Citizens United v Federal Election Commission showed how powerless Americans are to elect popular leaders in a political system controlled by the corporations. That powerlessness does not just extend to Congress and the Presidency. It goes all the way down to local district attorneys. The word on the street is offend a corporation, go to jail and become their slave laborer.
Aaron Swartz did nothing wrong but went up against a corporation trying to control the Internet. A corporate prosecutor, using public funds, was ready to put Aaron Swartz away for 30 years on a trumped up charge. Aaron Swartz isn’t the first person driven to suicide, if that’s what it was, after discovering that corporate district attorneys had the right to take away his freedom for the rest of his life. If he hadn’t died, imagine how much in profits Microsoft or some other corporation would have gotten off his informed technical work as a low wage laborer in prison.
In Sonoma County, a whistle-blower in the environmental field was put in jail on a million dollars bond on claims that he made a personal threat against a tow truck driver who readily admitted that he might have misinterpreted what the whistle-blower said and that it might not have been a threat at all but an expression of a concern about a condition. In the same county, a corporate wine company took away part of the property of horse rancher (John Jenkel) who was denied the right to even speak on his own behalf in court. After the winery corporation caused the death of one of Jenkel’s horses, he was charged with exhibiting the body of the dead horse when he tried to show what they had done to his horse.
In Orange County, CA, victims of violent crimes find there is nobody home in local law enforcement to investigate illegal acts committed against them. Beaten and threatened women cry out for help only to be ignored. Such was the case of Quee Chadwick, a woman whose mistake was being married to a rich man who was above the system of justice — until after her strangulation murder.
When Quee turned up missing after strong evidence (including blood, broken glass, children not picked up at school and accounts from neighbors) that she had met with foul play at the hands of her husband, the police did a cursory look and probably would have let it go at doing next to nothing but for the body being found in a dumpster in San Diego County and the husband being arrested while crossing the U.S. border into Mexico. Officials in San Diego wish that Orange County would keep the bodies of their domestic violence murder victims in their own county so they don’t have to deal with them. Fortunately for Quee, the San Diego Coroner examined the body as the Orange County coroner has an extremely bad reputation for overlooking indications of murder. There was evidence that the husband had carried Quee’s dead body in the truck of his car to the place Orange County law enforcement officials seems to believe the bodies of most of the county’s women belong — the trash heap. Of course, Quee also had the misfortune of having a rich husband. In Orange County, money talks and rich men who execute women have a permanent get out of jail free pass that police and prosecutors do their best to honor.
Orange County often refuses to investigate murders of domestic violence victims unless some outside force puts extreme pressure on them. San Diego didn’t like having to deal with a dead corpse and so Orange County was forced to put forth some kind of effort in the matter.
California Attorney Kamala Harris most certainly wouldn’t have encouraged any action in the matter as California’s domestic violence victims are waiting for her to do anything at all to help the state’s women since taking office in 2011. It’s only been three years. Kamala needs time to do her fingernails before taking a first step towards fulfilling her promise on that issue. Families of victims have to fight to get any autopsy. In the rare instances where the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s office looks at a dead domestic violence victim, it generally just spews out white-washing reports that contradict the medical reports of doctors who examined the domestic violence victim as she was dying.
Between the time the hospital staff and the Sheriff-coroner’s office look at a body, bones that were found by the doctor or hospital staff to have been broken are suddenly healed and were never broken, etc. There is a new sheriff in town but she has to deal with the old Mike Corona’s (the convicted former sheriff’s) influence that too often still rules behind the scenes in her agency.
Quee Chadwick was one of many recent executions of the county’s women via domestic violence in the last year. Her death got minimal media exposure as the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times try to keep a hush-hush on all domestic violence murders. With District Attorney Tony Rackauckas refusing to assist women, more and more are wondering if they should drive around the county or rush through it in the middle of the night before any men can fire off a shot or get a stranglehold. Even in cases where the district attorney is forced to prosecute men for killing their wives, Tony makes sure they have an easier road, choosing those cases as exempt from the death penalty, as in the Chadwick murder above. Yep! Peter Chadwick and his millions are exempt from the death penalty. (Note: This writer opposes the death penalty in all cases, but compare this murder by a rich white man of his wife and the mother of his children with the case of Troy Davis, an innocent man who was never known to harm a woman.) Tony Rackauckas lessened the charges to help a fellow misogynist. Any guesses on the chances of early parole or probation? How about a medal of honor for Peter Chadwick, delivered personally by Kamala and Tony? It’s a wait and see on the latter.
In many cases, women reporting crimes committed by their husbands find that they are in danger of being prosecuted as accessories in the crimes for which the perpetrators are never prosecuted. Either that or their assailants have them locked up on civil contempt charges if they complain. In fact violent, obsessed assailants will often file bogus civil contempts against crime victims who aren’t even parties to the civil case for which the contempt against them was filed. Most attorneys don’t know what to do with these, and crime victims are too often in danger of being jailed on these bogus non-criminal contempts. Crime victims have very little chance to save themselves when caught up in a system that is fixed on behalf of rich violent criminals and corporations.
