Justice Is Everyone's Business

Seeking to Restore Integrity and Public Trust in Our Justice System

Justice will not be served until those who are
unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
—Benjamin Franklin

The Siege on Summer Street (Salem, Oregon 22 January 2019)

7. The Wheels of Justice?
More Like a Threshing Machine

This is the last of a seven-part story.

If you want justice for yourself and others, you should be concerned about what an Oregon circuit court judge, Thomas Hart, calls "the wheels of justice."

Follow the case of State vs. Kenneth Ketchem.  You will see how the "wheels of justice" operate like a threshing machine.  Legal/quasi-legal procedures are used to thrash and beat the accused person until—the prosecution hopes—he yells "UNCLE!" and confesses.

Government prosecutors have ample budgets.  Few accused citizens can pay a private lawyer to compete against a government-financed prosecutor in the courtroom.  Prosecutors know this and try to get accused persons to plead guilty before a trial.  Those agreements are called "plea bargains" (or "plea agreements" and sometimes "settlement agreements") (described here).

If the accused will not agree to plead guilty before trial, he or she may need a "Public Defender"—someone paid at public expense to defend him or her in court.  But in Ketchem's case, at least, the Public Defender seemed to be there for cosmetic purposes only—not interested in a vigorous defense.

Brief History:

  • 22 Jan 2019: Kenneth Ketchem was arrested.
  • 30 Jan 2019: Ketchem was released from hospital and booked into jail.
  • 8 Feb 2019: Jeffrey Jones agreed to represent Ketchem.
  • 9 Apr 2019: Ketchem pleaded not guilty at arraignment.
  • 20 Sep 2019: Judge Hart assigned Spencer Todd to represent Ketchem as Public Defender.
  • 26 Nov 2019: Judge Hart held court hearing on defendant's motion to reduce bail.  Motion denied.
  • 9 Jan 2020: Judge Hart assigned Martin C. Habekost to represent Ketchem as Public Defender.
  • 30 Jul through 7 Aug 2020: Trial scheduled, State of Oregon vs Kenneth Ketchem.

Judge Hart's Phone Call to Everyone's Business

This writer wrote to Judge Thomas Hart on June 3, 2019.  At that time Kenneth Ketchem, accused of arson in the Siege on Summer Street, had been in jail without a trial for four months.  Given the Salem SWAT Team's four-hour barrage of incendiaries, the outbreak of fires and the ruination of the house—it seemed Ketchem was scapegoated for the damage.  Blaming him might save the city embarrassment and liability.  But Ketchem was insisting on his innocence and had refused to plea bargain.  His bail had been set at $1 million.

In my letter, I asked Judge Hart if I could attend the June 11 status conference in his office.  I told him of my interest in the Bill of Rights, in particular the 6th Amendment right to trial, and my concern that plea bargaining has virtually eviscerated that right.  (Everyone's Business June 3 Letter to Judge Hart).

(NOTE: At the time I wrote the letter, Mr. Ketchem was represented by a private attorney, Jeffrey Jones.  I had briefly met Mr. Jones and gave him a print-out of the Everyone's Business webpage.  He thanked me and was most courteous.)

Two days after I delivered my June 3 letter to Judge Hart, he telephoned me (June 5.)  No, I could not attend the status conference.  He told me that he was not familiar with the facts of the case and did not want to be: He wanted to preserve his impartiality so that he was not prejudiced against either side when the trial was held.  It was at the trial, he said, that the facts would be determined.  He was courteous and charming.

And what are the judge's obligations?  The State of Oregon administers an oath to all judges before they assume their duties.  In that oath, the judge promises to support the Federal and State Constitutions:

2017 ORS 1.212 Oath of office for judges

(1) Before entering upon the duties of a judge of the Supreme Court, whether upon election or appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court or upon appointment as a senior judge or a judge pro tempore, a person must take and subscribe, and submit to the Secretary of State, an oath in the form provided by section 7, Article VII (Amended) of the Oregon Constitution.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, before entering upon the duties of a judge of the Court of Appeals, the Oregon Tax Court or a circuit court, a person who is appointed or elected to the office must take and subscribe, and submit to the Secretary of State, an oath in the following form:

I, ____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of a judge of the ______________ (court), according to the best of my ability, and that I will not accept any other office, except judicial offices, during the term for which I have been ________ (elected or appointed).

