Sunday, January 25, 2015

LETTER TO THE VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL ABOUT THE VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT



Following the filing of my complaint with the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, I wrote the Virginia Attorney General's office asking his office to look into possible improprieties. Here is that letter:

                                                                                    Kilmarnock, Virginia 22482
                                                                                    January 19, 2015



Mark Herring, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Commonwealth of Virginia
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia  23219


Attorney General Herring:

I have filed a complaint with the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission against Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell. The complaint centers on a major factual error in her October 31, 2013 decision to throw out the jury verdict holding Virginia Tech liable in the Pryde and Peterson lawsuit against the school. (My complaint and the evidence are attached).

Justice Powell wrote that the Blacksburg Police were in charge of the investigation of the killings on April 16, 2007, but in fact it was the Virginia Tech Police Department. I have been involved in and teach intelligence and crime analysis for nearly 50 years. (My bio is attached.) This is a stunning factual error, and as I said in the complaint, if one of my students made this mistake I would flunk him or her.

Both Blacksburg Police Chief Kim Crannis and Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum testified under oath that it was the Virginia Tech Police who were in charge. (The testimony is included in the complaint.)

The question arises how could such an error of this magnitude make it into the Supreme Court’s decision when the evidence before the court states the opposite? Indeed, there are at least five references in the testimony that the Virginia Tech Police Department was in charge.

It is against the law to introduce false evidence or facts in a court of law. It must certainly be against the law to feed false facts to a Supreme Court justice; facts that are contained in a ruling involving the worst school shooting in this nation’s history. The error is so great that it casts doubt on the court’s integrity, objectivity, and truthfulness.

I am not accusing Justice Powell and the court of being untruthful, but I am arguing that for this ruling to stand uncorrected is tantamount to condoning factual errors at the highest level of the state’s judiciary.

Because of the factual error in the Pryde and Peterson decision, there is a very real possibility that the two families’ civil rights were violated. There is also the possibility of some form of public corruption in the form of undue influence on the court.

I am asking that the Attorney General’s office investigate whether or not there is a civil rights violation and how a factual error on that scale could make it into a major Virginia Supreme Court decision.


                                                                                    Yours sincerely,





                                                                                    David Cariens
                                                                                  

                                                                                   

COMPLAINT AGAINST VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT IN PRYDE/PETERSON DECSION



Early last week I filed a complaint against the Virginia Supreme Court because of a major factual error in the Court's decision to dismiss the jury verdict in the Pryde/Peterson case holding Virginia Tech accountable in the April 16, 2007 rampage.  Here is that complaint:


COMPLAINT

MAIL TO:    Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission
                                    Post Office Box 367
                                    Richmond, Virginia   23218-0367
                                    
Note: The Commission does not accept far or email complaints

Name of Judge      Justice Cleo E. Powell

Location of Court  Supreme Court of Virginia, 100 N. Ninth
                                       Street     Richmond, Virginia

Date of Incident  Opinion by Justice Cleo E. Powell  October 13, 2013

Case Name or Number:   

Factual error—decision in appeal of wrongful death suits

Name and telephone numbers of persons who witnessed the judge’s conduct: Supreme Court Justices Kinser, Lemons, Goodwyn, Millette, Russell, and Lacy (804) 786-6455. Robert T. Hall of Hall & Sethi, Reston, Virginia (704) 925-9500. William Broaddus, McGUIREWOODS (804) 775-1000.

Description of what the judge said or did that you believe was improper:  On October 31, 2013, Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell issued an error-ridden opinion reversing the jury verdict in the case of the Commonwealth of Virginia v. Grafton William Peterson, Administrator of the Estate of Erin Nicole Peterson, Deceased, et. Al. (From the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, William N. Alexander, II, Judge Designate.) On page 2 of Justice Powell’s decision she writes: “Although officers from the Virginia Tech Police Department were the first on the scene, (continued)

Name                                                                                    Daytime
(Please Print) David S. Cariens                            Telephone:  given

Address  given

___________________________________________               Date   January 17, 2015
Signature

Note: The Commission does not accept unsigned complaints
(continued)

“the Blacksburg Police Department led the investigation.”

