No kidding; and…what up, Tennessee?!
After decades of working in the legal-media business, have noticed it’s not particularly unusual when really bad guys like Brandon Vandenburg, gravitate toward hiring, crooked attorneys for their legal defense. Guys like Fletcher Long, formerly, one of Vandenburg’s defense attorneys.
[Wait. Context. A little background on yours truly. Bear with me.]
Although my clients are attorneys and individuals interested in media for themselves or their company; in general; when attorneys commit crimes causing financial harm to their clients, (never my clients, I only work with the best), next to sailing, I like going after bad attorneys and others who deliberately injure people for financial gain; best. 🙂
“Others” includes Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide Mortgage, whose mortgage firm almost single-handedly tanked the U.S. economy in 2008. I do “Oppositional work” if I like the project. In the case of Mozilo, my client was a national political fundraiser who preferred Angelo Mozilo not visit San Diego. Soooo, six days of no sleep and more fun than was absolutely necessary – could have been titled, “Bonnie Russell had a lot of fun going after Angelo Mozilo.)
Wait – you go after crooked attorneys?
Sure. Admiring really good attorneys as I do, when necessary, also work to facilitate the arrest and prosecution and jail/prison time for attorneys who rip off their clients. Am two for two.
However, while good DAs are hard to find, through dint of repeated, “why not do the right thing” have been able interest a couple into performing their job. It’s harder than it should be. I knew we were making progress in one case after one crooked attorney emailed me a, “I will hunt you down” death threat. My thought?
YOLO! and end of context for backstory.) 🙂
Brandon Vandenburg, Fletcher Long and Fletcher’s law partner in crime; raccoon style make-up fiend, Carrie Gasaway
The short version? Long and the and the utterly charmless, Carrie Gasaway both enjoyed their long history of shady behavior – thanks due in no small part to The Tennessee State Bar’s disinterest in protecting the public. Including when Casaway had their client arrested and prosecuted for “Theft of Services” after their client wisely dumped them both. More on the Tennessee State Bar, later.
Facts for the trial presided over by the recruited, Judge Paul Summers
1. For $800.00 Michell Langlois, retained Fletcher Long to be at her father’s reading of his will.
2. Langlois testified Carrie Gasaway pressured her to pay Fletcher and Carrie’s firm $50,000.00 with a promise to pay a portion of whatever they obtained from the estate. (Major league up-selling.)
3. Langlois signed, but soon changed her mind and hired new attorneys. Bank officials testified Long and Gasaway transferred funds from their trust account to cover a purchase the firm made. (This was to help another client…and themselves.)
4. Gasaway promptly swore out an arrest warrant, accusing Langlois of “Theft of Services” even though the time the firm actually worked on Michelle Langlois’s case was miniscule.
5. Trial lasted a week. Both Casaway and Long were convicted of extortion.
Then came fireworks!
Post trial: One juror did the right thing. The juror reported some jury members had long ago made up their minds both attorneys were guilty. As in, well before deliberations began. Plural jurors. Apparently some jurors were enjoying real old-fashioned gabfests about the case throughout the building, although Judge Summers recited his admonition not to every time the jury left the courtroom. Fortunately, Judge Summers also asked jurors to let him know if that ever happened.
At least one juror was interested in being a good citizen. The rest? Not so much.
Casaway’s attorney, Mark Olson, immediately asked for a mistrial. The DA scrambled to “negotiate” a plea deal. (The public is generally unaware district attorneys prefer to negotiate rather than go to trial; partly due to their bonuses or raises being tied to a conviction rate. Also; trial preparation is hard work.)
Rudely, neither, “Special Prosecutor” Tommy Thompson, or Assistant District Attorney General Jason Lawson ran their offer to Defendants by the victim, Michelle Langlois. Michelle learned about it just prior to the hearing.
Judge Summers did not like Michelle being left out of the process at all. So the DAs beat feet back to convince Michelle to agree to the deal. That Lawson and Thompson completely ignored Langlois during plea negotiations, provides a clear demonstration of the little regard any number of prosecuting attorneys have for the crime victims they purport to represent.
6. Ultimately, after Michelle Langlois agreed to the previously-worked-out-without-her, plea deal; Judge Summers delivered unto Casaway and Long….a wrist slap.
