Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pete accepts plea bargain.

Here's an update regarding the charges against my husband stemming from the April 28, 2011 search and confiscation of my family's firearms at our home. Maine Game Wardens obtained a search warrant based on nothing but Pete's "felon" conviction from 1981 and the fact that they'd seen him carrying a gun, while hunting. He accepted a plea bargain, against my wishes: spent week in jail, has to pay a $2000 fine, and forfeited the guns.

Just before he pled guilty, I mailed to the court a motion to be an intervener in the case; but I got no answer. I have a stake in this, as the guns are marital property. The judge didn't acknowledge me as a party to the case, so didn't respond to my filing. However, the clerk of the court did send a date-stamped copy of my motion to the D.A., and to Pete's attorney who then sent it to Pete.

If a warrant is obtained on false or missing information which would have made a difference in the judge's decision to issue the warrant or not, the case should be dismissed. Well, I requested a Frank's hearing to challenge jurisdiction. However, since the judge wouldn't acknowledge me as a party to the case, that went nowhere. Getting Pete to ask the state-appointed attorney to do this was impossible; he just wanted to get it over with. And two other attorneys had asked to be dismissed from his case... probably because I was asking questions they felt uncomfortable answering, or just couldn't answer without admitting that the whole system is set up to screw the average Joe! Anyhow, law enforcement officers, in this case the Maine Game Warden Service, often play the "public exigency" card to obtain a warrant, when they have no real reason to believe any danger is about to come to the public.

It appears that Judge Hunter recused himself from the case. It could well be due to my filing a complaint against him with the Committee for Judicial Responsibility and Disability. As if I didn't know it would be dismissed. This Committee's budget is controlled by judges. Why did I file a complaint? Well, Judge Hunter imprisoned me in the law library of the Superior Court. It's true, he had me handcuffed by the bailiff and escorted out of the courtroom when I tried to assist Pete, who had yet to be appointed an attorney. Judge Hunter wanted him to sign papers put before him by the prosecution: bail conditions, though he wasn't under arrest! With me out of the picture, Pete signed. And he was not too happy that I'd caused a scene, because he had to wait for me for about an hour after he got out of court. To be released I had to apologize to the judge for disrupting his courtroom. The state has yet to return any of ours or our sons' guns.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is there a pharmacist in the house?

Yes. after I wrote to Representative Joseph Bruno a few years ago asking for his help regarding a summary judgment by Judge Ellen Gorman in my son's medical malpractice case, essentially denying him a trial and telling him "You lose," Bruno resigned. Soon after that, I discovered his ties to the medical community. Well, a recent investigation reveals other legislators and their spouses who benefited from State of Maine contracts from 2003 to 2010 totaling about $235 million... contracts not required to be disclosed because the receiving party was the legislator's company and not the individual legislator; how sick is that?

In the story there's a link to a chart telling who and how much. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LePage proposes cuts - but there is a larger debt train than Medicaid!

A December 7, 2011 Morning Sentinel story gives these numbers:
MaineCare is a $2.5 billion-a-year program, although federal funding and other revenue cover most of the cost. MaineCare will cost the state's general fund about $660 million this year.
From a New York Times story on December 23, 2011, about Governor LePage's proposed Medicaid cuts:
Calling the state’s entitlement system “a runaway train,” he has proposed contentious changes, including some of the most drastic Medicaid cuts in the nation.
But Dan Billings in May of 2010, before he was appointed as LePage's chief legal counsel, wrote about another, even larger debt train than Medicaid - it's Maine's unfunded pension obligations, totaling in the billions of dollars! Quoting Billings from the article:
You may wonder how Maine has more debt than the bonds approved by voters. Though the Maine Constitution strictly limits loaning Maine's credit "directly or indirectly," through the years politicians have been creative in coming up with numerous ways that debt could be incurred without voter approval. Unfortunately, Maine's courts, beneficiaries of this extraconstitutional debt, have upheld such schemes.
Maine also has unfunded pension obligations totaling nearly $4 billion. In addition, unfunded obligations for health care coverage for retired state employees, teachers and legislators is estimated to be more than $2.2 billion. These are bills that are certain to come due that will be paid by Maine taxpayers.

"Legislator loophole" - Governor LePage proposes to close it

Legislators and government officials, may soon have to disclose more details about their ties to companies which receive government monies. From the 12-15-11 article:  
Current law only requires that legislators or high-level state employees report state purchases of goods or services worth more than $1,000 directly from the individual legislator or family member, not from a corporation or entity for which the legislator or family member works.

A report by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting  apparently is what prompted Governor LePage to propose the legislation. The story by Naomi Shalit and John CristieIt looks like in a seven year period, 2003-2010, an average of 34 million dollars per year was received by companies owned by legislators or immediate family members of legislators, or by companies which employed them.

Another loophole exists; and the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission, Jonathan Wayne, doesn't believe that it can be closed until 2013. It's that the deadline for legislators to report such affiliations with companies which receive government money, often comes due after the legislator has left office...so it never gets filed. From  the January 4, 2012 story
There is no disclosure form on file, for example, for the last month and a half that Kurt Adams served as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission in 2008.
This link from one of the stories  shows the names of the Maine officials and legislators whose companies, or companies owned, or partly owned or run by family members, were the major benefactors of our hard-earned tax dollars.