Americans And Mass Wrongful Convictions – Prosecutors Addicted To Prosecutorial Misconduct


Growing Number Of Inmates Found Innocent In US Prisons

Published on Feb 11, 2015

An increasing number of prisoners are being set free after they were found to have been wrongly convicted, according to a new report from the University of Michigan that is raising eyebrows. Breaking down the 125 exonerations in 2014, the study’s authors found that the defendants in 47 cases had originally pleaded guilty despite being innocent, and in 58 instances, no crime had actually been committed. RT’s Manuel Rapalo explores.

America’s Guilt Mill – Thousands of Americans, many of them poor, are wrongfully convicted each year for crimes that don’t make headlines. While innocence advocates focus on lifers, those falsely accused of lesser crimes are the overlooked casualties of our overburdened courts.


Study Estimates Alarming Wrongful Conviction Rate On Death Row – Dr. Gross estimated that 4.1 percent of convictions resulting in a death sentence are wrongful convictions. This is an alarming number, especially when understood in context. Specifically, if death row convictions are that wrong so frequently, it is very likely that wrongful convictions occur even more often in cases with less serious consequences.


National Registry of Exonerations:  2014 was Record-breaking with 125 Exonerations in U.S. – For the first time, more than 100 exonerations were recorded in the United States in one year. According to The National Registry of Exonerations Report for 2014, 125 exonerations of innocent criminal defendants mark an increase of 34 over the prior record of 91 in 2012 and 91 again in 2013. The report notes the work of Conviction Integrity Units in the increase.

The 24-page report, released on January 27, 2015, is available (here).

An information graphic illustrating patterns and trends can be viewed (here).



America We’ve Got A Problem! 

Prosecutors, Judges And Misconduct

Data Report: More Than 2,000 False Convictions In Past 23 Years They Allot Over 10,000 Years! 

Innocent Death Row Inmate Of 17 Years Now Performing On Center Stage

Montana, are you really going to try to justify and get away with the fact that your incarceration rate is higher than any other state around you and with only a population of 1 million?  The Montana Department of Corrections and Montana Department of Justice are trying to say that violent crime is on the increase, that crime itself is on the increase….yet….


Does perjury and misconduct by officials count as part of that crime increase, Montana? 

Montana Parole Board Carried Out Threat, Official Committed Felony

The Incarcerated Montana Fireman

The Incarcerated Montana Fireman

Many have asked what has happened with the Incarcerated Montana Fireman, Allen Whetstone.  With so many stories happening right now with Barry Beach being returned back to prison, the 10 year old boy that was arrested and given a $500,000 bond and many other stories flooding in, we have not had the chance to bring you up to date.  Yes, he has been brought up in the newspaper.  But, only in the way that they wanted it to be presented.  So, let’s break it down correctly.

Here is a petition that was requesting his parole as per the court judgement given by Judge Loren Tucker.   Allen Whetstone complied with everything within that court order.  This petition is still active.  Petition For Allen Whetstone

Let us first give you the version of the media, and I don’t blame the media.  They were only reporting what they heard and were being told.  The parole hearing was like a court hearing without any defense present and no one was allowed any form of rebuttal.   They are the court of law now, a parole board and county attorneys placing themselves higher than the Montana Judges.  This is why they had the legislature pass a law back in 1997 that they could have the power to do this and answer to no one.   They have disrespect for the judges of Montana, they have been caught in lies, issuing threats and terrorizing citizens like any other terrorist.

According to the Independent Record:

DEER LODGE — Allen Whetstone, in prison for the sexual assault of a client under his care at the Montana Developmental Center, was denied parole during a hearing Thursday.

During what was at times an emotionally charged proceeding, Whetstone denied ever touching the woman, who was in her 20s at the time of the assault but has the mental capacity of a 6- to 9-year-old. He said he only pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault because he felt “backed into a corner” and was facing up to 100 years in prison. In exchange for his guilty plea, four counts involving two other developmentally disabled women at MDC were dropped.

“I can’t handle the pressure. I have learned to just give people what they want to hear because I feel it’s easier to do,” Whetstone said, trying to explain why he pleaded guilty and admitted to a friend and a co-worker that he sexually assaulted the client.

Whetstone twisted his clasped hands as he sat in a chair before the Montana Board of Parole and Pardons in a small conference room filled with his family members, supporters and those who wanted him to remain behind bars. He added that he was molested as a child by a hired hand at their ranch, which is why he says now he would never do that to anyone else.

“I kept it a secret. I didn’t want people to think I had done something to cause that to happen,” Whetstone said. “Being the victim of sexual molestation as a child, I know the impact of how it makes a person feel.”

Cody Danielson listened to Whetstone deny assaulting the woman with a look of disbelief on his face. Danielson is a criminal investigator for the Montana Department of Justice, and he painstakingly looked into the 2010 allegations. Earlier in the parole board hearing Danielson said they had “incontrovertible evidence” that Whetstone committed not just the one sexual assault but also at least two others, and he asked the board to keep Whetstone locked up as a public-safety measure.

Whetstone was employed at MDC on May 24, 2010, when he took the victim into an empty room and sexually assaulted her. He then gave her Skittles candy and warned her not to tell anyone. An employee saw her with the candy, and asked where she got it. The MDC client, identified in court papers as T.R., said Whetstone had given it to her in exchange for sex.

The state of Montana, which operates MDC, has paid a $350,000 settlement to the victim’s family and spent another $21,000 on an outside attorney.

“The victim’s statements about the sexual assault were clear, consistent and matched the evidence of the crime,” Danielson said. “Our investigation clearly showed that Mr. Whetstone had sexually assaulted one other victim on at least two occasions. Evidence also clearly showed Mr. Whetstone had been involved in the physical assault, attempted sexual assault and ‘grooming’ of another victim at MDC.”

He added that the DNA from semen found in the room where the assault occurred had a “one in 10 quintillion, 130 quadrillion — that is the number 1-0-1-3-0 with 15 zero’s after it” that the semen wasn’t Whetstone’s.