So while victims of violent crimes cannot get any assistance, corporations and the super-rich get all the assistance and prosecutions they want in the most questionable of circumstances. Take for example the case of a former Santa Ana chiropractor recently tried in Fullerton. We will call him Dr. G to prevent any embarrassment. Dr. G is from Iran and has limited English abilities. His secretary, a Spanish speaker, kept track of the office records. Dr. G. didn’t do insurance billing. Instead his patients, if interested in being reimbursed, would submit bills provided by Dr. G’s secretary to their insurance companies. Unfortunately for Dr. G, a former associate chiropractor grabbed all of Dr. G’s funds and most of his records and fled the country, leaving Dr. G’s records in shambles and Dr. G without the ability to verify information in the billings.
Because the partner had taken his funds and records, Dr. G. asked law enforcement to assist in getting the former associate to return the money and records. The police located the former partner in Iran, where they spoke with him by phone but did not make any attempt to encourage him to return or to send back any stolen property. No official attempts were made by authorities to get anything back. After all, the associate now had the money and the influence and the hard worker who once had the money now was left with his skills and the bills. What did the police and law enforcement care about a kind crime victim who had been helping the community?
Dr. G. wasn’t just a chiropractor but rather a humanitarian who frequently treated patients for free or very low rates. One mom (Mitra), who had previously been treated by him, asked him to treat her son and his roommates after they were in a severe car collision. He provided somewhere between 35 and 55 treatments to each of the boys, who generally came together to be treated. When the boys asked for the billing, Dr. G’s secretary provided it to them. The billing only listed 35 treatments as opposed to the full course of treatment these boys with serious injuries had received from him but Dr. G. was willing to donate his services on the additional visits. The boys apparently felt the billing was accurate as they or someone on their behalf submitted it to the insurance company. Most people return incorrect billings to the provider. Receiving the insurance money for the billed visits wasn’t enough to make the boys happy. They and their mother wanted more. The mom called the insurance company asking for more but learned that, if more were given, it would have to go to the doctor because of the doctor’s lien. At that point, she told the insurance company, that the doctor didn’t do anything and that she and the boys should get all the money. The insurance company, hearing this, decided that the doctor needed to be prosecuted — even though they had not paid the doctor a penny and even though he had not provided any billing to the insurance company. The insurance company and district attorney had no interest in prosecuting those individuals who had actually submitted the billing to the insurance company and received and cashed the checks.
By prosecuting doctors, licenses get permanently revoked. Other patients who would go to the doctor, were it not for the automatic license revocation that would result from any such conviction, would have to find another source for covered services. The fewer doctors, the fewer insurance claims as patients are put on waiting lists for the remaining professionals to fit them into slots in their growingly busy schedules. On the flip side, imprisoning chiropractors makes further business sense as additional chiropractors are needed in prison to keep the corporate imprisoned workers and the corporate prison guards fit to continue in their work. However, if a patient (instead of a corporation) sought a legitimate prosecution of a doctor, the patient would be told to file a civil law suit at his own expense. Based on results, too many district attorneys only work for the corporate welfare.
While criminally prosecuting doctors may make good insurance and business sense, it does a disservice to people needing assistance. When humanitarian doctors are jailed, it creates a hole in the community. In this case, the chiropractor was giving his work away for free to those who were uninsured or didn’t have money to pay for treatment.
Because of the theft of most of his income and savings, Dr. G. did not have money to obtain the OJ defense team or any defense team. At trial, he was represented by a public defender (whom we shall call Kim) who came across as a trainee. Kim failed to make the most standard pre-trial motions that would have been automatically expected of a competent public defender in prior years. Friends of Dr. G. compiled evidence. Witnesses were willing to testify and verify the work Dr. G did on those boys. Kim refused to look at the investigation results and expressed no interest in calling any witnesses, though she finally agreed to allow a couple of witnesses to testify for the Defendant. She refused to subpoena the secretary, to whom she had not spoken or to give Dr. G even a subpoena to give to the secretary. As the secretary did the billing for the boys, it would seem logical to see what she had to say. Kim told Dr. G. not to testify. He was a limited English speaker and she did not feel he would come off well.
In jury selection, she allowed people to be seated on the jury who were connected to insurance companies and law enforcement. Maybe she felt there was a place in heaven for public defenders who saved peremptory challenges. The person later chosen as the foreman was an insurance guy. Aware that Kim was refusing to look at results of an investigation proving Dr. G’s innocence and was refusing to call the most important witnesses, Dr. G. asked the judge if he could go it alone without an attorney. The judge denied the motion, likely fearing that a limited English speaker would have difficulty presenting his own case to the jury.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas pulled out all the stops on this prosecution. The county poured large sums of money into the case — sums unavailable to the defense. This doctor needed to be destroyed. Obviously a humanitarian that an insurance company wanted converted to the prison labor force was a bigger threat to the community than a violent killer who allegedly had no qualms about killing the mother of his children and dumping her in the trash. So which deputy prosecutor did Tony assign to put away the corporate target? None other than political aspirant and former Santa Ana Mayor Pro-Tem and City Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez.