The exact opposite is true. The Virginia Tech Police Department led the investigation. Both Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum and Blacksburg Police Chief Kim Crannis testified, under oath to that fact in direct questions from William G. Broaddus. (See attachments A and B, photocopies of Chief Flinchum’s and Chief Crannis’s answers to Broaddus’s questions.)  In another question from Broaddus, Chief Crannis testified that she offered assistance to Chief Flinchum. (See attachment C). On another occasion, and in a response to Broaddus’s question, Flinchum testified “we called the Blacksburg police for assistance.” (See attachment D.) In a video clip of Virginia Tech President Charles Steger’s press conference on the evening of April 16, 2007, which was shown to the court, President Steger states, “The Blacksburg Police Department were also on the scene assisting the Virginia Tech police …”  (See attachment E.)

I am also enclosing the agreement between the town of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, stating that “2. All law enforcement personnel responding to an emergency request as described in this agreement will report to and take direction from the Chief of Police of the requesting agency or his/her designee.” (See attachment F.)

Also, I am enclosing a letter from Blacksburg Police Chief Kim Crannis to me confirming that on the morning of April 16, 2007, the investigation was conducted in accordance with the legal agreement between the town and school. (See attachment G.)

I believe that Justice Cleo E. Powell violated two Canons of the Canons of Judicial Conduct for the State of Virginia. They are Canons 1 and 2.

CANON 1.
A JUDGE SHALL UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY.

A.

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be
preserved. The provisions of these Canons are to be construed and applied to further that objective.

Commentary:

Although judges should be independent, they must comply with the law, including the provisions of these Canons. Public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary is maintained by the adherence of each judge to this responsibility. Conversely, violation of this Canon diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and thereby does injury to the system of government under law.

I am not accusing Justice Powell of lying, but by writing a decision containing a factual error of this magnitude (involving the worst school shooting in this nation’s history), she has done irreparable harm to “an independent and honorable judiciary [which] is indispensable to justice in our society.”  She has violated Canon 1. If Justice Powell were a student in one of my classes, I would flunk her. (See attachment F, my biography.)

CANON 2.

A JUDGE SHALL AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL OF THE JUDGE'S ACTIVITIES.

A.

A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Commentary:

It is against the law to introduce false or wrong facts into court proceedings. By wittingly or unwittingly allowing a factual error into her decision, Justice Powell has, at minimum, been complicit in the violation of the laws of the State of Virginia. This is tantamount to the impropriety of the first order and does not promote “public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” Furthermore, Justice Powell’s decision casts serious doubts on the integrity, thoroughness, and objectivity of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The decision should be withdrawn and the verdict of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Virginia should be reinstated.


If you have any questions about the above complaint, please contact me.


                                                                        Yours sincerely,

                                                                        David Cariens

Thursday, November 27, 2014

TIDES INN ART SHOW DECEMBER 6TH



I will be at the Tides Inn Art Show in Irvington,Virginia on December 6th. The Art Show will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

PARTICIPATION IN NAACP ART FESTIVAL


      The Northumberland County, Virginia chapter of the NAACP has invited me to participate in their fall Art Festival on November 22nd. The Festival will take place from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and I will be there the whole time signing the Virginia Tech book. From 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. I will hold a reading and discussion of the book. If you are in Northumberland County, please stop by the Community Center on Brown's Store Road near Wicomoco Church.

Monday, November 3, 2014

LETTER AND REQUEST FOR HELP FROM THE ACLU


Below is the letter I have sent to the Executive Direction of the Virginia ACLU. I am not too optimistic that she will help. She is a friend of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell who wrote the decision I am questioning. Furthermore, the ACLU may not want to rock the Virginia Supreme Court's boat. It is worth a try.




