Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Criminal Law and Civil Rights Attorney/ Police Misconduct Lawyer, serving, among other places, Orange County, and the Orange County cities shown below; including in the City of Anaheim, California.
Mr. Steering has been defending criminal cases involving righteous and bogus arrests and prosecutions by Anaheim Police Department officers since 1986. Anaheim Police Department officers are quite adept in planting evidence to frame innocents, falsely arresting innocents and even killing innocents for many years now; all with impunity. None one in the history of the Republic has anyone been elected to an Executive Office of Government by campaigning that they are going to curtail abuse of civilians by peace officers. Even when the LAPD took over the narcotics business in Central Los Angeles (i.e. the LAPD Rampart Scandal), both incumbent Mayor James Hahn and his challenger, Antonio Villaragosa, claimed that they were the candidates that had the backing of the LAPD, to garner votes in their election race for Mayor of Los Angeles. It didn’t matter that the LAPD was then, as much of a RICO criminal enterprise as any gangster or Mafioso that the federal Criminal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968), was designed to combat. All that mattered is that the public really didn’t care all that much about the police abusing others. “Whitey” cannot imagine that in the real world, with the way that they look, and with the cars that they drive, responsibly enough, that the police are not going to mess with them. “Whitey” believes that people who the police abuse, such as by humiliating detention techniques, malicious and knowingly made false arrests, outrageous malicious criminal prosecutions, physical beatings, often to the verge of death, must have done something to have caused the police to have acted in that manner. They are in la la land, until it happens to them.
On the other hand, brown people may know that you don’t have to do anything wrong to be abuse by the police. That’s not to say that the police don’t mess with caucasians. It is to say that they’re aren’t too many white people living in Watts or Compton, and there’s a reason for that. The police in Watts or Compton don’t treat the locals, like the police in Beverly Hills.
Anaheim is rather unbiased in their treatment of civilians. No matter your race, color or creed, all are treated equally poorly and oppressively. Ergo, her come I.
THE FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE; CONTEMPT OF COP CASES.
Mr. Steering is an expert in “Contempt Of Cop“ type cases, and has litigated, consulted, advised or has otherwise been involved in thousands of these type of bogus criminal cases; usually for fabricated charges of either: 1) resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer in the lawful performance of his duties, 2) assault and battery on a peace officer, 3) using / threatening use of force or violence to deter or prevent a public officer from performing their duty, 4) assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, or, 5) attempted murder of a peace officer. See, “Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) – The Boot Of The Police State“; “Cal. Penal Code Section 69; The Hammer Of Oppression“; “Contempt of Cop / Resisting Arrest Cases” and “What To Do If You Have Been Beaten-Up or Falsely Arrested By The Police“.
Unfortunately, the natural American reaction to hearing that you are accused of a crime, is to presume that you actually committed some crime, or otherwise acted unlawfully, anti-socially dishonorably or despicably. These, “Contempt Of Cop“ cases, typical involve the police using force upon persons (i.e. beating them) and/or falsely arresting them, and then inventing bogus allegations of violations various “Contempt Of Cop” statutes, such as violations of: 1) Cal. Penal Code 148(a)(1) (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer; the most abused statute in the Penal Code; 2) Cal. Penal Code 240/241(c) (assault on a peace officer); 3) Cal. Penal Code 242 / 243(b) (battery on a peace officer); and 4) Cal. Penal Code 69 (interfering withpublic officer via actual or threatened use of force or violence.) Cal. Penal Code § 69 is a “wobbler”; a California public offense that may be filed by the District Attorney’s Office as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County, allegations of violation of Penal Code § 69 are usually filed as misdemeanors. In San Bernardino County, however, allegations of violation of Cal. Penal Code § 69 are filed as felonies much more often than her sister counties.
Mr. Steering won a nationally publicized false arrest case against the City of Anaheim in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Oliver et al. v. City of Anaheim; (Oliver v. Anaheim August 1, 2012; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.) CBS News 10/16/12; “Possum Impossible“.
Mr. Steering also obtained $300,000.00 from the City of Anaheim, for the use of police tactics that placed the plaintiff in a position of danger; a danger that did happen (i.e. non-lethal bystander minor gunshot wound); Norma Cortez et al. v. City of Anaheim, et al.; United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Mr. Steering also obtained $95,000.00 settlement for the seven minute long false arrest of an El Segundo Police Officer (Gregory Howden v. City of Anaheim.)
