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SHOOTING VICTIMS ARE VICTIMIZED BY A CORRUPT JUDGE AND DEFUNCT COUNTY GRAND JURY SYSTEM
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 1, 2010) — Mr. Tim Fasano is a candidate for U.S. Senate from Nevada for the American Independent Party. His platform is here, and he is a signer of “The Patriot Declaration” sponsored by The Patriot Post.
MR. FASANO: In 2006, my wife and I were shot in a home invasion in Fallon, NV. There were seven assailants. The authorities let four of them go; two of them pleaded “guilty,” and a third one was charged as an accessory and perpetrator of the crime. He went to court and was exonerated of the charges before a jury, and that jury was headed up by Judge David A. Huff in Churchill County, NV.
After that, we filed civil suits, and they were put in front of Judge Huff. One of the parties who was indirectly involved in the shooting defaulted on his lawsuit by failing to respond within 90 days, so we went on to a default hearing in front of Judge Huff, and he threw the default out. So when he did that, he also made a statement in court that was prejudicial and biased, in front of witnesses, and that statement was that he had presided over the Chris Hansen case in an associated criminal matter and he believed he had a conflict of interest, although he wasn’t sure.
Directly after that, he threw out the default and left the courtroom, and I sat there, asking, “What’s going on?” and trying to figure out how to challenge the statement the judge made. My lawyer didn’t quite grasp the gravity of what he had said, and he left.
My wife and I sat for months just stewing on that one. That was May 5, 2009. Over the course of the next year, I got involved with politics. In January, leading up to my nomination, I was researching campaign contributions, just to learn what the process was all about, because I had never been involved in it and had to study it so I could figure out what I can and can’t do.
When I was researching the “disclosure” aspect of it, my wife suggested that we look at Judge Huff’s campaign contributions, which we did. We found that the three lawyers who had defended our assailants in court had donated to his campaign after they had absolute knowledge and service of the lawsuit. In other words, they bought off the judge.
In retrospect, that explained a lot of things that had been going on, because we had a solid argument, we had absolute grounds to be heard in court and had the court or the tribunal consider it as a trier-of-fact. It was up to a jury to decide whether or not these people were liable, not the judge. However, after throwing out the default, he threw out the whole case. So you can understand how that would raise questions and cause anyone to start looking into things.
Right after we figured that out, I filed a complaint with the Judicial Ethics Commission here in Nevada. That was in January, the 28th, to be exact, and we still don’t have resolution on it. They had an investigator call me to discuss some of the issues. They said that they were looking primarily at the statement we had made in court, not the campaign donations and all of that, which told me that they were trying to protect the judge. That’s my opinion.
Included in all of that, I received a letter from the Judicial Ethics Committee which threatened me with legal action and punishment if I disclosed or discussed this matter with anybody. That’s contrary to what the state law says. State law says that I can disclose this information as the person who filed the complaint, and I can disclose it to anybody. I can disclose the fact that I filed a complaint with them. The confidentiality agreement that I have with them is binding solely on them, not me. They’re not allowed to discuss it, but I can, and that’s per the statute.
My wife and I discussed the letter extensively and felt that the best thing to do would be to charge the judge criminally because there was probable cause to have it taken into a courtroom where he should have to defend himself. So we started looking along those lines. We deduced that the prosecutor down in Churchill County would not be eager to provide a presentment to a court against the judge because he works with this judge all the time, they’re part of the same local community; they’ve both been there for year and years. So we thought that the best thing to do would be to turn it over to a grand jury. That way, a grand jury could sit and decide whether there was probable cause to charge him with a criminal act. That made a lot of sense to us, because it takes it out of one individual’s hands and puts it into the citizens’ hands.
MRS. RONDEAU: I believe that’s what grand juries are supposed to do.
MR. FASANO: That’s right. It’s the fourth arm of government.
MRS. RONDEAU: Which is in the Fifth Amendment.
MR. FASANO: Yes. So then I contacted Churchill County, and my justification for contacting them was that I wanted to find out the fees to file an affidavit with the District Court to empanel a grand jury, or recall one. That was my first question, and the first answer I received was, “This county doesn’t have grand juries.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Really?
MR. FASANO: Yes, and I said, “Excuse me? Every county in this state has the power to have a grand jury, and in fact, you’re supposed to have a grand jury docket, potential grand jury members and selected members.” Then she said, “I’ll have to speak with my supervisor. I’ll be right back.” So she put me on hold, came back, and she told me, “You need to talk to an attorney.” And I told her, “Ma’am, I don’t need to talk to an attorney. I have the statute right in front of me,” and I read it to her. She then said, “Oh. I guess we can have a grand jury.” But then she went on to say that after speaking with her supervisor and the judge, “This county doesn’t run grand juries and we haven’t run grand juries in over 21 years.”
