Criminal Justice

Innocent Man Freed, But Shabby Prosecutor Still Works as Judge

Bernard Baran served 22 years on dubious child molestation charges, yet the prosecutor who convicted him isn't even inconvenienced


This June, District Attorney David Capeless of Berkshire County, Massachusetts announced that he was dropping all charges against 44-year-old Bernard Baran, a man who has spent half his life behind bars on child molestation charges that the state no longer has the confidence to retry.

Baran was convicted in January 1985 of molesting six children at a pre-Kindergarten daycare facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was released on bond in 2006 after an appeals court determined [PDF] that his trial attorney had been incompetent and that the prosecution may have withheld key exculpatory evidence. Baran says that during his jail term he was raped and beaten more than 30 times, necessitating six different transfers to new correctional institutions. Such is the cost the prison system exacts on an openly gay man convicted of molesting children.

Baran was one of the first people in the country to be prosecuted in the daycare sex abuse panic of the 1980s, a bizarre, nationwide hysteria fed by fears of satanism, homophobia, and a wing of child psychology that used unproven interrogation techniques critics say caused children to recount sexual incidents that never took place.

While Baran's case has been covered extensively in Massachusetts, and recently in the national media, one aspect of it still hasn't really been examined. Prosecutor Daniel Ford likely engaged in serious misconduct and open bigotry in winning his conviction of Baran. Yet in 25 years, Ford has never been investigated or disciplined for his role in the case. And since 1989, Ford has sat as a judge on the Massachusetts Superior Court. Ford's career trajectory and lack of accountability is the far too familiar product of the backward incentive structure that prosecutors work under. Convictions produce rewards, while abuse rarely comes with a penalty.

The most serious allegation against Ford in this case concerns an edited video interview with the children he presented to the grand jury that indicted Baran. According to court documents, the video shows several children alleging that Baran had sexually abused them. But edited out was footage in which some of the children denied any abuse by Baran, accused other members of the daycare faculty of abuse or of witnessing abuse, and, most importantly, depicted interrogators asking the same questions over and over—even after repeated denials—until a child gave them an affirmative answer. Some children were even given rewards for their answers.

Withholding the unedited video from the grand jury was itself an act of misconduct. And Ford may also have withheld it from Baran's trial attorney. We can only say "may" because there's never been a hearing, and Baran's trial attorney was far from competent. (Judge Ford did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) In granting Baran a new trial in 2006 [PDF], Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Francis Fecteau never moved beyond the inadequacy of Baran's lawyer. Harvey Silverglate, one of Baran's appellate attorneys (and also a Reason contributor), says Fecteau's passing over the misconduct claims was entirely appropriate. "For the purposes of judicial economy, judges only focus on what's necessary to make a ruling," he says. "Judge Fecteau is a hero, here. I don't fault him at all." 

When the case reached the state appeals court, the justices there not only upheld Fecteau's ruling [PDF], they looked more closely at Ford's possible misconduct. "While the record does not settle the question whether the unedited videotapes were deliberately withheld by the prosecution," the ruling read, "there are indications in the trial transcript consistent with that contention."

The appellate court further noted that it took years for Baran's appellate lawyers to get prosecutors to turn over the unedited tapes. Baran's attorneys originally filed a motion for the tapes in 2000. For three years, then District Attorney Gerard Downing, who assisted in Baran's original trial, claimed to be unable to locate the tapes. When Downing died of a sudden heart attack in December 2003, David Capeless took over as D.A. When a court ordered Capeless to find the tapes, he was able to produce them within months. The appellate court opinion cited other examples of Ford failing to turn over exculpatory evidence, too, including evidence that two of the children who accused Baran may have suffered prior sexual abuse.

The case against Baran was also awash in homophobia. According to court documents, the first parents to come forward with accusations against Baran in September 1984 had just days earlier registered a complaint with the center upon noticing Baran was "queer" by the way he walked and talked. The boy's mother, who thought gays "shouldn't be allowed out in public" much less permitted to work at daycare centers, said that she "didn't want no homo" watching her son.

