Sunday, March 12, 2017

A "Deal" to Protect the Guilty: Bonneville County's Indecent Proposal to Chris Tapp (IMPORTANT UPDATE, 3/21)



Danny Clark's 14th Century antecedent administers "justice."


See the update below

Idaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp has spent more than two decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit. He was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted from him through psychological torture -- a fact that even the Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office has now grudgingly conceded. Now Bonneville County Prosecutor Danny Clark is reportedly seeking a face-saving plea bargain on the eve of a judicial hearing that would exonerate Tapp.

No physical evidence or eyewitness testimony connected Tapp to the scene of the June 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. Idaho Falls Police Sergeant Jared Fuhriman, who was lead investigator, initially sought to bully Tapp into implicating a friend -- either Jeremy Sargis, whose family had the means to arrange for legal representation, or Ben Hobbs, who had been arrested in Nevada for rape. All three of these young men were excluded as suspects by DNA evidence.
A grieving heroine: Carol Dodge.
Rather than following the evidence to a plausible suspect, Fuhriman and his comrades at the IFPD made do with the suspect that they had, isolating the 20-year-old from his family, and arresting him after his mother tried to contact an attorney.

Polygraph examiner Steven Finn, systematically lying to the victim, convinced Tapp that he was being "untruthful" in denying involvement in the murder, and that unless he offered a "truthful" confession he would face the death penalty. Only by admitting to a "limited" role in a crime committed by others, Tapp was told, could he save his own life.

Following a May 1998 trial replete with perjured testimony by Fuhriman and his colleagues, Tapp was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time, Angie Dodge's mother Carol believed firmly in Tapp's guilt. Several years later, she examined the videotaped interrogations -- and has now become the most passionate advocate for Tapp's exoneration.

There are two separate appeals underway on Tapp's behalf, both of which will be considered on April 25. The legal advocacy group Judges for Justice, which consists of retired judges, FBI investigators, and legal specialists, is preparing to present a detailed and overwhelming case for Tapp's innocence. In doing so, they will place before the court, and the public, an equally voluminous case for decades of criminal misconduct by Fuhriman (who was subsequently elected Mayor of Idaho Falls), his associates in the Idaho Falls Police Department, and the Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office.

Tapp has been relocated to the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls in anticipation of next month's hearing -- which means that Prosecutor Danny Clark and his minions will have more than a month to manipulate him into a plea bargain, which would be a bookend to compliment the process through which he was seduced into a false confession in January 1997.

Twenty years ago, Fuhriman and his comrades wanted to close a murder case to avoid an institutional embarrassment. Now, they want to wring the last full measure of usefulness from their victim by having him accept a deal that will protect them at the cost of his exoneration.


In a letter to Tapp, Judge Michael Heavey advises him that deal that would likely involve an Alford Plea – under which he would assert his innocence while admitting that the prosecutor could prove his guilt in court. This would allow Tapp to be sentenced to the time he has already served, and perhaps a brief term of probation.

“If you accept an Alford deal, then you spent 20+ years in prison for nothing,” Judge Heavey explained. "Fuhriman wins, [former Bonneville DA Kip] Manwaring wins, [assistant prosecutor John] Shindurling wins, Finn wins.... Chris Tapp loses 20 years."
No better than a child molester: Fuhriman.
Anything short of complete exoneration “is a big loss for you,” Heavey advised him. “The prosecutor’s office has done everything they can to keep you in prison for the rest of your life, they are not honorable people. They have the leverage, for about one more month…. Don’t give in, you are an innocent man.”
The wrongful conviction of Christopher Tapp is just one of several cases -- such as the equally bogus double-murder conviction of Lanny Smith, and the utterly bizarre rape conviction of Michael Whiteley -- demonstrating the deeply dysfunctional nature of Bonneville County's criminal "justice" system. The Tapp case, however, poses the most acute risk to the county's political class: It has received national publicity, the victim is still a young man, he has influential advocates (including the murder victim's mother), and his exoneration would lead to a civil rights suit he would easily win.
This explains why the County is desperate to have Tapp sign a deal and seal up the matter before next month's hearing. In the fashion of the inquisitor presiding over William Wallace's torture at the climax of Braveheart, Prosecutor Danny Clark -- like his colleagues, a conservative and pious man -- are urging their victim to acknowledge their divine authority as a condition of being released from his agony.

