Thursday, September 17, 2009

Idaho's Criminal Injustice System

(Second in an occasional series.

His name is Gilligan, but he's nobody's "little buddy." Employed as a prison guard at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in 2007, Timothy Ryan Gilligan, by his own admission, repeatedly had sexual relations with an inmate.

Earlier this month (September 2009), Gilligan was arraigned on a charge of felonious sexual misconduct.
Thanks to the inexplicable leniency of the prosecution and the unwonted generosity of the Idaho Sex Offender Classification Board, Gilligan will not have to register as a sex offender. Nor will he face prosecution on the sex charge.

In fact, there's a very good chance he won't serve any prison time.
This is because the Ada County Prosecutor's office, in collaboration with4th District Judge Ronald Wilper, arranged an agreement in which Gilligan was permitted to plead guilty to a charge of burglary -- despite the fact that t he only thing the offender may have taken by force was a captive woman's self-respect.

The Sex Offender Classification Board helped out by relieving Gilligan of the prospect of being a registered sex offender, or even a violent sexual predator (VSP). This decision was supposedly made on account of the results of a "psycho-sexual evaluation" carried out by
SANE Solutions, a quasi-private psychological counseling service that provides such evaluations and supervises treatment of convicted sex offenders.

Gilligan, who worked as a "psychiatric technician" in the prison system subsequent to his admitted offenses, may have known how to game that system. Then again, it's obvious that Gilligan's erstwhile colleagues in the criminal "justice" system have extended every conceivable professional courtesy in the effort to avoid ruining his life by forcing him to register as a sex offender.
In sex abuse cases not involving employees of the state criminal "justice" system, the Ada County prosecutor's office has distinguished itself for its zeal, at considerable expense to due process.

One splendid example among many that could be cited to illustrate that tendency was
the bizarre trial of David Dutt, who was convicted of sexual misconduct with a child based solely on the self-contradictory account of the adolescent accuser -- and despite physical evidence (the existence of an intact hymeneal membrane in the purported victim) that was sufficient not only to provide reasonable doubt, but to prove the innocence of the accused.

Somehow, the Ada County Prosecutor's office managed to convince a criminally credulous jury that the "victim" in the Dutt Case possessed a uniquely resilient anatomy, one that permitted her to regenerate her traumatized and violated hymen in much the same way that certain lizards can re-grow severed tails. That, coupled with the theatrical, tearful summation of prosecutor Jean Fisher (who suggested that the jury would be party to the little girl's abuse if they didn't believe her allegations), was enough to convict an innocent man and send him to prison for up to 30 years.

The Dutt Case illustrates how the Ada County Prosecutor's office can arrange a sex offense conviction in the absence of evidence. Thus it's astonishing to see the same office refuse to prosecute Gilligan for sex crimes to which he has admitted guilt.

To understand the role played by the Idaho Sex Offender Classification Board in the Gilligan case, one must first understand that its rulings are entirely capricious. This was entirely by design, a fact that was admitted on the record during a May 19, 2006 meeting of the Board.

"The statutory vagueness regarding VSP [Violent Sexual Predator] designations was intended to provide for the board to use its discretion in considering cases," reports the official minutes of that meeting. "A designation criteria checklist is not feasible due to the wide variation of sexual offense/offender behavior. As such, each case is different and considered on its own merits."

Gilligan's conduct -- using his position of power over a captive and (apparently) unwilling woman to force her into sex -- is difficult to describe as anything other than that of a violent sexual predator. Yet the Board didn't see the "merit" in applying that designation to Gilligan, despite his admissions.

One is tempted to think that this validates a comment made not long ago on Idaho Public Television by Idaho state senator Denton Darrington: "I'm concerned ... that we don't get pranksters on the Sex Offender registry, but that we do get those who are deviant on the Sex Offender registry. In other words we don't want the fraternity kid on the football team who's doing a prank to go on the registry."

Forgive me -- I neglected to mention that before he found employment with the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC), Timothy Gilligan was a starting wide receiver with the Boise State Broncos.

Granted, it would be difficult to prove that Gilligan's acts were non-consensual. But they were professional compromising and at the very least suggestive of a derangement in his character that made him a potential danger to others.