When that child later tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat, Ford used the test against Baran at trial, even though A) the child never accused Baran of forcing him to perform oral sex, B) the child, in fact, specifically denied having sexual contact with Baran on the witness stand, C) Baran tested negative for gonorrhea, D) the boy had told his mother two months prior that his stepfather had orally raped him, and E) on the very day Baran was convicted, charges against the stepfather were turned over to the D.A.'s office for possible prosecution. Baran's counsel was never informed of the allegation against the stepfather. Addressing the gonorrhea issue in his closing arguments, Ford implied that Baran's "lifestyle" made it probable that he contracted gonorrhea at other times and knew how to quickly eradicate it to cover his tracks.

In his closing argment, Ford likened Baran's job at a daycare center to a "chocoholic in a candy store," and hypothesized that in the "five or ten minutes" he was able to be alone with a child without being seen by other staff or children, Baran "could have sodomized and abused those children whenever he felt the primitive urge to satisfy his sexual appetite." The appeals court that eventually overturned the conviction ruled that the incompetence of Baran's counsel "facilitated the speculative, stereotypical, and deeply insidious links between homosexuality, gonorrhea, and child molestation."

An affidavit signed by Baran's boyfriend at the time also paints Ford as a homophobe. According to the document, the D.A. spent an inordinate amount of time asking Baran's boyfriend about his own sex life, employing variations of the word faggot, and a mocking, drawn-out pronunciation of homosexual. The affidavit alleges that in the ensuing months, Baran's boyfriend was pulled over by police officers and further harassed on a daily basis, and that Ford told him, illegally, that if he spoke with Baran or Baran's defense attorney, he would be arrested. This of course is just an accusation. But it's a serious one, particularly against a sitting judge. And it has never been properly investigated.

In upholding the ruling that granted Baran a new trial, the appeals court added in a footnote that if the state wanted to retry him, Baran could file a motion for a hearing on Ford's possible misconduct.  By dropping the charges, the D.A. avoided that hearing. "In my opinion, the possibility of an embarrassing hearing into misconduct by a former prosecutor and now sitting Superior Court judge was the main reason, if not the reason, they decided to drop the charges," Silverglate claims. "The appeals court opinion cut a bit too close to the bone for them."

So while Bernard Baran is free after 22 years of incarceration, at the moment there is no plan to look into the actions of the prosecutor, now a sitting judge, responsible for the conviction. In his position on the Massachusetts Superior Court for the last 20 years, Ford has presided over some of the state's most serious criminal trials. He also serves on a committee that helps determine the state's rules and guidelines of criminal procedure.

Baran has said he isn't sure he wants to endure a lawsuit, but even if he did such a suit would still be unlikely to get to Ford. Prosecutors enjoy absolute immunity from civil rights lawsuits, even in cases of misconduct that lead to false convictions. And they're rarely disciplined in other ways, either. Appeals courts rarely even mention prosecutors by name when criticizing their conduct. (Ford wasn't named in the Massachusetts appellate court's decision.) Courts and bar associations also rarely hand down professional sanctions. According to a study released earlier this year by the advocacy group The Justice Project, "Despite the prevalence of prosecutorial misconduct all over the country, states have consistently failed to investigate or sanction prosecutors who commit acts of misconduct in order to secure convictions."

The only way Ford's actions in the Baran case could now be examined would be for one of the state's legal ethics boards to open an investigation, either on its own or in response to a complaint. Silverglate says that if there's no action in the coming months, he may file a complaint himself.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Why is it that torches and pitchforks are never directed towards corrupt judges?


  2. … he was soon promoted to judge, a job he has held for the last 20 years.

    No politician wants to open up the can of worms of calling a long setting judge’s basic integrity into question. It could possibly reopen hundreds of trials that he sat on.

    The hiding of exculpatory evidence in mass hysteria driven trials is not uncommon. IIRC, the 17th century investigation by the colony of Massachusetts into the Salem witch trials discovered suppressed evidence.