                                                                                    Kilmarnock, Va. 22482
                                                                                    November 3, 2014


Ms. Claire G. Gastanaga
Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia
701 East Franklin St.  Suite 1612
Richmond, Virginia 
23219

Ms. Gastanaga,

I enjoyed meeting you and listening to your presentation on Sunday, the 26th of October at the Unitarian Fellowship in White Stone. Equality for all people is a basic right of our republic and I strongly support what you and the ACLU are doing, and have done, to guarantee citizens’ rights—no matter sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnic background.

As I mentioned, I am a victims’ rights advocate working with the victims of school shootings here in Virginia and throughout the country. I take no money for this work.

At issue, and what I am asking the ACLU’s help on, is the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the jury verdict in the Pryde and Peterson lawsuit against Virginia Tech. The unanimous decision written by Justice Cleo E. Powell states on page one, “In this case, we hold that even if there was a special relationship between the Commonwealth and the students of Virginia Tech, under the facts of the case, there was no duty for the Commonwealth to warn students about the potential for criminal acts by third parties.”

Justice Powell then proceeds to get one of the most important facts wrong. On page two she writes, “Although officers from the Virginia Tech Police Department were the first on the scene, the Blacksburg Police Department led the investigation.”  Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum and his department were in charge.

On the morning of April 16, 2007, the investigation of the double shooting at West Ambler Johnston hall was in the hands of the Virginia Tech police. Blacksburg Police Chief Kimberley S. Crannis testified to that fact on the witness stand, and I have confirmation of that fact in a letter from her (attached).

The investigation of the shootings at West Ambler Johnston Hall were conducted in accordance with a legal agreement between the town of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. That agreement states that the requesting police department, in this case Virginia Tech, will retain control of the investigation. That agreement is attached.
I have nearly 50 years experience in intelligence and crime analysis and currently teach at the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, the FBI, the CIA, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. If one of my students made an error of this magnitude I would flunk that student. 

The error is so egregious that I believe the civil rights of the Pryde and Peterson families has been violated. To base a decision on facts and then get facts wrong raises serious questions about the Court’s objectivity and integrity and merits investigation.

You mentioned that my complaint to the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission might not lie in the realm of ACLU activity. But when I looked at the ACLU Mission Statement, and the Mission Statement’s reference to civil liberties, I believe this complaint is exactly what the ACLU is all about.  Here is the Mission Statement:

“ACLU MISSION STATEMENT. Since its founding in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been the guardian of liberty, working in the nation's courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve individual working rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

You also mentioned that you are a friend of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell, author of the decision. If you feel this friendship would bias you or in any way make it impossible to help me, would you recuse yourself and help me find another ACLU lawyer who is willing to help?

The following are highlights about my work on school shootings in Virginia:

Angela Dales, the mother of my oldest grandchild, was killed at the first school shooting here in Virginia at the Appalachian School of Law on January 16, 2002. Following that tragedy I became a victims’ rights advocate.

I wrote a book on that tragedy, which I have enclosed. I am sad to say the law school, the legal profession, law enforcement officials, and state politicians engaged in a campaign of deceit, cover-up, and out-and-out lies. For example, law school officials told a student to destroy incriminating evidence. The student made copies of the evidence, gave it to our lawyers and was willing to testify under oath that he had been asked to destroy evidence.  I detail all this in the book, and enclose the book for your reference.

In the immediate aftermath of the Virginia Tech rampage, I offered my files and services to the Tech families. From that offer came a working relationship. Around five years ago, a father whose son was killed in the German class at Tech asked me to write a book from the families’ perspective and to expose the lies and cover-up that has taken place. I agreed. That book, Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out is also enclosed. Chapter XI gives a detailed analysis of the trial and the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision.


Again, I am asking for help from the ACLU in filing a complaint in connection with the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the jury verdict in the Prdye/Peterson jury verdict against Virginia Tech. I look forward to hearing from you.

I have enclosed a copy of my bio for your information.

