Sep 11, 2019

Making a Murderer Case: Citizen Offering $100,000 for Info on Halbach Killer Hits Prosecutorial Misconduct

Madison, Wisconsin — What does one do upon becoming aware of multiple felonies destroying lives?

In Wisconsin in the Making a Murderer case, calling law enforcement is not an option.

Law enforcement comprises the felons.

Now, a citizen has stepped forward and offered a $100,000 reward for tips on finding the killer of Teresa Halbach for which two innocent men have been framed, convicted and imprisoned.

The anonymous citizen says "prosecutorial misconduct" and a desire to see justice prevail motivates the establishment of the $100,000 reward fund.

John Ferak, author of the breathtaking Wrecking Crew, Demolishing The Case Against Steven Avery, has the story of the mystery citizen and a question-and-answer with wrongful conviction attorney, Kathleen Zellner.

Zellner will file an eagerly anticipated appellate brief for Steven Avery on October 10.

Sep 9, 2019

Steven Avery Attorney: Citizen Offers $100,000 for Tips Leading to Arrest and Conviction of Teresa Halbach Killer

We are pleased to announce that a reward of $100,000
is being offered, by a concerned citizen, for the arrest
and conviction of the real killer of Teresa Halbach.
All tips should be called in to (630) 847 3733.
Madison, Wisconsin — The attorney for Steven Avery has announced the establishment of a $100,000 reward for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of the killer of Teresa Halbach.

The announcement was made on Twitter on Monday morning by wrongful conviction attorney, Kathleen Zellner.

The announcement reads: "We are pleased to announce that a reward of $100,000 is being offered, by a concerned citizen, for the arrest and conviction of the real killer of Teresa Halbach. All tips should be called in to (630) 847 3733."

Wisconsin law enforcement has repeatedly thwarted the investigation into the Halbach murder since the frame-up of Steven Avery began in October 2005.

The bodily remains of Teresa Halbach were illegally transported to the Halbach family in 2011 in a secret scheme by Calumet County Sheriff Deputy Jeremy Hawkins, Sergeant Investigator Mark Wiegert, and DoJ Attorneys Thomas Fallon and Norman Gahn.

Fallon and Gahn now argue in post-conviction litigation that since the remains are no longer in State custody, the biological remains of Ms. Halbach that were secretly returned to the family can no longer be scientifically established to be the remains of Ms. Halbach.

This admission in 2018 changed the scene of the crime contradicting the State's narrative presented at trial, (Supplemental Motion for Post-Conviction Relief, March 11, 2019).

Advocates of Steven Avery hope the lure of a large monetary reward can induce citizens coming forward with information they possess about the killer, or other tips about the frame-up.

Still, advocates fear Wisconsin law enforcement are capable of anything. 

Aug 29, 2019

New York Times v Sullivan Faces Challenge amid Changing Judiciary, Emboldened Racists

Manitowoc County Sheriff Lt. Andrew Colborn (ret)
has included an argument in his federal defamation
suit against the creators and distributors of Making a
Murderer that seeks to eviscerate First Amendment
protections exemplified in the First Amendment
case, New York Times v Sullivan.
Update: Trump calls for new accusers of Justice Kavanaugh to file suit for libel, and for U.S. Justice Dept to "rescue" embattled judge, (Newsweek).
 --
Madison, Wisconsin — "One of the things I'm going to do if I win, ... I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they [the press] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws," blustered Donald Trump in February 2016, (The Politico).

Trump repeated his views on modern libel law doctrine after taking office because apparently he was not informed there are no federal libel laws that he can "open up."

Further, holdings of the landmark Supreme Court case, New York Times v Sullivan (1964), prevent an aggrieved government official from winning "lots of money" and prevailing in a civil action against citizens expressing opinions deemed caustic, unorthodox or irreverent, for example, toward our 'leaders.'

So, why worry? Trump is a lunatic, and whatever fantasies he manages are tempered by the reality of long-won legal victories holding malicious public officials in check.

The First Amendment freedoms of the press, speech and expression with which Trump is actually quarreling offer the most powerful protection in the world to people voicing thought at variance with  public officials' assessment of their character and performance, (ACLU, Jan 2018; NYT, Feb 2019).

Trump's desire to litigate against the authors and publishers of prose written at Trump's expense seems little more than the wish of a half-wit pining for the 21rst century equivalent of the Sedition Act that criminalized writings thrusting government officials into disrepute.

Today, the Federalist Society, Republican senators and Donald Trump work assiduously to transform the federal judiciary into an adjunct arm of the Republican Party, white Evangelicals and corporate special interests, a la the corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Challenges to foundational cases codifiying American liberties are bubbling up through the federal judiciary.

And, Trump has "appointed nearly one in four of the nation's federal appeals court judges and one in seven of its district court judges," all activist ideologues vetted for their fidelity to an authoritarian and ahistorical jurisprudence, reports Carrie Johnson at National Public Radio.

