Friday, November 7, 2014

Post Election Review: The Difference Between Winners and Losers at the Court House

Arrogance Was Meade's Undoing

It was a night of political upsets in Tippecanoe County. 

Perhaps the biggest local upset this week was the defeat of Les Meade in his bid for Circuit Court judge.  Coming off a primary win over challenger Earle McCoy, Meade could have been considered the front runner for November's general election; however, he was blindsided by a bombshell announcement that would cut short any staff changes Meade may have been contemplating for the court. 

Retiring Superior Court Judge Tom Busch was recruited by most of the local bar association to run against a man they did not want to work with for the next six years.  Busch had earned a reputation for being kind in demeanor.  He won friends easily from both parties and became a well-respected father figure to young, new attorneys.

Attorneys refused to file cases in Meade's court.
According to insiders, Meade was difficult to work with.  He has been described as "rude and arrogant" in demeanor.  Meade has also reportedly threatened to order lawyers and police officers to jail.  He has punished defendants with excessive sentences for merely exercising constitutional rights, and even belittled a veteran who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which resulted in a judiciary complaint being filed against him.  Lawyers boycotted his court by refusing to file cases in it.

Meade's political enemies were numerous; however, unless one had to work with him or had the misfortune of appearing before him as a defendant, his arrogant demeanor was not well known among the general community.

Meade's campaign slogan was "experience matters."
It was a touchy situation for Meade's opponents since the rules of the bar association prevented lawyers from speaking out against judges.  To do so privately is even risky, but a few of them were brave enough to do it for the sake of the local judicial system.

Meade's campaign slogan was "experience matters;" however, if one compares the experience of Judge Busch to that of Les Meade, it is clear that Meade had none.  

Ironically, a political unknown during his first election, Meade stepped into the race to challenge a political Pariah who had earned a reputation for being rude and harsh to defendants.  A former prosecutor, Laura Zeman earned a loathsome reputation and was soundly defeated by Meade, due largely to the anti-incumbent mood of the day.  Some believe Meade let the win go to his head and became worse than his predecessor in many respects.

 More About Donat and Less About Zeman

So why did Zeman get elected this week after being thrown out of office years ago some have asked?

Insiders say Judge Greg Donat became complacent and it was time for him to go.  Zeman happened to be in the right place at just the right time.  Had someone stepped up in the General Election the way Tom Busch did, many say Zeman could have easily been defeated. 

Our advice to Laura Zeman would be: Don't get too comfortable in that robe and chair, and for Pete's sake, take off your prosecutor hat!  You aren't there to help prosecute people!  You're there to administer blind justice. 

People haven't forgotten the shabby way you treated people in the past, and we'll be watching very closely.  We have many eyes and ears in the courthouse, and hope for the sake of the community you have learned from past mistakes.  Take a lesson from honorable judges like David Krause, Don Daniels, and Tom Busch.  They treat people the way they would like someone to treat their own mothers.  Don't blame others.  You earned the reputation, and you are the only person who can change that.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Persecution of Erin Gardner Continues as Prosecutor Invokes Punishment Prior to Conviction

Deputy Prosecutor Starbuck
If awards were given out for malicious prosecution, Tippecanoe County Deputy Prosecutor Persecutor Jackie Starbuck would certainly be in contention for first prize with her most recent actions against Erin Gardner.

You remember Erin?  She was the small-framed, 100 pound woman who was violently yanked from the back seat of a car she was riding in because she didn't fork over a driver's license to LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb even though she had done nothing wrong.  Gardner was subsequently charged with resisting arrest, failure to identify herself, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

The resisting arrest charge was eventually dropped after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that passive resistance does not constitute resisting arrest.  Oh, but after Erin turned down a plea deal Jackie maliciously added a marijuana charge even though the bee pollen collector Erin had in her possession was empty.  Gardner was subsequently drug tested at the hospital where she received treatment for her cop-inflicted injuries, which resulted in a negative screening.

Each time Erin turns down a plea deal, the charges seem to get trumped up or Erin is subjected to nonsensical persecution.  The pre-trial hearing on October 6, 2014 was more of the same for the woman who refuses to capitulate to the unreasonable demands of the state.

Even though Erin has not been convicted of a crime in the case, she was ordered to submit to a drug test, supposedly a condition of her bail.  One local attorney said this is highly unusual and almost unheard of in a misdemeanor case of this type.

Erin Gardner
Erin said that when the clerk announced the negative results of the test, Ms. Starbuck seemed rattled and asked her to repeat the results.  Sorry to disappoint you, Ms. Starbuck.  It is obvious you wanted to watch Ms. Gardner being hauled off to jail to justify your maliciousness.

According to an earlier appeals court ruling, the unusual move by Starbuck and sanctioned by a pro-tem judge, who is also a former prosecutor, may have been a violation of Gardner's constitutional rights.

In 2002, the Indiana Court of Appeals heard Elizabeth Steiner's case against the State and determined that, "In ordering drug testing as a condition of bail, the trial court must determine whether there is a reasonable basis for the apparent assumption that arrestees ordered into the testing program are potential drug users...Individualized suspicion should be based on evidence of prior drug use, such as a drug-related convictions or self-reported drug use."

The Steiner case involved the defendant's possession of marijuana; however, the court rightly concluded, "The record does not reveal that the trial court made any attempt to determine whether the particular facts and circumstances of this case justified the imposition of random drug screens as a condition of bail. Steiner was accused of misdemeanor possession of marijuana; however, the record reveals no history of substance abuse by Steiner nor any other prior convictions or arrests. While evidence of a history of drug use or of prior drug or alcohol arrests would be a proper basis for imposing drug screens as a condition of bail, no such evidence was introduced that would lead the trial court to make an individualized determination that Steiner would use drugs while she was released pending trial. Therefore, we find that it was not reasonable for the trial court to impose random drug screens as a condition of Steiner’s bail and that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering that condition. Thus, we reverse and remand with instructions that the trial court vacate the condition imposing random drug screens." 

What can any rational person conclude but that Ms. Starbuck and Company are engaging in malicious prosecution of the worse kind?  Ms. Gardner, many in this community believe you must file complaints against the officers of the court who are engaging in this type of unethical conduct.  Please refer to this link for assistance.

Oh, but if you think that's the complete update, fasten your seatbelts (pun intended), because it gets even more bizarre.

Late last summer, Ms. Gardner was involved in a domestic dispute when she arrived to pick up her her son at his grandmother's house.  An argument ensued when the alleged perpetrator did not want to relinquish the child and that's when Gardner says she was physically assaulted.  Gardner says she immediately attempted to leave the home when she saw the aggressive demeanor of the alleged perpetrator.  In an attempt to protect her face, Gardner says she placed her arms and hands in a defensive posture to soften the blows.  Gardner immediately phoned the police and reported the incident; however, there is no mention of this in the one-sided and biased police report.

Gardner also photographed the injuries in hopes that she could get a restraining order against the alleged perpetrator who she says has attacked her in the past. Gardner sustained scratches and bruises throughout her body and hair pulled out.  

Without getting her side of the story, the Lafayette Police Department and Tippecanoe County Prosecutors were all too willing to charge Erin with misdemeanor battery several weeks after the incident had taken place.  Erin intends to take this case to a jury as well and is confident that the evidence will conclude that the wrong party was charged with a crime.  Fortunately for Erin she also has an audio recording that she says will exonerate her against the bogus charges.

"These charges never would have been filed had it not been for the fact that I am involved in a dispute with the Lafayette Police Department against the earlier charges," declared Gardner.

Gardner makes a good point considering the fact that there have been many instances where charges have not been filed in these types of domestic disputes.  And how ethical is it to file charges against someone while only hearing one very biased side to the story?

Gardner recently moved out of the county, because she said she is being harassed by those in the system who are hellbent on making her pay for standing up to their abuse of power.   She also says she has been followed by unmarked police cars, which she believes constitutes a form of harassment and even stalking.

There's also another matter that Gardner would like to clear up.  On September 26, 2014 Gardner was in the hospital fighting for her life against a potentially fatal disease.  She informed the court via fax that she could not appear for the previously scheduled pre-trial hearing on that date due to her medical condition.  She also said she has phone records to prove she contacted her public defender; however, the entry in Court View paints an entirely different picture:

09/26/2014 Comes now the State of Indiana by Jackie Starbuck, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Comes also Timothy Curry, Deputy Public Defender. Defendant failed to contact the Public Defender’s Office and provide documents to her attorney or the court regarding her court date. Court resets this cause for hearing on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. in conjunction with 79D05-1409-CM-691. Defendant is ordered to appear in person. If defendant fails to appear, a warrant will issue for her arrests. Copy to: Defendant, Public Defender and State of Indiana (jkp) Entered: September 26, 2014

Does any rational thinking being believe that Erin Gardner will get fair treatment in Tippecanoe County? There is no blindfold on Lady Justice in Tippecanoe County, especially considering the fact that shortly before Erin was charged with misdemeanor battery, someone using a Tippecanoe County issued computer left a comment, which this moderator did not publish, announcing that Ms. Gardner has "beat someone up" and referred to her as "your friend who can do no wrong."