    Once people believe j that some key evidence is unquestionable, then they can easily rationalize away any contradictory evidence and they can morally rationalize hiding it as well. In the case of the 80’s child abuse hysteria, it was considered a hard fact that pre-teen children did not lie about or invent stories of molestation. Many prominent psychologist went on record that effect. That made children’s testimony that they were molested always true and any contradictory evidence highly suspect.

    We seem to go through waves of hysteria every 30 years or so. If the last one ended in the late 80’s, we’re due.

  3. Thank you, Radley: if I weren’t an atheist, I’d swear you were doing God’s work.

  4. Superior Court judge Fecteau would truly be a hero if he were to be the moiton judge who, in denying Judge Ford’s motion to dismiss each and every claim in a lawsuit brought by Baran, rules that prosecutorial immunty, be it limited, good faith or absolute, is utterly incompatible with both the constitution and the principles of 1776.

  5. A) the child never accused Baran of forcing him to perform oral sex, B) the child, in fact, specifically denied having sexual contact with Baran on the witness stand, C) Baran tested negative for gonorrhea,

    Wow, Baran’s attorney was really incompetent.

  6. Troy Davis just got a stay of execution.

    more at

    How is it possible that we are even contemplating taking this man’s life? We are not only contemplating it, we are cruelly waiting until only 3 days before his scheduled execution to give him a stay. This kind of treatment in and of itself should be considered cruel and unusual.

    Even more ludicrous is Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, in which he says:

    “Petitioner’s claim is a sure loser. Transferring his petition to the [federal] District Court is a confusing exercise that can serve no purpose except to delay the state’s execution of its lawful criminal judgment.”

  7. That pic is exactly how I picture Tony. Ah, now it all makes sense. Tony’s violent redneck boyfriend is actually his cellmate!

    Free Tony!

  8. I wonder what the next scare will be. We are on the tail end of the internet chatroom scare. What does the future of fear and “for the children” rhetoric hold?

  9. When fascism come to this country it will arrive wrapped in a flag, carrying a Bible, and offering the notion that only they can protect our children from Teh Gayz, Islamofascists, Narco-terrorists and reality in general.

  10. When a guy’s got a mustache like that, are you really all that suprised he was convicted?

  11. Thank you for this, Radley.

    Seriously, as long as this man sits on the bench in Massachusetts none of the laws of that state are worthy of any respect whatsoever.

  12. He should file a Federal civil rights lawsuit.

  13. Now that we have another prosecutor on the Supreme Court (thanks Barack), things will only get worse. Ever since I started practicing criminal defense it’s amazed me how prosecutors can sleep at night. I know how they do it – they convince themselves that they’re the good guys, and the thanks of whiny, unreasonable, vengeful victims out for blood somehow convinces them that they’re doing God’s work. I just don’t see how anyone with enough brain cells to pass the bar exam is capable of such self-delusion.

    Being a prosecutor is like it’s own religion. It’s based on faith (absolute confidence in guilt) and like all religions, it provides a means of excusing immoral behavior and justifying harm done to other people.

  14. Yeah well just be glad he wasn’t appointed Attorney General, where he could have people burned to death.

  15. I wonder what the next scare will be.

    H1N1 vaccine.

  16. I spent 3.5 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. The case was overturned on appeal. The prosecutors blatently lied to the Grand Jury, refused to release pertinent evidence to my Attorneys, etc. The reason this happens, is very simple: Judges are part of the prosecution team. Additionally, they have NO FEAR of being prosecuted for their crimes…yes, crimes. Sitting on the bench and knowingly allowing innocent people to be convicted is a crime in my book. They have NO FEAR what-so-ever. The ONLY way this will ever end, is if good people begin to execute these corrupt government officials, just like they do in China. Take a bribe? YOUR DEAD. Trust me, even clear thinking people can be driven to that point. I would have NO PROBLEM executing the Judge in my case, as he is a true criminal. After my release from NJ Dept Of Corrections, I decided to leave the US, and I now live outside of the US. I will NEVER live in such a deeply corrupt country again. And what happened to the lying Judge and Prosecutor in my case? NOTHING. The taxpayers settled with me. The Judge and Prosecutor didn’t pay a penny, nor were they even fired. Rah ray USA. You folks are toast. Your economy has collapsed due to massive corruption. It’s only a matter of time until the lights go out. Your creditors are onto your nonsense. Your entire economy is one, giant Ponzi scheme. Enjoy poverty.