CRIMINAL LAW PRACTICE AND THE FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE.
Jerry L. Steering has been practicing criminal law since 1984 (in California since 1986.) He has tried and otherwise litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, drug possession and drug manufacturing cases, DUI / Vehicular homicide cases, White-Collar investor fraud cases, theft cases, sex-offender or drug addict registration cases, violations of court order cases, domestic violence cases, towing industry cases, and a broad spectrum of various criminal violations.
Having attended the University of Georgia School of Law, and having taken and passed the February 1984 Georgia Bar Exam in his last semester of Law School (while Clerking at a law firm full time, and while attending law school full time), in June of 1984 Mr. Steering began defending criminal cases for the law firm of Scott & Quarterman, of Athens, Georgia; the same law firm that he clerked for, full-time, for over two years.
Mr. Steering is also a published legal scholar, and has a published Law Review Article a logical quandary of federal evidentiary law: the disparity in the use of “accomplice accusations” between Fourth Amendment (accomplice accusations sufficiently reliable to establish probable cause for search warrant), and Sixth Amendment analysis (accomplice accusations are so inherently unreliable, that Congress could not have meant to have included them within the ambit of the Declaration Against Penal Interest exception to the hearsay rule [Fed. Rules Evid. 804(b)(3)].)
As explained in the Law Review Article, a statement is either made under circumstances that indicate that they are reliable, or not. As with all hearsay exceptions, if facts and circumstances exist that show that the person who made the out-of-court statement had an apparent motive to falsify, then the hearsay exception doesn’t apply. So, for example, two men rob a bank. The men were wearing masks. They both get arrested and are being interrogated at the police station. One of the men, “Joe”, tells the police: ”Bill shot the bank guard; I (“Joe”) just drove the get-away car and didn’t know that their guns were loaded”, statement that minimizes Bill’s culpability while maximizing Joe’s. So, Joe had a motive to testify falsely.
So, the men get separate trials. At Bill’s bank robbery trial, the government calls Joe to the witness stand. Joe’s criminal case is still pending. While on the stand Joe is asked about what happened at the bank. Joe “takes the fifth“ (invokes his right against self-incrimination); and the government now offers Joe’s police station out of court statement at Bill’s trial; claiming that because the statement implicates Joe in the bank robbery, that he’s unavailable as a witness, and, therefore, the statement is admissible under the declaration against penal interest exception to the hearsay rule; Fed. Rules Evid. 804(b)(3). Because of Joe’s apparent motive to have falsified his statement to the police, the federal courts of appeals held that the statement was so inherently unreliable, that Congress could not have contemplated that such an accomplice accusation could have been what Congress envisioned falling within the ambit of Fed. Rules Evid. 804(b)(3), because it’s inherently “unreliable.”
On the other hand, when the federal courts have considered the exact accomplice accusation (Joe’s statement about what happened at the bank that also implicates Bill) for the purpose of obtaining a search warrant for Bill’s house (or some other logically connected place that the stolen money might be), the federal court’s have held Joe’s police station accomplice accusation to be reliable.
Although the tests may be somewhat different, the statement is either reliable or not, and treating the statement as unreliable for Sixth Amendment purposes, but as reliable for Fourth Amendment purposes, is simply illogical. That’s what Mr. Steering’s article is all about; this disparate treatment. See, “The Application Of Sixth Amendment Tests For The Reliability Of Hearsay Evidence To Probable Cause Determinations”, 16 Rutgers Law Journal 869 (1985.)
MR. STEERING’S FIRST NOTABLE ORANGE COUNTY CRIMINAL CASE; CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL HOLDS THAT MAN INNOCENT OF SECOND DEGREE FELONY MURDER FOR DRUG SALE BECAUSE PCP FOUND NOT TO CREATE A HIGH PROBABILITY OF DEATH.
PEOPLE v. MARK EDWIN TAYLOR; NO SECOND DEGREE MURDER LIABILITY FOR PCP DISTRIBUTION.
Mr. Steering also markedly changed the application of the “Second Degree Felony Murder Rule” in California, when the Fourth District Court of Appeal (Division Three) held that a person could not be held liable for murder in California for PCP distribution, as PCP is not drug that carries with it, “a high probability of death” when used illicitly (See, People v. Taylor, 6 Cal.App.4th 1084 (1992).)
THE EARLY YEARS; CRIMINAL CASES IN GEORGIA.