Erin will be the first to admit that she's not perfect; however, the justice system had no probable cause to arrest her in the first place and Ms. Gardner has every right to invoke her right to a jury trial without being punished for it.  This blogger and many others will stand with her in defending those sacred rights.

It's time for this story to get the attention of the U.S. Justice Department as well as media outlets throughout the state and beyond.  It is a huge waste of tax dollars to persecute a terminally ill woman who did nothing wrong at the outset to deserve any of the persecution that has followed her.

Enough is enough.  All of those involved in this travesty of justice look as foolish as Ms. Starbuck and her beer bong!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Local Citizen Fears For Safety After Being Tailgated by Unmarked Police Car, Now Threatened With Jail Time; Cop Allegedly Lies to Boss About Verbal Exchange

What would you do if you were suddenly being aggressively tailgated by an unmarked SUV on the Interstate?

 Most rational people would do what 19-year-old Luke Brenneman instinctively did to protect himself last July 16th as he was driving through Floyd County on his way home from basketball camp - seek to avoid.

Considering the fact that there had been recent reports of fake cops pulling over unsuspecting victims in Floyd County, Indiana, where this incident occurred, Brenneman sped up in an attempt to protect himself from potential harm. What Brenneman didn't realize at the time was the unmarked car was actually being driven by Clarksville Town Police Officer Tony Bryant.

 "I did not know he was an officer so I sped up a little more to get away from him and then he proceeded to pull me over," said Brenneman.

 Brenneman says it all started after he switched lanes on I-65 to pass a semi truck north of Clarksville, Indiana, which is in Floyd County. He said he was driving in the right lane and noticed a white Ford Explorer driving in the left lane.

"I came up behind the semi truck and he was still in the left lane," said Brenneman. "I had plenty of room to get in front of him, so I decided to switch lanes and pass the semi."

Brenneman says this is when the driver of the white Ford Explorer began aggressively tailgating him. Brennen eventually pulled over even though he remained wary about the identity of the individual who was driving an unmarked vehicle, not wearing a uniform, and carrying a revolver on his belt.

Brenneman recorded a testy verbal exchange with the officer, who admitted to "pacing" Brenneman's vehicle. After telling Brenneman that he was driving 100 mph, the wary driver explained that he was afraid since he was being tailgated by an unmarked vehicle.

"You came behind me and I sped up because I was afraid," Brenneman tells the officer in the video. "I didn't know who you were."

After Bryant wrote Brenneman a citation for reckless driving, Brenneman questioned the fairness of the ticket since the officer was tailgating him in what Brenneman thought was a reckless manner.

"How is it fair that you, in an unmarked vehicle, comes up behind me, and I don't care if it's pacing or not..."  said Brenneman before he was interrupted by the officer.

"It's the law," interrupted Bryant.

"That's not the law," insisted Brenneman. "It's a two second rule." (This is referring to a rule in the Indiana Driving Manual that drivers keep at least a 2 to 4 second space between vehicles to avoid accidents.)

After threatening the driver with jail if he didn't sign the ticket, Brenneman told the officer he thought it was "ridiculous" before referring to him as an "asshole."  

Cop Allegedly Lies to Boss About Verbal Exchange 

Luke Brenneman (left) with his brothers
Brenneman was clearly frustrated with the ordeal, however, decided to pay the fine and put the matter behind him. He was surprised, however, when the money order was returned to him with a notice that he must appear in court to answer to the charge of reckless driving.

 Brennaman's father reportedly called the prosecutor and was told that if they got an attorney he would likely drop the reckless driving charge and reduce it to speeding. Local attorney John Mayer was retained as private counsel and reportedly told the Brennemans that the court clerk "began to scream at him" when he tried to explain the situation to her.

"When my father talked to the attorney again he said the four clerks run the court courthouse and the prosecutor," stated Brenneman. "They did not come to agreement on anything."

Brenneman was also reportedly told that the prosecutor mentioned jail time, a felony, and loss of license for a year in addition to also being threatened with an additional charge of evading police being added.  (You might want to check out the remedy for prosecutorial vindictiveness, Mr. Brenneman.)

 Brenneman says his father also spoke to the Clarksville Assistant Police Chief who reportedly stated that Officer Bryant claimed that Brenneman used vulgar language, including the F-word, during the exchange with the officer.

Apparently, Officer Bryant didn't realize the conversation was being video recorded, because that clearly was not the case.

This is a classic example of why it is vitally important to record all exchanges with the police. This is also an example of why more people should invoke their right to a jury trial.

This writer can vouch for the character of Luke Brenneman.  He comes from one of the finest families in the area, and he's the cream of the crop when it comes to young men with good character.

 Luke is a Purdue student majoring in Organizatonal Leadership and Supervision with a 3.5 GPA. He serves as a student manager for the Purdue Men's Basketball Team and is involved in the Purdue Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In fact, Luke Brenneman was driving home from Lexington, Kentucky after having finished working at a basketball camp when the unmarked vehicle began tailgating him.

 Luke did what any rational individual would do in this circumstance. And considering the fact that there had been fake cops pulling people over in that area, he did the prudent thing. If anyone deserves a ticket for reckless driving, that would be Officer Bryant. He also deserves a reprimand for lying to his superior officer just so he can take a good kid down. No wonder it's hard for good police officers to get respect these days when you have bullies like this out making our roads unsafe to drive on.

Let this be a lesson to all of us.  Avoid that little speed trap in Clarksville, Indiana and the nasty employees in that politically-corrupt little town in Southern Indiana.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gardner Rejects Plea Deal Prompting Outrageous Requests from Prosecutor Who Wants Jury Nullifcation Arguments Banned from Courtroom

This is Erin Gardner.
This is the prosecutor.
We caught up with Erin Gardner this week to get an update on an incredible case that should send chills down the spine of every liberty-loving American.  We're asking that readers circulate this story to viral status.  We'd like to bring national attention to this egregious abuse of power by Lafayette Police Department officers, Tippecanoe County prosecutors, and a sitting judge who is facing re-election.

Based on the evidence, we believe that a few public officials and one bully cop are deserving of public reprimand and other appropriate sanctions.

Earlier this year the LCJ published a story about Gardner's unwarranted brush with the law after she questioned the actions of LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb in demanding to see her driver's license even though she was merely a backseat passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a minor traffic infraction. 

Gardner was originally charged with resisting arrest, failure to properly identify herself, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

The resisting arrest charge was recently dropped after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that passive resistance does not constitute resisting arrest.

The dash cam video clearly shows that Gardner was passive when Officer Webb violently yanked the small-framed woman from the backseat of the vehicle even though she reportedly verbally provided him with both her social security and driver's license numbers.

Gardner also insists that she was wearing a seatbelt, and that there is no way the officer could have seen whether or not she was wearing it since it was dark prior to the car being stopped.  Gardner believes that Webb made up the phony allegation after realizing he had no probable cause to arrest her.

Gardner subsequently received medical treatment for what she says was a shoulder injury due to the aggressive conduct by the officer.  Gardner also suffers from Aplastic Anemia, a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, which has been a hindrance in defending herself against what she says are bogus charges.

In addition, after Gardner persisted in demanding a jury trial after being offered multiple plea deals, the prosecutor retaliated by adding a new charge of possession of paraphernalia.

Prosecutors have claimed that Gardner had a grinder in her possession at the time of her alleged unlawful arrest; however, Gardner says she can prove that it was not a grinder.  She says the empty container was merely a pollen collector and there is no grinding mechanism present.

After Gardner was offered a subsequent plea deal and refused, prosecutors asked Judge Les Meade to upgrade her Possession of Paraphernalia charge from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.  Gardner says that every time she invokes her right to a jury trial and rejects a plea deal, the prosecutor responds maliciously by adding new charges or upgrading existing ones.

On July 18, 2014, during a pre-trial conference, Tippecanoe County Deputy Prosecutor Jackie Starbuck demanded that Gardner be prepared for a jury trial on July 30th even though she did not have access to critical evidence.

The state had deposed two witnesses a week earlier without giving Gardner ample notification so she could make arrangements to be present.   In fact, Gardner says she only received a two-day advance notice in the mail of the last minute depositions; however, since she was on vacation during that time, she did not receive the letter until the day after the depositions were taken.

"I had no opportunity to ask questions or to object to anything," stated Gardner.  "No one should be forced to trial without having access to witnesses and evidence."

