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The foundation of a free republic is equal justice under the law. Take away that fundamental tenet, and liberty itself will quickly collapse. Democrat or Republican; liberal or conservative; male or female; Caucasian, Negro, Hispanic, Indian, or Asian; rich or poor; powerful or ordinary; Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or atheist: they all mean absolutely NOTHING in a court of law. Lady Justice is rightly symbolized with a blindfold over her eyes. In a court of law, there is absolutely no place for racial prejudice, religious prejudice, political prejudice, or personal prejudice. The only thing that matters in a court of law is equal justice under the law. Nothing else matters! NOTHING!
Every judicial race in this country that I’ve ever heard of is a non-partisan race. Candidates for judge run without party affiliation. The obvious reason for this fact is because judges are entrusted to adjudicate the law without political bias or favor. That’s the way it’s SUPPOSED to be, anyway.
However, it has become obvious that too many times, our courtrooms exude political prejudice and abject cronyism. It is no hyperbole to say that there are tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of men and women in America’s penal institutions who are nothing more than political prisoners. The kangaroo courts of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler have nothing on many of the courts in the United States of America today.
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Along with the foundation of equal justice under the law is this historic American tenet: innocent until PROVEN guilty in a court of law. While this column will not deal at length with this portion of American justice, it grieves me to say (with absolute confidence that I’m correct) that a host of many Americans today truly in their hearts harbor a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality. A host of police officers, too, carry this Machiavellian mentality in their minds and hearts.
I have heard innumerable people say, “If they weren’t guilty, they would not have been arrested.” And, tragically, this seems to be especially true among Christians and conservatives. The last place you would want to stand trial is before a jury comprised of mostly Christians and conservatives. If your attorney cannot PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE, you are going to jail, friend. Do not pass go; do not collect $200. Go straight to jail. It gives me no pleasure to say that; but in my heart, I know it’s true.
Furthermore, too many prosecutor’s offices and judges care absolutely nothing about justice. It’s all about political agendas, good-old-boy cronyism, and personal ambition. Such a case recently came to light here in the Flathead Valley of Montana where my family lives, and where my youngest son practices law.
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Tim was defending a client who was facing two drug-related charges. I instilled in my children a strong sense of justice and fairness under the law, and that is exactly how Tim approaches his criminal defense cases. He immediately began to defend his client, as is the responsibility of every defense attorney.
What happened next can only be attributed to an Act of God. It is one thing to instinctively feel that the prosecutor’s office and police assigned to the case are acting in a prejudicial manner; it is another thing entirely to have the facts of that hunch fall into your lap. And that’s exactly what happened in this case.
In a blatant attempt to use the force of law as an intimidation tool to coerce Tim’s client to fire him, a drug task force officer was actually recorded telling Tim’s client’s wife (who had also been a confidential informant for the police) that the entire prosecutor’s office didn’t like Tim Baldwin–and her husband needed to fire him for his own good and for the well-being of his family. The drug task force officer made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that if Tim’s client did not fire Tim from the case, he was going to face a very long time in prison (well over twenty years.) That meant for almost the rest of his life, he would be separated from his wife and children.
And just what was it that caused the entire county attorney’s office to dislike Tim Baldwin and use that personal prejudice to coerce and intimidate a defendant? According to the recorded voice of the drug task force officer, the reason the prosecutor’s office doesn’t like Tim is because he is a “constitutionalist,” his dad (me) ran for President in 2008 as a third party candidate, and Tim doesn’t just “go along” with the prosecutor’s office but actually defends his clients. The police officer referred to my presidential candidacy as some B*** S*** party. Actually, Mr. Drug Task Force Officer, it was the Constitution Party, which in 2008 was America’s third largest political party.
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Imagine if this police officer had said that the reason the county attorney’s office didn’t like Tim and wanted him fired was because he was black, or Hispanic, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Democrat, or liberal? You know what would happen. It would be front page news in national newspapers and a prominent news story on every network and cable television news network in the country. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would descend on Kalispell, Montana. And the county attorney, the deputy county attorney, and the drug task force officer involved would have already been dismissed by now. You know that’s true!
Before Tim released the audio recording, he had his client’s wife sign an affidavit describing her conversations with the drug task force officer and prosecutor Kenneth Park, who also made similar threats–but those were not recorded. Of course, both Park and Corrigan denied under oath the allegations against them; but that was before the evidence was released. So, guess what happened next? THEY DISMISSED BOTH CASES AGAINST TIM’S CLIENT.
But wait a minute! If the charges were based on evidence and law, why dismiss them? You know the answer. They were dismissed because they got caught red-handed breaking the law, and it was their way of covering up what they had done. Think of it, my friends; they were using a man’s life–and the lives of his wife and children–as pawns in a despicable and dastardly political game. How many thousands of prisoners are languishing in America’s prisons today for the very same reason? The true answer would probably stagger us.
Think this through now: first, the prosecutor’s office admits to personal and political prejudice based upon my son’s (and my) constitutional convictions. (Remind me, again, what it was that the county attorney, deputy county attorney, and drug task force officer swore an oath to? Yep, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Montana. In truth, should not every attorney, judge, and police officer be a constitutionalist?) Second, they deliberately tamper with a witness through intimidation and coercion. Third, they are willing to base a man’s imprisonment or freedom, not upon justice and the rule of law, but based upon that aforementioned personal and political prejudice. In any definition of the terms, Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan, Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Park, and the drug task force officer, McKeag Johns, are guilty of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and violating one of the most sacred institutions of our country: the attorney-client privilege. All three of them should be dismissed immediately!
