Wrong Place, Wrong Time Arrests Not Rare

Cross-posted at The ‘Ville Voice

Turns out that the case of Paul Schum, the Bardstown school principal who lost his job after being arrested on Halloween night in a shady section of downtown, is not so unique. As WLKY’s Mike Petchenik reported last night, police have made hundreds of arrests for “loitering for the purposes of prostitution.”

In Schum’s case, prosecutors dropped their case because they had no evidence of a crime. Because of Schum’s job and costume — he said he was dressed in drag for a Halloween party, and had property in the area — the case got thorough media attention. But nearly the same thing happened to a guy driving home from work – at an odd hour — in 1999. Darrell Leonard told Petchenik police told him he was “the wrong color, in the wrong neighborhood, in the wrong time of the morning…” and so arrested him. Leonard’s case was later dropped, and the city paid him $1,800 to cover his legal expenses and lost wages.

That was eight years ago, and Leonard was working a low-wages late shift job, and apparently was able to keep it. Schum, on the other hand, had his career ruined by the false arrest experience. Doesn’t it make you wonder what kind of settlement Schum might be in line for?

Petchenik found that in five years, police made more than 1,700 similar arrests, but nearly 2/3 were thrown out by judges. Leonard said he was told he got his citation for being in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time. You do the math, but it seems that means police are making nearly 600 arrests a year on charges that don’t stick. That’s about 10 a week.

It may not a good idea to be hanging out in certain neighborhoods in the middle of the night, but who knew one of the biggest risks would be an arrest for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Campaign Finance Fraud & Corruption: Guilty Plea!

Remember it? Money laundering and various shady crap in the gubernatorial primary? Go back to read about it if you don’t.

Elmo Greer & Sons, a London road contractor, will pay $250,000 to “defray costs of an investigation” while Phillip Dufour plead guilty to violating campaign finance laws and will pay a $10,000 fine.

Dufour pled guilty to charges of funneling money to eight individuals so that they could contribute to the campaigns of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, Republican Anne Northup and Democrat Steve Henry.

In a settlement with Stumbo’s office, the company agreed to pay $250,000 to defray costs of the investigation “as a gesture of good faith.” The company denied any liability in the case.

Stumbo said the case produced the largest fine and payment for election fraud in the state’s history.

Yeah. Steve Henry was in on it. Click here to read the rest.

And from The Arena:

Amber Dufour’s contributions first caught the reporter’s attention because she is 21, earned $8.50 an hour as a corrections officer and didn’t vote in last year’s May primary for governor. Yet, she was among the biggest contributors in that campaign, giving $1,000 to Fletcher, $1,000 to Northup, and $500 to Henry.

Update: Frank Simon & Illegal Robocalls

Wow. The flood of information we have received since November 5 is overwhelming. Dozens of you wrote in to complain about the disgusting and homophobic robocalls falsely claiming to be from the Fairness Campaign. Most speculate that the calls have Frank Simon’s fingerprints all over them, as they use language Simon utilized in radio ads that scared Louisville’s West End.

Mark Hebert reports (via AP) that Rep. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon) proposes legislation to ban robocalls during elections. Hebert says, “I’m not sure banning the phone calls would stand up to a legal challenge but requiring the callers to identify themselves and disclose their organization would certainly be a step in the right direction.”

Well, kids, calls without disclaimers are already illegal:

While the homophobic calls attacking Steve Beshear were non-commercial, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 requires that all automated or prerecorded calls and messages comply with the following:

  1. All calls must at the beginning state the identity of the business, individual or other entity responsible for the call.
  2. At some point during or after the message the caller must provide the telephone number of the business, individual or other entity responsible for the call so you may contact them during normal business hours to be removed from their contact list.

The calls violated both of the above requirements. Click here for more information on the TCPA from the FCC.

It is also worth noting that in 2006 the TCPA was enforced against a company placing calls against Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin.

When AT&T gets their butt in gear by revealing the party responsible for the robocalls, we’ll report it so proper legal action may be taken. We’re sure the newly elected Attorney General would love to get his hands on the information.

Finally Revealed: FBI Wanted to Prosecute Steve Henry Criminally

In Ryan Alessi’s story about Steve Pence, there’s a juicy tidbit about his investigation of Steve Henry. Turns out the FBI wanted to prosecute Henry criminally for Medicare fraud but Pence wouldn’t budge. The quest to nab him went as high as “Let the Eagle Soar” John Ashcroft’s office.

