Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

The Supreme Court is allowing the different States to pass and uphold gun ban laws.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

Washington Post Report

June 20 at 9:51 AM

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

Play Video2:21
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen used the assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX to kill at least 49 people, authorities say. Here’s what you need to know about the guns some are calling “the gold standard for mass murder.” (Editor’s note: This video has been updated with more specific information.) (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Like other laws, Connecticut’s ban includes semiautomatic guns and high-capacity magazines, covers popular weapons such as AR-­15s and AK-­47s, and names more than 180 weapons that cannot be sold.

But the individuals and organizations challenging the law said the state is an “outlier” in banning weapons that are popular and protected in the rest of the country.

“In truth, the odd assortment of firearms Connecticut calls ‘assault weapons’ are mechanically identical to any other semiautomatic firearm — arms that, as no one disputes, are exceedingly common and fully protected by the Second Amendment,” the challengers said in their petition to the court.

Gun rights advocates have urged the court to review such bans, saying that they violate the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which said individuals have a right to gun ownership for self-protection.

After recognizing the individual right for the first time in Heller, which covered the federal enclave of the District, the court made clear in a subsequent case that state and local governments, like Congress, could not prohibit individual gun ownership.

But the court has not shown any interest since then in elaborating on what exactly that right covers. And in the process, the justices have passed up the chance to scrutinize lower-court decisions that have upheld the laws banning certain weapons as well as laws requiring tight restrictions on those who can legally carry guns outside their homes.

When the Supreme Court declined last December to review a lower-court decision upholding such a ban, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wrote that a similar law flouts the court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence. Scalia died in February.


So, what it boils down to, is we all just sit on our happy little asses, and let them continue to do this, because some of us are ignorant enough not to realize that any and every semi-automatic, will soon fit into the category of “assault weapons”, the country is lost.

Has anyone actually heard what the govt. considers an assault weapon?  I know, that every time I hear reference to it, in the same sentence, the speaker references “semi-automatic”.  In reality, an assault weapon, is one used by our military.  It is an automatic weapon, not a semi-automatic weapon.  I could be wrong, but don’t think  so.

If I hear one more idiot reference assault weapon and deer hunting, I will scream!  They have already decided that any semi-automatic is an assault weapon.  So what the hell do you plan to kill a deer with?  A 22 rifle?  Anything and everything that has a magazine, a drum, or any other device to feed the weapon, is an assault weapon.  Before you know it, the good ole reliable six shooter will be an assault weapon.

It is now time to really think about it.  The US Supreme Court has bailed on the United States Constitution.  That is reality.  Just like the reality about the Orlando shooter, was being played with by the FBI for more than a year.  Finally, the guy went for it.  Whose idea was it, FBI’s or the shooters?

So what’s going to be boy, yes or no?

 

The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators. Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal


Photo: andykatz/iStockphoto.com
Trump Names 11 SCOTUS Picks, Bypassing Big Law
http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202757984757/Trump-Names-11-SCOTUS-Picks-Bypassing-Big-Law?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL
The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators.
Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal
May 18, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.

Presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump’s list for potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees is heavy on federal appellate judges and former clerks for conservative justices and light on big names in politics and private practice.

Trump’s list of 11 potential nominees doesn’t include several conservative judges who have been on Supreme Court watch lists in the past, including U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Janice Rogers Brown, Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton and Fifth Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen.

Trump’s list, released Wednesday, doesn’t include any nonjudges. Other names floated in the past as possible nominees for a future Republican president included former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now a partner at Bancroft, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Also not on the list: Trump’s sister, Third Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, although that was no surprise. Trump has praised his sister as “brilliant,” but said he wouldn’t consider nominating her to the Supreme Court because of the conflict of interest. He’s also said that the two share “different views.”

Related: Texas’ Most Prolific Judicial Tweeter Makes Trump’s Shortlist

Trump’s list drew praise and criticism depending on where the commentator sits on the political spectrum.

“The [Supreme] Court needs more justices who will base their decisions on the law, not politics, even under pressure, especially since the next president is likely to determine the direction of the court for a generation,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said.

“It is also heartening to see so many Midwesterners and state court judges on the list—they would bring a valuable perspective to the bench, particularly since they have already served on a court of last resort in their own states,” she added.

Miranda Blue of People for the American Way noted: “It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right.”

Senate Judiciary chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in statement, “Mr. Trump has laid out an impressive list of highly qualified jurists, including Judge Colloton from Iowa, who understand and respect the fundamental principle that the role of the courts is limited and subject to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

So who made the list?

Steve Colloton
Judge Steven Colloton, 53, joined the Eighth Circuit in 2003. Colloton is a former clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was appointed by President George W. Bush. He previously served with independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Before joining the appellate court, Colloton was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

Allison Eid
Colorado Supreme Court justice Allison Eid is a former Clarence Thomas clerk. She took her seat on the state high court in 2006, leaving her position on the faculty of the University of Colorado Law School, where she taught constitutional law, legislation, the law of politics, first-year torts and advanced torts.
Before teaching, she also practiced commercial and appellate litigation in the Denver office of Arnold & Porter.

Thomas Hardiman
Judge Thomas Hardiman, 50, who joined the Third Circuit in 2007 just 3 1/2 years after taking his seat as a district court judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Hardiman’s ruling that a jail policy of strip searching all arrestees does not violate the Fourth Amendment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. In 2013, he dissented from his court’s decision upholding under the Second Amendment New Jersey’s law requiring applicants for licenses to carry handguns in public to show “justifiable need.”
“Those who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment were undoubtedly aware that the right they were establishing carried a risk of misuse, and States have considerable latitude to regulate the exercise of the right in ways that will minimize that risk,” he wrote in Drake v. Filko. “But States may not seek to reduce the danger by curtailing the right itself.”

Related: Third Circuit Judge Among Trump’s Supreme Court Picks

And he also dissented in a 2013 decision holding that a public school violated the First Amendment by banning students from wearing bracelets inscribed with “I [love] boobies” sold by a breast cancer awareness group.

Raymond Gruender
Judge Raymond Gruender, 52, became U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri in 2001 and served in that position until his confirmation to the Eighth Circuit in 2004.
Gruender has written opinions holding that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 did not give female employees the right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy.
He dissented from a panel ruling that upheld an injunction striking down a South Dakota law requiring abortion providers to inform patients that an “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” When the case was heard en banc, Gruender, writing for the full court, upheld the law as constitutional on its face.

