Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Persecution of Rita Hutchens


Midnight Knock: Bonner County Sheriff's Deputies invade the home of Rita Hutchens.



Sandpoint, Idaho resident Rita Hutchens is an opinionated 57-year-old quilt artist whose work has earned her international notoriety. Given that Hutchens is also an outspoken proponent of constitutionalist views, it’s possible that some people have taken issue with her political opinions. 

Hutchens has never harmed or threatened another human being. Yet local officials, led by Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank -- an inventively dishonest official -- are trying to make a criminal out of her. Failing that, they might simply seek to have her imprisoned indefinitely in a psych ward. 

Around midnight on April 16, three Bonner County Sheriff’s Deputies invaded Rita’s home while she was asleep and half-clothed on her living room sofa. The deputies were enforcing a bench warrant issued several weeks earlier after Hutchens had failed to appear for a preliminary hearing on a misdemeanor charge. 


In Idaho, as elsewhere, it is exceptionally rare for police to serve warrants after sundown. In its ruling in the 2011 case Idaho v. Skurlock, the Idaho Supreme Court recognized that at night time people “have a heightened expectation of privacy that should not be disturbed by a knock on the door and the presentation of a search warrant.” In addition, executing a warrant at night “increases the likelihood of violence because nighttime searches cause an abrupt intrusion on sleeping occupants in a home, thus increasing the potential for a violent reaction from the occupants.” 

The bold and valiant deputies who kicked in Rita Hutchens’s door at midnight acted in the serene confidence that they had no reason to expect a violent reaction on the part of their terrified victim. 

The officials responsible for the Stasi-style midnight raid maintain that there was an element of urgency because she is suspected of a violent crime, to wit: battery on a city official at Sandpoint City Hall last August 12. If they are in a particularly creative mood, city authorities might embellish that charge by saying that it involved an impact weapon.

The implement of mayhem allegedly employed by Hutchens in the supposed assault on Deputy Clerk Melissa Ward was not a club, a set of brass knuckles, or throwing stars. It was a ballpoint pen.

No, really. 

Furthermore, according to the sober and dutiful public servants who witnessed the attack, Hutchens did not hurl that potentially death-dealing projectile at Ward; instead, she threw it down on a tabletop, and the terrorized agent of the public weal was injured by a ricochet.

Somehow, Ward stoically fought through her trauma and finished her shift without being treated by paramedics. Significantly, although she did fill out a police report, Ward never swore out a criminal complaint. 
 
Sandpoint City Attorney Scott Campbell (l.).
Hutchens filed a subpoena demanding that Ward, the alleged victim, provide a sworn and signed criminal complaint. 

Last November 14, the Idaho First District Court granted a motion by Sandpoint City Attorney Scott Campbell to quash that subpoena, ruling that “requiring Ms. Ward, the victim in this matter, to provide a signed complaint is unreasonable.” 

What this means is that there is no victim of record in the August 12 “battery” incident, and no criminal intent behind Hutchens’s actions – unless, of course, Greenbank wants to pretend that this middle-aged woman deviously set up a bank-shot for the purpose of wounding the clerk. On the basis of his behavior toward Hutchens – another example of which we will examine anon -- I’m convinced that Greenbank and his comrades possess sufficient cynicism to make that claim. 
 
Two of Sandpoint's (snicker) "Finest."
The patently spurious nature of the charge against Hutchens is brought into focus once it’s understood why she had visited City Hall: She was there to review public records related to an incident in 2011 in which she was assaulted and illegally arrested by Sandpoint police officer Theresa Heberer.

At the time of her encounter with Officer Heberer, Hutchens was in the middle of evicting a deadbeat tenant (who, as it happened, had been arrested the previous day on outstanding warrants). She visited her property to determine if the power and water had been shut off. When Hutchens drove by the property – making two passes when she saw the renter talking with Officer Heberer – the tenant claimed that Hutchens had been “stalking” or “harassing” her. On the basis of that complaint from a manifestly unreliable source, Heberer got into her patrol vehicle and followed Hutchens to her home.

Heberer demanded that Hutchens submit to an interrogation. Hutchens, who didn’t want to be bothered by a police officer – what decent and rational person would? – replied that she had nothing to say, invoked the Fifth Amendment, and turned to enter her home. Heberer responded by committing criminal trespass, then compounded that crime by seizing Hutchens and violently throwing her to the ground. 

When her supervisor arrived on the scene, Heberer claimed that the encounter began with a traffic stop dealing with an expired registration. This was a lie, of course. Seeking to find some charge to justify the criminal violence inflicted on Hutchens, Heberer and her supervisor pored over the statute book and eventually decided to charge the victim with “resisting and obstructing” a police officer.

That charge was entirely without merit – a fact recognized by Magistrate Judge Barbara Buchanan when she threw it out of court.

“There was no reason to touch her,” Judge Buchanan observed. “She did not have to answer [Officer Heberer’s] questions. She has a Fifth Amendment right not to do that…. You can’t be charged with resisting and obstructing for exercising your Fifth Amendment right, and she did have every right to say, `I don’t want to answer your questions, I want to go in my house.’ There is no basis for an arrest, there is no reason for a search warrant.”