Whether this is sufficient to warrant prosecution is a matter about which reasonable people can disagree. But this much is incontestable: Given that there are people (such as David Dutt) in prison and on the sex offender rolls in Idaho whose guilt was not reasonably established, the solicitude displayed toward Gilligan screams and reeks of official corruption.

Gilligan admitted to acts recognized as sex offenses under the law, and won't be prosecuted for them. Mark Wicklund, an attorney who transplanted himself to Idaho from the Midwest, was compelled to plead guilty to alleged sex offenses despite the absence of either an alleged victim or a witness. He was sentenced to seven years of probation under the supervision of the above-mentioned SANE Solutions.

On April 24, 2008, despite the fact that Wicklund had committed no additional act to justify such treatment, he was designated a Violent Sexual Predator by the Sex Offender Classification Board. That designation came close on the heels of a probation violation filed against Wicklund for maintaining an internet-based consulting business, which was described, incorrectly, as impermissible under the terms of his probation. As a result, his probation was extended an additional three years.

Wicklund contends, quite plausibly, that both of those actions were retaliation for his refusal to obey a warning he was given by Fourth District Judge Thomas Neville: "Stay away from the Dutt Case."

Judge Neville presided over both the Dutt Case and Wicklund's case.

A few years ago, Wicklund agreed to devote his considerable legal talents to organizing the evidence for David Dutt's post-conviction appeal. His work product lays out a deeply documented, multi-faceted case for overturning Dutt's conviction on numerous grounds -- including, but not limited to, ineffective representation of counsel, several instances of prosecutorial misconduct, and abuse of discretion by the trial judge -- that is, the same Judge Neville who later threatened Wicklund.

As Wicklund related his experience to me, his work on the David Dutt's post-conviction appeal triggered all kinds of punitive mistreatment from people connected to the Ada County prosecutor's office through SANE, the IDOC, the department of probation and parole, and other government and quasi-government entities.

Granted, Wicklund could be dismissed by some as an ax-grinding sex offender (one thus designated, recall, without either a victim or a witness). However, he has documented his allegations, and key elements are confirmed by officials in the state government's employ. Wicklund alleges that the probation violation and VSP designation caused both his mental and physical health to deteriorate rapidly.

This is confirmed by Dave Ferguson, a state-employed counselor assigned to Wicklund, who testified in an affidavit (see page one here, page two here) that he not only suffered from anxiety and depression, but that "his physical health also appeared to deteriorate.... [H]e had to call me from the hospital on at least two occasions after he had been admitted, to indicate that he would have to miss his meetings with me."

Wicklund suffers from congestive heart failure, and Ferguson recalled that following the probation extension and VSP designation Wicklund's weight increased "dramatically" as a result of edema related to his heart condition. Open sores and a staph infection developed in his legs owing to circulatory problems.
"The ongoing legal problems, the isolation, probation extension, and the stigma of the VSP designation" all detracted from Wicklund's mental and physical health, concluded Ferguson.

Parole Officer Sutherland: His Facebook page jocularly lists "S&M, chains, whips" among his "interests." Sure, it's a joke (I guess), but if he didn't work for the state as someone in charge of supervising sexual deviants, he'd probably be in trouble of some kind.

Another complication arose when Wicklund was taken to jail following his alleged probation violation.

For several years, Wicklund has taken a strong prescription narcotic called Norco to palliate chronic pain in his knees.

When he was taken to jail by Parole and Probation Officer Brandon Sutherland, the Officer denied Wicklund access to Norco; this led to an involuntary "de-tox from the drug without the benefit of medical supervision.
After three days of compelled de-toxification in jail, Wicklund was rousted by Officer Sutherland and taken to undergo a polygraph examination -- paid for with an IDOC voucher -- to answer questions about his purported probation violation.

The exam was administered by Jim Page, at the time a partner with Chip Morgan in a state-contracted firm called Polygraph Associates.

When Morgan, caught a glimpse of Wicklund's condition, he urged Page not to administer the test. According to Morgan, Page dismissed Morgan's concerns -- which were dictated by the ethics of his profession -- with a shrug and the statement, "I really need the money." (Wicklund's original, four-page December 12, 2008 complaint can be seen here, here, here, and here.)