“ … I believe it is necessary to not forget who Mr. Whetstone sexually assaulted,” Danielson said. “As a law enforcement officer, I cannot conceive of a more vulnerable population than the mentally disabled.

“In my opinion, if you are willing to take advantage of this portion of society, you are a rare breed of predator … If rehabilitation is an option — and that’s completely up to Mr. Whetstone — he will have to take personal responsibility for the heinous crimes he has committed.”

Along with Danielson, Jefferson County Attorney Matt Johnson, and Sheriff Craig Doolittle urged the board to keep Whetstone locked up for the publics’ safety.

Allen WhetstonePhoto Purchased – Allen Whetstone

Let me interrupt here and explain some things and then we will continue with the rest of the article.  (Little side note, everyone has commented on the smirk on the ladies face in the background of this photo.  Yes, she works for the parole board.  This is how they behave in hearings and in hearings in front of the legislators.)

Cody Danielson listened to Whetstone deny assaulting the woman with a look of disbelief on his face. Danielson is a criminal investigator for the Montana Department of Justice, and he painstakingly looked into the 2010 allegations. Earlier in the parole board hearing Danielson said they had “incontrovertible evidence” that Whetstone committed not just the one sexual assault but also at least two others, and he asked the board to keep Whetstone locked up as a public-safety measure.”

The tons of documentation that we have shows that Cody Danielson did not “painstakingly” look into the 2010 allegations. It was all over the media how his department botched up the investigation and documentation was sued for by Disability Rights.  He outright lied stating they had “incontrovertible evidence” concerning any of these allegations.  They botched up the investigation, they tampered with evidence, the room was contaminated before they even arrived there…and according to the medical doctor’s statement, the rape they charged him with did not happen, the 29 year old woman was still a virgin.

Danielson went on the statements of two of her best friends who were also alleged victims in the trumped up charges. One is in there for murdering her sister and she had also went after Allen Whetstones girlfriend, who worked there at the time, by trying to stab her in the neck.  The other alleged victim had an obsession with the other Allen that had charges pressed against him also, that had worked there at the same time.  This other “so called victim” had such an obsession that she went to the bathroom in her pants and rubbed it all on the MDC staffers truck.  She was known to jump on male staff that worked there.  Danielson and the investigation stated that the “girls were parroting each other.”  The ladies did not even know which Allen they were talking about as there were three Allens.  This sounds like a joke or a bad comedy movie, but this is the truth of what happened.  This is your Montana Department of Justice at work.

It was stated from the very beginning that he did not give her any candy. This is another way they have twisted the story to suit their needs.  She had the candy and he did not make her turn it in, TR did not say that Whetstone gave it to her in exchange for sex.  He allowed her to keep what she already had before she saw him.  Staff gives them things all the time, it has been in the newspapers before on other staff members, including female staff.  Now the staff are stricter and parents are upset that their loved ones are not allowed anything like a soda or some candy.  So, it’s pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don’t.   If Danielson really did his job he would have found all this out, besides the fact that the other alleged victims were having sex with others and asking everyone for something.  The clients that live there have sex with one another, one of them being named Allen.

The Montana public defender Kristina Neal stated many times that they did not have one shred of evidence, they only had a confession that another staff worker coerced from Allen, this co-worker stating that they had evidence and a bunch of other nonsense.  Noting that this guy would not even allow his fingerprints to be taken and has bragged of physically abusing clients.  This was told to the public defender and nothing ever happened with that information although there were witnesses that heard the bragging.   So, either Cody Danielson and Matt Johnson are lying or Kristina Neal is lying.   But the evidence stacks against Cody Danielson and Matt Johnson.

Let’s read some more of the article.

Johnson said while they initially charged Whetstone in the other alleged assaults, his office agreed to a plea bargain because testifying would be difficult on the developmentally disabled women. He added that one of the charges involved exposing one of the women to a sexually transmitted disease.

Johnson also noted that they sought a 10-year prison term, but the sentence handed down in October 2011 was five years in prison and five suspended, meaning Whetstone has only served one year and four months. He’s completed one sex offender program, but Johnson said he believes Whetstone needs more help.

“He deserves that punishment and the victim demands that punishment,” Johnson said. “What we have to risk is that he may violate other victims and that needs to be considered by the board as a reason why to not let him out. There are other victims; they just have a difficult time speaking for themselves.”

Doolittle said the high-profile case has negatively impacted not just the victim, but also citizens of Boulder. He noted that a bill was introduced in the legislature calling for the closure of MDC, in part because of Whetstone’s actions, and said the former volunteer firefighter and search and rescue team member violated the trust of the community.

“I believe that the community is going to remember this and MDC and the woman he violated would remember this for a long time into the future, and that warrants him spending more time at Montana State Prison,” Doolittle said.

Let me interrupt again at this point.

They did not realize that Allen Whetstone had such a lengthy credible background back in 2010.  They thought they had a regular patsy that they could use and sweep all the other investigations concerning other staff members and victims under the rug.  They had to have a patsy quick, so they could get their millions of dollars of medicaid from federal funding. They have lost this funding almost six times. They had to show that they had their guy.  That next statement from Sheriff Dolittle is ludicrous.  Nothing was said from any of these departments before on Allen’s history until we brought it up.  Now they are trying to use it for their own gain, what a bunch of jokers

Let’s not forget, a dedicated Firefighter, served in the Navy, a member of the VA.  A member of Search and Rescue, CERT certified, Safety Trainer, certified Life Guard.  Passed both exams for Montana State Troopers.  Maintains a CDL LicenseForklift Operators Permit. AFSCME Council 9 Local 917 Vice President 1 year, AFSCME Council 9 Local 971 Trustee 2 years.   Blue ribbon winner in both Handcrafted Furniture and Dancing Competitions. Involved in Rodeos, Singing, and a great father. Worked in the field for 20 years of Caregiving. Excellent work record and history, others have always spoke highly of him.