Raymond Kethledge
Judge Raymond Kethledge, 49, sits on the Sixth Circuit and is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He joined the appellate court in 2008 after practicing law as a corporate attorney and former counsel to Ford Motor Co.

Joan Larsen
Trump’s list also names a number of state supreme court judges.
Joan Larsen was named to the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2015. Larsen is a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She worked in the George W. Bush Department of Justice in 2002-2003 and then joined the University of Michigan School of Law as an adjunct professor and special counsel to the dean.
When appointed to the state court, Larsen said she would be a “strict constructionist,” explaining, “I believe in enforcing the laws as written by the Legislature and signed by the governor. I don’t think judges are a policy-making branch of the government.”
In March, at a memorial for Scalia, Larsen recalled Scalia as a “fundamentally happy man” who would sing in his chambers and whistle in the corridors of the court. Larsen remembered one time when she made a mistake citing Webster’s Third New International Dictionary in a draft opinion.
Scalia, a critic of that tome, called her out. Larsen said she had used that edition because it was in the justice’s front office. Scalia said the dictionary had been put there as a “trap laid for the unwary.”

Thomas Lee
Trump also named a judge with a well-known pedigree in Washington legal circles. Thomas Rex Lee, son of former Solicitor General Rex Lee, joined the Utah Supreme Court in July 2010.
Lee is a former Clarence Thomas clerk who specialized in trademark litigation when in private practice. He served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department from 2004 to 2005.
Lee has been called a pioneer in “corpus linguistics” to determine ordinary meaning and has applied that in an opinion. He also has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, representing Utah in Utah v. Evans, a 2002 challenge by the state to the Census Bureau’s use of “hot-deck” imputation, a statistical method.

William Pryor
Judge William Pryor of Alabama joined the Eleventh Circuit in 2004 despite considerable controversy over his nomination. He was criticized by Senate Democrats in the 108th Congress who called him an extremist for such statements as referring to the Supreme Court as “nine octogenarian lawyers” and saying that Roe v. Wade was the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
President George W. Bush installed Pryor using a recess appointment to bypass the regular Senate confirmation process. He received Senate confirmation on May 23, 2005, after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, announced an agreement between seven Republican and seven Democratic U.S. senators, the so-called Gang of 14, to ensure an up-or-down vote on Pryor and other nominees.
On the bench, Pryor specially concurred in an unanimous panel decision enjoining the secretary of Health and Human Services from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act against Catholic television network EWTN. That case was one of the petitions pending in the high court until the justices ruling Monday in Zubik v. Burwell.
In 2009, Pryor led a unanimous panel upholding Georgia’s photo ID law as a voting requirement.

David Stras
Another former Clarence Thomas clerk on the list is Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice David Stras, 41. Stras joined that court in 2010. He taught at the University of Minnesota Law School for six years prior to his appointment.

Diane Sykes
Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes, 58, of Wisconsin, is well-known in conservative circles and has been called by some liberal groups as the most conservative judge on Trump’s list. She is a former justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Her more recent opinions include supporting a voter ID law and expanding the ability of religious objectors to limit their employees’ access to contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. She also wrote an opinion in 2011 holding that the Second Amendment prohibited Chicago’s ban on firing ranges
Sykes spoke about her clerk-hiring practices at a conference in Milwaukee in 2014. “I don’t want to be fighting with someone all year,” Sykes said about hiring a clerk whose views are different than hers. “I don’t only hire Federalist Society members” as clerks, she said, but there has to be “some general philosophical fit.”

Don Willett
Another state supreme court justice is well-known to the Twitter community and someone who has actually criticized Donald Trump. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, 49, worked on the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and transition team. In the White House, Willett served as special assistant to the president and director of law and policy for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
In 2003, Willett returned to Texas to become state deputy attorney general for legal counsel in the office of newly elected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, where he served until he was appointed to the state high civil court in 2005.
Circuit judges’ financial disclosure forms

We’ve compiled below some of the recent financial disclosure forms of judges on Trump’s shortlist:

Steven Colloton of Iowa: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Gruender of Missouri: 2014 and 2015
Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Kethledge of Michigan: 2014 and 2015
William Pryor of Alabama: 2014 and 2015
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin: 2014 and 2015
Zoe Tillman contributed to this report.

Truth About Judges and Banks, and Why Foreclosure Hell Will Stay, Written by Darwin Bond Graham Great Story

Backing Banks Over Borrowers, California Judges Often Big Stakeholders in Same Banks

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 09:59

By Darwin BondGraham, Truthout | News Analysis
DARWIN BONDGRAHAM (Darwin BondGraham is a sociologist and journalist who covers political economy. He blogs at http://darwinbondgraham.blogspot.com and for washingtonspectator.org.)

http://truth-out.org/news/item/24400-alifornia-judges-ruling-in-favor-of-banks-over-borrowers-often-own-financial-stocks-and-bonds#.U65EgJjg51o.wordpress

Truthout readers like you made this story possible. Show your support for independent news and make a tax-deductible donation today!