Martin v. Hardison; On His First Day As A Lawyer, Jerry L. Steering Invents The Use Of The Writ Of Habeas Corpus, For Vacating Misdemeanor Traffic Convictions In Georgia, Resulting In The Return Of Hundreds Of Suspended And Revoked Driver Licenses.
Georgia Supreme Court Declares Right To Drive A Protected Liberty Interest; Hardison v. Martin.
In Hardison v. Martin, 254 Ga. 719 (1985) the State of Georgia was turned upside down as a result of Mr. Steering’s invention of use of “The Great Writ“ to obtain driver license reinstatement. In literally his first case as a lawyer (and literally his first day as a lawyer in court), Mr. Steering “invented” the use of the “Writ of Habeas Corpus” (the “Great Writ“), to vacate wrongful convictions of innocents for serious traffic offenses (misdemeanors and felonies), that result in driver license suspension or revocation.
Prior to Hardison v. Martin, 254 Ga. 719 (1985), a motorist had no remedy for the suspension or revocation of his/her driver license, if he/she had plead guilty to the underlying traffic offense, and the motorist was neither in police custody (i.e. prison or jail), nor “constructive custody” (i.e. parole or probation.) Hardison v. Martin expanded Georgia’s definition of restraint of one’s liberty under the Georgia Habeas Corpus statute, from being in prison or jail, or being on probation or parole, to being entitled to a driver license. In other words, because of the widespread use of cars in today’s society to travel, there is a constitutionally protected “liberty interest” in being able to drive a vehicle; not a mere “privilege” that the state may revoke at its whim (a right, rather than a privilege.)
Hardison v. Martin; The Problem; No Remedy To Right The Wrong.
In Hardison v. Martin, 254 Ga. 719 (1985), Randall Martin was a car salesman at an Athens, Georgia, Cadillac Dealership. He needed to have a valid Georgia driver license, to work as a car salesmen. Mr. Martin had a tough break-up with his girlfriend, and got drunk to deal with his mental anguish. Over a two day period, Mr. Martin got arrested twice for DUI. The second DUI arrest was prompted by a call to the police by Mr. Martin’s girlfriend, reporting that Mr. Martin had broken a window on her home (while knocking too hard; the product of ethanol and inadvertence, and being “jilted“), and that she just wanted him gone. When the police were driving Westbound on the Atlanta Highway (the B52′s “Love Shack’s” Atlanta Highway), Mr. Martin was driving Westbound. There was quite a large amount of lawn / grass that separated the Eastbound from the Westbound lanes. Mr. Martin correctly guessed that the police officer, who was traveling Eastbound, was looking for him. However, it took the officer about fifteen seconds to reach the next road to turn-around, to pursue Mr. Martin Westbound (this wasn’t life or death, when an officer might drive over a large grass median.) So, Mr. Martin immediately pulled his car over to the curb, parked on the shoulder of the Atlanta Highway, and ran into the woods; hiding from the police.
The officers simply waited for a few hours at Mr. Martin’s car, and he eventually came out of the woods and surrendered to the police. Over his two day drunken binge (from being “jilted”), Mr. Martin had been arrested for DUI for the first day, and for DUI and eluding an officer in a vehicle, on the second day. Mr. Martin pleaded guilty to all three misdemeanor traffic offenses, and was given three years probation and a $700.00 fine. However, the Clerk of the Clarke County, Georgia Superior Court neglected to send copies of Mr. Martin’s judgment of conviction for the three traffic misdemeanors to the Georgia Department of Public Safety (Georgia’s combo State Patrol and DMV) for over three years; only doing so in response to the Probation Office notifying the Superior Court Clerk’s Office that Mr. Martin had successfully completed his three years of probation.
After the Georgia Department of Public Safety received Mr. Martin’s judgment of conviction from the Clerk’s Office, they notified him that he was an “habitual violator” under Georgia law, for having three serious traffic convictions within five years. See, OCGA 40-5-58 . Under that law, it was a felony for Mr. Martin to drive for five years.
After being declared an habitual violator (OCGA 40-5-58 ), Mr. Martin lost his job as a car salesman, as he couldn’t drive. His lawyer (Mr. Steering’s old boss, Howard Tate Scott) brought a motion to set-aside his guilty plea to the eluding an officer in a vehicle Count, on the ground that although Mr. Martin did flee the officer on foot, that he didn’t use his car to evade the police, and, therefore, cannot be guilty of the misdemeanor offense of eluding an officer in a vehicle, and deserves his driver license back. So, although Mr. Martin was guilty of a crime, he was not guilty of a traffic offense, and his right to drive should not have been revoked.
