searched-for gun, while handcuffed in the rear, and shot the deputy.   In addition, the GSR (gunshot residue) tests had a focused concentration at the driver’s seat, while, to comply with Smith’s proposed evidence, it should have been around the passenger seat and rear of the car, in the inverse of the actual pattern.

OC_Smith
Former Deputy ME OC Smith

 

 

We were struck by the fact that people connected to the case had had their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, threatened to remain quiet, and no-one would go on the record.   So, from the hard evidence of the Alfredo Shaw cover-up and the many discrepancies in the official case against

SherryHopperGoodman
Deputy Sherry Goodman

Roderick Cobb, we concurred with the general opinion of our sources that Cobb had been convicted to cover up the fact that a deputy did the killing.   The Kimmons and Campbell framing, in conjunction with the Earley Story cover-up proves they were also being silenced and covered up.    The planted evidence could only have been laid by someone who is part of the investigation.   So we wrote it up as a triple cover-up.  We concluded that Kimmons and Campbell had been targeted in cover up #2 because they had connected the dots in the cover-up of the Goodman murder while they were Cobb’s custodians.

We did not know why Deputy Goodman has been assassinated, but soon our informants started talking about why.   Goodman was linked to yet another FBI inquiry, the one into the jobs for cash scandal.   She was said to be a cooperating witness.    At this point our story takes a bizarre leap into the territory of fact being stranger than fiction.

Another unknown in our previous installment was why the cover-up of Goodman’s murder mattered to the crew who engineered the framing of the three deputies.    We know they were working for the same top level of SCSO management, because of Earlie Story’s involvement.     What connected Goodman’s assassination with top SCSO management?

People connected with the deputies’ cases and the Goodman case, and their families, are still being threatened with reprisals for talking, more than twenty years after the events.    The statute of limitations has expired for every possible offense, except murder.

Editorial Disclaimer

Normally we don’t publish anything that is not provable by documentary or on-the-record witness statements.  We have publishing guidelines.   In this case, because of the evident threats to witnesses and their families, which are very credible, and because of an effort to conceal official records and court documents, we are making a departure from these guidelines.

We are scientists by training and we will use the scientific method of documenting a theory to proceed

The Sheriff Dept. Jobs for Cash Scandal.

PhilCampbell
Phil Campbell, Memphis Flyer reporter

This happened over twenty years ago and many won’t remember the details.   Phil Campbell of the Flyer gave a cogent account in September 1998.    The story starts in 1991, with a conspiracy in the Sheriff’s department, for which Alton Ray Mills and Stephen Toarmina were convicted years later.   Applicants paid amounts up to $3,930 as bribes to obtain jobs in the Sheriff’s Dept.   There were unindicted co-conspirators, including Cliff Avent and unidentified victims including Robert Wilson together with six identified victims, including Derick Feathers who were named in the case, but not identified in the case documents .

 

From February 1991 until he was fired, Alton Ray Mills served as Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department in Memphis, Tennessee.  By all accounts, Sheriff AC Gilless gave Mills free rein in day-to-day operations.

RayMills
Alton Ray Mill

Stephen Toarmina is a North Memphis grocer, whose convenience store is at 1486 Chelsea.   At that time he was a political crony of Sheriff AC Gilless and was appointed as a special advisor in the Sheriff’s office.   Toarmina liked to play cops and robbers, rolling around the county in a department cruiser, wearing a deputy’s uniform with a sidearm.   He would harass members of the public while impersonating an officer.      Toarmina got loans for bribes through his business for five named victims and processed a credit card payment for the sixth, laundering the proceeds through the store accounts.

 

Harold Hays Discovers Jobs for Cash

From the Flyer: “Between working for the FBI and for the Germantown police, Hays had been (appointed)  Sheriff Gilless’ internal-affairs director in 1994. It took only six months for him to get fired. Hays had to report to Mills about his investigations, but after a short while he started getting reports about Mills himself. Hays took advantage of an out-of-town trip by the chief deputy to bring his findings to Gilless.  Hays and the sheriff’s legal advisers then presented his evidence to

toarmina_grocery
Toarmina’s convenience store

then-DA John Pierotti. The next day, Mills came back into town and had Hays fired. Gilless approved…”.

 

Hays had reported the case to the FBI in early 1995, which started an inquiry.  The Federal indictment of Mills and Toarmina came down on April 18, 1996.

The Shape of the Cover-ups

We know the first cover-up, that of Earley Story, was a matter of concern to the top levels of management at SCSO.