Based on this and other points of contention, Gardner objected to the state's demands that the trial  proceed on July 30th.  Gardner stated that she did not even have copies of the depositions and could not be prepared for trial without it. 

Judge Les Meade reportedly asked why Gardner couldn't "just ask her friends what they said."  Gardner was dumbfounded by this incredible statement from a judge, who ordered that the trial proceed even though Gardner was clearly unprepared.

Gardner believes she has been maliciously pressured by the state and the court into agreeing to a plea deal.  

"What courtroom is run on heresay?" asked Gardner.  "I'm not a lawyer and even I know better than that!."

"My attorney would need real facts in front of him to properly defend me," Gardner continued.

In an incredible development, Gardner says her public defender showed up at her house a day prior to the trial stating that the judge had a change of heart about Gardner's request for a continuance and wanted to meet with all parties.  After discussing the matter, Meade granted Gardner the continuance so that she could access the state's evidence.

"I'm grateful that the judge granted the continuance," stated Gardner.  "Otherwise, it would have been grossly unfair."

Gardner says that one piece of evidence she received after the change-of-heart-ruling proves that Officer Webb lied about what happened.

She says that in the police report Webb claims that he arrested her for failure to identify herself; however, in the medical report it clearly states that Webb told hospital personnel that Gardner gave him her social security number and her driver's license number prior to being arrested.  Webb's police report states that Gardner gave him "nonsensical numbers," which contradicts what he reportedly told hospital personnel before he submitted his written report.

"I gave him both my social security number and my driver's license number," stated Gardner.

Gardner says that one of the eye-witness passengers also substantiated that Gardner offered this information prior to being violently yanked from the vehicle.

The medical report also reportedly stated that Webb told hospital personnel that Gardner "had weed under her arm;" however, this was clearly a false statement based on the evidence.  This statement also contradicts what Webb wrote in his report.

Officer Webb's statements are clearly contradictory, especially considering the fact that the medical report states that Gardner tested negative for alcohol and drug use.

Prosecutor Starbuck Wants Jury Nullifcation Banned From Courtroom

Deputy Prosecutor Jackie Starbuck
Currently pending before the Court is the State's Motion In Limine.  Incredibly, Starbuck is asking that Gardner nor her attorneys be allowed to encourage jury nullification in closing arguments even though jurors and defendants have a fundamental right to this founding principle in America's justice system.

They also asked that Gardner not be allowed to mention anything about the state's changes to any of the charges against her or the timing of their actions.

[Why not, Ms. Starbuck?  Would that show your malicious motivations against an innocent woman?]

Among a list of eleven items in the motion, prosecutors include a request that there be made no mention of Webb's alleged "excessive amount of the removal of Defendant from the vehicle."

In addition, they want no mention of "any past, pending, or future civil litigation against the Lafayette Police Department or officers employed by the Lafayette Police Department."

"How could you have a fair trial with all of those conditions," questioned Gardner.

Gardner's Indianapolis attorneys have stated they believe Gardner's arrest was invalid due to the initial violation of her constitutional rights, so all subsequent charges are invalid.  They believe Gardner is being punished for exercising her right to a jury trial with malicious charges being added every time she turns down a plea offer.

The latest plea offer reportedly included a diversion with all charges dropped, unsupervised probation for six months, and a $300 fine.  

So, we must ask the obvious questions.  If there are no criminal charges why would punishment be demanded?  And why would prosecutors pursue such a lame case to the point of wasting tax dollars on expensive witness depositions for an alleged petty crime with minor consequences?

This type of abuse of power is what angers taxpayers and liberty-loving citizens, especially when there are reports of felony offenses being overlooked by prosecutors because of personal connections to alleged criminals or relatives of alleged criminals.

Wouldn't time and money be better spent on real crime, such as murders,  robberies, and rapes that are occurring in the Lafayette area in record numbers due to the influx of gang members from Chicago and Indianapolis?

And who can take a deputy prosecutor like Jackie Starbuck seriously when she posts unflattering photos of herself drinking from a beer bong on Facebook.  Shouldn't she be a better example?  The buck stops with you, Mr. Harrington! 

The taxpayers of Tippecanoe County deserve much better.  Justice demands that all charges against Erin Gardner be dropped.  Stop the witch hunt now and check your egos at the door. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dangerous Attitudes Prevail in Local Police Community

There have been many alarming comments made via the Internet over the past several weeks by members of law enforcement and their supporters in response to police misconduct and brutality.  There seems to be a prevailing attitude among a small but vocal minority that the victims of police brutality and misconduct somehow deserved the abuse.

Specifically, Tim VanderPlaats somehow deserved the death threats and subsequent beatings because he is a "ladies man," and the wheelchair victim deserved being shoved out of his wheelchair because he has a criminal history.  Remarkably, some also believe the paraplegic deserved being toppled over because he ran into the cop's shin.  Erin Gardner deserved being yanked from the backseat of a car and slammed to the ground because she questioned authority. 

Citizens must send a strong and loud message that there is no room for these types of dangerous attitudes in our community.  These futile attempts to deflect attention from the bully to the victim do nothing but add to the shame of rogue cops.  In fact, the cops in these instances pose a greater threat to society than those charged with alleged crimes.

There is no excuse for police misconduct or brutality.  Whether the victim is an upstanding citizen or someone with a criminal history, police officers are commissioned to uphold the letter of the law with integrity.  When public trust in policing has been broken it is difficult to repair, and as long as rogue officers remain on the force it will remain beyond repair.   How can any citizen trust the local police when bullies with badges are still policing our streets?  Insiders may be able to distinguish good officers from the bad apples, but no one can expect the general public to know.   

What the public does know is that there are officers patrolling the streets who threatened to kill a man.  There are officers patrolling the streets who discharged their guns into private property after driving drunk.  They reportedly avoided arrest after a high ranking officer with personal ties to one of the offending officers ordered their release.  These officers arrest citizens for much less than the offenses they allegedly committed themselves.  They should not be above the laws that they arrest others for.

The damage caused by a handful of police officers is difficult to assess, but one thing is for sure.  The benefit of the doubt will no longer be given to the man with the badge when there are no video cameras to capture questionable exchanges between citizens and police officers.  We can expect a rise in requests for jury trials in the future.

Monday, July 14, 2014

LPD Faces Another Lawsuit After Officers Taser & Arrest Man Even Though He Repeatedly Invoked His Right to Remain Silent

Mark Bowers said he did his best to avoid the police last January, but officers apparently didn't like it when he invoked his right to remain silent after telling them that he did not call them and he had done nothing wrong.  According to Bowers they certainly didn't respect that right to remain silent.

One of several injuries caused by LPD tasering
Bowers said his civil rights were violated and that he has notified the City of his intent to sue the City of Lafayette, Lafayette Police Department, and three officers who were involved in the incident.  Officers M. L. Brown, Dobrin, and Cahoon were named individually in Bowers' complaint.

Bowers stated that he has initiated contact with the law firm that is currently representing Tim VanderPlaats as well as the paraplegic who was thrown from his wheelchair by an LPD officer last October and that he will likely retain them for the civil lawsuit in the near future.

Bowers said it began after his invalid mother became agitated with a homemaker who was sent by Area IV Council on Aging to help with light housekeeping.   Apparently Bowers' elderly mother was confused about the type of help the homemaker was required to provide.  The homemaker tried explaining to Mrs. Bowers that her duties did not include personal care, which she had expected, but that she could only provide light housekeeping duties.  The homemaker had been working in the kitchen with the elderly woman's son when Mrs. Bowers became upset and called the police.

According to Bowers his mother has a history of calling the police when she has become upset with various caregivers in the past while in nursing home care, so it did not surprise him when the police showed up on his doorstep on the afternoon of January 31, 2014.

"My mother called me from the other room to say someone was at the door," stated Bowers.  "I answered the door and was greeted by two LPD officers."

Bowers stated that when officers asked, "What can we do for you?" he replied, "Nothing, I did not call you."He said his mother spoke up to say she had called them, so he opened the door to allow the officers to speak with his mother. Mark then went back to the kitchen where he had been working. 

Mark said that when he attempted to get his phone from the office he was barred at the doorway by Officer Brown who had stopped him by bumping into him.

"He told me to back up and told me I was in his space," stated Bower. 

After telling the officer that he was in his own home Bowers said the officer informed him that he had no rights and he could do whatever he wanted because Bowers was not on a lease or owner of the home even though Bowers was the primary caregiver for his invalid mother and had lived in the home for two and a half years."

Bowers said at this point he did not argue with the officer.

"I backed up and stood at the counter with my hands at my side," said Bower.  "Officer Brown then informed me that I have history."  This claim was mentioned in the police report, which indicated that Officer Cahoon had informed Officer Brown via radio transmission that Bowers had "a history" with police.