At the hearing on the motion to vacate Mr. Martin’s guilty plea, the arresting officer testified to the above and foregoing; that Mr. Martin eluded him, but on foot; not in his car. The Judge nonetheless denied the motion. The motion was written and orchestrated by Mr. Steering, for his then boss, Howard Tate Scott, during his last semester of law school.
Thus, Mr. Martin had proof, based on the arresting officer’s own version of the events, that the he was innocent of the traffic misdemeanor that resulted in his being declared an habitual violator, eluding an officer in a vehicle, and the loss of his job. However, as one can’t appeal a guilty plea, as there is nothing to appeal from; there was no trial to complain was unfair. Also, because Mr. Martin was not in prison or jail, or on parole or probation, as the judgment of conviction was sent in after he was off probation, under the Georgia Habeas Corpus statute, there was not a sufficient restraint on Mr. Martin’s liberty for Habeas Corpus relief to lie; or was it?
Hardison v. Martin; The Solution; For Every Wrong There Must Be A Remedy.
Not taking “No” for an answer, on the first day that Mr. Steering was an attorney, June 25, 1984, a hearing was held on the Writ of Habeas Corpus against Colonel Hugh Hardison, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of public safety. While still a law clerk, Mr. Steering ghostwrote a Habeas Corpus Petition for Mr. Martin, contending that Colonel Hugh Hardison was restraining Mr. Martin’s liberty by revoking his driver license, and requesting that Clarke County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Gaines order Colonel Hardison to give Mr. Martin his driver license back. After ruling that modern American cases and the change in modern society should recognize other forms of restraints on one’s liberty other than prison, jail, parole and probation, and that “mere technicalities of law” should not permit the scales of justice to be tipped in favor of punishing the indisputably innocent, Clarke County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Gaines ordered Colonel Hardison to give Mr. Martin his driver license back. Judge Gaines granted the Writ of Habeas Corpus on the ground that driver license revocation qualified as a sufficient restraint on one’s liberty upon which Habeas Corpus relief may lie.
Because Mr. Martin was indisputably innocent, the Georgia Supreme Court was not going to leave him without remedy for the Clerk’s belated delivery of the judgment of his conviction to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. When the Georgia Attorney General’s Office appealed Judge Gaine’s granting of the Writ of Habeas corpus for Mr. Martin, a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Judge Gaines’ order; creating the right to use the remedy of Habeas Corpus to vacate traffic offense convictions in Georgia.
Hardison v. Martin; The Political Fallout.
Because in the State of Georgia, there were no “infractions” or “violations”, just misdemeanors or felonies (i.e. DUI misdemeanor; bald tires ticket misdemeanor, and robbery and murder, felonies), the ruling in the Martin case had dramatic consequences in the State of Georgia. In none, or almost none, of the guilty pleas in Georgia traffic cases, did the Judge obtain either written or oral (and reported / recorded) waivers of the certain fundamental Constitutional rights that Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969.) guarantees. However, in order to withstand attack upon conviction, even a misdemeanor traffic violation, by way of a Writ of Habeas Corpus, a guilty plea (or no contest / nolo contendre plea) must include some sort of record (i.e. a written waiver of rights form, or a transcript of an oral in-court waiver of rights) of a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of certain basic Constitutional rights, such as: 1) the right to counsel; 2) the right to remain silent; 3) the right to a public trial by jury: 4) the right to use the compulsory process of the court; and 5) the right to confront (cross-examine) one’s accusers. See, Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969.)
Therefore, because the majority of traffic convictions in Georgia were the result of guilty pleas, and all of them were at least misdemeanors, almost all of them in the state were now subject to being set aside via Habeas Corpus. Many of them were.
The fallout from Hardison v. Martin was so great, that in response to Hardison the Georgia legislature enacted OCGA § 40-13-33. Subsection (a) of that statute provides that any challenge which may be filed to a misdemeanor traffic offense must be filed within 180 days of conviction.
The State v. Susan Jones; Everyone Needs To Start Sometime; Mr. Steering’s First Jury Trial; Let’s Convict the Obviously Innocent.