Sheriff Doolittle, Matt Johnson, if you did your homework, you would have known that Allen Whetstone and his wife were a part in helping with that bill for the closure of MDC.  His wife giving some of the investigation documents to Disability Rights, even testifying before the legislative committee herself to close it down.  Both Allen and his wife offering their services of their testimonies and access to ALL of the internal investigative documents.  You both know that this facility has had problems for well over two or more decades.  You know that you swept things under the rug…You KNOW it!  Allen Whetstone violated the trust of the community?  How about the system violating the trust of the Whetstones, their families, the community and the state of Montana?

Let’s get honest here, it is about a lot of jobs that ride on this institution and that’s okay.  What is not okay is to make a man like this your patsy and for you to continue to lie to justify what you did for the millions of dollars.   And if what Matt Johnson is stating is true, that “these women had a hard time talking for themselves so that is why they did not want to go to trial.”  Well, how in the hell did they get that “the alleged victim was consistent in her statements that matched the evidence of the crime.”  When the hospital doctor stated that there was no crime.  Did the staff at MDC or did DOJ coach the woman into saying what they wanted?  Because they are not making sense by their own admission!  They said the other two kept parroting each other.  Kristina Neal stated at the time that Matt Johnson did not want to go to court and it look like a circus.  Because he had no evidence…none!   He would have looked like an idiot, but because the system is the way that it is Allen was told he would not get a fair trial.

It was prosecutorial misconduct pure and simple and still is.  He used misconduct on calling Andy Larsen, and Chris Quiqley to change their recommendations on the PSI at the last minute.   We still want to know where they got this DNA because our records show that the “alleged victim” was not even in the room, there was no DNA of Allen Whetstone on her if he had even touched her sexually.  Not even a skin cell.  And if he had exposed himself there was not a hair to be found anywhere.   Yet, they found someone else’s DNA….we would like to know whose that is.   Besides that, this was not the plea bargain that was agreed to in court.  We have the court transcripts that shows what the plea bargain was and Matt Johnson has lied about that.  Just as they lied to Mr.Whetstone and his family about having to register as a sex offender, this is not even mandated by the law.  Again, they think they are above the law and above the judges.   I don’t know why Montana has any legislators or judges as the Montana Department of Justice and the Montana Parole Board does not think that either group have the brains to use what God has gifted them with.

Let’s continue and finish the article.

Yet Whetstone’s wife, who sat next to Jefferson County resident Sen. Terry Murphy during the hearing, continued to protest her husband’s innocence. She called his conviction and imprisonment a “miscarriage of justice” and said he has been a “model prisoner” who has a job and home waiting for him in her home state of Florida.

“Claims are in the process of being filed against both the prosecuting attorney and the public defender at this time for prosecutorial misconduct and for not telling the truth,” she wrote in a petition she gave to the parole board. “Allen Whetstone would serve the community better by being a productive tax paying citizen rather than to be a burden on the taxpayers.”

Parole board member John Ward recused himself from the proceedings based on a previous conversation with Jordan that he said was misinterpreted. The two remaining board members, Mike McKee and Sam Lemaich, told Whetstone that while he has taken one of three sex offender treatment programs offered at the prison, at a minimum he needs to participate in a second program to lessen the chance of recidivism.

McKee noted that the second-level sexual offender program takes four to 24 months, depending on the motivation and desire of the inmate, and he recommended Whetstone return before the board after completing it. Lemaich concurred, based upon the severity of the offense and Whetstone’s statements that he wasn’t guilty.

“This was an egregious crime and there are concerns to me at this point over your lack of culpability,” Lemaich said.

Florida is not only his wife’s home state but is Allen Whetstone’s home state also.  Parole Officer Andy Larsen and Public Defender Kristina Neal told Allen to get his permanent residency in Florida while he was there for almost half a year on bond.   If Allen Whetstone was such a monster, predator, groomer as they portrayed him to be, why in the world did they think he was safe enough to travel 2500 miles across country and live there for half a year.  If Allen was as bad as they portrayed, he could have ran, but he did not because it would be wrong and because he naively trusted the system. They knew he was the honorable type man to keep his word and would not break the law.  They never once got a confession from him, not verbally or written.  They got a second hand so called confession from a co-worker that had beaten others himself and bragged about it.  Did the system bargain with this co-worker to get Allen to admit under duress so he would not be charged with something?

Parole board member John Ward did threaten Allen Whetstone’s wife.  There was no misunderstanding.  There were others around that heard, she went back into the Law and Justice room crying, it would be on their video records and she told one of the staff, that works at the Capitol, who then proceeded to go out and confront John Ward.  He admitted that he did wrong.  The threat?  John Ward angrily stated that “if she did not quit testifying before the Law and Justice about the Montana Parole Board and the Montana Department of Corrections that she was only making it harder for her husband when he came before them for his hearing.”  After telling her to “shut up” several times.  He was so angry that he had to stand on the other side of the hall after Fern Osler, the Executive Director of the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole, had put her hand on his shoulder to get his attention to calm down.  Besides people standing around, if there are cameras in the Capitol, it would show this on surveillance.

Yes, they indeed made it hard on Allen Whetstone and his wife at the hearing.  Asking his wife many questions about her own life that had nothing to do with the hearing.  Questioning her about her advocacy work and the parole board.   Matt  Johnson stated that after the initial sentencing hearing that she was ranting afterwards.  Excuse me?  The whole family was upset and crying.  What kind of  person expects families and spouses not to be upset when they see an injustice done and know that’s the last time they are going to see their loved one in the free world for a very long time.   When even the staff at MDC apologize for what just happened in the courtroom.  Only a monster that preys on people to gain a political status or recognition would say what Matt Johnson stated at that parole hearing.  He should be held accountable for his misconduct.  John Ward committed “official misconduct”, that is a felony.  But what is the state of Montana doing about it?   These departments protect each other.  It is sickening.