Sue your bank in California over a wrongful foreclosure, and the best you’re likely to get – if you have ironclad evidence that it broke the law – is a loan modification. That is, a “win” for the borrower usually means the bank keeps another customer and collects interest payments that are thousands of basis points above the level at which the bank is able to borrow from the Fed. Very often, however, homeowner lawsuits against the banks end in dismissal. In the parlance of the courts, the defendant’s demurrer is sustained. Judges in California’s superior courts often rule in favor of the banks, and the few lawsuits that filter up to the appeals courts and Supreme Court don’t fare any better.
Why do the banks keep winning in court against borrowers alleging wrongful foreclosure, fraud and other abuses? Many borrowers and their lawyers say there’s a judicial bias favoring the banks over homeowners, and that this bias is revealed by the economic position of the judges themselves. Most California judges are wealthy, and many of them hold significant investments in financial corporations and bonds, oftentimes even in the very same banks and mortgage lenders that have been sued by thousands of Californians over alleged fraud, deception and wrongful foreclosure.
Case in point: Baldwin v. Bank of America, a borrower lawsuit alleging wrongful foreclosure that battled all the way to the steps of California’s Supreme Court. In 2007, Marvin Baldwin borrowed half a million dollars from J&R Lending to purchase a small three-unit apartment building in Long Beach, California. It was the height of the real estate bubble. Things quickly fell apart, and Baldwin ran into financial troubles.
In 2009, Bank of America, which by this point had acquired Baldwin’s loan, notified him that he qualified for a federally sponsored HomeSaver Forbearance Program, a temporary bridge toward a permanent loan modification. Baldwin assumed that this was how the taxpayer-funded bank bailouts were translating into assistance for small landlords, so he cooperated with Bank of America and made payments under the program. But late in 2010, Bank of America recorded a notice of default against Baldwin’s loan. Things looked dire.
Then in October, two months after filing the notice of default, Bank of America spun around again and appeared to be offering Baldwin a rescue plan. Bank of America announced a national moratorium on foreclosures due to the bank’s acknowledgement of “irregularities” in its own internal processes. But then Bank of America reversed course yet again. In spite of announcing a moratorium on foreclosures – a moratorium stemming from the robo-signing scandal in which it was revealed Bank of America was routinely breaking the law – Marvin Baldwin’s home was suddenly sold at auction on December 8, 2010.
He filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud and sought injunctive relief to save his property. Baldwin alleged in his lawsuit that Bank of America violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, which states, among other things, that a company cannot act in ways that would be likely to deceive a reasonable customer. The foreclosure “moratorium” Bank of America announced was one such deceptive practice because the bank lulled its borrowers into inaction, but then in fact continued to foreclose on properties and sell them, argued Baldwin and his lawyer. A year later, a trial court in Los Angeles sided with Bank of America, ruling the foreclosure and auction were perfectly legal, and that the bank’s actions weren’t deceptive.
Marvin Baldwin and his lawyer Lenore Albert appealed and argued their case before California’s 2nd District Appellate Court. They lost again. The court’s reasoning waded deep into gray areas, interpreting California’s business laws, fraud laws, and real estate laws liberally in the Bank of America’s favor.
Broad Pattern of Bias Seen
Plaintiffs’ attorneys see a broad pattern in California in which the judiciary has routinely sided with the banks, even when the law could be interpreted to prevent or reverse a foreclosure.
“They don’t want to be the judge that allows 40 million mortgages to go back to the borrowers,” said Patricia Rodriguez, a lawyer who has filed homeowner lawsuits against banks and mortgage servicers in multiple California superior courts. “They don’t want to possibly set a precedent.” A single ruling against Bank of America that reverses a foreclosure sale because the bank didn’t follow the letter of the law, for example, could spill over into thousands of other cases and potentially impact the profitability of the entire banking and loan servicing industry in Calfiornia, said Rodriguez.
“It was very clear that there is one form of justice for the small borrower and another form of justice for the moneyed interests,” said Donald Adams, a retired California attorney. “It pains me to say that, but having seen the real estate debacle and the judiciary’s protection of these fraudulent practices, I have reluctantly come to that conclusion.”
As to why the banks so often come out winners, some point to the economic interests of the judges. The average superior court judge in California is paid a salary of about $150,000, but many of the judges are appointed to the bench after years of lucrative private practice where they earned many times this amount of money. Most judges worked as lawyers at large law firms and boutique offices whose clients include major corporations, real estate companies, banks, and others that can pay top dollar. By the time they become judges, most of these lawyers have amassed considerable financial wealth, and like other members of the top 1% of income earners and wealth holders, most judges invest their fortunes in stocks and bonds. And after years of working for corporate clients, many judges have also been steeped in legal and social philosophies that favor the interests of the wealthy above those of consumers and debtors.
It’s impossible to really know why California’s judges have decided so many mortgage fraud and wrongful foreclosure cases in favor of the banks. Certainly it’s a mix of factors, including ideology, but also the existing structure of the legal system that favors wealthy defendants like the banks over isolated and indebted plaintiffs; the banks can afford the best lawyers to represent them, and the biggest banks spend several billion each year lobbying the legislatures of all 50 states and the federal government to shape laws and regulations in their favor. It’s an uneven playing field from the very start. But one possible way to gauge the possibility of bias in the legal system is to look at the economic interests of California’s judges. Unlike ideology, the material interests of the judiciary can be observed and measured. Through their ownership of bonds in financial and mortgage lending companies, many judges own senior claims on debt, debt that is directly tied to the loans of homeowners. Judges also own equity stakes in corporations, the value of which hinges very much on residential mortgage loans and loan-servicing activities.
For example, 42 of California’s 105 appeals court judges own stocks or bonds in financial companies. Seventeen of California’s appeals court judges own stock in Bank of America, while 10 own stock in Citibank, 6 in US Bank, 5 in JPMorgan Chase, and 4 in Wells Fargo. These judges own significant numbers of shares, on average amounting to about $10,000, but some California appeals court judges have revealed in their financial disclosure reports that they own perhaps as much as $1 million in stock in these banks.
The implication here is that many of California’s judges have a financial stake in the profitability of the largest mortgage servicers in the state, the same banks that have been brought before the courts in thousands of cases alleging wrongful foreclosure.
For example, in the Baldwin case, one of the appeals court judges who ruled in favor of Bank of America, Steven Suzukawa, owned as much as $100,000 in Bank of America stock, according to public records. Another of the judges on the three-judge appellate panel that heard the Baldwin case, Norman Epstein, owned as much as $10,000 in Bank of America stock. This was not disclosed, according to parties involved in the case. Under California’s judicial ethics standards, a judge owning more than $1,500 in stock of a company that is party to a lawsuit should recuse themselves from the case.
Baldwin fought on after the setback in the appeals court which was decided in February of this year, petitioning the Supreme Court of California to hear the case. California’s highest court refused to consider the lawsuit, dismissing the petition on May 21.
“I am a bit shocked at the failure to review such a new issue that affects thousands,” wrote Lenore Albert, Baldwin’s counsel, in an email.
One of the Supreme Court judges who was set to decide whether or not Baldwin would be heard had to recuse himself from even making that preliminary decision. Ming Chin, appointed to the California Supreme Court by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1996, disclosed as much as $100,000 worth of stock in Bank of America. Judge Chin also owns stock in Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that sold billions in mortgage-backed securities during the real estate bubble of the 2000s.
Majority of Justices Major Stakeholders in Banks
A majority of California’s Supreme Court justices own major stakes in the banks that service the majority of mortgage loans in the state. Justice Marvin Baxter owns shares of Wells Fargo Bank and Citibank. Justice Carol Corrigan owns shares of Citigroup and part of a business called Redwood Mortgage Investors, a private investment company that owns tens of millions of dollars worth of residential mortgage loans in California. Justice Joyce Kennard owns stock in JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Justice Kathryn Werdegar owns as much as $1 million in Wells Fargo stock. That makes five of California’s seven Supreme Court justices major investors in the mortgage lending and loan servicing industries.
“I’m so frustrated,” said one lawyer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, about decisions of California’s judges. “I have my team putting together the wall of shame for the judges, how they’re not enforcing the law.”
The state courts, many of them, were individually biased against the consumers,” said retired attorney Don Adams. “The courts were not going to let individual borrowers escape mortgage payments, and were less concerned with stopping the fraudulent and predatory activities that got us into the mess in the first place.”
In 2009, Adams sued Countrywide on behalf of a client who sought to quiet title to their home after a tangled deal of loans involving Countrywide, Citibank, and Bank of America led Countrywide to wrongfully foreclose. Countrywide admitted to foreclosing “in error,” but a trial court found in favor of the bank, forcing the borrowers to sign a new loan agreement with Countrywide. Adams and his clients appealed the decision, but then lost before a panel of three judges in California’s Second Appellate District court. One of the judges, Arthur Gilbert, owned stock in Bank of America and Citibank. Another one of the judges, Kenneth Yegan, disclosed two loans for over $1 million he had taken from Countrywide.
According to Adams, the bias of the courts in favor of the banks existed long before the foreclosure crisis. “Had courts enforced the law against the lenders, the great recession did not have to occur,” he said. “Many of us were after the New Centurys, the Ameriquests, and Countrywides well before the collapse. Even after the economy imploded, most judges did their best to protect the business interests of the predatory lenders by cynically not wanting to let the consumers ‘off the hook’ without recognizing that borrowers would still have to pay a mortgage, but the lenders would have to unwind the loans and do it again. The courts felt that was too much for the fraudsters – and accordingly protected them.”

