Better to commit an injustice than to countenance disorder – Goethe
I have been decrying lawyer corruption in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA for over 25 years. Given no choice, I have been applying First Amendment rights from outside of the United States, from Switzerland. Not everyone is as lucky.
The lawyers whom I continue to expose for unAmerican, unimaginably corrupt legal practice may not understand how the above quote by Goethe applies to them, yet they acted correspondingly. The threat of disorder by exposing their legal racket (forcing plea bargains, rigging trials for uncooperative clients, excluding Black jurors) relegates the idea of individual justice – or justice at all – as quaint.
The lawyers exposed on this blog were motivated to prevent disorder in their ranks by illegal means … to save themselves.
In Milwaukee, a judge punished me for exposing colleagues’ misdeeds in print. Lawyers didn’t appreciate seeing evidence that had been deliberately concealed from a jury appear in essays and a book, Beyond Outrage.
I was overseas during the defamation hearing, no notice provided while I was in New Zealand. That was convenient. The judge issued his decision in the absence of both the accused author and any reference to lawyer misconduct. The judgement rendered, for daring to expose local legal rot, was the highest ever awarded against an author in the State of Wisconsin – over one-half million dollars, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Founding Fathers did not foresee a need to exercise the right of freedom of speech – as enumerated in the Bill of Rights – from the safety of Europe. They would have presumed an appropriate degree of lawyer integrity in upholding the First Amendment and the right to tell the truth in publications. That presumption did not hold true in Milwaukee.
Threatened and punished for exposing the truth about lawyer misconduct at home, I decided to remove myself from the clutches of revenge-seeking, law-violating but influential lawyers; I continued to expose them from Switzerland.
This blog includes rich detail on Milwaukee lawyer misconduct of the worst kind. A trial that I withstood featured no resemblance to the American myth of justice as taught by school and culture. “The fairest legal system in the world,” as often automatically parroted, requires a dose of reality. But stories that undermine welcome myths can have a hard time being heard.
This posting does not repeat the information in earlier postings on the blog, but to summarise:
Defense Lawyer Martin Kohler, under the aegis of Judge David Hansher, attempted with great urgency to coerce a plea bargain from his client. The plea bargain was meant to conceal incompetence and negligence in a child abuse case. The bargain would avoid embarrassment for significant lawyer colleagues. Eighteen months of coercion failed in what was intended to be a “speedy” trial. Angry and vengeful at the failure, Hansher and Kohler orchestrated a rigged trial:
– witnesses for the defence were intimidated, prevented from testifying;
– Lawyer Kohler failed to provide any witness list to the court;
– potential black jurors were excluded from serving, the means for such deliberately designed by Lawyer Kohler with astoundingly perverse logic, agreed to by Judge Hansher and prosecutor Fred Matestic;
– a friend of Kohler served on the jury instead of the potential Black juror;
– medical and all other defence evidence was concealed;
(All grist for the subsequent appeal? Lawyer Steve Glynn made promises but, in the end, concealed the above evidence to protect Hansher, Kohler, and a misleading myth.)
During the trial Lawyer Kohler remained so enraged by the refusal to accept the plea bargain that he turned the jury against his client. Perhaps more of a spontaneous reaction to their burgeoning role in gross injustice than anything preplanned, Matestic, Kohler and Hansher chose to deflect from the trial by suddenly accusing the defendant of “obvious mental illness.”
Alas, the mental derangement bloomed from nowhere as Matestic pointed it out to the jury, and as Hansher would later seize on for public proclamation. Right there in the courtroom, with the defendant sitting quietly and attentively, the diagnosis became clear and evident – but appearing only after the refusal to plea bargain.
Any suggestion of mental illness prior to the trial would have required a psychological evaluation. A favourable report would have added credibility to defendant claims, and thus would have eliminated the opportunity to later smear the defendant – who had put forth a credible record and evidence of negligence and misconduct all along the route of the case.
And this … the holding back of an accusation of sudden “obvious mental illness” until an opportune time, seems damn-well assured to have been a ploy, possibly not used for the first time by Hansher and Kohler.
The easier story – the one the public would hear – wasn’t one of legal system failure amidst corrupt characters.*
The public accusation of mental illness by Judge Hansher was refuge for a corrupt judge and lawyer. The curtain they drew prevented claims of misconduct against the legal system from being taken seriously after the trial. Local media failed to questioned a trial so rigged that Hollywood would have been forced to cast it as North Korea.
