"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity..." - Hunter S. Thompson (pbuh), 1973

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Two-fer

Normally I don't post twice in the same day, but this story epitomizes, I think, the nature and mission of this blog:

Louisville lawyer Steve Pence tied to case of crooked N.Y. banker
Ex-Lt. Gov., prosecutor an unnamed co-conspirator

Louisville lawyer Steve Pence, a former Kentucky lieutenant governor and federal prosecutor, has been linked as an unnamed co-conspirator to a federal criminal case in New York in which an ex-bank CEO pleaded guilty to fraud.

Read the full story here.

A Slap on the Wrist

The Fayette Urban County Council has found a Lexington police sergeant guilty of misconduct.
(and he still gets away with it)

Earl Rayford was demoted during a disciplinary hearing Tuesday night, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Rayford was accused of going against state law and department policy by asking officers to give money found on a fugitive to his step-daughter.

Rayford's attorney says his client was only trying to return the money to its rightful owner, but his superiors say what he did was wrong.

Now I could be completely mistaken, but when someone - anyone - goes against state law, isn't that person supposed to be charged and prosecuted under state law ? What, then, is the message the Lexington PD is sending - that violations of state law committed by Lexington police aren't serious enough to merit prosecution and potential prison time? Is is a race issue? A tenure issue? An issue of "connections"?


The Kentucky Revised Statutes defines theft as:

 514.030 Theft by unlawful taking or disposition -- Penalties.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in KRS 217.181 or 218A.1418, a person is guilty of theft by unlawful taking or disposition when he unlawfully:
(a) Takes or exercises control over movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof; or
(b) Obtains immovable property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
(2) Theft by unlawful taking or disposition is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property is five hundred dollars ($500) or more, in which case it is a Class D felony.
Seems pretty straight-forward to me, yet the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government seemed to gloss over this particular statute when it came to a police sergeant in their employ. Was it politics, favoritism, or...?

Read the full story, then you decide.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I can use "Bull Malarkey" in a sentence, too

Yet another judge says "They're out to get me" in yet another case of judicial misconduct. To that I say "Bull Malarkey"...

Harlan circuit judge faces misconduct charges

The top judicial official in Harlan County abused his position to try to discredit his cousin's opponent in a political race, an ethics panel has charged.
Circuit Judge Russell D. Alred also committed numerous other ethics breaches, including seeking a job for another cousin; compromising his impartiality by pushing for investigations of people; and ordering people to take drug tests without cause, the charges allege.
The state Judicial Conduct Commission publicly issued a total of 20 charges against Alred on Tuesday. That is a high number compared to other recent cases.
The charges — which are administrative, not criminal — allege that Alred has committed misconduct, besmirched the judiciary, allowed family or other relationships to impair his objectivity and has been unfair.
The commission could rule that the charges have no merit.
However, if the panel decides Alred violated ethics standards, his potential punishment ranges from being privately admonished to being suspended or even removed from office.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An Idea So Crazy, It Just Might Work

The cost of incarceration vs. the cost of everything else must be starting to make an impression on the "Lock 'Em All Up" crowd...

FRANKFORT -- Some bills strut and fret their hour on the stage, full of sound and fury, but in the end signify little. Others come through on cat’s feet, quietly, plain in their presentation but historically transformative in what they plan to do.
This week, a true ‘change’ bill of the latter sort passed the General Assembly, quickly and with little fanfare, a strikingly bipartisan bill that rethinks a fundamental but ever-more-costly function of state government: Corrections.

House Bill 463 takes a long look at the drift toward harsh and punitive sentencing in the so-called War on Drugs, and admits the unproductive drag such sentencing of non-violent offenders has become on the state budget.

Kentucky has about 20,500 prison inmates and spends about $440 million a year on Corrections -- closing in fast on a billion dollars a biennium. As recently as 2008, the Pew Research Center reported Kentucky had the fastest growing prison population in the nation. Incarceration costs nearly $22,000 per inmate, per year -- money many have come to see as pure waste if all it accomplishes is simple punishment of low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Irony is Intoxicating

I think the headline says it all.

Mont. Judge Robert E. Lee: On DUI task force, arrested for DUI 
(AP) HELENA, Mont. - A Montana justice of the peace set to preside over a DUI court later this year has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs after authorities said he stumbled sweating and disoriented into a police station.

