"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.