Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Judge James D. O'Neill III Refuses to Sanction Prosecutors And Paves the Way For Another Sanctions Request


Judge James D. O'Neill III ruled against my motion for sanctions in his latest order in my case

He also laid out a roadmap for what would be needed to secure a better ruling on such a motion. He cited minimal points of law and fact, and the ruling itself did not reflect any research or careful consideration, unfortunately. 

Even though Judge O'Neill had over a month to review all the material after the September 9th hearing, this ruling seems rushed and slapped together quickly. 

It's as if someone had to remind him he'd forgotten about this particular motion. Coincidentally (or maybe not), I emailed Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater the day before his ruling came down. I told her I thought Judge O'Neill knew he had to do something in this scenario and that was what was taking him so long. I also asked for a key piece of discovery. I wanted any and all communications regarding Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois removing himself from my case. I got this: 

This particular document says it all. Andrew Livernois panicked after the ACLU agreed to write an Amicus Brief on my behalf. He and his deputy were under fire in the press, and he couldn't stop it. Instead, he figured he'd just change the target, and I would leave him alone. Livernois obviously had conversations with Heater and her boss Martha Ann Hornick. Then he dumped the case on them without any sense of this being a random assignment. This document shows it was all approved by the State of New Hampshire's Attorney General: Gordon MacDonald. 

What was the first thing Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater did after Livernois talked to her and her boss? Her first act as a prosecutor on this case was to withdraw the gag order request. Livernois and Cormier knew they were going to lose if it went to a hearing. Rather than tuck tail and retreat on their own, they forced another prosecutor to be brought in to engage in the coverup. That prosecutor then immediately drops the whole gag order request with the lame explanation that it was only a matter of "strategy" and not a matter of the motion having no merits. 

Lo and behold, when I filed my motion for sanctions, Attorney Heater also made the argument that Livernois and Cormier were trying to make new law with their gag order request. The whole basis for that request was based upon my breaking a RULE, not a law. The request was unconstitutional. It was overbroad, and it was not narrowly restricted at all. The more they try to cover up this mess, the more they all implicate themselves in even MORE misconduct. The paper trail doesn't lie. 

These are not the actions that state employees should be engaging in if their interest is really in promoting any semblance of true "justice." 

From here my "strategy" is simple. I will file an amended motion for sanctions. I will make sure it is ironclad, addressing all of Judge O'Neill's superficial concerns. It will be concise and comprehensive, naming exactly what sanctions should apply, what authorities there are to back up such sanctions, and why it simply does not matter that the gag order was withdrawn by a new attorney at the 11th hour. The argument that pulling back from that hearing did not compromise my case in any way is also about to be thoroughly debunked. The motion that results will be one that Judge O'Neill will either feel obligated to act on out of his unbiased dedication to being fair and impartial, or he will simply bury it out of loyalty to the state and the current governor's anti-marijuana stance. He'll use no law or research to do so and will issue an even more opinionated and weak order than the last one. 

Judge O'Neill has been ruling against me religiously, constantly trying to remind the court of my pro-se status, and continually ignoring affidavit evidence in order to favor the prosecution. I even have it in writing that Attorney Livernois knew Judge O'Neill trusted him more because of all the times he's appeared before the judge. It's a rigged system as it is, but as soon as I threatened a civil suit upon the event of an acquittal (in open court), the whole landscape changed. The real coverup and the most coordinated effort to railroad me began at that very moment. It was me against the state from the jump, but after that threat it really became me against THE STATE. 

I'm not intimidated. If Judge O'Neill continues to ignore the law and precedent cases and legal statutes and affidavit evidence, I will have no choice but to ask for his recusal. If he will not police his own courtroom adequately and penalize these officers of the law for abusing their authority and misrepresenting the law and the facts, he will force my hand. 

If the circumstances don't change, I will file a judicial complaint against him and contribute to the next congressional bill to force him out of office. Recusal is not my only avenue of relief if he will not do the job he was sworn to do with fairness and impartiality. I will keep the whole system honest. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

NH Attorney Discipline Committee Refuses to Docket Grievance Against Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois and Deputy County Attorney Keith Cormier

When an accused criminal has more integrity than the people prosecuting him, the local justice system is clearly broken. Worse than the fact that Andrew Livernois and Keith Cormier lied and abused their positions to silence me with a bogus gag order request is that they made others in the system stoop to their low level. 

