Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prosecutorial Misconduct - Vermont Supreme Court

This is not the primary entry to this blog which details prosecutorial extortion, obstruction of justice, bribe acceptance, witness tampering and criminal civil rights violation by the government. For primary brief and full record filed in this case go to,

Below is the final filing prior to oral argument. Notice the new prosecutor commented that Bennington County was the only county in Vermont to use criminal contempt in the manner described below and she also stated that she discontinued the practice the day she took office. It seems that everyone except the courts see the misconduct.


State of Vermont ) Trial Docket No. 167-1-99
- v- )
) Vermont Supreme Court
Scott A. Huminski ) Docket # 2007-223


NOW COMES Scott Huminski (“Huminski”), defendant, pro se, and pursuant to V.R.A.P. 28(i) notifies of the supplemental authority of the recently released decision of this Court in State v. Stell, 2007 Vt. 106 (Vt. 09/21/2007) and accompanying commentary by State’s Attorney Marthage. A true and correct copy of Attorney Marthage’s comments on the Stell case are attached hereto as Exhibit “A”, Bennington Banner, 9/22/2007. Stell has given the Court a brief insight into Bennington County criminal justice under former State’s Attorney Wright.

Stell is relevant to this instant matter as it reveals a State’s Attorney unwilling to abide by the law by initiating a practice of charging accused defendants with contempt crimes to pile charges upon the shoulders of the accused. Similarly, the instant matter contains the threat of contempt crimes being levied upon Huminski in retaliation for the “crime” of engaging in civil litigation against the State’s Attorney and his friends. As far as charging crimes go, the former State’s Attorney seemed to have implemented the more is better approach. Former State’s Attorney William Wright was very fond indeed of Rule 42 criminal contempt as a tool of oppression,
"The last claim involves a statement made to attorney Capriola warning that the defendant would be charged with additional crimes if he did not clam down. The statement is a reference to the defendant's continued harassment of the victim and the investigating officer in this case through the court process. The defendant has filed a civil action against the victim because of his participation in this criminal case. The State is currently reviewing a contempt charge against the defendant because of this activity. The statement was a proper warning made through the defendant's representative." (State's Response to Motion to Dismiss #4) (PC at 53-54).
The reasoning behind charging a criminal defendant with crime after crime based upon contempt is completely consistent with the depiction of former State’s Attorney William Wright in the instant matter as a man with the audacity to display a hangman’s noose in his office window, a self-proclaimed “law and order” prosecutor engaged in a battle of “us against them”. (PC at 112) A man so obsessed with persecution instead of fair prosecution that he openly engaged in transparent extortion, obstruction of justice and acceptance of a bribe in the instant matter in his perverse version of convict at all costs law enforcement.

The Stell case and the attached commentary of Attorney Marthage shed some light on her non-participation in these proceedings. At oral argument in Stell, Attorney Marthage declines to comment on the policies/motives of her “predecessor”. Attorney Marthage was being polite as Mr. Wright acted in any manner he could dream up to harm and prejudice the accused, this was his style. She admits that she worked for years as a Deputy State’s Attorney under William Wright (as did her husband Brian Marthage, esq.). The truth is that the conduct in Stell fits in nicely with a neo-fascist approach to law enforcement and dual punishment (violate conditions of release/probation and get a bonus additional criminal charge plus the sanction related to the violation). In Exhibit “A” Attorney Marthage comments that Bennington County was the only county in the entire state to pursue additional contempt crimes set forth in Stell and she confirmed that the day she took office the procedure ended. The Stell case and commentary suggest that Attorney Marthage knew of (or now realizes) the draconian practices of her boss, Mr. Wright, and their inconsistency with the law. Attorney Marthage’s silence in this matter indicates the high probability that she knows that her predecessor’s conduct in the instant matter was completely consistent with the policies and demeanor that she observed over her years working in that office. Thus, Attorney Marthage has logically not opposed this matter in which the illegal conduct of former State’s Attorney William Wright is completely consistent with an oppressive “law and order” mindset that she had seen so often. This conclusion is completely reinforced, with intensity, by the editorial of the Bennington Area Bar in their publication “State’s Attorney Called Frighteningly Ingnorant”. (PC at 112-113) Attorney Marthage behaved correctly and ethically in this matter because the pleadings are so patently obvious, factually and legally, that it requires no State response, however, the State’s position related to the ongoing contempt threat targeting civil litigation would be helpful and welcome at oral argument.

Dated at Cary, North Carolina this 3rd day of October 2007,

Scott Huminski, pro se
111-2C Killam Court
Cary, NC 27513
(202) 239-6045 CC: Erica Albin Marthage, esq.

Exhibit "A"

High Court overturns contempt conviction

Bennington Banner, 9/22/2007
MIKE GLEASON, Staff Writer
Saturday, September 22

BENNINGTON -- The Vermont Supreme Court overturned the contempt conviction of an area man in a decision announced Friday.

The court reversed a Bennington District Court ruling, which sentence Paul Stell to community service for failing to comply with a court order.

First time in 30 years.

The case was one of four heard by the state's highest court when it held a session in Bennington Superior Court in March. That marked the first time in 30 years the supreme court visited Bennington.

At the time, public defender Frederick Bragdon and Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage argued in front of the justices about whether Stell's conviction should stand.

Stell originally pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful mischief and was place on probation and given suspended jail time as a result. Stell's conditions of probation did not contain a provision that he be fingerprinted, but the prosecution had the court issue a separate order that he appear at a police station within five days to be fingerprinted.

Probation violation.

Stell did not appear to be fingerprinted within the time limit, and he was arrested. He was charged with contempt of court as well as violating his probation for being charged with another crime.

Stell appealed the decision, arguing that the court should only be allowed to order fingerprinting as a condition of probation.

"The scheme used in Bennington allows a double penalty to be imposed on the defendant: a
contempt of court and a violation of probation," the defense wrote.

In its decision, written by Justice John Dooley, the Supreme Court cited a Vermont law that says failure to submit to fingerprinting can be punished as a violation of probation.

"The statute plainly directs that the court require that a defendant who is sentenced to imprisonment submit to fingerprinting as a condition of probation," the decision reads. "Thus, the Legislature intended that a failure to submit to fingerprinting will be a violation of probation, punishable like any other violation."

The court, however, said that courts do not have the authority to issue a separate order that would make failure to comply a second crime.

"We conclude that the Legislature intended that the post-judgment requirement for fingerprinting be imposed only in a probation order and not by separate order, as occurred here," the decision reads.

Marthage said Friday evening that she had not yet reviewed the court's decision. According to Marthage, the charges against Stell were filed by her predecessor, former state's attorney William D. Wright. She said she would dismiss the contempt charge against Stell, but the violation of probation conviction would stand, as it had not been appealed.

Marthage said that the state's attorney's office had not issued separate fingerprint orders since she took office. Marthage said Stell's case was a unique one.

"We were the only county to do this to begin with," Marthage said.

*** END ***

The predecessor state's attorney's objective was to pile on wrongful criminal charges upon a defendant to oppress and up the ante. As Vermont rotates judges, one would think a judge would wonder why one county used this illegal technique to harass a defendant with multiple crimes in violation of statute. This went on for 20 years. -- SH

Excellent Slate article on the discipline of prosecutors,

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