  17. cs: but they’re not corrupt. That’s the problem. They’re not taking bribes. They’re locking up innocent people perfectly legally. Most people see a few wrongfully convicted innocent people (who are just as safe to them in prison as they are roaming the streets with their kids) as a small price to pay to lock up criminals. It used to be that it was better to let 100 guilty people go free than to lock up one innocent person. Now it’s better to lock up 100 innocent people than to let one guilty person go free. People are crazy, everything is “the children” this and “the children” that.

    The system is objectively corrupt, but that’s because corruption is allowed to persist. “Judge” is the highest position in the DA’s office. Conflicts of interest are allowed everywhere, and that is why America is going to collapse in about 1.5 to 2 years.

  18. Bruce,
    My case was a clear case of corruption. The Feds cleared me….three years later I was indicted by the State Of NJ. We have now found out that it was due to political pressure. I owned a company in NJ. It was a white collar case. One day, my lawyer came to me and said “your really in trouble….they now realize that the prosecutors lied to the Grand Jury….they will do ANYTHING to cover that up”. The Judge was in on the fix, and one of the prosecutors is currently under investigation by the feds. As with all issues of this nature, its a long story. I do however find it amazing that Prosecutors and Judges are “immune” from prosecution. Are you immune from prosecution for things you do at work? They have passed laws to protect themselves from prosecution for crimes they commit while they are working….how very convienient. Poof! We’re immune. People have been put to death because of prosecutorial misconduct….and the band plays on. Your toast as a nation. PS: the other 5.7 billion inhabitants of the earth have caught onto what the US really is. A financially and morally bankrupt nation. I find it interesting that your wonderful government has no completely subverted the constitution, and have reverted to monitizing your failed treasury auctions. Tick, tick, tick……your done.

  19. the child, in fact, specifically denied having sexual contact with Baran on the witness stand

  20. When a prosecutor is shown to have withheld exculpatory evidence, and a wrongful conviction results, justice demands that that prosecutor serve the very same prison sentence as his victim.

  21. Dave,

    Your dreaming. The government relies on the fact that the US citizens will sit passivly by, as their rights are violated daily. Trust me, the ONLY way things will change in America, is when the citizens begin to execute the corrupt government employees / elected officials. They fear nothing else, as they are immune. Execute a few corrupt Judges and Politicians, and see how quickly you actually get “change you can believe in”. It’ll happen the next day. The pol’s fear nothing, nor do the prosecutors and judges. Don’t believe anything else. Trust me – i’ve lived the nightmare.

  22. cs: yes, nothing bothers me more than prosecutorial immunity. Judicial immunity actually makes sense, otherwise everyone who loses a case in court, criminal or civil, would be filing a lawsuit against the presiding judge before leaving the courthouse on their way home. There may be a few limited circumstances where a judge’s behavior is so outrageous, and can be shown to be so, that immunity should be pierced. But PROSECUTORS should not be immune at all.

  23. I don’t know anything about this case, but the child molestation hysteria of the 80’s and 90’s had almost nothing to do with homophobia- even women were being accused. Nope, it was a case of ambitious prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves.

  24. My defense team pointed out to the judge in my case, that the prosecutors lied to the grand jury. Additionally, we found out later on that two previous grand juries refused to indict me….those grand juries were told the truth…shown the evidence. The third grand jury was then lied to, and i was indicted. The Judge’s response was “prosecutors say what they have to say to grand juries….move on”. I was floored. When the appellate division overturned the conviction, I walked out of prison, drove to the Consulates Office of another country (located in NYC) and left the US the next day. I will NEVER return. My citizenship paperwork in my new country has now been approved. I had actually considered applying for Political Asylum, but I feared what the prosecutors office would do when the press got hold of that story….so I just quietly left. The settlement was handled by my US Attorney. Good luck America, you’re going to need all the luck you can muster. Your creditors have had just about enough. I would suggest teaching your children the various Chinese languages. I believe that may be very useful for them in the not so distant future.

