Today I received an email from Dina Keller telling me how disgusted she is with the WA State Bar Association and their total and malicious disregard to the principles of “truth and honor.” Ms. Keller ask that her story receives as much press as possible to cause citizens to rise up and demand accountability. Here is what Dina has to say,
Attention Veterans, stand up for justice!
Public, be forewarned what is allowed to happen to you!
Recent Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) decision condones Brady violations and grants WA prosecutors permission to suppress facts and witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused and prosecute crimes with known false evidence
May 14, 2014: The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), specifically, Berger, Coy, and Evans have set legal precedent in the state of Washington, deliberately reversing (or at least ignoring) the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brady v. Maryland and related subsequent case law which long ago helped reinforce that a vital standard of our American justice system is that the police and prosecutors may not suppress evidence which exonerates a defendant, may not commit perjury and provide knowing false testimony and evidence against a defendant, and certainly cannot and should not initiate and perpetuate the fabrication of crimes that never occurred and seek to prosecute them.
This decision tears at the very fabric of our justice system and ought to call into question everything any law-abiding American has ever believed about truth, justice, and the American way; and, when you see what the WSBA has condoned a prosecutor doing to one American veteran, you will see why this decision should also cause every American veteran to seriously doubt the value of the sacrifices s/he has ever made to defend our rights and liberties and to assemble in vocal united protest of this decision.
This decision sends a message to all prosecutors state-wide that Brady rules violations and using evidence that does not exist is OK and will not result in any punishment from the WSBA, which is the only entity the WA Attorney General’s Office specifies to handle reports of wrongdoing by WA prosecutors. The WSBA, in making this decision, which they declare is not appealable, has knowingly granted carte blanche in prosecuting and potentially convicting WA citizens completely without evidence.
The WSBA decision invites prosecutorial anarchy.
The WSBA decision is directly opposite the American Bar Association Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 5: The Defense or Prosecution of Those Accused of Crimes which declares “The suppression of facts or the secreting of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible.”
The WSBA decision makes item 5 in the oath of an attorney in APR 5 which all applicants seeking admission to the WA Bar Association shall take, “I will employ…only those means consistent with truth and honor. I will never seek to mislead he judge or jury by any artifice or false statement” completely null and void.
By unanimous vote of 3-0 the WSBA dismissed a request (#13-02257)
to punish or even hold accountable Stevens County Deputy Prosecutor Nicholas Andrew Force for bringing to prosecution a ‘crime’ he, the citing police chief Scott Sterland, and the victim Travis Hurst absolutely knew had never occurred at all, a ‘crime’ for which Mr. Force presented a false report under oath in court stating that his evidence was a newspaper photo of defendant and Hurst posed together while being honored at a very small local Veteran’s Day assembly. Mr. Force failed to provide (in court or to the defense) the only newspaper photo taken of Hurst at that event even though it had been downloaded to Chief Sterland’s police computer and was most certainly available as evidence almost immediately after Sterland had cited the ‘crime.’ Mr. Force completely failed to admit the defendant was not in the photo, no other photo existed, and he had zero evidence of a crime committed by defendant against Hurst. Hurst himself absolutely knew the crime against him had never occurred as he and Chief Sterland personally knew the defendant and had no possibility of mistaken identity among only 8 men in the photo. Further, although Mr. Force actively conferred with Hurst in the hallway before and after the arraignment, Hurst sat in court but provided no testimony.
The newspaper photo which, absent any testimony from Hurst, was purportedly the best evidence, was never provided to court or to defense. The only photo from that event that appeared in any newspaper and pictured Hurst was published with a complete and accurate photo caption naming the few men pictured, to include the victim Hurst. The defendant is absolutely not in the photo and he not only never posed with Hurst at that event but he also never placed himself within 50 feet of Hurst at the event, which both Hurst and defendant absolutely knew to be true.
What is also true is that the defendant, a U.S. Army Explosives Ordnance Disposal veteran who had served during Desert Storm, cleared weapons and IEDs in both Kuwait and Iraq, and had protected the President and Vice President of the United States and been entrusted with nuclear weapons information during his career had lost 30 pounds to fit into his dress blues and appear before his children and their friends in that Veterans’ Day assembly at their school, personally arranged for a military band to play at the small-town school which essentially has no music program, and invited veterans from all 5 branches of the armed forces to appear in uniform and answer the children’s questions about military service. (Hurst, an Air Force National Guardsman, wore only camos and attended as an audience member, he did not help coordinate the event.)
