By John Taft
Grants Pass, OR – The following article is a must read! This is an introduction and commentary on a story written nearly seven years ago by Investigative Reporter Edward Snook of the US~Observer. This story documents the arrogant abuse of power by state, county, and city public employees. They used their governmental powers in an attempt to cover their own illegal and evil acts by blaming an honest citizen and then they tried to destroy his reputation, ruin his life and have him sent to prison through the local courts with the full cooperation of the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigative Reporter Snook shows how in the intervening seven years nothing has changed in the local criminal justice system; corruption and arrogance are still the rulers. In his April, 2000, article he documents how perjury occurred in a courtroom upstairs in the Josephine County Courthouse.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sanchez admitted before a sitting judge that the DA’s office didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with the state’s case against citizen Mack Williams. This was done after the DA’s office had postponed Williams’ trial 16 prior times. This time of postponement was used to harass and attempt to intimidate Williams into a plea bargain. Their unethical tactics failed when Williams stood fast on principle and won. Williams had spent approximately $100,000 to defend himself from this vicious assault. He was later compensated an undisclosed amount by the State of Oregon.
DA Clay Johnson never filed charges against state and county officials for lying under oath. Johnson appears to have condoned the acts of Scott Titzler, Michael Sanchez, Ulys Stapleton and others who have remained mute on this subject over the years. In this case the devils in the courthouse didn’t get their man; they indeed were exposed, but not prosecuted.
All Bow Before the King
In Josephine County public officials walk while citizens are held accountable and prosecuted. Nothing has changed in the past seven years. Clay Johnson did not stay for his full term but fled with a tidy public pension. District Attorneys come and go and his successor, crawler, and Boswell is DA Steven Campbell who was pulled from the same cesspool of corruption that prosecuted Mack Williams. I have found Mr. Campbell to be arrogant and disdainful of the residents of this community. I was told by an editor at newswithviews.com that he recently approached DA Campbell and began talking to him at a public meeting. Campbell’s response was, “You can’t speak to me without my permission.” The editor responded, “Who do you think you are, the King?”
Josephine County still remains under the thumb of a corrupt criminal justice system. It’s time for DA Steven Campbell to pack his arrogance, conceit, false charges and contempt for the people of Josephine County in his roll away suitcase and get out of town.
Past – Same as Present
State drops Williams’ case
By Edward Snook
Grants Pass, OR – The (4) four-year-old false and malicious prosecution case of Mack Williams was dismissed Thursday, April 6, 2000, by Josephine County Judge Gerald Neufeld.
Disgraced Deputy District Attorney Mike Sanchez, after spending three days attempting to present his conspired case against Williams, bowed his head in shame and admitted the state didn’t have enough evidence to convict Mr. Williams, a long time resident of Grants Pass. In fact, the only evidence that the state could present were out right, conspired lies.
Williams was charged in 1996 with relocating Allen Creek in southwest Grants Pass. He was also charged with removing riparian brush and polluting the creek. Over the years the state had to postpone scheduled trials 16 times as they attempted to browbeat Williams and place liability belonging solely to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on his shoulders. Deputy DA Scott Titzler, an easily provable liar, attempted to prosecute Williams until shortly before the April 4, 2000 trial, when the state turned the case over to another liar and master of “false prosecution,” Mike Sanchez.
For 4 long years the state held false charges against Williams and for 4 years they forced the determined man to spend tens of thousands of hard earned dollars defending himself.
The state had more than compelling evidence for years, which proved Mr. Williams’ innocence, yet it continued to attempt to falsely prosecute him. The state offered to drop their false charges on different occasions if Mr. Williams would plead guilty to a violation and pay a nominal fine. In fact, according to Williams, “they wanted me to plead guilty at one point and donate a small amount to the parks. I didn’t do anything wrong and I wasn’t about to admit to something I didn’t do, no matter what the cost.”
The State of Oregon has attacked Williams civilly, in bogus hearings, where arbitrators spent over $400,000 dollars attempting to prosecute Williams civilly and an estimated $100,000 criminally. Williams spent well over $100,000 fighting the convoluted and conspired case against him.
The false prosecution trial
On April 5, 2000, the second day of Williams’ trial, Bob Brown admitted under oath that he had lied under oath in previous hearings. On the third day, as Williams’ attorney Terry McCauley was ready to expose a dozen blatant lies, which Brown had told under oath, the state dropped charges.
According to witnesses, Brown made the following comment to Williams in 1996: “You’re (referring to Williams) going to take responsibility for the job. It’s embarrassing to me and to the state. You’re going to take responsibility or I’m going to ruin you. I’ll turn this over to the Attorney General. I’m going to fine you and you are going to restore the creek.”