  25. I always wonder, when I hear about cases like this, why the harmed party can’t ask the local Bar Association to inquire about the appropriate consequences.

    I mean, the Bar certainly has no interest in penalizing lawyers of any stripe for winning as such, but what is alleged here is (1) withholding of evidence by the prosecutor, (2) coercion of witnesses, (3) bribery of witnesses, and (4) as demonstrated by the above bringing a criminal action in bad faith. Surely something on that list violates the Cannon of Ethics, no? Oh, by all means, go after the original defense attorney’s license for incompetence as well, but how can the Bar claim to be an honorable institution if it won’t at least look over the conduct of the prosecutor in cases like this?

    I just don’t get.

    / against absolute immunity for prosecutor, but likewise against strict liability. Mens Rea is important here. ‘Course suborning perjury and withholding evidence kinda prove intent, don’t ‘ca know.

  26. We seem to go through waves of hysteria every 30 years or so. If the last one ended in the late 80’s, we’re due.

    It’s already here. Take a look at the way the lefties go ape-shit over anyone who doesn’t buy the global warming party line.


  27. “The system is objectively corrupt, but that’s because corruption is allowed to persist. “Judge” is the highest position in the DA’s office. Conflicts of interest are allowed everywhere, and that is why America is going to collapse in about 1.5 to 2 years.”

    Why exactly is corruption and oppression now an issue when it hasn’t collapsed America for quite some time? Congressional dumbfuckery, sure, those bastards can run our entire economy into the ground, pass totalitarian laws, sell the US to China, etc.

    But screwing over little people is not that destabilizing unless little people bother to take offense; once you’ve been screwed it’s usually too late.

    @cs: In case I need a contingency plan, which country?

  28. Dude that is just not right! Seems this stupid judge should have to spend a year in jail for every year he took of this mans life!


  29. Was Ford a Republican or Democrat?

  30. cs: I don’t blame you, and I too am keeping my passport current for when the US collapses. Hopefully I’ll get a little heads-up time. All it’s gonna take is for China to stop buying our debt. Right now, with American consumers being China’s biggest customer, they see the collapse of America as a bad thing. But eventually they’ll realize that it will only be the collapse of the federal government, there will still be 50 states and the same 280 million consumers wanting cheap chinese goods. Once that gets through their heads, they’ll stop wasting their money buying our bad debt, the dollar will become worthless, and we’ll be left with 50 states, some of which (california) are themselves bankrupt. I see this as being 2 years away, max.

  31. Also, there’s a reason why grand jury testimony is secret. Of course they lie to the grand jury, that’s a given. If it were me, I’d waive grand jury indictment, because if it was at that stage I’d know that i’d be charged with a crime anyway. Not all states even have grand jury indictments. Some states, like california, just let the prosecutors charge people with felonies without going before a grand jury. They still have a duty to give the defendant any exculpatory evidence… and not to knowingly use perjured testimony – yet they do that every day as well.

  32. anon,

    I’m sorry, but I have chosen not to reveal where I now reside. The simple truth is, there is no upside in my doing so. Suffice it to say “paradise”….as compared to where I use to live. It’s certainly much more “just”, and they try not to start wars with everyone for financial gain or to gain better strategic strongholds. Currently, none of the taxes I pay in my new homeland goes towards purchasing weapons that kill people in foreign lands who did nothing that warrants death. Interesting concept….no? The only embarrasment I suffer on a daily basis, is when people find out I use to be an American. Many ask me what it’s like to live in America. I tell them that the american people are basically good folks, but they have yet to realize they have a government that has derailed. They all tend to agree… interesting position from truly third party observers in a very peaceful place. Few, if any, hold out any hope that there is a happy ending for future generations of Americans.