Also true: the defendant had a 48-year spotless criminal record before this happened. That record has been ruined.
Prosecuting the defendant for this fabricated ‘crime’ was intentionally retaliatory and malicious. It destroyed all fond memories of that most wonderfully coordinated event [court clerk remarked that Veterans’ Day assembly was one of the best ever coordinated in that small town] and forever tainted all sense of honor defendant and his family will ever associate with Veterans’ Day.
FACTS (All supported by verifiable evidence provided upon request)
FACT: June 2011 defendant followed his civic duty to honestly report to small town Police Chief Sterland evidence of money missing (suspected theft) from a small-town charitable fundraiser, theft allegations are supported by both official state audit and other verifiable documentation provided to Chief.
FACT: September 2011 Police Chief Sterland dismissed theft with no police report or evidence of any investigation the exact day that Hurst, a local probation officer who is also the Civil Service Commissioner Chairman for the city Sterland served, discovered that his wife was one person implicated in the theft.
FACT: October 2011 Police Chief Sterland recommended Mrs. Hurst file for a protection order against defendant. She wrote a lengthy petition alleging harassment not only in the report of the alleged theft but also disagreements about music in the local school, defendant’s letter to editor written about our nation’s flag, and complaints about defendant sitting on the arm of a sofa above her in an amiable social setting. She cried repeatedly in court.
FACT: November 2011 P.O. CVY11-465 was granted with a tiny 50-ft distance restriction between Mr. and Mrs. Hurst and defendant and his wife. Although legal counsel recommends it, defendant did not spend money on appeal because he believed his honesty and law-abiding intent would protect him and if he and his wife dutifully obeyed the order and completely avoided all interaction with the Hursts that in a year the order would simply go away, causing no problem.
FACT: January 19, 2012 defendant was surprised to be cited by mail from Police Chief Sterland with criminal violation of protection order.
FACT: January 20, 2012 It was not until defendant retained defense attorney at considerable expense that he learned the details of that criminal charge. Defense obtained January 18, 2012 police report in which Chief Sterland falsely stated “Shortly after the Veterans’ Day assembly, there was a picture posted in one of the local papers showing Vict/Travis Hurst and Susp/[defendant] in the photograph both in military uniforms within just a few feet of one another. I am attempting to obtain a copy of that photograph and will provide it to the court when it is obtained.” (The Veteran’s Day assembly was in November 2011 just days after the P.O was granted and judge specified both veteran families of Hurst and defendant could attend as long as they stayed 50 feet apart in the large gymnasium. Defendant immediately notified organizers of the event about the order and dutifully arranged his participation to avoid any less-than-50-ft contact with Hursts. He knew he had never posed for a photo at that event with Hurst.) Defense at no time received a copy of the photo cited in the police report.
FACT: January 20, 2012 Police Chief Sterland’s office computer records show he downloaded to his computer that day between 2:30 and 3pm the only newspaper photo in which victim Hurst appears at 2011 Veterans’ Day assembly. Defendant is clearly not in the photo which bears a caption and shows only 8 men, with the only Army vets pictured obviously being decades older than defendant. (See: http://www.kettlefallsfocus.com/pdf/Focus_Dec11.pdf top of page 2) (Evidence of Sterland downloading photo was not discovered by defendant until February 14, 2014, long after damage of false criminal charges was done.)
FACT: February 3, 2012 Prosecutor Nicholas Force arraigned defendant on crime by citing under oath his evidence of the police report which mentions photo but he never provided any Veterans’ Day assembly photo or explained why it—the best evidence–was never provided. Victim Hurst actively conferred in hallway with Prosecutor Force and sat in courtroom but never provided testimony which, if offered truthfully, would absolutely exonerate defendant. Prosecutor Force intentionally suppressed all evidence and testimony which would have immediately exonerated defendant of the crime.
FACT: August 2012 Stevens County auditor Tim Gray response to public records request states he has no record of oath of office filed for deputy prosecutor Nicholas Force, although Force was appointed in 2011 and RCW requires he take an oath and file it at the county auditor. Nicholas Force allegedly intruding into office is also completely acceptable to the WSBA.
FACT: May 14, 2014 The WSBA perplexingly finds in the aforementioned facts not even a the lesser degree of proof, “preponderance of evidence,” of any wrongdoing by Prosecutor Force and dismisses the complaint with no further action.