Bowers said that he asked what he was talking about in reference to the history and then out of nowhere and without any warning the officer tried to grab him.

"I got scared and pulled away asking him not to touch me," said Bowers.  Bowers said he asked if he was being detained, and the officer replied that he was being arrested for assaulting him.  Bowers denied assaulting the officer and then says he submitted to the arrest once officers told him he was under arrest.

Bowers vehemently denies touching the officer and stated it was the other way around.

"Officer Brown then grabbed me again and threw me up against the counter and upper cabinets with my hands behind my back," said Bowers.  "At this point a second officer came from the living room and they both kept telling me repeatedly to stop resisting.  I was not resisting and kept repeating myself."

"They had my hands behind my back and then they told me they were going to tase me," said Bowers.  "I told them that I hadn't done anything wrong and asked them to please stop.  Over and over I pleaded with them to stop.  The officer repeated three times that he was going to tase me while all the time my hands were behind my back."

In the tort claim notice, Bowers claims that at this point Officer Dobrin pushed him to the center of the kitchen so Officer Brown could tase him again.  He said that Officer Dobrin used a stun gun in his side and thigh areas four times.

"The entire time I pleaded with them to stop, yelling to my mother to tell them to please stop," said Bowers.

Bowers said the officers ordered him to the floor and that he was unable to move his body due to the tasing.

"I told them I couldn't move," said Bowers.  "They threatened they would tase me again."

Bowers said that after he was able to get down on the floor Officer Brown jumped in the air landing down on his back with his knee while also pushing his head to the floor while still telling him to stop resisting even though he was unable to resist.

"I could not breathe with his knee in my back, because when he came down on me he knocked the wind out of me in addition to the effects of the tasing and stun gun," said Bowers.

Bowers said that as he was being escorted from his home, his invalid mother became upset and pleaded with the officers not to take her son.  She reportedly told the officers that her son had done nothing wrong and that he was her sole caretaker and that she could not be left alone.

Police officers left an invalid elderly woman alone without any care when they took her son away.

As Mark was being taken out of the home to be transported, the officers observed another individual and asked how long he had been there and who he was talking to via the speaker phone.  The witness told the officers he was talking to the Care Link Operator.   Mark's mother had activated her Care Link alarm to report alleged police abuse and the witness was reportedly telling the operator that the police had beaten his friend up.  At this point, the officers reportedly ordered Mrs. Bowers and the witness to "hang it up!"  They then asked where the individual came from.  The witness told the officers he had been there the entire time and witnessed all of it.  Mark says the conversation was recorded by Care Link.

The officers made no mention of this witness or phone call in their police reports, which Mark says are full of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in comparison.  The officer's reports did, however, admit that Bowers had told them he did not wish to speak with them during the ordeal.

One report refers to the Area IV homemaker as Mark's girlfriend; however, this is not true according to Bowers.  He says he did not know the woman outside of her professional role as a service provider.  Bowers was and is currently engaged to his fiance' (pictured).

Mark Bowers with his fiance
"[The housekeeper] was there to provide housekeeping services to my mom," Mark said.  "It was the housekeeper my mom was upset with, not me, and I told the officers repeatedly that I did not wish to speak to them, which is my right.  That's when they got mad and started badgering me.  I did nothing to deserve any of it."

So once again the public is left wondering whether these officers could have de-escalated a tense situation rather than attempt to badger someone who they had already pre-determined to have "a history with police." 

Mark says his only history is that he does not talk to the police and will exercise his right to remain silent due to the history of LPD and their excessive force against private citizens.

Gone are the days where citizens automatically give police officers the benefit of the doubt.  There has been plenty of evidence of police officers, locally and from around the country, abusing their power.

What did these officers accomplish?  Taxpayers get to foot the bill for yet another lawsuit.  An elderly invalid was left alone to fend for herself.  This situation could have been avoided had the officers respected the wishes of a citizen to exercise his right to remain silent.  The cockiness of these officers to get into the face and space of someone who had committed no crime is indefensible.   It's about time that the entire LPD police force take a remediation course in constitutional rights.

LPD leadership must take a serious look at requiring police officers to wear body cameras as a way to protect citizens and good police officers.  This practice has been known to decrease excessive force use by 70%.  Rather than spend money defending against lawsuits, wouldn't it be wiser to purchase body cameras for officers?

We know there are good officers at the Lafayette Police Department; however, these continual cases alleging police brutality are giving the entire department a bad name.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

No Trust in LPD: Allegations that LPD Cops Avoided Arrest After Shooting Up Private Property While Out Drinking and Driving; Charges Dropped Against Gardner

Our city made world wide news recently after a video of a Lafayette police officer knocking a paraplegic out of a wheelchair began circulating.  It became a sensational news item because there was videotape footage of the incident.  Seeing really is believing.  Aside from the friends and family of the former police lieutenant, most people were shocked by what they saw and rightly condemned the actions.

Lafayette is quickly becoming known for its bad boy police force.  Earlier this year details about death threats against Tim VanderPlaats and his subsequent beating were released to the public via court documents.

In addition, Andrew Phillips filed a lawsuit against the City of Lafayette and its police department alleging excessive force was used against him.   Phillips also says that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

Resisting arrest charges were dropped against Gardner
Erin Gardner was slammed to the ground in brute fashion by a burly LPD officer.  The dash cam video was made public via this blog.   Gardner was merely a passenger in the backseat of a car that had reportedly touched the center line as the driver swerved slightly to avoid hitting a parked car.  (The Indiana Court of Appeals has recently ruled that crossing the center line to avoid an accident is allowable.)

LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb used this as an excuse to initiate a traffic stop and began harassing Gardner for her identification.  Gardner tried explaining to the officer that she did not have a driver's license with her and she recited her Social Security number several times in an attempt to identify herself.

After Gardner raised the probable cause issue, Webb told her she wasn't wearing a seatbelt even though there was no possible way for the officer to see whether or not she had been wearing one prior to the stop. 

Gardner was subsequently charged with resisting arrest; however, that particular count was recently dropped by the prosecutor, presumably because of a recent unanimous Indiana Supreme Court ruling that determined passive resistance does not constitute resisting arrest.

Editor's Note:  Many readers have questioned the date stamp in Gardner's photo.  It's a fair question and simple to answer.  Apparently the officer did not set the camera's date stamp correctly.  It appears that even the evidence handling was bungled by the bully officer. 

Is There Another Lawsuit Coming?

Another citizen has suggested he soon will give the City of Lafayette and the LPD notice of his intention to file a tort action against the agencies for claims that two officers used excessive force and violated his constitutional rights when they arrested and tasered him and later charged him with resisting arrest last January in his home.  The LCJ will bring details of that story as they emerge.


It has also been reported by department insiders, but never made public, that at least two LPD officers were disciplined for using their guns in the destruction of private property in rural Tippecanoe County at the home of a private resident.  Insiders say the officers had been drinking and driving when the incident occurred but that they were not on duty at the time.  These same officers reportedly still work for the department.

The gun firing incident was allegedly reported to the police; however, none of the officers were arrested according to insiders, because another high-ranking officer from an adjoining police agency reportedly ordered that they be driven home and released.   Some inside the department were reportedly stunned that the officers involved in the alleged crimes were not terminated from their employment as police officers. 

So is it any wonder that members of the public have a difficult time trusting the local police?  How can an average citizen distinguish the good officers from the bad?  How can anyone blame the average citizen for feeling dismayed by it all?

The tarnished image of a city's police force hurts everyone, including the good officers on the force who do their jobs with distinction.  These incidents and others have caused many in the community to lose faith in its police force.  There is something seriously wrong when law-abiding citizens are as scared of the police as they are the gang members that roam our once safe city.

Another question being asked by citizens is why was Tom Davidson recommended for termination, but the rogue officers involved in threatening a private citizen with death able to avoid similar consequences?  Was the difference a video?   And why are officers still wearing badges after allegedly driving drunk and destroying private property with police-issued guns?

Until all of the officers in question are off the force, don't expect the public image of the LPD to improve, and most of all, don't expect the community watchdogs to go away.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Indiana Supreme Court Overturns Man's Conviction for Resisting Arrest After Refusing IMPD Police Order to Stop

The Indiana Supreme court threw out Keion Gaddie's conviction for Resisting Law Enforcement after unanimously concluding that police did not have probable cause to detain the man.  This decision will likely change the way police officers throughout the state conduct themselves in situations where no crimes have been committed.   In many jurisdictions; however, police officers are not properly trained, so citizens must be diligent in understanding their rights when dealing with law enforcement.

