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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Old Fashioned Muckraking



From an informant regarding local corruption:

well, norman, your site has been awfully slow when it comes to good old fashioned muckraking

so, i offer you these facts which i learned about 6 months ago:

it concerns rotten totten; long after he was sentenced and enjoying his solitary prison cell, he contacted diamond dave the chief deputy--what his motives were are not clear since he was in no bargaining position; i believe his motive was something to the effect that since i went down others should go down with me

according to totten, a member of the state police (this goes back 3/4 years) was working with a former deputy doing drug buys with a confidential informant; after a couple recorded buys were made, the trooper and deputy wanted to make the case against the 3 different sellers even stronger; so what they did was give the informant a lot of drugs from the state police evidence locker to plant in the sellers' houses when they went in for buys; and that's what happened, and then they got search warrants and of course found the planted drugs

now, to be clear, these sellers were certainly guilty of selling a pill or two, but they were made out much worse will all the extra drugs that were found
one of the three sellers pleaded guilty
the other two went to trial because the actual recordings of the drug buys were lost or inaudible--in both trials, the key evidence was the planted drugs found at the two sellers' houses, so the jury found them guilty--but for the presence of the planted drugs, the two defendants would have likely walked

totten knew of this when it happened because he was caught up in his own criminal activities at the time the drug planting was going on so he just looked the other way;  i believe his information to be true since he supplied it long after it could have done him any good in plea bargaining and/or sentencing

to diamond dave's credit, he did pass the information on to now former us attorney booth goodwin but they did nothing to verify it

i wish i could supply the names of those defendants, they were told to me at the time but i have since forgotten them; i'm sure a quick check of criminal jury drug trials in the past 3-4 years (since they weren't many in pocahontas) would reveal the names

totten spilled a lot of beans prior to his sentencing and those beans turned out true; these latter beans are also likely true

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Buffet Rule

Warren Buffett is asking everyone to forward this email to a minimum of 20 people, and to ask each of those to do likewise.  In three days, most people in the United States will have the message. This is an idea that should be passed around.  
 
The BUFFETT Rule
 
Let's see if these idiots understand what people pressure is all about.
 
Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.
 
Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid
 
Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid
 
Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid
 
Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065
 
Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000
 
Here’s where the cuts should be made!
 
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
 
"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".
 
The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
 
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.
 
Warren Buffett is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
 
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
 
Congressional Reform Act of 2017
 
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
 
2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.
 
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
 
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
 
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
 
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
 
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
 
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
 
Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.
 
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It's time!
 
THIS IS HOW WE FIX CONGRESS!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Right on the Button

John Leyzorek 

We have an ongoing controversy of this type right here in Pocahontas County.We have only one, weekly, newspaper, The Pocahontas Times. 

Some years ago, one of our local political fringe tried, IIRC, to run a political advertisement which threatened the tender sensibiities or the blatant political biasses of the Times. 

The Times refused to print it, the would-be advertiser believed that his freedom of political speech was being infringed and sued, and lost.

The principle upheld by the SCOWV was, "Freedom of the press belongs to him who owns one".. 

I agree heartily. 

To argue otherwise is to deny the right of private property, to say that the Government should force you to allow the painting of the slogans YOU most hate, on YOUR wall.

HOWEVER, as the Founders knew and variously expresses, no system of law can successfully replace or obviate individual morality. 

The Times, as the only newspaper of general circulation in Pocahontas County had and has a MORAL obligation, which it continues to shirk, to print ALL the opinions and events of local interest. 

It has every right to append its own opinion to those it considers odious or dangerous, but it has no MORAL right to suppress them. But Government is far too blunt and interested an instrument to entrust with the power to enforce this MORAL obligation.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Court Faces a Constitutional Challenge


Citizen Ferrel Kelly is pretty much known by one and all in the county.  Sometime in January he will face a jury of his peers in magistrate court.  He has no money.  The court system has recognized that he has no home either.  At best, his home is under the bridge in Marlinton.  Occasionally he finds rooming with a friend.

Ferrel is 54 years old, never married.  His mother abandoned him when he was a little boy leaving his father to raise him.  His father is in the nursing home and unable to help because of his own extreme poverty.  Ferrel walks or hitchhikes wherever he goes.

The folks in the town don't particularly care for him hanging out on their streets.  He has been banned from one or two stores.  Only two or three people have offered to help Ferrel!  He has a local physician who treats him for free.  Another citizens buys his medicine when he is sick.  He walks to Richwood to see his dentist.  A local beautician cuts his hair.

FRN gave him a new coat for the winter.  Ferrel has no job and probably would be incapable of holding a job.  

The local police are not friendly to Ferrel.  Even the courts got mixed up in this situation.  They sent him off to jail for 30 months while he waited for a trial on a burning charge.  He was acquitted on that charge by a jury after exhausting three public defenders.  His current public defender has to arrange ad hoc meeting places with her client.

A lot of people say that he would be better off in jail where he would have "three hots and a cot."  But not with Ferrel.  During the thirty months he was awaiting his speedy trial, the courts tried to commit him  for being incompetent.  They got a doctor to say he was incompetent to stand trial but then another doctor said that the first doctor was wrong.  His mental health records are sealed in the courthouse so that no one can know for sure what happened.