Well, after looking at the statues here in Nevada for grand juries, I understand why.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was she telling the truth?
MR. FASANO: Yes, in regard to whether or not they had had a standing grand jury for 21 years, she was telling the truth. But I think they’re obfuscating the facts as to why they don’t want a jury to be seated, because the powers of the grand jury include oversight of government agencies and individuals presiding within the government in their department for fraudulent activities; essentially, general oversight of the jails, and, in particular, anyone held without charge. In other words, right now, the way it’s working down in Churchill County, they used the “presentment” method whereby the first documents presented to a court in a criminal proceeding are considered an indictment and presentment. But the grand jury has been bypassed. That’s the process that they’ve employed.
I understand what the Fifth Amendment says concerning grand juries. I’ve done quite a bit of research concerning that issue, and I believe they’re in violation of the Fifth Amendment. But this doesn’t explain their actions. This just gives me a little insight into their actions because we know, because we lived in the county for 18 years, that it is more like a good-ole-boys’ network. It’s the same thing as in Monroe County, TN.
MRS. RONDEAU: There do seem to be similarities.
MR. FASANO: Some of these circumstances are very, very similar to Monroe County. When we looked at the statute which states what the grand jury can look into, we found that they’re responsible for looking at individuals who are being held without bona fide charges as well as directing either the courts or the sheriffs with supplying a presentment or an indictment for anyone who’s being held over a certain amount of time, which I believe is 48 hours. That’s one of their duties. What they can do now down there in Churchill County is arrest someone, put the person in jail, and hold him without presentment or indictment for an indefinite amount of time.
MRS. RONDEAU: Which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
MR. FASANO: You bet. I had a conversation recently with the District Court during which I was told that there would be an obstacle provided to stop me from empaneling a grand jury.
MRS. RONDEAU: You were told that?
MR. FASANO: Oh, yes. At that point, I said, “You have to be kidding me!”
MRS. RONDEAU: Who told you that?
MR. FASANO: One of the clerks. However, I took it with a grain of salt, because I don’t know how much authority that person had, but then again, why would they say something like that? It makes me wonder.
So I’m envisioning we’re going to have problems seating a grand jury over there. Now in this state, there is a mechanism for seating a grand jury which I’m sure they are not too keen about. That is that three witnesses can provide affidavits to the court, which we were planning on doing, demanding that a grand jury be called, and the judge has five days to answer it. If after five days he doesn’t provide an answer, one of the requesting parties may petition the Supreme Court of the State of Nevada to demand and direct the District Court to empanel a jury.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think that will happen?
MR. FASANO: I think there’s going to be a problem in the Third Judicial District Court with doing that because obviously, the reason we’re doing it is that we’re going after one of their own. That presents another level of problems, because the way the system works here, especially when there hasn’t been a grand jury in place for so long, they have to come up with a pool of 50 names. The names need to be county residents randomly-chosen through the Department of Motor Vehicles to sit on the grand jury. Each judge sitting in the jurisdiction of the court chooses one person sequentially until they seat 17 grand jurors and 12 alternates. So one judge will pick one; the next one will pick one, and so on. Then they start over. It’s like a round-robin thing until they fill the bill of presentment.
But in my case, that’s a problem because one of the judges who will pick that grand jury happens to be the subject of my complaint. I’m waiting for that to occur because that’s going to give me a certain indication as to what’s going to happen. If that judge picks his own juror, it will be a violation of constitutional law and state law. We know that some of the conduct of the judge has been very questionable. I would argue that it’s been criminal, but we’re biased, obviously, because we’re standing in defiance to his act. But what we have found is that he has ruled in other cases where an obvious and substantial bias existed, one of which was when his wife was involved in a claim of action before the court.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did the judge provide some kind of ruling in that?
MR. FASANO: Yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: He didn’t recuse himself?
MR. FASANO: No, he did not.
MRS. RONDEAU: And no one asked him to?
MR. FASANO: Nobody knew. It doesn’t matter whether or not they asked him to; he has a duty to disclose a conflict of interest. So we found that, and then apparently he had another problem with having ex parte communications in a case that was brought before him less than a year ago. The judge had an ex parte communication with an individual who was charged as an accessory, a woman who had a party at her house and was contributing to the delinquency of minors. Well, something terrible happened, and she knew about it; she cut a deal with the judge in an ex parte fashion, and that was brought up after the fact. The aggrieved party complained about it and that’s now in front of the Nevada Supreme Court.