Montana, stand up and be a voice.  Quit letting these officials keep getting away with these injustices.  You know deep down what we are saying is true, only those in the good ole boy club are protected and those that have money to buy their way out. Yes, there are inmates that need to be in prison and those that need to never be released. But you also have fellow Montanans that need your help!   They put Barry Beach back in prison without letting him have a trial.  They followed through on their threat to Allen Whetstone who was up for parole, who had completed what Judge Tucker ordered and was only wanting to be able to help work on his case.   A parole hearing that is worse than a court hearing.  They are the judge and the jury and you are not allowed to defend yourself at all.  They are now retaliating against Allen Whetstone and putting his life in jeopardy.

McKee noted that the second-level sexual offender program takes four to 24 months, depending on the motivation and desire of the inmate, and he recommended Whetstone return before the board after completing it. Lemaich concurred, based upon the severity of the offense and Whetstone’s statements that he wasn’t guilty.

“This was an egregious crime and there are concerns to me at this point over your lack of culpability,” Lemaich said.

Everyone has told Allen Whetstone not to admit to anything that he is not guilty of.  We were very proud of him, not letting them break him, because they tried every which way they could to break him. The whole hearing was a joke and you could tell it was staged from the beginning.  Everyone that was there on behalf of Whetstone said they could tell it.   Mr. Lemaich, it concerns us of the egregious crimes that are being committed within state departments and the lack of culpability from anyone that works within them.  This seems to be normal business and that is very scary and unacceptable.

Other Related Stories

The Incarcerated MT Fireman-Allen Whetstone

Allen Whetstone – Another Injustice

Allen Whetstone-Montana State Prison Setup

Allen Whetstone The Incarcerated Montana Fireman Threatened

Allen Whetstone More To The Story To Question

Allen Whetstone-MDOC And MBOPP

Montana Fireman Blogspot

Oprah Winfrey Shares Labeled For Life – Sex Offender – Falsely Accused?

Labeled for Life: Missing Memories – Our America with Lisa LingOprah Winfrey Network

Travis spent 16 years in prison for a sexual crime that he denies ever having committed. Now, Lisa Ling visits Jamie who was present the night of the incident to try and shed some light on what really went on that night.

Comments From This TV Show: 

  1. This show made me cry. I don’t know what happened but I have a strong feeling this young boy did not commit this crime. This should be reviewed. Something MUST be done. How can a 16 year old go before the courts and pled guilty w/o a trial. I think that, because of his age a trial should have taken place. There were more people stating he didn’t do it than there were people claiming he did! Look at what his mother has been through no parent deserves to go through this. Shame on Austins courts.
  2. This is sadly more common that we know.The rush to throw “someone” in jail, shoddy, lazy police work and of course often just lies.
  3. A lot of people don’t know a lot of things about sex offenders. There is kids on the list, bums, and many more crazy reasons. All a female gotta do is say he touched me and a female can say so and so touched me 20 yrs ago and the guy can be put in jail. Everyone think as soon as they hear sex offender they think some guy hurt a young child, but not all on the list is on it for this reason. And once your charged with it then your labeled for life. Can’t judge a book by what it’s named.
  4. My mom told me this story even before it got to the Oprah show. Travis has a history of Terret’s (sp?) syndrome, and erratic behavior. My mom is a good friend of Travis’ grandmother, and although some of the details are sketchy, it appears as if Travis got tossed into prison for “accidentally” touching the outer part of a young girl’s shirt. He wasn’t molesting her, as they made it seem to be. These people who got interviewed here are obviously covering up a terrible injustice.
  5. Travis was 17 at the time of the offense. In Texas, for criminal purposes, a person is considered an adult at 17. The transcript of the police “interview” shows Travis’ mom was present at the time of the “interview” but was instructed to stay out of it by the officer doing the questioning. The court appointed lawyer told her the same thing. Pretty horrifying when you think of it. At 17 you can’t vote, buy cigarettes, spray paint, join the military sign, a business contract, etc.
  6. The people interviewed were teenagers who were present at the time of the alleged incident or parents.. The police officer that questioned Travis told Travis they had already talked to all of the parents and the kids that were present that day. The police told Travis they already knew what he did because they had talked to them. However, none of them were contacted by the police and didn’t know what had happened to Travis. They were shocked to learn the fate of Travis.
  7. It is a case of gross injustice. It has been horrible for Diane and her entire family. Travis was accused, lied to, coaxed into confessing, arrested, held in county jail until his court appointed lawyer talked him into a plea by telling Travis if he would take a plea he would get probation and could get out of jail.
  8. I wish there had been more time for Lisa Ling to include all the details on Travis case from the time he was accused to the time he was revoked and sentenced to 20 years. UNREAL
  9. You forgot to mention EXTORTION. Diane was forced to pay thousands of dollars to inmates who threatened to kill Travis if she didn’t pay. She was afraid NOT to pay them.

Diane’s Letters – Our America with Lisa Ling – Oprah Winfrey Network

A Normal Person Again – Our America with Lisa Ling – Oprah Winfrey Network OWN Subscribe

Martin shares how his family has coped with his name on the Sex Offender Registry and what their hopes are now that he’s been removed.

To Watch The Full Shows Go To Oprah Winfrey Network

More and more people are becoming aware that there is a major problem in our prison industry.  There are too many that are indeed innocent.  There are too many being falsely accused.  There are those that are being labeled that should not be labeled and should not be in prison.  Montana wake up – we have it running rampant here in our state. That is the common line that prosecuting attorneys use – He/She pled guilty.  Although only 5% go to trial.  Attorneys have found a neat little way to tie something up.  Threaten not to have a fair trial and then use the plea bargain and it does not matter to them if the person is innocent or guilty.  They don’t have to prove anything as far as someone’s guilt. Sure there are criminals, but this is also a nice way to just slide innocents through too. Makes money and it’s another notch on their belt. 