Good Ole Supreme Court of Georgia! Quite a Bit Different Than Their Yearly Address States They Feel!

http://law.justia.com/cases/georgia/supreme-court/2014/s14a0391.html

(It did not copy across very well, but click the link to get there from here).

In the Supreme Court of Georgia
Decided: July 11, 2014
S14A0391. MITCHELL et al. v. WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. et al.

HUNSTEIN, Justice.
Appellants Richard and Deborah Mitchell appeal from the dismissal of
their lawsuit against Appellees Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), and their successors.1 We find that the
trial court properly granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss based on a bill of
peace, which barred Appellant Richard Mitchell from filing future lawsuits
without prior court approval. Therefore, we affirm.2

In November 2005, Richard Mitchell (“Mitchell”) obtained title to
property located at 455 St. Regis Drive, Alpharetta, Georgia, and executed a
security deed in favor of MERS, who subsequently assigned the security deed
1Appellants specifically named as defendants “any unknown heirs, devisees,
grantees, creditors, successors in interest, and other unknown persons, or unknown
spouses claiming by, through and under any of the . . . named defendants.”
2Appellants filed their appeal in the Court of Appeals, which transferred this
case to this Court because a substantive issue on appeal involved the legality or
propriety of an equitable bill of peace.

to Wells Fargo as trustee. The property was foreclosed upon after Appellants
became delinquent on their mortgage payments, and Wells Fargo purchased the
property at a foreclosure sale on February 3, 2009. Since that time, Appellants
admit that they have made numerous “dilatory filings,” proceeding pro se, in
state, federal, and bankruptcy courts.

In May 2010, Mitchell filed a complaint against Wells Fargo in Fulton
County Superior Court in case number 2010-CV-185623. Wells Fargo moved
to dismiss the complaint and moved for a bill of peace pursuant to OCGA § 23-
3-110 against Mitchell as a measure to end Mitchell’s “meritless filings” in state
court. On July 21, 2011, the trial court issued an order granting Wells Fargo’s
motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because Mitchell had not properly
served Wells Fargo. The court also granted Wells Fargo’s motion for a bill of
peace, finding that the records of Fulton County courts reflected “nothing less
than repeated and contemptuous behavior in the courts of this State” and that the
lengthy history of filings in federal court showed a pattern of behavior by
Mitchell consistent with his state filings. The court concluded that pursuant to
OCGA § 23-3-110, “a bill of peace [was] warranted, in order to stop [Mitchell’s] abuse of the courts of Georgia.”   The court permanently enjoined Mitchell from filing any pleading or complaint related to the foreclosure and eviction from the property at issue for a period of five years unless Mitchell first received written approval from the court. The court continued that if Mitchell did file such a complaint, Wells Fargo was under no duty to respond, and the complaint or any pleading would be subject to dismissal immediately.  

Mitchell moved to set aside the order granting the bill of peace, which the court denied rally during a hearing on February 19, 2013.

3OCGA § 23-3-110 provides as follows:
(a) It being the interest of this state that there shall be an end of
litigation, equity will entertain a bill of peace:
(1) To confirm some right which has been previously satisfactorily
established by more than one legal trial and is likely to be litigated
again;
(2) To avoid a multiplicity of actions by establishing a right, in favor
of or against several persons, which is likely to be the subject of legal
controversy; or
(3) In other similar cases.
(b) As ancillary to this jurisdiction, equity will grant perpetual
injunctions.
4The court also ordered Mitchell to pay Wells Fargo $4,000 in attorney fees.
5At the time of the filing of this appeal, the trial court had not issued a written
order memorializing its oral ruling denying Mitchell’s motion to set aside.
3
Meanwhile, on May 24, 2012, Appellants, proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint to quiet title and for injunctive relief with regard to the property
against Appellees in Fulton County Superior Court in case number
2012-CV-215444. Wells Fargo moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing inter
alia that Mitchell had failed to receive prior written court approval in violation
of the bill of peace. Appellants did not respond. On October 18, 2012, the court
granted Wells Fargo’s motion to dismiss based on good cause, including the fact
that Mitchell was barred from filing the complaint pursuant to the bill of peace.
Thereafter, Appellants, represented by counsel, filed a motion to reconsider the
order dismissing their complaint, a motion to set aside the dismissal order, and
an emergency motion for stay of execution of writs of possession pending a
ruling on Appellants’ previously filed motions. On November 2, 2012, the court
denied all three of Appellants’ motions.
Appellants now appeal the dismissal of their complaint, contending that
because the court dismissed Mitchell’s complaint for lack of jurisdiction over
Wells Fargo in case number 2010-CV-185623, the court had no jurisdiction over
Wells Fargo to grant them the relief sought in the bill of peace. They assert that
because the court lacked jurisdiction over Wells Fargo, the bill of peace was
4
facially void and a nullity, and they may collaterally attack this void order in this
appeal. Appellants thus assert that the trial court erred in dismissing their
complaint in case number 2012-CV-215444 by relying on a void bill of peace.
Appellees respond that the bill of peace was not void because the court had
jurisdiction over Mitchell, and therefore, that the dismissal based on the bill of
peace was not in error.
We agree with Appellees. In case number 2010-CV-185623, Wells Fargo
made a special appearance and thereby consented to the court’s jurisdiction for
the limited purpose of filing its motion for a bill of peace, while at the same time
contesting the court’s personal jurisdiction over it with respect to Mitchell’s
complaint. Additionally, the court had personal jurisdiction over Mitchell, and
Appellants do not argue to the contrary. Therefore, the trial court had
jurisdiction to issue the bill of peace, and it is not void on its face.6 See Nally
v. Bartow County Grand Jurors, 280 Ga. 790 (1) (633 SE2d 337) (2006) (order
was not void where the appellant failed to show that the court lacked personal
or subject matter jurisdiction).
6We make no ruling on the propriety of the merits of the bill of peace.
Without any order setting aside the bill of peace or a reversal thereof on
appeal, it remains binding on Mitchell. Accordingly, we find that the court’s
dismissal of Appellants’ complaint in case number 2012-CV-215444 based on
Mitchell’s failure to comply with the bill of peace was proper. See Rolleston v.
Kennedy, 277 Ga. 541, 542 (591 SE2d 834) (2004) (summary dismissal of
complaint was correct due to a previously issued bill of peace, which enjoined
the plaintiff from claiming an adverse interest in certain property or filing any
lawsuit without prior written court approval).8
Judgment affirmed. All the Justices concur.
We note that the bill of peace names only Richard Mitchell. Deborah
Mitchell, however, makes no argument that the bill of peace does not apply to her as
well. In any event, we note that an injunction – which is like an equitable bill of
peace in many respects – binds not only the persons named in the injunction, but
“their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys,” as well as “those persons
in active concert or participation with them who receive notice of the order by
personal service or otherwise.” OCGA § 9-11-65 (d).
8Appellees’ motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction is hereby denied.

