Showing posts with label Public Integrity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Public Integrity. Show all posts

Dec 10, 2013

Wrongfully Convicted: Keith Roberts Redux

PTSD fraud at the VA is like voter fraud on a national level, there is no 'there' there

Had an interesting exchange with Attorney Robert P. Walsh, a Vietnam War Army combat veteran, who devotes his life to helping military veterans in his law practice.

Walsh was the attorney of Wisconsin's Keith Roberts, a Navy Vietnam-era veteran, unjustly convicted of wire fraud in 2006. [The conviction was upheld on appeal to the federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a July 2008 decision reading in part: "The record might also have supported a jury determination that Mr. Roberts sincerely believed that his statements were true and that he had no intention to defraud the Government," by Justice Kenneth Ripple. But Ripple notes of the guilty verdict, that, "It is beyond our authority to disturb such a finding on appeal."]

Roberts' real crime, in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was hounding the VA (DVA) and taking seriously his right to pursue a disability benefits claim—a dangerous practice for veterans during the Bush-Cheney administration.

And to listen to Walsh, this is a danger that has been carried on in the Obama administration.

Personally, I though the embedded neocons at the VA and Veterans Benefit Administration and the corrupt US attorneys were mostly gone.

Walsh doesn't give a damn about anything except helping veterans, so he is someone worth listening to, if one takes helping veterans seriously.

Some edited notes from Bob Walsh on veterans and VA:

The VA has used and continues to use the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) as their enforcer, a private police force.

Wisconsin's Keith Roberts is only one example.

The probable cause that a crime had been committed in the Roberts case: "there were inconsistencies in the VA benefits claims file."

Since the benefits disability system is ex parte and non-adversarial and dozens of employees have access to the file, that should not warrant a criminal indictment in Federal District Court, as it did.

Had the VA Office of General Counsel not been a No Show in the entire process (who knows what closet they were cowering in during the criminal proceedings) there would not have been an indictment.

The VA Regional Counsel in Detroit, Michigan, with jurisdiction over Wisconsin, had no knowledge of the indictment at the time Roberts' criminal trial began, as required by administrative law regulations.

The VA Regional Office in Detroit and the VA OIG had attempted the same ploy on a decorated WW II veteran in Michigan a few years earlier. We were able to increase that veteran's benefits to the Special Monthly Compensation rate for his war wounds. When he died he was receiving about $3,500.00 per month.  We were never able to recover the $ 50,000.00 that VA stole from him and his family when they created the false overpayment in his case.

The VA had put him in overpayment and then attempted to have him prosecuted for fraud like Roberts.   Our U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan had the integrity to tell the VA OIG to go to hell. The political hacks in Milwaukee were only too happy to do the bidding of the Bush-Cheney White House and make an 'example' of Keith Roberts.

Roberts was to be the poster boy for PTSD fraud.  The 'welfare Cadillac' of veterans benefits.

PTSD fraud at VA is like voter fraud on a national level. There is no 'there' there.

Most of the real fraud turns out to be VA staff and Service Officers, not individual veterans.

Most of the real waste to the taxpayers is in executive compensation and bonuses. 

Where else but VA can you have an 85 percent error rate and get a promotion and bonus in the same year?

Maybe on Wall Street in a mortgage unit. Other than that, can’t think of an example.

Justice delayed is not justice in full measure. Veterans are not third-class citizens. They are entitled to the same due process a mass murderer is afforded.

High time the basic due process and the protection of the Administrative Procedures Act is imposed on the VA.

The path through which American citizens can impact the regulation-rulemaking process is through the federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act, mandating federal agencies solicit public comment before instituting new rules and regulations that implement legislative acts such as the Veterans Judicial Review Act and other statutes intended to help veterans, their families and our country.

Sep 13, 2013

Did Wisconsin District Attorney Indict Himself under Own Letterhead

Title 18 USC § 201
District Attorney Martin Lipske appears to be in violation of a federal corruption statute

Updated - When Iron County (Wisconsin) DA Martin Lipske sent a letter earlier this year to the man he unjustly prosecuted in 1997, Donald Miller, after destroying DNA evidence it appears Lipske conditioned the performance of a specific act of his public office upon Don Miller's parents' not complaining about Lipske's shady law practice to the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR).

A letter written by Lipske to Don Miller, dated July 11, 2013, reads in part: "My intentions were to send a copy of the stipulation in which I agreed to your release. However, between the time that I received the form and the due date, I received another letter through the actions of your parents challenging my license to practice law. Therefore, nothing was sent as I intended." (Copy of letter is below.)

The Millers, Norm and Patricia, say they received a Feb 21, 2013 response letter from the OLR, and word from up north is that Lipske was not happy about the OLR complaint.

Reached by phone, Norm Miller does not remember sending the OLR a complaint to begin with, but in any event retaliation by a sitting District Attorney, and the performance of an official action should not be conditioned upon what the Miller parents do, as they attempt to prove their son's innocence in their retirement as they live in Hurley, Wisconsin.

Put another way, Lipske's seeking to clear his name (he was suspended for almost four years for professional misconduct before Judge Patrick Madden recruited him to run for DA in 1994) by withholding a promised action of his office is a corrupt use of public office, and a violation of federal law.

The Wisconsin Innocence Project has taken up this case, and has not returned phone calls.

What appear to be clear, however, is that Lipske is using the power of his office to stop people from challenging his misconduct in public office, and this appears to be a violation of a federal corruption statute.

Title 18 USC § 201 reads in part:

Whoever being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:
(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;

So Lipske on his own Office of Iron County (Wisconsin) District Attorney letterhead delivered his message to the Millers: Stop reminding people of my professional misconduct (as is your right), or I won't help release an innocent man, your son, from prison by stipulating to his release.

Lipske's letter is below:

Aug 20, 2013

Iron County Judge Patrick 'Madman' Madden—A Cornered Animal

Madden faces accusations he had an affair
with an alleged crime victim, Connie Vargovich,
before, during and after presiding over the 1997
trial of a defendant, the former live-up boyfriend
of the same alleged crime victim, Connie Vargovich.
Madden's legal career is on the line.
A supporter of a victim of Madden's
said of Madden, "the little prick's time is up soon,"
referring to Madden's 27-year reign as Judge.
Update II: "A free society can exist only to the extent that those charged with enforcing the law respect it themselves. 'There is no more cruel tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of the law, and with the colors of justice.'" 

- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Appellant in No. 81-1020 v. JANNOTTI, HARRY P. (D.C. Crim. No. 80-00166-02); UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellant in No. 81-1021 v. SCHWARTZ, GEORGE X. (D.C. Crim. No. 80-00166-04)
Nos. 81-1020, 81-1021
673 F.2d 578; 1982 U.S. App. LEXIS 21883
June 10, 1981, Argued
Decided February 11, 1982

Put succinctly, the reign of Iron County DA Martin Lipske, and Iron County Judge Patrick J. Madden is coming to an end. The rule of law will return to Iron County Wisconsin. 

Update: Note to Judge Madden and District Attorney Lipske, Ira Robins sends his regards and will be working on the reporting of this case, Wisconsin v. Miller. One Wisconsin attorney, speaking on background, said of Judge Madden and District Attorney Lipske: "They're human garbage."

If Wisconsin citizens were told a circuit court judge were to preside over the trial of an innocent man, and that the trial judge had an multi-year affair with the alleged victim before, during and after the trial, most Wisconsin citizens would respond this doesn't seem fair and proper.

It's not.

Jurists would cite the Wisconsin code of judicial ethics which is specific about the demands placed upon a judge to avoid the appearance of impropriety:
A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities.  ... A judge may not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment.

So, that's on paper in the books, how about real life?

One real-life relationship that would be a clear violation of judicial ethics is a presiding judge, Iron County Judge Patrick J. Madden, having an affair with an alleged victim, Connie Vargovich, before, during and after the trial of a defendant who was the live-in boyfriend of the alleged victim.

And this is precisely what happened, and has been so stated in several legal documents.

Connie Vargovich
Madden should have recused himself from the trial of Donald Miller, State of Wisconsin v. Donald R. Miller [Case Number: 97 CF 60], and the September 2012 hearing (over which he presided) at which both the District Attorney and defense stipulated an agreement to finally get this innocent man out of prison. Madden rejected the stipulation.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Innocence Project is representing Donald Miller, and was in Iron County again last week gathering affidavits not unlike this one below—by a brave woman standing up for truth against corruption, Michele L. Aspinwall.

Many other decent and courageous people in Iron County are standing up to the corruption in this small, isolated county of some 5,900 people.

This is not good news for Iron County Judge Patrick J. Madden and Iron County DA Martin Lipske, Madden's political protege who moved from Douglas County Wisconsin to run for District Attorney in Iron County in 1994 at Madden's urging after Lipske's three-year suspension for professional misconduct was lifted in 1993.

Three Affidavits

Ms. Aspinwall's affidavit is among the more tame descriptions of Judge Patrick J. 'Madman' Madden's socializing and liaisons before the trial of Donald Miller. Much more to come about the during and after phases of the trial.
Below are two affidavits of Iron County citizens who witnessed Patrick Madden intimately comforting the alleged victim, Connie Vargovich, during a break in the trial of Vargovich's former live-in boyfriend on trial because of Vargovich's allegations. Madden's presiding over the trial while having an affair with Vargovich is cause for permanent disbarment of his license to practice law in Wisconsin.

Aug 17, 2013

Scott Walker, Campaign Used Public Office to Flack for Walker During O’Donnell Park Death

Death of young man in 2010 concerned Scott Walker; Walker was
worried the tragedy would hurt Walker politically. Walker’s campaign
manager, put it immediately after man was killed: "Make sure there is
not a paper any where that details a problem at all." Cover-up and lies.
Lisa Kaiser has the must-read story on Scott Walker corruption and his appalling insensitivity to the death of a young man in 2010.

Walker's cynical and persistent actions in reaction was that the death of 15-year-old Jared Kellner and two others injured on June 24, 2010 at the Milwaukee County O’Donnell Park parking structure could hurt Walker’s political image.

Reports Kaiser:
In the initial phases of the John Doe investigation, the public learned how then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s county aides worked on his gubernatorial campaign while working at their taxpayer-funded jobs. Some of these aides were prosecuted for their illegal behavior.

But the release of hundreds of emails sealed for years under the John Doe’s secrecy order—recently released as part of the litigation involving the O’Donnell Park tragedy—reveals more serious evidence of how Walker’s top campaign advisers were actually calling the shots on county matters to protect Walker and his campaign for governor from political damage from this tragedy.

And make no mistake: Scott Walker was definitely aware that his campaign and county staffers were working together to shape his image as he ran for governor in 2010.

Walker was copied on almost all of the emails ....

Nowhere in any of the emails released is there evidence of Walker or any of his campaign or county staffers expressing sympathy or concern for the Kellner family or the public’s safety. Their only interest seems to be managing Walker’s image and distancing himself from any potential cause of the structure’s failures.

Aug 13, 2013

Iron County Judge and DA Are Focus of New Citizen Scrutiny

Madden faces accusations he had an affair
with an alleged crime victim while presiding
over the 1997 trial of the defendant,
the former live-up boyfriend of the alleged
crime victim. Madden's legal career is on the line
A supporter of a victim of Madden's said of
Madden, "the little prick's time is up soon,"
referring to Madden's 27-year reign as Judge.
Updated - A reader writes: "(Judge) Madden should have recused from the (Miller) case without a doubt. Note, in the interview transcript (between Judge Madden and Stephen Williams) (Madden) said he would recuse from any further proceedings to do with Don (Miller) but, some 6 months after the interview he then presided over the September 2012 post-conviction hearing. Very naughty. Any further action on Don's case he will not preside, he will be in the witness box answering to several affidavits attesting to the fact he had a relationship with the alleged victim before, during and after trial. After the judicial complaint is lodged after the next course of action he will likely become the 4th judge ever permanently removed from the bench in the entire state (of Wisconsin). That will make 2 out of 4 of them from Iron County."