At one point during the lengthy (and, thankfully, video-recorded) process of manipulating Tapp into a false confession, Sergeant Fuhriman told the victim to look carefully at a religious icon the interrogator displayed as a tie-pin -- a figure of the Angel Moroni, who is revered as a divine messenger in the Mormon faith. Fuhriman explained to Tapp that he was a Mormon Bishop (a position broadly congruent with that of a parish priest) and assured his victim that he would act as his"guardian angel" -- while warning that he was also his "last hope."

Fuhriman new that the DNA evidence at the murder scene had excluded Tapp. The police sergeant was also aware that Tapp's utter lack of familiarity with the specifics of that crime, or the scene where it occurred, meant that he was being maneuvered into a false confession.

None of this mattered to Fuhriman, who -- with his comrades Steven Finn and Ken Brown -- preyed on the vulnerabilities  of their captive, weaknesses that Furhiman had come to know when he was prowling the halls of the junior high school Tapp had attended several years earlier.

Assistant prosecutor John Shindurling, who tried the case in May 1998, was present for an interrogation session during which Tapp's captors systematically fed him details of a crime with which he had nothing to do. Shindurling would later assure the jury that only through direct involvement in that crime could Tapp have known those details. Fuhriman himself would directly perjure himself on the witness stand by making the same claim.

If Danny Clark were any part of a man, he would move to vacate Tapp's conviction, and seek appropriate punishment for Fuhriman and his accomplices in this monumental crime.

In 1880, as her dispossessed people were being starved through the instrumentality of a corrupt Indian agent named James Wilbur, the heroic Sarah Winnemucca confronted that pious fraud. Wilbur, who was given to religious posturing, had accused Winnemucca of "putting the Devil" into the heads of the Paiutes by explaining how the agent had been making himself wealthy by embezzling money and supplies that had been promised to the desperate people over whom he had been given control.

"Mr. Wilbur, you forget that you are a Christian when you can talk so to me," she told him in tones of well-earned, and tightly controlled, contempt. "You are starving my people here.... Everybody in Yakima City knows what you are doing, and hell is full of just such Christians as you are!"

Danny Clark, Jared Fuhriman, and their co-conspirators have implicated themselves in one of the most egregious criminal injustices in the history of Idaho. Everybody who has studied the case knows what they have done, and are doing now -- and hell is full of such sanctimonious frauds as they are.

                      Update: The Bastards of Bonneville County Have Won

"A deal has been reached in the Christopher Tapp case," reports today's Idaho Falls Post-Register. Appellate attorney John Thomas, who will discuss the details of the arrangement today with prosecutor Danny Clark and Judge Alan Stephens in anticipation of a hearing tomorrow, says that Tapp will not admit guilt as part of the deal -- which means, most likely, that the innocent man will take an Alford plea. This would mean immediate release from prison -- but not from the underlying conviction. It would also protect Fuhriman and his accomplices in the kidnapping, torture, and theft of twenty years from Tapp.


The rape conviction will be vacated; the murder charge will remain, and Tapp will still be required to pay "restitution"
for a crime he didn't commit. This means that rather than being compensated by Bonneville County for the theft of his life, Tapp -- a convicted felon with dismal employment prospects -- will probably spend the rest of his life as an indentured servant, subject to wage garnishment and incarceration if he can't make the extortion payments required of him."Chris spent 20 years of his life convicted on a lie, and now he's being released to live the rest of his life as a lie because people who have power can justify this," observes Angie's long-suffering mother, Carol Dodge. "They could care less what happens to Chris. All they cared about was having no liability."

There must be, and will be, accountability for the crimes committed by Fuhriman and his comrades.


 

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast also examines the most recent developments regarding Chris Tapp's wrongful imprisonment:



Be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute -- which will be publishing my forthcoming book on the Christopher Tapp case.