ANYBODY CAN FORECLOSE ON YOU IN GEORGIA!

WTF?

The Georgia Supreme Court determined back when they made the ruling on the You case, that the foreclosing entity does not have to hold the Note, does not have to hold the security deed, and does not have to have an interest in the loan.’

It should not surprise anyone, they had been allowing it to go on for a long time.  Now, I am seeing the people who were foreclosed upon between 4 and 6 years ago, are being foreclosed upon again, but this time, by someone new, a different Lender, that never existed.  One day the real Lender will come, and they too will foreclose on the borrower.

Has everything gotten so bad, that the courts just don’t care?  What ever happened to contract law?  Are they going to allow all contracts to be violated by lenders, or just when it comes to real property?

I saw someone the other day, Bank of America had allegedly foreclosed upon the man.  Bank of America not only foreclosed, but evicted  the man as well.  Bank of Americas name is on the  Deed Under Power.  Bank of America swore under Oath that they were the current party with right to foreclose.  A month and a half later, US Bank sold the property to a third party, because they claim that they were the party with rights to the property.

So lets’s get this straight, when did Bank of America turn into US Bank?  There was nothing in the record showing Bank of America had any claim to the Note or Deed, nothing showing that Bank of America is anything to the loan.  The Deed Under Power of Sale, has Bank of America’s name on  it, with some of those squiggly marks that the foreclosing attorneys have been signing for years, to create a fictional assignment.  But… US Bank be damned, they were going to get some of that action.  So without any documentation recorded anywhere, of any kind, US Bank sold the property to a third party.

Good Ole DeKalb County!

 

http://biscuette.com/2012/07/16/fake-gregory-adams-debra-deberry-fun-new-characters-in-the-tragi-comedy-of-dekalb-county-government/#comment-2552

le biscuette Has It Right, Thank You For Your Truthful Rendition of DeKalb County, Georgia!!!

Fake Gregory Adams, Debra DeBerry Fun New Characters in the Tragi-comedy of Dekalb County Government

July 16, 2012

By 

Ah, Dekalb County, what a thriving bastion of the American spirit. We’ve been blessed with such American heroes as Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who proudly took to Libyan state television to decry US involvement in the movement against brutal dictator Moammar Gaddafi; there’s former Dekalb CEO Vernon Jones, for whom Dekalb taxpayers are on the hook for upwards of five million dollars in legal fees for a reverse discrimination lawsuit; we’ve got Dekalb school superintendent Crawford Lewis, indicted for operating a “crime ring” from his post. And these are just the most visible of our trusted public servants. Beneath the crusty surface of Dekalb County’s political life–embodied by McKinney, Jones, Lewis, and the like–is a colorful cast of crooks and con artists whose power to defraud derives from their elected or appointed post.

The July 31, 2012 political primary election has brought forth at least two fun new characters. And that’s sort of exciting, isn’t it? It’s like getting a new Angry Bird, or a zany addition to the cast of the Simpsons. It’s a fun addition to what is already a colorful and hilarious mix of deviants, a new car full of clowns to delight and entertain us as they bilk our precious tax dollars, and wreck our sacred institutions, for their own corrupt ends.

Let’s turn first to Debra DeBerry, who currently sits as the Clerk of Superior Court of Dekalb County. This is basically the person in charge of administering the functions of the highest county court, where death penalties can be issued, huge civil verdicts reached, marriages dissolved–basically, all the most important and consequential events that can happen in the life of a county. How did DeBerry become the Clerk? You’d assume she was elected, right? Nope. Or appointed by the governor, something to that effect? Not exactly. Deberry became Clerk in 2011 after the long-term Clerk, Linda Carter, resigned. No big deal, right? Well…

According to lawyers representing Linda Carter, Carter didn’t write her resignation letter. It was written by–guess who?–Debra DeBerry, signed by Carter, and then delivered to the governor’s office that very day by one of DeBerry’s subordinates. At the time, Carter was suffering from an Alzheimer’s-like mental illness. The kicker: not only did the DeBerry-drafted letter announce Carter’s resignation, it also named DeBerry as Carter’s replacement. Some coverage of the scandal below:

Now, of course, DeBerry denied wrongdoing. And apparently the lawsuit was settled before trial, so we’ll never know who was “right or wrong” here. But the entire situation smells incredibly nasty, doesn’t it?

