By Edward Snook
With the stroke of her pen, Deschutes County, Oregon Deputy District Attorney Sarah Foreman lied to the Court and signed a false affidavit under oath and penalty of perjury, swearing that she had “…read the police reports…and based thereon…[had] reason to believe that [Robert Haro had] committed the crime of…failure to register as a sex offender.” Based upon Sarah Foreman’s sworn affidavit, a judge signed the warrant submitted by the prosecutor, and an innocent Robert Angel Haro was arrested and handcuffed in front of his wife and child at his home in Bend, Oregon, for crimes which his father, Roberto Haro, had committed. Robert and other family members had already been shamed, traumatized, and victimized by his father’s criminal misconduct and the prosecutor’s blatant disregard of the facts lead to a new round of pain and suffering.
Robert Haro protested to the police that if only they would check the records they had available, it would be obvious a mistake was being made. This did not save him from being arrested and taken to jail, strip searched, finger-printed and booked for a crime he did not commit. Police explained they had to assume the warrant was valid – it had his name on it.
The false arrest set in motion a cascading sequence of events which resulted in Robert Haro being jailed, publically shamed, immediately fired from his job where he had just received a promotion, his name being listed in the newspaper as a sexual offender, and being denied housing for his family, because the prosecutor’s false affidavit and criminal charges had created a false criminal record profile, labeling Robert as a registered sex offender.
After Robert Haro hired an attorney who immediately contacted the court and prosecutor and filed a motion to dismiss the false charges, the prosecutor took more than two weeks to dismiss the false charges, which required Robert to pay an attorney for two court appearances.
Prosecutors took no steps to remove the false criminal history which they created. Robert and his family were left destitute, unable to find employment for over a year. Each time Robert applied for a job, he was usually granted a subsequent interview, and an indication of intent to hire, only to be denied upon a record check, even though the record stated the charge was dismissed due to error. Record searches for prospective employers either did not find or comprehend the dismissal. His family struggled to survive, and were finally forced into bankruptcy. Robert was humiliated and devastated by the circumstances which made it impossible to take care of his family. By contrast, even after Robert found a pro-bono civil rights attorney and filed a civil rights law suit, the prosecutor was promoted, being hired by the Oregon Attorney General’s Office (AG’s), who also provided Foreman with an attorney at public expense.
Had the prosecutor cared about the impact on persons falsely accused of crimes or had she actually read the police report, she would have seen that the officer stated in pertinent part: “I had been attempting to locate Roberto Haro for failing to register since December 2004…Robert Haro is the son of Roberto…I called Robert (he) told me in substance that Roberto is living in an RV on the beach in Ensenada, Mexico under the alias of Saldana…Roberto Haro has two outstanding warrants for his arrest…parole violation and sex abuse…This report is being forwarded to the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office for consideration of charging Roberto Haro with the above listed failure to register charges.” The only mention of the son Robert in the report was that Robert Angel Haro had assisted the detective with the Mexico address. The report included a photo of the offender with a birth date listed as 6/15/1949. Ironically, prosecutor Sarah Foreman had full information regarding Roberto Haro’s convictions as they had all occurred in her office.
Just three months earlier Foreman had signed an almost identical affidavit attesting to the Circuit Court Judge that she had reviewed the same Gallino police report, “a copy of which I attached hereto and incorporate by reference herein…Based on the above, I have reason to believe, and do believe that defendant Roberto Haro, DOB 6/15/1949 has committed the crime of – FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER.”
Prosecutor Foreman not only failed to ever apologize to Robert Angel Haro for the false arrest and trauma caused by her false statements to the court, but would later, with the assistance of her free, tax payer funded attorney from the AG’s office, compound the false statements to the Circuit Court and Oregon Court of Appeals with both attorneys falsely asserting by affidavit, as an excuse, that Roberto Haro had an alias of Robert Haro.
Foreman’s defense attorney from the AG’s office also falsely represented to the courts that Foreman had not been personally served and he misrepresented the Federal case law. These additional false statements to the Oregon courts, further demonstrates the willingness of government attorneys to disregard truth and argue whatever they hope will win.
Prosecutors in this case and in general are working hard to attempt to convince the courts that all prosecutorial misconduct, even if criminal, should continue to enjoy the protection of “absolute immunity.”
Making a false representation to the courts on oath or affidavit is a crime. Ironically, a citizen or even a non-government attorney nvolved in false statements to the courts, tampering with evidence or witnesses is quickly charged with crimes to preserve the“authority,” “sanctity,” and “dignity” of the court and judicial process; while in stark contrast, the very prosecutors who swear an oath to protect the Constitution and the “sanctity”of the courts are granted immunity, and are not accountable for their crimes against citizens, the courts, and the Constitution.