The misdemeanor charge filed Thursday against Robert E. Lee is the latest in a string of DUI incidents involving high-profile officials as Montana lawmakers consider stricter laws aimed at changing attitudes of acceptance toward driving under the influence.

Lee, 66, is charged with driving while under the influence of methadone, a synthetic narcotic used to relieve pain or prevent withdrawal symptoms from drug addiction. He denied the charges Friday in a phone interview with The Associated Press, but declined to speak about the allegations in detail.
For more on the story, go here...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Clarion Call

Sometimes you see something so inspiring, so thought-provoking, and just so darn true, that you have to pass the message along. You know - to help that seed of an idea grow.

This is my effort to do that.

If watching this video makes you think, if it makes you angry at the gradual whittling away of  your constitutional rights, and above all - if it inspires you to action then please, copy the embedding code and post it on your blog, web page, or whatever.

If, on the other hand, it offends you - then look in the mirror and ask yourself why.

Her name is Ann Barnhardt, and she needs our support.

 Part 1

Part 2

Kudos to Gates of Vienna , where I first saw this amazing video. Pop over there and see and read more amazing and thought-provoking things.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Side Bar

I have not had the strength nor the inclination to post anything new in the last several days, thanks to a particularly nasty bout with an intestinal flu.  Without going into detail (which I am quite certain is unnecessary, anyway), it was awful.  I have regained some strength - at least enough to give a tinker's damn - to update the blog a bit.

But only just...

Here's something that caught my attention that merits posting. Only one word comes to mind: graft.

State lawmaker’s employer is building a courthouse he helped fund (courtesy BluegrassPolitics)

State Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty

FRANKFORT — In 2006, state Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, helped authorize $13 million in the state budget to build a new Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead.
In 2008, local construction company Packs’ Inc. was assigned to manage the project, in partnership with Alliance Corp. of Glasgow. Also in 2008, Stacy first disclosed he was employed by Packs’ in a paid job that he held for at least the next three years and may still hold, according to his annual legislative financial disclosures.
Stacy declined Tuesday to talk about his work for Packs’ or his involvement in the judicial center, which is expected to be completed this summer.
“We’re not gonna discuss this,” Stacy said outside the Kentucky House chamber.
Packs’ President A. Keith Pack also declined to comment on Stacy or the project.
Kentucky legislators may own and work for companies that construct the projects they help put in the state budget, as long as they don’t hold an unfair advantage over competitors, said Anthony Wilhoit, executive director of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
But ethics watchdog Common Cause of Kentucky said the practice looks “very bad” and should be avoided.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Uhh, Wait - We're NOT Getting Paid??

Slacked off this week, but this issue came to the fore, and I had to do a double-take. Odd that a group of people who endorse merit-based salaries are the very same who bristle at the idea of not getting paid when they themselves have accomplished nothing of merit. Credit goes to WLEX for reporting this.

Legislative Pay On Hold

FRANKFORT- Lawmakers caught in legislative limbo with the House adjourned and the Senate in recess won't get paid for any additional days for now.
Legislative Research Commission Director Bobby Sherman said Friday he has ordered a hold on any further salaries and expenses associated with the special legislative session until Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear decides to veto or let stand language in a Medicaid budget bill that bars payment during a 10-day recess that would end April 6.
The total amount in question could exceed $600,000 for all of the state's 138 lawmakers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do As We Say, Not As We Do...

I found this article most interesting, in that an attorney actually had the nerve to question the ethics of those whose job it is to, themselves, question ethics - and then wound up in hot water over it. Credit goes for this article goes to and the author, John Cheves

Free-speech suit grows from lawyer's criticism of state ethics commission

A First Amendment lawsuit to be decided soon in U.S. District Court in Frankfort might establish whether a respected lawyer broke an ethics rule — risking his law license — by criticizing the state's Legislative Ethics Commission.
"This is a very important case because free speech is, I think, going out of style. The practice now is for someone in authority to say, 'We didn't like what you said, and we're gonna get you for it,'" said Stan Billingsley of Carrollton, a retired state trial judge who has written about the case extensively on his legal blog and in a new book.
Nobody disputes John M. Berry Jr. was entitled to disagree in 2007 when the ethics commission dismissed a complaint against Kentucky Senate President David Williams involving campaign money solicited from Frankfort lobbyists.
The commission ruled Williams' Senate aides innocently erred

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Your State Government (?) at Work (???)