No branch of government should be above public scrutiny. The case of Don Miller in Iron County Wisconsin is an object lesson on why this principle remains a bulwark in a constitutional democracy.

There's criminal corruption in Iron County, and to paraphrase an Iron County worker: Wake up and smell the roses.

Iron County (Wisconsin) Judge Patrick J. Madden and District Attorney Martin Lipske remain the focus of an escalating investigation by a group of supporters of an innocent man convicted in 1997 on allegations (now recanted, and then last year repeated) by his then live-in girlfriend, who became in embroiled in a multi-year affair with the presiding trial Judge, one Patrick Madden.

Disappearing evidence, no DNA evidence, a sexual liaison between judge and (alleged) victim, a sitting District Attorney taunting a man in prison serving a 42-year sentence: Welcome to Iron County Wisconsin, population 5,900.

The case has been taken on by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School's Innocence Project as law students and lawyers involved with the case have made numerous 270-mile treks by car from Madison, Wisconsin up to the north woods of Wisconsin to find out what the heck is happening up in Iron County.

Supporters of freeing Don Miller say they expect this isolated county to see Innocence Project staff this week. The case is State of Wisconsin v. Donald R. Miller [Case Number: 97 CF 60]. And this case stinks to high heaven.

Specifically, law students and lawyers are looking into why allegations (and I hesitant to specify what they are, but you can follow this link) that have been recanted by the alleged victim have landed Miller in prison to serve a 42-year sentence. Miller has been incarcerated since 1997.

The alleged victim is Connie Vargovich.

Iron County (Wisconsin) Judge Patrick J. Madden presided over the December 4-5, 1997 trial of Miller. The verdict was reached one day later by the jury who didn't take very long to deliberate.

Now, Madden faces new allegations he had an ongoing affair with Vargovich after the trial of Miller (other allegations place the affair before and during the trial).

Sources in Iron County, supporters of Miller, tell me several depositions placing Madden and Vargovich together at local bars and sex clubs include one witness stating under penalty of perjury in a new deposition that Madden and Vargovich once disappeared into a tavern bathroom together for approximately one-half hour.

Madden, say sources in this small community, was not happy, when these and other allegations were revealed on the website, Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction.

Madden has been a judge in Iron County since 1986, and was appointed by Gov. Tony Earl. Prior to the judicial appointment he served as District Attorney for two northern Wisconsin counties, including Iron County.

DA Lipske who succeeded Madden as District Attorney after Madden was appointed to Iron County judge, was reportedly urged by Madden to run for DA, some three years after Lipske's license was suspended for misconduct in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Lipske is an incredibly capricious and vindictive figure for a sitting jurist, and one who has the highest rate of criminal cases overturned or dismissed on appeal of all of Wisconsin's 72 counties, according to the 2008 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Journalism.

In the future, sooner than Lipske knows, a wider audience will know why.

Secrets often don't remain secrets for long in small towns.

During the trial of Miller's, Madden was observed in the courthouse hallway, hugging and whispering, and visibly reassuring the alleged victim, Vargovich, whom several say was involved in an affair with the Judge.

"When (Madden) noticed that he was being watched he quickly slipped back into his office," reads several affidavits filed at the Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction site.

Stay tuned.

Apr 20, 2013

Prosecutorial Discretion and Prosecutorial Protection

NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna: American fascist
In Boston and Watertown, America has seen the best of law enforcement working with citizens and communities in a common effort.

Now comes word of the worst.

"The [Manhattan] District Attorney’s Office has concluded, after a thorough investigation, that we cannot prove these allegations criminally beyond a reasonable doubt," says Erin M. Duggan, chief spokeswoman for the Manhattan DA, Cy Vance.

Duggan refers to the savage attacks by New York City Police Inspector Tony Bologna who sought out and assaulted peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011 with pepper spray in several premeditated acts of disgusting violence, captured on video, and plastered all over the Net in 2011. (John Del Signore, The Gothamist)

"Despite the overwhelming proof on videotape, seen around the world, (Manhattan District Attorney) Cy Vance Jr. has shown that it he will do nothing to disturb his cozy relationship with the police, even in the face of the clearest wrongdoing," attorney Ron Kuby said.

Consider also from late February (2013), the Milwaukee District Attorney's press release announcing the closing of the John Doe probe into Scott Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive in which Walker was not charged.

This February exoneration of sorts occurs—though Walker's e-mails on a secret, illegal e-mail system in his office were made public along with those of convicted felons' whom Walker hired and supervised—with the same explanation given about Inspector Tony Bologna.

The Milwaukee DA's press release reads in part: "I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded," per the Milwaukee DA John Chisholm's policy.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That's what it takes to convict a defendant.

Now, this standard is increasingly presented by prosecutors to justify not launching prosecutions against protected figures like Anthony Bologna and Scott Walker, because these prosecutions might take a political toll on the prosecutors' offices.

This quantum of evidence of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is not the standard used by prosecutors' offices to prosecute cases, though this position is getting more use of late as bigger-name, would-be defendants are getting away with corruption and in Bologna's case, physical assaults.

The process by a prosecutor's office in evaluating whether to bring a criminal charge is not a mini-trial with evidential presentations that prosecutors use as the basis to proceed only if the faux mini-trials conclude with a 'beyond a reasonable doubt' quasi verdict, which is the same as the standard to convict in a criminal trial.

There is no finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt reached; that's what a trial in a court of law does.

The reality is a miscarriage of justice that applies only for some, namely Walker and Bologna, and is pernicious to our society and the rule of law.

For most everyone else, prosecutors determine whether there is sufficient evidence and facts establishing probable cause that charges against a defendant should go forward and a probability of guilt exists before trial in jurisdictions in which alleged crimes are the "most flagrant, the public harm the greatest, and the proof the most certain," to again borrow from Jackson.

In our criminal justice system in which law enforcement officials routinely cook police reports and lie in open court (testilying), America has seen the criminal justice system create a "leviathan unmatched in human history," as Glenn C. Loury writes in Boston Review, [and his book, Race, Incarceration, and American Values. Glenn C. Loury. (MIT, 2008)].