Unlike Melissa Ward, Hutchens was physically harmed by Heberer’s assault, in addition to suffering the indelible injury of being handcuffed and unlawfully detained. She filed a $250,000 damage claim with the City of Sandpoint, which was rejected by Idaho Counties Risk Management Program. So she filed a notice of tort claim announcing her intention to sue the city for violating her civil rights.

It was in preparation for that lawsuit that Hutchens was researching public records at City Hall on August. As she did so, she was followed by a city official who carried a digital recorder and may well have been trying to bait her into some kind of actionable misconduct. 

As Sgt. Riffel noted in his official report of the incident, “Rita Hutchens… has a fairly tense relationship with the City, and has pending lawsuits against them.”
Had he possessed a particle of moral discernment and a rudimentary sense of honor, Riffel would have recognized that the battery complaint was an act of petty retaliation against a citizen regarded as an irritant. His reaction should have been to shake his head in disgust, put away his notebook, and tell the “victim” and her cronies to behave like adults. But this would have meant defending the rights of a Mundane, which would be impermissible. 

Accordingly, Riffel – acting in the interests of Tax Feeder solidarity – filed his report and swore out the probable cause affidavit.

The criminal complaint against Hutchens, which was composed by Greenbank, is a masterpiece of bureaucratic hyperbole. It claims that Hutchens “did willfully and unlawfully use force or violence upon the person of Melissa Ward by striking Ward with a pen, or, in the alternative, did actually, intentionally, and unlawfully touch or strike the person of Melissa Ward against her will by striking Ward with a pen.” This, sniffs Greenbank with the practiced pomposity of a pampered parasite, was a grave offense “against the peace and dignity of the State of Idaho.”
 
Public menace? Rita Hutchens.
Ward suffered no injury. There is no evidence that Hutchens intended to do her any harm. By way of contrast, judicial notice has been taken of the incontrovertible fact that Officer Theresa Heberer did “willfully and unlawfully use force or violence” upon the person of Rita Hutchens in an assault that did injure the victim.

It is precisely because Hutchens is seeking redress for the criminal violence she suffered at the hands of Heberer and her comrades that Greenbank – acting on behalf of the local political class – is seeking to imprison her.

As his florid description of Hutchens’s purported offense demonstrates, Greenbank is a bit of a drama queen. This got him into trouble in his last gig, during which he afflicted the residents of neighboring Kootenai County. During opening arguments in a September 2008 domestic violence trial, Greenbank – who at the time was Deputy Prosecutor for Kootenai County – broke down in tears and theatrically asked for a tissue as he recounted the alleged crimes of the defendant

This display left First District Judge Fred Gilber thoroughly unimpressed. Chastising Greenbank for trying to manipulate the jury, Gilber declared a mistrial. Predictably, Greenbank’s initial reaction was to lie, insisting that he hadn’t been crying and certainly had “no intent to appeal to the passions of the jury.” However, the trial transcript documents that he admitted, “I did have tears running down my face, I did have snot running down my face.”

Nor was this the first time that Greenback or his colleagues had sought to manipulate a jury. As he declared a mistrial, Judge Gilber pointed out: “In [a] recent case the Court of Appeals has singled out the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office for appealing to the passions or prejudice of the jury.”
For the last six months, Hutchens has been acting as her own attorney. 

Greenbank, who has no appropriate credentials, claims that she has exhibited “unusually behaviors and affects – both in court and in her filings. It is evident that her mood is changeable, and her thoughts are disorganized.” He filed, and was granted, a motion ordering Hutchens to undergo a mandatory psychological evaluation.
 
Judge Buchanan is on the left; Judge Heise is on the right.
Embedded in that May 2 order is a remarkable claim that was introduced by Magistrate Judge Debra Heise without a particle of supporting evidence. Listed among the examples of Hutchens’s “unusual behaviors and affects” was the act of “battering the assigned prosecuting attorney [Greenbank] outside of court when he served papers to her in the clerk’s office….”

That description would lead the untutored reader to assume that Rita Hutchens, a 57-year-old woman who stands about 5’1” and weighs all of 110 pounds, boldly attacked the intrepid paladin of the public weal in full view of witnesses, and somehow managed to avoid being dragged away in chains.

What actually happened was that Greenbank shoved a sheaf of legal papers in Hutchens’s face – and she replied in kind by shoving them right back at him. In other words, just as she had “battered” Melissa Ward by accidentally striking her in the arm with a ballpoint pen, she “battered” Shane Greenbank by pushing papers at him. Although this would hardly be enough to injure a child, it should be acknowledged that on Greenbank’s previous performance, trivial contact of this kind would be quite enough to make him cry.

It should also be noted that Greenbank’s sense of moral outrage over crimes of violence is oddly adaptable. While he is treating Rita Hutchens as if she were a public menace, last August he agreed to a plea bargain by a man accused of hog-tying one handicapped 12-year-old child, and choking another one.  The assailant in that case agreed to misdemeanor charges that led to a total of two weeks in jail. 


The May 2 order for Hutchens to undergo a mental evaluation specifies that Dr. Carl Haugan, a “designated licensed psychiatrist,” will file a report on Hutchens’s mental condition by May 23. If she refuses to cooperate, the order explains, “the report shall so state and shall include, if possible, an opinion as to whether such unwillingness of the defendant was the result of mental disease or defect.” 

