"He-who-must-not-be-named." ATF's view of yours truly.
When we last left the case of U.S. vs. Clark, James P. "Little Jimmy" Vann, the ATF Chief Counsel's Office visiting sewer maintenance worker had just raised his ugly little head at a hearing. Long-time readers will recall that it was Little Jimmy who fanatically pursued the ephemeral Ramsey A. Bear as part of the long economic Waco that the ATF has waged on Georgia firearm designer Len Savage.
Last week, courtesy of the sharp-eyed Nolo Contendere at ARF.com, Little Jimmy's fingerprints were first observed on the Clark case. And what is Little Jimmy worried about? Why secrecy, of course.
02/14/2012255 NOTICE OF FILING OF OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT of Status Hearing. Proceedings as to George Dibril Clark, III held on 2/6/2012, before Judge Roslyn O. Silver. Court Reporter Elaine Cropper. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. Redaction Request due 3/6/2012. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 3/16/2012. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 5/14/2012. (VAR) (Entered: 02/15/2012)
Nolo asks the question: "Why is it set for redaction? Why is their a restriction on it? Any AZ folks that could go view the transcript?"
To which Kharn pointed out: "That's the norm, one of the parties can request redaction if something is in the transcript they do not want public knowledge (mainly stuff like home addresses) so the transcript is not released until everyone involved has a chance to look at it."
Nolo replied, "I think there's more to this."
My sources tell me that Nolo is right. I am informed that this hearing involved a requested gag order (Little Jimmy always likes to work in the dark if he can) which was rejected by the judge. Unable to get the gag order, the Feds sought a transcript restriction on the hearing. Why? Because, I am told, the government was complaining about press coverage in the case, including a single story in the Washington Times, but more especially yours truly here at Sipsey Street. Any interested parties in Phoenix who would like to jog down to the court house to take a look at it can verify that, I'm sure.
Time was, the ATF and DOJ used to ignore buzzing mosquitoes in the blogosphere like me. Now, apparently, we make them nervous enough to give us honorable mention on their list of enemies of the state. In addition to all the other problems with this case -- especially the strange protections afforded their pampered snitch, head of the NFATCA John Brown -- Nolo Contendere provides the latest letter from defense counsel that hints at others (scroll down on the "secrecy, of course" link above to find the PACER filing):
George Dibril Clark, III, by and through undersigned counsel, and joined by the Co-Defendants herein, respectfully movesthis Court to extend the time to file pretrial motions for at least one-hundred and twenty (120) days from the current date of February 24, 2012, and that the trial be continued for a similar period of time from the current date of April 3, 2012. More specifically, the Defendants request that the trial be re-set to a date in early September, 2012, as is convenient to this Court.Defense counsel consulted with Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathy Lemke who advised that she does not oppose this motion to continue. All of the Defendants remain out of custody and also do not oppose this motion to continue.Basis for this MotionThis Court held a status conference last week on Monday, February 6, 2012, to address a number of pre-trial matters. At that hearing, the Government advised that additional discovery was being prepared which would be provided to all counsel either by the end of that week or the beginning of this week. That discovery was provided this week and it consists of approximately 1200 additional documents and reports, plus a good number of new photos.This additional discovery was provided in the same manner as prior disclosure in that it is not in a Bates-stamped nor is it otherwise in a readily useful form. Some documents were copied upside down and placed into files that cannot readily be identified and must be opened individually to know what they contain. No Master Index is available.Accordingly, the defense will be reviewing, cataloguing and re-scanning these materials so that the Defendant (and all of them) can work with the discovery documents as part of their pre-trial preparation and for trial.Why Is The Requested Time Reasonable?The requested time is reasonable because it is realistic given the enormous volume of material and the logical time needed to properly review “all” of it before deciding what motions are necessary. This time will also allow the Defendants the opportunity to work with potential defense experts and it addresses a lot of trial scheduling conflicts. That said, the Defendants have been pooling resources and working together to keep this case on a proper track to avoid undue delay and there has been no dilatory conduct by any of the Defendants.The reality is that once all of the discovery is imputed, catalogued, reviewed, and the defense investigation completed, this mountain of material must be shared with each of the Defendants to enable him (them) to make voluntary and informed decisions on how best to proceed with the case. Thus, Co-counsel specifically join* in this motion since the same interests for completion of the discovery process and review apply to each Defendant.[*Mr. Petti represents Co-Defendant Arnberger and he did not participate in today’s conference call. However, I telephoned his office and I emailed him immediately after the meeting. I reasonably anticipate that he will likewise join.]For all of these reasons, we respectfully urge that the time requested herein is reasonable and we ask that this motion be granted.It is expected that excludable delay under Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3161(h)(7)(A) may occur as a result of this motion or from an order based thereon.
ARF.com commenter Hard Rock responded:
.Gov is really riding the ragged edge aren't they? Can't motions be filed against the Government based on their actions? If they are not complying with a standard of conduct in discovery I would think that it would be grounds for all sorts of stuff the defense could throw at them for their shenanigans.My concern is that if the Government has to stoop to these childish antics, then they don't have much of a case... and if they don't have much of a case, why is money being wasted on this? If they can't play by the rules, they need to be ground under the foot of the Judicial system hard. Based on the bullshit crack head kindergarten tactics, I think the Government knows this is going to go down the shitter hard. I'd be very amused if the judged ruled 922 (o) Unconstitutional based upon their bullshit.If I were the defense, I'd be breaking out the 12 pound sledge on the Government over this crap.
The defense will no doubt try, and the ATF misconduct in this case will in time be understood by any who choose to study it as an epic fail, but it may be too much to assume that the Federal judge in this case, Roslyn Silver, will be able to rise above her background, prejudices and experiences with previous firearms cases to render an impartial verdict. The ATF undoubtedly understood this when they decided which judge they wanted for the case.
Roslyn O. Silver, United States District Court for the District of Arizona, joined the court in 1994 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton, on the recommendation of U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini. We have previously covered DeConcini's pivotal role in nurturing the career of the rabid anti-firearm Dennis Burke, the now-disgraced US Attorney at the center of the Gunwalker Scandal.
Worse, Judge Silver's experience in a previous case could not have failed to make an impression on her. Wikipedia's summation:
Stewart death threat caseJudge Silver received a death threat in 2003. She was threatened when 64-year old prisoner Robert Stewart offered another inmate $100,000 in a secret cache of machine guns to kill Judge Silver.Silver had sentenced Stewart to five years in prison on a federal weapons charges. In a recorded jailhouse conversation, Stewart, who has ties to militia groups, issued the death threat. Stewart requested that the judge's head be cut off and hung from a pole in hopes that it would spark more killings of federal agents and judges nationwide and lead to an uprising by anti-government groups.Later in 2003, Stewart was sentenced to 24 years in prison after he was convicted for soliciting the murder of a federal judge. Stewart is concurrently serving that sentence in addition to the original five year sentence that was issued by Judge Silver.
Being on the receiving end of a threat to have your head cut off would be a hard thing to forget.
We also cannot know what sort of ex parte communications the ATF and DOJ have had with Judge Silver over the course of this case, but in the past they have rarely failed to do so whenever their case is weak and threatens to overturn their indefensibly capricious regulatory regime.
In any event, we will see whether Judge Silver finally reaches her gag reflex with regard to the the misconduct that ATF and DOJ are feeding her.