But at any rate, a new judge was appointed--Judge Richardson--and he looked at the case and determined that Ferrel was competent to stand trial.  Ferrel was released from the 30 months confinement and his trial was conducted in which he was found "not guilty" of burning 500 square feet of grass.

Still he wasn't released because he had two other charges against him.  A new judge--Dent- is appointed and she finds that the case should be dismissed but without prejudice.  She explained that 30 months was no out of the ordinary considering that his competency had been challenged in court.  This allowed the courts to intervene in the future and repeat the same 30 month trick on Ferrel.

The jail fees amounted to $43,800 dollars.  This doesn't include the hourly wages of three attorneys, the cost of transportation, and the misc. court costs.  During this time he was unable to make any living for himself.

As a going away present from TVRJ, Ferrel was given a beating by the guards.  They bruised him so badly that he had to go to the emergency room at PM as soon as he got home.  He had two teeth knocked out by the guards.  An infection set into his foot where he was bruised.    He limped around for weeks because of the latter injury.  So he had "three hots and a cot" plus one beating by the guards.  

Ferrel's neighbors in Cloverlick hate his guts.  They never missed a chance to trashmouth him on facebook.  Needless to say he feels more at home in Marlinton.  He occasionally goes back to Clover lick, but not much.

Ferrel has no place to store his stuff except under the bridge or in some other spots in the town.  This has caused him much grief as well as the town officials who hauled three truckloads of his stuff out from under the bridge.

Ferrel is a man of acquisition.  He likes to gather things up that people throw away.  He has become quite proficient at dumpster diving.  Ferrel has a heart of gold--He will share the products of his diving with the immigrants at Joe's place.  He loves to keep them supplied with eggs.  If anyone else is in need,  Ferrel is on the spot.  Occasionally he meets a person of like standing at the Mini-Park and will bum someone out of a meal for his new found friends.  Or in one case a friend was standing under the awning of  an old store building and Ferrel bummed  a neighbor for a ride to keep his new friend out of rain.

Ferrel knows things.  He is quite proficient in international politics.  He reads the Charleston Gazette religiously, missing nothing!!!  He likes to get extra papers out of the free paper box to give to people.  Ferrel reads the news from surrounding county newspapers on a regular basis.  He can tell  you things about what's going on in many counties of WV.

Don't get Ferrel on international stuff.  He keeps up to date on the latest catastrophes in the world.

Ferrel also knows a lot about local politics.  He is a virtual gold mine of what is going on locally.  Now you are never certain if what he tells you is the truth.  Things may or may not be!   The only thing one can conclude is that Ferrel probably thinks what he says is the truth.  You have to take whatever he says with a "bucket" of salt.

So Herbie Barlow, the local state police is driving down the street in front of Dories and he sees Ferrel going through the ally behind the funeral home.  He sees him traipsing by the tombstones so he zips around an comes up the alley where he now is ahead of Ferrel.  He asks him if he was taking a pee in the alley.  Ferrel swears he isn't so Herbie says I am going to give you a ticket for "indecent exposure."    Now remember Herbie had to ask him if he was peeing.  It would seem that if Ferrel was peeing in the alley that Herbie would have seen "something."  

So regardless of Ferrel's denial, Herbies gives him a citation to magistrate court.  He has nothing more to write on than his traffic pad so he writes him a traffic ticket.  When Ferrel shows up at court for his arraignment hes is required to sign the ticket that he is not guilty of a traffic offense.  Magistrate Kelly arraigns him and gives him a $250 PR bond for the traffic violation.

Now, remember, Ferrel has no driver's license, no car, and has never had either of these.  His daddy had to drive him wherever he wanted to go.  We found out later that Ferrel is afraid to even ride a lawn mower.

Does this ring anybody's bell?  Of course, not!  A court appointed attorney is employed to represent him. She tries to get the ticket dismissed but Kelly is determined to prosecution this "non-traffic" traffic ticket.  

Was this a DUI charge?  Ferrel is allergic to alcohol.  Was this a drug charge?  No Ferrel can't afford food, let alone drugs!  Was this a sex charge?  Not really!  Indecent exposure requires that someone intend to display their private parts in a matter to offend someone else!  There doesn't seem to have been any display of private parts at all,even Herbie had to ask if Ferrel was peeing in the alley.

It is a very short alley--about the length of the funeral home lot which is about as wide as the building.  Unless Herbie is blind he couldn't have missed seeing Ferrel's private parts if he were indeed peeing in the alley.  He could have at least seem the "stream."

Furthermore, if Ferrel were peeing in the alley and not main street could it be said that he was trying to offend anyone.  Wouldn't it make more sense for someone to stand on main and open his coat to the public for all to see.  No,  it only makes sense that Ferrel was in the alley to "avoid" the public gaze.  Marlinton is a small town!! You could spit from one street to the next.  "Indecent exposure" is legally defined as an effort to overtly offend someone.

This is late fall, winter is coming on.  Ferrel was dressed with a hoodie, a hat AND A PAIR OF GLOVES.  

So Miss Kelly is going to play judge!!!  She will enlist a cadre of jurors who are going to have trouble hiding their laughter at this mock trial of Ferrel.  By the time this trial is over and Ferrel is acquited as he will be--Pocahontas will be the laughing stock of the state of West Virginia.



About Me

A local archivist who specializes in all things Pocahontas County