Further, two of nine Trump-appointed justices serve on the Untied States Supreme Court forming a five-four majority of hyper-activist judges working for the interest of the Republican Party.

It is in this milieu that we ought to be concerned about Republicans on the United States Supreme Court hollowing out our liberties generally.

The Trumpist hostility against the press has escalated into a political assault against the journalists themselves. Reports the New York Times: "A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists. ... [Poiltical] operatives have compiled dossiers and research that is "said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president."

Specifically, current efforts to ultimately convince the United States Supreme Court to revisit New York Times v Sullivan should be considered in light of the struggle between those who see human beings as instruments and often enemies of the State, and those who see the State as an instrument of human beings.

Crazy, crazy. It's rightwingers.

Cases in three different regional appellate circuits — Second, Sixth and Seventh — feature rightwing plaintiffs intent on revisiting Sullivan, the eloquently written opinion codifying First Amendment rights of the press, speech and expression by citizens voicing thought regarding public officials. [Sullivan protections were subsequently expanded to include other classes of public figures, somewhat more controversially.]

Though the three challenges do not appear to be well-organized, well-considered and linked, we would be fools to not be concerned.

New York Times v Sullivan

L.B. Sullivan, a Montgomery, Alabama Commissioner of Public Affairs filed a libel suit against "Negroes," clergymen and the New York Times Company for a full-page ad, entitled "Heed Their Rising Voices," run in the Times on March 29, 1960 in which the defendants call for human dignity, guarantees of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and defense of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, (p 257, New York Times v Sullivan).

The ad was signed at the bottom of the page by the "Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South."

L.B. Sullivan was not mentioned by name in the ad, but the ad condemned actions of the Montgomery police, and Sullivan reasoned he was implicitly criticized and libeled because of his authority as a supervisor of City police, (p 258, New York Times v Sullivan). 

A jury in the Montgomery County Circuit Court awarded Sullivan $500,000.

American Court victories won for liberty usually come after indescribable costs in blood and lives — state-perpetrated genocide, slavery, terror, massacres, murder, frame-ups, incarcerations, character assassination, trauma, intimidation, hate, racism and harassment, continuing today.

The New York Times and civil rights workers prevailed over the tyrannical Montgomery police and its odious City officials at the United States Supreme Court.

Justice William Brennan writing for a unanimous court authored a defense of the liberty of the people against government tyrants, a principle that today stands as both an inspiring statement for liberty and a landmark declaration of the power of citizens over public officials.

Writes Brennan:

The First Amendment, said Judge Learned Hand,

presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many, this is, and always will be, folly, but we have staked upon it our all. United States v. Associated Press, 52 F.Supp. 362, 372 (D.C.S.D.N.Y. 1943).
Mr. Justice Brandeis, in his concurring opinion in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375-376, gave the principle its classic formulation:
Those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. ... Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.
Thus, we consider this case [New York Times v. Sullivan] against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. (New York Times v. Sullivan).

Parable of Racist Police

To understand the power of Sullivan today, consider a recent example of racist Wisconsin police in which the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Chief Daniel Furseth was caught on video surveiling and mocking a group of black teenagers dressed for their high school prom, and stopping by an area restaurant, as was reported by a former police intern on YouTube in June 2018.

DeForest, Wisconsin Police Chief Daniel Furseth is a racist
cop who surveiled and mocked five young black men
in some faux black slang with a demeaning, racist and
derogatory narrative caught on video. Furseth was widely
criticized, resigning under fire before joining like-minded police
at the Town, not the City, of Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to
the holdings in New York Times v Sullivan (1964), public
officials like the Furseth could prevail in libel actions, pleading
libel per se against those such as the police intern who
published the video on YouTube. Wrties the whistle-
blower: "This is what the stupid, ignorant, and imbecilic Village
of  DeForest elects to be their 'Top Cop.' This is the racist
Chief of Police Daniel Furseth, who is much like the rest of
DeForest, poorly educated, socially intolerant, and completely
incompetent when it comes to federal law (you know
the one that trumps state and local law when it’s in conflict
with it). Only a redneck and backassward community like
DeForest would want someone like this as a Chief to keep the
black man out."
Observing the youths and commenting in mocking accent, Furseth said: "Okay, we is out on our dates. We got the bitches, we gonna get them, and we gonna give them food. I got my cane, I’ve gots (sic) my suit. Oh baby … Okay, boys, let’s go in. This is the fanciest restaurant we ever been to and it’s called the Steak ‘N Shake. (Laughter) Unbelievable."

A reader should listen to the 36-second clip on YouTube to get a full accounting of the malice and racism that most small-town Wisconsin cops know to keep under wraps. Furseth and his all-white police force really do not like black people.