It is truly amazing and astounding what this group of poster children for patronism were willing to go to bat for and assume blindly to be a good faith effort. The filing that triggered all this would have received a failing grade from even the most lenient law professor. Yet people lined up to say it was all on the level, impugning their own character in the process. 

Even the "replacement killer" from another county defended the indefensible, hastily written motion to prohibit pretrial publicity that came out of the Belknap County Attorney's Office. Oh, I forgot to mention the turmoil surrounding this motion led to Livernois and Cormier removing themselves from my case and the Attorney General assigning the prosecution to another county. Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater took over and acted immediately to save Livernois and Cormier. She on one hand withdrew the motion (citing strategic reasons) before a hearing could be held, but on the other hand she defended the merits of the motion when I filed for sanctions. The problem she knew she had going into her defense of that motion was that I warned her it would subject her to sanctions herself for misrepresenting the facts and trying to make a trash pile of junk law smell like a bed of roses. 

It's not so much the collective corruption executed by the original prosecutors that disturbs me. It's the fact that these other attorneys saw this fiasco and jumped into the raging rapids of unethical behavior without a life jacket to save a couple guys they watched jump in with cement blocks tied to their feet. Colleagues were all too willing to look the other way or even back up the behavior that resulted in my recent motion for sanctions. They abandoned their principles to pursue and promote a farce. The sad fact is the pubic pays these people to be the front line on maintaining the integrity of the justice system in this state. Yet, they are nothing but glorified janitors sweeping all the corruption under the rug. It's pathetic.

I made an earnest attempt to report Livernois and Cormier for violating the very set of rules they accused me of breaking (despite the fact that I am not bound by those rules at all as a pro-se party). Brian Moushegian, the spineless general counsel of the New Hampshire Attorney Discipline Committee, covered for his colleague and did a good job of wiping the state's ass on this shit show.

Attorney Moushegian made all the excuses in the world to absolve Attorneys Cormier and Livernois without making any discernible effort to actually investigate the allegations or make any meaningful inquiry at all into the matter. There was not one single word filed in response to my complaint by either accused attorney. Moushegian's rambling responses pretty much confirmed what I already knew: this committee is toothless and will never act against any prosecutor even if a clear report of rule violations comes before them. 

I had one avenue to ask for an appeal of sorts, and I took that road, too. My letter asking for reconsideration made no difference. The whole committee backed the blind loyalty shown by their general counsel. The lies and the lazy motion practice that started this mess just gets compounded when nobody is held accountable for their abuses of the public trust. I jumped through every hoop and followed all the right procedures, even reporting myself to the committee to determine their rules of professional conduct could never apply to me. 

The judge in my case might still set everyone straight on this subject by ruling in my favor on my motion for sanctions. I'm hopeful on that front, but there's a real chance he could  actually endorse this kind of egregious behavior out of his own sense of blind loyalty to the institution. I'm prepared for both outcomes. 

Either way this crazy chain of events works out, I'm not about to let this grievance become dust in the wind. The taxpayers of this community ought to know about what happened here and how so many attorneys came together to cover up this unethical mess. If I can't convince the busted justice system around here that something's wrong with this picture, I'll just have to convince the people paying for it.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Motion For Sanctions Against Belknap County Attprney Andrew Livernois and Deputy County Attorney Keith Cormier (FULL HEARING AUDIO)

Listen to "Bergeron Motion For Sanctions Against Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois and Deputy County Attorney Keith Cormier" on Spreaker.

I have been preparing for this hearing for months. The Deputy County Attorney opposing me has only been assigned to this case for a few months. The audio says it all, but there is some necessary background. 