Judge Thomas ("Tom") Hart signed that oath with all solemnity when he re-ascended the judge's bench in 2010 (cached) and again in 2016 (cached).  A circuit court judge who has signed that oath at least twice cannot profess he is unaware of his legal duties or the spirit in which they must be performed.  And we should remember those duties are not trivial: Judge Hart has the power to sentence people to death.


But later I learned that Judge Hart had signed search warrants for the police on January 22, 2019, the day of the incident.  I was puzzled: Given that a search warrant can be issued only on a statement of "probable cause," how ignorant of the "facts" could Judge Hart have been on June 5, 2019?

Another puzzle: According to Det. Daniel Chase, Judge Hart signed the two Search Warrants on January 22 at "2058 hours," that is, 8:58 pm.

Source: Incident Supplement, Det. Daniel Chase, Pgs. 11, 12 of 15; Bates 00232, 00233.

But Judge Hart backdated his signature, indicating he had signed them at 12:06 pm that day.  Why would he do that?  Is that the honesty we expect of a judge?


Representation for Kenneth Ketchem—
From Private Attorney to Public Defender

In the months that followed his arrest, Kenneth Ketchem's family spent many thousands of dollars paying a private attorney (Jeffrey Jones) for his defense.  But the money ran out.  So on September 20, 2019, Judge Hart appointed Spencer Todd as Ketchem's Public Defender.

Source: Court Recording of the November 26 hearing on Spencer Todd's motion to withdraw.

I made the acquaintance of Mr. Todd sometime in October 2019 and was favorably impressed.  I gave him a copy of the Everyone's Business webpage.  He thanked me and was most courteous.  I asked him for an updated photo for the webpage and he sent me one.  He promised to send his private investigator to talk to us and that happened.

I have since come to the conclusion that Mr. Todd was intimidated by the odds he was facing from "the wheels of justice" and became part of the threshing machine.  I have notified him of the existence of this page, and hope that he responds to the concerns I am expressing.

November 26, 2019:
Hearing on Defendant's Motion to Reduce $1,000,000 Bail
Official recording of the hearing is available from Marion County Court Records

On November 26, 2019, Kenneth Ketchem, represented by Public Defender Todd, asked to have his $1 million bail reduced. 

In relevant part, the U.S. Constitution says this about bail:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Source: U.S. Constitution: Amendment VIII

The Oregon Constitution specifies:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed.  Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases.

Source: Constitution of Oregon: Article I, § 16.

On November 26, Asst. District Attorney Kier Boettcher announced the case.  Public Defender Todd then spoke.  He suggested a more reasonable bail figure.  He also said he did not want to "litigate what the issues are going to be" in the trial.

Judge Hart said:

"I kind of know the facts of the case."

Todd replied,

"Well, that's perfect then, Judge."

Section starts at 1:48.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

But wait!  What was "perfect" about that?  At that point, Ketchem had been in jail for 10 months without a trial.  How could Judge Hart know "the facts of the case"?

Here is what the U.S. Constitution and the Oregon Constitution say about establishing "the facts" of the case:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Source: U.S. Constitution: Amendment VI.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to public trial by an impartial jury in the county in which the offense shall have been committed; to be heard by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor …

Source: Constitution of Oregon: Article I § 11, Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecution.

When was Judge Hart informed of "the facts?"  Was there a secret trial to which Public Defender Todd was not invited—like a phone call between the judge and the DA's office?  Apparently, DA Boettcher was present at that secret briefing.  During the bail hearing, he commented:

Your honor, as the court already indicated, the court is very much aware of the facts in this matter.

In relevant part, the Oregon Constitution states:

No court shall be secret, but justice shall be administered, openly and without purchase, completely and without delay, and every man shall have remedy by due course of law for injury done him in his person, property, or reputation.