Upon receiving the complaint against the above court officers, the Montana Attorney General Tim Fox immediately said there would be NO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. No investigation! No investigation! Not even a phone call to my son or his client. Instead, he turned the case over to a “disciplinary” board, and washed his hands of the matter.
Can one imagine what Tim Fox would have done had a liberal Democrat defense attorney been shown to participate in illegal witness tampering and obstruction of justice? You know what would happen. The AG would immediately investigate the matter and, no doubt, criminal charges would quickly follow.
Oh, is it any coincidence that the Montana Attorney General, Tim Fox, and the Flathead County Attorney are both Republicans? Yeah, right! Now, how many of my Republican readers are as incensed about this injustice as they were before reading that the guilty parties were Republicans?
Again, as I said at the very beginning of this column, the foundation of a free republic is equal justice under the law. Take away that fundamental tenet, and liberty itself will quickly collapse. Democrat or Republican (or Constitution Party member or Libertarian); liberal or conservative; male or female; Caucasian, Negro, Hispanic, or Asian; rich or poor; powerful or ordinary; Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or atheist: they all mean absolutely NOTHING in a court of law. Lady Justice is rightly symbolized with a blindfold over her eyes. In a court of law, there is absolutely no place for racial prejudice, religious prejudice, political prejudice, or personal prejudice. The only thing that matters in a court of law is equal justice under the law. Nothing else matters! NOTHING!
I encourage readers to go to this webpage to review the facts of the case and to hear the audio recording of the drug task force officer, Mr. Johns, incriminating himself and implicating the prosecutors in the crimes of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and malicious prosecution. Go here:
Ladies and gentlemen, if this is going on in one of the most conservative, liberty-oriented, God-fearing communities in the entire country, you know this is going on all over America. The difference here is that WE HAVE THE EVIDENCE.
When the American people learn of an injustice such as this, they MUST SPEAK OUT. We are not usually given an opportunity to discover the facts that so clearly incriminate corrupt politicians such as we have discovered in this case. And make no mistake about it: what we are talking about is CORRUPTION!
If the people of this country will rise up in righteous indignation and demand that Ed Corrigan, Kenneth Park, and McKeag Johns, at the minimum, be fired–and if enough public pressure is brought to bear on the Montana AG’s office and governor’s office–justice could return, not only to Flathead County, Montana, but the ripple effect could help clean out local prosecutor’s offices all over the country. If anyone else besides these men were guilty of this kind of criminality, they would not only be dismissed; they would face criminal prosecution. You and I would face criminal prosecution for committing even a small fraction of the illegal conduct of these men. And we all know it.
In fact, according to sources within the legal community in the State of Montana, the Flathead County Attorney’s Office sends more people to prison than any other county in the State. This means that if Corrigan were treated in the same way that he treats people in Flathead County, he, too, would be going to prison. But, it appears that when he is the subject of criminal activity, all of a sudden, he should be given the benefit of the doubt–even though there really is no doubt of his unlawful activity against a fellow attorney and his client.
I especially encourage honest attorneys, law enforcement officers, judges, and elected officials all over America to make their voices heard on this matter. And where are the “conservative” Montana legislators on this issue? They should be using their influence to mount public pressure on our attorney general and governor to bring justice to the Flathead County courthouse again. Or even call Ed Corrigan personally and demand he resign.
Ladies and gentlemen, we either have justice for all–or we have justice for none. And right now, this much is certain: there can be no justice in Flathead County, Montana, as long as Ed Corrigan is holding office and Kenneth Park and McKeag Johns are officers of the State. If they have done this to Tim’s client, they have done it to other clients–and they will do it to yet others.
Please understand that the complaint that Tim and his associates filed with the AG’s office included not only Tim’s case, but also other cases involving unlawful activities by the Flathead County Attorney’s Office and police officers. Therefore, this is NOT an isolated incident, but has been a pattern of abuse for years.
Here are the principal parties and their phone numbers:
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox
Flathead County, Montana, Sheriff Chuck Curry (It was his deputy assigned to the drug task force that is recorded relaying the political and personal prejudice of the county attorney’s office and using the threat of prison to intimidate Tim’s client.)
And for what it’s worth, here is the phone number to the office of Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan
I seldom give out phone numbers and plead with readers to become activists in response to what I write. But this time, I am pleading with readers to MAKE THOSE PHONE CALLS. Furthermore, please forward this column (along with your own thoughts) to everyone on your contact list and encourage them to MAKE THOSE PHONE CALLS. This injustice just cannot be tolerated.
If we truly are a nation of, by, and for the People, it is up to the People to set this right. We cannot wait for some elected public official to do it. Most of them seldom see the light. But what they often do is feel the heat. We need them to feel the heat NOW.
As I’ve said twice already, let me say again: The foundation of a free republic is equal justice under the law. In a court of law, nothing else matters! NOTHING!
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© Chuck Baldwin
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.