Dum spiro, pugno!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

They're All "Heroes" -- No Matter What Laws they Enforce


Actually, it was a righteous rebellion, not a mere "riot."



Given the rarity of the surname, it is likely that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is related to deputy federal marshal
Edward Gorsuch, who was killed an in violent episode that left the nation shocked and terrified, and was an overture to a long and bloody military conflict. 

Deputy Marshal Gorsuch was 57 years old at the time he received his commission, and was killed on the second day of his service. The US Marshals Service deputized him on September 10, 1851 to enforce a warrant issued under the Fugitive Slave Law to recover two human beings Gorsuch claimed as his property. He and Marshal Henry H. Kline, along with several other deputies, had the “law” on their side when they traveled to Christiana, Pennsylvania, bearing a warrant that authorized them to abduct four men who had freed themselves – and to conscript any white citizen they encountered to serve as accomplices in that act.
William Parker
Late in the evening of September 10, the kidnappers, who included at least two of Gorsuch’s sons, surrounded a two-story fieldstone home owned by William Parker, a 29-year-old farmer and militia organizer who had escaped from slavery nine years earlier. Operatives of the Underground Railroad had warned Parker of the impending raid. 

Gorsuch imperiously demanded the surrender of his former captives. When no answer came from inside the home, the marshals invaded the domicile – and were promptly driven out by the occupants, one of whom wielded a pitchfork. 

Standing in the front yard of the home, the marshals read the warrants to Parker, who looked down on them contemptuously from a second-floor window.

“I don’t care about your warrant, your demands, or your government,” Parker replied. “You can burn us, but you can’t take us. Before I give up, you will see my ashes scattered on the earth.”

“I want my property, and I shall have it,” bellowed Gorsuch, pretending as if words scribbled by a functionary on a piece of paper gave him title of ownership over other human beings. Realizing that such a claim would avail nothing with Parker, Gorsuch appealed to biblical passages enjoining servants to obey their masters. 

Parker, who apparently knew the Bible better than Gorsuch, replied by citing New Testament verses teaching the equality of all human beings before God. 

“Where do you see it in Scripture that a man should traffic in his brother’s blood?” Parker demanded of the deputy marshal. 

“Do you call a n*gger my brother?” Gorsuch exclaimed.
“Yes, I do,” Parker defiantly replied. 

The situation congealed into a standoff that lasted until daybreak. Shortly after dawn, Parker’s wife used a horn to summon help from Parker’s militia, who arrived bearing whatever weapons they could muster. The alarm also brought two local Quakers named Elijah Lewis, a shopkeeper, and Castner Hanway, a local miller. Both of these white men were well-known for their sympathies toward escaped slaves. 

Relieved by the arrival of two white men, Marshal Kline waved his warrant in their face and told them that they were required to assist in the recovery of Gorsuch’s “property.” Once again, this demand was in harmony with what the federal government called the “law” – and when Lewis and Hanway replied that they would have no part in an abduction they were told that they were committing a federal “crime.”

Surrounded, outnumbered, hungry, and humiliated, Deputy Marshal Gorsuch lost what remained of his composure.

“I have come a long way and I want my breakfast,” he snarled at Parker. “I’ll have my property, or I’ll breakfast in hell.”

Dickinson Gorsuch
“Go back to Maryland, old man,” one of the black militiamen taunted Gorsuch.
“Father, will you take all this from a n*gger?” asked his twenty-year-old son, Dickinson, who was part of the posse. 

Parker snapped at Dickinson to keep a civil tongue, or he’d knock his teeth down his throat. Dickinson’s reply to Parker was issued by way of his revolver, inspiring a rejoinder delivered from a shotgun wielded by one of Parker’s associates. Dickinson fell, but he would survive.

The posse opened fire on the home, but was very quickly swarmed by the militia. Gorsuch’s other son, Joshua, was beaten bloody, but escaped, along with the rest of their raiding party-- save one. The Deputy Marshal himself proved to be the only fatality. 

