Saturday, October 10, 2009

Outrage Against Judge Kathleen Ann Keough

Posted October 8, 2009
(National and Cleveland, Ohio Area News)

A White Cleveland Municipal Court Judge who refuses to dismiss a resisting arrest verdict against a Black journalist that came without the testimony of the arresting officer, alleged impropriety by her since removed trial lawyer, accusations of prosecutorial misconduct by an all White prosecution and questionable instructions to the jury is under fire from grassroots organizations and the new attorney for the journalist.

“I have never ever seen a person convicted of an alleged offense such as resisting arrest where the defendant was convicted without the direct testimony of the arresting officer,” said Wayne Kerek, the attorney for Cleveland area journalist Kathy Wray Coleman who appeared in the case after the trial judge dismissed Coleman's former attorney, Carole A., Lohr, following alleged impropriety. “It is possible that a prosecution of this nature could have been motivated by some form of insidious racial animus and the fact that my client writes on matters important to the Black community.”

Black on Black Crime Inc, in cooperation with other community grassroots participants and organizations, has scheduled a protest for 4 pm on Oct. 23 on Lakeside Ave and on the steps of the Justice Center in Cleveland to protest against the judge and to bring attention to the injustices against Blacks and others who face criminal proceedings, often in a malicious fashion.

“Justice must prevail and justice will prevail for our sister in the struggle and journalist Kathy Wray Coleman. We have just begun to fight for Ms. Coleman and others and we urge everybody to come out on Oct 23,” said Art McKoy, founder of Black on Black Crime Inc.

“We should have never stopped when we protested in 16 degrees weather on the steps of the Justice Center in January against injustices against Blacks and other people,” said Community Activist Ada Averyhart, membership chairman for the Carl Stokes Brigade, a local grassroots organization in Cleveland, Oh. “We support Kathy not only because she rightfully fights for herself but because she fights for the issues that we believe in including racial and economic justice for all people.”

The judge in the case, Kathleen Ann Keough, is accused of obsessing over Coleman and harassing her. Kerek has filed no less that three lawsuits, two in the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals and a third that is now pending in the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking Keough's compliance with the law.

"We want a hearing before Judge Keough to seek dismissal," said Kerek. “It sets a bad precedent, regardless of race or gender and more importantly it violates a defendant's constitutional right to have compulsory process to cross examine all witnesses against him or her.”

Coleman, a journalist of 15 years who has written extensively or race issues for the Call & Post Newspaper, a Cleveland Weekly that targets the Black community, and who is the editor of the Determiner Weekly, an online news magazine, was tried in May on criminal charges before Keough. At trial she took the stand and denied the charges brought by the predominantly Black city of Cleveland as retaliatory for her articles in the Call & Post and her community activism. She was subsequently acquitted by a jury of all of the charges against her but resisting arrest. Those charges included a claim that she made a false alarm when she fell sick upon what she deems was a surprise arrest as she was leaving a hearing at the Justice Center regarding still pending civil litigation with Chase Manhattan Mortgage Company and that sh e was disorderly with the arresting officer who has accused Coleman of nothing and who did not even attend the two day trial. That trial has been dubbed by Coleman as “a circus perpetuated by an unfair judge hellbent on destroying a Black journalist and silencing issues pertinent to the Black community.”

The arresting officer at issue is a White male county deputy sheriff named Gerald Pace of whom Coleman says she salutes for his courage and guts, at least for now.

“ Rarely in this country will a White peace officer go against the grain and refuse to lie to railroad a Black into jail. This alone should have alerted the honorable Judge Keough to back down from her harassment of me,” said Coleman “We respectfully seek a comprehensive investigation of cases in the Cleveland Municipal Court and the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas over the last 10 years to deal with the systemic racism in our courts and to determine any additional Blacks that have been convicted of alleged crimes against White peace officers who have not shown at trial to testify where this is such a blatant injustice against the Black community.”

Jurors allegedly said after trial that Keough forced the conviction on them via illegal jury instructions without Lohr's objection and the presence of the arresting officer at trial. It is also alleged that the all White prosecution tainted the case by lying and telling the jury that Coleman ran and running is resisti ng arrest, again without Lohr's objection, though resisting arrest requires first that the person is in the control of the peace officer.

Coleman has yet to be sentenced though she says that Keough is in hot pursuit of her, knowing the resisting arrest verdict is illegal. In addition to her writings, Coleman says the prosecution is retaliatory because of a stance by Black leaders and the Call & Post against a county reform measure on the November ballot dubbed Issue
6 that is being pushed by county prosecutor Bill Mason and because she is a Black female who has challenged in the courts the arbitrary assignment process for municipal court judges in the state of Ohio.

The outspoken journalist was jailed in the county last year and released without charges four days later. Kerek has filed suit on Coleman's behalf in federal district court against former Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul, Retired Visiting Lyndhurst Municipal Court Judge Gustalo Nunez and others relative to the last year's jail episode. While at the jail Coleman claims she was harassed over her writings, administered a knockout drug, held naked , and supervised by a disgruntled male employee. She also says that the prosecution before Keough, led by White male Cleveland law director Robert Triozzi, is in retaliation for that anticipated Civil Rights litigation and what Coleman contends is a by product of routine malicious prosecution against Blacks in the Cleveland Municipal Court and in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog and Media Network

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