Earley_Story_H&S
Earley Story

The second cover-up was related to the Early Story cover-up, as it was carried out by the same team at the same time.   As the cover-up of the Goodman murder might just be an operational matter carried out by a member of the investigational team, we need to explain why covering up Goodman’s murder was of concern to the individuals who framed  Story, Kimmons and Campbell, unless the murderer had infiltrated the first two cover-ups.    Top management, namely Gilless and his immediate reports, surely knew about both matters being covered up.

 

We are looking for a root cause, that is of concern to the Chief Deputy management level at SCSO.

Probability analysis of a deputy murder at SCSO.

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Deputy Sgt Deadrick Taylor

This SCSO fallen officers memorial page lists nine officers who were murdered, all by gunfire, between 1900 and 1999.   We left out Deputy Cranford’s 1946 killing as it was a car crash.  Deputies Mitchell and McDermott (1904),  Goad (1907), Nelson (1917), Reeves  and Applebury (1920) and  Stelling (1945) all died in the first half of the century.    Then there’s a gap of over 53 years between Stelling and the killing of Deadrick Taylor on April 19th, 1996.    This is the day after Mills and Toarmina were indicted.   98 days later, Deputy Sherry Hopper was murdered.     The gap between Stelling’s killing and Taylor’s was about 200 times the interval between Taylor’s and Goodman’s.   You can’t do statistics with numbers this small, but we can say that Goodman’s and Taylor’s killings formed an outlier cluster.

 

murder_graphWe can calculate some probabilities.   The probability of a deputy being killed in any given year, P(A) is 9/100 or 0.9.   The probability of a second murder, P(B|A) in a given year is 8/100, because one of the murders is already counted.    The probability of two deputy murders in the same year, by Bayes  theorem, is (0.9 * 8/100)/(9/100)  = 0.0072, less than one in a hundred.     Bayes theorem only works if the events are independent, or unrelated to each other, so this result means that two murders happening in the same year are almost certain to be causally related.

We could also say that the probability of being a deputy and getting murdered between 1950 and 1999 are zero, unless you are Deputy Taylor or Deputy Goodman.

We also note a high incidence of deputy deaths by other violent causes around the time, including four reported suicides.    The US national rate of suicide was 11 per 100,000 in 2006, and, given 1506 deputies and four suicides, the rate in the Sheriff’s Dept. was 266 per 100,000 – about 24 times the national rate.    The most likely occupational group to commit suicide, marine engineers, is said to be 1.89 times the national average, and police and jail workers don’t even make the top 19 occupational groups for suicide risk.   266 suicides per 100K is literally off the scale.

Without having distributions among smaller populations, we can say with certainty that the suicide rate among deputies was well more than ten standard deviations from the normal rate and therefore the probability of this cluster is significantly less than 0.01%.    Combining probabilities, we can also say that the probability of four deputy suicides in a year where there were also two deputy murders must be tiny, well less than one per million.

Another witness was murdered, the juvenile Etienne Harmon, who was arrested with the three deputy jailers in 1997 and was killed in November 1998.   We are now very curious about the Deputy Taylor and Harmon killings.   Could there have been up to seven murders to cover up the Jobs for Cash scheme?

Deputy Goodman as cover-up target.

goodman_shrine
Sherry Goodman Fallen Officer memorial

 

We note that Goodman was a four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Dept, so she was recruited after the Jobs for Cash scheme started in 1991.  We don’t know if she was a victim of the jobs scheme. We know that the indictment came in April 1996 so the FBI investigation at the Sheriff’s Department was creating lots of reasons for damage control by the conspirators who were operating at a high level in the department.   Combine this cover-up with the jobs for cash scheme, involving AC Gilless’ second in command and his political appointee, Toarmina, the Goodman murder cover-up and we have a fourth conspiracy with the same people in it, and this conspiracy includes a cover-up that silenced Taylor and Goodman.

We have been told by two sources in the system that Deputy Sherry Goodman was cooperating with investigators of the Jobs for Cash scheme and may have been scheduled to testify in the Federal trial, which was heard in August 1998.

Gilless in Cover-up

Campbell writes: The next day, Mills came back into town and had Hays fired. Gilless approved; the sheriff says that Hays was fired because, the day before he would sit down with Gilless, Hays refused to disclose the exact nature of the meeting he requested.   This obviously trumped-up trivial excuse for firing Harold Hays suggests that Gilless was part of the cover-up.

Additional coverage from Police One. (The Commercial Appeal is quoted).

More cover-ups.

The federal documents on the PACER system are very deficient, which is unusual for Federal court documents except where they have been ordered sealed.   There’s no discovery, witness depositions, grand jury indictments and most of the judgments are missing.   There’s also no motion to seal these documents.

