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Journalist Angers Judge With Open Records Request, Gets Charged With Felonies

"I don't react well when my honesty is questioned," Judge Brenda Weaver says.

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You won't like me when I'm angry.
Jarek2313/Dreamstime.com

Brenda Weaver, chief judge of the Appalachian Circuit Court of Georgia, says she does not "react well when my honesty is questioned."

To prove that point, she had the local Georgia district attorney arrest and indict Mark Thomason, a journalist and publisher of Fannin Focus, as retaliation for his filing of an Open Records Act request into the possibility that public funds were used to illegally cover private legal fees. Weaver, who Thomason has criticized frequently in print and in public, reportedly "resented Thomason's attacks on her character."

Thomason and his lawyer Russell Stookey were arrested last week and indicted on counts of felony identity fraud, attempted identity fraud, and in Thomason's case, making a false statement in his records request.

The journalist has been engaged in a long investigation which began in March 2015, when Judge Roger Bradley and an assistant district attorney used a racial slur to refer to a defendant in court. Thomason had been told that courtroom deputies had also uttered the slur, but the court's transcripts did not include those usages, so he filed a suit to compel the court's stenographer, Rhonda Stubblefield, to release an audio recording of the court session. 

Stubblefield reportedly filed a $1.6 million defamation countersuit against Thomason. When the original case was closed, Stubblefield requested her legal fees be reimbursed, and according to AJC.com, she received a check totaling about $16,000 from Judge Bradley's operating account.

To fight Stubblefield's claim for legal fees, Stookey filed subpoenas for copies of certain checks so he could show her attorneys had already been paid. One of those two accounts listed in a subpoena had Weaver's name on it as well as the Appalachian Judicial Circuit.

Weaver said the identify fraud allegations came out of her concern that Thomason would use the banking information on those checks for himself.

So Weaver had Thomason locked up under the pretense that she believed he was going to steal money out of the aforementioned bank account — even though account numbers are redacted as a matter of routine in Open Records requests — and that by requesting copies of checks which he described as "cashed illegally," he was making a "false statement." For good measure, Judge Weaver had Thomason's lawyer, Stookey, locked up because he "did not get Weaver's approval before sending subpeonas to banks."

Thomason and Stookey are out on $10,000 bond each, and both may have to submit to random drug testing as a condition of their releases.

Thomason told AJC.com, "I take this as a punch at journalists across the nation that if we continue to do our jobs correctly, then we have to live in fear of being imprisoned." AJC also quoted Hollie Manheimer of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation as saying, "retaliation for use of the Open Records Act will inhibit every citizen from using it."

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  1. This isn’t likely to end well for Judge Brenda, legally and professionally speaking.

    1. I believe that comment could cause you to end up in a GA jail. You are making a false statement and identity theft. Because duh.

    2. Before today I would have agreed with you. Now not so sure.

      1. She isn’t running for president.

        1. Or a Clinton.

    3. Such a quaint, old-fashioned sentiment. Nothing will happen to the judge. Our ruling class is above the law, and our peasant class won’t stop voting them back into office no matter what they do. Get used to it.

      1. Judge vs. press? With regard to open records requests? We’ll see.

        1. I’m not saying that the charges against the reporter won’t eventually go away — they will, the Judge has already gotten to enjoy jerking him around for now and made her point. I’m just saying that she will never face sanctions or any real fallout and this will all be forgotten.

      2. Absolute Fucking Immunity.

        Judge and Prosecutor enjoy…. Absolute Fucking Immunity. They will not face any consequences of any sort. By law they can misuse their office as weapons of personal retaliation.

  2. Streisand effect, how does it fucking work?

    1. Fabulously?

      No, wait, that’s the Garland effect.

      Eh, probably works for it too.

  3. i can’t take one more negative law enforcement story today…i honestly can’ t. i want to believe.

    1. Oh, my sweet summer child.

      1. winter is coming

        1. Makes me wish for the days, when all I had to worry about were the grumpkins.

  4. No profession is more full of themselves than the judges. They make the typical pro athlete seem humble and down to earth by comparison.

    1. The trial I served in the jury for, two of the charges were:
      1a. Intimidation of a witness
      1b. Violation of a no-contact order.

      The first was a felony, the latter a misdemeanor, and we could only consider the latter if we found not guilty on the former. Which we did, his lawyer told us to find him guilty of the no-contact order during her closing arguments.

      After the trial, the judge was talking with us (nicely) but mentioned that it was our decision but she would have found guilty of the intimidation charge.

