Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sheriff Jones Comments on Pending Litigation--Really?

After returning from a federal court hearing, Sheriff Jones shares his comments and prognostications with the local media

Sheriff Tommy Jones

Although Sheriff Jones has generally steered clear from major blunders, this time, he faces a tough quagmire--which he has made increasingly worse for himself and Brian "Wormy" Hodge.

In the recent Advocate&Democrat news article on April 23, 2017, his comments on the 'vote buying' federal indictment against Hodge have "raised eyebrows" on Jones' ability to perform under difficult situations.

The most shocking comment (in part) was that "if Hodge is guilty, he'll need to go to jail." Jones will soon realize it's not up to him to come up with a simplistic solution to make this 'go away.' Even if "Wormy" is found guilty, he may not automatically face prison time. Prosecutors and his attorney may come up with a 'plea deal' in exchange for information that has not yet been revealed.

Sheriff Jones, obviously may not have had the advice of a good attorney--turning into what seems to be, a "chatty kathy doll" may have violated several judicial guidelines--he is due to meet with FBI officials soon to answer questions.

Model Rule 3.6 and Extrajudicial Statements about Pending Matters
Substantial Likelihood of Materially Prejudicing a Proceeding”
Model Rule 3.6(a) states the fundamental principle that determines when public statements regarding pending matters are permitted and prohibited:
A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.
This standard also likely governs dissemination of court pleadings, transcripts, and the like to the media without further comment. See Pa. Informal Op. 96-45 (June 21, 1996).

Model Rule 3.6(a) “sets forth a basic general prohibition against a lawyer’s making statements that the lawyer knows or should know will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding.” Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 3.6 cmt. [3]. In doing so, Model Rule 3.6 attempts to strike a balance between “protecting the right to a fair trial and safeguarding the right of free expression.” Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 3.6 cmt. [1].

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hidden Forest Service Campground: A Crime Haven with a View

Bromen's SUV used in getaway

The fallout from the "Missing Minnesota girl" unfolds 

it's now known that Jon Bromen, the "wanted criminal" who kept Claire Cooney and her mother for 10 days in an "out of the way" forest service campground in Monroe County, was caught because of a "dead battery" which forced him to leave his campsite and walk down Hwy 68 seeking help.

Why did the trio go un-noticed for a week and a half by Forest Service Law Enforcement? The District USFS ranger would have noticed "something wasn't right" if he had taken the time to drive in one of the secluded campground areas just off Joe Brown Rd. The same USFS campground area that a drifter from Alabama made his base of operations for several weeks. 

A man, woman, and child living in their vehicle in one of the coldest weeks of the year: you can bet would have raised a "red flag" for experienced USFS Agent Shawn Reece--who likely would have immediately gotten on the radio and called Monroe County Sheriff Dispatch for a 10-29 check on the vehicle and it's occupants. That's "IF" he had driven in the secluded campground areas--which have become less and less user-friendly over the past few years; it's almost as if they hope that the  large pot-holes on the road, the garbage, and lack of mowing will discourage use of this facility. 

If not for Scott Williams, who recognized the wandering Minnesotans on Hwy 68--the case may have had a sad outcome. See how Bromen was captured HERE

Monday, March 13, 2017

Missing girl found near Coker Creek Welcome Center

Claire Cooney kept hidden for a week in a Forest Service campground behind the Coker Creek Welcome Center 

Brian Cooney hadn't seen his daughter Claire for over a month. On Sunday her non-custodial mother, along with her "wanted fugitive" traveling companion, and 6 yr. old Claire were spotted walking on Hwy 68 by an alert store owner. It's now presumed they were walking because there was a "BOLO" (be on the lookout) for their vehicle bearing a Minnesota license plate, or had car trouble with their vehicle--regardless, it's likely they were on a typical Sunday walk, and had planned to return to their campsite.

The secluded area where the trio was camping for several days has long been a favorite spot for drifters and gold-panners--and, has become a breeding ground for crime and illegal activities-- Claire was kept there for a week without Forest Service Agent Shawn Reece being aware that a "wanted fugitive," Claire, and her mother were in his jurisdiction.
About 3 years ago, a drifter from Alabama made the same secluded campground area near the Welcome Center his base of operations, see Peeping Tom Arrested.