This leviathan has not been constructed by prosecutors engaging in bringing only prosecutions they think are supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.   

Ours is a punitive system that now nakedly protects high-profile, would-be defendants in the reasonable expectation that most people will not be paying attention, and most corporate press will work as stenographers.

Does any legal observer or defendant for that matter—surveying the mounting civil citations in municipalities as protests are deemed illegal, money is extracted from citizens, and the sheer number of criminal defendants incarcerated—believe the DA's offices (including Manhattan's and Milwaukee County's) prosecute only cases that prior to criminal trial and plea bargaining have been determined to have already met the legal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

Not a chance.

Surely, all of the innocent Americans persecuted by their local DA's offices would agree, and are critical of the corporate press that actually cheers innocent Americans being prosecuted.

Take an example, Stephen Biskupic, former U.S. Atty for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2001-08).

After prosecuting proven-innocent voters, one Georgia Thompson and a Navy Vietnam-era veteran, Keith Roberts, Biskupic largely received a pass from the press and after 2008 worked for Scott Walker's campaign, before jumping ship early this year from the GOP's ethically challenged law firm where Biskupic was a partner.

Consider GOP mouthpiece Mike Nichols of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (May 11, 2007) who says though the evidence behind the prosecution of Georgia Thompson was a "bust," [Thompson's ludicrous conviction was actually tossed after oral arguments in April 2007, an occurrence that almost never happens] we should "admire" Biskupic.

That's giving an out-of-control US attorney a pass, certainly; one reads Nichols' piece and word "admire" rings out today.

Nichols is still writing for the Journal-Sentinel, despite issuing no apology or retraction for cheering on an innocent women being convicted of a federal crime by a corrupt U.S. attorney.

In Wisconsin, even as Scott Walker seems to believe he is above the law after DA Chisholm's refusal to prosecute Walker for misuse of public office, Walker has used the justice system and maintained his personal palace guard to issue civil citations to citizens expressing anti-Walker political thought at what has long been known as the People's House—our state capitol.

Wall Street bankers, Scott Walker, and Tony Bologna may think they are above the law as those prosecutors charged with building criminal cases and protecting the public decide the costs are too high to prosecute—too high for their careers—but refraining from protecting the public from the most egregious of baleful and illegal acts of powerful factions in our society is a betrayal.

As the great jurist, Robert Jackson said in 1940 while serving as U.S. attorney general:

The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman. And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway. A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.
Citizens the nation-over need to ask: Does fair play, human kindness and truth, sound like our U.S. Attorney and local DA?

If not, then speak up.

If so, an occasional thank-you is in order.

Now, too many prosecutors are protecting powerful, unindicted criminals using the imprimatur of prosecutorial discretion as they look to the future with their eyes posted firmly on their careers.

Justice Jackson addressed this action as well: "Any prosecutor who risks his day-to-day professional name for fair dealing to build up statistics of success has a perverted sense of practical values, as well as defects of character."

The statistics Jackson referred to are how well the actions of the office serve the powerful.

As for character, that seems to belong to another time.

Apr 19, 2013

Massive Propaganda Campaign to Privatize Wisconsin Public Schools, Exposed by One Wisconsin Now

Have some money; have some more. We're here to save
schools and just help. It's who we are. As Scott Walker says:
"I care too much about the people of this state
not to empower them to control their own destiny."
The Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation is among the "largest funder of the rightwing propaganda machine in the country," notes One Wisconsin Now.

But the Bradley Foundation's targeting of our state may have been understated.

A new report released by One Wisconsin Now (OWN) reveals the orchestration of the "funding of a massive campaign to advocate for the privatization of schools in Wisconsin."

This report comes right as Scott Walker and an extremist group of Republicans in the state legislature—elected to office through gerrymandered districts in 2012—push through Walker's 2013-15 budget.

In one finding, OWN reports Bradley has spent some $31 million since 2001 promoting education privatization and supporting various talking heads emitting rightwing propaganda.

One democrat, State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), is looking to grab some of that rightwing money for herself. [Taylor is a Democrat for 'school reform', and belongs to a front group, which the Washington Post notes is financed 'largely by hedge fund managers' on Wall Street].

The consequences for Wisconsin's public school system, already being systemically starved by the Republican Party, are grave.

And this diverting of money from schools to privatization schemes is estimated to cost Wisconsin taxpayers a whopping $1.8 billion in 2014-15, OWN reports.

The Bradley Foundation will do Walker's propaganda, with a lot of help from their friends.

As a whole host of rightwing-GOP outlets such as the MacIver Institute, the Wisconsin Reporter, and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (all of whom pretend their organizations are legit) make excuses or simply invent facts as Walker is forced to face the jobs disaster that is happening before our very eyes, the GOP's MacIver Institute will ask Wisconsin citizens to avert their gaze as Walker pretends to be preparing for his run at the 2016 GOP nomination for the presidency.

No comment though from the usual GOP suspects.

"Michael Grebe, president and chief executive officer of the Bradley Foundation, declined to comment on the One Wisconsin report, which notes repeatedly that he is Walker's campaign chairman," notes Dan Bice today.

ALEC, Koch Brothers, the MacIver Institute (arguably the most destructive of GOP front groups), the Wisconsin Reporter, and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute—not our parents' Republican Party.

Feb 25, 2013

Chief Couper on Police Investigating Police Misconduct

Why was this peaceful man shot and killed in 2012?
"It is very difficult (and painful) for a police department to criticize or discipline one of its own. Why? Because in many instances of police review, those who are doing the reviewing know that 'there but for the grace of God go I.' This has a chilling effect especially when it comes to the use of force. Policing is a difficult job. And a community needs to support their police when they are doing a good job and ask for change and improvement when they are not."
- Madison Police Chief David Couper (ret), author of Arrested Development - A Veteran Police Chief Sounds off About Protest, Racism, Corruption, and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation's Police

Thoughtful discussion is needed; though none of this will have an effect on Paul Heenan and his loved ones. Heenan was unarmed and shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness on November 9, 2012.

