Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kent Hovind Trials - Final Round Of The First Fight - Installment Three

Jonathan Schwartz continues his coverage of the final day of the Kent Hovind trial in March.

Episode Number Three

Sticking to the facts:  The Kent Hovind Fraud and Conspiracy Trial 

The Judge breaks it down as to what criteria the Jury has to follow to determine innocence or guilt

 Did the Government prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt?

Judge Casey told the jury, verbally and in her written instructions, to decide if the Government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each Defendant, Kent Hovind and John Paul Hansen, is guilty of the crimes charged in the indictment.

You must make your decision only on the basis of the testimony and other evidence presented here during the trial. Nothing outside of this courtroom should or can be considered by you in any way during your deliberations, including any language on any signs outside of this courthouse or any statements by any person outside of this courthouse. Also, nothing outside of this courthouse should be attributed to either Defendant.

So in other words, ignore the hullabaloo. Keep your head down and stick to the facts. Furthermore, don’t go and get sentimental on me.

Your decision must not be influenced in any way by either sympathy or prejudice for or against the Defendants or the Government.

My attention begins to wander slightly, and I started to silently hum lyrics that I had not sang since I did the solo in a school play back in Newton South High School,  from a play Trial by Jury a libretto by W.S Gilbert and Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Now this in no way should confuse the anti-elitist Rudy Davis for one moment, I also drank beer out of 40 ounce bottles and equipped a GTO, the 500th off the assembly line, with heavy duty mufflers, custom shifter, and jacked up tires. He was probably driving around in his first Dodge Dart at the time, maybe with blue shag rug interior. Anyway, I began to hum to myself lest the Marshals shush me.


CHORUS OF JURYMEN (advancing stealthily)
I'm now a respectable chap
And shine with a virtue resplendent
And, therefore, I haven't a scrap
Of sympathy with the defendant!
He shall treat us with awe,
If there isn't a flaw,
Singing so merrily—Trial-la-law!
Trial-la-law!  Trial-la-law!
Singing so merrily—Trial-la-law!

RECIT—USHER (on Bench)

Silence in Court, and all attention lend.
Behold your Judge!  In due submission bend!

Enter Judge on Bench


All hail, great Judge!
To your bright rays
We never grudge
Ecstatic praise.
All hail!

The judge continued.

You must also follow the law as I explain it to you whether you agree with that law or not; and you must follow all of my instructions as a whole. You may not single out, or disregard, any of the Court's instructions on the law.

That brings us to an obvious association.

Which loosely translates from the Latin, The law is hard and bitter, but it’s the law.

Use your common sense

The Judge went on to explicate:
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs.
What I think she was trying to say was “would you buy a used car from this man”?

Judge Casey quickly sums up the case by referring to what the Jury decided last time Hovind was up

The jury’s  verdict in the earlier case included a finding that $430,400 was subject to forfeiture to the United States. Title 18 of the United States Code section 982 provides for the criminal forfeiture of property interests as part of the punishment for the commission of certain criminal offenses, including those for which the Hovinds were convicted…The Court later entered an Order forfeiting the Hovinds’ interest in ten parcels of real property located in Pensacola in partial substitution for the $430,400 forfeiture judgment. The charges in the present case relate to the Government’s efforts to sell nine of those parcels of property in order to satisfy the monetary forfeiture in the previous case. 
Count One of the Indictment charges that both Defendants engaged in a mail fraud conspiracy by devising a scheme to deliver certain documents for the purpose of obtaining money and property that this Court had previously ordered forfeited to the United States.
Count Two charges both Defendants with a substantive count of mail fraud for mailing or causing to be mailed Memoranda of Lis Pendens on four of the parcels of real property that had been previously forfeited to the United States. 
Count Three charges Defendant Hovind with criminal contempt for willfully and knowingly disobeying lawful Orders of the Court, namely, the Order Forfeiting Hovind’s Property dated June 28, 2007, and a subsequent Order that enjoined Creation Science Evangelism from “filing or attempting to file liens, claims or other encumbrances in any manner whatsoever without a prior Order of this Court;” or from “filing or attempting to file, directly or through the services of others, new notices of lien, indebtedness, claims or purported liens, of whatever nature, with the Clerk of Court in and for Escambia County, Florida, on any property forfeited to the United States.

There are other counts, I know, but let’s hold off of them for a moment.

It doesn’t matter what they succeeded in doing, what matters is that they tried to do something illegal

The determination of whether a Defendant is guilty of committing the offense of conspiracy does not depend on the substantive crime actually having been committed.

So, what the government must prove, it that

the Defendant knowingly devised or participated in a  “scheme to defraud” includes any plan or course of action intended to deceive or cheat someone out of money or property using false or fraudulent pretenses, and the speaker either knows it is untrue or makes it with reckless indifference to the truth.

A “conspiracy” is an agreement by two or more persons to commit an unlawful act.

 In other words, it is a kind of partnership for criminal purposes. Every member of the conspiracy becomes the agent or partner of every other member. The Government does not have to prove that all the people named in the indictment were members of the plan, or that those who were members made any kind of formal agreement.

A person may be a conspirator even without knowing all the details of the unlawful plan or the names and identities all of the other alleged conspirators. If the Defendant played only a minor part in the plan but had a general understanding of the unlawful purpose of the plan – and willfully joined in the plan on at least one occasion – that is sufficient for you to find the Defendant guilty.