First, the Belknap County Attorney's Office sought a gag order against me for publishing a letter to the editor in The Laconia Daily Sun. I opposed it and also managed to get the ACLU involved in the case. They filed an Amicus Brief on my behalf. The Belknap County Attorney took himself and his whole office off the case suddenly, and Grafton County took on the case. Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater is now in charge of the prosecution. She immediately withdrew the deficient and deceptive motion for a gag order filed by the state, trying to play it as a matter of having a different strategy. 

The original gag order request contended that I was responsible for following the rules of professional conduct for NH attorneys even though I'm not even a member of the bar. To clear up any confusion on this front, I actually reported myself to the Attorney Discipline Committee. They insisted they had no jurisdiction over me and those rules did not apply to me. 

I specifically told Attorney Heater that I would file for sanctions and force her to defend the indefensible. She fell for the trap even though I warned her ahead of time not to. She went all in on the original debunked motion, insisting Attorney Keith Cormier wanted to make new law even though it was actually a new rule that would be needed for their motion to have any valid basis. Now it's a waiting game to see if the judge will take action or let these dishonest prosecutors continue to lie and misrepresent the facts and the law.  

Stay tuned for a full accounting of the NH Attorney Discipline Committee's meaningless process of pretending to look at a grievance against these local prosecutors. The whole fiasco involved a ton of dirt, a big rug, and a giant broom wielded by the committee's general counsel. There's now a big lump under the rug, but no dirt in sight.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Cannabis and Hemp Expert Witness/Author/Activist Chris Conrad Interview


Chris Conrad is a human encyclopedia when it comes to the history of hemp and cannabis. Rich delves into Conrad's illustrious background as an expert in cultivation who became a champion for reform. This wide ranging discussion covers every angle of why federal legalization is long overdue in the United States: 

Learn more about Chris at:

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss; Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater Defends the Indefensible to Protect Livernois and Cormier

Nearly all of my pleadings in my criminal case pending in Belknap Superior Court have been accompanied by sworn affidavit. I've received only one order in my favor thus far, for a motion to suppress that went unopposed. Yet, the original prosecutor has somehow been able to get every request he's ever asked for from the judge with no such affidavits attached to his requests. The new prosecutor, Tara J. Heater from Grafton County, hasn't asked for anything yet.

Rule 35 (i) of the New Hampshire Rules of Criminal Procedure outlines the requirements related to motions filed in Superior Court. Subsection (1) reads as follows:

The court will not hear any motion grounded upon facts, unless they are verified by affidavit, or are apparent from the record or from the papers on file in the case, or are agreed to and stated in writing signed by the parties or their attorneys; and the same rule will be applied as to all facts relied on in opposing any motion..."

These rules are made to be broken, and it happens all the time. Attorneys are part of an exclusive club. Judges used to be part of the same club. People who represent themselves are fools, whether the evidence supports that conclusion or not. It's just sort of a known judicial fact with the majority of judges I dealt with in my writing career. It turns out that every time they think that old token wisecrack is true with me, they find out they are sadly mistaken.

The legal profession is in enough hot water as it is without the "defund the police" movement putting such a white hot spotlight on abuses of the justice system. The perfect legal storm that this case was already just joined up with a tornado, even despite the fact that the prosecution decided to withdraw their gag order request. Even without the support of the ACLU lawyers who wrote their brief on my behalf, I filed a sanctions motion, and I'm waiting to find out when the hearing will be and whether there will be witnesses allowed.

Despite my earlier promise to publish the entire sanctions motion, I've changed my thought process on that. There are sensitive matters contained in the motion and the response. Some of them have already been published elsewhere. The last thing I want is to have any member of the press put out information that is not accurate. The pleading and supporting evidence was somewhat complex. It's tough to break down into a typical newspaper article and get all the details correct.

The reason I have to be cautious is the most recent newspaper report on this subject left out a great deal of much-needed context. I am trying to be as fair as possible to the judicial process at this point.