I know many law enforcement personnel. And they are appalled when an innocent man is killed.

But the fact is police do gin-up police reports, act on prejudices and biases, cover-up, and in the words of Alan Dershowitz: Routinely testi(lie) in open court.

Outside investigation (Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is open to the idea) is not an option; it's an imperative.

Paul Heenan's father, John: "John Heenan told 27 News' his lifelong confidence in the actions of police officers was close to shattered by his son's death. 'I used to trust them. I used to not question anything. I question things now,' he said."

Feb 7, 2013

Walker Still Keeps Criminal Defense Fund Contributors Secret

  • When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said. "I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said. (Jim Rowen. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Nov.21, 2012)
  •  My first question was a softball: “Will you pledge right now to run the most open, transparent gubernatorial administration in the history of the universe?” Gov.-elect Scott Walker’s one-word reply: “Absolutely.” (Mark Pitsch. Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal. Dec 23, 2010)
One typically does not begin a short column with bulleted quotes.

Then again we typically do not have a governor in Wisconsin accepting $100,000s given to a secret criminal defense fund, putting the lie to a central campaign promise vis a vis his direct predecessor.

As John Nichols writes: "While most Americans were preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve, newly released documents revealed that Wisconsin’s governor was quietly doing something else: transferring $40,000 from his campaign account to the secretive fund he uses to pay some of the top criminal defense lawyers in the country."

If all Scott Walker wants to do is "cooperate" with the John Doe probe charged with finding out if and by whom crimes have been committed during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County Executive, he can stop his stonewalling and say to John Doe investigators and the Wisconsin people: 'Ask me anything. My commitment to openness and transparency is absolute. '

Feb 6, 2013

Will John Doe Probe of Scott Walker's Office also Result in a Civil Action

Informed Wisconsin jurists confirm that the documentary record of John Doe proceedings in Wisconsin can remain secret even after criminal convictions might be secured and the proceedings are declared to be ended, at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Irrespective of what happens after the proceedings are closed [no one knows when], Eye on Wisconsin asks today, When John Doe Ends, Will Civil Remedies Begin?

A good question to pose of the sordid affairs of the only sitting Wisconsin governor to ever have formed a criminal defense fund.

Feb 1, 2013

Scott Walker Still Refusing to Speak to Wisconsin People on Criminal John Doe Probe

Tim Russell and long-time aide and friend, Scott Walker
Update: Many outside Wisconsin -- following the news here the last two years as Scott Walker and Republican senators used Koch brothers money to hold onto political power -- have asked, 'what's wrong with Wisconsin? First Russ Feingold is gone and now ... ?' A big part of the answer is the amount of money the Republicans, with their hands out, have at their disposal. Perhaps equally important is the fact that the Wisconsin broadcast and corporate media have buried the Walker-Tea Party-GOP corruption, a part of which is under investigation by the criminal John Doe probe. Consider today's print edition of the GOP's Wisconsin State Journal. Buried on page five under the small AP "Digest" is some four column inches of the news that Walker "adds money to legal defense fund." No quote from non-GOP sources (though) they are readily available. Just a Walker-slanted piece with a reference to Walker spokeswoman, Nicole Tieman, who is quoted with no knockdown that Walker needs the money to "cooperate" with John Doe authorities.

Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on the other hand, quotes Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski: "It is beyond belief at this point that Walker had no role in crimes that have led to the convictions of six aides and supporters. Time will tell what's in store for him."

News today that "Gov. Scott Walker transferred $40,000 in campaign funds late last year to his legal (criminal defense) fund," has renewed questions about whether Wisconsin citizens' governor is a crook.

The three-year John Doe probe into Scott Walker's rise to political power during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive has discovered a rat's nest of criminal activity and secured the convictions of the nucleus of Walker's political inner circle.

As for explanation from Scott Walker to the people of Wisconsin, no one in Wisconsin's formerly squeaky-clean political culture expects Walker to visit all (or any) of Wisconsin's 72 counties in listening sessions and say: Ask me anything. You deserve to know your governor is not a crook.

No one expects Walker to explain why he refused to publicly call upon his personally appointed former aides (now convicted felons) to simply tell the full truth to John Doe investigators working for the Milwaukee District Attorney's office.

As noted in today's column by Cognitive Dissidence, not one convicted felon who worked for Walker has come forward and publicly declared Walker's innocence of misusing his public office for political, private puposes—a felony.

This complete silence of the Walker gang, including those who pled guilty to felonies and have been sentenced is not demanded by the secrecy codicils of the John Doe proceedings.

Reads Wisconsin statute on Criminal Proceedings (968.26 on John Doe Proceedings):

Subject to s. 971.23, if the proceeding is secret, the record of the proceeding and the testimony taken shall not be open to inspection by anyone except the district attorney unless it is used by the prosecution at the preliminary hearing or the trial of the accused and then only to the extent that it is so used. A court, on the motion of a district attorney, may compel a person to testify or produce evidence under s. 972.08 (1). The person is immune from prosecution as provided in s. 972.08 (1), subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085.
Point is: Nothing prevents Walker or his gang from saying: 'Look, I'm innocent. This slander must stop. And Scott Walker surely is innocent of misuse of public office, in my view.'

Or Walker could have negotiated an immunity deal; saying in effect: Anyone is my past administration breaks the law; they get what they deserve.'

Walker took a different way.

Walker's response has been to hire a PR firm; become the first sitting Wisconsin governor in history to form a criminal defense fund; and continually mislead the Wisconsin people and the gullible press about why the John Doe Proceedings were begun in the first place—Walker's stonewalling.

John Doe proceeding can be kept secret even after convictions might be secured and the proceedings are declared to be ended.

But the presumption of innocence under the law, and the right to declare one's innocence live on. This right is not negated by John Doe proceedings.

Why is no one in this matter declaring their own or past colleagues' innocence?

