By Edward Snook
GRANTS PASS, OR - The 4-year-old false and malicious prosecution case of Mack Williams was dismissed Thursday April 6, 2000, by Josephine County Circuit Court 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 the state could present were out-right, conspired lies.
Williams was charged in 1996 of 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 four long years the state pursued charges against Williams, and for four years they forced this determined man to spend tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars defending himself.
The state had more than compelling evidence, which proved Williams' innocence, for years, yet they continued to pursue their false charges.
On several different occasions the state offered to drop the charges if 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 pay 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 had attacked Williams civilly in bogus hearings, where arbitrators ignored countless lies coming from Bob Brown of the Department of State Lands (DSL) and Mark Grinde, a supervisor with ODOT.
The state, admittedly, spent over 400-thousand-dollars attempting to prosecute Williams civilly and an estimated 100-thousand-dollars criminally. Williams spent well-over $100,000 fighting the convoluted and conspired case the state brought against him.
THE FALSE PROSECUTION TRIAL
On April 5, 2000, the second day of trial, DSL's Bob Brown admitted under oath that he had lied in previous hearings.
On the third day, as Williams' attorney Terry McCauley was readying to expose a dozen blatant lies Brown had told under oath, the state dropped the charges.
According to witnesses, Bob Brown made the comment to Williams in 1996, "You're [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 will make a felon out of you." Brown's arrogant abuse didn't work and now the shoe is on the other foot.
WILLAMS FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT
Attorney Terry McCauley filed a suit on Williams' behalf on February 3, 2000, in federal court against Bob Brown (DSL), Mark Grinde (ODOT), Mike Spaeth (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 suit, as is Larry Doe, a retired Oregon State Police Officer (OSP), who currently 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 defense, evidence would have shown that the Crawford's were dumping raw sewage into Allen Creek; that there was no permit for the trailer; and that Grants Pass City Attorney, Ulys Stapleton, knew so. It would have come out that numerous violations took place at Allen Creek, that trooper Doe knew about or should have known about, yet 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 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. Riverside RediMix billed ODOT for the complete job and ODOT paid the bill in full.
ODOT's Mark Grinde claimed that he was a partner with Williams, and testified under oath at pre-trial hearings that he had seen Williams' application and that Williams had, "led him to believe that he had a permit."
It was anticipated that Grinde was going to confess on the third day of Williams' trial that he knew there was no permit before the job commenced and that he had never seen the application. Grinde, however, never got the opportunity to make his expected 12th-hour confession; even if he had, it still wouldn't have erased the four years of hell the state had put Williams, and his family, through.
Other evidence would have come out at trial had Williams been able to present his case, such as a topographic map with 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 up hill, Stapleton apparently had to show the elevation on Williams’ 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 hours) to survey her property near the creek. It appears that she actually did this even though the City of Grants Pass had a valid topographic map on file at the time, just as did the title companies in Grants Pass. Come on Barbara, I didn't just fall off the 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 Williams' 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.
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 to push to a believing public. This is exactly what occurred in the case of Mack Williams.
Back in 1996, the Daily Courier, without any investigation whatsoever, reported that the Allen Creek project was Mack Williams. This is a proven lie, which would have been revealed even by doing a brief investigation.
On April 6, 2000, the Daily Courier continued its practice of lying to the citizens of Josephine County when writer Shaun Hall 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 could 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 RediMix 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 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 the Josephine County residents with the truth.
Isn't it newsworthy that a high ranking official such as Bob Brown with 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 Williams 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 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? 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 and KAJO radio to keep this information from the public. Why in the world wouldn't these 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.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FALSE PROSECUTION
All public officials and employees who have lied under oath (and now caught red-handed) are certainly responsible for damaging Mr. Williams, for putting 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 the 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 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 "anyones" 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!
THE BOTTOM LINE
Josephine County is currently asking its citizens, both the elderly and the young to continue supporting their gross waste and abuse with a new 18 million dollar levy against their homes and businesses to further false prosecutions. Vote NO on any new taxes until these abuses stop. It's the American thing to do!
UPDATE: WILLIAMS WINS FEDERAL SUIT!
Winning an undisclosed settlement due, in part, to the efforts of US~Observer (then the Oregon Observer), Mack Williams has been vindicated and Compensated.