  33. It took Bernard Baran 25 years to finally get his freedom and the justice he deserved. That is truly sad. Hopefully he can live out the remaining years of his life in peace.

    Unfortunately there are prosecutors who are so intent on gaining a conviction in these cases that they will present a link between homosexuality and child molestation to the jury as if it were common knowledge. In fact, peer reviewed University-based research has clearly shown that no such predisposition exists.

    Here is a case very similar to Baran’s involving 4 Texas women.

  34. The cause of the explosion in daycare abuse cases back in the eighties is pretty easy to see in retrospect. Just look at who was involved, and what was going on in their lives, and it lays out before you.

    Factor one was the parents. They were boomers (like me). These were the folks who were going to change the nation… change the world… make it better than it ever was before. When they entered parenthood, the same conceit shaped their vision of child rearing; they would do it better than anyone before them. They read every book on raising the perfect child; bright, inquisitive, charming, free-spirited yet well-behaved. Perfect little angels.

    Factor two was the nature of children. No matter what a book may say, even a well-researched and well thought out masterpiece (which most of those books were decidedly not), children will be children. Cranky, dirty, sticky, leaky little bundles of joy and exasperation. They don’t listen when you want them to, but they hear, remember, and repeat the things you wish you never said. One minute they’re screaming “No no no no!”, and the next their chubby little arms are wrapped around your leg, and you’re the best parent ever! For two minutes. Exhausting? Yes. Worth it? Oh yes. But perfect and idyllic? No way.

    Factor three was the rise of daycare. The eighties was the first time in our history that many, maybe even most, children were spending big portions of their time in the company of non-relatives. The guilt parents were feeling back then was both well-documented and corrosive.

    Put those factors together, and the hysteria becomes inevitable.

    :: Parents with unrealistic expectations,
    :: Kids just being normal kids,
    :: A ready-made target to point to,
    :: An almost genetic generational inability to accept blame, responsibility, and the consequences of one’s actions,
    :: And an unwelcome sense of guilt.

    This was a generation who was going to change the world with their inherent goodness… how could they accept being just average, normal parents? Especially when all of their problems could be explained away by blaming “them” for doing bad things behind closed doors?

  35. I can’t stand the “respect” that you are somehow supposed to automatically give a court just because these spineless pricks are wearing a robe. Fuck your authority! And they cloak their spinelessness in the idea that they are just “following the law.”

  36. I have followed this case for years. Massachusetts has much to be humble about. The Amirault case prosecutor ended up as the Democrat nominee for governor. Then he went on to be president of Common Cause. Both these prosecutors deserve to be disbarred.

  37. I seriously believe that if they really have a case, and can document the various things alleged in this article, then the former prosecutor, now judge, should be indicted as an accessory to multiple counts of rape and assault. A prosecutor *has* to know what will happen to a man, gay or otherwise, who’s imprisoned. If he knowingly distorted evidence to gain a conviction, then he should be punished for this, seriously punished. That idiot in North Carolina lost his license to practice law and his job…and in his case the kids involved didn’t even get convicted. Too many cases like this happen.

    By the way, let me clarify that I am pretty law and order. I seriously think most people who are in prison belong there, for the crimes they are convicted on. But if you can prove someone innocent, and there’s serious evidence that things were deliberately distorted at trial, then the gloves should come off.

  38. cs: that’s how I felt when I went to Holland in the peak of the Bush Administration.

    DavidN: Ideally I’d love that to be the law, however, if that were in fact the law, sadly enough I don’t think ANYONE would EVER be exonerated. You see how hard prosecutors fight to keep their convictions solely to protect their record and their pride – imagine how hard they’d work (and destroy evidence, among other things) if they knew there were real consequences to wrongful convictions. They’ll just say they did their job with the evidence they had if someone actually is able to show they’re innocent. Not saying we shouldn’t make that the law, but note that there will be negative consequences… which is sometimes the price we pay for justice.