Jan 23, 2013

Christian Stork: Aaron Swartz' Prosecutors Employ Outrageous Bullying Tactics as SOP

Update III: From Bradley Manning to Aaron Swartz -- The Government's Inhumane Persecution of Brave Truth Tellers

Update II: Anonymous Takes Over Sentencing Commission Website

Update: "In my view, the Aaron Swartz prosecution is very typical of the Justice Department's policy of going after people in such a big way that the point is not necessarily to prosecute them, but it is to destroy them personally." See John Kiriakou Hopes Aaron Swartz's Death Sparks Discussion of Prosecutorial Overreach.

Christian Stork has a great follow-up on the Aaron Swartz suicide following the crusade against him by the local US attorney's office.

The US attorney in question, Carmen Ortiz, likely is no fan of Robert H. Jackson, who warned against this type of abuse of process by US attorneys in a famous address in 1940.

"Any prosecutor who risks his day-to-day professional name for fair dealing to build up statistics of success has a perverted sense of practical values, as well as defects of character. Whether one seeks promotion to a judgeship, as many prosecutors rightly do, or whether he returns to private practice, he can have no better asset than to have his profession recognize that his attitude toward those who feel his power has been dispassionate, reasonable and just," said Attorney General Robert H. Jackson, April 1, 1940.

Ortiz is a politically ambitious hack; using the power of office with no apparent conception for the consequences other than her own advancement.

Jan 17, 2013

Holding Prosecutors Accountable in Killing of Aaron Swartz

Update: US Atty Ortiz issues statement. Turley: "the statement is at best misleading and at worse intentionally deceptive."

"There's a reason former Senator Russ Feingold is a college professor whereas former Senator Chris Dodd is now a multi-millionaire. There's a reason DOJ officials do not go after bankers who illegally foreclose, and then get jobs as partners in white collar criminal defense. There's a reason no one has been held accountable for decisions leading to the financial crisis, or the war in Iraq." - Matt Stoller
When prosecutors become overzelaous careerists or corrupt partisans, injustice follows. Most prosecutors are careerists or corrupt partisans.

In Wisconsin, who can forget Bush-Cheney-Rove's US Attorney Steven Biskupic and his reign of terror against innocent defendants?

Well, most everyone.

Our country buries corruption, especially in the judicial branch of govenment where ignorance pervades the American political culture.

Now, we have a moment that can shake the political system.

After being literally 'hounded' to death by the US Attorney's office, 26-year-old Aaron Swartz' suicide should spell the end of the careers of prosecutors—Masachusetts' U.S. attorney Carmen Ortiz and assistant US attorney Stephen Heymann—who are guilty of killing this brilliant young man who worked for free to better our society. But let's be clear: The US government killed Aaron Swartz.

And this death ought to shine a light on what is routine: Use of the prosecutors' office for political retribution and careerism, justice be damned. "The more savage the penalties prosecutors can threaten, the more likely the defendant (guilty or innocent) is to speed things along by pleading guilty and accepting a light penalty," writes Clive Crook in The Atlantic.

Notes Scott Horton in Harper's Magazine. "A petition has now been launched requesting that President Obama remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz over her actions in the Swartz case."

There is in this tragic injustice a window for some manner of reflection, and some measure of reform on the what prosecutors are doing to our families.

Ortiz and assistant US attorney Heymann, for their part, should be banned from the legal profession and face disgrace.

Writes Glenn Greenwald:

 [I]t is imperative that there be serious investigations about what took place here and meaningful consequences for this prosecutorial abuse, at least including firing. It is equally crucial that there be reform of the criminal laws and practices that enable this to take place in so many other cases and contexts. ...

This is not just prosecutorial abuse. It's broader than that. It's all part and parcel of the exploitation of law and the justice system to entrench those in power and shield themselves from meaningful dissent and challenge by making everyone petrified of the consequences of doing anything other than meekly submitting to the status quo. As another of Swartz's friends, Matt Stoller, wrote in an equally compelling essay:

What killed him was corruption. Corruption isn't just people profiting from betraying the public interest. It's also people being punished for upholding the public interest. In our institutions of power, when you do the right thing and challenge abusive power, you end up destroying a job prospect, an economic opportunity, a political or social connection, or an opportunity for media. Or if you are truly dangerous and brilliantly subversive, as Aaron was, you are bankrupted and destroyed. There's a reason whistleblowers get fired. There's a reason Bradley Manning is in jail. There's a reason the only CIA official who has gone to jail for torture is the person – John Kiriakou - who told the world it was going on. There's a reason those who destroyed the financial system 'dine at the White House', as Lawrence Lessig put it.

There's a reason former Senator Russ Feingold is a college professor whereas former Senator Chris Dodd is now a multi-millionaire. There's a reason DOJ officials do not go after bankers who illegally foreclose, and then get jobs as partners in white collar criminal defense. There's a reason no one has been held accountable for decisions leading to the financial crisis, or the war in Iraq.

This reason is the modern ethic in American society that defines success as climbing up the ladder, consequences be damned. Corrupt self-interest, when it goes systemwide, demands that it protect rentiers from people like Aaron, that it intimidate, co-opt, humiliate, fire, destroy, and/or bankrupt those who stand for justice.
In most of what I've written and spoken about over the past several years, this is probably the overarching point: the abuse of state power, the systematic violation of civil liberties, is about creating a Climate of Fear, one that is geared toward entrenching the power and position of elites by intimidating the rest of society from meaningful challenges and dissent. There is a particular overzealousness when it comes to internet activism because the internet is one of the few weapons - perhaps the only one - that can be effectively harnessed to galvanize movements and challenge the prevailing order. That's why so much effort is devoted to destroying the ability to use it anonymously - the Surveillance State - and why there is so much effort to punishing as virtual Terrorists anyone like Swartz who uses it for political activism or dissent.

The law and prosecutorial power should not be abused to crush and destroy those who commit the "crime" of engaging in activism and dissent against the acts of elites. Nobody contests the propriety of charging Swartz with some crime for what he did. Civil disobedience is supposed to have consequences. The issue is that he was punished completely out of proportion to what he did, for ends that have nothing to do with the proper administration of justice. That has consequences far beyond his case, and simply cannot be tolerated.

