Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Huh? Somebody 'splain this to me, please.

Ok, today's AJC has a very strange report. In it, we're told that Pat Pope's attorney, Manny Arora has been knocking on the doors of the homes of members of the grand jury. He says he can legally do this. Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary says that he can't—that jurors are sworn to secrecy and speaking with Arora would violate that oath. Judge Cynthia Becker issued a temporary protective order barring the lawyer for an indicted school administrator from contacting members of the grand jury. We also learn that Pat Pope is still on the payroll until the end of the month and that there will be a hearing on July 12.

That's not the odd part. The odd part is the last part. Can anyone explain this:

In addition to the criminal investigation into bid tampering, bribery and theft, the grand jury is now conducting a civil investigation into school board operations, Geary said.

The civil investigation cannot result in charges.


So, are they going to investigate school board operations? If so, to what end, if it cannot result in charges?

Update: Bloggers have shared some interesting input. First, we were directed to an informative article at Law.com titled, "Lawyers in Ga. School Racketeering Case Reflect High Stakes" that explains the key lawyers, their experience and who they are representing. Another article explains the Differences between Civil and Criminal Law in the USA.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe they will look into operations even though it will not result in any charges to build background on their case b/c they will need all of the evidence they can get. I got this idea after reading this particular lawyer's (John Floyd) strategy in this article in how he handled a prior high profile case. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202459184313. John Floyd has been instrumental thus far and will leave no stone unturned.

Anonymous said...

Umm...then shouldn't Manny be thrown in jail? Dude sounds like a desperate lawyer with a desperate client in a desperate (self-inflicted) situation.

Anonymous said...

Civil suit might result in damages, even if charges don't meet the burden of proof for a criminal case - remember O.J.? The burden of proof in his civil trial was "a preponderance of the evidence" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt." And here's something: "the defendant in a civil case must help his/her opponent collect evidence that will defeat the defendant."

My best guesses - not a lawyer, but I do know the Internet: http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an advisory grand jury. They may not be enpaneled to investigate criminal wrongdoing, but will return findings or a report that may recommend changes.

Didn't the grand jury in Cobb County do the same thing with respect to the computer contracts and the operation of the Cobb schools transportation department?

A grand jury has nothing at all to do with civil damages.

Anonymous said...

Grand Juries are occasionally used for other purposes. For example, there was a grand jury convened to investigate the spending of Cobb SPLOST monies.

Here is a Wikipedia summary of the results...

Upon the request of the Board of Education, Cobb District Attorney Pat Head was granted an order on October 6, 2005 to empanel a special grand jury to investigate the bidding process. On April 19, 2007, the 25-member grand jury released its report and suggested no criminal charges be filed. The report was critical of the school district's procurement processes, and suggested that the district provide greater definition and clarity to its purchasing procedures. The release of the grand jury report concluded the laptop initiative saga. The school district began refreshing outdated computer systems throughout the county in early 2007, precisely as outlined in SPLOST II.

I think that Cobb then adopted new rules/regs as a result of the findings.

Lynn Deutsch

Dunwoody Mom said...

Yes, a Grand Jury can be used simply as an information-gathering device.

As far as Manny Aurora and his visits to Grand Jury members. In a normal trial situation the defense attorneys can question jury members after the trial is over. So, if the Grand Jury that indicted Ms Pope/Reid has been dismissed maybe he feels he can contact them?

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the input - you guys are smart!

I'll add your links to the main post. As the one article stated, "this will be a great case".... Yikes! When I read that, all I saw was $$$$$.

Anonymous said...

I understand defamation of character and loss of reputation based on lies. When it was unfairly happening to me and others I've since heard about, no one seemed to mind. Why the sudden concern? Especially if the truth.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, please repost the link on "online defamation" ... bloggers out here can't get it now.

Anonymous said...

wonder if the grand jury caught whiff of a bribe in the non-redistricting of vanderlyn elem? don't fed me that line that CLew gave up on a hopeless situation - that's not what happened.

Anonymous said...

It may just mean a civil case can't result in individual criminal charges. The AJC isn't a paragon of clarity

Cerebration said...

Here's the link you're asking for Anon -

http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/defamation

Anonymous said...

Whether or not Manny Arora is allowed to contact members of the Grand Jury, I think it's out of line to go to their homes and knock on their doors. That feels very intrusive to me and I would feel like it was an invasion of my privacy.

Cerebration said...

Seems intimidating. Actions like these make ordinary citizens reluctant to serve on juries.

Anonymous said...

Visiting their homes? Telling them "I know where you live" is the implied message here (maybe along with "I know who your kids [in DCSS] are").
This is juror intimidation, pure thug-like behavior.

Anonymous said...

"Pure thuglike behavior"...hmmm...time to look back at who Manny's (sounds like a thug to me) other clients have been.

Any racketeering cases? Outcomes?
All negotiated and none to a jry verdict my guess.