"To avoid conflict with the Fourth Amendment, Indiana code section 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), the statute defining the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing after being ordered to stop must be construed to require that a law enforcement officer's order to stop be based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Under the facts and circumstances of this case, a reasonable trier of fact could not have found that the officer's order to stop was based on such probable cause or reasonable suspicion.  The evidence was thus insufficient to convict the defendant of the crime of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing a police order to stop.  We reverse the judgment of the trial court," read the conclusion.

It all began on August 4, 2012 when IMPD Officer Jeffery Newlin responded to a report of a "disturbance" at an Indianapolis residence.  When the officer arrived he saw about eight people, including the defendant, standing on the front porch walking along a side yard toward the back.  Officer Newlin ordered the group to return to the front yard so he could watch them until back-up arrived; however, Gaddie continued walking toward an alley.  Officer Newlin followed him, screaming at him to stop; however, Gaddie continued to walk ignoring the commands of the officer.

Gaddie was charged with Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing even though the officer admitted that he had not seen the defendant or anyone else commit a crime prior to ordering Gaddie to stop.  The defendant testified that he lived at the residence where the incident occurred.  The trial court found the defendant guilty at the bench trial.

The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, and the IMPD asked the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case.  The Indiana Supreme Court justices unanimously sided with the Indiana Court of Appeals in deciding that Gaddie's arrest was not warranted since he committed no crime and was under no obligation to obey the commands of the police officer to stop.

"We note that the evidence clearly establishes that the defendant disregarded and walked away from a law enforcement officer who had adequately identified himself.  Because the defendant's argument focuses on whether the defendant had a duty to stop, we view his claim as alleging insufficient evidence to prove the element "after the officer has ... ordered the person to stop," wrote Justice Brent Dickson.

"The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable search and seizure shall not be violated...At minimum, the government's seizure of a citizen must rest on specific, articulable facts that lead an officer to reasonably suspect that criminal activity is afoot."

Later in the decision, Justice Dickson writes, "A person's well-established freedom to walk about is thus violated when that person is subjected to a statute that makes it a criminal offense to decline a police order to stop.  To hold that a citizen may be criminally prosecuted for fleeing after being ordered to stop by a law enforcement officer lacking reasonable suspicion or probable cause to command such an involuntary detention would undermine longstanding search and seizure precedent that establishes the principle that an individual has a right to ignore police and go about his business."

"We agree with the State that the language of the Resisting Law Enforcement statute, on its face, does not expressly require that the order to stop by lawful.  Literally applied, however, the 'after the officer has ... ordered the person to stop' element of the statute, if applied in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion, constitutes an unreasonable detention and impairs a citizen's 'right to ignore the police and go about his business..."

We hope that police department leaders throughout Indiana will educate all Indiana police officers about this ruling so that fundamental rights of unsuspecting citizens will no longer be violated, because of a perceived conflict between a mere statute of the state and that of the United States constitution.

This apparent conflict occurs too often throughout our state.

You can read the entire ruling at this link.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Indiana Court of Appeals Overturns Conviction For Resisting Arrest; Says Passive Resistance Does Not Equal Forcible Resistance

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently overturned the resisting arrest conviction of a Lake County woman, which appears to be good news for Erin Gardner, the local woman who was arrested by LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb last year during a minor traffic stop.   Webb was caught on camera as he violently yanked Gardner from the back seat of her friend's vehicle.  (See Lafayette Woman Seeks Jury Trial)

Gardner says she was injured by Officer Jeffrey Webb
Gardner was injured in the process. During the verbal exchange, Gardner questioned Webb's demands that she provide a driver's license since she was merely a passenger and had not commited a crime.  She was subsequently charged with failure to identify and resisting arrest even though she provided her social security number and date of birth during the traffic stop. 

Gardner claims she did not resist arrest, nor did she refuse to identify herself and that she looks forward to her day in court.

After Gardner went public with her story via this blog, prosecutors added an additional charge of marijuana possession, which she says amounts to malicious prosecution.  Gardner had an empty container with marijuana residue in her possession, which was found during an invasive body search.  

In light of the appeals court's recent ruling, it is questionable as to whether the charges against Gardner would stand a constitutional challenge.   Lawyers have indicated that since the resisting charge was improper the subsequent charges should also be dismissed.  Gardner says she has been in contact with attorneys at the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, and that they are currently reviewing her case after initially receiving positive feedback.

Lafayette native Judge Margaret Robb wrote the majority opinion for the Lake County case and stated that "a mere refusal to stand or some other act of passive resistance does not amount to forcible resistance."

Maddox Macy, the Lake County defendant, was arrested by Officer Roger Bowland after the woman began yelling at him, demanding answers and exclaiming that her dogs had not bitten anyone after one of her neighbors made the claim.  Macy was warned several times by the officer to calm down or she would be arrested.

"Macy's hands were handcuffed behind her back, and Officer Bowland placed Macy in the front seat of his police car and shut the door," read a portion of Robb's ruling.  "Macy somehow opened the door, got out of the car, and began yelling once again.  Officer Bowland 'had to force [Macy] into the car and she sat down and kept her feet out on the ground...'  Officer Bowland asked Macy to place her feet inside the vehicle, but she refused, so the officer 'had to pick her feet up, put her feet into the car and shut the door."

Officr Bowland stated that Macy resisted his commands and would not get back into the car.

"She refused and I had to place her in the car and then she wouldn't put her feet into the car.  I had to place her feet into the car," stated Bowland.

Macy was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement.  She was found guilty after a bench trial was held.

In the ruling, Robb noted that the Indiana Supreme Court "has noted that the statute 'does not demand complete passivity.'"

"Merely walking away from a law-enforcement encounter, leaning away from an officer's grasp, or twisting and turning a little bit against an officer's actions do not establish 'forcible' resistance."

The ruling also noted an earlier decision by the Indiana Supreme Court wherein the justices overturned a juvenile adjudication "for resisting law enforcement after concluding there was not sufficient evidence the juvenile forcibly resisted."  In that case, the juvenile "began to resist and pull away" from a school liaison officer who grabbed him by the arm and attempted to handcuff him.

Robb cited several Indiana Supreme Court rulings, which she relied on for her decision to overturn Macy's conviction.
"The [Indiana Supreme] court opined that a mere refusal to stand or some other act of passive resistance does not amount to forcible resistance," wrote Robb.

"The court also noted that an officer's use of force in response to passive resistance is not evidence of forcible resistance."

It is clear to this writer and many others who reviewed the video footage that Gardner did not resist arrest.  After being harassed to provide a driver's license that she did not legally have to provide, she was violently yanked from the passenger's seat.  Gardner did nothing wrong.  There was no probable cause to even question this woman.  The car was at a complete stop before any officer approached, so there was no possible way for them to know whether or not Gardner was wearing a seatbelt when the car was in motion.

We find it appalling that Prosecutor Pat Harrington is wasting tax dollars to pursue this bogus case. 

Jeffrey Webb and his cohorts should be reprimanded for their deplorable actions.  There are several LPD officers who should be sent to remediation school to brush up on the constitution.

Stop the madness, Pat!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tippecanoe County Lawyers Manuever Behind Scenes to Thwart Candidacy of Les Meade as Multiple Disciplinary Complaints Allegedly Pending

Meade is not well-liked at the courthouse.
Judge Les Meade didn't have long to celebrate his primary win for Tippecanoe County Circuit Court Judge.  Post election maneuvering by a large group of local attorneys resulted in a bold general election political challenge by current and outgoing Superior Court Judge Tom Busch who was originally slated to retire at the end of the year.  At the urging of many Republican and Democrat attorneys, Busch decided to toss his hat into the ring and put off retirement a bit longer. 

Originally appointed by former Governor Frank O'Bannon, Busch went on to earn a stellar reputation as Superior Court Judge and was handily elected to two subsequent terms by Democrats and Republicans who found him to be fair, polite, honest, and most importantly, non-partisan. 

Readers can find the sanitized version about Busch's last minute change of plans at this link.

The real reasons for Busch's challenge against Meade have not been publicly stated, due in part, to the fact that conduct rules for attorneys prohibit them from speaking out against judges  -- even very controversial ones like Les Meade.

The political grapevine has been ripe with chatter, though, since Busch made his stunning announcement.  Interestingly, many behind-the-scenes comments have been very candid.

Meade has been described by local attorneys as "arrogant" and a "bully" and also someone who is "very difficult to get a long with."  Meade has also allegedly threatened lawyers and police officers with whom he has disagreed with jail time.

A common complaint has been that Meade reportedly makes disparaging comments about other judges and lawyers while on the record and in front of clients.  Attorneys have reported that several disciplinary complaints have been filed against Meade for this type of alleged misconduct, and some of those complaints are presently pending with the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Meade was involved in a controversy involving a disabled war veteran who had lost a leg and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of horrific combat he experienced in which some of his friends were killed.

