By Ron Lee
Preston, ID – Recently, Preston, Idaho ex-police chief Scott Shaw was indicted and convicted to serve one to five years in prison on charges of misusing public funds and perjury. To many this was just a slap on the wrist and far too short a sentence for his crimes. For Neil Butler, owner of Butler Trailers it was a day of vindication as Scott Shaw was one of several local Preston officials who maliciously pursued him from 1994 through 1997 over a trumped-up felony charge of sales tax evasion.
Instead of bowing to the will of the establishment and paying an initial $150.00 fine illegitimately levied against him, Butler instead chose to stand-up against the corrupt Franklin County, Idaho infrastructure that included, along with Shaw, Mayor Jay Heusser, Franklin County Prosecutor Jay McKenzie, police officers Mark Beckstead and Ned Burton, Franklin County Sheriff Don Beckstead, and Eric Elle an Idaho Transportation Inspector.
Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on his defense, Butler, with the help of the US~Observer (then the Oregon Observer) saw his case dismissed on the grounds that there was perjury and a lack of evidence, even though they had rifled through his entire home for 4-5 hours as they conducted an illegal and unwarranted search and seizure. Corrupt law enforcement searched Butler’s exemplary premises because Butler refused to be patsy and he refused to stand for the corruption occurring in his county. When he spoke out they attacked him, expecting to stop his voice. Using hindsight, they picked on the wrong man. Today Butler relates the illegal search and seizure conducted by 13 officers to being “forcefully raped.” Needless to say, nothing illegal was found on Neil Butler’s property.
After Franklin County District Judge Don L. Harding rightfully threw out Butler’s criminal charges in 1997, Butler pursued those named above who were responsible for violating his First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Unfortunately, Shaw was among those ruled immune from suit because of his “official” position. Those who got away with their corruption go away because of “immunity.” Immunity is a legal premise that allows bad public officials to get away with perjury, knowingly charging citizens with false charges and much more. Immunity is wrong and according to Neil Butler, “it is undermining our system of justice.” Someday soon immunity might just be the much warranted downfall of a justice system run-amuck in America. Butler, however, did settle with one offender for a sum far smaller than what was expended in standing up against his false prosecution.
Of those who falsely targeted Butler several, along with Shaw, have been exposed to have been corrupt, including Mayor Jay Heusser who has been charged with felony fraud and stands with Shaw in a civil rights lawsuit in regard to an illegal search performed on the home of one of Shaw’s own confidential informants. (Please read “Web of Preston power abuse claimed” on page 13 of this edition)
Hearing of Shaw’s conviction Butler simply said, “I wasn’t surprised … A lot of injustices were done and not just to me … It’s about time.”
Butler equates much of his cases success to the help provided him by the Observer and he remains a staunch supporter of their cause.
Editor’s Note: After defeating his false criminal charges, Neil Butler decided he couldn’t live in the Preston area any longer due to the entrenched corruption. Butler moved his major trailer manufacturing plant across the State of Idaho to Orofino where he now produces his trailers. In a recent conversation with Butler he informed us that he still believes in holding government accountable and plans to continue his involvement with local government in Orofino when he witnesses public officials lying or involved in acts of corruption. The US~Observer is a better paper today because of men like Neil Butler and the opportunity we had 8 years ago in helping vindicate this dedicated and responsible American.