Source: Constitution of Oregon: Article I § 10.  Administration of justice. 

Secret information and gossip that may contaminate the impartiality of the legal process is called ex parte communication.

What is EX PARTE? On one side only; by or for one party; done for, in behalf of, or on the application of, one party only.  A judicial proceeding, order, injunction, etc., is said to be ex parte when it is taken or granted at the instance and for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to, or contestation by, any person adversely interested.

Source: Black's Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

The courts have very strict rules for judicial conduct.  A judge must never permit anyone to communicate the "facts" of a case to him outside the proper court setting.

Unless expressly authorized by law or with the consent of the parties, a judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications.

Source: Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct, 2013 Edition.

Public Defender Todd then volunteered discrediting information about Ketchem, that he was under the influence of "some drugs" at the time of the incident.  What prompted him to put that in his argument?

And it would seem the function of the Public Defender is simply to give the appearance of "assistance" for the accused, as required by the US and Oregon Constitutions—but in fact assists the prosecution.

Public Defender Todd also recited Ketchem's previous "brushes" with the law: A 16-year old conviction for failure to appear in Monmouth County and a successful DUII diversion (Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants treatment program).  Hmmm.  Ketchem was scarcely Jack the Ripper!  Todd then told the judge that Ketchem would be "very motivated" to take care of business if bail were reduced.  Asst. DA Boettcher disagreed, and then brought a witness to the stand.

The Lone Ranger's Testimony

Judge Hart allowed the witness to testify without taking an oath.  And the Public Defender did not object.

As recorded by the police, early in the morning of January 22, 2019, the witness—the same man who was on the stand giving testimony—chased Ketchem through the Grant neighborhood brandishing a gun.  That same man was now testifying to the danger that Ketchem presented to the community.  Public Defender Todd apparently saw no irony in the situation and did not object.

Despite the police reports, neither the police, nor the District Attorney, nor the Asst. District Attorney charged that gunman (whom we have called elsewhere "The Lone Ranger") with his offenses against Oregon law.  See The Lone Ranger Rides Again.

Among other things, the Lone Ranger testified against reduction in bail, citing his concern that Ketchem would "relapse and cause additional harm to the community or to his family." That witness said Ketchem should safely stay behind bars until he "can face the charges against him."

But at that time, Ketchem had already been behind bars for 10 months, all the while refusing to "confess" to arson, maintaining his innocence of that charge, and insisting on his constitutional right to a trial.

The Lone Ranger continued:

"I don't believe that releasing him would provide any value to the community, to his person, or his family—quite the opposite.  I believe that would create a lot of anxiety in our neighborhood through the holiday season—"

Note that the witness was permitted to speak on behalf of the "neighborhood," and the Public Defender did not object to hearsay testimony.

We can understand the Lone Ranger's concerns about Ketchem's freedom.  If Ketchem regained his status and credibility as a citizen, the Lone Ranger's status and credibility might be put at peril.

The Lone Ranger then recommended that the $1 million bail should be maintained.  Then, "from the bottom of my heart," the Lone Ranger wished that Ketchem "and his family" would get the help they needed.

From Judge Hart:

"That's very well articulated."

The Lone Ranger went on to say:

"I've been involved at Marion County at various levels.  I understand how probation works in Marion County, and I don't think that that's adequate supervision for Mr. Ketchem."

Judge Hart did not ask the Lone Ranger to describe his "involve[ment] at Marion County," or to cite his credentials as an expert on the subject of probation and supervision.  Perhaps he was known personally to Judge Hart?  And throughout, Ketchem's Public Defender was silent.

Judge Hart went on to say that Ketchem was "in a pre-trial status with a presumption of innocence as to each of these offenses …" and so could not be forced into a treatment program at that time.  (We will revisit Judge Hart's "presumption of innocence" below.)

Then the Lone Ranger added,

"My recommendation, then, with all due respect, Your Honor, is for Mr. Ketchem to simply enter a guilty plea on all charges that he's facing, and he accepts the punishment, and enter into rehabilitation for himself, for his family, and for the community."