That comment so alarmed Morgan that he dissolved the partnership immediately and started his own polygraph service.

"I observed that Mark Wicklund appeared physically ill," recalled Morgan in an affidavit. (See here, here, and here.) "He had sweated his jail-issued jumpsuit completely through, was visibly sweating all over his face, was panting heavily and was pasty white in complexion. He also appeared to be `in and out' of tracking with the conversation."

He obviously was in no condition to serve as the subject of a polygraph. Yet Page performed one anyway, and the results were used to uphold Wicklund's probation violation.
This prompted Morgan to dissolve his partnership with Page and open his own shop, Morgan Polygraph. Jim Page continues to perform polygraph examinations on sex offenders, despite a patent conflict of interest: His wife, Tess Buttram, is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who works on sex crime prosecutions for the Ada County Prosecutor's Office.

Shortly after that incident, Wicklund was summoned to the Fourth District probation office for a meeting he described to me as being akin to "the Spanish Inquisition." In that meeting, Wicklund insists, he was told to "stand down" from his investigation of misconduct by the Ada County Prosecutor's Office and the misbehavior of Jim Page -- which seemed to share a pattern of abuses similar to those committed in the prosecution of David Dutt. If he didn't comply, Wicklund was warned, he would be jailed on "discretionary time," which would mean an open-ended jail term.

Wicklund didn't relent, and neither did his enemies.
Earlier this year, his attorney filed a motion for early release from probation; that motion contained two supporting affidavits. According to Wicklund, "Individuals in the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Office ... gained access to the court file and removed the two supporting affidavits from the file and destroyed them. Further, individuals from the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Office gained access to the official register of court actions for [my] case and deleted the entry documenting the submission of the [two] affidavits."

At present, Judge Neville refuses to review any of the relevant evidence -- which, if Wicklund is correct in describing the judge's threats, isn't surprising.

All of this, once again, was allegedly done in retaliation for Wicklund's work dealing with David Dutt's post-conviction appeal. The Dutt Case appears to be a very sore spot for Judge Neville and the Ada County Prosecutor's Office, and for good reason: That case displays, in very compelling fashion, what critics of the Idaho "criminal justice" system perceive to be institutionalized corruption in the prosecution of sex crimes.
How much of this can Wicklund prove? We're likely to find out quite soon.

On August 12 he filed a "Notice of Tort Claim" (available here, here, and here) giving ninety days' notice of his intent to file a lawsuit. He names as defendants the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Officer, the Idaho Department of Corrections, Ada County, and the State of Idaho.

By filing his suit Wicklund is taking a large club to an immense, over-stuffed pinata filled with dirty diapers and dead cats. The fallout, while exceptionally unpleasant, will be quite revealing.

Watch this space for additional developments....

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Dum spiro, pugno!


Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I am extremely ill over the plight of Mr. Wicklund. I wish that I could help him in some way.

kirk said...

This absolutely disgusting display of raw, naked power used to forfeit the freedom of innocents AND cover the wrongdoings of official "capos" speaks directly to the state of affairs as it exists in the Idaho judicial system - tyranny aided and abetted by "officials". That these "officials" are demented, tyrannical creeps is on display for all but the intentionally blind to see.

In the end, these types foster a hatred among people that builds to a cataclysmic outburst against them. When this happens, we are then treated to the "canonization" of another "official saint", the real problems, official misconduct and overt tyranny, never being alluded to, much less discussed.

It is time to clean house.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You couldnt make this stuff up if you tried. The corruption is so deeply entrenched and all encompassing. I used to think that states like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, etc., were more free than most, but that is certainly not the case.

While writing a paper on our burgeoning garrison state, I came across a blog called "Positive Law Enforcement." The blog focuses on the "positive" happenings in law enforcement throughout the country. I didnt spend too much time there, but the second story was about Cobb County, Georgia, and the new tank that they have. Actually its an APC, bought from the Pentagon through LESO and refurbished.