Williams then informed Brown (in front of witnesses) that ODOT had done the job and that he had sent Brown his incomplete application along with a letter explaining that ODOT was looking into cleaning the creek, so he wouldn’t be needing a permit. Brown has lied under oath on numerous occasions regarding this fact. Brown then reportedly continued, “You’ll take responsibility for this or I’ll make a felon out of you.” Brown’s arrogant abuse didn’t work and now the shoe is on the other foot.
Williams’s files federal lawsuit
Attorney Terry McCauley filed suit on Williams’ behalf on February 3, 2000 (covered in the February edition of The Oregon Observer) in federal court against Bob Brown (DSL), Mark Grinde (ODOT) supervisor), Ulys Stapleton (Grants Pass City Attorney), and the City of Grants Pass. Williams is currently amending the federal suit to include David Haight from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and Roy Lee Manning with the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Both testified for the state and both allegedly lied under oath in their attempt to bolster the false prosecution case.
Barbara Hamilton, an adjacent landowner at Allen Creek, is also expected to be named in Williams’ federal lawsuit, as is Larry Doe, a retired Oregon State Police Officer (OSP) who presently practices taxidermy in Josephine County.
Hamilton admitted under oath that she had logging done in or near the bed and banks of Allen Creek and she admitted that she allowed the Crawford family to live in an unauthorized trailer near Allen Creek for two years.
Had Williams been allowed to put on his case, evidence would have shown that the Crawfords were allegedly dumping raw sewage into Allen Creek, that there was no permit for the trailer, and that Ulys Stapleton knew so. It would have come out that numerous violations took place at Allen Creek that trooper Doe knew or should have known about, yet they were ignored.
It’s all too clear that Doe was intent on manufacturing a case against Williams, as is witnessed by the numerous lies contained in his reports. A prime example would be that Doe stated that the creek had been moved 150 yards. This would have placed the creek completely outside of the basin. Bob Brown testified that Williams removed and or replaced a thousand cubic yards of material as he moved the creek channel and filled the old channel. These things never occurred, according to the state’s own witnesses, yet the false case continued.
Cat operator Jack Evans cleared the creek and ODOT’s plugged grate (which was responsible for the problems), for ODOT. Riverside Ready Mix billed ODOT for the complete job and ODOT paid the bill in full.
Mark Grinde claimed that he was a partner with Williams. He testified at previous hearings, under oath, that he had seen Williams’ application and that Williams had “led him to believe that he had a permit.” On the third day of Williams’ trial, Grinde was expected to testify that he knew there was no permit before the job commenced and that he never saw Williams’ application. Grinde should be commended for finally telling the truth, however his expected 12th- hour confession doesn’t erase the 4 years of hell that the state has put Mack Williams and his family through.
Other evidence would have come out at trial, had Williams been able to present his case, such as an altered topography map showing the wrong elevation for a portion of the basin in which Allen Creek flows. The map has writing on it stating that it was submitted into the record by Ulys Stapleton and obtained through Barbara Hamilton. Realizing that water can’t run uphill, Stapleton apparently had to show the elevation on Mack’s property lower than it actually is. Barbara Hamilton testified that in May of 1994, she had Bob Montgomery contact Gene Leupold, a surveyor from Portland, to come clear to Grants Pass (3-4 hours south of Portland – a driving time of at least 7-8 hour) to survey her property near the creek. It appears that she actually did this even though the City of Grants Pass had a valid topography map on file at the time, just as did the title companies in Grants Pass. Come on, Barbara, I didn’t just fall off a pumpkin truck! Doesn’t make much sense, however the alarming issue is that Leupold’s survey seems to have been altered. This evidence would have come out in Mack’s trial had the charges not been dropped, but is now left for the federal suit. There is also a mountain of damning evidence against Ulys Stapleton and others waiting to be brought out in federal court.
Grants Pass City manager Bill Peterson also lied about Williams’ involvement in the Allen Creek job and we certainly don’t want him to think he is forgotten.
The Grants Pass Daily Courier
Continues Practice of Lying
When the state brings false charges against citizens (which happens all too frequently), they commonly turn over their lies to the local media. This is exactly what occurred in the Mack Williams case. Back in 1996, the Daily Courier, without any investigation whatsoever, reported to the public that the Allen Creek project was Mack Williams’. This is a proven lie, which could have been recognized with even a brief investigation into the case. On April 6, 2000, the Courier continued its practice of lying to the citizens of Josephine County. Writer Shaun Hall of the Daily Courier reported, “In 1996, Williams got the financial help of the Oregon Department of Transportation to clear vegetation along the creek by telling ODOT he had a permit for the work from the Division of State Lands. ODOT never confirmed the existence of any permits.” This is an absolute lie. It would be real newsworthy if the Courier and Shaun Hall would inform us as to why they needed to publish this lie and who prompted the lie. Mack Williams never “got the financial help of the Oregon Department of Transportation” and he certainly never told anyone that he had a permit.
