FALSE PROSECUTION, RUINED LIVES & TAXPAYER MONEY
By Edward Snook Investigative Journalist
May 27, 2008
[Edward Snook's Note - Josephine County, Oregon isn’t the only place where corrupt prosecutors and bad police officers falsely charge the innocent and lie to accomplish their goal. This is happening in most every jurisdiction in this nation. Josephine County just happens to be one place where the US~Observer has completely exposed this corruption by making it public, thereby offering others, in all localities, the one and only blueprint for stopping this cancer – Public Exposure. False prosecutions cost taxpayers billions of dollars not to mention ruined lives of innocent people.]
Josephine County, OR – A small town district attorney bloated with pride and arrogance has been exposed and humiliated for incompetence - the jury that his office helped select voted in favor of the defendants. The following case should never have been brought to trial. It’s an indictment of the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.
Shortly after 5:00 p.m. on Friday May 5, 2008, the life altering, 1 ½-year-long attempted false prosecution of Stanley Strange, Glen Seybold and Louis Pombo ended when a Josephine County, Oregon jury deliberated for a reported 13 minutes and returned Not Guilty verdicts on all false charges filed against the three by Josephine County District Attorney Stephen Campbell back in October of 2006. All three defendants were falsely charged with Reckless Driving and Strange was also falsely charged with Assault in the Fourth Degree.
As if the false charges weren’t enough, District Attorney Stephen Campbell forced these innocent defendants through three full days of costly trial, cost the jurors three days from their lives and the taxpayers a substantial and unwarranted amount of tax-dollars.
This nightmare for Strange and his fellow motorcycle riders began back on August 27, 2006 when a car driven by Eric Harris Hill attempted to run the three off Hwy 199, just north of O’Brien, Oregon. Hill was driving his 1984 yellow Mercedes accompanied by fellow cohort Alexander Golden and Hill’s girlfriend Samantha Pettigrew. The three were supposedly heading for the northern CA coast for a camping trip, but information received at the US~Observer would suggest something much, much different.
Upon reaching the town of O’Brien and after nearly being run off the road, Strange and Seybold pulled their bikes off to the side of 199, while Hill stopped his vehicle directly in the middle of the southbound lane of traffic. As Hill was backing up traffic, Strange went to the drivers window of Hill’s vehicle and started shaking his finger at Hill through the open window, as he yelled, “What in the hell did you think you were doing? Why were you riding my ass, etc.” Hill quickly hit his electric window button trapping Strange’s arm. According to eye witnesses, “Hill then took off at a fast rate of speed, dragging Strange down the Hwy about 20 ft.” Strange was able to get his arm loose, but only after it was badly injured, raw and bleeding.
Strange and Seybold immediately went to McGrew’s Restaurant for help. Upon entering the establishment Strange asked that someone call 911, which they did, and when asked what had happened Strange informed those present that the kids in the car had been trying to run them off the road for the past few miles.
Restaurant patron Darlene Miller immediately took Strange into another room and began cleaning and bandaging his injured arm. Ms. Miller testified at trial that Strange only drank ice water and Seybold and Pombo drank soda pop during their wait. Strange, Seybold and Pombo waited 1 ½ to 2 hours for the police to arrive and when none showed up Stan left his phone number and the three rode to Strange’s home. Finally, at 6:00 p.m. Oregon State Police Officer Joshua Quick arrived at the Strange home to question the three.
Upon arriving home, Strange and his fellow bikers opened a beer while Stan took a pain pill to relieve his throbbing arm. When Quick arrived he inquired about what had happened. Strange told the officer the entire story and according to OSP officer Quick he started taking notes. Most officers make note of all important issues when they take notes from a witness, however when Quick had to produce his notes during the trial much of his manufactured court testimony wasn’t contained in the four short paragraphs he had written during his questioning on August 27, 2006. I should note that from Quick’s extensive, manufactured evidence from the witness stand this reporter expected to see two or three pages of notes. Most of the testimony intended to damage the “hated bikers” didn’t exist in the officer’s short notes even though he had explained to the jury how he wrote the notes as they talked and then how he would go over the notes with the bikers to make sure they were correct. The bikers adamantly denied making numerous statements (statements well-intended to convict them) that Quick attributed to them and nothing appeared in his notes regarding the damning statements that he was forced to produce during his rebuttal testimony given the last afternoon of the trial. There is no question that much of Quick’s testimony was false and created for the sole purpose of ensuring a guilty verdict – the rebuttal testimony, very likely created during the last day of trial as Quick and Tran spent their lunch time in serious conversation, prior to Quick’s rebuttal testimony. Better luck next time officer – read on people!