My motion and reply also deal with some very basic principles and circumstances I will discuss here. The cover up is worse than the crime. It is the way they did all this legal maneuvering that's really suspicious. There was a little bit more detail about the Grafton County takeover revealed in the latest filing from Attorney Heater. Attorney Livernois apparently took himself off the case on July 7th. Heater admits in her opposition filing that Rule 3.6 of the NH Rules of Professional Conduct for New Hampshire Attorneys does not apply to me. Still, she persists that Cormier was only using the motion for a gag order to try to change existing law or make new law. She also insists that since my "vitriol" was focused directly against Livernois, it was a mere strategy to withdraw the gag order request and had nothing to do with the motion's lack of good faith.

The contradictions in Heater's objection to my motion for sanctions are not few and far between. One bombshell she drops is her insistence that only the Attorney Discipline Committee has the authority to do anything about violations of the Rule of Professional Conduct for NH Attorneys. Yet I have it in writing that this committee would be more comfortable acting on my grievance if the judge admonished the attorney first for the same behavior. Nuff said.

Attorney Heater adds a new level to this saga by extending the fraud upon the court. She uses the same tired cases and arguments that were already debunked. She insists this is suddenly a case of prosecutors trying to make new law at the Superior Court level when the real basis for their motion was not a law at all. They would need to change a rule to make their argument legitimate. This is not about changing or making law. This is about hiding from the truth.

Livernois and Cormier engaged in a CYA (Cover Yor Ass) campaign here. Attorney Heater got recruited to play the new girl, "good cop" role and failed miserably thus far. These prosecutors were so confident that they thought they could print lies and have the judge sign off on them and give them a gag order against me that was not supported by any viable legal framework. Blind loyalty and lack of accountability are also symptoms of a virus that can be as deadly to justice as Covid-19 is to humans.

Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara Heater just proved beyond any reasonable doubt that this "misconduct virus" is highly contagious.    

The Attorney Discipline Committee is still weighing the prospect of docketing my formal grievance against Livernois and Cormier. I will definitely publish those materials once a docketing decision has been made. I will also publish the full audio of the upcoming hearing here when I get a certified copy. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Belknap County Attorney's Office Gag Order Request Backfires, New Prosecutor Assigned by Attorney General

    The gag order request that turned this case in a whole new direction and involved the ACLU coming to my defense has now been completely withdrawn by an entirely new attorney from another county who was recently assigned by the Attorney General.    

     "Withdrawn" is one of those fancy words lawyers often use to avoid accountability for breaking the rules. Watch any legal drama on television, and you'll hear the word over and over again. Usually that protects the offender from any accountability at all, but not in this scenario.

    You see, what really happened here is not being discussed at all. I have never seen a quicker substitution with any less explanation. Even in civil cases we are always told exactly why a particular attorney was passing the case along to a new lawyer. Here all we get is Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois telling the Laconia Daily Sun that it was about a "conflict of interest:"

    Whatever the true reason is for Livernois stepping down and the Attorney General's office taking the whole county off the case, Livernois did not make the move himself to withdraw the gag order. Instead, the Deputy Grafton County Attorney Tara J. Heater did the deed for him. Regardless, the motion was filed, and Cormier put his signature on it while Livernois put his stamp of approval on it with his comments to the Laconia Daily Sun. This will result in a sanctions motion against Livernois and Keith Cormier I will bring before Judge O'Neil very soon.

   I am disappointed by the idea that this withdrawal means I can't celebrate what would have been my greatest legal victory to date. It also deprives me of what would have been a tremendous opportunity to work with the two ACLU lawyers who were set to appear at the July 21st hearing on the gag order motion. Yet, I can't help but feel a certain sense of accomplishment. Don't get me wrong, I am not particularly proud of having to watch a man destroy himself because of my direct actions to cause that chain of events. Still, I told Livernois exactly what to expect and what I would do to prove my case and my point. I did what I promised and more. So, I do feel positive about this development.

     No matter how proficient an attorney Tara Heater may be, she will begin her defense of the state's case in a very difficult conundrum. She will have to defend the very motion she just withdrew and the attorneys who betrayed their public duty and abused their office by filing it in the first place.

