Judicial, Legal And Prosecutorial Misconduct and Ethics and Civil Rights Violations experienced by Edmond J. Brown in Rhode Island courts.
Also see page on Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel
This 7-30-99 complaint stems from Indictment K1/88-0395A case State v. Edmond J. Brown. Mr. Brown asserts the following wrongdoing:
Mr. Brown was accused nine years after alleged assaults took place which:
- were alleged to have begun four and one half months before Mr. Brown ever met the victim or any member of her family and
- alleged to have begun six and one half months before Mr. Brown married the complainant's mother and moved into her house.
Mr. Brown was tried and convicted on eight counts of first degree sexual assault in violation of R.I.G.L.§ 11-37-2 and § 11-37-3 [reenactment 1981]. The RI Supreme Court overturned his first conviction. He was retried on 1-7-91 and convicted on all eight counts.
At the second trial, Judge Hurst upheld several counts of the indictment despite the fact that the complainant was absolutely sure this assault took place on 4-13-79, at 69 Marine Ave in Warwick, Rhode Island. The deed to said property proves that the property was not even owned by the family at that time. The records also reveal she did not even know Mr. Brown when these actions allegedly occurred.
An extensive post conviction application consisting of 65 claims and 93 issues was filed on behalf of Mr. Brown by Attorney Donna Uhlmann on 6-23-97. Depositions of the complainant's physician, Dr. San Antonio, were planned along with a review of the Medical Records. Attorney Uhlmann withdrew from the case for personal reasons and Attorney Christopher Gontarz was appointed. At first Atty. Gontarz started to finish what Attorney Uhlmann started. Then, without any notice to Mr. Brown, Atty. Gontarz filed what was tantamount to a brief for the prosecution recommending dismissal of the case. Brown alleges Atty. Gontarz sold him out and violated the rules of professional conduct [specifically Rule 1.4] by:
- not informing Mr. Brown of his intent to dismiss his case with prejudice and/or
- provide Mr. Brown with the requested medical records. The rule says,
" a lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information".
The request made more than a year ago has never been complied with. When Mr. Brown read this brief benefiting the prosecution and written by Atty. Gontarz, Mr. Brown told Atty. Gontarz to withdraw the brief. Atty. Gontarz did not. Rule 1.2. states,
" a lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision concerning the objectives of representation…"
Obviously Mr. Brown ‘s intent and objective was to prove his innocence and dismiss the numerous charges Mr. Brown was illegally and unlawfully convicted of. Atty. Gontarz did not bother to speak to Mr. Brown to plan out the case, nor did Atty. Gontarz realize the Statute of Limitations had expired on six out of eight counts. [See State v. Smith, Unpublished Order of October 12, 1990, 90-261-C.A.] For a trained legal mind and those who know the "criminal" justice system, it’s CRYSTAL CLEAR that Atty. Gontarz had no concern for his clients interest. Atty. Gontarz was mainly concerned with his "Brother" in-law (i.e. the other lawyer). Atty. Gontarz’s brief defends the other lawyer and appears to make Atty. Gontarz out to be a liar thereby selling out Mr. Brown. See U.S. v. Hansel, 70 Fed 6,8 (2nd Cir. 1995) which states:
"The conduct of Hansel’s Attorney fell below any objective standard of reasonableness…Hansel’s counsel’s failure to object to the time-barred counts is unaccountable in the circumstances, and cannot be considered sound trial strategy"
Mr. Brown asserts that when Attorney Gontarz was selling him out to protect his "Brother" in-law (i.e. the other lawyer), Judge Patricia Hurst assisted in this prostitution of justice. Judge Patricia Hurst refused to remove the dismissal request by Atty. Gontarz from the record. Judge Hurst refused despite Mr. Brown’s written motions to remove the brief from the record and to remove Atty. Gontarz as his attorney.
Mr. Brown was also forced to argue his case Pro se [for himself] in violation of R.I.G. L §10-9.1-5. Judge Hurst and Atty. Gontarz were fully cognizant of the above violations of basic civil and Constitutional rights. Hurst denied this 76-year old man’s petition in total and blatantly refused to comply with the law above and State v. Jacques, 669 A2d 1125 (R.I. 1995) which outlines the procedure for hearing a post conviction application. Will the RI Supreme Court right this wrong?
Note: the Commission On Judicial Tenure and Discipline received a complaint from Mr. Brown against Judge Hurst citing violations of Canons 1, 2A, 3B2, 3B6 and 3B9. The Commission returned a finding saying, "We see no wrongdoing."