The trio likely (did) visit-as told by P.I. Renee Brewer, the Coker Creek Welcome Center, but did not raise any suspicion--this facility, founded by Don Charest  (made up of almost 100% recent Northern move-ins), welcomes newcomers--especially white couples with a school age child... Did the staff ignore the missing child posters?...In 2005, during time of the disappearance/search for Franny Graham, who lived just across the road, no missing person's posters were seen in or around the Welcome Center--in fact, the newly hired contract facility postal worker at the time (Barbara Coleman), said she wasn't told about Franny's disappearance, even 6 months after she started...How could this be?...Well you see, bad publicity is "bad for tourism and land sales."

While the trio traveled through middle TN, they attracted the attention of an alert store owner,--when they arrived in Monroe county, another alert store owner from (Williams Mountain Market) recognized the group from a missing person flyer. 
Claire's natural blond hair had been dyed black, and with make-up, looked older  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Making Monroe County 'Safe Again', MCSD on Dateline NBC

In a series of 'botched' death investigations over the past decade, the successful resolution of the Bob McClancy case marks a turning point

MCSD Capt. Travis Jones
Being profiled on a Dateline NBC episode, especially a 2 hour episode was a head-turner...over the past decade, suspicious deaths were common... 
At times, it seemed like MSNBC reporter Keith Morrison was conducting a "deposition" on Det. Travis Jones, who was clearly uncomfortable with some of the questions. Lack of training, and at times, a disregard for standard 'law enforcement guidelines' during the 8 years of former Sheriff Bivens, compromised several death investigations. The McClancy murder was solved, (even though it had been dismissed in 2006) mainly because of 'a dumb mistake' by the accused.' However, don't hold your breath on other  'cold case investigations' by the recently (2014) elected District Attorney, Stephen Crump.

In 2016, no one could have imagined the professionalism and dedication of the 'new' Monroe County Sheriff's Office (and the Prosecutor's Office) would have been the subject of a 2 hour documentary.  See a brief outline below of the McClancy death investigation. If you watched the Dateline episode, you may notice striking similarities in the suspicious death of Charlie Young--in a 45 minute narrative, Charlie's son describes what he has uncovered about his father's death--watch Marvin Young Victim of Corruption.

Among the major players in the Secrets in the Smoky Mountains episode were MCSD Captain Travis Jones, VA investigator Nate Landkammer, and from the 10th Judicial District Prosecutor's Office-Cindy Schemel and Mac McCoin. 

As of 2014, there's 'a new sheriff in town'--with continued leadership and excellence, the MCSD moves closer to perhaps, one day having a Public Safety Standard Accreditation-- . Congratulations!

A brief outline of the Dateline 'Secrets in the Smoky Mountains' 

  • in 2006, Capt. Jones becomes suspicious that he has a 'staged death investigation' and not an apparent suicide.
  • Pictures found on a digital camera show several poses of the victim, as if the perpetrator was deciding which photo would best serve to disguise his crime.
  • The initial indictment of 'negligent homicide' was dismissed in court because Captain Jones failed to get a warrant for the camera.
  • Martha Ann and Chuck Kaczmarczyk were preparing to lessen their storage items, so they could travel the world--Now comes the biggest mistake of their criminal enterprise: Martha Ann gives her adopted son Sean a desktop computer, which had the same incriminating pictures on a file folder--(several posed pictures of Bob McClancy, before his alleged 'suicide' was reported on a 911 call back in 2006).
  • Sean sees the pictures and calls Martha...she quickly realizes how damaging the pictures could be and tells Sean: "For God's sakes, Delete those Pictures." ...Sean becomes suspicious that his dad's death was not a suicide.
  • Sean now has the pictures, and they are legally his, because Martha Ann gave him the computer.
  • The prosecutor's office re-opens the case--although prosecutors generally steer clear from cases which have been dismissed--the fact that the victim was a retired cop from Florida, may have played a significant role in re-opening the investigation. And, the Feds were involved... building a case of Social Security Fraud and other charges. It would have been terrible 'PR' for the DA's Office to stand-by and 'do nothing'...
  •  In 2016, Chuck and Martha Ann received lengthy prison sentences.