Steve Henry, the former Lt. Gov. in the Patton administration, is currently under investigation for serious campaign finance violations. For the purposes of disclosure: I’m (Jake) one of the former Henry employees who delivered evidence alleging Henry’s wrongdoing and look forward to discussing that evidence when it’s all said and done. (Which will hopefully be soon) Until then, this revelation by Alessi is quite telling. Proof that Henry is capable of serious criminal offenses.

From the Alessi story:

In 2001, when he became U.S. Attorney, he inherited a high-profile case involving then-Democratic Lt. Gov. Steve Henry. The FBI had investigated Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, for improperly billing Medicare for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pence declined to talk specifically about Henry, but he confirmed that in his first year as U.S. Attorney, he fought with the FBI over whether to try “a prominent case” civilly or criminally.

“I decided that the case would go civilly. FBI agents disagreed, and a couple of assistants who worked for me disagreed,” Pence said. “The FBI was so unhappy with it, they went to my superiors in Washington. In the end, it went all the way up to (former U.S. Attorney General) John Ashcroft’s office.” The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a civil suit against Henry in August 2002, and Henry paid $162,000 a year later to settle it.

Frank Simon Scares Louisville’s West End

Rev. Jerry StephensonFrank Simon (you know him from equating libraries and gays with the anti-christ) and Rev. Jerry Stephenson (you may know him from his gay-hating radio show) of Midwest Church of Christ are the two men behind ads airing on WLLV and WGTK radio in Louisville’s west end. The ads include a dialog between two gentlemen discussing Steve Beshear’s terrifying support of the gays. The ad directs listeners to Fairness.org just as the misleading robocalls did yesterday.

Joe Gerth has the scoop.

The Rev. Jerry Stephenson, chairman of the Values Coalition U.S.A., said his organization was part of a group that aired a radio advertisement over the weekend and yesterday that pointed out C-FAIR’s endorsement of Beshear.

The group, African Americans for Morality & Justice, was airing the ad on urban-format radio stations in Louisville and a conservative talk radio station. According to Greg Kramer, an advertising manager at WGTK radio in Louisville, conservative activist Frank Simon’s name also appears on paperwork relating to the ad.

“We live in the United States of America, and a person has a right to practice homosexuality if that’s what they choose to do,” he said. “The problem is the homosexual community is attacking our faith community.”

This quote from Jimmy LaSalvia really sums things up quite nicely:

“It’s a foregone conclusion that Gov. Fletcher is going to lose decidedly tomorrow, and these anti-gay campaign tactics are not going to save his campaign,” said Jimmy Lasalvia, president of the Kentucky chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that favors gay rights. “It’s just pathetic,” he said of the attacks on Beshear.

We promise we won’t always be on a homophobia kick but Fletcher’s decision to castigate the gays and use us as a scary campaign wedge issue sealed the deal.

To update the robocall story from yesterday: We’re close to determining the source of the calls. And contrary to what Kentucky Registry of Election Finance has unfortunately told some people, it is illegal not to have a disclaimer on electronic advertisements. That includes telephone calls advocating the election or defeat of a candidate. Cite: KRS 121.190(1); 32 KAR 2:110. We remind the culprits that they’re required to file their independent expenditure with the KREF.

Breaking: Campaign Finance Violations – Louisville Library

A complaint has been filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance against those responsible for the Libraries Yes! tax proposal in Louisville:

  • Craig Buthod, Director, Louisville Free Public Library
  • Mary Griffith, Chair, Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Inc.
  • Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Inc.
  • Libraries Yes!, PIC

The complaint, filed by general counsel of the anti-tax side, alleges four serious violations of Kentucky finance law/KRS 121 including:

  1. printing and distribution of yard signs without required disclaimers
  2. distribution of advocacy materials without proper disclaimers,
  3. use of government employees for campaign purposes on business time
  4. mailing materials which directly circumvent campaign finance reporting requirements as independent expenditures.

Click here for a copy of the complaint filed with KREF.

Sources tell us that Ernie Fletcher is expected to make a statement in opposition to the Library campaign. Sen. Dan Seum (R-Louisville) is also expected to introduce legislation further closing loopholes allowing government employees to work on campaigns during “company” time.

Developing. More to come.