It’s quite likely that several of Gorsuch’s accomplices in the attempted abduction would also have been killed, if not for the intervention of Lewis and Hanway, the two abolitionists they had threatened with arrest. Adamantly opposed to slavery but determined to save lives where possible, the two Quarters, at some substantial personal risk, dragged several wounded men to safety. 

Within hours, tidings of the “Christiana Riot” had been dispatched throughout the country by way of telegraph, and a militarized task force composed of constables, federal marshals, and U.S. marines was deployed to comb the countryside in search of alleged co-conspirators.
"Tragedy at Christiana": Yes, it was called a "tragedy."

“They spread out across the autumn countryside, forcing their way into the homes of blacks and whites alike, threatening anyone who was thought to have anything to do with the Underground Railroad, arresting scores of men on suspicion, with little concern for constitutional niceties,” recalls Fergus M. Bordewich in his book Bound for Canaan. “As one eyewitness put it, `blacks were hunted like partridges.’” 

Parker, knowing that he and his friends faced summary execution if the joint federal-state task force found them, gathered the fugitive slaves in his protection and took them, by way of the underground, to Rochester, New York, and he eventually emigrated to Canada. 

In the U.S., where the Fugitive Slave Act had effectively nationalized the practice of chattel slavery, Parker was wanted for murder and “treason” for defending the right to self-ownership. In Canada, he and other black refugees could vote, own property, and enjoy due process protections on equal terms with Canadians of any other ethnic background.  

Acting on the assumption that the blacks who repelled Gorsuch and his posse at Christiana were acting under the pernicious influence of white seditionists, the administration of Millard Fillmore arranged the indictment of 38 people for “levying war against the United States.” 

This would have been the largest treason trial in American history, and the prosecution intended that it would put down the growing rebellion against the Fugitive Slave Law.

Resistance to that act was widespread in the northern states, several of which enacted “personal liberty laws” that nullified enforcement of the federal measure within their respective jurisdictions. This development prompted southern defenders of slavery – who just a few years later would invoke the heritage of 1776 to justify secession – to condemn as traitors those who undermined the sacred and imperishable Union. They had an ally in arch-unionist Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster. 


“If men get together and combine, and resolve that they will oppose a law of the government, not in any one case, but in all cases; if they resolve to resist the law, whoever may be attempted to be made subject of it, and carry that purpose into effect, by refusing the application of the law in any one case, either by force of arms or force of numbers – that, sir, is treason,” bloviated Webster in a speech shortly before the trial.

The indictment against the Christiana defendants asserted that they “did traitorously assemble and combine against the United States” for the purpose of preventing “by means of intimidation and violence the execution of the said laws of the United States.” 

In December 1851, Hanway became the first to stand trial. His role in the events at Christiana was peripheral, but “the federal government felt that it had to convict a white man to avenge Gorsuch’s death in the eyes of Southerners,” explains Bordewich. That ambition was thwarted when the jury took all of fifteen minutes to acquit the pacifistic miller of all charges. The Fillmore administration made a desultory effort to prosecute other defendants during its final year. 

After Franklin Pierce assumed office in March 1853, he dismissed the case – but not the effort to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. In 1854, Pierce deployed 1,600 troops to Boston in order to take into custody a man named Anthony Burns, who had escaped bondage in Virginia. Local abolitionists had liberated Burns from the custody of Deputy US Marshal James Batchelder, who was killed in the line of duty by citizens acting in the righteous defense of the life of an innocent man.

The names of both James Batchelder and Edward Gorsuch are inscribed on the honor (if that word applies) roll of US law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  On September 11, 2015, Gorsuch received a heartfelt tribute from a fellow law enforcement officer. 


“Sir, on today[,] the 164th anniversary of your death[,] I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice to our Country,” wrote an anonymous member of the US Border Patrol in the “reflections” section of the Officer Down Memorial Page, which is devoted to “Remembering All of Law Enforcement’s Heroes.” 

All law enforcement officers, we are insistently told, are “heroes,” even when enforcing government edicts that are morally unsupportable. Members of that fraternity of state-licensed violence regard the detestable likes of Batchelder and Gorsuch as their kin, as well they should.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast also examines the Christiana Rebellion:




Be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute.