Judge Heise – whose trough is filled with a $107,043 annual salary plundered from more honest people in the private sector -- clearly sought to prejudice the evaluation by imputing to Hutchens, as a matter of record, “unusual behaviors and affects” as well as a tendency toward “violence” – as supposedly demonstrated in the two instances of “battery.” If, on the other hand, Hutchens refused to submit to an evaluation foreordained to find her incompetent, her refusal is to be taken as proof of her mental incapacity. 

Not surprisingly, Hutchens has refused to play her scripted role in this cynical charade – in defiance of threats to have her arrested and jailed for defying the court order. If Hutchens were taken into state custody, it’s entirely possible that Greenbank would seek to have her involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. While thus detained, she would be unable to pursue her lawsuit against the City of Sandpoint – which is almost certainly the point of this entire campaign of official persecution.


Thanks again -- and an update
 
My family and I continue to be blessed by your generosity, and we are deeply grateful. I'm still being treated for my infection, which is in remission but remains a frustratingly tenacious adversary. Hopefully I'll see an official end to my IV treatments next Tuesday. Thank you, once again, for your kindness. It means more to us than I can adequately express. 







Dum spiro, pugno!

58 comments:

kirk said...

a corrupt system can produce nothing but corrupt people, methods and outcomes. for this state to exist, it must be, at least, tolerated, if not overtly accepted.

unless and until an informed, active citizenry emerges, what has, sadly, become 'business as usual', ie, corruption, will continue, in the open, unabated. it's equally evil twin, abuse of power, will become the norm, as well, and as evidenced by this account.

the real power has always and does now reside with the people. it is not exercised because the nature of the majority that vote has changed. the current nature is one of acceptance of central power and diktats as the norm. put another way, empire with overarching central authority has not only been accepted, but actually embraced by a sizable swath of the population.

will this change? history does not bode well with respect to such things.

in the end, the only thing we can change is our own self and, if enough of us do so, history can perhaps be shown an exception. much is aligned against this happening, however...until after the bottom has been reached, anyway.

MoT said...

Sandpoint seems to attract "trendy" totalitarians. Oh Idaho... you've got a lot to answer for.

Ghost said...

The thing I love most about your articles is how thoroughly you destroy every government official connected to the story. It's never just one corrupt cop or judge. If these were truly the "isolated incidents" our "betters" would have us believe they are, we would see them uprooted at the first instance of corruption.

The corruption is inherent in the system. It's not time to take the power back. It's time to abolish the power.

Chris Mallory said...

I would love to know what kinds of warrants are in the Bonner County Sheriff's Department's "waiting to be served" file. Most SDs around the country have a filing cabinet or two full of warrants they don't have the manpower to serve. Typically a misdemeanor bench warrant will wait until the person named gets pulled over for a traffic offense.
Of course, serving warrants on truly violent people is dangerous. Much safer to assault small females while they are sleeping.

joy said...

This is dispicable and a break down of all that is right and true about our constitional rights. These are the kind of people that need to be removed from their offices. But people won't do anything until it is their life and rights on the line.Need to do something like the Change organization that puts pressure on the wrong doers but appealing to the masses and getting signatures to change what they are doing though bringing attention to it.

Anonymous said...

Ghost has it exactly right. It's not a "few bad apples". It's an entire system run amuck.

me said...

It could have helped if she had requested for the psyche eval to be tape-recorded. Without that, the government-controlled psychiatrist will surely misrepresent her conduct during the evaluation. That's been my experience.

But she already had the evaluation. If they try to commit her, she could hire her own psychiatrist to give an expert opinion to the court. If she can't afford one, she could ask the court to pay for it.

hp said...

"The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights."

- H.L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

Welcome to 1938 Germany.

Claire said...

Idaho keeps making the "top ten free states" lists, and if this is as free as it gets, we are in serious trouble. Thanks for all you do, Will. Apparently Ruby Ridge is old enough news they are willing to repeat it.
Best wishes to you and your family.

Rita Hutchens said...

This is Rita, Thanks Will.
You did a great job on this story. I love the humor he has interjected. This will help with the Saturday Night Live version. This is the best recount I have heard yet. It sure beats the defamation the local paper has participated in. Will does a great job calling a spade a spade. Give it a name and take away its power.

I did go to the evaluation with a witness and a nice letter to the DR. exercising my Fifth Amendment Rights. That was MAY 8,the DR. Filed it on May 9. , there is still no warrant out for my immediate arrest but I have learned to expect anything from these court jesters, who do not appear to be operating in a valid court.

evin olson said...

Rita,

I am terribly sad to hear this story. It seems the tourist culture has funded a growing totalitarian class in Sandpoint. The sickos that have infested Sandpoint over the past decades have overturned the culture of liberty that had hitherto existed in N. Idaho. I am just glad I live in Pend Oreille County which is too poor to fund such a class of thieves and thugs. Going to Sandpoint has become a depressing experience as it morphs into the monster seen in this article. :(

I hope that you can somehow escape any injustice and make the bastards pay.

Shaolin said...

What are we to do? All that is going on in the country is so extremely disheartening. What is the average person to do? How do we undo these evils going on? Bad people are now ruling over us. We conservative are usually the average working joe. We don't have time to go and marching in the street because we have jobs to go to and homes and children to take care of. It's not that we don't care, we are just busy being responsible and that fact is being used against us.

Stuntman Mike said...

wtf Idaho? I thought you folks were all about Don't Tread On Me!
Time for all good citizens to come to the aid of this woman or you can rest assured you could be next -
USA-USA! Land of The Free! (not in my lifetime)

danny j said...