Note that The Lone Ranger echoed the demands of the District Attorney's Office, urging that Ketchem

  1. be denied his right to trial and that
  2. plead guilty to arson, thus letting the SWAT Team off the hook for its embarrassing use of excessive force.

The public Defender did not object to this "testimony."

Judge Hart responded to The Lone Ranger's "recommendations":

"Well, that's an option, too, but I haven't had anybody jumping on board for that, so what we're going to do is—I am not going to reduce bail, nor am I going to remove the Public Safety Override."

"Public safety override"?  (Also called "PSO" in this hearing.)  What kind of threat to public safety was Ketchem?  A 16-year old failure to appear and a more recent DUII diversion could hardly justify a $1 million bail.  Recently, two young men were arrested for armed robbery in Bend, Oregon.  The bail for the suspects was set at $152,500 and $145,000. (KTVZ Feb. 6, 2020, cached.)

To Judge Hart, Ketchem Is Guilty Before Trial

Far from the "presumption of innocence" he had earlier said was required of him, Judge Hart berated Ketchem for all that Judge Hart was now convinced Ketchem had done.

"This wasn't just a one-off.  This was like hours of trauma for the folks on Capital Street.  And there was a dog that was injured and a cat was killed—that will have lasting effects for the people that suffered that.  The worst part about it—you know, I've been here for over thirty-two years — Judge Sloper used to sit on this bench …"

Section starts at 9:23.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

Judge Hart gave the impression he has been sitting on the Bench for "over thirty-two years," but that is not true.  Thomas Hart graduated from law school in 1986 and worked with the Marion County District Attorney's Office from 1987 until 1998 when he was elected as a judge.  He has been a judge for approx. 21 years, not 32.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State: Candidate Information; Date Filed: 01/12/2010 12:00:00 AM (cached).

It seems that Judge Hart conflates his role as a judge with his role as a prosecutor. 

Judge Hart continued, addressing Ketchem:

"The worst thing you can do is violate somebody's home.  And you did that over and over for an extended period of time.  And in fact, destroyed the house that they finally—as far as I understand—I don't know whether they've rebuilt the inside of that or not?"

Section starts at 10:00.3.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

Thus did Judge Hart announce that he had reached a verdict on the case.  He was already convinced Ketchem is guilty as charged.  And the trial date had not yet been set.

Plea Bargaining Requires All Parties to Cooperate in a Felony

Judge Hart asked:

[17:45] "I guess while I'm here today—Are you guys still in negotiations, or is there an offer out there that people know and I would like to have put on the record so that we know what we have going forward."

Keir Boettcher answered in the affirmative and Judge Hart asked to hear the offer.

"Your Honor, with regards to the offer, it would require the Defendant to plead guilty to Counts 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10, with dismissal of Counts 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11.  That would require that he plead guilty to count 1 burglary in the 2nd degree, where he would ultimately receive an upward dispositional departure to six months in the Department of Corrections.  [18:28] This all runs concurrent essentially to Count 8, Your Honor.  If that's really what the bottom line is of what the Court wants to know.

"Ultimately when we get to Count 8 we are looking at—Count 8 is sixty months in the Department of Corrections with no eligibility for any programming.  [Whispering: "…thirty consecutive months…"]  And then ultimately Your Honor there would be 30 months that would run consecutive to the 60 months in the Department of Corrections.  So the total offer, Your Honor, would be for 90 months with no programming."

Judge Hart:

"Ninety—no programming on the second 30 either?" [18:52]

Keir Boettcher:

"On the second 30, either, Your Honor, yes."

Judge Hart:

"OK, so it's like 90 months."

Keir Boettcher:

"Ninety months is the offer."

Judge Hart:

And I doubt it will get any better from there, is that correct?  ["Nope."]  You acknowledge you are in receipt of that offer?

Spencer Todd:

"Yes, Your Honor, Mr. Boettcher sent that over to me a couple or three or four weeks ago prior to the status conference where we set trial."

Judge Hart:

"Yes, and we have trial set.  I am prepared to go forward.  Do you have a cut-off date on any of that?"