Montana Public Defender’s Office Does Not Have The Funds To Match The High Level Of Cases From County Attorneys

State Public Defender’s Office says it’s short on resources

Posted on June 21, 2012 by 

The State Public Defender’s Office continues to tell state lawmakers it needs more money. A legislative committee heard a report today outlining how the office is short on resources. The public defenders will have to compete with many other requests for a piece of the state’s projected budget surplus.

Before the State Public Defender’s Office was created, people unable to afford their own defense received help at the County level.

The Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued saying the county-controlled method was inconsistent—that some counties were not providing adequate public defense. So the Legislature created the State Office. It has been operating since 2006.

“But from day one the state has refused to put forward the money that’s necessary to make that commitment meaningful,” said ACLU Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic.

Both the ACLU and American University have released reports saying the state office is  not providing adequate services either. Now, the Public Defender’s Office itself has released a response to those reports that agrees in many ways.

“We are at a point where our ability to perform the mission of providing affective assistance of council becomes more and more in doubt because of lack of resources,” said the Chair of the State Public Defender Commission, Fritz Gillespie.

He says public defenders make far less than their peers in private practice—and they face unreasonable workloads. As an example, he says handling 400 misdemeanor cases a year is considered a national standard for a public defender. He then points to one Montana public defender who within six months had 260 active cases at once.

The ACLU’s Niki Zupanic agrees better management has led to a more efficient office. But she says that doesn’t entirely get to the heart of the matter—the caseloads are still going up and the funding is not keeping pace.

“The state needs to think again about the wisdom of trying to low-ball this office of trying to make this office either decrease services or try to do more with less. It’s not working, and it’s time for the state to match the commitment it’s made in creating this office with the dollars necessary to meet that constitutional obligation,” she said.

To Continue Reading And Listen:

— Clients whose cases were harmed by negligent or substandard representation. One client sat in jail for 30 days before bailing out, without help from his public defender, and then was unable to get a response from her about his court date. When he went to the courthouse to inquire, he was told that neither he nor his attorney showed up for a hearing, and he was arrested.

Another client with a drinking problem said his defender had recommended he start serving a 10-year sentence, but the client, on his own, worked out a treatment plan with the judge and was able to avoid prison.

Jim Taylor, a Missoula attorney who resigned from the Public Defender Commission in January, said the same type of problems chronicled in the ACLU report surfaced three years ago and led to a review of the system by American University.

The AU report also listed those problems, and the current leadership of the system has largely failed to address them, he said in his Jan. 11 resignation letter to Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Read more:

The Missoulian State Bureau spoke with several current and some former employees of the office. None wanted to be identified by name, for fear of jeopardizing their employment. But they described a work environment that has justifiably driven out many of their former co-workers. Here is a sample:

Several employees talked about their “crushing caseloads.” Several said they have or had so many clients, they feel they are constantly on the verge of committing legal malpractice. Many spoke of having no mentoring, no help when they need it, which is a “huge issue,” one lawyer said, because so much of the legal staff are fairly recent law school grads.

Read more:

  • Montana has a very high incarceration rate and County Attorneys plan on that number rising higher.  With the Public Defenders office not having the funds that is needed nor enough help that is needed, no wonder they have to plea bargain so much.  County Attorneys pretty well have everything tied up neatly.  No wonder we’ve seen a County Attorney and Probation Officer laughing and looking at the individual and family after they have sentenced someone. 


Sex offenders on probation: Setting them up to fail

Sex offenders are the modern witches. There are so many things that rankle when it comes to society’s increased crackdown on sex offenders and their subsequent treatment, but one that never fails to get to me is their ridiculously unfair treatment on probation.

True, there are some that need the intense supervision, that should not be permitted to intermingle with society, but those with the highest risk are the fewest in number.

Nuance in treatment, however, doesn’t seem to exist. So the heavy chains of probationary conditions apply to all “sex offenders” across the board: be it the 19 year old who had sex with his 15 year old girlfriend or the sex offender convicted of inappropriate touching as opposed to the serial rapist.

To begin with, when a pre-sentence investigation report is prepared prior to sentencing, the probation officer is free to replace the results of any evaluation with his/her own “judgment”. I often see reports in which they state that the defendant was evaluated as having a very low risk of re-offending, yet, because in the probation officer’s judgment there were multiple victims, the defendant is actually a medium-to-high risk of re-offending. I’ve seen that recommendation even in cases where the defendant was convicted of assaulting one victim and acquitted of the others. So now we have someone with no appropriate training making these judgments and thereby controlling the destiny of a defendant.

When a defendant then starts probation, he is expected to undergo sex offender treatment. It doesn’t matter if he maintains his innocence or if he pled under the Alford doctrine1 [pdf]. If he fails to admit2[pdf], then he has violated his probation.

So, probations now offers an attractive alternative to defendants: take a polygraph. If they pass, they will not have to admit. If they fail, they must admit.

Polygraph testing is an inexact science and the results are unreliable. The results are open to interpretation and subject to the view of the examiner and are generally inadmissible in CT courts (SeeState v. Porter, 241 Conn. 57). So while the polygraph examiner on the State’s payroll might say that the defendant failed the polygraph, an independent examiner might well say he passed. However, the State routinely uses the failed polygraph to institute violation of probation proceedings, notwithstanding an otherwise unblemished record on probation.

There is also a split among prosecutors in their reliance on polygraphs (at least that I have seen). Some leave it up to probation to determine whether a defendant is in compliance while others view defendants passing a polygraph and not having to admit as violating probation (because they didn’t actually admit to their crimes).

It doesn’t end there, however. These polygraphers don’t limit their questions to the crime for which the defendant has been convicted. They start asking more general questions: “Have you ever molested someone else?”, “Have you committed another crime for which you haven’t been caught?” There is no Fifth Amendment protection. These questions have been deemed legitimate and the responses can often lead to a violation of probation. Even if the answers to questions about the crime for which the defendant is on probation are deemed “honest”, if the answers to other questions, about other supposed crimes are “deceitful”, then the defendant is written up for failing to pass the polygraph and a warrant issues.