Prosecutors had worked out a plea agreement with the disabled veteran after he shot his firearm in the air during a dispute.  Meade rejected the plea and went so far as to send an email to the attorney indicating the veteran's decision to exercise his constitutional right to trial reflected upon his character and lack of remorse.

Meade showed no mercy toward the veteran and went so far as to tell the young man that he was the only judge in Tippecanoe County who was not sympathetic at the loss of a limb.  Onlookers were stunned by Meade's calloused remarks as well as the audacity to compare himself to a war veteran-amputee.

The defendant-veteran chose to pursue a jury trial and was acquitted of the felony charges against him despite Meade's best efforts to prosecute him from the bench.

It wasn't the first time Meade attempted to punish a defendant for exercising constitutional rights.

Another defendant who chose to exercise his right to a jury trial for a first-time misdemeanor offense was chastised by Meade after a jury found him guilty.  Again, Meade rejected the prosecutor's recommendation that the defendant be sentenced to three months of unsupervised probation since it was a first-time, minor offense. 

Meade sentenced the man to six months in jail after giving him a verbal lashing for "wasting his valuable court time with a jury trial" and for "failing to testify on his behalf" during the trial.  Onlookers were stunned that Meade would punish a citizen for exercising fundamental, constitutional rights.

A formal complaint was sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission afterwards and Meade was forced to withdraw his harsh sentence. 

"It doesn't appear that the experience has taught him anything about constitutional rights of American citizens," commented one local attorney when asked about the case.

Local attorneys are also concerned about Meade's lack of qualifications citing the fact that Circuit Court is a high profile court involving murder cases.

"Les Meade hasn't handled a single murder case as a lawyer or a judge," commented a local attorney.  "He hasn't had the proper training, nor does he have an ounce of experience for that type of case."

If these complaints make it to the ears of voters, Meade may have a difficult time on election night in November.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

High Ranking LPD Officer Demoted & Suspended for Conduct Unbecoming to An Officer; Inside Sources Claim Quadraplegic Knocked From Wheelchair

J&C: Lt. Tom Davidson was suspended from the LPD.
The Journal & Courier is reporting that Lt. Tom Davidson of the Lafayette Police Department was disciplined by the Civil Service Commission today after determining that the detective engaged in conduct unbecoming of an officer last fall.

The members also voted 3-2 against a second allegation that Davidson used excessive force during an incident for which details were not disclosed to the public.

Inside sources, who asked not to be identified, say the discipline stems from an incident involving a wheelchair-bound quadraplegic who was reportedly knocked out of that wheelchair.  Sources claim that Davidson said the wheelchair ran over his toes and believed the man was coming toward him in an aggressive manner.  Three of the five Civil Service Commission members agreed that Davidson did not use excessive force during the incident; however, they were unanimous in their determination that his conduct was unbecoming of an officer.

Apparently there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, so it is unclear whether the discipline is complete.

Davidson has a good reputation in the community, and his friends say it is out-of-character for him to be involved in a disciplinary matter.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt would be easy were it not for the string of incidents involving Lafayette police officers, including death threats made against a private citizen by younger officers.   

It remains to be seen as to whether the City of Lafayette will be burdened with yet another civil suit.  The word on the street says there may be video of the incident in question.

Davidson is a 20-year veteran of the LPD, a police agency that continues to be plagued with unbecoming conduct.

Citizens will be watching closely as they become increasingly concerned for their safety when dealing with LPD officers. 

The LCJ will continue to investigate the details of this story as well as all the others.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gracious Winners, Sore Losers, and Desperate Measures in the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Race

Desperados Find Independent "Elf" Candidate for Old Republican Guard Wing

Shell-shocked by a Barry Richard victory last week, the power brokers at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department didn't waste much time finding a candidate to run against former LPD officer Barry Richard in the general election.   After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

One of Schiuzi's Facebook profile pictures
The challenger, Chris Schiuzi, is currently employed as an assistant manager for Lowe's.  While there is nothing wrong with working at Lowe's it is fair to expect that a sheriff's candidate would have some sort of policing experience within the past decade.

Schiuzi is reportedly running as an independent, although he identifies himself as a Republican.  According to a report in the Journal & Courier, he is currently seeking the required number of signatures to have his named placed on the ballot and has created a Facebook page for his campaign.

We knew they were desperate to hold onto their power, but until this announcement was made today we didn't understand just how desperate they really are.  Former Sheriff Dave Heath and his band of merry men just can't accept the fact that it's time for the "Old Republican Guard" to give up the keys to their clubhouse. 

To be fair, Schiuzi is a former police officer and reportedly served on both the Purdue and Lafayette police departments; however, he's been out of policing for so long there's no way he's qualified to run a large sheriff's department.  If this is the best they can do then Richard has nothing to worry about.  It's his election to win or lose at this point.

Schiuzi may be a nice guy, but how can you take someone seriously as a professional candidate who has portrayed Will Ferrell's Elf character as a Facebook profile picture?  Buffoonery isn't something that gives an average citizen a sense of confidence when it comes to electing the highest law enforcement officer in their county.

We also have to ask the obvious question.  If Chris Schiuzi were really interested in the sheriff's job, wouldn't he have announced prior to the primary?  It is simply not credible for any rational voter to believe that this man had aspirations to become sheriff prior to Dave Heath's defeat.  Voters will see through the thin veil.  This is a back door attempt for the Old Republican Guard to hang on to power.

Sore Losers Eat Sour Grapes


Also worthy of mention is the ungracious response of Dave Heath after he lost the election.

"I don't get it, I really don't," Heath was reported as saying after realizing he lost. 

What don't you get, Dave?  The voters rejected cronyism and elected someone who has invested the best part of his life in our community.  Barry Richard continues to give to the community.  He cares more about people than the power behind a badge.

"I was a little surprised, because Barry hadn't voted in a Republican primary in 16 years or in a general election for 10 years, and it didn't make a bit of difference to Republican voters," Heath told a Journal and Courier reporter.

No, Dave, it didn't matter.  In fact, voters saw it as a positive attribute considering the fact that the role of a sheriff should not be a political one.  In fact, many of us have grown tired of the decades old tradition of outgoing sheriffs choosing their own replacement and handing the torch from one friend to the next.  Dave's torch-bearing years are over, and it's time for him to retire.  He can afford it, after all, since he will receive three government pensions for his stints as sheriff, mayor, and work release director.

Gracious Winner


In contrast, Barry Richard has always conducted himself with class.

"It was emotional, Richard said, because he felt for Heath's family members and the work they put into the campaign. Richard said it wasn't time to celebrate but rather to focus on uniting the Republican Party," read a statement in the Journal and Courier.

What Barry may not realize is that uniting the Republican Party is not on Dave Heath's narrow-minded agenda. That notion was put to rest after Heath hijacked the party in an eleventh hour coup when he announced to a shocked crowd that he was taking over the party as its only candidate for chairman.  It is reasonable to assume that Heath was setting himself up as a sheriff's candidate-power broker when he made this stealthy, calculated move.  This angered many Republicans in a local party made up of three loose-knit factions, which ultimately cost Heath votes.

Barry went on to say, "I hope to get some guidance and help, not only from Dave but also the previous sheriffs in making sure that we're successful," after the election.

WLFI showed Heath angrily wagging his finger at Richard
Our best advice to Barry is to steer clear of Dave Heath and his cronies, and especially do not ask them for advice.   Here's a reminder as to why:  “There’s a difference between what you’re going to do and what I’m going to do. I’m not going to do what you’re going to do,” Heath angrily told Richard after a campaign debate. 

Richard would do well to learn the lessons that Caesar was forced to learn the hard way.   Because of Caeser's naivety and lack of understanding for the motives of Brutus, a "trusted" friend literally stabbed him in the back, putting an end to his career and life. Dave Heath is no friend to Barry Richard, nor can he be trusted to give guidance to someone who he believes stole "his jail."

Why Dave Heath Lost


Here's our analysis as to why Heath lost the election.

1)  Barry Richard was the more dynamic candidate. 

Barry has spent the past 30  years of his life working among real people.  You didn't find him drinking beer at the FOP or isolating himself from the community at the country club.  He was out working among blue collar workers all of his life.  Many parents find Barry to be a great role model for kids.  Richard served as a local DARE officer for the Lafayette Police Department for enough years that many of those former students voted for their former mentor.  Even though Barry registered as a Republican, he has remained apolitical and appealed to many Democrats, some of whom were willing to cross party lines.

2)  The FOP endorsement was a turn-off to voters.

If there's one thing that turn voters off it's the politicizing of the police.  In general, citizens believe police officers should be non-partisan.  Some states do not allow for the partisan election of a sheriff candidate to avoid any type of impropriety.  The FOP endorsement backfired on the Heath campaign for these reasons.  Voters were further turned off by the unprecedented endorsement after it was announced there would be no endorsement.  We have talked to people who voted for Richard because of that fatal endorsement.