The blogger was very happy that they had this "tank," and the first line of the story was:

"Don't be surprised if you see a tank rolling down the road," or something to that effect, and went on to talk about how good this was for the county.

The preceding story was about the goodness of drug sniffing dogs...

Yes kirk, it is time to clean house.

Josh P.

Anonymous said...

I applaud Mr. Grigg for his incredible bravery in reporting the truth. I can attest to the fact that Ada County Prosecutors office and the the Attorney General's prosecutors are nothing more than Nazi henchmen. Let's keep this ball rolling and call for accountability at the highest level. Housecleaning of all the agencys mentioned by by Mr. Grigg is long overdue.

allforaccountability said...

Cudos not only to Mr. Grigg but to Mark Wickland, David Dutt, his family and all of those, including my husband and myself who have faced this corrupt legal system head on.

Yes, we must keep the ball rolling and not give in or give up until all those whose corruption has sent our innocent to an Idaho prison with no evidence, false evidence, lost evidence and lies.

Then we must clean house at the prisons.

When will people like Mr. Gilligan and Mr. Sutherland be imprisoned for their unconscionable crimes?

When will police, judges and prosecutors stop coddling "their own" (members of the system)

When will the innocent be given their freedom?

Probably never unless we ALL muster the courage to stand up and say ENOUGH!

suetiggers said...

What is wrong with Idaho's criminal justice system? Don't people in Idaho care about this? It's pretty scary.
Too many people assume that if someone is in prison, they deserve to be there. If this happened to them or someone they loved, they'd find out soon enough, the only way for evil to triumph is for "good" people to do nothing.
I hope the citizens of Idaho wake up and care. There are too many men in our prison system who do not belong there,who,if they had decent lawyers or more money wouldn't be, who are either victims of false accusations (and the easiest ones of all is the sex offender ones...these have become a nightmare because people are so gullible, the system is so corrupt, innocent until proven guilty has become almost laughable except to those who care about justice.

Dale said...

Here is yet another story about how crime pays, and how the recipients of such largesse are increasingly unapologetic about it:

While decent folk are losing their jobs and being thrown out of their homes, cop-thug turned mayor Carlos Alvarez rewards his own, with interest.

To think that the average Miami-Dade County police major makes $132,900... to think that I and so many others work three times as hard, doing far nobler work than these punks do, and make one-third as much.

Woe indeed to those who call evil good, and good evil.

Thomas R. Eddlem said...

Looks like Idaho is becoming a lot like what Massachusetts became a generation ago. We don't punish cops who become molesters here either:

Anonymous said...

Suetiggers wrote: "What is wrong with Idaho's criminal justice system? Don't people in Idaho care about this?"

Yes, we do care. But Idaho politics has always been a den of corruption. Read up on what lead to the assassination of Gov. Stuenenberg.

The problem is this is a one party state where you better be wearing the right kind of underwear.

And, when you meet those qualifications you might find yourself like our Senator Jim Risch as one of the wealthiest men in congress (as reported last week). Apparently there's good money in being a tyrant.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Anonymous said...

I see by this states steps to give the burglary charge to Gilligan insted of a sex offender charge,shows the states understanding that the sex offender regisry is punitive aswell as the V.S.P.showing that both should be redesigned

Sans Authoritas said...

If people really cared about corruption in politics, they would starve the hydra of the State to death, instead of selecting a new head to inflict violence on them every four years.

But we love the hydra. If not for such systematic corruption and violence, after all, we might become victims of violent men!

-Sans Authoritas

Anonymous said...

I came across the David Dutt case by searching key factors in my own son's case - namely, a virginally intact 'victim' claiming multiple violent rape "using Pert shampoo to make it go in easier" - a rape shielded history of accusations and sex abuse therapy, passing multiple polygraghs with high truthful scores saying he didn't do it - no evidence but TRIPLE hearsay, then the accuser left town before trial! No problem! He was to either pay his defense attorney AND the prosecutor to fly out of state with food and lodging costs, or go to trial without her being interviewed by the defense attorney. When he insisted on a trial anyway, she was checked into a psych ward, and he was offered an Alford plea or 6 years of prison rape.

Three years of failing polygraphs in sex offender therapy and registering as a sex offender - as a juvenile!