Keir Boettcher explained that the plea bargain offer would be withdrawn on December 18, one week before Christmas 2019, so "we can get some closure before the Holidays."

Public Defender Todd spoke briefly about his plans for some minor actions on the case, and then this from Judge Hart:

"So, OK, we are good to go.  You understand, Mr. Ketchem, you need to deal with your counsel and participate in your defense.  There's been a lot of work that's already been done and we have a trial date set.  Should you choose to accept the offer, as long as you don't get sideways with me, I would support your ability to resolve the case through counsel with the district attorney.  But if you get sideways with me, I won't go along with it.  OK?"

Section starts at 17:45.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

Judge Hart did not explain what Ketchem might do to get "sideways" with him, or what might happen to if Ketchem did get "sideways."  But according to Oregon law, Ketchem would be required to sign the Uniform Plea Petition.  Point No. 14 of that petition requires the Defendant to lie to the Court, attesting as follows:

14. Other than what is contained in this plea petition, I affirm that no one has promised me anything to enter my plea of "Guilty" or "No Contest."  I also affirm that no one has threatened me or forced me to enter this plea. …  [Emphasis added]

Clause 22 also requires the defendant to lie to the Court:

22. I am signing this plea petition and entering this plea voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly with full understanding of all matters set forth in the charging instrument and in this petition.  [Emphasis added]

The threat of extra time in prison if he refuses to sign makes a lie of Clause 14 ("no one has threatened me").  The promise of a reduced sentence for signing the plea agreement makes another lie of Clause 14 ("no one has promised me anything").

Clause 22 ("I am … entering this plea voluntarily") is another blatant lie: No one can be said to be signing "voluntarily" when threatened with years or decades in prison.  That statement would be recognized as a lie in any other context under standard legal definitions.

The Certificate of Counsel, part of the Uniform Plea agreement, requires the Defendant's lawyer to state:

4. To the best of my knowledge and belief, my client's decision to enter this plea is made voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly.  [Emphasis added]

Thus, the Defendant's lawyer must also affirm the lie that the client's decision is "made voluntarily." 

In full knowledge of the whole process, the judge signs his own false affirmation for the record (Pg. 4):

The court makes the following findings regarding the defendant's plea of Guilty/No Contest: Defendant's plea is made voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly.  [Emphasis added]

The judge has full knowledge that the defendant signed under threat and duress, yet denies it with his signature.

Each of those persons (the judge, the defendant, and the defendant's lawyer) is engaged in perjury, defined as a Class C felony in Oregon law:

2017 ORS 162.065 Perjury

(1) A person commits the crime of perjury if the person makes a false sworn statement or a false unsworn declaration in regard to a material issue, knowing it to be false.

(2) Perjury is a Class C felony.

On November 26, 2019, on the record, the judge, the prosecution team, and the defense attorney conspired to commit the felony during the prosecution of a criminal case.

2017 ORS 161.450 "Criminal conspiracy" described

(1) A person is guilty of criminal conspiracy if with the intent that conduct constituting a crime punishable as a felony or a Class A misdemeanor be performed, the person agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct.

(2) Criminal conspiracy is a:

… (c) Class C felony if an object of the conspiracy is commission of a Class C felony.

This situation also fits the definition of tampering with a witness.  All, including the judge and the District Attorney, are involved in this conspiracy:

2017 ORS 162.285 Tampering with a witness

(1) A person commits the crime of tampering with a witness if:

(a) The person knowingly induces or attempts to induce a witness or a person the person believes may be called as a witness in any official proceeding to offer false testimony or unlawfully withhold any testimony; …

(2) Tampering with a witness is a Class C felony.

Our courts set the standards of conduct in our society. But they endorse and promote lies. When lying is the coin of the realm, society is doomed.

December 17 Letter to Judge Hart

Concerned about the November 26 hearing, I wrote to Judge Hart on December 17, 2019.  I reminded him of his June 5 intention to remain uninformed of "the facts" so he could retain his impartiality before trial.  I expressed my concerns about the November 26 hearing.  I included a print-out of "The Siege on Summer Street," which clearly described the gaping illogics and contradictions in the prosecutor's case.  I also reminded the Judge of his failure to swear in the witness who had, according to police reports, chased Ketchem through public streets with a drawn gun.