Hi William,

I don't see a contact link, so I'm posting here.

This news story seems right up your alley: another apparent police murder. I look forward to reading your take on it once you've completed your research.

http://www.alternet.org/police-beat-man-death-batons-confiscate-witness-video

Anonymous said...

Rita,
Please log on to westudylaw.org and learn. You need to file in federal court for immediate injunctive relief. Fred and Nina will help you along with this. You need to do this now. I am not going to put my email address here but if the webmaster of this site posts or you do how to send info, I will send the info. It will be well worth your investigation. All of the public officials you have described in this article have perjured their Oaths of Office. You could have liquidated that first officer with whom you had an altercation in federal court and she would be in jail where she belongs and you would have some money in your pocket. Everyone needs to learn how to bring these suits in federal court on your local public officials. They can't trespass against you when they are in jail................

Rita Hutchens said...

anonymous you can write me at jane@ritahutchens.com

Who are Fred and Nina?

Right now I am challenging jurisdiction. They seem to be ignoring me. Federal court is where I ultimately want to go. My head is scrambled with learning......can you give me a specific place where I can find the information you are saying I need to learn now. I am ready

MannaMade said...

Very good article! BIG things have small beginnings. The court system/law enforcement as operated outside of law for so long that (some) of these public servants, including the judges, don't even know they are violating the law themselves.

Just to cite one BIG violation;

Idaho statue requires that the prosecutor must have a bond with their sworn written oath of office attached to it. The courts pretend to and by a slight of hand trick, make it appear to meet this requirement by having insurance.

The objective purpose for the statue is not to insure that the county has financial responsibility for liability, as if they are driving a car, no, it is one of the “checks and balances” to protect citizens of malicious prosecutions, it is a limitation of the authority granted to them by the real authority “we the people”! Removing or overriding or substituting this requirement means the prosecutor has no skin in the game and unlimited authority to prosecute all charges regardless of how petty the matter may be. The prosecutor assumes no personal responsibility for violating their personal oath of office!

A prosecutor SHOULD think more than twice before they go off half-cocked and destroy someone’s life. The situation now is throw it all up against the wall and see what sticks, after all if someone challenges them they can always back off with no losses, because most people can’t afford to and don’t want to face the scary psychopathic destructive potential that is the oxymoronic court system!

If this one statue was adhered to, a prosecutor that violated their oath would forfeit their bond to the victim and this prosecutor would not be able to practice their profession any further because they would not be able to get another bond, thus maintaining the balance of their limited authority.

I know for a FACT that the volume of cases prosecuted would radically drop, which means that revenues would drop with it, the real agenda and objective purpose of the criminal justice system! The joke is, it is justice..for the biggest criminals in organized crime ever to have existed.

Justice for Marie Scott and her big hidden unaccountable piggy bank slush fund?

SUBSTANCE OVER FORM: The ELECT and their appointed ADMINISTRATORS appears by sworn of oath of office (form) to act on behalf of the citizens as our servants, limited in authority by the constitutional laws of “We the People” however because they violate the laws that limit their authority to their financial favor (substance) it is obvious and apparent their motivation to violate their oaths of office for monetary gain and is therefore a organized crime (committing fraud) syndicate.

When the ponzi scheme called the Federal Reserve collapses making all the ill gotten gain of government worthless, what do you suppose their plight will be from the accumulated multitudes of the citizens they have abused and defrauded over the many years is going to be?

Psychopaths seek positions of authority to scratch that itch that only unlimited authority can itch. Psychopaths never consider the ramifications of their actions and won't appreciate the predicament they find themselves in, until it’s to late! They are self-delusional and imagine their power to be beyond human authority to hold them accountable. Perhaps it would be prudent of “We the People” to require a psychological evaluation before any public servant can be considered fit to serve?

Rita Hutchens said...

Mannamade, funny you should talk about bonding and insurance. The County executed the Bench Warrant, after having it for four months, the day after I requested their Bond Certification information. I sent them a nice form with multiple-choice boxes to check, like they have been doing in their court documents. They sent their limited liability insurance information instead. I am sure the midnight raid [after four months] had to do with the bonding information I was asking for. In addition way back in August, Scot Campbell initiated the pen throwing charge after I started asking for bonding and Oath information from the City. Lori Meulenberg as an appointed city prosecutor, did not have an Oath. I have a letter from Scot Campbell stating such. I never did find out about her bond. I am guessing the new city prosecutor who is just out of law school also does not have an Oath. I am also guessing she is entirely under the thumb of Scot Campbell, who appears to be the Monarch of the city and in complete control of the Mayor and City Counsel.

Anonymous said...

Rita, You need to have your attorney ask for a change of venue in order to get a fair trial. I can also give you additional advice as to what to do.
Sincerely,
Suzy
bumpa@nctv.com

Bob said...

Perhaps it's time to abolish ALL law enforcement.

P. Finman said...

I've had personal experience with false and extreme charges in Bonner County. I never knew the saying, "Sandpoint. Come for vacation. Leave on probation." Now I know Bonner County has a police, court, and lawyer industry that stages legal problems for tourists and also home owners such as Rita Hutchens. It is not surprising that Shane Greenbank is involved in charging Rita Hutchens with assault of a city clerk using a ricocheting pen.