3) Voters wanted change.

Many people have grown weary of what they perceive as a "good ole boy network" when it comes to the leadership within the sheriff's department.  It's been said that power corrupts.  The best way to avoid corruption within any organization is to bring in new blood from time-to-time.  Power also breeds arrogance, and arrogant is one adjective that we've heard most often in describing Heath's attitude.

While some voters appreciated Heath's past service, many also believed it was time for him to retire since he is at an age where most people at his maturity level are enjoying retirement. 

Young Dave Heath
An older and frail looking Dave Heath

There were also rumors and complaints that Heath has not invested full-time hours at the work release center where he is director, which caused many to wonder if the rumors were true about Heath putting Major Charlie Williams in charge of the day-to-day operations should he win the election. It certainly makes sense that they would employ this type of political bait-and-switch scheme should the Old Republican Guard maintain power. 

Dave's appearance as being feeble was also a factor in the election.  In fact, many people were shocked by the change in Heath's appearance as he has been out of the public spotlight for nearly two decades.  While we want to be careful not to discriminate due to age, we also believe it is important for a sheriff to be physically able to engage in official police officer duties.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Richard is more qualified on the basis of being more physically fit for the job.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Man in Federal Custody After Issuing Death Threats to Boehner; What About the Lafayette Cops Who Did the Same to a Private Citizen?

There's a story in the news today that a man from New Castle, Indiana left voice mail death threats against Speaker of the House John Boehner and is now in federal custody.

How is that any different from what Lafayette cops did when they left death threat messages for Tim VanderPlaats?  We're quite certain that Tim considers his life to be as valuable as Boehner does his.
When will Williams be criminally charged?

Why is the man from New Castle facing charges and the Lafayette cops are not?  We're one step ahead of the legal process here in Lafayette, because there have already been admissions of guilt.  So why are the officers still wearing badges and why aren't they facing criminal charges?

These double standards aren't flying with the public.  It's being talked about in every coffee shop and break room in town.  The reputation of the LPD has been seriously damaged, because the cops were given a free pass.  Many people in our community are more fearful of the cops than they are of
the criminals.

If a private citizen left a death threat message for one of the officers do you suppose he or she would get such a free pass?

No one should be above the law, and we will continue to speak out until justice is fully served.

For those who are new to this blog, you can find the details of the original story at this link.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thousand Dead Bees Discovered in Tippecanoe County: Purdue Experts Explain Why Bees Are Being Threatened

1,000 honeybees found dead in Tippecanoe County
Bees are just a nuisance, right, so what's the big deal if we're killing them off?  Think again if you like to eat since bees are much more important to the food chain than merely making honey.

It is estimated that honeybees pollinate 80 percent of the country's insect crops, which counts for over $20 billion dollars worth of crops each year.  Scientists around the globe are extremely concerned that they are dropping dead at an alarming rate while some from Purdue are sounding the alarm about it.

Purdue entomologist Greg Hunt recently told a WLFI news reporter his theory and Purdue Emeritus Professor Don Huber has graciously provided a copy of his theory and research to the LCJ after submitting it to the Center for Honeybee Research.  We hope that you will take time to read about this growing crisis that affects every American.  It should be of serious concern since it has reached our little corner of the world.

From WLFI:

Now, the lives of bees in Tippecanoe County are being threatened.

“A thousand dead bees in front of a hive, right after somebody planted corn three-tenths of a mile away,” said Purdue entomologist Greg Hunt.

It’s called neonicotinoid. Hunt said farmers are planting corn seeds treated with this pesticide, but he said it’s the process used to lubricate the seeds for easier planting that makes them a danger to bees.

“The grower needs to put talc in the hopper to make the seeds flow well, but then some of the pesticide get’s mixed in with the talc,” said Hunt.

Hunt said the contaminated talc from the seeds drifts from the fields onto other plants. Making something as small as a dandelion, toxic for bees.

“It only takes a tiny bit. I calculated that 150 acres of corn seed has enough neonicotinoid to kill every bee hive in the county,” said Hunt.

The leads to the question — Are treated seeds a must for farmers?

You can access the rest of WLFI's story at this link:

There have been discussions about neonicotinoids, poor nutrition, Nosema, and mysterious viruses. Now a soil pathologist points a finger at a suspect that's completely under our nose.


The following was written to the Center for Honeybee Research regarding CCD. Dr. Huber’s profile is at the end of this article. 

Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus, Purdue

Is glyphosate a contributing cause of bee colony collapse disorder (CCD)?

(Submitted to the Center for Honeybee Research by Dr. Don M. Huber)

 Bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a growing threat to the efficient production of fruits, vegetables and nut crops, in addition to the critical role of bees as pollinators for numerous seed crops (Neumann and Carreck, 2009; Wines, 2013).  CCD is characterized as a loss of adult (worker) bees from the hive that leaves the queen and immature bees (brood) inadequately attended even though there is adequate honey and other food present (van Engelsdorp et al, 2006; Wikipedia, 2013).  The etiology (reason) of CCD is listed as unknown (NFIC, 2013) although neonicotinamid insecticides have been implicated in several studies through disruption of the endocrine hormone system (van Engelsdorp et al, 2006; Tapparo et al, 2012; Wikipedia, 2013) that causes bees to become disoriented and fail to return to the hive (NPIC, 2013). 

Acute poisoning and disease leaving dead bees in and around the hive can generally be ruled out, although there is sometimes an increased incidence of Nosema and European foul brood (EFB) in stressed colonies that could be contributing factors in some cases (Pettis et al, 2012). Mineral nutritional deficiency is also suspected as a contributing stress factor in CCD (Ahmed, 2012) and malnutrition is the only universal condition found in all cases of CCD even though there is honey and bee-bread generally in the hive. This could be because of toxicity to the Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium species in the honey crop that digest the nectar and render the honey and bee-bread digestible (Ahmed, 2012).

Perhaps a more problematic cause of CCD has been over looked even though it is the most indiscriminately and extensively used chemical in agriculture and the environment.  This organic phosphonate chemical that has been overlooked is the estimated 880 million pounds of the popular, broad-spectrum, systemic herbicide glyphosate (also marketed as Roundup®) used for broadcast weed control in general right-of-ways, home gardens, crop production, fallow fields, understory weed control in groves, vineyards, orchards, and parks; and for aquatic weed control in ponds and lakes. It is almost universally used on millions of acres of Roundup Ready® alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugar beets.  An additional, more recent use has been as a crop desiccant prior to harvest for barley, beans, peas, peanuts, sugar cane, wheat, and for late season weed control in other crops. 

These uses have created an extensive exposure level throughout the year with especially high concentrations in plants, air, water and soil during primary bee foraging periods.  The exposure, physiological damage, and biological impact of glyphosate are consistent with all of the known conditions related to CCD as shown in Table 1.  Of all of the potential individual factors implicated in CCD, glyphosate is the only compound extensively used world-wide where CCD occurs that impacts all of them.  That compound, again, is the patented mineral chelator (USPTO, 1964), herbicide, and antibiotic (USPTO, 2000), glyphosate.  New studies refer to this compound as the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment (Samsel and Seneff, 2013). (E. Note: Samsel and Seneff is worth reading the abstract on the link. You can download the entire PDF, which goes into the modern diseases glyphosate is creating.)

Table 1. Common characteristics of glyphosate with CCD.

                     Glyphosate                                                    CCD


Mineral chelator, lowers nutrients in plants         Malnutrition (the only universal condition

                                                                              for all CCD!

Antibiotic to beneficial bacteria                           Loss of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria 

(esp. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria spp.)        (critical beneficial bacteria for digestion)

(Low mineral content of plants)

Neurotoxin                                                            Neurological challenge

Endocrine hormone disruption                             Disoriented

Immune suppressant                                             Suppressed immune system

Stimulates fungal pathogens                                 Nosema increased

Present throughout the foraging period                High environmental exposure

Persistent, accumulative

Present in honey, nectar and other plant products


Glyphosate is an organic phosphonate compound that was first patented as a broad-spectrum, cat-ionic metal chelator by Stauffer Chemical Company in 1964 (USPTO, 1964), as an herbicide by Monsanto Company in 1974 (USPTO, 1974), and as an antibiotic by Monsanto Company in 2000 (USPTO, 2000).  All of these uses are based on its ability to ‘grab onto’ and form a chelate complex that immobilizes mineral nutrients such as Ca, Fe, Co, Cu, Mn, Mg, Ni, Zn, etc. (Glass, 1984). These metal nutrients serve as metal co-factors for various enzyme systems in plants, microorganisms, and animals. Once these metal nutrients are chelated by glyphosate in soil or plants, they become physiologically unavailable as co-factors for many enzymatic and other physiological functions.

