Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Atlanta Courthouse Murders - DA's Office Has History of Problems

Link "Brian Nichols is but one of hundreds of criminals that Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard failed to prosecute competently."

That is a quote from Denise Sorino a former attorney in the FUCO DA's office. She points out that Howard's ADA told CNN that "we had no reason to believe he (Nichols) could be violent." Hello, he was on trial for viciously holding his ex-girlfriend hostage for 3 days, repeatedly raping and sodomizing her at gunpoint. And don't forget, he was caught with handmade weapons in the courthouse two days prior to his rampage.

Howard was asked on national TV if he thought it was improper to have a 51 year old, petite grandma guarding an uncuffed 200 lb. former linebacker and he said "No." Incredible. It appears that the judgment of the DA and his office is lacking to say the least. Since all FUCO sheriffs, prosecutors and deputies report to Howard, he should be held to account for the lapses in judgment and "sloppy" courthouse security that lead to the needless deaths of four people and serious wounding of one.

There is a backlog of thousands of cases that have had no attention, many of which were criminals that committed crimes AFTER Howard took office. Yet he continues to blame the logjam on prior administrations. Many of the alleged perpetrators are today walking the streets. How many of these perps have continued their criminal activities while these cases languish? And what does this do to the patrolman's morale who arrested these people to begin with?

Ms. Sorino says the jury foreman in the original Nichols case wanted to write to DA Howard to "express our frustration at how poorly both the police investigation and the district attorney's office had conducted the investigation and trial?" It was revealed last week that some of the forensic information had not even been sent out for testing until after Nichols first mistrial. The forensics results were the cornerstone of Nichols attorney's assertion Saturday that he felt that his client would have been convicted of the rape case during the second trial. It is amazing that this DA's office is so incompetent that it goes to trial without its ducks in a row. If they had had their ducks lined up, Nichols would have been convicted the first time, and this entire situation would never had happened.

It has also been asserted by Ms. Sorino's sources in the DA's office that material evidence was withheld by the DA's office that lead to a plea deal in the Ray Lewis murder trial which Court TV predicted was probably going to be dismissed by the judge before the defense even got started. Do you know how rare a directed acquittal is? Ms. Sorino claims at least three sources in the DA's office to back her claim of evidence suppression. Normally DA's are accused of suppressing evidence that exonerates defendants, not convicts them.

Howard is currently being investigated for an ethics violation in which a democratic politician was indicted on 142 counts of stealing and corruption in relation to Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital. This fiasco was languishing in DA Howard's office for FOUR years before the feds stepped in and filed charges against Georgia Senator (D) Charles Walker. Howard now claims to have lost the evidence his office was collecting in the case.

Ms. Sorino alleges that members of DA Howard's own office have been arrested on drug related offenses and have not been prosecuted. Hell, they should have been drug-tested and fired at the very least. Instead, they are continuing their employment, probably secure in the knowledge that they will never be tried.

It appears that enough incestuous back scratching has gone on at all levels of government in Atlanta and FUCO that it may take this tragedy to unravel it. The democratic machine that controls the city of Atlanta and Fulton County may finally be dismantled. Since a federal agent is dead, the federal government will take an avid interest in this case. If the DA's office continues its pattern of incompetence and cover-ups for politicians, Brian Nichols will find himself on trial in federal court. And the mafioso-like political machine in Atlanta may find itself on the receiving end of the feds wrath.

I'm taking bets on how soon these politicians start crying racism when investigations by both the Republican controlled state government and the FBI begin. Any takers?

I'm not so sure about the assertion that the FUCO sheriffs "report" to the FUCO DA.

Denise Sorino obviously has an ax to grind, but that doesn't mean she is wrong about the big things with Paul Howard and his office.

She, and those of us who agree that house-cleaning is the appropriate response to this "cooperative incompetence" (h/t Photodude), should be very precise with our slings and arrows.

Denise's litany of charges about the FUCO DA office is outrageous -- I am sure that Ray Lewis and Charles Walker and Brian Nichols are just the tip of the iceberg.
I am a close associate of Denise Sorino. I vouch personally for each line of her Op-Ed. She actually watered down the evidence. The mendacity of Paul Howard is beyond belief.

Paul Howard has committed widespread crime in office. He is involved in a Web of corruption including Hospital Trustee Robert Brown, Vernon Jones, and Charles Walker. Howard has shielded these individuals for years.

More amazingly, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has covered up for Paul Howard. A great deal of corruption can be unearthed if only the AJC stopped its cover up.

I salute the bloggers. We must recall Howard, and insist that the AJC stop cover up.
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