Southern Oregon University (SOU) students Hill, Pettigrew and Golden were stopped in CA by California Hwy Patrol Sgt Ryan Stonebreaker after they had traveled well into CA. The three immediately gave Stonebreaker a well rehearsed story. They told how hard they tried to call 911, how they had looked for a place to get assistance, how Hill had been assaulted by Strange and how devastated they were. Stonebreaker bought their false testimony. Hill had a scratch near his right eye and a small bruise on his arm that had already turned black. During trial Hill wanted the jury to believe that Strange had reached through the window, striking him in the right side of the face and that Strange had tried to break his arm. All eye witnesses, including Strange and Seybold completely refuted Hill’s lies. Attorneys’ Foster Glass and Gary Berlant pointed out to the jury that bruises don’t turn black that fast, that the scenario presented by Hill and company never happened and especially the fact that Hill had multiple opportunities to stop in populated areas to get help and contact police, but chose to continue on even though they were worried the bikers would follow them. Glass was able to get Hill to testify with certainty that when he saw Stonebreaker pass him (40-plus miles inside California) he immediately pulled to the side of the road, and that he never heard any sirens. Stonebreaker told Glass just the opposite. He stated that he not only turned his flashing lights on but that he turned on his siren as well. Stonebreaker told the jury that he didn’t do any in-depth investigation, that he was only assisting a “sister agency” in getting reports from the occupants of the Mercedes. Actually Stonebreaker’s testimony that defense attorneys solicited helped to destroy the students fabricated story – So, why did Josephine County District Attorney Stephen Campbell, represented in court by an extremely disgusting and twisted assistant named Nick Tran, pay for officer Stonebreaker ( now stationed in Sacramento CA) to come clear to Oregon? Ask yourself this question in light of Campbell’s attempts to get more tax dollars from the public, due to the “allegedly strapped financial position” in which he currently finds his office. I would suggest this scurrilous DA shouldn’t get any more funding from the public in light of the numerous and expensive false prosecutions he pursues, (paid for with tax-payers’ dollars).
Why Did Quick Manufacture Testimony?
DA Stephen Campbell and his office staff, well known for initiating false criminal charges against citizens who are often the victims of the crime, completely ignored eye witness testimony. In late 2006 and after this investigative journalist had obtained affidavits from three separate eye witnesses, I delivered the affidavits, personally to Stephen Campbell at his office. Campbell thumbed his nose at the affidavits as he stated, “Ed, these issues usually need to be decided by a jury.” I knew as I left this corrupt individual’s office that no one in this county is safe as long as he remained in office, with the power to indict anyone of his choosing, with absolutely no investigation whatsoever.
I immediately wrote articles exposing Campbell and even helped promote numerous protests in front of the Josephine County Courthouse, where up to 80 people marched and carried signs with Campbell’s picture and statements claiming that he falsely prosecutes the innocent. At this juncture (six months after the bikers were charged) OSP officer Joshua Quick appeared at the District Attorneys Office and all of a sudden a second police report magically appeared. This second report appeared to be the words of Quick; however, at trial it was shown that the words were actually written by Assistant District Attorney Nick Tran. The second report fit right into the prosecution’s case against the bikers and had they not been exposed in open court as fabrications, the bikers would have likely been convicted. All major points contained in the second report were completely different than the conclusions contained in Quick’s first one. All of a sudden “Strange admits to stopping Hill’s vehicle in the lane of travel at O’Brien.” The bikers are (were) now “visibly intoxicated” during the initial interview and “the bikers wanted to project a typical tough attitude through their attitudes and demeanor.” Quick and Tran continue their manipulation of the truth; “Hill and his passengers would not have been a match for Strange, Seybold & Pombo.” Not enough for a conviction? Quick and Tran further state, “In Quick’s estimation, Hill and his passengers were terrified and panic-stricken.” Wow!
What about this out and out conspiracy?
The bikers were riding on 7-8 hundred pound motorcycles – Hill was driving an approx. 4,000 pound vehicle. And most importantly Quick never interviewed Hill and his passengers but Stonebreaker did, so how would Quick know anything first hand about the students – he wouldn’t. Further, even with the eye witness affidavits in hand, neither Quick nor anyone from the District Attorney’s office ever attempted to locate and speak with one of the three separate eye-witnesses. In fact, officer Quick, in the last 1½ years has failed to do any investigation whatsoever – he obviously thought, like Tran did, that the unbelievable, manufactured fairy tale case would convict the “dangerous bikers.”