The whole story about Pope and Lewis might be "found" by inference reviewing ol' Manny's history.

The story is guaranteed to not be what it seems.

Anonymous said...

Bowen's position is rediculous--basically waives a wand over the question of whether the board should have been listening to Littlejohn way back when she brought evidence of many cases of malfeasance.
Point being--they had the obligation to be agressive in their oversight many years before a criminal investigation. Criminal investigations should follow ethics case, not the other way around.
He says "we are taking responsiblity"--that's liek when your kid says "I'm coming" when asked to come to dinner--and he's staying where he is. He's not "coming" at all--and Bowen is doing exactly the opposite of "taking responsibility.
Responsibility for what?

Anonymous said...

From Law.com

"To bolster the prosecution, Fleming engaged on a pro bono basis John E. Floyd, a partner with Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore and an expert on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law."

Our powerful DA. One of Vernon's picks.

Anonymous said...

From the law.com article

"Lewis is represented by Michael L. Brown of Alston & Bird. Brown is a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted clients for some of the same criminal charges his current client faces."

Now I see why CLew approved those large bills ($15 million) to
A & B for the Heery /Mitchell $130 million bonanza. It was advance payment for his leaga defense.

DeKalb taxpayers... the fools that keep on getting robbed.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:30, you're confusing Alston & Bird with King & Spalding, the law firm representing the school system in the Heery Mitchell case.

Anonymous said...

A report will be issued listing things in DCSS that need correction. This will be passed on to the BOE and the DCSS administration. The report has no legal authority and is not an indictment.

End result ... three days news in the AJC, chatter and hand wringing by the BOE members. Then life will go on as usual.

Didn't the DKC grand jury issue a similar report in the matter of the county's operation of its IT department where Mr. Stogner issued a series of unauthorized contracts just below the $50,000 limit requiring an open bidding process? As I recall, after the report was issued there were two forensic (CYA) audits, one by the DKC commissioners and one by Vernon himself. The net result was finding that the members of the IT department were missing an instruction book that told them how to communicate with each other. They overlooked the actions of Mr. Stogner and Vernon's connection with the company that got the contracts

What makes anyone think that things will be different this time?

DKC and DCSS ..... a laugh a day

Anonymous said...

@ Anons 11:06 PM and 11:08 PM, June 17

RE: Ronald Ramsey

Predatory. That's the word that best describes Ronald Ramsey. Predatory.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 4:12
From Law.com:
http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202459184313

Representing Reid is Manubir S. "Manny" Arora, a lawyer for professional athletes and other celebrities. Arora is perhaps best known for keeping Adam "Pac-Man" Jones out of prison and giving the former Dallas Cowboys cornerback a second chance at a career in the National Football League. Jones' arrest record includes a litany of incidents of alleged assault, felony vandalism and drug possession....

Donald F. Samuel, who was one of [Sidney]Dorsey's lawyers [Dorsey was convicted of ordering assassination of Derwin Brown], said the defense attorneys in the DeKalb schools case will be formidable opponents. Arora used to work for Samuel's firm, Garland, Samuel & Loeb. Arora is now a name partner with Arora & LaScala.

"Manny is a very fine lawyer," said Samuel. "He's thorough, very meticulous. He'll leave no stone unturned."

Arora gained celebrity status as a criminal defense lawyer for high-profile clients and for making frequent appearances as a legal expert on cable network news shows. Arora got his start as U.S. Air Force prosecutor in the mid-1990s. Between 1998 and 2001 he prosecuted murder cases for the Fulton County district attorney's office.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Ronald Ramsey's supervisor is justifying all these negative comments? Who is Ramsey's supervisor?

Again, I ask: is there anything of redeeming value regarding Ramsey in either of the full time jobs he holds? That would be Internal Affairs Director and Georgia State Senator.

If no, please please please cut him from the payroll. Regarding State Senator, let's see what happens when his term is up and it's time for re-election ... then the people really will be in charge of whether or not he continues as Senator.

Enjoy the double dipping while you can, Mr. Ramsey, if you can continue to do it with a good conscience.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:15 pm

"wonder how Ronald Ramsey's supervisor is justifying all these negative comments? Who is Ramsey's supervisor? :"

Ron Ramsey's immediate supervisor is Ramona Tyson, interim superintendent for DCSS so he was in a position to know what Lewis and Reid were doing. I don't think negative comments about him have any impact. All of Leiws cadre is very close. They have helped each other with promotions and supported each other throughout their careers. Why would they be at odds?

See organizational chart on DCSS website:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/organization/files/6966EB6514D34006A52BA160C9AA062E.pdf

Anonymous said...

Things should get very interesting in the next few months as the stimulus money dries up. This is what paid for America's choice and the nonsense coaches mentioned above.

DCSS will have money for neither and it will be interesting to see how it is handled.