  39. Radley, I must echo the sentiment above that you are doing God’s work.

    I know it’s not something you probably want to think about, but I do hope you protect yourself (and I don’t mean this in the ‘it would be a shame if something happened to you…’ sense) I hope you carry a gun, because someday you are going to step on the wrong person’s toes. Please, for your sake and for the sake of your incredibly important work, be careful.

  40. Why is there no movement to IMPEACH judge Ford??? Surely he is a fine representation of a travesty of JUSTICE!!!

  41. The same hysteria is still here. Maybe not in the legal system, but certainly in parents.

    My family and I visited a different church on Sunday and took my 10 month old (wow, I don’t think I’ve posted here since I was pregnant with him) to the nursery.

    ALL nursery workers must be background checked and take a class to “prevent sexual misconduct with children”. Additionally, the nursery information assures parents that “only adult, female, paid staff members will change diapers, with another adult in the room”.

    I mentioned this to a friend who attends that church, and she told me how grateful she is that they take such good care of her children and she doesn’t have to worry that someone will molest them during a diaper change. A fear that had never crossed my mind.

    So I don’t know about the level of prosecution, but the hysteria among parents…huge! (this isn’t my only example but the most recent)

  42. Additionally, they have NO FEAR of being prosecuted for their crimes…yes, crimes.

    Unless, of course, we lose a war and are occupied by an enemy with a better sense of justice that ours. We prosecuted and imprisoned a bunch of German judges after World War II for things they did on the bench during the Nazi era.

  43. It is with great sadness that I read these posts. We have become a nation of sheep and few realize it. So many think that they live in a wondrous society. My country right or wrong! Humph!

    I have endured 10 years incarceration for a wrongful conviction and yet another 2 while those in power lied in their attempts to commit me to a treatment gulag for the rest of my life. Thanks to the most altruistic men (lawyers, actually) I have ever known, I am now “not-incarcerated”.

    In the six years that I have been “at liberty”, even though I am no longer encumbered by probation or parole, my movements– indeed, my ability to survive in this society– are daily becoming more and more tenuous thanks to over-reaching draconian laws promoted by Murdoch-esque interests and self-serving political and theocratic zealots.

    Certainly you should all be concerned for your children– and not for the reasons supplied.

    There is much comfort for me in the fact that I am at the end of my life, not the beginning.

    I leave you with two items to contemplate:

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.” – Adolph Hitler (Mein Kampf)

  44. The problem is we reward prodecutors for convictions not justice.

  45. The same hysteria is still here. Maybe not in the legal system, but certainly in parents.

    It’s still in the legal system. Both of these are from just last year –

    Abuse Charges Against Michigan Teacher Dropped As Prosecutor Faces Bar Disciplinary Action

    Oakland County Family Ruined by Zealous Prosecution

  46. The same hysteria is still here. Maybe not in the legal system, but certainly in parents.

    It’s still in the legal system. Both of these are from just last year –

    Abuse Charges Against Michigan Teacher Dropped As Prosecutor Faces Bar Disciplinary Action

    Oakland County Family Ruined by Zealous Prosecution

  47. Oops. I’m a screwup today.
    Please excuse double post.

  48. Please let us start a postcard campaign to Mr. Ford. Every day remind him that he sent an innocent man to jail for years for a crime that he didn’t commit. Because it is a postcard, everyone seeing the card would know how much of a horrible person Mr. Ford really is, from the mailroom staff in his office to the person dropping it off to him from the U.S. Postal Service.

  49. I should add that during my twelve years of prison life, I met two other queers (I am a homosexual as well…) who maintained they were wrongfully prosecuted by none other than this self-serving individual.

    The best that I might offer is that when you live with folks 24 hours a day for years, you most certainly garner large insight into their moral fiber and personality. How different from a free person’s life it is to observe folks at their worst with nowhere to hide and realize that there are no secrets for prison doesn’t allow it.

    I honestly believe that the two folks I’ve cited are also victims of this former proscutor, now judge.