Jan 14, 2013

U.S. Atty Drives Brilliant Net Freedom Activist to Suicide

Update II: See Freedom to Connect: Aaron Swartz (1986-2013) on Victory to Save Open Internet; Fight Online Censors; and

Update: An Open Letter to Aaron Swartz's Prosecutor: 'His Supporters Find You Guilty.'

'This sort of unrestrained prosecutorial abuse is, unfortunately, far from uncommon. It usually destroys people without attention or notice'

Here we have yet another example of a U.S. attorney, Carmen Ortiz, playing with the power of this office with the all the thought of a loose cannon.

Now, Aaron Swartz is dead.

One crime in which both major American political parties do share equal blame is the indiscriminate use of the prosecutor's office (local and national) in creating what Glenn C. Loury terms the current American prison system which has become "a leviathan unmatched in human history."

Some years ago, back in the Bush-Cheney years, a UW-Madison professor told me most US attorneys and district attorneys ought to be sentenced to reading the great American jurist, Robert H. Jackson, and his work on prosecutorial discretion.

Here is the petition to President Obama to remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

Ortiz, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, threw the book at Swartz for downloading academic articles from a for-profit outfit called JSTOR ["an online publishing company that digitizes and distributes scholarly articles written by academics and then sells them," (Greenwald)]. That's it.

Swartz was an authorized user of JSTOR because he was a Harvard fellow.

JSTOR asked the US atty's office not to prosecute.

So, in rides U.S. attorney Carmen Ortiz anyway with a ridiculous indictment against a former prodigy intent on helping the world.

"For Aaron Swartz, the act of sharing was a 'moral imperative.' In his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, released to the Web in July 2008, he specifically targeted the 'world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage,' which he said 'is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.' Swartz called for those with access to such knowledge to make it available to others,' writes Andrew Leonard in Salon.

Glenn Greenwald has more details on the repulsive affair.

But in July 2011, Swartz was arrested for allegedly targeting JSTOR, the online publishing company that digitizes and distributes scholarly articles written by academics and then sells them, often at a high price, to subscribers. As Maria Bustillos detailed, none of the money goes to the actual writers (usually professors) who wrote the scholarly articles - they are usually not paid for writing them - but instead goes to the publishers.

This system offended Swartz (and many other free-data activists) for two reasons: it charged large fees for access to these articles but did not compensate the authors, and worse, it ensured that huge numbers of people are denied access to the scholarship produced by America's colleges and universities. The indictment filed against Swartz alleged that he used his access as a Harvard fellow to the JSTOR system to download millions of articles with the intent to distribute them online for free; when he was detected and his access was cut off, the indictment claims he then trespassed into an MIT computer-wiring closet in order to physically download the data directly onto his laptop.

Swartz never distributed any of these downloaded articles. He never intended to profit even a single penny from anything he did, and never did profit in any way. He had every right to download the articles as an authorized JSTOR user; at worst, he intended to violate the company's "terms of service" by making the articles available to the public. Once arrested, he returned all copies of everything he downloaded and vowed not to use them. JSTOR told federal prosecutors that it had no intent to see him prosecuted, though MIT remained ambiguous about its wishes.

But federal prosecutors ignored the wishes of the alleged "victims". Led by a federal prosecutor in Boston notorious for her overzealous prosecutions, the DOJ threw the book at him, charging Swartz with multiple felonies which carried a total sentence of several decades in prison and $1 million in fines. ...

I always found it genuinely inspiring to watch Swartz exude this courage and commitment at such a young age. His death had better prompt some serious examination of the DOJ's behavior - both in his case and its warped administration of justice generally. But his death will also hopefully strengthen the inspirational effects of thinking about and understanding the extraordinary acts he undertook in his short life. ... From the official statement of Swartz's family: "Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles."

This sort of unrestrained prosecutorial abuse is, unfortunately, far from uncommon. It usually destroys people without attention or notice. Let's hope - and work to ensure that - the attention generated by Swartz's case prompts some movement toward accountability and reform.

Dec 10, 2012

Aug 15, 2012

Paul Ryan's Insider Trader Scandal May Blow Back onto Romney

Paul Ryan cashes in for $1,000s

This story is not just about Paul Ryan, Washington creature and pampered scion, caught downing two $350 bottles of wine with a hedge fund manager at a D.C restaurant.

This is a venal insider trading story that has the legs and potential to dominate the all-important news cycle for weeks moving past Labor Day.

"Over the weekend, the Richmonder blog broke what looked like a whopper of a story: that Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan had lined his pockets from information he had obtained from a now-legendary meeting that took place on September 18, 2008," writes Lynn Parramore.

Parramore notes media avoidance of Ryan's many political problems thus far, as Paul Krugman notes this morning, likely won't persist.

Certainly this insider trading story is moving forward, no matter that some are buying the Romney campaign's knock down that Ryan's trades "were part of a Russell 1000 index fund that automatically traded stocks as part of a pre-set formula," as Benjy Sarlin asserts.

Brad DeLong, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, scoffs at Sarlin's explanation.

Writes DeLong:

There is no way in hell--if you are rebalancing to try to track the Russell 1000 index--you make only 58 trades in a year, that you make 27 of those 58 in large money-center banks, and that 10 of those trades involve shifting your money from Citi to Goldman and back five times.

No way in hell.

I don't know what was going on. But it appears that Ryan's flacks are--for some reason--simply making s@#& up.

Romney and Ryan lying? No.
By Lynn Parramore

On [September 18, 2008], Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson broke the news to congressional leaders that they would have to approve a bailout to avert a complete meltdown of the financial system.

America was lurching toward catastrophe. But some folks were apparently thinking about their stock portfolios. Checking through Ryan’s financial disclosure reports, the Richmonder discovered that Ryan had sold the stocks of several major banks that day, while purchasing – surprise! – stock in Paulson’s old firm Goldman.
Check out the rest of Parramore's piece, because no way this story gets buried.

Jul 31, 2012

Fed agencies spied on employees

"According to government records, the FDA, DEA and VA within the last five years all bought software from SpectorSoft Corp., a Vero Beach, Fla.-based company that on its website describes itself as providing 'PC/Internet monitoring and surveillance products' for users including the government."