      The guy sent a letter, from another jail, asking the witness (his ex-GF) to contact his sister and to get a hold of his attorney. It was a stupid thing to send to someone you assaulted (we found him guilty of misdemeanor assault too), but there was nothing intimidating about the letter.

      The judge had a stick up her butt.

      1. Should have told the judge that by her standards SHE is intimidating jurors.

        1. Heh.

          I actually had a bigger issue with the judge than that one, and this was after the trial, in a casual conversation. I appreciated that she did that, coming back to the jury room to just chat about the trial.

          I decided to not bring up my bigger issue since I had let it slide anyway.

          Plus, she told us the details on how the cops managed to lose the physical evidence.

      2. A defense attorney once told me not to say anything to a person leveling a false allegation against a family member, explaining, “witness intimidation is a broad brush”.

    2. No profession is more full of themselves than the judges.

      Doctors?

      They’re a self righteous mafia shaking us down through government enabled rent seeking.

      Though this judge, at least, is worse. Doctors just say *kaching* when they rob you, this judge obviously gets his rocks off on being able to stomp on the peasants.

      I think I’m going to wear out my Orwell quote.

      We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.

      Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?

      Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face ? forever.

  5. says she does not “react well when my honesty is questioned.”

    Gee, why would anyone think a petty tyrant like her might be doing other illegal things?

  6. Wow. What a totalitarian cunt this Weaver is.

    My woodchipper is already getting overheated with too much use!

    1. You may be sharing a cell with Fist.

    2. Most folk’ll never chip a judge,
      But some folk will, then again,
      Like Rufus the monocled Canadian.

    3. With the right sauce “TC” is not too bad. But you do have to have a good wine to go with.

  7. Brenda Weaver, chief judge of the Appalachian Circuit Court of Georgia, says she does not “react well when my honesty is questioned.”

    Our rulers are letting the peasants know that they won’t tolerate the peasants getting uppity and questioning their power.

    If multiple felon CriminalClinton wins Nov. 8th, they’ll start smacking us back *before* we’ve gotten uppity. Because they like it, and know we can’t do a thing about it.

    There’s a new world coming.

    We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.

    Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?

    Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face ? forever.

    George Orwell – 1984

    1. and know we can’t do a thing about it.

      You mean aren’t going to do anything ab out it. Most people aren’t going to do a fucking thing. The last people I expect to give up their cushy existent is you local Reason commentariat.

  8. Your banana republic in action

    1. I pledge alimony to the banana republic, for which it leans (left mostly), one corporation, under wraps. With limited accountability and justice for a price.

  9. Hey Brenda Weaver, you fucking lying cunt. You need a good dose of reality.. Like right between our eyes.

    1. Is “reality” a euphemism for sperm?

  10. Wouldn’t it have been easier just to send a copy of the audio file to Thomason, and cc the local newspaper. If there’s nothing to hide, it would do more damage to Thomason than some silly lawsuit.

    If there is, then the judge and the stenographer have much to answer for.

    1. Their actions pretty much indicate that there is something to hide.

  11. Why can’t he be a totally unbelievable dishonest sleaze. Just saying

  12. RE: Journalist Angers Judge With Open Records Request, Gets Charged With Felonies
    “I don’t react well when my honesty is questioned,” Judge Brenda Weaver says.

    The judge was correct in having the journalist arrested.
    One must not question public officials or their past.
    They are all saintly, honest and dedicated to serving those who pay their salaries.
    If you start questioning a judge’s past, this will open up to examining our ruling elitist turds who enslave us daily.
    Where would it end?
    Did anyone ever think of that?

  13. A reporter asked for an audio log of a court session, and the stenographer refused? Because she didn’t properly record a baliff’s slur?

    This entire thing just sounds like making a mountain out of a mole-hill. It really sounds like the court was doing everything it could to make a small issue into a bigger issue into a bigger issue.

  14. “I don’t react well when my honesty is questioned,” Judge Brenda Weaver says.

    Yeah, see, her honesty is unquestionable.

    1. I can see that the prosecutor is a paragon of virtue. Given an obviously illegal and unethical (heck, even immoral) order by the judge, he went for it, whole hog.

  15. One would think if the judge didn’t have a thing to hide. By turning the request into a challange, the judge seems to be setting herself up for some uncomfortable sessions before a federal judge.

    Isn’t this the state where the chief judge told his underlings to ignore the U.S. Supreme court..???

    This latest episode of seemingly out of control state judges running roughshod over not just federal law, but even state law. It will be interesting to watch to see if the lawlessness of our Republic has some new high water marks to be drawn. Looks so like just more hubris on parade… Someone is probably going to get burnt in this 1. As usual, this fued will be paid 4 by the hapless taxpayer SLAVES…

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