I thought this rather important to post, since much of it is glossed over in the media, so here is the list of what passed and what failed in Kentucky’s General Assembly this session.


Control corrections costs, improve treatment options for drug offenders (HB 463)
Allow optometrists to perform certain procedures now limited to ophthalmologists (SB 110)
Hunting, fishing:
Amend constitution to protect right to hunt and fish (HB 1)
Adult abuse:
Prevent people convicted of abusing adults from inheriting from their victims or managing their affairs (HB 52)
Bath salts:
Ban synthetic drugs now marketed as “bath salts” (HB 121)
Streamline guardianship standards (HB 164)
Legalize fireworks that explode or shoot into the air (HB 333)
Establish procedures for correcting textbook errors (HB 464)
Allow creation of regional sewer authority in Louisville area (HB 26)
Streamline business-permitting process (SB 8)
School principals:
Give superintendents more say in hiring principals (SB 12)
State licensing of companies that allow phone or online wagering on Kentucky horse races (HB 387)


Truth, Politics, and the Judicial Industry Collided...HARD

I would like to add to this, but I think the federal judge's statement at the end of this article says it best.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A former judge was sentenced Thursday to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in eastern Kentucky’s Clay County.
U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said former Clay Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle, 67, headed the conspiracy and therefore got the longest sentence to date in the case.
"Deterrence is a major factor in a case such as this," Reeves said.
Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

I found this editorial at The Richmond Register's site, and I thought it well thought out and very lucid. So here it is. Please post any comments down below.

SEEK and ye shall find Medicaid money

FRANKFORT — Not only does Gov. Steve Beshear refuse to consider cuts in education to solve Kentucky’s Medicaid crisis, but he accused Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, of wanting “our schoolchildren… to pay for a shortfall in the Medicaid budget” when Williams proposed paltry cuts in the amount of SEEK funding local school districts receive.

The Support Education Excellence in Kentucky program uses a formula for allocating money to cover the costs of transporting and educating the commonwealth’s K-12 students.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

He Didn't REALLY Do Anything Wrong...Really

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but it rather galls me when public officials, especially those in law enforcement, hold everyone else to a higher standard than they apparently hold themselves.

Once again, credit goes to WLEX for reporting on this.

Lexington Police Officer Faces Charge

The Lexington Police Department has leveled charges against one of its own.

The department and the Lexington Fayette-Urban County Council are looking into allegations that Sgt. Earl Rayford asked his officers to give money found on a fugitive to his stepdaughter.

LEX 18 obtained a copy of the charges before they were made public. They were presented to the council during a disciplinary hearing Tuesday night.

The charges stem from an incident in August of 2010. A statement of formal charges alleges Rayford was off duty and asked dispatch to send officers to arrest Delvagio Lax, a wanted fugitive. Rayford's attorney, William Jacobs, said Lax was dating Rayford's stepdaughter at the time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bidness in the Bluegrass

 Found this today on WLEX's website. Feel free to comment below.

Williamsburg Attorney Pleads Guilty To Extortion Conspiracy With Local Sheriff

Ronnie Wayne Reynolds, a criminal defense attorney in Williamsburg, Ky., admitted to conspiring with a former Whitley County sheriff to extort money from his clients according to a plea agreement filed with the federal court in Lexington Wednesday.At the hearing, Ronnie Wayne Reynolds, 54, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.Reynolds admitted that on at least three occasions between 2004 and 2007, he and the former sheriff conspired to extort money from individuals charged with felony drug offenses in state court in exchange for favorable considerations in their cases.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So Many Problems, So Little Competency

Whilst slouching about looking for some good stuff to discuss, I stumbled upon the mother-load. Credit goes to the individual sites listed. Please feel free to post any comments here.

Today and executive order rescinding the order for Michael Carneal to testify in the case of Michael Carneal v. J. David Donahue, et al., was rescinded. [SoS]

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Efforts to boost transparency in states are often thwarted by old patterns of secrecy. [HuffPo]

Kentucky is the worst state in the country for cutting funding for mental health issues. We are clearly winning the future here in the Commonwealth. [H-L]

Steve Beshear says he is turning up the heat on David Williams. Maybe so. But let’s get real. Neither have a clue what’s really going on. Beshear just has more power to spend tax dollars campaigning. Or will the KDP be reimbursing the state for that airfare? And then for the use of state resources to push out press releases, talking points and such? Should we hold our breath? [Amanda Van Benschoten]

Mitch McConnell, who has never had an original idea of his own, is now blaming Barack Obama for high gas and oil prices. [The Hill]

The world should still be afraid that these people thought Sarah The Quitter Palin was qualified to do anything but breathe. [HuffPo]

Ben Chandler is “Boehner Boy” and he is in action. You are welcome. [DownWithTyranny]

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Face of Muhammed: The 12 Muhammed Drawings - Drawings of Muhammed

This won't make a lot of people happy, but welcome to America - "Land of the First Amendment". You can thank Fred Phelps and that merry band of inbreds he refers to as a "church"...