Living Lies/Neil Garfield on Georgia

http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/wake-up-georgia-courts-are-opening-the-door-on-wrongful-foreclosure/

http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/wake-up-georgia-courts-are-opening-the-door-on-wrongful-foreclosure/

Wake Up Georgia: Courts Are Opening the Door on Wrongful Foreclosure

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Neil Garfield

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN GEORGIA

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 (East Coast, including Georgia – the Atlanta Area) and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

The selection of an attorney is an important decision and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Note: For years Georgia has been considered by most attorneys to be a “red” state that, along with states like Tennessee showed no mercy on borrowers because of the prejudgment that the foreclosure mess was the fault of borrowers. For years they have ignored the now obvious truth that the defective mortgages and wrongful foreclosures do make a difference.

Now, reflecting inquiries from Courts below who are studying the the issue instead of issuing orders based upon a knee-jerk response, the State has taken a decided turn toward the application of law over presumption and bias. There is even reason to believe that the door is open a crack for past wrongful foreclosures, as the Courts grapple with the fact that thousands of foreclosures were forced through the system by strangers to the transaction and thousands of wrongful foreclosure suits have been dismissed because of the assumption by judges that no bank would lie directly to the court. It was a big lie and apparently the banks were right in thinking there was little risk to them.

Look at Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law February/ March Issue for an article on “Foreclosure Law in the Wake of Recent Decisions on Residential Mortgage Loans: The Situation in Georgia” by Ashby Kent Fox, Shea Sullivan and Amanda Wilson. Our own lawyers have out in front on these issues for a couple of years but encountering a lot of resistance — although lately they are reporting that the Courts are listening more closely.

The Georgia Supreme Court has now weighed in (Reese v Provident) and decided quite obviously that something is rotten in Georgia. Focusing on Georgia’s foreclosure notice statute but actually speaking to the substantive defects in the mortgages and foreclosures, the majority held, as a matter of law, that

o.c.G.a. § 44-14- 162.2(a), requires the person or entity conducting a non-judicial foreclosure of a residential mortgage loan to provide the borrower/debtor with a written notice of the foreclosure sale that discloses not only “the name, address, and telephone number of the individual or entity who shall have full authority to negotiate, amend, and modify all terms of the mortgage with the debtor” (the language that appears in the statute), but also the identity of the “secured creditor” (not required by the statutory language, but which the majority inferred based on legislative intent). the majority further found that the failure to identify the “secured creditor” in the foreclosure notice renders the notice, and any subsequent foreclosure sale, invalid as a matter of law.

Once again I caution litigators that this will not dispose of your case permanently and that such rulings be used strategically so that you are not another hallway lawyer explaining how you were right but the judge ruled against you anyway. Notice provisions can be cured, non-existent transactions cannot be cured. Leading with the numbers (the money trail” and THEN using decisions like this to corroborate your argument will get you a lot more traction than leading with defective paperwork.

As I have said repeatedly, no judge, no matter how sympathetic to borrowers is going to give much relief when the borrower has admitted the debt, note, mortgage and default. These must be denied and lawyers should study up on the subject as to why they can and should be denied, and to persevere through discovery to show that the note, mortgage, default and even the debt have all been faked by strangers to the transaction.

Forcing the opposing side to show that they are a bona fide holder FOR VALUE will flush out the truth — that originator in nearly all cases was never the lender, creditor or even broker. They were simply paid naked nominees just like MERS, leaving no real party in interest on the note or mortgage, no consideration between the parties stated on the note and mortgage or notice of default, and no meeting of minds between the real lender (who is NOT in privity with the nominee lender) who, as an investor received a prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement and advanced money under the mistaken belief they were buying bonds of an entity that either did not exist or was simply ignored by the investment banker and the other participants in the false securitization scheme that was used to cover-up a PONZI scheme.

Practice tips: DENY and DISCOVER. Ask for proof of payment and proof of loss. The assignments, the note and the mortgage are not proof of the debt, they are potentially evidence of the debt and the security agreement ONLY if the foundation is there (testimony by witness with personal knowledge, with exhibits of wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions, cancelled checks etc.) to show that the originator shown as payee and “Secured party” or “beneficiary” was lender of money.

Make them show that they booked the loan as a receivable with a reserve for default. Discover that they actually booked the transaction as a fee for service (shown on the income statement) and never entered it on their balance sheet.

And PLEASE study up on voir dire, objections and cross examination. If you are not quick and ready objections to leading questions and other issues might well be waived unless you interrupt the questioning as fast as you can stand up. If you study up on hearsay and the business records exception to hearsay you will discover that in practically no case were the business records qualified as exceptions to the hearsay rule. But if you don’t raise it, if you don’t have statutory and case law and even a memo on the subject the judge is going to rule against you. We are talking about good lawyering here and not bias amongst judges.

Those We Look to for Protection

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corrupt  photo

Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates (center) announces that ten local police officers have been arrested on corruption charges in a press conference at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday Feb. 12th, 2013.

By Steve Visser

Staff

Federal authorities announced the arrest of 10 metro law enforcement officers Tuesday on charges of arranging protection for a street gang’s drug deals.

“Obviously the breadth of the corruption is very troubling,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Yates . “It is certainly the most (officers) this office has charged in a long time.”

The case began as a street gang investigation by the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, whose undercover agents learned that gangs had officers on the payroll for protection, Yates said. The FBI took command of the public corruption aspects of the case.

At least one officer recommended that the gang use a school parking lot to exchange drugs for cash because trading backpacks there would not look suspicious, Yates said at a 2 p.m. news conference.

The law enforcement officers arrested today were: Atlanta Police Department Officer Kelvin Allen, 42, of Atlanta; DeKalb County Police Department Officers Dennis Duren, 32, of Atlanta and Dorian Williams, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Forest Park Police Department Sergeants Victor Middlebrook, 44, of Jonesboro, Georgia and Andrew Monroe, 57, of Riverdale, Georgia; MARTA Police Department Officer Marquez Holmes, 45, of Jonesboro, Georgia; Stone Mountain Police Department Officer Denoris Carter, 42, of Lithonia, Georgia, and contract Federal Protective Services Officer Sharon Peters, 43, of Lithonia, Georgia. Agents also arrested two former law enforcement officers: former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office jail officers Monyette McLaurin, 37, of Atlanta, and Chase Valentine, 44, of Covington, Georgia.

Civilians arrested today were: Shannon Bass, 38, of Atlanta; Elizabeth Coss, 35, of Atlanta; Gregory Lee Harvey, 26, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Alexander B. Hill, 22, of Ellenwood, Georgia; and Jerry B. Mannery, Jr., 38, of Tucker, Georgia.

Some of the officers were retired and some were active duty. The highest rank was sergeant and the payoffs ranged as high as $7,000 per transaction. Each transaction involved at least five kilograms of cocaine, which carries a 10 year minimum sentence, Yates said.

