Tag Archives: Guantanamo Bay

Missouri’s Justice Problems Extend Beyond Municipal Courts

EDITOR’S NOTE: Especially in the St. Louis metropolitan area, the state of Missouri’s municipal court system has been in the news a lot lately — see here and here — for all the wrong reasons. The state’s family court system, however, has not received nearly as much attention; therefore, I decided to fill the void.

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Largely due to the almost-nonexistent news coverage about it, family court was a place foreign to me until a few years ago when, at the request of a friend, I attended a child-custody hearing involving a thirty-something couple who had recently battled their way through a messy divorce.

In this case, the husband seemed to hold all of the cards: he owned a thriving business; he coached youth sports; and he was perceived by many as a pillar in the community. His stay-at-home-mom wife, on the other hand, handled the equally important but often-overlooked responsibilities associated with caring for the couple’s many stair-step children, bi-products of a decade of wedlock. Financially speaking, however, she contributed nothing tangible to the family’s bottom line.

During the morning portion of the hearing, I sat quietly in the back row of a Saint Louis-area courtroom, taking notes and not speaking with anyone in the courtroom. Seated a few rows in front of me were two women, one of whom I determined to be the wife and the other her friend. Across the center aisle that separated the two seating sections and functioned as a kind of subliminal barrier between the litigants, the husband sat amidst a small group of people that included members of his side of the family and friends.

After what turned out to be an uneventful ninety-minute session, a midday break afforded each person inside the courtroom to take a break and grab something to eat, breathe some fresh air and/or take a restroom break. Some may have taken advantage of several items on the unofficial menu of opportunities.

Upon entering the courtroom after the break, I noticed the wife’s female friend had been replaced by another for the afternoon session and that the two had taken my back-row spot on the left side of the gallery seating. Because I preferred to sit with my back near a wall, I relocated to a back-row seat on the other side of the room, two rows behind the husband and his group.

Several minutes passed and, after apparently growing tired of waiting for the judge and the attorneys to return to the courtroom, the wife and her second friend decided to step into the hallway outside the courtroom. Soon after their departure, time and curiosity seemed to get the best of the husband, and he turned to face me.

“You’re not a private investigator, are you?” he asked, seemingly unconcerned about how odd the question seemed in light of allegations made against him by the mother of his children.

“None of your business,” I replied, prompting a chorus of hoots and howls—as well as some well-placed glares—from members of the husband’s group.

A few more minutes passed, and the husband’s snappy-dressed lead attorney—a man of average height and above-average girth—exited the judge’s chambers and walked back into the courtroom. The husband approached the attorney and engaged him in muffled conversation during which both cast suspicious glances in my direction. Those glances were followed a few seconds later by a bluster of high drama.

The animated attorney came barreling down the center of the courtroom, walking directly toward me and speaking loud enough so that everyone in the room—and, perhaps, everyone in the courthouse—could hear.

“Are you harassing my client?!” he bellowed.

Before I could respond to his obvious intimidation tactic, the attorney shouted again, this time toward the bailiff seated behind his desk near the front of the courtroom and only a few feet from the judge’s now-empty bench.

“Bailiff, this man’s harassing my client and following him around! Can we have him removed?!”

Before waiting for the bailiff to respond, I spoke loudly in an attempt to defuse the situation and rebut the attorney’s false and malicious claims.

I told the bailiff the attorney’s allegations were absurd, that I had not made any attempt to harass his client and that I had had good reason to change seats—which I explained to him—during the break.

Perhaps smelling a rat in the attorney’s grandstanding, the bailiff did not have me escorted out of the courtroom. Instead, he simply asked me to move to the other side of the aisle and to refrain from interacting with anyone in the court room.

While the husband’s attorney had succeeded in creating a scene, he had also succeeded in creating a great deal of doubt in the minds of everyone inside the courtroom who was not an officer of the court or a supporter of his client—me.

Did his well-to-do, college-educated business owner client, who coached youth sports teams and donated money to charities for abused children, deserve any key role in the lives of his children? After observing the attorney’s courtroom antics, I was leaning against his client. Then I interviewed his client’s wife.

In graphic detail, she alleged, the man she had married ten years earlier had sexually molested several of their children during the previous decade. She also told me how he had once confided in her the details of how he, as a child growing up in a neighboring state, had suffered sexual molestation at the hands of his adoptive parents.

After catching him in the act of sexually molesting one of their children, she waited until he had gone to work the next day and then fled. She took her children to a shelter for abused women in a nearby community. When he learned what she had done, he immediately transferred the bulk of the money in their joint bank accounts to one over which he had sole control. Then he hired the high-priced attorney whose courtroom antics I described earlier.