Here are the documents we found in the case.   All documents are in PDF format.  The PACER case designation is 2:96-cr-20080-BBD USA v. Mills, et al.  A logon is required to access PACER but is automatically granted.

In Toarmina sentence appeal , he falls out with his co-conspirator and drops the names of unindicted co-conspirator Cliff Avent and unnamed victim, Robert Wilson.
Appeal ruling 1998.

DA Cover-up

bill.Gibbons
Bill Gibbons

The Shelby DA at the time, Bill Gibbons, as a Republican, was a political ally of AC Gilless, the Sheriff, who stood for re-election in August 1998, just days before his deputy and political advisor were tried in Federal court on 8/10/1998.  Gilless narrowly won amid the swirling news of the Jobs for Cash scandal.

In Phil Campbell’s Memphis Flyer story, (Federal Judge Jerome) ‘Turner, in fact, stated from the bench that “it’s disappointing” that District Attorney Bill Gibbons hasn’t done anything yet. Gibbons may still act, but so far his lackluster “no comments” suggest that the district attorney is in no hurry to prosecute the former allies and employees of Gilless, a professional colleague and a fellow Republican. There are political as well as legal considerations for Gibbons. If he doesn’t prosecute within the statute of limitations, and if Turner’s ruling survives a federal court appeal, then the DA’s tough-guy “No Deals” reputation could be tarnished’.

Bill Gibbons was Amy Weirich’s mentor at the DA’s office and is now the president of Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, after an unsuccessful stint as State Commissioner for Public Safety.

Sheriff Gilless announced that the deputies who paid for their jobs in the scheme would not face disciplinary action, consistent with a desire to suppress information about the scheme.

Phil Campbell

Campbell figures twice in our long series on the cover-ups at SCSO.  He was remarkably well-informed on the Mills / Toarmina trial, and he also made a tape recording at the Flyer, of CI #2282 Alfredo Shaw withdrawing his allegations against Earley Story.   Phil Campbell left the Flyer and Memphis soon after these events and is now in Broolyn, NY, far out of reach of Shelby Co. deputies and prosecutors.

Fourth Cover-Up

The fourth cover-up in our series is part of a known conspiracy in the Sheriff’s Department, the Jobs for Cash scheme, which extended to Gilless’ political advisor and second-in-command.   It includes at least one, and possibly as many as seven murders, of people related to the jobs scheme or the subsequent cover-ups.      The murderer or murderers have not be found, and, more than twenty years later, people with knowledge of the case, and their families, are being threatened and intimidated.     It explains why the Kimmons and Campbell frame-ups were done by the high-level team that perpetrated them.

We are continuing to look into the Deadrick Taylor murder.

— To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on snitch retraction and Earley Story

We received additional material on Alfredo Shaw’s TV retraction of his Crimestoppers snitch.   We have a video from a local TV channel and a sworn statement made to Federal court by Alfredo Shaw outlining how he was coerced into giving false witness in Tony Carruthers death penalty case.    We have also had several phone interviews with death row inmate Tony Carruthers.

We also got two more documents in the provenance of the CI ledger which Earley Story is using in his case.  Additional documents from Tony Carruthers attorney requesting the documents, the DA’s denial and a court order demanding the ledger be produced add extra detail.   We also have a better image of the CI ledger document.  Earley Story had another appearance in Division 8 before Judge Chris Craft and we provide notes of this hearing.  The Post and Email blog reports on Mr Story’s case and we have an account of his most recent court appearance last Monday.

We had an interview last week from a confidential source whose story matches the Alfredo Shaw modus operandi, generally confirming Earley Story and Tony Carruthers’ narratives.    We can’t print any more about this at present.

First up, the Alfredo Shaw confessions.

Alfredo Shaw confesses

This document was filed on April 21st 2011 in Western District of the Federal Court.   Shaw swears that Assistant DA Jerry Harris and MPD officers Wilkinson and Roleson briefed him, on or before March 27th 1994, on the Tony Carruthers murder case, showing him the case documents.  Other than media coverage, he had no other information concerning the case and had not, as he later claimed, spoken to Carruthers about the February 1994 case.   Shaw made a false statement to police on March 17th and provided the same witness statement to the Grand Jury soon after.