Officers were involved in multiple transactions, provided escorts to dealers and buyers and offered to provided muscle if necessary to protect their clients, Yates said.

Yates said the investigation is ongoing and declined to say whether more officers would be arrested.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow would not name the street gang involved but he suggested the public corruption aspects would be more far-ranging.

“I can say this is probably not the last you will be hearing of this case,” he said.

A press release from Yates’ office detailed the following allegations:

DeKalb County Police Department

Between October 2011 and November 2011, DeKalb County Police Officer Dennis Duren, working together with Bass, provided protection for what he and Bass believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Duren and Bass accepted cash payments totaling $8,800 for these services. During the transactions, Duren was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, as he patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place. After the first two transactions, Duren allegedly offered to drive his patrol vehicle to future transactions for an additional $800 fee, and afterward received an additional $800 in cash for using his patrol vehicle in the final transaction in November 2011. Duren and Bass are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Duren also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Between January and February 2013, DeKalb County Police Officer Dorian Williams, working together with Mannery and Bass, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Williams and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $18,000 for these services. During the transactions, Williams was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, and he patrolled the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place in his DeKalb Police vehicle. During a meeting between the three transactions, Williams allegedly instructed Bass to remove any cocaine from the scene if Williams had to shoot someone during the upcoming sale. In another meeting, Williams suggested that future drug transactions should take place in the parking lot of a local high school during the afternoon, so that the exchange of backpacks containing drugs and money would not look suspicious. Williams and Mannery are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

Stone Mountain Police Department

Between April and September 2012, Stone Mountain Police Officer Denoris Carter, working together with Mannery, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were five separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Carter and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $23,500. For all five transactions, Carter dressed in his Stone Mountain Police uniform. In four of the deals, he arrived in his police cruiser and either patrolled or parked in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and watched the transactions. During the final transaction in September 2012, Carter was on foot, displaying a firearm in a holster on his belt, and he walked through the parking lot in which the transaction took place and watched the participants. Finally, during one of the transactions, Carter agreed to escort the purchaser of the sham cocaine in his police vehicle for several miles, until the purchaser reached Highway 78. Carter is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Atlanta Police Department

Between June and August 2012, Atlanta Police officer Kelvin D. Allen, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Allen and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $10,500 for their services. For two transactions, Allen dressed in his Atlanta Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. Allen patrolled on foot in parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. During a meeting after the three transactions, a cooperator gave Allen and Coss each a $1,000 bonus payment in return for protecting the three transactions. Allen and Coss are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Allen also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

MARTA Police Department

Between August and November 2012, MARTA Police Department Officer Marquez Holmes, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Holmes and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $9,000. During the transactions, Holmes was dressed in his MARTA Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. In two of the transactions, Holmes patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and monitored the transactions. During the other two deals, Holmes drove to the site in his MARTA police cruiser and parked next to the vehicles in which the undercover drug sale took place. Holmes is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Forest Park Police Department

Between October to December 2012, Forest Park Police Sergeants Victor Middlebrook and Andrew Monroe, sometimes working alone and at other times together, provided protection for what they believed were six separate drug deals in the Atlanta area, all involving multiple kilograms of cocaine. For his services in the first four transactions, Middlebook accepted cash payments totaling $13,800. During these transactions, Middlebrook wore plain clothes, but displayed his badge and a firearm in a holster on his belt. He patrolled on foot in the parking lots nearby the vehicles in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. For the final two transactions, both Middlebrook and Monroe provided security and were given cash payments totaling $10,400. Middlebrook again monitored the transactions on foot in plain clothes while displaying his badge and gun, while Monroe watched from his vehicle in the parking lot and afterward escorted the purchaser of the sham cocaine for several miles. Middlebrook and Monroe are charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine; Middlebrook is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

In January 2013, former DeKalb County Sheriff Jail Officer Monyette McLaurin, working together with Harvey, provided protection for what they believed were two separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Harvey already had provided security for two undercover drug transactions in December 2012, falsely representing that he was a DeKalb County detention officer and wearing a black shirt with the letters “SHERIFF” printed across the back during the transactions. Harvey then stated that he knew other police officers who wanted to protect drug deals, and in January 2013 he introduced McLaurin as one of these officers. During a meeting to discuss future drug transactions, McLaurin falsely represented that he was a deputy employed by the DeKalb Sheriff’s office, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2011. McLaurin and Harvey further stated during this meeting that they may need to kill another person who knew that Harvey had protected drug deals, if this person reported the activity to others.

During the two transactions in January 2013, McLaurin was dressed in a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office uniform with a badge, and he carried a gun in a holster on his belt. He accompanied the undercover seller of the cocaine to pick up the drugs from a warehouse, counted the kilograms the seller received, and stood outside the purchaser’s vehicle during the actual transaction. He further discussed with the seller whether they should agree upon a signal for the seller to indicate that the sale had gone awry, requiring McLaurin to shoot the drug buyer. For their services, McLaurin and Harvey were paid $12,000 in cash. McLaurin and Harvey are each charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Later in January 2013, McLaurin and Harvey introduced a second former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Jail Officer, Chase Valentine, to help provide security for future drug deals. Like McLaurin, Valentine falsely represented himself to be a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2010. Together with Harvey, Valentine provided security for one undercover drug transaction on January 17, 2013, during which he wore a DeKalb Sheriff’s Office uniform and a pistol in a holster on his belt. During the transaction, Valentine escorted the seller to pick up the sham cocaine, counted the number of kilograms delivered, and stood outside the purchaser’s car during the actual transaction. For these services, Valentine received $6,000 in cash. Valentine is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Federal Protective Services

In November 2012, Sharon Peters, who was a contract officer for the Federal Protective Services, worked together with Mannery to provide protection for what they believed were two separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Peters and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $14,000. For both transactions, Peters parked her vehicle nearby the cars where the sham drugs and money were exchanged, and watched the transactions. Before both transactions, Peters told others that she had her pistol with her in the car. Peters is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Imposter Clayton County Police Officer

Between December 2012 and January 2013, Alexander B. Hill falsely represented himself to be an officer with the Clayton County Police Department while providing security for what he believed were three separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. During an initial meeting, Hill wore a uniform that appeared to be from Clayton Police, but during the transactions he wore plain clothes and, for at least the first deal, a badge displayed on his belt. For these services, Hill received payments totaling $9,000 in cash. Hill charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Something to Seriously Consider…

A Lesson Learned on the Anniversary of Wounded Knee

http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2013/01/very-powerful-stuff-gun-control-and-the-massacre-at-wounded-knee-2560028.html
By Anonymous

December 29, 2012, marked the 122nd anniversary of the massacre of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began AFTER the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. When the final round pierced the air, of the 297 dead or dying, two-thirds (or 200) were women and children!