The broad-spectrum toxicity of glyphosate to plants initially simplified weed control, especially with selectivity provided by genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready®, RR) plants, so that glyphosate could be applied directly to the RR plants without killing them. This use has led to an estimated annual indiscriminate usage of 880 million pounds of this mineral-immobilizing herbicide and antibiotic in the US.  There is nothing in the genetic engineering process, however, that does anything to the glyphosate that is applied to these plants that are foraged by bees.

Glyphosate is systemic in plants: As a phloem mobile chemical, glyphosate from foliar, stem, or root uptake is systemic in plants where it accumulates in flower and reproductive parts, root and shoot tips, and legume nodules (Huber, 2010; Johal and Huber, 2009).  Much of the glyphosate will remain in the plant and it can accumulate over years in perennial plants such as alfalfa, vine, fruit, and nut crops and environmental perennial species. It is an active mineral chelator in the treated plant for as many as 8 to 15 days after application before becoming sequestered in flower parts, other meristematic tissues, or soil.  As little as 12 gm/acre (1/40th of herbicidal rate and well below the general 12-16 % drift rate) inhibits root uptake and translocation of Fe, Mn, Zn and other nutrients so that plants exposed to glyphosate directly or through drift in air or water have lower nutrient content (Bellaloui et al, 2009, 2011; Bott et al, 2008, 2011; Cakmak et al, 2009; Eker et al, 2006; Huber, 2010, 2012; Zobiole et al 2012).

Minerals in glyphosate-tolerant plants may be impacted even more by glyphosate than those in non-tolerant plants since there is nothing in the genetic engineering that does anything to nullify the glyphosate and its chelating effect on mineral nutrients. Since plant products are the source of essential mineral nutrients, bees may become mineral deficient, malnourished, have a weakened immune system, and be more susceptible to infections and abiotic (environmental) stresses.

Direct toxicity of glyphosate: Glyphosate is not acutely toxic to bees, but is chronically toxic to animals, and, like the neonicotinamid insecticides, glyphosate is a neurotoxin and disrupts the endocrine hormone system at very low exposure rates (Antoniou et al, 2012; Gasnier et al, 2009) that are well below levels found in air, water, and, especially, plant tissues (Benbrook, 2012; Huber, 2012).

The 880 million pounds of glyphosate indiscriminately applied throughout the environment leaves glyphosate residues in plants and the environment that can lead to chronic diseases in animals such as autism, botulism, Parkinson’s, difficale diarrhea (Clostridium difficile), immune suppression, Salmonella and numerous other diseases (Krueger et al, 2012; Shehata et al, 2012).

Disruption of the endocrine hormone system is associated with birth defects.  The wide-spread cultivation of glyphosate-tolerant crops (alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, sugar beets) since 1996 and use as a preharvest desiccant since 2000 have greatly increased the use of glyphosate (Benbrook, 2012; Yamada et al, 2009) and subsequent contamination of air, water, soil, and plant products consistent with the incidence of CCD (NPIC, 2013; Wikipedia, 2013).

Antibiotic activity of glyphosate: Glyphosate is a strong antibiotic and toxic to microorganisms possessing the Shikimate physiological pathway (Johal and Huber, 2009; Kremer and Means, 2009; Krueger et al, 2012; Shehata et al, 2012; USPTO, 2000)). Many of these sensitive microbes include beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. that suppress pathogens such as Clostridium, Salmonella, E. coli, Nosema, and American (Paenibacillus larvae) and European foul brood (Ahmed, 2012; Clair et al, 2012; Krueger et al, 2012; Shehata et al, 2013).  In the absence of these beneficial protective bacteria, the pathogens increase along with the toxins they produce (Krueger et al, 2012; Shehata et al, 2012).

Various fungal pathogens are especially increased in activity and virulence by glyphosate (Johal and Huber, 2009); Kremer et al, 2009; Krueger et al, 2012).  All Apis species possess a similar Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species microbiota within the honey crop that is critical for collecting and transporting nectar to the hive as well as for the production of honey and bee-bread (Ahmed, 2012).  Glyphosate is highly toxic to both of these bacterial species that are necessary for digestion of food and protection from pathogens (Ahmed, 2012; Wikipedia, 2013).

Exposure opportunity: Glyphosate is indiscriminately applied throughout the bee foraging period and is in significant amounts in air, water, and many plant parts frequented by bees. Although not highly volatile, it becomes airborne as drift and on particulate matter with significant levels detected in rain and ground water (USGS, 2012).  It is highly water soluble and a common contaminate found in surface water from drift, run-off, or direct application to water for aquatic weed control. It is systemic and persistent in plants with as much as 80% accumulating in meristematic plant tissues such as flowers and buds frequented by bees and is found in honey collected by bees from contaminated flowers. The extensive cultivation of the many glyphosate-tolerant plants has permitted the application of glyphosate before, during, after, and throughout the foraging period of bees to greatly expand the environmental and plant exposure of bees to this organic phosphonate chemical.

This proposal is initiated to determine if glyphosate is a contributing factor in CCD by analyzing exposure of bees to this chemical and its effect on the two predominate bacteria that are essential for bee nutrition and health (Ahmed, 2012). The focus on insecticides and their acute toxicity may have resulted in over-looking the direct and indirect chronic effects of glyphosate as a contributing factor to bee colony collapse disorder.

We had a few follow up questions which Dr. Huber was gracious enough to answer:

C: Some of us may not know what use “as a crop desiccant prior to harvest” means. Could you tell us why this is a new use - and what farmers are doing when they apply it like this?

Dr. H:

L: Dr. Huber, is the spraying of glyphosate being used in addition to anhydrous ammonia (used to dry up the soil) being used in no-till farming before planting to kill weeds- and Is there a concern to the possible combination of these two chemicals?

Dr. H:

C: From what you’ve said, glyphosate builds up in the soil and in the tissues of plants which I presume are resistant enough not to die - so why are so many applications necessary? On a typical GMO crop farm, how many applications would there likely be in a year’s time?

Dr. H:

L: Dr. would you elaborate on the statement regarding mineral nutritional deficiency and toxicity to the Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium- and how that might impact honeybees?

Dr. H:

C: Dr. Huber, you mention that as little as 12 grams per acre of this chemical will affect the nutrient content of plants exposed. I wonder - if you could give us some comparative idea of what twelve grams looks like? And how much that is in comparison to a pound? You said there was more than 880 million pounds applied in the U.S. alone?

Dr. H:

L:  Can glyphosate accumulate in our bodies and over time also affect our immune systems, nervous systems, etc.?

Dr. H:

L:  Last year, one of my hives had a queen that marched across the combs for 3 months without laying one egg and acted drunk and nervous. Since I live in an area where a lot of GMO corn is being planted - could that have disrupted her egg-laying ability and made her nervous?  


L:  Dr. H, are you saying that in GMOs modified for glyphosate-tolerance, the blocked minerals are not getting in - as compared to plants that have not been genetically modified?


C: It’s scary to hear you say there are ‘significant levels detected in rain and ground water. Is glyphosate evaporating or being washed out of the sky? And could you tell us how this compares to the ‘safe’ exposure levels established by the EPA or whoever is in charge of safe-guarding the public?


Profile for Dr. Huber:

ü  Dr. Huber is Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Idaho (1957, 1959), a Ph-D from Michigan State University (1963), and is a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was at the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology at Purdue University in 1971.

ü  His agricultural research the past 50 years has focused on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens with emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and physiology of host-parasite relationships.

ü  He retired in 1995 as Associate Director of the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (Colonel) after 41+ years of active and reserve military service.

ü  Dr. Huber is an active scientific reviewer; international research cooperator with projects in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Russia

ü  He is internationally recognized for his expertise in the development of nitrification inhibitors to improve the efficiency of N fertilizers, interactions of the form of nitrogen, manganese and other nutrients in disease, herbicide-nutrient-disease interactions, techniques for rapid microbial identification, and cultural control of plant diseases.

ü  Dr. Huber teaches courses on anti-crop bioterrorism and serves as a consultant on biological weapons of mass destruction and emerging diseases.

ü  To get a more in-depth profile of Dr. Huber, visit:

ü  His greatest accomplishment has been his marriage to Paula Huber and their 11 children and 42 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. 

Proposed Research (Analyses to compare healthy with CCD)

1.   Analyze for glyphosate (and AMPA) in pollen, honey (already shown), bee-bread, nectar and bees

2.   Determine toxicity of glyphosate (rates) to Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species (already shown for other animals)

3.   Endocrine hormone disrupter, neurotoxin, immune suppressant (already shown for other animals)

4.   Glyphosate in CCD compared with normal (healthy) hives

5.   Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in CCD compared with healthy hives, bees, brood (already shown absent in CCD)



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