In August 2018 came reports of four new counts of misconduct by Furseth, (WISC-TV).

Chased out of office, the racist Daniel Furseth was never heard from again, right? Wrong.

Furseth was quickly hired by the town of Madison, not the City, in October 2018.

An official with the town of Madison police department, not the City, confirmed by phone on August 14, 2019 that Furseth is still employed with the Town police, locally notorious for racism, harassment, bogus citations and misconduct.

Pre-New York Times v Sullivan (1964), or had American jurisprudence taken another direction, the Town, DeForest and Furseth may have enjoyed cause for civil action for my opining that Daniel Furseth and Town and Village officials are racist, ignorant pig-fuckers who should have their teeth kicked out.

The former police intern who blew the whistle on YouTube similarly might not enjoy protections for his commentary about the character of the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Dept in which Furseth rose through the all-white ranks to become chief in 2015.

The judiciary over the last 60 years has risen to become a refuge for civil pleadings from social movements working for those persecuted by the State — often the repository of lurid souls like Daniel Furseth and L.B. Sullivan who, one may believe, should be anomalous is a classical liberal society.

Liberties Prevail

The United States Supreme Court of the 1950s, 60s and 70s in significant areas made it appear individual rights prevailing were a dynamic as inevitable as the triumph of reason over racism and liberation over atavistic taboo.

Landmark legal rulings after rulings were won and each victory seemed a fulfillment of long-denied liberties as the civil rights and peace movement flourished.

Brown v Board of Education (1954), New York Times v Sullivan (1964), Loving v Virgina (1967), Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and United States v. United States District Court (1972) and dozens more Court holdings promised to buttress citizens against routine incursions of liberty by State actors and law enforcement.

Sullivan under Attack
 
Many today fear an epic backlash, and the challenges to Sullivan are emblematic.

 There are now at least three cases in three different appellate circuits — Second, Sixth and Seventh — in which rightwing plaintiffs appear intent on revisiting New York Times v. Sullivan.

  • Sixth Circuit - Nicholas Sandmann v. WP Company LLC, d/b/a [doing business as] The Washington Post (2:19-cv-00019). Plaintiff says he will appeal the dismissal decided in jUly 2019.
  • Seventh Circuit - Andrew Colborn v. Netflix, Inc (1:19-cv-00484). Likely to be dismissed in a  Dec 19, 2019 hearing in District court. An appeal is possible.
  • Second Circuit - Sarah Palin v New York Times Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-3801. Case will be heard on the merits in U.S. District Court.

All three plaintiffs above are political rightwingers.

Sandmann and Palin are demonstrable racists.

All three cases appear more the result of isolated rightwing angst at the liberal press, and, in Colborn's case, astonishment that analysis and commentary dare accuse a law enforcement officer of criminal misconduct.

So, Google-alert the cases and keep your eyes out.

Aug 26, 2019

Bernie Sanders Sits Atop Field in Polls as Corporate Media Shuts out Inconvenient Facts

Nate Silver is whoring out his site for throw-them-in
-prison Joe Biden today, but has to concede in a graphic
Bernie Sanders leads the field in average favorability
of Democratic party candidates.
If the corporatist talking heads on CNN, MSNBC and the Democratic Party establishment held a presidential Primary Election, they would anoint Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or Joe Biden as nominee. 

But not Bernie Sanders who in a piece by Nate Silver at 538 sits atop the field in favorability ratings.

But Sanders is not what Silver is writing about.

Silver is whoring out his site for throw-them-in-prison Joe Biden today, but has to concede in a graphic Bernie Sanders leads the field in average favorability of Democratic party candidates.

The total of Strongly Favorable and Somewhat Favorable ratings show Bernie Sanders at 75 percent and Joe Biden at 73 percent.

Bernie Sanders leading the Democratic field in anything, Bernie Sanders trouncing Donald Trump in General Election match-ups, Bernie Sanders raising the most contributions by far — these are stories that must not be repeated by the corporate media.

One may think that after CNN, MSNBC and the Democratic Party establishment rigged the 2016 nomination for Hillary Clinton that the corporatists might be gun-shy in giving out pronouncements and advertisements against Bernie Sanders this time around.

Going into November 2016, Clinton was 12 points underwater with a whopping 54 percent unfavorability rating, RealClearPolitics data show. No red flags there.

Clinton campaign staffers populate the national political coverage on cable news like mosquitoes in the north woods.

Haven't these people who gave us Donald Trump, Donald Trump!, done enough damage for a few life times?

Aug 20, 2019

Wisconsin DoJ Attorneys Thomas Fallon and Norman Gahn Are Under Cloud in Steven Avery Case

Madison, Wisconsin — Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz affirmed a key fact in her August 8, 2019 decision and order in Manitowoc County Circuit Court in Steven Avery's post-conviction litigation.

Steven Avery is featured in the Emmy-winning Making a Murderer documentary series.

