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. 


Monday, June 22, 2020

New Hampshire ACLU Exposes Fatal Flaws Behind Belknap County Attorney's Request For Gag Order in Amicus Brief

The Belknap County Attorney's office recently filed a request for an order to prohibit all pre-trial publicity. This is very familiar territory to me. Though I've asked so many advocacy groups to help in my previous efforts, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the first agency to truly step in to file anything on my behalf.

The Amicus Curiae brief filed Friday by ACLU-NH is a master stroke of legalese. For those who don't appreciate the antiquated language of the law, I can put it in plain English for you. This brief proves that the County Attorneys office used junk law and bogus logic to seek their injunction, which would clearly represent a prior restraint against free speech. Even if the rules of professional conduct apply to me, which they don't, the rule cited by Deputy County Attorney Keith Cormier (3.6) wouldn't even prohibit my speech in this scenario if those rules were applicable to me. Their order would be too general in nature (overbroad) and too easily used to simply silence all my thoughts on the case rather than accomplish any clear and necessary objective on the State's behalf.

This passage says it all about the constitutional weaknesses exposed in this brief:

"Moreover, even if there were a basis to issue the requested order—which there is not—the proposed order is unconstitutionally overbroad. While the practice on commenting on open cases may feel unusual to attorneys and judges in New Hampshire, “the knowledge that every criminal trial is subject to contemporaneous review in the forum of public opinion is an effective restraint on possible abuse of judicial power. Without publicity, all other checks are insufficient: in comparison of publicity, all other checks are of small account.” Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 1035 (1991) (opinion of Kennedy, J.) (ellipsis omitted) (quoting In re Oliver, 333 U.S. 257, 270-71 (1948)). “[T]he criminal justice system exists in a larger context of a government ultimately of the people, who wish to be informed about the happenings in the criminal justice system, and, if sufficiently informed about those happening, might wish to make changes in the system.” Id. at 1070."

In addition to the ACLU stepping in to help out, the bonehead move by these prosecutors to seek a gag order also brought some local newspapers out of the woodwork to report on my case. The Laconia Daily Sun published my initial letter to the editor as well as this follow up:


Then the Union Leader stepped up to the plate with an article that included one of the best quotes from my objection to the gag order request:

“'Livernois and now his assistant, continue to misrepresent and warp the facts of this case and even the law itself to support their incessant need to silence Bergeron’s true accounting of how this case unfolded,' he wrote."

The tide is turning, and the court of public opinion is in session. The traditional courts are still shuttered. There's no word on when open, in-person hearings will be allowed again.

I fully support the decent, hard working people in local, state and national law enforcement agencies who are truly doing the best they can amid a nationwide backlash against the profession. What I can't support is abuse of power, negligent use of taxpayer funds to pursue a vendetta, and a useless prosecution like this one that is already backfiring on the County Attorney's office.

Ultimately I'm being accused of violating a set of rules I'm not even officially bound to follow by people who violated those rules repeatedly in this case. You can't make this shit up. Not only are these two prosecuting legal professionals subject to the very same rules they want to pin on me, they are considered especially liable when they break the rules. Rule 8.4 of these conduct requirements deals with "The Integrity of the Profession." The motion for a gag order itself violates the spirit of this rule. It's a deception, done out of a sense of revenge and abuse of power rather than on behalf of the community's best interests.

Cormier wrote this "pot-calling-the-kettle-black" fallacy into his bogus request for a court order:

"The purpose of Rule 3.6 is clear – it is to protect the integrity of the judicial system. Extra-judicial statements in the media strike at the heart of the fair and impartial administration of justice and threaten to undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system, and therefore cannot be allowed to occur."

Keith Cormier and Andrew Livernois are by no means examples of officers of the law standing up for integrity. They are attempting to bury the facts at every turn in this case. They are both just symptoms of a greater problem: protecting and thereby perpetuating bad police work. This kind of abuse and waste needs to end, and as the ACLU reminds us twice in this brief, Andrew Livernois is up for election this coming November. Maybe it's time for him to go back to private practice.