Employee surveillance raises concerns for whistleblowers, but Bob Walsh—a friend of this site—has been telling veterans' advocates and other attorneys for years that the VA spies on VA employees and attorneys representing veterans who believe their objectives and goals are helping veterans rightfully obtain benefits.

Walsh is a a former VA staff attorney (1990-92), Army veteran and now veterans' advocate.

A piece just out by Jenna Greene and Todd Ruger at the National Law Journal reports "Government-contract records show that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) purchased spy software from the same company that supplied the FDA's computer monitoring program, according to the database"

Alerted to the Greene-Ruger piece, attorney Walsh said, "Not only did VA purchase the (SpectorSoft) software, they used it. On two occasions I busted VA streaming my emails. I have every confidence that I was not the only victim of this illegal surveillance. The VA conducts illegal electronic surveillance as well as they process disability claims. Which is with total ineptitude. So I have confirmation that they were doing it, and Greene and Ruger are shining some light in the corners so the rats will run."

By Jenna Greene and Todd Ruger at the National Law Journal

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is under fire by Congress for monitoring the personal email accounts of agency scientists, but government-contract records show it's not the only agency that's taken steps to spy on its workers.

Government-contract records show that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) purchased spy software from the same company that supplied the FDA's computer monitoring program, according to the database

Mar 14, 2012

Wisconsin Veteran Awaits Word from U.S. Supreme Court

C-54 Aircraft killed veteran's friend, began the VA vendetta
against Keith Roberts

Update: Court shoots down veteran; won't hear case.

Innocent man wrongfully convicted, stripped of PTSD benefits for tenaciously pursuing his disability claim. The U.S. government has $1,000,000s at its disposal to pursue a vendetta; a veteran’s family in northern Wisconsin has his service to our country.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon announce a decision on whether Navy veteran Keith Roberts's case will be granted cert.

Roberts was targeted by top officials of the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs for in the words of the human rights attorney, Scott Horton, "tenaciously pursuing a claim for VA disability benefits," an alleged crime that led to an indictment on wire fraud.

In a bizarre prosecution, Roberts was specifically accused of not knowing his fellow airman, Gary Holland, and exaggerating his efforts to save his fellow airman who was crushed to death by a C-54 aircraft in a Navy air base in Naples, Italy in 1969.

Weak grounds for a federal prosecution? These are the grounds on which the government successfully pursued a prosecution against this honorably discharged Navy veteran who served during a combat era.

Roberts and Holland

Roberts and Holland were both on line duty when Holland was killed, and served together during their time in the Navy:
  • Took two weeks-long classes together while stationed together in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968
  • Were quartered in the same barracks at Lakehurst, NJ where they also trained together for weeks
  • Went into the Naval Air Force base in Naples, Italy together as two young airman
  • Slept in close quarters (feet away from each other) while at the base in Naples, Italy
  • Worked in the same and only base air hangar together
  • Took an advancement test together on the morning of the day Holland was killed on Feb. 4, 1969
Roberts, like everyone else on duty, rushed to save Holland who slowly was being crushed to death by the aircraft in a gruesome scene.

Navy Airman Keith Roberts
Subsequently, Roberts followed the advice of his Veteran’s Service Officer (Shawano County (Wisconsin)) who had determined that Keith Roberts was entitled to an earlier effective date for his diagnosed PTSD.

Roberts is basing his appeal to the Supreme Court on the denial of due process, a long list of administrative law regulations thrown out the window, and an array of misrepresentations made at his trial.

The VA bureaucracy, a hell for many veterans, was the source of outrage for Roberts who reportedly treated the VA like dogs in phone conversations. The VA returned the treatment.

The August 2005 Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) decision [page A928] the BVA determined:

Keith Roberts Petition to U.S. Supreme Court

"The evidence cited by the RO (VA Regional Office) (the death certificate) does not refer to the veteran's participation or presence at the time of Gary (Holland's) death. The death certificate, alon, in no way supported the claimed stressor event and was patently inadequate to meet the requirements of Sec. 3.304(f). THE ONLY OTHER EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE CLAIM WAS THE VETERAN'S OWN UNVERIFIED STATEMENTS WHICH ARE INADEQUATE TO ESTABLISH SERVICE CONNECTION AS A MATTER OF LAW (emphasis and capitalization added)."

Of course. The whole base was on the equivalent of a general quarters alarm, and frantic efforts to save Holland went unnoticed. But a lot of officers were at pains to save their careers.

The BVA's decision raises the question since when is a veteran's unverified statement sufficient to form the basis for a bizarre fraud prosecution, but not sufficient to establish service connection for a claim.

Doesn't this bureaucratic admission constitute a formal waiver of proof that relieves the VA from having to prove the admitted fact and bars the VA from disputing it.

A decision by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recognizes the weakness of the government argument of the intent of Roberts to allegedly devise a scheme and defraud the VA.

"The record might also have supported a jury determination that Mr. Roberts sincerely believed that his statements were true and that he had no intention to defraud the Government," reads the opinion by Justice Kenneth Ripple. But Ripple notes of the guilty verdict, that, "It is beyond our authority to disturb such a finding on appeal."

The hurdle for an appellate court to overturn the judgement of a jury is high.

At the jury trial, Roberts was faced with knocking down the arguments and investigations of the United States Attorney's office and top VA officials who were determined to get Roberts, as veterans' advocates have said since the inception of the Roberts criminal proceedings.

"[T]he only reason Airman Roberts was ever prosecuted was because he was a ‘belligerent ass’ who kept insisting that he get paid back to discharge. He was demanding an appeal in Washington," said a background source at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee who e-mailed the Lee Rayburn radio show in Madison in early June 2007 about the Roberts affair, and asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing his job. "I'd have to say that you guys are TOTALLY (uppercase in the original) right about Roberts' conviction being bullshit ... ."

Up to now, the Roberts affair reflects that a veteran can win on the merits (alleged criminal intent for pursuing a disability claim) but still lose on procedure. The U.S. government has two federal agencies and $1,000,000s at its disposal; a veteran's family in northern Wisconsin not so much, except his service to the country.