Anonymous said...

If you are ever caught up a situation of "Sandpoint: Come for vacation. Leave on probation", be aware there are opportunistic lawyers connected to the prosecutor's office. My wife did not know about Glenn Walker, the former prosecutor of Kootenai County, when she hired him as an attorney to get me out of jail. She was told by a naive friend that Glenn Walker had good knowledge and contacts in the prosecutor's office and knew how to work the system. This was correct, but in the worst way. Walker did get me out of jail, and the charges against me were initially dropped. However, mysteriously the charges were reinstated and I faced up to 15 years in prison. I had a sense that something was wrong with Walker and I dropped him as my criminal defense attorney. I later had a private investigator appear unannounced for a check of my legal files, and Walker had made a 2 year billing plan for me totaling $80K - $120K.

It turned out that Shane Greenbank had been hired into the Kootenai County prosecutor's office when Walker was the prosecutor. My private investigator told me that Walker is an alcoholic. Also, Walker has been charged twice with domestic battery, and he has a record of almost 100 traffic violations. Most interesting is that Case Number CR-1994-0001515 covers Walker being charged with "Children-enticing of" and "Children-providing Shelter To Runaway Children". The "child" was an underage girl. A knowledgeable source told me that Walker and Greenbank were involved with young girls together and that Walker had information that could be used to "influence" Greenbank.

William N. Grigg said...

Anonymous @ 9:18 -- could you please contact me at WNGrigg [at] msn [dot] com?

P. Finman -- I would be very interested in talking with you, as well.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Sandpoint, trying to track down the name of an attorney that still lives there, and *loves* a good scrap with this type of people... If I can get the info, I'll post it here... He absolutely loves taking these fools to task.

Anonymous said...

Look up Harvey Richman, a retired attorney in Athol. If he can't help you, he probably knows who *can.* And he's very cool, too.

T. Johnson said...

It has been observed that this article, while seriously lacking in facts, has plenty of libel and ridiculous accusations as substitutions, and undoubtedly has been seen and read by those individuals attacked repeatedly, without a proper base in reality, not only by the author, but also by other people who certainly were not involved in any way with any of the incidents mentioned. One should choose words carefully.

Anonymous said...

The facts that are seriously lacking in this entire case are the facts that prove jurisdiction in all of its elements. For starters, but not limited to, there is no flesh and blood accuser, and there are no facts of Battery on the record. There is only defamation and persecution of Rita Hutchens.

Anonymous said...

Will, thank you for writing this article. All I could think is this could have been me. I've annoyed plenty of public officials with foia requests, doing research, over the years.

My prayer is that your article gets a lot of exposure over the net and it not only helps to clean up the corruption in this county, but also sets Rita free.

Shine a light on cockroach (tyrannical and corrupt) activity and they run for cover.

T. Johnson said...

I see clearly why the author wishes to have Anonymous and P. (Paul) Finman email him. Maybe it's because these individuals (who may be the same person?) clearly cannot get facts straight, but instead fling mud as much as they can. For starters, when Greenbank arrived to work for the prosecutor's office, Walker was a defense attorney, and has not been a prosecutor during any of the time Greenbank has been there. And the involvement with girls? Seriously? Maybe the author, and any others concerned with whom they're discussing cases, should have a public records request completed on P. (Paul) Finman for starters. When you have biased criminals responding to articles, you can neither expect much accuracy with the "facts" they're presenting, nor the willingness to use any commom sense.

William N. Grigg said...

If you're going to be throwing around adult words like "libel," you had better use them correctly. In order initial post you accused me of trafficking in "libel and ridiculous accusations." Would you care to offer specific examples?

It's difficult to credit that there could be a more ridiculous accusation than the battery charge filed against Rita Hutchens by a prosecutor who has been repeatedly censured by courts for his unethical and manipulative conduct. Whatever Paul Finman may have done, he's not presently engaged in abusing a public trust to engage in the kind of petty retaliation being directed at Rita Hutchens.

Oh -- and as long as we're playing the game of full disclosure, Mr. Johnson, would you care to give us your full, searchable name for a background check as well?

Timothy I. Johnson said...

The cause for my "adult" usage of the word libel should have been obvious, even to the most casual observer. Colorful, inflammatory, unnecessary language, coupled with repeated attacks with unproven "facts" in articles like this one, and its responses, can certainly result in a lawsuit. Am I assuming too much in thinking that the legal definition of libel was scanned for a quick second before embarking on this smear campaign? Do bloggers not feel some ethical duty to pay attention to detail in their ranting? Speaking of detail, the Spokesman article and the Accuracy Watch retraction on 9/6/08 doesn't help lend credibility. What about Hutchens' new drug charges, as a result of the arrest on the warrant, as easily evidenced by a repository check? Does that information not fit in well with theories of a conspiracy?

The point of mentioning Finman is that biased criminals can hardly be considered a great source of information, and they and others will only get swept up in the repeated, damaging attacks, and continue to embellish on the lies in the article. If some ridiculous connection can be made to a case in which Greenbank had snot running down his face (he didn't because there apparently was a mistake in the minutes), then can a connection between crimes commited previously and obvious bias and continued attacks not be made? Is it desired that I go through this article and responses line by line to point out the numerous, obvious legal problems for people who would publish such writing?

I'm Timothy I. Johnson, and I have no criminal record, so no dirt to dig up. Sorry.