However, American lawyers are tough cookies. They were not about to let someone from afar continue to expose them without pushback in the age of the world wide web.
When I moved to Switzerland I came to public attention through employment as a scientist at the University of Basel. While I lectured and edited research manuscripts for publication in the chemistry department, I also presented our scientific research in public presentations at the Theatre Basel. I gained unexpected, personal attention thereby, as reported in German and Swiss media.
At the same time, however, Milwaukee lawyers were spreading the “mental illness” subterfuge at home and on the world wide web. Juxtaposed, implications so obviously in conflict had the lawyers feeling vulnerable. Mentally ill defendants don’t usually wind up lauded in public and teaching at a university.
The lawyers felt forced to overplay their hand by the public contradictions. Power gained corruptly, after all, doesn’t include restraint or prudent consideration of what might go wrong. In desperation, they went so far as to involve Interpol.
Interpol, the international policing agency, was informed that I was “armed and dangerous” and “mentally ill” and should therefore be apprehended. I could be silenced by an arrest at an airport or possibly at a train station during my travels, surely distracting any curiosity that might arise from the rigged trial by painting a big, red bullseye on a local fugitive caught in Europe. The easy story, and the safest story, would have had Milwaukee media reporting on a dangerous fugitive roaming around Europe, or the handcuffed apprehension of such, followed by a barrage of corrupt lawyer propaganda obfuscating the rigged trial, for local consumption.
The plan worked well … for a time.
To their credit and my everlasting gratitude, however, Interpol questioned and investigated the agitprop supplied by Milwaukee lawyers and forwarded by the U.S. government. Interpol discovered that the information was false in toto. They sent me a nice letter confirming such, also informing me that they had removed the false information and cleared my name. (Interpol letter.)
The overreach by Milwaukee lawyers turned out to be their colossal mistake and a godsend that worked in my favour. Corrupt lawyers were caught lying to try to keep a local story ultra-local and uninvestigated.
I now had substantiation from an independent international agency.
In their war against me the lawyers had a huge advantage: credibility under the cover of the legal system and the U.S. government. They also had local Milwaukee media on their side, stemming from misinformation fed to reporters who found the contrived story an easier one and a good readership draw. After all, investigating lawyers can be perilous to one’s career as a reporter.
Public perceptions created by using frightening information planted on the internet left me a fawn among wolves and prospective wolves. An employee in my department caught wind of the dastardly lawyer depictions online and couldn’t help himself. He distributed a fabricated wanted poster that included my picture and lawyer-sponsored information. This made for good sport and a fun Monday morning at the office.
University of Basel work rules, ethical considerations, legal requirements or just common sense stood no chance against the picture that American lawyers had sketched to great effect. The frightening image captivated the imagination of coworkers and refused to surrender to intellectual argument, to facts or to evidence.
Hysteria naturally followed.
Despite an official investigation by a committee of emeritus professors at the university that confirmed a personal history mental-illness-free, crime-free, and gun-free, and behaviour commensurate with expectations for a scientist and citizen, the need for order over the disorder that followed me from Milwaukee to Switzerland outdid any appeal for individual justice.
Support from administration, colleagues and friends disappeared like dew in a hot southern sun. Unexpectedly, however, through the adversity I discovered a new set of friends and supporters from a highly unlikely source: China.
* In the book Lawyers Broken Bad. I defined a novel syndrome that results from betrayal by one’s own lawyer. Betrayal by lawyers is a not uncommon yet little talked about practice. It is used by unethical lawyers to achieve a plea bargain. The result of lawyer betrayal – considering the significance of the lawyer-client relationship – can readily lead to a weakening of the will to expose lawyer wrongdoing, to diagnosable depression or to various psychological manifestations.
Requiring a client to undergo a psychological evaluation following a plea bargain, or a guilty verdict after a failed attempt at coercion – as in the case here – could readily result in a diagnosis in a psychological report. Such a diagnosis could aid a corrupt lawyer, who then basically claims, “See, this is what I had to contend with.”
In all, I underwent three court ordered psychological evaluations. All three emerged favourable to me, no diagnoses, no medication. One report, the longest evaluation as ordered by Hansher, stated that I had likely been truthful all along, contradicting Judge Hansher directly.
But the reports never saw the light of day. They were either concealed or altered to say the opposite, then submitted to the court as official. Hansher, Kohler and co were thus spared embarrassment.