A juvenile!

God save the innocent. God save us all.

Anonymous said...

"Conservatives" have always pushed for a strong "law and order" environment without realizing the consequences, just like "liberals" have long pushed for a strong "activist" government without realizing the consequences.

Now we have an overly-empowered government which is a band of thugs that feel they are entitled to take our money through a confiscatory tax rate and then pervert and twist the law as a club against innocent people. In short, it's become a criminal syndicate that doesn't brook any competition. This is made even worse by the fact that the system is now set up to where people are encouraged to "game" it by using the police as a weapon against their personal enemies and the treasury as a new version of a game show where people compete for bailout money and political handouts.

"Land of the free," my butt. Even the animals are tagged and tracked now. The best we can hope for at this point is that the whole sordid mess can no longer be sustained and we collapse financially so that all the parasites no longer receive funding to go about their dark little deeds and instead have to concentrate on somehow feeding themselves through honest means.

I would move far, far away from this nation if I could.

Anonymous said...


Every time you put finger to keyboard your credibility drops.


Anonymous said...

The standard operating procedure in Idaho is to cover up everything. A case allowed the coverup of a murder of a woman down near Ada County and the court let the husband who did the deed free. I lived in Idaho for 5 years and learned to call it The Idaho Way, although I was able to get three laws changed, I suffered terribly for abuses of my rights and my faith. Denton Darrington made a comment when we were working on the protected voter registration bill for crime victims, he thought if you want to stay safe you have to give up your rights, even voting. There is so much people outside this state don't know. Look for Taxes or Terror.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything personally about any of these cases. But I can tell you that as a practicing criminal defense attorney in Ada County it's not unheard of to get a reduction on a sex case to a crime that doesn't require registration. It's rare but it does happen. I've had a few of these reductions over the past few years. So don't leap to the conclusion that Gilligan's deal was the product of some sort of "official corruption". It makes you look like an alarmist. There are a lot of reasons for these reductions..lack of prior record, the victim consents to the reduction, witness problems, etc....

Anonymous said...

a practicing criminal defense attorney in Ada County? like no victim or witness? thier is an old saying only a fool defends himself in Idaho if you hire an attorney you have two fools on your case for a price i have had attorney tell me "I cant do that i have to work in this state"!what about your oth to uphold the constitution?

Momofaninnocent said...

I am shocked at what the Idaho Judicial System actually does. But I also know why they do it. MONEY!! The more people they can imprison, the more Federal and private money gets raked in for the State.
There are entirely too many people in the prison system that are completely innocent of their charges. Too many individuals are there on hearsay alone. Now, how is that just?
There is a specific case I know of personally, where the man was accused of raping his girlfriend's daughter, just because he was leaving the relationship. The girl was never taken to the doctor for examination, was not asked about the situation until several days later while her mother had the chance to make her life miserable until she said she would testify against the man.
Not long after the girl testified at the secret Grand Jury, the mother lost custody of all her children to the State! The girl has run away and will soon be 18. She does not know that she can recant what she told the Grand Jury. This man will have this stigma for the rest of his life!
The judge wanted him behind bars from the get go. The Prosecuter wanted him as an example. There was no way out for him. He plead to a lesser charge, thereby admitting guilt, just to get it over with. It had carried on for a year and half.
The judge had ordered the sexualpsychoanalysis done and didn't like the results, so ordered another one.
The judge even was friends with some of the witnesses, which should have been reason to recuse himself from the case.
The court appointed attorney believed the man was guilty, so did nothing to help him.
There was no witness for him, only against him, because of this attorney. The witnesses were there but never called.
This man was railroaded from the beginning.
And the State, in general, does not care because of the money that comes in.
So, wrong on so many counts. Ruin peoples lives for the sake of money. Just wrong.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wicklund is one of the sickest and most psychopathic individuals that is not in prison today. If you had any idea of the number of people he has used his "legal skills' to rip off or screw over you would wish as I do, that he would do the world a favor and die. He deserves no sympathy and if there is a god he will get his one day. Maybe you should locate anyone who has ever known him and do a background check... you will puke.