Dum spiro, pugno!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Teaching Kids to Trust the Police is Child Abuse


Somebody who would do this to a child should be horsewhipped, at the very least.


Integral to the American concept of liberty is the right to hold the state at bay, which is why children are never too young to be taught to regard government employees with suspicion and defensive hostility. Some conscientious parents in Northampton, Massachusetts acted on that principle by demanding an end to a program intended to habituate public school inmates to the presence of police officers. 

The local police department, acting on an initiative that originated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, had dispatched officers to the local elementary school each week for an event called “High-Five Friday,” in which officers would exchange friendly greetings with cops who in practically any other context would treat such physical contact as a felonious assault on an officer. Police Chief Jody Kasper explains that she thought “it was a great way to start building relationships with young kids.”

That program was “paused” following complaints from a handful of parents who believe that it is the better part of wisdom to teach their children to avoid contact with the police, rather than seeking it out. In announcing the decision on his Facebook page, the department mentioned that “children of color, undocumented immigrant children or other children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement” had expressed concerns about the program, which cued up the predictable reactions from the punitive populist faction. 

“Why don’t you toughen up out there in Northampton, all right?” eructated Bill O’Reilly, offering the jocular suggestion – at least, I think he was kidding – that the principal and the school board should be arrested. Minor-league talk radio personality Charlie Brennan insisted that “this is why Donald Trump’s gonna get re-elected – stories like this.” 

A contributor to The New American magazine who serves as that publication’s liaison to the white nationalist subculture snarked that “there’s no more `safe space’ for law-abiding citizens than when the police occupy part of it,” and insisted that no true American could possibly object to having an armed, costumed stranger clothed in “qualified immunity” breathing down his neck. 


“It’s entirely understandable, for instance, that a child hailing from a Third World nation with corrupt police may feel apprehension at the sight of the men in blue,” he patriot-splained. “But not that long ago people would have understood the proper response: You take the student aside and gently explain that the police visiting his school are there as friends.”

“Some might also wonder about the parenting evident here,” he continued in the style of a Soviet commissar tutoring parents about their duty to raise children in the fear and admonition of the state and its human emissaries. “If your child has some irrational cop phobia, do you try and educate and change his mind? Or should you moan and groan and change all of society to accommodate irrationality?” 

The “Caucasian leftists” and “minority” parents who complained about the police outreach program embody the “snowflake spirit of the age,” concludes the TNA contributor, whose otherwise barren rhetorical pantry is well-stocked with clich├ęs. To be fair, this story does expose a rather shocking failure on the part of parents in the community – that is, those who accepted the program with bovine docility, rather than expressing skepticism about it.
If it is “irrational” for parents to teach their children to be leery of police officers, why do police officers and prosecutors cultivate that attitude within their own children? 

Every parent whose children have been sentenced to attend the Regime’s mind-laundry should review the advice offered by Professor James Duane of Regent University Law School in his slender and indispensable book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

Over the past several years, Professor Duane has made hundreds of presentations, each of which begins with an invitation to any audience members whose parents were police officers or prosecutors to ask what advice they had been given by their parents. 

“Every time this happens, without exception, [I’ve been told] the same thing: `Years ago, my parents explained to me that if I were ever approached by a law enforcement officer, I was to call them immediately, and they made sure that I would never agree to talk to the police.’ Not once have I ever met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different.” 

Several news accounts mention the fact that among those who objected to the Northampton police outreach program included “children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement.”

“Wow, only in grammar school, and they already have a sour relationship with police,” sneers the above-quoted commentator. “Their futures are bright.” 

It is surpassingly easy for children to find themselves detained, shackled, or otherwise abused by police as a result of entirely trivial misconduct. Witness the case of Michael Davis, a five-year-old from California who was arrested, cuffed, and hauled away to jail for “battery on an officer” after he pushed away the hand of an officer who had touched him without consent and kicked the assailant in his knee in an act of righteous self-defense. 