Judge Sutkiewicz writes, "The report of [Calumet County Sheriff Deputy Jeremy Hawkins] indicates that he, Sergeant Investigator Mark Wiegert, [DoJ] Attorney Thoman Fallon and [DoJ] Attorney Norman Gahn removed materials stored in evidence, and released them to the [murder victim Teresa] Halbach family," (p 2).

The state appellate case is State v. Steven A. Avery, 2017AP002288.

This is an important admission from Sutkiewicz because the Wisconsin Dept of Justice's Fallon and Gahn have been gas-lighting the Teresa Halbach family, Avery and his attorneys and indeed the entire state of Wisconsin.

Fallon, Gahn and Wisconsin Attorney General Joshua Kaul (D) claim they do not know if the biological remains that Fallon, Gahn and the Calumet County Sheriff Dept secretly and illegally released to the Teresa Halbach family in 2011 are in fact the remains of Teresa Halbach.

You read that right. It is the official position of the State of Wisconsin that the State misled a murder victim's family into believing the State had returned to this family the bodily remains of someone whom they now claim may not be Teresa Halbach.
 
Avery's attorney — Kathleen Zellner, Steven Richards and Douglas Johnson — are expected to file a brief with the presiding appellate court within weeks.

The Wisconsin statute 968.205 - Preservation of certain evidence is clear. Among other duties assumed by law enforcement when destroying evidence in its custody, the State must send "a notice of its intent to destroy the evidence to all persons who remain in custody as a result of the criminal conviction, delinquency adjudication, or commitment, and to either the attorney of record for each person in custody or the state public defender."

This statute is not a suggestion of best practices.

The State of course sent no such notice. See Avery legal filings.

The law was specifically changed in 2005 with the legislative intent to allow law enforcement to destroy evidence after meeting all the prescribed conditions necessary for the State to commit this act.

Reads the Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau of ASSEMBLY BILL 648, [LRB−3492/1RLR:wlj&lmk:rs   2005 − 2006 LEGISLATURE]; 

However, if a law enforcement agency, DA, court,or crime laboratory informs every person in custody in connection with a piece of evidence of its intent to destroy the evidence and none of the people either requests preservation of the evidence or files a motion for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing of the biological material contained in or included on the evidence, the law enforcement agency, DA, court, or crime laboratory may destroy the evidence.

This bill provides that a law enforcement agency, DA, court, or crime laboratory must retain evidence that includes biological material and was collected in connection with a criminal investigation that resulted in a conviction, delinquency adjudication, or commitment order only if the biological material is either from the victim of the offense for which the conviction, adjudication, or commitment order was imposed or the biological material may reasonably be used to incriminate or exculpate any person for the offense. Also, a law enforcement agency, DA, court, or crime laboratory need retain the evidence only in an amount and manner sufficient to develop a DNA profile from the evidence. [Emphasis added]

The State now wants to substitute scientific certainty as the new definition that determines the incriminating or exculpatory value of DNA evidence and replace the "may reasonably be used" language that resides in the law and legislative intent.

Instead of "biological material [that] may reasonably be used to incriminate or exculpate," as is the legislative intent and plain language of the statute, Judge Sutkiewicz references the testimony of one scientist from trial to support the State's position.

Surly, it is reasonable to infer that giving a murder victim's family bodily remains purported to be a murder victim's may reasonably be determined to possess exculpatory value, in accordance with Wisconsin statute 968.205 - Preservation of certain evidence.

As attorney Zellner notes in her Feb. 1 legal filing:
The [State] ... conveys an attitude of impunity for its past actions of withholding exculpatory evidence and its current action of continuing the concealment of its destruction of potentially exculpatory or useful evidence. ...

The State wants this Court to overlook the undisputed fact that 2 weeks ago, on December 28, 2018, when it filed its response to Mr. Avery's request for new DNA testing of the bones from the Manitowoc Gravel Pit, it never once admitted or disclosed that it had given the bones back to the Halbach family in 2011 without notice to Mr. Avery or his counsel. (Plaintiff-Respondent's Response in Opposition to the Petition to Stay the Appeal and Remand this Case to the circuit court, December 28, 2018, pp. 1-8). Instead, the State carried on its charade of concealment by claiming that Mr. Avery could voluntarily dismiss his pending appeal (pp. 1,2)
What we in Wisconsin need to determine as well is the intent of Calumet County Sheriff Deputy Jeremy Hawkins, Sheriff Mark Wiegert, and DoJ attorneys Thoman Fallon and Norman Gahn through a criminal investigation.

You better believe this gang is culpable in the crimes of 946.65 Obstructing justice and 946.12 Misconduct in public office, for starters.

And a federal probe would certainly help.

These people broke multiple laws in their plot to frame an innocent man, and then destroy evidence to conceal their crimes.