     It's no wonder Attorney Heater already offered to reduce the case down to two misdemeanor charges for possession. I refused that deal, and I will proceed to trial knowing the facts are on my side. I hope in the long run she sees the the bigger picture of the multiple mistakes made in the rush to prosecute and the consistent lies told to push this case. If she does, she will agree the best thing to do is drop this toxic case altogether. Hanging on to the idea of getting a conviction will only send her down the same road Livernois went down that led to a career-changing dead end.

     The sad reality that is starting to set in for me is that this case is a microcosm of the hopelessly dysfunctional justice system in this county, in this state, and across the entire country. There is no accountability, and fellow officers of the law always seem to protect their brethren rather than report their misdeeds. There is just so much corruption that gets swept under the rug in this environment. To the legal professionals and police officers who perpetuate this sense of broken justice, the ends always justify even the most crooked of means.

     Few prosecutors ever see any penalties for acting recklessly or breaking rules to gain convictions. I've watched enough episodes of Netflix's "The Innocence Files" to know that. It's not a problem that's unique to New Hampshire. Attorney oversight is an issue in even the biggest of cities:

    We just recently saw the completion of a government takeover of another county attorney's office here in New Hampshire:

    Maybe it's time for the AG to undergo the same oversight process with Belknap County.

    One former assistant attorney general reported more than three years ago that this state was suffering from a crisis of piss poor government lawyering:

    That warning was never adequately heeded.

   As my own attorney I can take the steps a public defender never would risk in this scenario. I can seek to hold these public officials responsible for their part in this madness. I'm not part of the club. I won't lose any membership privileges for bucking the system.

  Please stay tuned to our site. Over the next few weeks there will be some major developments coming down the pipeline. The Attorney Discipline Committee is still looking over my grievance filing. A full panel will decide whether or not it will proceed to docketing. When a final decision is made I will be posting all the correspondence between myself and the committee's general counsel.

     I will also be filing a detailed sanctions motion next week. I will share that here when I file it. I sincerely hope lessons are learned in this situation and attitudes change. This kind of fight is never won when you are only in it for personal self-interest. I'm going this far because I want to make sure this kind of ordeal never happens to anyone again.



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Andrew Livernois and his Deputy County Attorney Reported to NH Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office for Misconduct...Will Justice Prevail?

Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois and his Deputy Keith Cormier are the subject of a detailed complaint I recently filed with the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office.

Most traditional defense "lawyers" would never take such a drastic step against their brethren, especially if they anticipate having to make future deals for their clients in criminal court with the County Attorney's Office.

I am not a lawyer. I represent myself. The legal term is Pro-Se, which in Latin means "for oneself." I come into every court with this status having to instantly overcome the "fool for a client" stigma attached to self-represented people. It's a deep hole to dig out of in most cases, because judges are very harsh and unwilling to listen to anyone who didn't pass the bar.

Criminal courts are often the most difficult environment to practice law in if you're doing so on your own behalf. You've been arrested and put on the defensive. All judges expect self represented parties to fall flat on their faces if they were never actual lawyers and don't know how things really work. You have to force criminal judges to listen. Show them the facts. Show them the lies told by the prosecutors in their haste to win your conviction. More often than not, obstinate judges will form an instant bias against you and will continuously rule against you. I know this because I've lived it. The only motion I've won so far in my current case is the only one that was unopposed.

No matter how many merits all my past civil cases had at the outset, just about every single judge I appeared before in civil court ruled against me until I put in the work to prove I was right all along. Only one judge ever broke that trend in nearly a half dozen major cases I've been involved in over the years (more about him later).

It all started with a plastic surgery patient who appeared on the HBO documentary Plastic Disasters. The victim of a botched facelift wanted me to write a book about her experience. She started a blog and wrote detailed reviews about what the surgeon did to her. The surgeon sued her to silence her writing and her criticism, using the legal logic that he'd trademarked his name so nobody could insult his practice. It is perhaps the most egregious example of using the civil courts and other means to violate a person's First Amendment rights. The judge's consistent rulings in favor of the doctor without giving any fair consideration to the victim served to ultimately promote corporate greed and minimize the public's ability to hold negligent medical professionals accountable through "name and shame" efforts when justice fails to solve the problem. Throughout the case I was named in various injunctions preventing me from writing about the proceedings or the victim's painful ordeal. A thoroughly biased judge connected to a local health care conglomerate gave the plaintiff everything his law firm asked for. Eventually, even the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals failed me when I asked for the judge to be forcefully recused from the case. Basically the panel of superior judges came back at me with lies and blind ignorance, somehow maintaining that the judge was "done with" the very active case and the bias was "too attenuated" to warrant any do over.