Judge Hart did not reply.

Communication From Kenneth Ketchem

On Christmas Eve, 2019, I received two envelopes of materials from Kenneth Ketchem.  One contained a handwritten letter.  The first three pages addressed various aspects of the case against him, the fourth page described his dissatisfaction with the representation given him by Public Defender Todd.  Among the complaints:

  • The Public Defender was trying to pressure him into accepting a plea bargain on the arson charge
  • The Public Defender refused to file a motion concerning the police removal of evidence from the fire scene before the Fire Marshal's office had inspected.
  • The Public Defender did not want to do anything to upset the judge because that would earn Ketchem more time in prison.

I scanned Page 4 and on December 30 sent it to Public Defender Todd by email, asking him if he would address Ketchem's concerns.  I received no reply.

January 9, 2020:
Hearing on Public Defender's Motion to Withdraw
Official recording of the hearing is available from Marion County Court Records

On January 9, 2020, Ketchem was abruptly notified a hearing would be held that day.  Public Defender Todd had filed a motion asking to withdraw from representation.

Judge Hart opened the hearing by asking Ketchem:

"Why can't you work with your counsel?"

When Ketchem started to explain his objections to Public Defender Todd's representation, Judge Hart interrupted him:

"Have you been to law school?"

Judge Hart must have known Ketchem had not been to law school.  The question was obviously posed to humiliate Ketchem and cut the ground from beneath his feet.

Ketchem continued to tell why he objected to his Public Defender's representation, but Judge Hart interrupted him again:

"Have you been in contact with Ms. Decorsni [sic]?"

(Judge Hart was obviously referring to this writer, whose last name is "DeCoursey").  Ketchem asked,

"Uh?  DeCoursey?  Yes."  (Ketchem pronounced my name correctly.)

Judge Hart, apparently giving an order to a jail official, went on to say:

"I want to get the jail calls.  I want to hear what's been being said.  (OK.)  OK.  Because she's been writing the courts and writing the lawyers.  And she's been interfering with this prosecution."

Ketchem tried to disagree, but Judge Hart overrode him:

"Absolutely.  Just be careful."

Section starts at 1:28.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

Whoa! Shouldn't a judge who hopes to be "impartial" at trial be equally concerned with the defense? 

But still, Public Defender Todd was silent.  Surely his client has the right to talk to people when he is in jail, particularly if he is asserting his innocence?

Moments later Judge Hart again returned to the subject of Everyone's Business reportage.

"And I would direct the State to go through every one of the phone calls because I believe that the information supports that there is interference with the wheels of justice with regard to this theory that has now arisen."

Section starts at 3:13.5.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

Judge Hart was apparently hinting that he would apply a criminal statute to Everyone's Business reportage; his wording suggests prosecution under ORS 162.235 Obstructing governmental or judicial administration (a Class A misdemeanor) or ORS 162.325 Hindering prosecution (a Class C felony).

We turn again to the Oregon Constitution:

No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right.

Source: Constitution of Oregon: Article I § 8.  Freedom of speech and press.

So it seems that Judge Hart is displeased that Ketchem's story is seeing the light of day.  Note that Judge Hart expressed no concern about the obvious contradictions and illogics of the prosecution's, case, duly reported to him on December 17.

Who Is "Mr. Cossi"?

Ketchem asked if he could have a "non-Marion County" lawyer, and Judge Hart told him,

"You do not get to pick and choose.  This is your third lawyer … Mr. Habekost … Jonathan Clark was first appointed to this case.  If you want him to assist you, you can have him.  He had Denny Mason and Jeff Jones, whom [sic] was retained and paid for, until they, I guess, ran out of money.  And then I appointed Mr. Todd and Mr. Cossi to the case ..."

Section starts at 2:32.
The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.