Claudia, whose sole interest was in obtaining a conviction, did an excellent job towards that end. Friends of Dr. G’s were saying they wished Claudia had represented him. Though Alvarez’s witnesses all contradicted each other and, in essence, called each other liars and failed to show the doctor did anything wrong, her closing arguments made up for a lack of evidence. In her two closings (closing plus rebuttal to defense closing), Claudia contradicted the testimony, even of her own witnesses, in the trial so that the last thing in the jury’s mind (prosecutor always has the final argument) was Claudia’s restating — or rather reinvention — of the facts. It was Kim’s job to object to Claudia’s misstatement of the evidence in the closing and she didn’t.
Kim on the other hand, came across as unprepared and almost completely unfamiliar with her case. Her closing argument was simply based on the fact that each of the prosecution witnesses had destroyed the credibility of all the other prosecution witnesses and on the fact that the two independent witnesses she had bothered to call came across as honest men who saw the three boys at many of the visits. But then Kim didn’t have the last word and didn’t object when Claudia went back to reinventing the evidence in the rebuttal to Kim’s comments. Mostly, it looked as if Kim wasn’t paying attention. She mentioned she had to get back to the office and was in a hurry.
This reference to Dr. G’s case is to show which defendants District Attorney Tony Rackauckas consider to be the most heinous criminals in Orange County. Dedicated skilled professionals represent future profits to the corporations and this is more important than murder, robbery, rape or other irrelevant crimes committed against individuals.
A sweet little old lady named Esther was robbed by a violent Orange County man who got her social security number and used an Internet loophole, his computer skills, and forged checks to steal her life savings from her bank accounts. The Santa Ana Police unit dealing with financial crimes claimed they did not have enough time to look at bank records or letters from banks reporting thefts. They said they had too many other bank account thefts they were also not investigating. They only had time to investigate thefts where the victim presented a spreadsheet specially prepared by a forensic accountant the victim had hired or employed. In other words, they only cared about crimes against people or businesses that could afford police services. Why should Tony Rackauckas care about the theft of a million dollars from a person compared to the need of a corporation to wipe out the practice of a doctor who might treat future patients covered by insurance, resulting in a possible future outlay of corporate funds? Tony Rackauckas didn’t even lift a finger to help Deborah Breuner. Check out Deborah’s book, God’s On Our Side, Sweetie! But The Devil Has Control!
Esther and Deborah are humans and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will not help human victims — absent a push from another county disgusted with finding the dead bodies of Orange County women in its trash dumpsters. If Tony had bothered to help Quee Chadwick before she was murdered and thrown in the trash, she would be alive and her violent assailant would be in jail for his prior actions against her. Which woman will be the next Quee Chadwick and will it matter to Tony how many of Orange County’s women are murdered and dumped in the trash? Will he care after 100 or 200 or never? Why won’t Tony do anything to protect the life of Berkeley Girl, a child abuse victim of a violent rich Orange County man? Berkeley Girl continues to live in fear and terror, threatened with death and destruction by her rich father, who is now using the system to try to regain access to her and possibly finish what he started long ago. Will she escape his sharp knife this time or should those who love Berkeley Girl start investing in a funeral plot?
We need to ask ourselves what our role is in encouraging this continued misuse by America’s prosecutors of their offices. We have more power than you think. Ever hear of jury nullification? It is the power of jurors to say NO to laws that help corporations and hurt the people. Jury nullification is very simple. A criminal prosecutor cannot appeal an acquittal. The next time a corporation brings a criminal action as a way of abusing its power, the jurors can simply go into the jury room and vote “not guilty.” If suddenly the juries across America start refusing to convict private people going up against corporations, the district attorneys will have to start prosecuting legitimate claims so that their conviction rates rise above zero.
The fastest growing industry that is threatening the ability of American workers to find jobs is the corporate prison industry. That’s right. Don’t be afraid of an undocumented worker taking your job. It is more likely that the person taking your job will be a prison laborer.
If you have a skill, the corporate prisons want you. You’ve got job security and available housing. America has the highest population percentage in prison of any society in the history of the planet. It keeps the masses disenfranchised and silenced. It provides the corporations with willing American skilled laborers at low cost. Why go to Thailand when you can get skilled low cost labor right at home? Obama has shown that bailouts and tax breaks are for the corporations. If the humans want services, they can go to prison. Obama has prosecuted more whistle-blowers than all his predecessors combined. So instead of society doing something about corporate crime, the would-be truth teller finds himself silenced and forced into corporate prison slave labor.
While jobs on the outside are drying up and people are losing their homes, make sure you enjoy your time in the unemployment line. You don’t have to be in that line. You can get your job back by going to prison and having job security. America’s new jobs program has a place for you.
Additional links on the corporate imprisoned slave labor force:
The author is the chairman of a liberal Democratic organization that is working to move the country towards its true base, the people. She has organized major human rights events and worked with some of the most liberal leaders in America. Her career has included work as a criminal defense attorney, a licensed private investigator, an educator and a writer.