After the Judicial Commission's October 21, 1996 letter and Mr. Brown’s response, the following letter was sent to each and every member of the commission at their business offices and to 24 Weybosset Street Room 307. We urge the public to call these "Public servants", and inquire as to why they refuse to serve the public as required by law. The law requires them to be accountable to the public. See other complaints against the Commission. The letter to them reads:
I am writing each and every member of the commission separately to ensure you are all fully cognizant of the fact Judge Hurst with the assistance of Attorney Christopher Gontarz, has clearly violated or failed to uphold the law equally and consistently with U.S. Const. Article VI.
As I assume each of you "must adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct, respect the public trust and the rights of all persons, be open, accountable and responsive,"( RI Const. Art. 111 § 7.) you will respond to this third and final inquiry as to your finding of facts and conclusions of law in claiming no wrong done.
Simply stated, as you know from your alleged "careful review of the evidence", the jury instructions were fatally flawed because at the time these alleged crimes occurred indispensable elements of the crime were omitted. See State v. Griffith 660 A. 2d 704 (RI 1995) and Donna Ulhman raised this issue in my original post conviction application.
Moreover, as you can see from the attached copy of the R .I.G. L § 12-12-17, and the indictment, at law only alleged crimes committed between March 9, 1988, and April 26, 1988 can be even put before the jury and legal convictions rendered. Hence in reality I have been deprived of my liberty contrary to the Constitution.
I believe this board has a duty to the people of this State to discipline Judges who deliberately defy the law, or refuse to "adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct, respect the public trust and the rights of all persons, be open, accountable and responsive, avoid the appearance of impropriety." Judge Hurst also did not issue a finding of facts and conclusions of law as mandated by R.C. P. 52(a). The public obviously will never trust a judiciary Commission that will not even give a finding of facts or conclusions of law when they make decisions. Sincerely, Edmond Brown.
It is important to note that the public servants reviewing the complaint against Judge Hurst found "no wrong doing" despite the Attorney General's office stating, "...Mr. Brown has a statutory right to specific findings of facts by the court and express statements of its conclusions of law relating to each issue presented, § 10-9.1-7." [quoted from Annie Goldberg's response to a Writ of Mandamus to order Judge Hurst to comply with RIGL 10-9.1-7.] This law demands, "The court shall make specific findings of facts, and state expressly its conclusions of law, relating to each issue presented." Judge Hurst refused to address the issues denying Mr. Brown his constitutional rights. The court appointed attorney Christopher Gontarz also acted in collusion with Judge Hurst.
It is an irrefutable fact that aside from these original charges against Mr. Brown being false, they are "time barred" from prosecution. Judge Hurst and Atty. Gontarz were both fully cognizant of the facts and the law. The usual court techniques of avoidance, distortion or denying the true facts to protect the system and the status quo were used. Atty. Gontarz was grossly ineffective and incompetent and Judge Hurst refused to address the statute of limitations issue.
The law is absolutely clear as to what a judge must do to not only ensure justice is done, but to ensure the reviewing courts have correct facts to adequately apply the law. Mr. Brown also requested findings of fact and conclusions of law from each member of the Judicial Commission. None responded. We are awaiting to see what the attorney's Disciplinary Council does with Mr. Brown's complaint against Atty. Gontarz.
Note: The Rhode Island Supreme Court denied Mr. Brown's Writ of Mandamus even though the law is clear and the issue is stare decisis [already decided] in State v. Jacques 669 A. 2d 1125 (RI 1995). Where is the equal protection of law in Rhode Island? Mr. Brown remains illegally and unconstitutionally confined.
Note regarding ineffective assistance of counsel
Hopefully the Edmond Brown case will help to define what constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. In that case Edmond Brown’s counsel made a major error. He did not filing a pre-trial motion to dismiss the time-barred counts. Simply put, the statue of limitations had expired and the jury was given erroneous jury instructions. Counsel Christopher Gontarz refused to argue the issues and moved to dismiss his own client’s case over Mr. Brown’s objection. This conduct is no less egregious than the Heath case which was overturned, but will the Supreme Court condone this conduct or not call it ineffective assistance of counsel? Will the Rhode Island Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel consider this attorney misconduct? The Disciplinary Counsel's conduct will be updated on the Brown complaint probably in early May of 2000. Their record so far is pathetic.
Mr. Brown requests assistance from anyone that can help him obtain the equal protection of the law all of us are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.