So the judge is starting to establish a very long track record of poor personal conduct. Here’s the part that’s going to throw you: Churchill County is considered one of the most corrupt counties in the state, especially when it comes to the judiciary. Judge Huff will be the fifth judge in six years to be violating his oath of office.
MRS. RONDEAU: What happened to the others?
MR. FASANO: We had one judge who was removed from the bench for 13 violations. We had another who was forced to resign because he was caught with prostitutes in Reno; another judge had ex parte communications with certain individuals. It’s a very small county; there are only 16,000 people living there, yet it’s the second-largest county in the country land-wise. The Sheriff’s Department is the third-largest in the country because it has so much area to cover. However, that doesn’t justify the circumstances.
MRS. RONDEAU: There is still apparently a lot of corruption even with the small population.
MR. FASANO: That’s right. I made the argument to the Judicial Ethics Commission that statistically, it’s an improbability that three attorneys in this state against whom I happen to be standing would be donating to the judge officiating the case, and statistically, the issue of improbability of problems with the judiciary in the county of such a small population is almost impossible for it to be a coincidence. I’ve spoken with a couple of mathematicians, and one of them said, “Statistically, it’s an improbability that these things could be coincidences.”
I am a man of science; I am interested in rocketry and have my own patents. I know numbers and how to run them, and I understand equations and statistics, and numbers don’t lie. At some point in time, they bear out to be true. So I have to take that with some level of certainty that it is statistically improbable for it to be a coincidence that a) you have a level of corruption that exceeds anywhere else in the state, and b) according to Judicial Watch, with whom I spoke about a month ago, Churchill County is in the top five in the country. So there you go.
I’m going to be facing this head-on. I’m not backing down; I don’t think I should. I think I have a duty to stand up and clean up the corruption. It’s also for the benefit of the citizens of that county, because if those citizens think they’re getting a fair shake with a judiciary that’s corrupt, they’re wrong.
MRS. RONDEAU: What if the next time, it’s them?
MR. FASANO: That’s right. I have an opportunity to do something about it, and I have grounds and standing to do it. If we can take back the grand jury in this country, we can repair the country. We can eliminate the corruption. My research in the statutes and our state constitution is that that’s the job of a grand jury.
MRS. RONDEAU: What is your immediate plan?
MR. FASANO: Our immediate plan is to empanel the grand jury. That is our goal. I will make my argument with the District Attorney, whom I know. I understand he’s going to be very reluctant to present this to a judge with his office as the presenting agency. It would be very uncomfortable if you lived in a community and worked with someone for so many years, and now you have to charge him with a criminal act. But I’m going to tell Mr. Mallory, the District Attorney, what I’m going to do, and then we are going to submit our affidavit to the District Court within days requesting that they empanel a grand jury.
Considering the conversation I had a few days ago, I would bet within five days, we have a lack of cooperation from the District Court down there in the jurisdiction, which means we will have to take it directly to the Nevada Supreme Court. If it goes there, then we’ll be starting to expose the depth of the corruption.
UPDATE, Aug. 3, 2010: The Post & Email spoke with Mr. Fasano today, and he and his wife filed their petition to convene a grand jury in Churchill County, NV yesterday at the courthouse at 4:50 PDT. Copies have been delivered today to the district attorney and the sheriff’s department as a courtesy. His filing consisted of a six-page summation of the complaint and numerous affidavits. Because he and his wife reside in another county, they were secondary petitioners, with a resident of Churchill County designated primary petitioner.
Mr. Fasano told us that he specifically informed the clerk that the case could not be assigned to Judge David A. Huff because of his complaint against Huff. Nevertheless, when Huff’s name came up through the lottery method used by the court, the clerk assigned it to Huff. Mr. Fasano believes the court will realize its error and reassign the case, although he stated that a second judge has a conflict of interest and should recuse himself, leaving one remaining judge in the pool. Fasano stated that that judge is new and has no track record to date in the county.
Based on further research that he has completed, Mr. Fasano said that he now knows with certainty that Churchill County, NV has not convened a grand jury for “at least 35 years.”
The purpose of grand juries as stated in the Nevada Revised Statutes for grand juries is threefold:
- to oversee prisoners who have not been charged with a crime
- to oversee the condition and management of prisons to ensure the safety and comfort of prisoners
- to oversee the misconduct of any public officials.
Update, August 4, 2010: Mr. Fasano reported that his petition has been transferred from Judge Huff to “Department 2,” which indicates another judge in the Third Judicial District Court. The court has confirmed that it has three days to make a ruling.