"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Watch for Snakes," particularly in our justice system - a case of judicial misconduct?

(South side Jackson County Courthouse photo by G. Morgan)
Subtitled: "Snakes in the Court"
DECEMBER 13, 2012 SCOTTSBORO, ALABAMA, JACKSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE-Court Room 1: "Jennifer, we must end this suit as we are moving forward to exonerate the Scottsboro Boys...this case is holding up our money (paraphrased);" said Ms. Washington to Judge Jennifer Holt, the presiding Judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court (Ms. Washington addressed the judge in court by her first name without any objection.). Judge Holt instructed the Court Reporter to not record some of the proceedings as they were off the record.

Meanwhile, Ms. Caffey, a disbarred attorney, sat beside the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation Attorney Mr. Royal as Co-Council and presented argument to the court. The Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation appointed Ms. Caffey to represent the foundation in this matter. Ms. Caffey was not named as a defendant in this suit. Apparently, the Judge nor the attorneys see a problem in allowing a disbarred attorney into a Jackson County Alabama Court to practice law.

Ms. Caffey is a board of directors member of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation. Ms. Caffey had informed the board of directors during the period she was voted onto the board that she was not a disbarred attorney and that she may practice law. Ms. Caffey's presentation to the board was very lengthy and she presented documents concerning her appeal before the Federal Courts.

The Federal Courts on two levels have denied her appeals and suit concerning her disbarment. http://federal-circuits.vlex.com/vid/sherryl-snodgrass-caffey-alabama-supreme-361016710  Ms. Caffey stated before the board that the Alabama Supreme Court and other judges in Alabama had discriminated against her. 

Ms. Washington as the Director of the Museum and Chairman of the Foundation Board was named as a defendant in case# 2011-0024, Morgan vs Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation filed in the Jackson County Alabama Circuit Court, Ms. Caffey has never been named as a defendant in this case.

Another attorney involved in this case, Mr. Allen Brinkley, raised the issue of the disbarred attorney practicing law, as shown above.

Mr. Brinkley presented a motion to strike the name of Ms. Caffey due to her status as a disbarred attorney. Apparently, the presiding judge did not rule on the motion. The Judge allowed a disbarred attorney to practice law in a Jackson County Court, presenting case arguments as an attorney would present arguments; the disbarred attorney sat as co-council before the court with the defendants council, Mr. Royal. The defense council and the Judge in this case enabled the disbarred attorney to practice law before the court which appears to violate Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct and the law.

The disbarred attorney had advised the court on a previous occasion when this issue arose before the bench that she was not a disbarred attorney. The judge informed Ms. Caffey at that time she had ways to find out if she was disbarred. http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ebb8f944-da65-11e0-8536-001cc4c002e0.html More on this issue is discussed below.

Contact with the Alabama Bar Association by the plaintiff's attorney revealed Ms. Caffey is a disbarred attorney. Ms. Caffey is not listed as an attorney in Alabama.

The defendants in this case filed a counter suit which made false allegations of theft and fraud based solely on a false and malicious affidavit filed by Ms. Caffey and attached to the Counter Suit. The counter suit filed in this case was structured in identical terms as the false affidavit. There was and is no evidence to support the defendants false and slanderous claims.

The defendants attorney had in his possession information demonstrating the affidavit and counter suit filed by the defendants was false. This false claim and court filing was structured as a defense subterfuge which the plaintiff's attorney failed to address before the court. The false slanderous counter suit's content was reported in the local newspaper which unjustly defamed not only the plaintiff but also a plaintiff's witness.

By all appearances, the false counter suit was filed to obstruct justice and attempt intimidation of potential witnesses which were privy to mismanagement and misuse of public and private donated funds of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation's Director/Chairman/Check writer during the later part of the 2010 year.

The Plaintiff filed the case for the purpose of acquiring records of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation after the production of records was refused to members of the Board of Directors asking for the records. Foundation board of director members are responsible for the administrative and financial accountability of the organization. There was a suspicion by the plaintiff in this case that money was being misappropriated by the director. Records disclosed demonstrate there was misuse of public and private donated funds by the museum director/foundation chair/check signer during the later part of 2010.

Complicating the case, the disbarred attorney, sitting as a board member, advised the board to remove the plaintiff and another who was questioning accountability. The disbarred attorney also advised the Multicultural Foundation Board to cancel all membership and not allow future membership. This action prevented membership in the museum and foundation to assert their rights. The foundation's bylaws were changed to reflect this status. 