This was a case involving a delicate snowflake who filed a complaint after his feelings were hurt– none other than Lt. Frank Gordo, who lodged a complaint against the mother of his victim, accusing her of “discriminating” against him by taking the story to the media. 

Incidents of this kind are becoming commonplace. Two years ago a misbehaving third-grader in Covington, Kentucky had his arms shackled behind his back at the elbows for fifteen minutes by a sheriff’s deputy. The eight-year-old supposedly attempted to elbow the deputy after going to the bathroom. 

“You don’t get to swing at me like that,” the heroic tax-feeder lectured his captive. “You can do what we’ve asked you to do, or you can suffer the consequences.” 

In 2014, deputies in Greene County, Virginia handcuffed a four-year-old who had been disruptive in class and briefly detained him at the sheriff’s office. The sheriff insists that the deputy “did what he had to do” and claims that the mother was “appreciative of the way he handled the situation,” which if true would be utterly horrifying.  

Until recently, school resource officers in Texas would routinely treat student misbehavior as misdemeanor criminal offenses, issuing citations that could lead to fines and jail time. School officials in Syracuse, Utah have warned that students who are found at the high school during release-time religious instruction would be issued trespassing citations that, once again, can lead to fines and even jail time. The amalgamation of public education and law enforcement has created countless variations on the theme of criminalizing what had once been treated as minor disciplinary matters.

While police can cause problems for students who misbehave, their presence in schools can be even more dangerous to youngsters who are obedient and conscientious. Professor Duane urges parents to teach their school-age children that “you cannot listen to your conscience when faced by a police officer and think I have nothing to hide.” 

Police are trained to lie as an investigative tactic, and rewarded when their lies prove to be instrumental in obtaining convictions. Innocent and well-intentioned children who somehow find themselves on the receiving end of police attention are “sometimes the most likely to be unfairly influenced by deceptive police interrogation tactics, because they tragically assume that, somehow, `truth and justice will prevail’ later even if they falsely admit their guilt,” Duane emphasizes. “You cannot safely trust a single thing police officers say when they are trying to get you to answer their questions…. Even if you are innocent, the police will do whatever it takes to get you to talk if they think you might be guilty.” 

No better illustration of that reality can be found than the case of Idaho Falls resident Chris Tapp, who has spent twenty years in prison for a murder he did not commit. The only evidence against Tapp was a patently false confession extracted from him through the efforts of IFPD Sergeant (and future Idaho Falls mayor) Jared Fuhriman. 

Fuhriman had been a DARE instructor and resource officer at Tapp’s junior high school. Desperate to clear the case, and left without any good leads after DNA evidence had cleared the three young men considered suspects – including Tapp – Fuhriman used his supposed friendship with his victim to lure him into lengthy interrogation sessions that mutated into something akin to psychological torture. Eventually Fuhriman convinced Tapp that unless he confessed to some role in the murder, he would inevitably be sent to the electric chair. 


“Christopher would just keep saying, `Fuhriman is my friend, mom – he wouldn’t put my life in jeopardy, he wouldn’t lead me astray,” his mother, Vera Tapp, told me in a telephone interview. “He was just such a `good old boy’ with Christopher…. You can see it in the videos – `Oh, Christopher, we’re friends, we’re buddies,’ you know, laughing and joking around. And that’s just what he did when [Tapp] was in junior high. He [was] learning people’s trust and how to manipulate people. And that’s what he did – he manipulated Christopher.”

It is a screaming pity that Christopher Tapp wasn’t given the advice that police and prosecutors offer to their own children: Do not, under any circumstances, talk to a law enforcement officer, beyond demanding access to your parents and, if possible, an attorney. 

Given that police and prosecutors tell their own children not to trust law enforcement officers, why shouldn’t parents employed in the productive sector do likewise?

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, acting on an invitation from the late Justice Scalia, insists that the Second Amendment doesn't protect the right of Mundanes to possess "weapons of war." If it didn't, that amendment would be worse than useless, as I explain in this week's Freedom Zealot Podcast:



Be sure to check out the Libertarian Institute -- and share it with your liberty-minded friends.







Dum spiro, pugno!