  50. All very interesting posts. Having lived the nightmare of a wrongful conviction and subsequent successful appeal, I can assure all of you that the only way this stops is when you execute a few corrupt judges and prosecutors. That is, literally, all they fear. I am aware that this is extremely radical thinking, but having been involved in a deeply corrupt judicial process…..I can assure you that executing several of them is a definate and immediate solution. I am aware that this is a shocking concept and very “un-american”. But, look at it this way: the collective judicial system views a “few” wrongful convictions as the price paid for the U.S. brand of justice. Well, whats good for the goose, is always good for the gander. Executing a few blatantly corrupt judges and prosecutors is also the price paid…..but on the other side of the argument. Be honest with your self, and ask yourself if blatant corruption in the judicial system stops instantly if Judges and Prosecutors know that significant, blatant misconduct can result in their execution.

    You americans seem to be very proud of your judicial system. Executing a few Judges and Prosecutors who are thumbing their noses at the very laws the are tasked with upholding is, in fact, a very “American” thing to do.

    Most of you have no problem with your military murdering innocent children in foreign country’s on a daily basis. Kids…..dead. None of you even blink. You see it on the cable news every night, you yawn, and turn on American Idol. Are you telling me you would have a huge moral problem with executing a few blatantly corrupt Judges and Prosecutors?


  51. PRESS RELEASE !!! Judge Ford forces LaMountain to stand trial in 72 Million Dollar Case.

    James Wettlaufer who once declared James LaMountain to be public enemy number one has found favor with the attorney general who after much wrangling was able to find a sympathetic Judge.
    Ford is Famous for his role as prosecutor in a landmark daycare center case where an 18 year old was sent to prison after Ford witheld exculpatory evidence that would have showed the defendant Bernhard Baran was innocent. Baran Served over 20 years in prison before he was freed after concerns were raised with Fords handling of the case. The Attorney General Kerry Strayor in the LaMountain case was able to seat Judge Ford as presiding Justice even after a motion by Strayor to seat Ford had been denied earlier. LaMountain himself has a history of sexual abuse after he was sent to prison for having consensual sex with a girl in 1986 who was 2 weeks shy of the age of consent. LaMountain was also a victim of sexual abuse in the 1970’s when he was in the care of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. ” I have been getting screwed by the commonwealth for close to 40 years……and the pain is just as sharp each time ” LaMountain said.

    LaMountain who was threatened with Jail by Ford for trying to enter exculpotory evidence learned today that Judge Ford has a habit of excluding exculputory evidence from the record. Exculpotory evidence is evidence that shows the accused is innocent of the crimes or violations he or she is charged with.

    During his closing argument LaMountain told Ford to come to the land to take his surrendor and walked out of the Courtroom on a code blue medical band before the Attorney General could make his closing arguement.

    LaMountain who conducted the 3 day trial for was wearing a code blue umass medical band on his wrist the entire time and was forced by Ford to stand trial and defend himself pro’se. Evidence excluded by the judge was a forest cut plan , and an agricultural exemption in the case. The excluded evidence grants exemption to farmers when working in a buffer zone.
    DEP officials knowingly entered false information into the record while Ford turned a Blind eye. Dep Officials perjured themselves continously on the case and Robert McCollum testified at the trial that fines could reach as high as 72 million dollars …saying it was the most egregious environmental case they had ever seen. LaMountain who has been declared a farmer by the United States Department of Agriculture said he feels like he was driving the valdez. LaMountain believes there is enough in the record by the testimony of the state witnesses to “make a good transcript” in overturning Ford. Appellate Lawyer Janet Pumphfrey is already on stanbye to bring the case to Boston as it has ramifications for all agriculture in the commonwealth.
    click on the link below or Google Judge Ford Daycare.…/TG921B2GQ3KN8CN14

    Updates to this matter will be found on where a biography of LaMountain can be found under the who is who section. LaMountain played an instrumental role in the resignation and subsequent incarceration of former Holland Police Chief Kevin Gleason.

  52. Pedro Petrovic is an innocent man! Stop the injustice of prosecuting an innocent man.
    Send your support and prayers at

  53. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets..

  54. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets..

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