The plaintiff  requested his attorney to raise objections to Ms. Caffey's practice of law in court.  He led the plaintiff to believe he was going to file a complaint with the Alabama Bar concerning this issue. The plaintiff's attorney did file objections in court when Ms. Caffey attempted to present documents to the judge.  A specific objection concerning Ms. Caffey's practice of law before the court was not entered. However, as this news article indicates the issue was before the court in September of 2011: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ebb8f944-da65-11e0-8536-001cc4c002e0.html  "Royal said the board voted to approve Caffey as the representative to speak for the board. Edmiston said Caffey could not be designated due to being a disbarred attorney in Alabama. 'She's not a lawyer,' said Edmiston. 'She was disbarred on August 21, 2009.' Caffey disputed Edmiston's statement, saying 'I've not been disbarred. I'm appearing as the vice-president [of the board]'...Caffey attempted to explain to Holt about the situation. 'I have my own means [of finding out],' Holt told Caffey. 'I will check. If you're licensed, so be it.' "

The big question is: What happened between September 2011 and December 2012 to cause the judge in this case to ignore judicial ethics and the law concerning a disbarred attorney practicing law in a Jackson County Alabama court room?  Answer - the Pardon of the "Scottsboro Boys" defendants (see begining discussion above and below).  Liberal extremism and white guilt discriminatory politics were practiced instead of law and fairness.

It is a matter of record with the court that the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation appointed Ms. Caffey to represent the foundation in the court. The court in this case allowed Ms. Caffey, a disbarred attorney, to practice law before the court.

What constitutes the practice of law: Code of Alabama 34-3-6 "Whoever, (1) In a representative capacity appears as an advocate or draws papers, pleadings, or documents, or performs any act in connection with proceedings pending or prospective before a court or a body, board, committee, commission, or officer constituted by law or having authority to take evidence in or settle or determine controversies in the exercise of the judicial power of the state or any subdivision thereof...

Ms. Caffey, a disbarred attorney, practiced law in the Circuit Court of Jackson County Alabama as described by The Code of Alabama in 34-3-6(1)listed above.

The Plaintiff's Attorney did file a motion in court regarding Ms. Caffey's claims and representation.

On December 13, 2012 the court was informed it would be possible to resolve the case via a settlement. The plaintiff advised the court that he had acted in good faith in this case as a foundation board member attempting to view and inspect all records of the foundation but denied access by the foundation's director/chairman/check signer and requested that his attorney fees be paid for by the defendants.

Upon receipt of the agreement the plaintiff refused the agreement due to a continuation of the false  statements in the agreement which in part was the same content of the false and slanderous affidavit and counter suit. The plaintiffs attorney was informed in writing that the agreement is rejected. Plaintiff also informed his attorney of the appearance of judicial misconduct due to the actions of the court, the defendants and attorney representing the defendants. The plaintiff requested that his attorney inform the court of these facts. Plaintiffs attorney stated he would not present these issues to the court.

The documents disclosed from the foundation per court order reveal mismanagement and misappropriation of funds during the later part of the 2010 year.

 This report serves to protect my interests and to inform the public of what I believe is a gross miscarriage of justice due to judicial misconduct. Since when is it a standard of legal practice to allow a disbarred attorney to represent an entity in a Court of Law, sitting as co-council? Then, to demonstrate a complete failure of justice, the same disbarred attorney submits a false and slanderous counter suit fashioned out of a false and slanderous affidavit with no evidence to support her claim except that which is in her mind. Where is justice, reasonable decision making and accountability for actions?

Is a precedent being set for the practice of law in Jackson County Alabama where disbarred attorneys may practice law and perjury may be committed with no repercussions?

What is PERJURY?

"In criminal law. The willful assertion as to a matter of fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge, made by a witness in a judicial proceeding as part of his (her)  evidence, either upon oath or in any form allowed by law to be substituted for an oath, whether such evidence is given in open court, or in an affidavit, or otherwise, such assertion being known to such witness to be false, and being intended by him (her) to mislead the court, jury, or person holding the proceeding."  Read more: What is PERJURY? definition of PERJURY (Black's Law Dictionary)

Below is a partial list of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.

Lady Justice at Maxwell Air Force Base Alabama (fair use)

Let's examine some rules and ISSUES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT which a lawyer must follow - "Rule 8.3(a) of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct states that “[a] lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of [the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct] shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.”
Case reference where the above rule was applied : IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT FILED U.S. COURT OF APPEALS ELEVENTH CIRCUIT MARCH 20, 2012; No. 11-12909 Non-Argument Calendar JOHN LEY CLERK; D.C. Docket No. 2:10-cv-03050-VEH; SHERRYL SNODGRASS CAFFEY, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus ALABAMA SUPREME COURT, SUE BELL COBB, et al., Defendants-Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (March 20, 2012) http://federal-circuits.vlex.com/vid/sherryl-snodgrass-caffey-alabama-supreme-361016710

A few other rules applicable to lawyers:

Rule 26(h)(1) A disbarred lawyer may not engage in the practice of law or in any employment in the legal profession.

Rule 3.1 Meritorious Claims and Contentions

(a) In his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial, or take other action on behalf of the lawyer’s client when the lawyer knows or when it is obvious that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another.
Rule 3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal
(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal;
(2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client; or
(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures.
Rule 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law
A lawyer shall not:
(a) practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction; or
(b) assist a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.
Rule 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct
(a) A lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of Rule 8.4 shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.
(b) A lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge or evidence concerning another lawyer or a judge shall reveal fully such knowledge or evidence upon proper request.
Rule 8.4 Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;
(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable Canons of Judicial Ethics or other law; or
(g) engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.

Complaints involving misconduct have been filed with the Alabama Bar Association and the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission in this case.