In an effort to prove to others that she was telling the truth about her husband, the woman subjected herself to an exam conducted by a state-certified examiner using the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer, the same non-polygraph credibility assessment technology highlighted in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo (May 2013), and featured prominently in my first crime-fiction thriller, The National Bet (November 2014).
Based on the results of her CVSA exam, the examiner determined she was not being deceptive when she answered key questions about the allegations she had made against the man who is now her ex-husband.

When the woman tried to show the results of the exam to the family court judge overseeing the custody case, the judge dismissed them out of hand and, in doing so, ignored the fact the man who had administered the exam — while acting in his capacity as a private business owner — was a full-time employee of the State of Missouri whose job description included conducting CVSA exams on a regular basis as part of state-sanctioned criminal investigations.

Perhaps, the judge was unaware CVSA technology had been used successfully by Defense Intelligence Agency officials to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) as well as detainees at Guantanamo Bay. And maybe he was unaware CVSA technology is used by several states to periodically monitor convicted sex offenders. Sure, it’s possible he’s ignorant about the existence of the technology; however, based upon what I’ve learned about the family court system in Missouri since the courtroom episode described above, I think that’s an extremely remote possibility.

Adding insult to injury, the judge went on to give the father equal custody of the couple’s children in what is known as five-two-five custody arrangement. That means the alleged the alleged child molester was given unfettered access to them two days every week and four days every other week. As far as I know, he’ll continue to have such access until caught by indisputable video evidence or eyewitness testimony and convicted by a court — and a judge — willing to act on the evidence.

The words above will appear as the preface in my upcoming third nonfiction book about another Family Court case I’ve followed for more than five years. It’s a story to which I’ve applied the same journalistic skills that prompted David P. Schippers to describe my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, as representing perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years.” For those not familiar with Schippers, this might help: he served as the U.S. House of Representatives’ chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

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Bob McCarty’s Weekly Recap: Feb. 1-7

In addition to spending a lot of time working on my first screenplay, I adopted a one-post-per-day approach to things during the first week of February 2015 at BobMcCarty.com.

INELIGIBLE: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

INELIGIBLE? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Click image above to read about this topic.

On the same day I published my last weekly recap, I shared a guest piece written by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico who served two terms as a member of the Electoral College, the piece makes some people angry. See if it makes you angry. Read Is Writer ‘Beating Dead Horse’ or Adhering to Constitution?

Markers are mandatory after passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Click image above to read my piece about underground pipeline dangers.

After reading news about a ruptured natural gas pipeline forcing the evacuation of area residents near Bowling Green, Mo., I decided to share anew a story I had written and published Sept. 13, 2010, about one Missouri family’s experience with underground pipelines running through their backyard. Read the piece I published Feb. 1 under the headline, Bowling Green Pipeline Rupture Stirs Backyard Fears.

Barely one year ago, six members of Congress called for Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. to resign after he lied to Congress about the National Security Agency’s data collection programs. On Feb. 1, I shared an update. Read it under the headline, Intel Chief Remains in Post One Year After Call for His Ouster.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

After reading multiple articles about the 80th anniversary of the first occasion on which the polygraph was used to help bring about a conviction in a U.S. court, I felt compelled to share some unique observations from my perspective as author of The Clapper Memo, a book in which I share findings from my exhaustive four-year investigation of credibility assessment technologies. Read my take on the polygraph in a Feb. 3 piece published under the headline, Polygraph Makes Headlines for Age, Not Reliability.

After anchor Brian Williams used his NBC Nightly News platform to offer what his network would later describe as “clarification” about an incident that had allegedly taken place more than a decade earlier, I shared details of a personal experience I had with Williams at the Air Force base where I was stationed in the spring of 1991. Read the humorous details in my Feb. 5 piece, NBC Anchor ‘Clarifies’ Fact He’s Been Lying for 12 Years.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz

Click on image above to read about my personal experience with Brian Williams.

When I asked a former Army Green Beret how many kills he had recorded as an American sniper during three tours of duty in Iraq, he used a lot of words to explain how such numbers can be hard to tally but never gave me an actual number. Find out what he did tell me in my Feb. 5 piece, Sniper: ‘I believed I had the ability to change the playing field’.

Former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart in Iraq.

Click on image above to read about an American sniper whose story turned out different than Chris Kyle.

Though a Department of Defense puff piece focused on the Capitol Hill testimony Thursday of a high-ranking DoD official and the question of whether or not the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay should be closed, I focused on GITMO-focused statements made about the facility and detainees held there by first-term Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a piece published Feb. 7. Read it: Arkansas’ Freshman Senator Shreds Obama Administration False Narrative on Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

The list of other items I shared on my Facebook page this week includes a photo taken by Brian Williams when he became the first man to walk on the moon July 21, 1969, and a piece in which retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely is quoted as calling for NBC’s Williams to be canned. Yes, he’s the same Army general who endorsed my book, The Clapper Memo.

As I say every week, thanks for stopping by!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

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