William N. Grigg said...

Colorful, inflammatory, unnecessary language, coupled with repeated attacks with unproven "facts" in articles like this one, and its responses, can certainly result in a lawsuit.

Even if we grant your characterization of the essay, none of what you describe meets the threshold of libel, especially in describing the actions of public officials -- and particularly when those officials have engaged in such patently abusive behavior for clearly retaliatory purposes.

Greenbank has been repeatedly slapped down for prosecutorial misconduct: In one case alone, Idaho v. Benjamin Fox (CRM 2007 13093), an appellate judge found that Greenbank "committed prosecutorial misconduct" on "three occasions" in such a way that "Mr. Fox was deprived of the right to a fair trial...."

It's not the snot running down Greenbank's face I find offensive. It's the corruption that suppurates from the rest of his official personage to which I object.

Mr. Finman has not yet contacted me, and given that it's not uncommon for law enforcement officials to have criminal backgrounds more extensive than his single misdemeanor disturbing the peace conviction, I'm not inclined to dismiss his information out of hand. Unlike police officers, he's not trained to lie and given social permission to do so.

The paraphernalia charge against Hutchens is entirely trivial. I have no interest in marijuana, either as a consumer of it or as a prohibitionist. I'm much more scandalized over needless and sadistic midnight police raids carried out as part of an obvious campaign of official persecution. Some of us are funny that way, I suppose.

Rita Hutchens said...

I am Rita Hutchens and I am not a defendant.
I don’t have any criminal history either.
Local officials have taken it upon themselves to create a prejudice against my rights under the color and authority of the law.
I am standing on the superseding presumption of my own innocence.....

I am sure local officials could create some dirt on you too if they chose.

Timothy I. Johnson said...

Clearly, the definition and legal requirements for libel are misunderstood not only by the author, but by the persons responding to articles like this one. The characterization of this essay is my own, however, the repeated, damaging attacks and accusations disguised as facts could have been avoided with less malicious intent, and have, and will continue to get writers into legal trouble. One would think ethics might come into play here. As evidenced by this article, the Spokesman, Facebook, etc., this is apparently not true in today's society. Writers should be a bit more careful with their words. At the very least, the "Bolsheviks" in Sandpoint would appreciate not having to waste their time pursuing legal claims against writers with too much time on their hands and a major grudge against public officials, when they could concentrate on pursuing criminals instead. I'm sure the charges and convictions are all "trivial," concerning any of these individuals, but no matter what one thinks of the law, we still have to follow it, and laws can still be violated. Maybe more attention should be paid to actually not breaking the law? Just another thought.

Anonymous said...

Rita Hutchens has broken no laws.

More attention should be paid by Corporate officers and officials to actually not break their own laws?

Speaking of libel I wonder if the Sandpoint Daily Bee has bothered to check their facts.

William N. Grigg said...

At the very least, the "Bolsheviks" in Sandpoint would appreciate not having to waste their time pursuing legal claims against writers with too much time on their hands and a major grudge against public officials, when they could concentrate on pursuing criminals instead.

Why don't they focus on pursuing criminals, instead of perversely manufacturing offenses in order to persecute harmless people like Rita Hutchens -- who is herself a victim of officially sanctioned criminal behavior (specifically, the lawless invasion of her property and violence against her person committed by a Sandpoint Police Officer)?

no matter what one thinks of the law, we still have to follow it, and laws can still be violated. Maybe more attention should be paid to actually not breaking the law?

Teresa Heberer broke the law by trespassing on Rita Hutchens' property, assaulting her, abducting her, and then attempting to use a spurious "cover charge" to justify those actions. This is not a matter of opinion: It is an established legal fact that Heberer's actions were against the law. Yet she remains on the force (and, per Greenbank's legal filings, is sharing a bed with one of the cops who invaded Hutchens' home at midnight on April 16), and her victim is being targeted for petty retaliation because she's seeking redress.

By what moral calculation is an alleged mishap involving a ballpoint pen a "crime," and the behavior of the "public officials" to whom you refer acceptable?

Lenin said that the most important political question was "who does what to whom." That's clearly the standard being followed by the Sandpoint and Bonner County officials in this matter: Criminal violence was done TO Hutchens by a member of the tax-feeding class, so it's no big deal. But her actions have upset some members of their cohort, which means that she must be treated as if she were a criminal.

That's the behavior of people who are eminently worthy of being called Bolsheviks.

Timothy I. Johnson said...

These claims aren't holding up very well...

Michael Rose said...

"
It's not the snot running down Greenbank's face I find offensive. It's the corruption that suppurates from the rest of his official personage to which I object.
"

I'm just a retired (some say retarded) architect camped in New Zealand the last 63 years.... but look at your absolutely appallingly-corrupt oxymoronic justice system in Idaho (as well as many-if-not-most of the other 49 once-were-United States) I can see camera-clearly why investigative-journalism wins hands down in the Truth stakes.... when I compare Will's carefully-colorful rhetoric with Timothy's law-student pompous inability to take quasi-(il)legal gross corruption into his tiny mind as a real-world occurrence while the illegitimate POTUS debates endlessly on whether to declare martial law or carry on constitutional corruption blatantly in full-flaunt of adversely-abject world opinion

Timothy I. Johnson said...