Defendants then come to us to seek advice. There really is nothing we can tell them. “Yes, I know you maintain your innocence. Yes you did not do this. However, they can force you to admit”.

The only option available is to indirectly advise the client to “tell probation what they want to hear”, which, in my opinion, is an untenable option.

While polygraph results may or may not be admissible in a VOP hearing, they certainly can be used by a judge in determining what sentence to impose after a violation is found.  The outcome is generally not good.

So the sex offender on probation is essentially screwed. Whether it is registration, residency restrictions or the onerous “treatment” conditions.

I wonder what this does for treatment of sex offenders. I’m sure some of them lie and admit, just to get it over with. Is that what we really want? Is admission of the crime such a necessary part of this “treatment” and why are prosecutors, probation officers and judges so hung up on this admission. If the probationer shows a pattern of non-compliance, then I understand issuing a warrant. If, however, this is the only blemish on an otherwise satisfactory record of compliance, then is it really worth it? Don’t we have enough people in prisons already?

1. State v. Faraday, 268 Conn. 174 (2004). 2. State v. Bruce T., 98 Conn. App. 579 (2006).        


Montana has a high rate of sex offenders and a very high rate of revoking probation at 94% due to technical violation.   I had an inmate just ask me how does he do the SOP class where they are wanting to talk about what made him do the crime and that he has to admit why he did the crime and that he did it.  This is not the first time I have had an inmate ask me this.  If they are innocent how do they make something up to appease the system?

Let’s play a little game. I’ll post some well known facts and then I’ll tell you whether they’re true or not.

Q: Is it true that all sex offenders kill their victims?

A: No.

Q: Is it true that all sex offenders are possessed by the devil and can’t even be killed by the Colt?

A: No.

Q: Is it true that the minute you let a sex offender out of jail, he goes and eats another baby?

A: No.

Q: Is it true that sex offenders have the highest (or even high) rate of recidivism?

A: No.

study [PDF] by the state Office of Policy and Management has finally vindicated what I (and others) have been saying for a long time now: sex offenders don’t reoffend at the same rates as other felons and the common perception of their rates of recidivism is incorrect. From the study:

The study tracked 14,398 men for a five-year period following their release or discharge from a Connecticut prison in 2005. In that cohort, 1,395 men had a previous arrest for a sex offense, 846 had a conviction and 746 served a prison sentence, either the one ending in 2005 or an earlier one, for a sex offense.

Looking at the 746 men who had served time for a sex crime, 27, or 3.6 percent, were arrested and charged with a new sex crime; 20, or 2.7 percent, were convicted of a new sex offense; and 13, or 1.7 percent, were returned to prison for a new sex crime. Many among the 746 committed other crimes — many for parole violations or violating the conditions of the sex offender registry — but not sex crimes.

Those are spectacularly low rates (yes, yes, I know, one child is one child too many) that don’t justify the resources and the energy put into incarcerating these offenders and nor do they justify the onerous sentences handed out to all and sundry.

Obviously there are those who have committed grievous offenses and must be punished accordingly, but that’s exactly my point: that, contrary to popular belief, sex offenders aren’t one-size fits all and we must treat them as such. There are those who are low risk, those who are medium risk and those who are high risk. There are those who are misguided teens with angry parents and those who are truly predatory. Our system paints them all with the same scarlet letter and such a homogenous view does nothing to keep us safe or to put our resources where they are most needed.

The Court article linked to above calls for the creation of a tiered registration system. There already exists a Risk Assessment Board. Fund it. I have additional suggestions: pass legislation that makes it clear that an offender does not have to admit to committing the crime during treatment, that they don’t have to confess to other crimes. People are routinely violated (yes, I know, it’s an awful word) for failing to “admit” their crime during treatment even if they steadfastly maintained their innocence throughout the proceedings. Hey, here’s a news flash: innocent people go to jail all the time.

Let’s focus our resources on determining who out of those truly pose a danger and who can be rehabilitated. The less people we ostracize, the safer we are.

And so as this short legislative session continues, the question comes into focus: will our legislature be strong enough to eschew the faulty “tough on crime” for the more appropriate “smart on crime”? Will these events – the racial profiling and the studies – be enough to jar them out of their steady habits and, for once, enact some meaningful reforms?


Montana Fireman Incarcerated – Allen Whetstone

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 Case On A Montana Firefighter Allen Whetstone  – Excerpt Of Letter That Was Sent To The Innocence Project

They arrested him on rape charges with one alleged victim.  Then they added two more charges of rape with two other alleged victims against him. This was the publicized case concerning allegations at MDC.

It was at this time that I asked the public defender at the hearing where they added the trumped-up charges if we should get a private defense attorney or could she handle a case like this? She looked me in the eyes and said in no uncertain terms, “No, you do not need to hire someone else, I can handle this.” (I didn’t know that it was a public defender’s right to tell a defendant not to get an attorney. Why wouldn’t she have said by all means, since the MT public defenders office is well known for being case overloaded?)   I have internal documents that show that there was no evidence. I have the DNA report that shows that the victim was not in the room and there was no evidence of the accusation of the crimes charged against Allen. The victim was taken to the hospital for a rape examination and the doctor proved upon examination that she could not have been raped vaginally or anally, upon his findings she is still 99.9% a virgin.  There was no DNA of Allen of any kind on her.  I have the medical records and internal documents of how evidence was tampered with, how millions of dollars was riding on Allen being convicted.   They got a false confession from Allen as they threatened him that he would not get a fair trial in that county, (which he would not). They never offered us another venue for trial. We were told that he would be facing all the charges and would be looking at 40 years to life. There was no evidence of any kind on any crimes being committed but the hearsay of these ladies who are all friends. Even the investigative reports show the ladies were “parroting” each other and asking “which Allen?” There was another Allen with a very similar name under investigation also.  I have internal documents that show all of this and they have threatened me if I were to use them.  I made copies of everything after helping the public defender, by going through all the documentation and highlighting all the discrepancies with the help of Allen and his brother-in-law. I had asked her prior to the plea bargain what was the obstacle to overcome in a trial.  She told us “His confession, that there is no evidence but because it was publicized so heavily in the media and the way they had it that he would not get a fair trial by jury.” I thought everyone had the right to a fair trial.  Even in the Forensic Examiner Evaluation Services Documentation it states “Mr. Allen Whetstone  first denied, but eventually admitted to having sexual contact.” That is after all the continual duress and pressure they were putting him through and lying saying they had something which as I stated the medical doctor proved that it was not a true and was a lie.

