Monitoring the county for more than drugs; Improprieties belay Fox sentencing
Unathorized interception at the telecom companies and illegal party lines.
Podunk law enforcement and prosecutors share the limelight with Federal investigators during politically timed drug raids. The only investigative skill required to bust local drug dealers and small town gangbangers is the illegal interception of phone conversations. Problem is, the spying has been going on for so many decades with the blessing of partnered East Texas agencies, that the monitoring goes beyond the local meth house. These agencies don’t ask for disclosure or sources, but they do offer a carrot to counties willing to intercept people’s phone calls. No warrants are needed either to eavesdrop on political opponents and the lay population. The criminal activity is justified in their over-inflated drug busts portrayed as something significant.
Drug dealers are caught in Cherokee County because they talk about it on the phone. Local gas stations, hotels, rest areas, places and persons of interest are hard wired for county law enforcements’ listening pleasure. For long term monitoring, they recruit their family and friends to spy on their neighbors. Investigators move in and out of retirement providing dirt for political rivals’ personal vendettas. Cherokee County has been caught several times in the past per court documents, remands and injuctions, but under their jurisdictional policing agreements, the bottom of the totem pole is required to initiate the illegal phone taps. It may be a good way to clear out the rural drug dealers operating in East Texas, but the interception of regular folks’ business calls, personal emails, and private conversations is the real gold mine to these corrupt agencies. And make no mistake about it; FBI agents who get their tips from a Cherokee County lawman knows exactly where it is coming from. They are too lazy to do their own leg work, or follow up on what the counties tape record. They call it “cooperation.”
How do they get away with it?
As blatant Cherokee County corruption is discussed on the Internet news feeds, radio talk shows, and by concerned citizens, this underlying question is bantered about. How can Cherokee County prosecutors repeat in open court the information they obtained from a private phone conversaton? Those in Cherokee County’s crosshairs such as Robert Fox, formerly of Jacksonville, TX, and Randall Kelton of Austin’s Rule of Law radio have experienced it first hand, while outsiders are left to speculate. The answer is as relevant today as it was 30 and 40 years ago because the same Good Ol’ Boy “investigative” network is in place operating at full steam, even in the age of cell phones and Wi-Fi. They get away with violating constitutional privacy laws because when the issue is raised in the appellate and federal courts, homegrown judges kill the complaints before they see the light of day. Tyler’s 12th Court of Appeals labels the concern of illegal wire taps as a “non argument,” by skirting the issue as a federal question. Federal justices in turn summarily dismiss basic constitutional privacy questions in their own jurisdictions. That is the reason why the local postal services are compromised and mail is rifled through by the Sheriff departments, while personal phone calls are played for district attorneys, judges and the law firms they work for. It goes on at every level of Cherokee County’s daily operations and as a function of their job security. If the local media started reporting about hometown corruption going on under our noses, their own personal dirty laundry would be aired by county officials.
In April 2012, Robert Fox of the House of Israel was found guilty of “tampering with a government record.” (Source: Daily Progress, April 27, 2012) A previous mistrial was declared in June 2011 (Source: Daily Progress, June 2, 2011) and earlier this spring Cherokee County prosecutors moved quietly forward for a retrial after answering Fox’s federal complaints. Fox’s sentencing has been delayed while administrative judges in the region hear his Motions to overturn this year’s legal debacle. Four months have passed since a Cherokee County jury of kissin’ cousins decided a letter Fox mailed to the City of Jacksonville Risk Management was a State felony offense, for threatening to sue them all in court for the multiple illegal raids on his property. Not to mention keeping him in the Rusk, TX jail for 146 days without bail on meritless charges, eight of which were eventually dismissed and one resulting in a Not Guilty verdict. (Source: Daily Progress, July 31, 2009) District Attorney Elmer Beckworth has decided that he alone has jurisdiction over what documents are presented and their content in Cherokee County. (Source: Tyler Paper, April 28, 2012) Especially when Beckworth, the City of Jacksonville, and Sheriff Department were forced to answer Robert Fox’s claims in federal court. (Source: Fox vs. City of Jacksonville, et al Case no. 2:2010cv00158) In any other county this official retaliation would be grounds for immediate disbarment.
The impetus of Robert Fox’s latest legal quandary is the fact that presiding 2nd Judicial District Judge Dwight Phifer officiated a wedding held for a ‘no show’ witness who Cherokee County refused to subpoena. The same witness was made available when a traveling judge from Longview held court in the 2nd Judicial District. Regional administrative judges will be deciding if a fixed jury, lying prosecutor, and district judge who refuses to recuse himself is grounds for remand. Fox’s next scheduled hearing on the matter is on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at the Rusk, TX courthouse. The timing of Fox’s Conflict of Interest motions (and legal diatribes) have been repeatedly postponed while his case remains in unprecedented limbo. Local media has been invited to cover the circus, however it is doubtful they would report a decision to throw out a case of official repression they have been cheerleading.
When Cherokee County institutions fail and go under (such as Lon Morris College’s recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy), the reality of the situation is buried by the local media and replaced with rose colored stories of how wonderful their little community is. When drug informants kill their spouses and DPS troopers under the district attorney fund; when teachers are caught with child porn and black people profiled and beaten; when attorneys get DWIs and veteran employees are caught embezzling; when commissioners bulldoze their private property and police rape and kill- well, those news stories don’t seem to make it to the Letters to the Editor section. Blatant criminal activity of their officials is justified by piling on the shit smear campaigns; it makes the blatant violation of the US Constitution more palatable.
Translation: “We violate the law in order to do what is best for our little communities, our families, and ourselves.”
Cherokee County’s willingness to illegally intercept private communications keeps it on the map and an asset to corrupt neighboring law enforcement vying for the trickle of federal drug enforcement monies. These areas have a Zero Tolerance for privacy and even less for the rule of law.