That is why, regardless of the Dr Dino demonstrations, better and better graphics on his behalf, cute inflatable dinosaurs, more widely viewed blog casts, Kent Hovind will be found guilty by a Jury.

The Judge lays it out the meaning of Contempt Counts 3, 5, and 6

Title 18 of the United States Code Section 401 makes it a federal crime for anyone to disobey or resist a lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of a Court of the United States. The Order must be clear, definite and unambiguous in requiring or prohibiting the action in question.

Ordinarily, any act a person can do may be done by directing another person, or “agent.”  Or it may be done by acting with or under the direction of others. A Defendant “aids and abets” a person if the Defendant intentionally joins with the person to commit a crime. 
A Defendant is criminally responsible for the acts of another person if the Defendant aids and abets the other person. A Defendant is also responsible if the Defendant willfully directs or authorizes the acts of an agent, employee, or other associate.

You don’t have to love the law, but you have to obey it

The word “willfully,” as that term is used in the indictment or in these instructions, means that the act was done voluntarily and purposely, with the intent to do something the law forbids;
" that is, with the bad purpose to disobey or disregard the law, rather than accidental, inadvertent, or negligent. 
While a person must have acted with the intent to do something the law forbids before you can find that the person acted willfully, the person need not be aware of the specific law or rule that his conduct may be violating. However, disagreement with the law or a belief that the law is wrong does not excuse willful conduct, no matter how sincerely that disagreement or belief is held." 
"A Defendant’s belief that a court’s order is still invalid after all direct challenges to the order on appeal have been lawfully rejected is not evidence of good faith, even if the Defendant’s belief is sincerely held."

Closing your eyes and blocking your ears is not a valid defense

"The elements of knowledge may be inferred if a Defendant deliberately closed his eyes to what would otherwise have been obvious to him."
The Government must show beyond a reasonable doubt that a Defendant made a conscious decision to avoid learning facts that otherwise would have given him the actual knowledge.

Don’t be a softie

Judge Casey finishes with a call to let her do the sentencing, and the jury the deciding
You must never consider punishment in any way to decide whether a Defendant is guilty. If you find a Defendant guilty, the punishment is for the Judge alone to decide later. Your only interest is to seek the truth from the evidence in the case.


  1. Jonathan, your images are not showing up.

    1. AHHHHHHH!

      That's my fault not Jonathan's and I don't know how to fix it. Me, blogspot software and pictures are a toxic combination. Pix disappearing is a common problem I have.

      I see the pictures.

      If you don't mind I would appreciate it if you would try looking at it with a different browser. Particularly Chrome.

    2. Peter, I tried Firefox, IE11 and Chrome - no images. Only the file names show up.

    3. I tried IE and CHrome too. Same as John above.

    4. It may have something to do with where the pics you're embedding are coming from. (Where are they at? When I try to open in new page, they come back 410 Gone.) To test that, try saving them elsewhere and linking to that. Not sure if that's directly in this account or a dropbox account or other picture repository. Maybe they're not set up to be viewed by anyone (a privacy setting) Otherwise it's a coding issue, which I'm not an expert on to say the least.

  2. Jonathan writes, in part, regarding contempt of court:

    - "Title 18 of the United States Code Section 401 makes
    - it a federal crime for anyone to disobey or resist a lawful
    - writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of a Court
    - of the United States. The Order must be clear, definite
    - and unambiguous in requiring or prohibiting the action in
    - question."

    Kent seems to have latched on to the false notion that he could not be held in contempt of that 2007 forfeiture order because it did not tell him to do anything that he didn't do and did not fail to do anything that it told him to do (i.e., it didn't say anything about what Kent could or could not do).

    Alas, Kent's representation of what the legal standard is regarding contempt is a "strawman", quite similar to his structuring problem.

    Here's a link to a commentary on contempt and a quote therefrom:

    - "Contempt of court is defined as any act which
    - is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct
    - a court in the administration of justice, or which
    - is calculated to lessen the authority or dignity of
    - a court."

    That sounds like, at a minimum, just what Kent did with reference to that 2007 forfeiture order.

    The jury seemed to agree, beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimously.

  3. Does Jonathan have a court transcript or just a helluva fine ability to take accurate notes?

    1. @ PlutoDog

      You don't have to have a court transcript; just some of the documents filed in the case, such as the jury instructions, indictment, etc.

    2. Of course, he may also be very good at note keeping; him and his team.

    3. I missed the jury instructions docs. Is that in Dee's dropbox?

    4. I don't know if Dee got them posted or not, but I have a file in my computer of the 30 page jury instruction document dated as filed on March 12, 2015.

    5. Yes, I saw them since posting. Thanks, Dee.

  4. "You don’t have to love the law, but you have to obey it"
    Wonder if this fact will ever make it through Kent's thick skull?

    1. John, no it won't. Sadlly, Kent probably suffers from the same arthritic thickening he recognises so readily in human fossil skulls

      Disgustingly to my mind, he defends his civic disobedience by comparing himself to Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, doubtless, was an assiduous tax payer notwithstanding his courageous moral objection to the Nazi government. Kent is a huge cheerleader for capital punishment but I bet that a threat of being strung up with piano wire for tax non-compliance would quickly have him scrambling through his wastepaper basket to look for that Form 1040 he dismissively threw way.

    2. Ain't that the gospel truth! ;)