They also told us that he could go to Florida with me, his wife, if he signed the plea bargain for “Inappropriate Touch By Hand.” (I have fibromyalgia and a tumor that I will be having surgery to remove).    We were also told that it was mandatory for him to be labeled as a sex offender.  While we were in Florida for 5 months the probation officer that did the PSI Report and the public defender told us that Allen should get his Florida residency. *Note: How many persons on bond that is considered such a danger as they made Allen to be in the media are able to travel across country and live there for 5 months?  The officer was going to recommend a 10 year suspended sentence without probation.  I was told to go ahead and get a returning airline ticket for Allen. I have e-mails between the public defender and I.  I was there at the plea bargain and all the meetings as Allen has a major loss of hearing and the VA had scheduled to set him up for surgery to replace the ear drum upon returning to Florida.

There are other names of crimes and incidents that happened at this facility that they covered up once they got Allen to be the scapegoat.  There are dramatized accusations from his ex-wife which should be a conflict of interest. To use testimony that would be tainted  and whom also broke the law during this investigation.   Allen is a non-confrontational, people pleasing person. He has a history under duress of going ahead and confessing to things that he did not do.  He was beaten severely as a child and would rather just be quiet than to have a major confrontation or to confess than to have someone being so upset with him. He figures that it is better to get the beating over and be done with it.  He has been diagnosed with PTSD by the VA. He started medication in August, 2011 for this as he has tremendous nightmares where he is crying for help. (I can tell you more of this at a later date as I am trying to keep this as brief as possible.) I would like to stress at the time that he was pressed into admitting or confessing anything of nature I was not present in his life.  I met him after he was charged and we married months later as I could see the type of person that he is and not what they have tried to portray him to be.  Plus everyone spoke very highly of him and I do mean everyone.

Upon returning to Montana for the sentencing hearing we met with the public defender on Friday October 14th, before the hearing on Monday October 17th, 2011.  She shocked all of us as she said that probation officer Andy Larsen, handed her the PSI and changed his recommendation just the hour before.  That DOJ was making calls and having them change their recommendations. There was no time whatsoever for our objections. I also showed her that a date was stamped for September 2011 on the documents, why didn’t she have them and let us know so we could act accordingly. *Note the probation officer knows both Allen and his ex-wife and I would think that would be a major conflict of interest for him to do the PSI report. This was brought to the public defenders attention and her response was that “Andy Larsen could have one of his other probation friends to do the report and have it worded in a different way but with the same result.” Mr. Quigley, LCSW who is the Certified Forensic Examiner/Criminal Justice Specialist who does the Forensic and Clinical Evaluation for the state told the public defender that they had called him at the last-minute also to change his recommendation. He told them that he would not change his recommendation.  Even on the stand they tried to get him to change it, even the judge questioned his experience in such things. Mr. Quigley testified that “It would be unethical for me to change my recommendation and that I would no longer be credible in my field.”  I had talked to him before the trial and he said that “You don’t have to sell me on Mr. Allen Whetstone at all.” He knew from the initial meeting that he did not fit the criteria. Even the prison that did his classification told me that Allen scored very low. Lower than what men do when they are classified for parole.

  • A presentence investigation report, often called a “probation report,” is a report prepared to help the judge decide what sentence to give someone who has either pled guilty to a crime or been found guilty of a crime.The report is prepared by a probation department, which should be a neutral agencyIt’s independent from both the prosecution and the defense. The report will include sections on the defendant’s personal and employment history and prior criminal history, as well as details of the offense. While the probation officer interviews the defendant, he often describes the details of the offense as set out in police reports received from the prosecutor. The report may also contain statements from victims. The report will often conclude with a sentencing recommendation.With the possible exception of the final sentencing recommendation, the report is given to the defendant before sentencing so he can object to anything in it if wants to.While presentence reports don’t determine a judge’s sentence, judges rely heavily on them. You and your lawyer should make sure you review the report thoroughly and voice your objections before going to the sentencing hearing.
  • Allen is not inmate material. He was in the Navy. He is a member of the VA. He has been a dedicated Fire Fighter, Search and Rescue, CERT, Safety Trainer, Certified Life Guard, CDL Permit, Forklift Operators Permit, Dance Competition Winner, Singer, Blue Ribbons Winner in Handcrafted Furniture, Rodeos.  Allen even took the Montana State Troopers exams and passed. He has a heart of helping people, not hurting them. He cannot stand to see other’s hurt because of the hurt that he has endured in his own past. He does not wish anyone to suffer that.