Face of Muhammed: The 12 Muhammed Drawings - Drawings of Muhammed

We're Broke! Quick - Blame Somebody!

Here in the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky, things aren't as green as the Bluegrass would have you believe...

For starters, the state is broke. Every bit of $1 billion in the red. Hence the furloughs that Frankfort is imposing on all state employees. One unpaid day a month for all state employees is somehow supposed to save TONS of cash.  I guess they forgot about the fact that all these employees are just waiting to use their sick time, vacation time, or whatever freebie time they have accrued.  So in essence, the money is still coming out of the treasury - from where in the treasury is a mystery.  I don't know about the rest of you, but when my bank account is empty and I OWE people, cash does not magically appear in my pockets.

So in any event, because Governor Beshear isn't having a successful run at selling his "Robbing-Peter-to-Pay-Paul" scheme:
The House and Senate had been in discussions for three days to try to reach an accord on Beshear's proposal to balance the Medicaid budget by using $166.5 million from next year's appropriation. Senate Republicans want across-the-board cuts to all government programs to fill the gap.
Beshear's proposal would not only shift funding from next fiscal year's budget to close this year's Medicaid budget gap but would also balance next year's budget with some $425 million in cost savings in the Medicaid program by entering into private contracts with managed-care organizations. Williams contends Beshear's plan won't work because he doesn't have time to enter into contracts with such organizations.

The GOP-controlled Senate has steadfastly rejected Beshear's proposal to fill the Medicaid gap. Instead, they have called for cuts of 1.58 percent to all government programs next fiscal year to transfer money into Medicaid.
He (Beshear) would rather lay blame at the feet of Senate President (and Republican) David Williams:

Beshear said Williams is putting thousands of jobs at risk at hospitals and clinics that provide medical care to the elderly, poor and disabled Kentuckians who rely on Medicaid.

"Sen. Williams has apparently declared and decided that he has better things to do," Beshear said. "Well, it is time to hold him accountable. It is time to remind him of the job he's been elected to do."

Hmm... Hold politicians accountable ? Remind them of why they were elected ?

That is a rather radical pair of notions.  Might it actually work?  Well...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Snatched from the Jaws of Death

This is a little digression from the tenor of this blog, but I had an experience today which can only be described as a scene from "Drive Angry". I was on my way to an appointment when, while approaching an intersection to make a left turn on a green arrow, some doofus approaching from my right ran his red light doing every bit of 60 mph very nearly t-boned me. For some reason I looked to my right just in time to hit the breaks, downshift, and apply the parking break all at the same time, causing me to power-slide through the intersection.

This maneuver placed me parallel and about 3 feet from the oncoming suv's driver-side door.  I peed a little.  There is no way I could have pulled this off IF I HAD TRIED.  Proof that there are angels looking out for people, because said doofus also managed to not demolish the two cars that were in the lane to my right traveling through the intersection, and by all rights should have been turned into vehicular pop-tarts.  Thank you, God.

Anyway, that is the post for today.  In the next post, I plan on posting my first in a series relating to local (Kentucky) politics as it relates to the judicial process.

This should be pretty juicy stuff.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This Isn't Justice

That's exactly what the title means, and that is what this blog is about. I have witnessed first-hand the whittling away piece by piece of our constitutional rights in this country. I have seen (as have most of you) justice, common good, and personal liberty take a back seat to politics and personal enrichment.  I have witnessed how politics greatly influences "justice" in Kentucky. 

This blog exists so that discussion, enlightenment, and just plain venting can take place.  You may (and probably do) know things I don't, and I'd like your insight.  I got a few interesting facts about the judicial industry I am going to share.  I don't know what direction this will take, but observe the blogosphere rules of etiquette, please.

So, off we go...