The Courier continues, “After some $1,100 worth of stream work was done in 1996.” How hard would it have been for Shaun Hall to contact Riverside Ready Mix to find out what they were paid for the work they did in the creek for ODOT? If Hall had taken the time before publishing this further lie, it would have been discovered that there was only $758 worth of work done. It would have also been discovered that Riverside billed ODOT this amount and that ODOT paid the bill in full, a fact that Shaun Hall conveniently left out. I wonder why? Shaun Hall and the Daily Courier need to stop publishing lies and start presenting Josephine County residents with the truth.
Isn’t it newsworthy that a high ranking official such as Bob Brown with the DSL admitted that he lied under oath? Isn’t it important that Mark Grinde from ODOT lied under oath? Isn’t it important that jurors felt Mack was innocent after the state’s case was barely half over? Etc., etc., etc. All these facts are important to The Oregon Observer, Mack Williams and his family, and to thousands of concerned Josephine County residents; however they are apparently about as important to the Courier as ODFW employees clubbing and electrocuting thousands of supposedly endangered salmon to death. Get a life Shaun Hall; you’re beginning to sound just like Howard Huntington!
Would it possibly be of any importance to taxpayers that we are surely going to have to pay a few hundred thousand dollars in damages for the state’s false prosecution case? If the state didn’t have a case half way through their conspired trial, they didn’t have a case two weeks prior to trial, they didn’t have a case two months prior to trial and they certainly didn’t have a case 4 years ago. But they continually attempted to extort from Mack Williams. This is a proven fact. Any prudent person must conclude that it is much more than disgusting for the Daily Courier to keep this information from the public. Why in the world wouldn’t this media inform citizens that Williams filed a major civil rights lawsuit some months ago, in which he charged public officials with conspiring against him, a fact that now has gained all the credibility in the world.
If local media would expose corruption, it would rarely raise its head and I would assume that Grants Pass, Oregon, wouldn’t have picketers in front of the courthouse day after day, month after month. Maybe those celebrated and much needed picketers need to start splitting the valuable time they spend in front of the courthouse with the Daily Courier.
All public officials and employees who have lied under oath (and now, caught red-handed) are certainly responsible for damaging Mr. Williams, for putting him and his family through 4 years of tragic abuse and for costing him a portion of his life; however another is even more guilty than the rest.
Josephine County District Attorney Clay Johnson is that person. Although Mike Sanchez was the DA’s scapegoat, or in other words his “disposable assistant DA,” Clay Johnson is responsible for the false charges and the unwarranted trial, which Mr. Williams was forced to endure. Assistant DA Scott Titzler, until recently throwing the case to Sanchez, is also highly responsible. Former DA Tim Thompson was responsible for three-plus years of repeated attacks against Williams and for numerous extortion attempts directed at Williams, however Johnson has had the evidence of the lies and false charges at his disposal and still he chose to take Williams to trial.
You know, folks, I have always been under the impression that perjury was a crime. I guess I have been sadly mistaken or could it be that perjury just isn’t a crime in Josephine County, Oregon, under the “special guidance” of District Attorney Clay Johnson? We’ll soon find out because Johnson has in his possession perfect examples of perjury. Will he prosecute, or will he attempt to sweep criminal conduct under the carpet? Rest assured, Josephine County and the rest of this country will soon be informed!
A number of citizens have begun speaking of another recall. I am one such person and short of a public apology from Clay Johnson and a settlement for the great expense, both physical and monetarily, which his office has cost Mack Williams, a recall is certain to occur. If one is started I hope to be one of the petitioners and I can promise Clay Johnson that the effort will be well planned out and definitely successful.
The taxpayers of Josephine County also deserve an apology from Clay Johnson and his assistants for wasting tens of thousands in hard earned tax dollars. Rarely if ever do the citizens receive the truth regarding the DA’S office and the continual need for more funding. This article presents the reasons in a nutshell.
Out of arrogance we don’t expect any apologies; however there is always room for surprises. Short of a surprise, I promise the Williams family that I will do everything in my power to get Clay Johnson and his “responsible assistants” out of Josephine County and I’ve had a great deal of practice at doing so with other “bad people in government.”
Mack Williams and his family would not go along with calling anyone a liar, even after those certain “anyone’s” had attempted to wrongfully ruin their lives. This is unbelievable to me. I would just love to share their compassion but I don’t. I’m not here doing what I do to seek the Williams’ favor or anyone else’s. I’m simply doing my level best to stop liars who are hurting others. When a person lies they haven’t made a mistake, they have lied, like it or not!