With all of that being said, I believe the public defender Kristina Neal had a bargain set with the county attorney from the very beginning.  Allen was made to be the “poster child” for their 100 to 200 million per year based upon his conviction and for political gain. ( Internal Documents State That Millions Of Dollars Was At Stake)  Allen plea bargained to “Inappropriate Touch By Hand” with a mandatory label of a registered sex offender and that he would have a suspended sentence with no probation. He would be flying back to Florida with me on October 26th.   As we were told they would need 10 days to do the paperwork.  Instead they gave him 10 years, sex offender label, and had to do three phases of sex offender classes.  We were all in shock and traumatized at the harsh sentence.  I promised Allen upon my life that this was not the end of it; I would get the scandal exposed and the truth told so he would hold onto some hope. (I had a bad feeling the next day and had to call the jail and was told that Allen was under suicidal watch.  I asked “why did someone not call me”? As he had given a suicidal note to the officer.  I was told that “it is not their policy to call unless they tried it”.  I could not believe that they wait till after they have done it, by then it could well be too late! As we have seen in many of the cases that have committed suicide in the jail and prison system there in Montana!  I told the officer “Please get a message to him that I need him and not to do anything”.  I knew that would give him the strength to endure this nightmare.)

It was not until the newspaper came out that it quoted Jefferson County Attorney Matt Johnson, saying “He had fashioned a plea bargain where Allen had pled to inappropriately touching her and rubbing her with his genitals. That he put together the sex offender label, as it was not mandatory for the crime.  Also, that he believes that Allen did rape the other girls but there is no evidence and they were not going to put them on trial. (Chief Prosecutor Brant Light told me in an email  that Matt Johnson is allowed to say that as it is his “opinion”. Opinion? When everyone watching or reading the media thinks that what he is saying is the truth?)  They made him to look like a serial rapist when there was not even one rape.  Even the PSI report states that the recommendation was due to hearsay and the possibility that there could be more.  Since when can you charge, convict and sentence someone based on hearsay alone?   Especially when I have the investigative reports show that these ladies were clearly not credible. Yet they are more credible than the credibility of my husband? They did not know that my husband had achieved all that he had in the community before this. My husband does not brag or credit himself.  I am the one that brought that out.  One of the main people who helped in his conviction came up to me after the hearing and apologized to me.  He said that “He did not know about all of that in Allen’s background.  All that he has accomplished and the PTSD and the history before where once when he was a child confessing to something that he did not do? ” Why the apology? Does that mean before they thought they could railroad him because they thought Allen was an easy target?  As a child Allen’s house burnt down. The captain questioned his siblings and Allen.  The captain concluded and believed that Allen started the fire and kept at him.  Allen confessed that he did do it.  The fire investigators are the ones that proved there was no way that Allen could have started it as it was due to an internal electrical problem.  Because of that whole incident that is what caused Allen to become a fire fighter as an adult.  His youngest son has followed in his footsteps and has become a fire fighter. Allen helped train his son in the firefighting field.  The fire fighters look out for his son as Allen now cannot.  They have told me that no matter what kind of fire or situation that they may be in they all knew they could count on Allen to have their backs. That is the kind of man Allen is.  He would sacrifice his own life to save someone else’s.  I have told him now that “He is worth saving also.”   I just want to know who has Allen’s back?

(I have in my possession a copy of his original statement that he wrote that he was not guilty.  After that is when he was  pressured and coerced to confess. There was no other statements or recordings of him confessing.  Again no evidence.)

This was quoted from Judge Loren Tucker in the Boulder Monitor on Dec.14th, 2011 from another case.   “Tucker admitted confusion about the definition, and pointed out more than once that Jefferson County Attorney Matt Johnson seemed inconsistent in his references. It is no wonder Simac seemed confused about what was expected of him, said the judge.”  He was inconsistent in that case, what about the other inconsistencies in his practice?   Is he allowed to go against the law of how a PSI report is to be completed?  Is he allowed to make calls to those that are involved in the PSI and bribe them? Is he allowed to insinuate and slander the defendant in the media to get his own way?  Is he allowed to have control of the media so that the media cannot do a retraction? Is the public defender and the county attorney allowed to conspire together how they want a case to go, all for money?  If all of this or just even one of these are true, then we live in a very unjust world and none of us are safe. 

*At this time Allen has been in prison almost 4 months.  Montana State Prison has given him no indication of when the SOP classes would even be started.  He is anxious to start them as he will be up before the parole board this year with a release date of January 2013.  Montana State Prison is giving every indication that they are not going to have him in and completed with the first phase of the program in time, thus he will not be eligible for parole. His wife  has discussed this situation with his case manager. (His wife does have Power of Attorney for Allen and is able to speak on his behalf.)   The case manager has confirmed this fact.  (While in the reception unit they yanked him off his VA medication cold turkey.  He did have side effects and it is dangerous to stop cold turkey. He also was freezing due to not being allowed any warm clothes during the stay in reception unit.  His teeth were chattering all the time.  His stay was about 75 days in the reception unit.)

This letter was submitted by his wife who did not mention her name.

Incarcerated Montana State Prison

* Note: This case also had a defense attorney that would not return calls to him until his wife was able to start getting involved. This attorney did not investigate into the case nor did she listen to any explanations and was asked to check with Colorado for the records of Allen confessing to the Firefighter Chief as a child, she did not.  There was an attitude of really not wanting to represent the case and the defense attorney that was standing in for Kristina Neal as she was on maternity leave had a disgusted look on her face during the interview. When Kristina got back and both of them were present during the interview the stand in attorney replied to the “what was the biggest obstacle to overcome”  she said “the evidence” and Kristina quickly looked at her and shook her head, this being after Kristina had said “his confession”.   There was no evidence and what she was referring to did not belong to Allen. What kind of games are being played here?  It is felt that a plea bargain was made between the Public Defender (Kristina Neal) and the County Attorney (Matt Johnson) from the beginning. The sentence hearing seemed to have already been decided, they did not even need anyone to testify. Judge Tucker was not interested in hearing those that testified, he even cut the testimony short on Allen’s behalf. Although Matt Johnson was able to call his secretary to the stand to testify about the tone of a phone call from his witness. A phone call?   It became glaringly obvious why there would be threats of not having a fair trial.  

  • Read Pages:
  • Allen Whetstone –  Incarcerated MT Fireman – Story 1
  • Allen Whetstone – Incarcerated MT Fireman – Story 2
  • Allen Whetstone – Incarcerated MT Fireman – Story 3