Around 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed. Over half of the dead were by friendly fire from the Hotchkiss guns, which were in the hands of their overzealous comrades-in-arms. Twenty members of the 7th Cavalry were deemed “National Heroes” and awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of cowardice.

We do not hear of Wounded Knee today. Historians do not mention it in our history classes or books. What little does exist about Wounded Knee is normally the sanitized “Official Government Explanation” or the historically and factually inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre on the movie screen. Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment–The right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States drafted the Constitution, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night. “Target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity in the wilds of early America and were certainly not wasted “target shooting.” People who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe wrote the Second Amendment, which refers to the right to arm American citizens for defense purposes should such tyranny rise in the United States.

As time goes on, the average citizen in the United States continues to lose personal freedom or “liberty.” Far too many times, unjust bills are passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for protection.” The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, which was expanded and continued by Barack Obama, is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for “safety.” Now, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the table and will most likely be abolished for “our safety.”

Before any American citizen blindly accepts whatever new firearms legislation that is about to be voted upon, they should stop and think about something for just one minute—Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible, one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We cannot legislate away “evil.” Good people will abide by the law; defective people will always find a way around it.

Furthermore, evil exists all around us. However, looking back at the historical record of the past 200 years across the globe, where is “evil” and “malevolence” most often found? They are found in the hands of those with power—tyrants in governments. We can attribute the worst human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life to governments. Who do governments target? They target “scapegoats” and “enemies” within their own borders…but only after they have been disarmed to the point where they are no longer a threat. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was inferior technology and lack of arms that contributed to their demise. Ask any Armenian why it was so easy for the Turks to exterminate millions of them, and they will answer, “We were disarmed before it happened.” Ask any Jew what Hitler’s first step prior to the mass murders of the Holocaust was—confiscation of firearms from the people.

Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should not be in such a hurry to surrender our Right to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment, we have no right to defend ourselves and our families. “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” ~ John Adams, 1826

DeKalb County Strikes Again!!!

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2012/05/09/3am-home-eviction-in-dekalb-sparks-outrage.html

3am Home Eviction in DeKalb Sparks Outrage

Written By: APN STAFF

5-9-2012

By Scott Brown, Special to the Atlanta Progressive News

(APN) DEKALB COUNTY — In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 02, 2012, over twenty deputies from the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department, under orders from Sheriff Thomas Brown, drilled the locks and kicked in the doors of the Christine Frazer’s home with guns drawn in order to evict four generations of family members.

Frazer, the homeowner, had fallen behind on her mortgage payments and was foreclosed upon in October 2011.

According to Frazer, her family members, including her 85-year-old mother and 3-year-old grandson, were told by officers to "act like it was a fire drill" and grab what they could and get out.

Frazer said they were not even allowed a shower before being escorted from her home of eighteen years at three in the morning.

She described the event as "literally a nightmare."

Her three dogs were taken to the pound and all of her belongings were put out on the street, which police had completely closed off.

At a press conference in front of her belongings hours after the eviction, Frazer lamented, "I’ve been in this home eighteen years. My daughter was raised here. My husband died here. My grandson came home here. This is my home."

"They came in as if they were executing a warrant to find drugs. It makes no sense,” Frazer’s lawyer, Joshua Davis, said of the eviction.

Sheriff Thomas Brown told Fox 5 television news that he attributed the unusual timing and the large number of officers used in the eviction to the presence of Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping in the yard for the past four months in an attempt to prevent what they described as an illegal eviction based on an illegal foreclosure.

Frazer has filed a lawsuit, which is currently pending in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against the company that foreclosed on her home last October, Investors One Corporation.

Ownership of the mortgage has changed three times in the past six months and, according to Frazer’s lawyer, the chain of title was broken when the previous owner of the mortgage, a bank based in Indiana, failed to uphold their legal obligation to transfer the title, rendering the foreclosure by Investors One Corporation fraudulent.

"There are judges that are in place that could have done a little research, if they’d done a little title search they’d have seen that something in the milk wasn’t clean,” Frazer said.

Frazer, 63, began to fall behind on her mortgage payments after losing her husband and her job in 2009. She has been unable to find a job ever since and is currently on early retirement social security.

Sheriff Brown told Fox 5 he gave the homeowner ample time to reach a settlement with the mortgage holder before serving the eviction notice.

Frazer said she tried to restructure the mortgage, but Investors One Corporation was uncooperative and intent on foreclosure, only offering to reinstate the loan if she was able to pay 20,000 dollars in cash. Currently she has paid over 240,000 dollars on the mortgage on a house currently appraised at only 40,000 dollars.

On Monday, May 07, 2012, in response to the early morning eviction ordered by Sheriff Thomas Brown, Occupy Atlanta held a protest in front of the Dekalb County Sheriff’s office.

At one point, more protesters pulled up in a van full of Frazer’s belongings, and Occupy Atlanta unloaded mattresses, furniture, and bags of other items that deputies had left on the curb nearly one week prior and piled them in front of the doors to the Sheriff’s Office, along with signs reading “Fraudclosure” and “Wall St. criminals are not convicted. The people are evicted.”

Standing before a pile of her belongings in front of the Sheriff’s Office during a press conference, Frazer said, "This is not just about me and my family, this is about families across America."

Frazer is certainly not alone in her struggle to keep her home. According to Corelogic, Inc., a company specializing in financial analysis, over 1.4 million homes in the US are currently in the foreclosure process, and states like Georgia have been ground zero in the housing crisis.

A recent Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report shows Metro Atlanta home prices fell 17.3 percent between February 2011 and February 2012, a fact that is fueling the continuing foreclosure crisis in the state.

Occupy Atlanta has taken up home defense as a tactic for combating what protesters view as unfair and illegal practices by banks and the financial industry as a whole.

Leila Abadir, one of the Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping on the lawn at the Frazer household, says the fight is not over. Occupy Atlanta will continue to assist the Frazer family in finding proper housing, she said.

They will also keep working to shed light on what she believes to be unethical and potentially criminal activity on the part of Investors One Corporation.

According to Fox 5, after most of the protesters left the sheriff’s office, police surrounded a remaining protester’s vehicle, which they impounded for possible evidence. They issued two citations to two people for littering and arrested one of them because he did not have identification on him.