Who Are The Innocent Defendants?
Stanley Strange is a 56-year-old finish carpenter, now on full social security disability from severe injuries suffered in accidents; Louis Pombo is a 64-year-old retired stone mason and Glen Seybold is celebrating his 50th birthday this year as he works as a welder, metal fabricator at a successful Illinois Valley gate business. All three take part in toy-runs for underprivileged children; they assist the elderly in their community on a regular basis.
Strange paid his original attorney Matthew Galli a $1,500.00 retainer fee. According to Strange, “Galli originally told me I had a good case and then he started writing meaningless letters until the retainer was depleted and we weren’t even to court yet. Next, he started telling me that I needed to accept a plea bargain the DA had offered. He said there were problems with my case now and I should accept the deal. I fired Galli because he was doing nothing to represent my interests – he was only doing his best to turn me into a ready cash supply and a guilty person when I was totally innocent.
The Observer got me in touch with Foster Glass from Bend, Oregon and the Observer continued working on my case, telling me that I needed to expose the facts and go to court. Glass became my attorney and the Observer did exactly what they promised – they exposed all of the facts to the public. Thank God I listened or I would be just another victim of a corrupt legal system.” The US~Observer highly compliments (a rare occurrence) Mr. Glass regarding his tactful and excellent defense of Stan Strange. Glass and Berlant both ripped right through the false, malicious and manufactured case against Strange, Seybold and Pombo.
Grants Pass, Oregon attorney Gary Berlant was appointed to represent Glen Seybold. According to Seybold, “Berlant has been trying to do a good job and I believe in him.” The Observer watched Berlant very closely both before and at trial due to the fact that Grants Pass attorneys rarely give their clients an adequate defense and most of the time the defendant loses when represented by a Grants Pass attorney, especially when represented by a “public defender” (court appointed attorney). Attorney Gary Berlant was prepared when be began this trial and he did an exceptional job representing the best interests of his client. Berlant has shown himself to be both intelligent and resourceful and Grants Pass could definitely use more attorneys of Berlant’s caliber.
Louis Pombo originally hired Grants Pass attorney Daniel Simcoe, paying him a reported $1,500.00. Pombo was then forced to go into this trial and represent himself. Pombo did a superb job being honest at trial – so honest, that the facts presented to the jury didn’t constitute any crime. Judge Lindi Baker dismissed the charge against Pombo before his case reached the jury. Assistant DA Nick Tran had strongly objected to the motion to dismiss with twisted and groundless comments – Tran lost!
The US~Observer congratulates Stanley Strange, Glen Seybold and Louis Pombo. We also congratulate and hold high regards and respect for the six jurors in this case who were able to quickly sort through the deceptions and lies presented to them by Nick Tran who represented Josephine County District Attorney Stephen Campbell’s personal grudges, prejudices and special interests. These jurors should hold their heads very high.
The US~Observer also commends Josephine County Presiding Judge Lindi Baker. Judge Baker, as we have written in past cases, was a mirror image of justice, patience and integrity. According to one of the attorneys in this case, “Judge Baker is in a league of her own and one of the finest judges I have appeared before – and I have been in front of countless judges.” The Observer couldn’t agree more…
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[Edward Snook's Note: I sincerely hope that one of these days all the citizens of Josephine County, Oregon will realize that when DA Stephen Campbell tells them he needs more money that it is simply because he has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on false and malicious prosecutions just like this one. We can safely assume that it cost taxpayers between $75,000.00 and $100,000.00 of combined effort to prosecute and lose this vindictive case. Important to remember – These innocent men were all offered plea bargains. If they had taken the “bargain” the public would never have been apprised as to just how bad and dangerous District Attorney Stephen Campbell, OSP Joshua Quick and ADA Nick Tran really are… Our readership should be aware that even though Nick Tran twisted the truth and lied to the jury in open court, he was only acting as Stephen Campbell’s sycophant and therefore the person mainly responsible for this travesty of justice is none other than Josephine County District Attorney Stephen Campbell.
Campbell has neither the temperament nor moral qualities to run a district attorney’s office. The district attorney’s office has been hijacked by a self serving few who care little for liberty and justice for all. County residents need to understand this and take appropriate action to protect themselves from this renegade DA.]