When I met Spencer Todd, he was working from the office of Walter J. Todd, PC. — and there was no "Mr. Cossi" associated with the firm.  Was "Mr. Cossi" yet another mispronunciation of my name?  Perhaps Judge Hart is as confused about Ketchem's representation as he is about his responsibilities as a judge.

Whom Do Our Public Servants Serve?

We have already visited some of Judge Hart's violations of his Oath of Office and the US and Oregon constitutions.  But what of the violations of the Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson and those who serve under her?  Here is the oath of office she signed in http://records.sos.state.or.us/ORSOSWebDrawer/RecordView/6458420

I, Paige E. Clarkson, do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of a District Attorney of Marion County, according to the best of my ability.

Source: Oregon Records Management, cached.

The District Attorney and Assistant District Attorneys are members of the Oregon State Bar.  The Oath for Admission to the practice of law in Oregon reads as follows:

That I will faithfully and honestly conduct myself in the office of an attorney in the courts of the State of Oregon; that I will observe and abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct approved by the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon; and that I will support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the State of Oregon.  To the court, opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.

Source: Oath of Office for Admission to the Practice of Law in Oregon

And here is what the Office of the Secretary of State says about its 36 district attorneys.

Oregon's 36 district attorneys are responsible for safeguarding the rights of all Oregonians, including both victims and defendants in criminal cases.  As set forth in the Oregon Constitution, district attorneys represent the public in criminal matters by filing criminal charges where warranted by the law and available evidence.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State, Oregon's 36 District Attorneys

NOTE: "… district attorneys represent the public in criminal matters by filing criminal charges where warranted by … available evidence."

It is clear that the District Attorney has filed criminal charges against Ketchem despite available evidence.  The ruination of 1050 Summer Street was caused by the Salem SWAT Team—and not by a BIC cigarette lighter in the hands of Kenneth Ketchem.  DA Clarkson has flagrantly abused the public trust and her Bar Oath as a licensed attorney. 

The purpose of holding Ketchem in jail is to force him to confess to a crime he did not commit.  Ketchem is being scapegoated and railroaded.  It is tyranny under the varnish of law and order.

This is not just Kenneth Ketchem's problem.  The process of wrongful prosecution by corrupt and ambitious officials could happen to any of us.  If the machinery is left in place—deceitful police, compliant forensic inspectors, vindictive prosecutors, and despotic judges—none of us is safe from the "wheels of justice" (to use Judge Hart's apt phrase).

Both Thomas Hart and Paige Clarkson should be recalled.  They are usurpers of our rights.

A tyranny is a cruel, harsh, and unfair government in which a person or small group of people have power over everyone else.  Shades of the Gulag Archipelago, right here in Marion County.

Reports to Authorities and Correspondence

Everyone's Business contacted appropriate public regulatory officials with complaints about the misconduct of various parties in State v. Kenneth Ketchem.