Adults are speaking. At least please try acting like one. Oh, and you might want to stay parked in New Zealand, as we don't appreciate someone not even in this country commenting on something they can't understand. And colorful language doesn't impress me. Apparently, tiny minds do find it to be impressive, though.

William N. Grigg said...

Where adults are engaged in conversation, Timmy, you are at best a spectator. You have contributed nothing to the discussion but the kind of juvenile sniping I see -- and seek to discourage -- among my grade school age children.

I've indulged your puerile heckling in the sterile hope that you would eventually have something of substance to say, which is obviously not the case. That indulgence is now at an end. If you want to discuss any of these matters with me directly, I'm quite easy to find. You'll find the experience instructive.

William N. Grigg said...

Here's a quick note to Timmy:

I know you resent the fact that the adults have banished you to the card table in the living room while we converse at the dining room table. Until you can display a rudimentary understanding of the issues we're discussing, and some modicum of maturity in discussing them, you'll have to stay there. Whining about the supposed unfairness of your treatment simply won't do.

Here's a short homework assignment; do well on it, and I'll consider granting you access to this bandwidth again:

ESSAY QUESTION

Assuming that a writer can substantiate the facts as he reports them, can he legitimately be accused of "libel" for offering unflattering characterizations of public officials who are abusing the justice system to retaliate against a victim of police abuse who is preparing a lawsuit against them?

William N. Grigg said...

Timmy's still in time-out, but for anyone who's interested, I'll pass along his first attempt at answering the essay question:

The characterizations aren't exactly part of the potential claim of libel I was talking about, but the false accusations, and defamation of character of the individuals you're ranting about, through a seemingly endless smear campaign. That's the point, you actually are causing damage, more than you realize apparently.

You've repeatedly claimed that I've made "false accusations" without providing a single example.

To whom am I "causing damage"? I have been informed that the people who are persecuting Rita Hutchens are upset because of the overdue critical publicity they have received.

Is this the "damage" you lament? If so, why should honest people care? Or is it your view that those people are taking out their frustrations on Rita? If that is the case, doesn't their behavior entirely validate the points I'm making?

And people who claim to be mature and want to "banish" someone, while acting in the same manner only appear to be hypocritical.

I've not banished anybody. I'm earnestly hoping that at some point you'll acquire the habit of offering substantive comments as opposed to adolescent sniping.


Words can get individuals into legal trouble, and it's obvious from facts gathered that Hutchens, at the center of this whole discussion, clearly needs to use less of them, and stop breaking the law with her actions also. I'm sorry, she can't claim sainthood.

Rita Hutchens is neither a saint nor a criminal. She had no criminal record prior to being the victim of an act that a trial judge ruled was an unlawful exercise of violence by a Sandpoint Police Officer. The battery charge against her is facially absurd, and a transparent act of retaliation against Rita for pursuing redress for the criminal violence she suffered at the hands of the officer who assaulted her. Any rational person can see this, and any practicing adult burdened with a particle of honesty would admit it.

Rita's behavior in the courtroom may well be ill-advised and counter-productive, but the sociopathic behavior of the public officials who are persecuting her is monumentally worse. At any time, they can climb off of Rita's back and deal with her entirely legitimate civil claim like honest people. That's the only honorable solution to this mess. I am quite confident they have no intention of pursuing that course -- and I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Timothy I. Johnson said...

Willie, you've definitely proven you're an irresponsible, sarcastic know-it-all who has no desire to listen to anything except for what is coming from your own arrogant mouth, and no desire to be unbiased, with your continuous babbling about the supposed "crimes" individuals in Sandpoint are commiting against your angelic buddies, and the relentless attack on anyone's character you deem necessary. I wonder if you would be saying anything about anyone in Sandpoint you felt like if you were living there, where you couldn't hide behind your little computer in Payette, and you possibly could face valid legal claims for your legally damaging behavior, like a big boy? I doubt it. The facts, Willie, stick to the facts. Less spectating and more thinking. You didn't, and wouldn't, listen to any examples anyway, because your mind is so closed. Good luck with the careless ranting, because I assume arrogance would prevent you from publishing this, just like the other opinions you're apparently afraid to show the other model citizens. And who says censorship can't work? For some people, it clearly does. And, as a side note, you're not actually one granting me any space on the bandwidth. You may need to pursue a little more education.

William N. Grigg said...

Wreathed in the miasmic verbal tantrum emitted from Tiny Tim's keyboard can be found one substantive admission:

You didn't, and wouldn't, listen to any examples anyway, because your mind is so closed.

In other words: After repeatedly accusing me of misrepresentations, and repeatedly being told to offer specific examples, Timmy has absolved himself of the ethical responsibility to provide specifics because of my supposed close-mindedness -- which is precisely why he was put into time-out. (I'm frequently chastised for my leniency.)

I wonder if you would be saying anything about anyone in Sandpoint you felt like if you were living there, where you couldn't hide behind your little computer in Payette, and you possibly could face valid legal claims for your legally damaging behavior, like a big boy? I doubt it.

If there were "valid legal claims" to be pressed against me for publishing my views, it wouldn't matter that I live in Payette, rather than in Sandpoint.

On the other hand, your point may be that by visiting Sandpoint I could face retaliation under color of "law" for the supposed offense of criticizing the actions of municipal and county authorities. If that's the point you're trying to make, then -- once again -- you've actually validated mine.