                       

                                                            Yours sincerely,


                                                           
                                                            David Cariens
                                                            (804) 435-7065
                                                            dcariens@gmail.com



P.S. Here are some of my findings. They are detailed in my book:

1.     Virginia Tech paid nearly $1 million to two public relations firms to spin the tragedy. Each family got $100,000 for their dead child or loved one.
2.     The State of Virginia paid TriData, an Arlington-based firm that does business with the state, $750,000 to write the Governor’s Review Panel Report—a conflict of interest. The report is riddled with errors.
3.     Virginia Tech took three days to set up a Web site to support school President Charles Steger and Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum. It took Tech four months to set up a Web site in support of the families.
4.     The families had little or no say in the money that came in to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund set up in response to the tragedy. The school said that $8.5 million represented the bulk of the fund. In fact, it was $160 million, which Tech apparently put in a general fund.
5.     There is evidence that Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum did not tell the truth on the witness stand in the Pryde/Petereson lawsuit against the school.
6.     Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum violated practically all rules of crime scene analysis at the double homicide at West Ambler Johnston Hall on April 16, 2007. His lack of professionalism made the death of 30 people and wounding of 17 others in Norris Hall inevitable.


cc:  Hall & Sethi, PLC

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SEEKING ACLU ASSISTANCE


I am in touch with someone from the ACLU as I prepare to file a formal complaint in connection with the Virginia Supreme Court's Action in overturning the jury verdict in Pryde/Peterson suit against Virginia Tech. I will not be filing the complaint with the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission until after the first of the year. I still have several volumes of records to go through (I received from the Attorney General's Office), but it is now almost certain that either the ex-Attorney General or Justice Cleo Powell did not tell (or write) the truth (a lie?). It is against the law to present false information to a court of law and it is against the law for a Supreme Court Justice to interject his or her own incorrect facts in a decision.

I have next no hope anything will happen. The old girl/boy network will kick in to protect one of their own. The person at the ACLU with whom I talked is a friend of Justice Powell. It will be interesting to watch her ethics and objectivity in practice. I am going to give it a try and will go forward with or without the support of the ACLU.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

WHEN FACTS AND LIVES NO LONGER MATTER—PART SIX



THE VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT’S RESPONSE


Below is the response I received from the Virginia Supreme Court. I think it speaks for itself. I would remind readers of my blog that I now have over five volumes of court documents pertaining to the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the jury verdict in the Pryde/Peterson trial. It will take me some time to go over the 1000+ pages.

It will be interesting to see who did not tell the truth about who was in charge of the murder scene at West Ambler Johnston Hall in the middle of the Virginia Tech campus—Attorney General Cuccinelli’s office or the Virginia Supreme Court?




SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA
Office of the Executive Secretary
100 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-2334

September 9, 2014

Mr. David Cariens
Xxxxx Road
Kilmarnock, Va. 22482

            RE:  Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Mr. Cariens:

Your request for records sent by certified mail to Justice Cleo E. Powell was received on September 2, 2014 and forwarded to me for response. You also sent copies of your request to Chief Justice Kinser, Justices Lemons, Goodwyn, and Millette, and Senior Justices Russell and Lacy. This response will serve as the response for each of the Justices and Senior Justices who received such copies.

Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act because of the separation of powers contained in the Constitution of Virginia. Without waiving this objection, please be advised that neither Justice Powell nor any of Justices or Senior Justices who received your letter or copies of your letter possess records that are responsive to your request. Justices may consider only the case record when deciding a case and such records filed with the Court as part of a case are maintained by the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The phone number for the Clerk’s Office for the Supreme Court is (804) 786-2251.

Please note that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to “[t]he records required by law to be maintained by the clerks of the courts of record, as defined in 1-212, and courts not of record, as defined in 16.1-69.5.” Va. Code 2.2-3703 (A)(5). However, case records are generally public records and are available at the applicable clerks’ offices, unless a record has been sealed or is otherwise deemed confidential. 

                                                                        Sincerely,
                                                                              /s/
                                                                  Kristi S. Wright