Even prosecutors who commit crimes by intentionally withholding or creating false or perjured evidence are granted immunity for the very criminal conduct for which they have the exclusive power and duty to prosecute others. In fact prosecutors are granted the exclusive privilege of determining who will be charged with a crime. Frankly, not only is it difficult to conceive of a more illogical and hypocritical policy, but it is also impossible to conceive of a policy which would be more destructive to public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system, than that of placing those sworn to protect constitutional protections, above the law. Often the court rationalizes prosecutorial misconduct and avoids dealing with the problem of the judge who works with the prosecutors, confronting, supervising, or questioning the conduct of prosecutors.
The courts solution is to adopt a presumption that as “officers of the court” prosecutors either meant well, or that they inadvertently made a mistake while zealously pursuing the difficult duty of prosecuting crime – for this purpose the courts have protected prosecutors under the judicially created umbrella called “absolute prosecutorial immunity.” The rationale for granting prosecutors absolute immunity for their crimes is based upon the fiction that without absolute immunity prosecutors would be hampered in zealously prosecuting crime. To the contrary, history has shown that this policy has created a culture, exhibited in thousands of documented cases, where prosecutors are permitted to zealously obtain a conviction of even persons known to be innocent, by utilizing criminal conduct such as withholding evidence, creating false evidence, failing to disclose or test exculpatory evidence, and by intimidating witnesses with threats of prosecution or promises of immunity.
Tolerating such misconduct undermines both the integrity of the judicial system and the very foundation of the principles of justice guaranteed by our Constitution. The courts continued condoning of prosecutorial misconduct through its grant of “absolute immunity,” and refusal to hold prosecutors accountable, gives the public a strong message that the courts are not interested in meeting their constitutional obligation to provide equal justice and to protect citizens from a now corrupt government, taken captive by the rich and privileged. By failing to hold corrupt government officials accountable for constitutional violations, courts are perceived by citizens as just a partner of an elitist, morally bankrupt and corrupt shell of our once constitutionally principled government. These perceptions of government are quickly becoming self-evident.
If the courts fail to act quickly, the public confidence in our government will soon be so eroded that our government will be in peril of collapse from within. Then the beautiful, universal principles of our Constitution, so brilliantly conceived and hard won by our founding fathers will hang in the balance as if by a thread, because few citizens have read the Constitution and fewer yet understand its principles. Then the Constitution will not be judged on its own merit, but rather perceived as an obsolete, outdated, and badly flawed document; an ill-conceived dream for freedom created by our founding fathers, which established the blue print which permitted the rich and privileged to capture the government, its institutions, and financial resources, and to enslave and condemn the general public to the eternal financial bondage of funding the rich and privileged’s insatiable greed.
The purpose espoused by our founding fathers was to create a constitutional separation of power, of checks and balances, to empower the citizens to prevent kings, despots, and the rich, or privileged from taking control of government institutions and financial resources, under the false pretense of serving the general public interest. Unfortunately, the courts have exhibited a history of tolerating prosecutorial misconduct, providing absolute immunity for even criminal conduct of prosecutors, that strikes at the very heart of the constitutional promise of due process and fundamental justice. Both the Oregon Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provide that all citizens shall enjoy equal treatment and immunities under the law.
In the Haro case The Oregon Court of Appeals recently affirmed without opinion that the prosecutor is entitled to “absolute immunity.” To reach that opinion, the Justices of The Oregon Court of Appeals apparently ignored the case precedent from the United State Supreme Court and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which hold that a prosecutor in not entitled to absolute immunity, “for her act in giving sworn testimony as a witness,” which is not a prosecutorial function. Milstein v. Cooley, 257 F acting as a 3rd 1004 (9th Cir. 2001). Prosecutors are not entitled to absolute immunity when, “acting as a complaining witness in support of a warrant application.” Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F3rd 949 (9th Cir 2009), citing Kalina, v.Fletcher, 522 US 118 (1997), In Kalina at 120-21 the United States Supreme Court specifically denied immunity to a prosecutor who filed the equivalent of an affidavit in support of a motion for an arrest warrant.
The US~Observer has taken on this case as part of our effort to hold the courts accountable. Presently a Petition For Review has been filed in the Oregon Supreme Court. The question is whether the Supreme Court of Oregon will also deny hearing the case or otherwise attempt to bury any case which asserts that the US Constitution does not permit prosecutorial misconduct to be accorded absolute immunity. The next step will be an appeal to the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the 9th Circuit refuses to serve justice, this case will go directly to the Supreme Court of the United States.
These cases are important in order to protect our individual liberties which can only be obtained if we as citizens join together to hold the courts and government accountable. We desperately need your support, help, and financial contributions in this effort.
We also have the Berg and Driscoll cases which will soon be filled in Federal Court. Be responsible and assist us, before you become a victim of our dangerous and totally out of control “justice system.”
Edward Snook’s Note: I urge all who support justice, all who support the US~Observer’s efforts to reign in corrupt prosecutors and stop abuse from the Judiciary to call Oregon’s Attorney General John Kroger at 503-378-4400 – tell him that we don’t want corrupt prosecutors like Sarah Foreman working for the State of Oregon – tell him that we don’t appreciate having our hard-earned tax dollars given to crooks in the form of wages and perks…