Yours Anonymously...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Charles is an idiot. Anonymous comment about Wicklund being a psycho path is accurate.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, Wicklund has no legal skills, only conman skills in making clients believes he successful and gets them to make an investment with no return. What I can't figure out why hasn't the Idaho Attorney General Consumer Division shut this guy down. He's screwed so many people over the years and he filed 5 frivolous law suits against the IDOC and Ada County from the 2008 probation violation. Furthermore, if anyone would take the time to review the U.S. District Court Report and Recommendation of July, 2012, they would see that Wicklund's characterization of Officer Sutherland's testimony was mischaracterized and the evidence did not support his claim that he was not lucid during the polygraph examination after the U.S. District Court reviewed the video of the polygraph examination. One last final observation, the decision to convict Wicklund was based on the evidence the police found when they seized his computer and had nothing to do with the polygraph examination. In 2008, the Court could had incarcerated Wicklund but gave him a break and extended his probation and imposed a $20,000.00 penalty. Wicklund retained an expensive attorney to argue that it was impossible for him to pay $250.00 a month. The District Court denied his motion to modify probation, the Idaho Court of Appeal held that Wicklund's claim was without merit and was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Out of 5 law suits all related to the probation violation filed by Wicklund, defendants prevailed in motion for summary judgment, except for Wicklund's 1st amendment claim and it's currently pending on appeal before the 9th Circuit. What a waste of tax payer money, this guy is nothing but a cheat and he has absolutely no legal knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Wicklund has no legal skills. The only skill he has is to cheat people, make others think he's this successful businessman and get others to invest with no return. This is nothing but crap about Norco and he was going through withdrawals during the polygraph examination. In the July 18, 2012 U.S. District Court Report and Recommendation by Honorable Candy W. Dale (Case No. 1:09-cv-671-EJL-CWD), states in part: "On January 3, 2008, Wicklund's probation officer, Brandon Sutherland, learned that Wicklund had a current account on a social internet network, . . . The Officer conducted a search of Wicklund's computer and confirmed that Wicklund had a current account on One of Wicklund's "friends" on listed thhe individual's age as sixteen years old. The computer also allegedly contained sexually explicit images and password protection software." Other records in that case show that the evidence of polygraph examination was never used to convict Wicklund of the 2008 probation. The Report and Recommendation goes on to say, "Rather than impose incarceration, the court ordered that probation be reinstated and extended through November 13, 2011, and that Wicklund's internet access be suspended indefinitely. The U.S. District Court held that after reviewing the entire transcript of the 2008 Probation Hearing Wicklund claimed that "Mr. Sutherland admitted that I was not lucid at the time of the polygraph examination or my signing of the waiver form, . . ." However at that time the Ada County District Court in the Criminal proceeding "was without the benefit of the entire transcript, and accepted Wicklund's characterization, . . ." However, once the U.S. District Court reviewed the entire transcript of that proceeding "the Court now rejects Wicklund's prior characterization of Offirer Sutherland's testimony." Furthermore, the U.S. District Court also reviewed the polygraph examination and found "Wicklund answers all questions in complete, coherent and intelligible sentences. He asks appropriate questions of Page . . thhe videotape tells a completely different story. Wicklund's objective, physical appearance and demeanor do not lead to the conclusion that he was incoherent and lacked the ability to consent.

Because the Criminal Court had the option to impose incarceration, Judge Neville actually gave Wicklund a break and extended his probation, and imposed a $20,000.00 penalty. Wicklund incurred expensive attorney fees to modify probation. He claimed it was impossible to pay $250.00 a month. The Ada County Court denied that motion and Wicklund incurred additional fees to review that denial before the Idaho Court of Appeal and held that Wicklund's claims of impossibility to pay was without merit and affirmed by the Idao Supreme Court. In addition, Wicklund also incurred attorney fees to file 5 law suits against IDOC, County of Ada, Terry Reiley Medical Center, SANE, and numerous defendants. The U.S. District Court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and a majority of defendants were dismissed. Wicklund prevailed on only 1 issue under his 1st amendment claim and that is currently pending on appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

What a waste of taxpayer money and resources to defendant against Wicklund's frivolous case.