  • 11 Feb 2019:  To Jerry Moore, Salem Chief of PoliceEveryone's Business congratulated the Salem Police on the handling of the situation at 1050 Summer St. NE on January 22, 2019.  Unlike so many other police incidents, the Salem police did not kill the suspect.
  • 24 Mar 2019: To Jerry Moore, Salem Chief of Police.  Having investigated further, Everyone's Business expressed concern about the excessive use of force by police.
  • 8 Apr 2019:  To Jerry Moore, Salem Chief of PoliceEveryone's Business thanked Salem Police for sending SWAT team commander Shawn Adams to the Grant Neighborhood Association meeting on April 4 to explain the situation and actions of the police.
  • 11 Apr 2019:  To Chuck Bennett, Mayor of Salem.  At a neighborhood meeting, after hearing my comments on the siege on Summer Street, Mayor Bennett warned me I should be careful "criticizing the police." 
  • 13 Apr 2019:  To City of Salem Fire Department.
    • 13 Apr 2019:  From City of Salem Fire Department denying our request.
  • 15 Apr 2019:  To Shawn Adams, SWAT Commander of the Salem Police.  Everyone's Business applauded SWAT's restraint in addressing subsequent incidents in Salem without grenades and tear gas.
  • 16 Jul 2019:  To Paige Clarkson, District Attorney of Marion County, enumerating the holes her case against Kenneth Ketchem and her cover-up of the SWAT team bungles.  Reminding her of her duties to the public trust, and her betrayal in prosecuting this case.
  • 24 Feb 2020:  To Helen Heirschbiel, Executive Director of the Oregon State Bar Association, concerning the conduct of District Attorney Paige Clarkson.  I referred her to the facts in our 7-part report, “The Siege on Summer Street.”
    • 23 Mar 2020:  From the Oregon State Bar Association.  The Bar did not dispute our factual presentation, but stated that Paige Clarkson has not acted in an unprofessional manner.
  • 25 Feb 2020:  To Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General, reminding her that the AG’s website states: “… The strength of Oregon’s government depends on public trust …”  I told her about the conduct of District Attorney Paige Clarkson and Judge Thomas Hart, giving her full documentation.  I have received no response.
  • 1 Mar 2020:  To the Oregon Supreme Court Justices, telling them how the criminal justice system works in Oregon.
  • 4 Mar 2020:  To Jerry Moore, Salem Chief of Police.
  • 17 Mar 2020:  To the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, an official complaint concerning Judge Thomas Hart on the Commission's prescribed form.  The Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability reviews complaints about Oregon state judges and justices of the peace and investigates when the alleged conduct might violate Oregon's Code of Judicial Conduct.  The Commission's on-line tool to create the form removed the paragraphs divisions.  Here is the original document.
    • 18 May 2020:  From the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.  The Commission did not dispute the facts I presented, but told me “the evidence is insufficient to conclude that ethical misconduct occurred …”
    • 18 May 2020:  To the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, stating I’d like to understand the process by which it reached its decision, and asking for a transcript of proceedings.
    • 18 May 2020:  From the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability: the information requested is “confidential.”
  • 15 Apr 2020:  To the Oregon State Bar Association to reconsider its decision, this time enclosing an actual print-out of our 7-part expose giving background of Clarkson’s prosecution of Kenneth Ketchem.
    • 23 Apr 2020:  The Oregon State Bar Association notified Paige Clarkson of my appeal.
    • 9 Jun 2020:  From the Oregon State Bar Association.  The Bar did not dispute any of the facts, but stuck by its guns: There was nothing wrong with Clarkson’s conduct.
  • 23 Jun 2020:  To Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon.  Who is running the justice system in Oregon?  Includes photo of Kenneth Ketchem's horrid injuries inflicted by Salem's militarized police.
  • 26 Jun 2020:  To the City Council of Salem.
  • 29 Jun 2020:  To the Judiciary Committees of the Oregon Legislative Assembly (House and Senate).
  • 26 Jul 2020:  To Jerry Moore, Salem Chief of Police concerning the conduct of the officers in his charge tampering with the crime scene evidence prior to the Fire Marshal inspection.  He can expect to see those officers embarrassed on the stand during trial.  Can we see the reprimands, please?
  • 27 Jul 2020:  To Mike Niblock, Salem Fire Chief concerning Deputy Fire Marshal Sarah Poet's botched inspection of 1050 Summer Street, NE, after the police removed evidence of their incendiary weapons.  On cross-examination, DFM Poet will be embarressed and bring discredit to the Salem Fire Department for basing her findigs on an evidence scene she knew the police had tampered with.
  • 27 Jul 2020:  To Tracy A. Prall, Presiding Judge of the Marion County Circuit Court, concerning the unfitness of Judge Thomas Hart to preside over this case.  Since on 26 Nov 2019, Thomas Hart already announced his belief that Ketchem is guilty of the charges, Ketchem is not presumed innocent before trial as he should be.  Moving forward with Judge Hart will guarantee grounds for a successful appeal.
  • 3 Aug 2020: To Judge Thomas Hart of the Marion County Circuit Court, urging him to recuse from the case.  In that letter, Everyone's Business cited the 26 Nov 2019 hearing in which Judge Hart stated in open court his personal belief that Kenneth Ketchem had committed the crimes with which he is charged.  Since the presumption of innocense before trial is required of the court by US law, Judge Hart is not qualified to sit on the case.