Judge Summers sentenced Defendants Gasaway and Long to two years in prison. Then he immediately suspended sentence to four years of…probation! Gasaway and Long also agreed to permanently forfeit their law licenses for life, waive all rights of appeal, and pay $2,000 (a pittance) each in restitution to the Michelle Langlois.
At sentencing Carrie Casaway seemed – annoyed by everything!
Click for WSMV news clip of the plea agreement and sentencing featuring Carrie Gasaway’s raccoon make up, bird-flipping persona. Afterward, Michelle Langlois noted the ever charmless Carrie – while giving her victim the stink eye in court, also made time to discreetly flip Michelle the bird. In Court. Watching the video, it was clear Carrie Gasaway remains one brassy, unrepentant, convict….who continues to seethe. It seemed as if the entire proceeding fueled Gasaway’s contempt towards her victim. Gasaway expressed no remorse, asked no forgiveness, and huffed herself right out the door, immediately afterward. Fletcher Long did not. He apologized to Michelle – – then offered to maybe have her on his new radio show.
Oh come on. You knew Fletcher Long would do something to keep himself in the spotlight, didn’t you?! 🙂
But why only a slap on the wrist from Judge Summers?
Politics. DA’s don’t want to run the risk of losing ground in the next case. Perhaps before Carrie Casaway’s husband. That would be, Nashville Judge, John Casaway.
Here’s a picture of the family, during what is typically referred to as “happier times.”
Or put another way: While there’s a problem nationally with DA’s who “decline to prosecute” cases that should be prosecuted with vigor; another problem that might be as large is – dishonest DAs, – but Not talked about is:
Bible belt Christian jurors who replace the law with their Bible.
Lately Tennessee is demonstrating a larger problem in America concerning what happens when so-called “Bible-Belt Christians” wind up in the jury pool, and then secretly decide to act as if they are God.
Although this deliberate rejection of good citizenship is in direct conflict with our laws, either Bible Belt jurors do not realize this, or they do, but insist their religious beliefs trump American laws. Because, “God made America.”
It turns out many “Bible Belt” Christians are firm in their mistaken belief God is in the Constitution. (God is nowhere in the Constitution). But while these smug, so-called “Christians” are long on Bible quotes, they are very short on actual, historical facts, regarding the separation of Church and State, in America. As anyone might guess, sussing these people out from the jury pool seems to be a problem.
But the fact remains that many Bible Belt Christians do not know America was founded by people who were sick of being conscripted to the Church of England, as much as they were high taxes. Although these were the top two reasons why our Founding Fathers became our founding fathers. Fathers who deliberately made the State Government separate from every Church. Or, no church. Problems occur when extreme Bible Belt types deliberately ruin the judicial process based on whatever cherry picked Bible quote best describes their own particular bias.
This renders Bible Belt jury members neither good American citizens or good Christians.
Once jurors feel comfortable enough to routinely engage in, during-the-trial-guilt gabfests in all areas of the courthouse, this is a clear signal the practice is commonplace. Thus, the question must be asked why DA’s are allowing jurors to do so without consequence. Although no one has shown much interest in the question, it’s one that is sorely in need of an answer.
The Tennessee State Bar is the other problem
Why were licensed con artists like Carrie Gasaway and Fletcher Long allowed to continue ripping people off? Largely because The Tennessee State Bar, continues to… shrug. In spite of Fletcher Long and Carrier Gasaway’s felony convictions and past “discipline problems” the State Bar of Tennessee chose to not suspend either Gasaway or Long.
Never mind this deliberately turned, blind-eye goes completely against the “Mission Statement ” of the Tennessee State Bar. Hate to disappoint, but it turns out, just like most State Bars, the Tennessee State Bar is merely a giant public relations outfit, lobbying on behalf of – Attorneys! They are good to each other. Were the Tennessee State Bar to be interested in salvaging their reputation, attorneys would be promptly investigated and their discipline records would be available online for the public to easily locate. But they are not. The go-to for the Tennessee State Bar is: Punt. The same system worked well in California, until Joe Dunn, State Bar President, blew the whistle.
Lying Tennessee jurors – Again?!
Ultimately, jurors who deliberately lie during voir dire will continue to cripple our already, limping along, judicial system. In addition to depriving the accused the right of a fair trial, these smug self-serving so-called “Christian” types will continue causing victims more pain while wasting taxpayer dollars. As such, any DA who doesn’t prosecute a juror who acts with this type of callous disregard for the jury system, should be replaced.
It’s not rocket science, folks.