Is political grandstanding interfering with the judicial process in the current case involving Morgan vs Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation?
(photo crop of Gov. Bentley from Gov. Bentley's FaceBook site)
""Gov. Bentley supports pardoning the Scottsboro Boys," said Jeremy King, a spokesperson for the governor." http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ba6b64a2-e8bb-11e1-a20a-0019bb2963f4.html
TuscaloosaNews.com article "Scottsboro case lacks closure" 

"In 2010, Shelia Washington opened the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, where the nine men’s trials were held. Washington, the museum’s director, and Huntsville graduate student and writer Thomas Reidy are pushing for posthumous pardons for the other eight.“Closure is what I’m looking for,” Washington said recently. “It shouldn’t go on and on.” Washington is a retired Scottsboro city employee who also works in children’s outreach" http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20120826/NEWS/120829838


There are at least 2 inaccuracies in this article. 1) Ms. Washington did not open the museum. Several dedicated inviduals with vision and Ms. Washington, opened the museum. 2) Ms. Washington is not retired from the City of Scottsboro. Her employment was terminated from the City of Scottsboro. Ms. Caffey (While she was licensed to practice law.) and Mr. Royal were both involved in a law suit representing Ms. Washington as a result of her actions.

Another article involving Ms. Washington: Sheila Washington announced, "I lost my job partially due to trying to honor the Scottsboro Nine" "Shelia Washington, Founder of The Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center Speaks...I was the only black person to work at City Hall, and I lost my job partially due to trying to honor the Scottsboro Nine—so injustice is still very real today. " http://cultureid.com/content/shelia-washington-founder-of-the-scottsboro-boys-m
Political Pressure and White Guilt - White guilt is a vestige of racism which results in clouded judgement. Wiki has an excellent reference article concerning "white guilt." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_guilt
A local article about the political pressure of feel good political actions and glory seeking. An article quote from "The Clarion," a local weekly newspaper: "The Jackson County Legislative Delegation has gotten on board with the pardon efforts as well. Representative John Robinson said, “It’s been a long time coming, it’s been a stigma on Scottsboro. There has been a lot of injustice and it’s time to get it over with. This is the last good thing we can do for those nine men who were sent to prison and sentenced to death.” In February, Representative Robinson will introduce a bill to the House for the pardon of the Scottsboro Boys, and Senator McGill will present it to the Senate. “The governor supports it and as far as I know it’s going to be a partisan effort,” Robinson said." http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4853:exoneration-movement-for-scottsboro-boys-underway&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142 "Time to get it over with...," says Mr. Robinson; get what over with - education, the historical facts or maybe white guilt?

 Discovery - Partial Records Disclosure of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation

The following descriptions are taken from the records of Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation acquired through legal process and information available to the public.

IRS filing for calendar year 2010, Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation - Total Revenue Stated on Form 990EZ - $89,757.00.  Revenue reflected on bank statements for 2010 - $104,732.26. Expenses as stated on Form 990EZ - $92,522.00. Expenses as reflected on bank statements for 2010 - $100,132.00. 990EZ reflects foundation fund balance as $1500. Fund balance reflected on bank statement as of Dec. 31, 2010 was $4202.79. The IRS filing does not coincide with the financial statements of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation for the year 2010.

Checks with no payee - 6 for a total of $200.00 between September 2010 to January 2011.

Unaccounted, unapproved financial transactions, store purchases by foundation director from June 2010 to December 2010 $2268.00.

Compensation paid to director from June 2010 to January 2011 not authorized by board of directors in which the director signed the check $1200.00.

Numerous payments to unknown individuals between July 2010 to September 2010 no receipts, no board approvals totaling $290.00

Treasurer resigns in writing on Aug 12, 2010 but continues to sign checks.

In 2010 there were 200 checks written with a total of 31 receipts produced, reflecting a 15.5% receipts available from the 200 financial transactions.

Total amount of questionable financial transactions listed within which is demonstrated by documents received as reported in this listing: $3958.00.  

UPDATE: On Dec 13, 2012 this records disclosure case had its final hearing. An order was signed by Judge Holt on Jan. 22, 2013. Judge Holt ordered the defendants attorney to prepare a final order for the judges signature. When I received the final order, prepared by the defendant's attorney, I refused the order as I did not agree with its content due to false statements in the draft order which were part of the disbarred attorney's false affidavit dismissed by the court with prejudice. I refused the agreement verbally and twice in writing to my attorney. Parts of the original order draft were changed and the order was signed by Judge Holt on Jan. 22, 2013. However, the part of the order which was dismissed by the court with prejudice was not removed from the final order.

Complaints have been filed with the Alabama Bar Association and the Judicial Inquiry Commission due to the conduct of those involved in the case. Other matters are pending in this case.

The case was resolved as to plaintiffs property being returned to him and the Foundation paid Plaintiffs Attorney fees.

UPDATE: Mar. 4, 2013 - Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation makes request to Scottsboro City Council for funding of $15,000. http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_13b5367a-8748-11e2-acdf-001a4bcf887a.html

(last update & edit 02-28-2014)

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