In any case, I do intend to visit Sandpoint as time, finances, and other circumstances permit. Watch this space for details.

Timothy I. Johnson said...

Willie Wonka, you have an annoying way of twisting peoples' words and meanings to fit your conspiracy theories. And yes, it would matter where you're located, because, as I'm sure you're unaware, it takes time and money to file valid legal claims against clueless individuals hell-bent on damaging the character of others, and distance does matter. I've spent too much on this worthless site time trying to make you understand how honest adults think and act, and though I've pointed out some obvious flaws in your thinking, I don't wish to repeat it and mention anything else that would be obvious to anyone, since you don't seem to listen anyway.

William N. Grigg said...

Poor little petulant Timmy, I see that your diction is slipping -- but then again, your purchase on it wasn't that secure in the first place.

it would matter where you're located, because, as I'm sure you're unaware, it takes time and money to file valid legal claims against clueless individuals hell-bent on damaging the character of others, and distance does matter.

As is your custom, your vehemence is inversely proportional to your understanding. My location would have nothing whatsoever to do with the "time and money" involved in filing a "legal claim" (you apparently mean a civil claim)against me. I've dealt with threats of this kind before -- successfully -- when it was raised by a child-snatching bureaucrat in a northeastern state. Distance played no role in that dispute; why would it be relevant in this case?

I've spent too much on this worthless site time trying to make you understand how honest adults think and act

There's that problem with diction to which I referred earlier. Spoonerisms happen from time to time. People who find themselves flustered are particularly prone to them. :-)

To paraphrase Emerson: Life is not so long that I consider it worthwhile to spend any more of mine in your company. Please feel free to play the role of fecal deposit in another person's punchbowl.

E-Man said...

I've dealt with vapid, arrogant, ignorant people like Timbo before. He's a legend in his own mind and thinks you have no idea what you're talking about... simply because he doesn't. He's also too thick to recognize that he has failed to make a solitary valid point or to substantiate it.

He's saying you're basically defaming honest people. Legally speaking that is what's known as "total BS".

#1
To defame or be charged for libel the officer/offender would have to have some standing and good reputation in the community to start with. Legally you can't make the case for that when a guy has been convicted or reprimanded for impropriety. You also can't do it when they break the law under color of law which they in FACT did(violating the image of an upstanding officer). So they defamed themselves. They can't bring that charge(lawfully or ethically) against you for doing what they did to themselves.

#2
Generally such claims involve "damages"- that is to say that they really have NO CLAIM unless they lose their job etc. AND the factually correct claims that defamed them are actually NOT correct.

So if I say you're a rapist and you lose your job, but you can prove that you are not a rapist, then you have a claim for libel.

If I say you are a low life, acting under color of law, assaulting an old woman, and that you should be ashamed and chastised for your crimes which can be proven by public records, eyewitness testimony, etc. then you defamed yourself and you have no claim.

So, in short- Slow Tim can make out words and form sentences but has ZERO understanding of the law or reality. This is because his parents are FAILURES and he will likely FAIL to teach his children to walk without their cranium firmly planted in their posterior.

Of course they'll be too dense to notice that and think everyone else has no idea how to walk.

evin olson said...

I'll never understand the mental block in the crank that keeps them from providing substance to their accusations. How many posts did Tim make without providing any substantiated accusations? Is it really that hard? He reminds me a lot of some of the bottom feeding inflamatory commenters that litter the spokesman.com with insulting baselss posts in support of Spokane's criminal police and city government.

Anonymous said...

Timmeh? If you hate this page so much why post 40 comments?

Anonymous said...

DON'T FEED THE TROLL

Anonymous said...

got ya

Anonymous said...

Rather entertaining article, convoluted with the facts, but never the less entertaining. Hutchens has some serious issues, not to say Sandpoint PD doesn't, but those that know Hutchens are aware of her irrational behavior.

William N. Grigg said...

Ms. Hutchens has been on the receiving end of a criminal assault under the color of "authority" -- as a judge has acknowledged, and you apparently concede -- and is being targeted for an entirely unjustified prosecution, and yet she is the one who has "issues"?

Some might conclude that she is eccentric. There is nothing about her behavior that justifies describing her as "irrational." I'm not sure that the same can be said about the officials who are persecuting her, or people who insist on defaming her from the shelter of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

their intention is to use your daily responsibilities against you. that is to say, by the time you get home from work and finish youre daily duties you are too tired and its too late to go out and demand change. this is why they will always have the upper hand.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rita, How are things going? I linked to this from Lew Rockwell and am wondering how you are doing?

Jay Volk said...

When you are tired of seeing these stories, and are tired of the corruption, all you must do is unite. it's that simple.

Unite, Stand, and take back what is yours, and has always BEEN yours. Don't ask for permission when the permission isn't theirs to be asked of.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rita Shane Greenbank is a jerk and nothing other than that herberer tries to stay up with her male counterparts and all the corrupt sandpoint and bonner county anyone in law enforcement ....men are allowed to kidnap beat strangle and rape and walk and u all 110 lbs of you were beaten by a cop bullcrap ...overhaul idaho especially bonner county you crooks ....don't choke on yr donuts the prosecuters are as bent as rapid lightening rd and their investigaTORS LIKE CHUCK SCHOONOVER ARE ALL RETIRED OINKS they never leave the system beat the crap outa their wallets RITA GOO GURL