Shaw on TV

Alfredo-Shaw-mugshot-36147747.400x800
Alfredo Shaw

Around February 28th 1996, Shaw gave this interview to Channel 13.   He described how he contacted MPD Homicide, was approached by prosecutor Jerry Harris and offered $2000 and dismissal of charges to testify as instructed.  He talks about police and ADAs coaching him with “bits and pieces” for his Grand Jury testimony.  A prosecutor talks about Shaw’s other crimes, how he lied on this case and others and how Carruthers and other defendants should be protected from Shaw.   The fact that Shaw’s testimony was used again on Earley Story in his 1997 – 1999 case, and upwards of ten other defendants, tends to deflate this argument.

 

Shaw threatened by prosecutor

tony_carruthers_tennessee
Tony Carruthers

Shaw was visited and threatened in the jail by Harris, Wilkinson and Roleson just after the Channel 13 report aired, who threatened and intimidated him and said they’d go after him if he did not revert to the original, concocted story.  Later, Harris said that they would not call him as a trial witness for the prosecution, but Carruthers called him as a defense witness. Harris told Shaw before his appearance that he would prosecute Shaw for perjury unless he want back to the agreed testimony.   He did so, recounting conversations with Carruthers which never occurred.  Subsequently Harris’ promises of time served on a number of felonies were carried out.   Shaw still feared retaliation from the prosecutor’s office at the time he gave this statement.

Earley Story in Court March 4th 2019

We saw Earley Story as he started his attempt to clear his record.   Earley Story was also framed with the help of testimony from Alfredo Shaw, who withdrew his testimony in an interview with Phil Campbell of the Memphis Flyer, and was forced by prosecutors to revert to his original bogus story at court.

Here’s our notes from March 4th, Shelby Co. Criminal Court Division 8, Judge Chris Craft.   I am not a shorthander so the quotes only are literal.

09:42 AM.  Earley Story requests records from the previous hearings to be added to the file.
Judge Craft:  Are you going to call witnesses?
Earley Story: No
Judge Craft: Do you know which prosecutor is handling the case?
An unidentified prosecutor stands up.  He does not know who is handling the case.  The case records were destroyed.
The judge told Mr Story to sit down.

12:50 PM.  Earley Story says that the prosecutor’s office filed a response denying all charges.

About 3:00 PM
Earley Story is called to the mic and says he would like a default judgment per his motion.
Earley Story:  On October 29th, when I received this information concerning my innocence, I filed on time and I received no information until January 15th 2019 when I receieved a letter.
Judge Craft: From me.  Where did you get thirty days to respond?
Earley Story:  Tennessee law.
Judge Craft: There is no such limit.
Earley Story:  I believe my motion should have been heard more timely.
Judge Craft:  We have not heard a motion yet.  We need to stay focused on the topic of this motion for default judgment.   Do you understand the process?  I am asking what law says thirty days.   When I ask a question I require an answer.
Earley Story:  55.01 Tennessee Rules for Civil Procedure.  When a party fails to respond within thirty days judgment is by default.   Does that mean you are denying a hearing?
Unidentified Prosecutor:  That rule does not apply in criminal court.   The state denies all allegations.  We supplied Earley Story a copy.  This is hearsay about Alfredo Shaw.   Today we are asking for the motion for default judgment to be dismissed.
Earley Storey mentions his motion for Judge Craft to recuse himself.
Judge Craft:  We don’t change the subject.  We are not supposed to help (pro se litigants).   The state says they filed a response.
Earley Storey:  The response was not timely.   29th October to March is not timely.
Judge Craft:  I am ruling that the writ is defective because there is no certificate of service.  I wrote Earley Storey to come to court February 11th to set the attorney.   Mr Story said he would represent himself pro-se.    I am denying the motion.   Any other motion?
Earley Storey:  Motion for the judge to recuse himself.
Judge Craft: The motion to recuse is not in the jacket.   (Clerk hands him a document).   We can fix that today.
Earley Storey:  I want a response to the motion I filed in the clerk’s office.
Judge Craft: I want to make sure your rights are preserved.   I can’t set a date for a hearing until a motion is in the jacket.
Earley Storey:  I filed a motion for Judge Craft to be disqualified.   Maybe it is in the wrong jacket.
Judge Craft:  I am setting a date of March 21st for report because a motion is not filed.

—-

 

 

Earley Story: Blown Whistler

Earley_Story_H&SEarley Story AKA Earlie Story is a soft-spoken gentleman in his mid sixties with a narrative straight out of a mid-20th century crime drama.

He is a former Sheriff’s Department sergeant and jailer at 201 Poplar, who blew the whistle on abuses at the jail.  He reported a murder and a rape to the NAACP and the FBI, and the job turned on him.

Continue reading “Earley Story: Blown Whistler”