The true victims of all this lazy, reckless legal work to change the system for the worse were Lucille Iacovelli and the many injured patients impacted by medical negligence she helped create a support community for. She committed suicide at the end of a long and painful road of being made out to be a crazed lunatic who was somehow imagining her intense struggle to survive. She persisted amid serious physical damage done to her by a botched facial surgery performed by Dr. Barry Eppley. She simply wanted to share her experience and allow people to see her daily suffering to warn other people of the risks of going under the knife. He just wanted everybody searching for his name to never have to stumble upon her tragic story of what she endured because she trusted him to operate on her. This is how doctors maintain perfect images in the public eye. They use their practice insurance to pay lawyers to crush their outspoken opposition. They get orders LIKE THIS ONE from extremely biased and sympathetic judges.

That one judge who ruled my way right away (No, not Judge King, he sucked) was none other than Christopher J. Muse. Judge Muse heard the case when Lucille's sister hired a lawyer to sue Luicille's estate and I in a Cape Cod, Massachusetts area court just 6 days after her suicide. He refused to OK an order to shut down a Web-site I created to protest all the injustices in that whole saga.

The Judge Muses of the world are few and far between. I researched his background and discovered that when he was a lawyer he helped get a wrongfully convicted man out of prison in a landmark legal case. The wrongfully convicted client also sued the state and won a judgment for his time behind bars. He's the kind of person you know will be fair because he's been there and done it all, and he's truly seen all sides of every issue.

The point is, there has to be an equalizer for people like me to give me any fair shot against a judge who is prematurely convinced just because he's used to believing everything the local prosecutor tells him to and nothing a self represented party attests to. Even if nothing the County Attorney claims is sworn by way of any affidavits and I've presented over a dozen affidavits at this point, Judge O'Neil believes Livernois every time. I don't have to ask why. The County Attorney told me why.

This is a passage from my lengthy grievance:

"Livernois personally sent me an email about the case in which he specifically mentioned that he knew Judge O’Neil did not believe any of my claims. His exact words were: 'I know that Judge O’Neill does not put any stock in those claims either, as he is able to observe how I run my office and prosecute cases day in and day out.  So I choose not to waste the Court’s time in responding.'"

Right there the Belknap County Attorney is telling me one of his main advantages in the proceedings: he basically has the judge eating out of his hand. (hence the above comic parody of my adversary)

Criminal court is not a pleasant place for a pro-se party to operate. Even when it appears a judge may be protecting your rights it may be more of an effort to avoid any meaningful appeal rather than a genuine attempt to listen to your story. I've faced an uphill battle all the way in this case. From here on out that landscape changes. That's because I'm embracing one of my own most powerful advantages: my chance to tell my true story to all the judges in the court of public opinion. 

July 21, 2020 will be the day Judge O'Neil sits in on the most important hearing of these proceedings. Then he will decide on a motion that will finally put the prosecutors in this case in the spotlight. Are they serving the public good or engaged in a wild goose chase at taxpayer expense? 

This commonwealth and this country face two very magnanimous crises at the same time: a rapidly spreading virus stressing the health care system to the max and a growing fomentation of protest caused by generations of piss poor police work coming home to roost. A lack of accountability from the powers that be who did not prepare us to face these problems is becoming readily apparent in both these cases. It's the root cause of both the pandemic and the protest wave. Law Enforcement and Health Care in the United States are two systems in dire need of more significant and meaningful regulation and oversight. I hope this case and the transgressions of these public officials trying to silence me hammers home the point that we need not waste another moment. The time to act to stop these dangerous trends is right now. 

It's time to bring integrity back to the legal profession and stop electing lawyers to public office who refuse to follow their own professional rules of responsibility.