Mr. Steering’s first criminal jury trial was the case of The State of Georgia v. Susan Jones; Clarke County (Georgia) State Court. In that case, defendant Susan Jones was being prosecuted for misdemeanor criminal utterance of a bad check. OCGA 16-9-20 (uttering a check for present consideration, knowing that the check will not be honored by the bank.) On the same day that Mrs. Jones had paid her $380.00 monthly rent for her apartment by check, she had also made a $400.00 bank deposit into her checking account (before she paid her rent.) However, the landlord didn’t deposit the check for about a month. When the check was presented to Ms. Jones’ bank for payment, the bank denied the payment, as her account had dipped a few dollars below the $380.00 check amount, due to miscellaneous bank charges.
On the day before the Jones “bad-check” trial, the Clarke County Solicitor, Ken Stula, received Susan Jones’ bank records. It was apparent from the bank account records that she had no intent to defraud her landlord, and that she was innocent. On the morning of the trial, Susan Jones, represented by then young attorney Jerry L. Steering, answered ready for trial. The prosecution, represented by Clarke County Solicitor, Ken Stula, told the Clarke County State Court (Judge Grady C. Pittard, Jr.), that his office had obtained Ms. Jones’ bank records yesterday, that the records show that she was innocent, and that The State would like to dismiss the case. Judge Pittard scolded Mr. Stula for filing cases without first properly investigating them, and for waiting to the last minute to investigate them. However, Judge Pittard refused to dismiss the case, and told Mr. Stula not to worry; that he would “help” him. When Mr. Steering asked the Court what that was supposed to mean, Judge Pittard threatened Mr. Steering with jail for even asking.
During the trial, young attorney Jerry Steering found out what the “help” was. Judge Pittard refused to allow Mr. Steering to have the manager of Ms. Jones’ bank, identify or authenticate her bank account records, that proved her innocence. Mr. Steering could not believe that in his first trial, that the Judge and the prosecutor, were making a game out of attempting to convict a woman who they both knew was truly innocent. The Judge was “teaching the prosecutor a lesson”, and the prosecutor was going through the motions; almost struggling to keep a straight face. Mr. Steering doesn’t believe that Judge Pittard would had let a conviction of Ms. Jones stand. He was just having fun with the whole situation, at Mrs. Jones’ expense.
Notwithstanding the little game between the court and the prosecution, the jury saw right through it, and acquitted Ms. Jones in five minutes; literally five minutes. The fastest verdict that Mr. Steering has ever received.
This case was exceptionally “novel”, in the sense that once the prosecution moves to dismiss a criminal action, the court has no choice other than to dismiss it. It comes from the American doctrine of “separation of powers“. The judicial branch of government (the courts) cannot order the executive branch of government to prosecute anyone; ever. Only the executive branch of government (i.e. the President, a Governor, an Attorney General or a District Attorney, City Attorney, United States Attorney; in this case the State misdemeanor prosecutor; the Solicitor) can decide to criminally prosecute a person or corporation. So, although what Judge Pittard was doing was exceptionally unlawful, the defendant ultimately prevailed.
The State of Georgia v. Katie Mae Wilson; Mr. Steering’s First Murder Case.
Mr. Steering tried a murder case in Athens, Georgia; several months after graduation from law school in 1984. It was defending that case that gave Mr. Steering his first taste of police perjury. The main investigating officer lied on the witness stand at the murder trial, about a discussion that he had with Mr. Steering, so Mr. Steering knew that the police officer was lying. Although the defendant did kill her husband, Curtis Wilson, with a boiling pot (smashed it over his head), Mr. Steering was still able to pull-off a manslaughter conviction out of the jury, and a six month jail sentence for his client; Katie Mae Wilson.
Mr. Steering got plenty of trial experience in Clarke County and Oconee County State Court, before the Hon. Grady C. Pittard, Jr. In Georgia, the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes felony cases, but the County Solicitor’s Office prosecute misdemeanors. Similarly, in Georgia, felonies are handled in the Superior Court, but misdemeanors are handled in the “State Court” (both of the Courts are courts of the State of Georgia.)
CRIMINAL CASES AFTER MR. STEERING MOVES TO CALIFORNIA.
MR. STEERING IS APPOINTED BY CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEALS TO REPRESENT INDIGENT CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS ON MAJOR FELONY APPEALS.
Based on the quality of his legal writing, when Mr. Steering first moved to California in 1986, he applied to the Fourth District Court of Appeal (that includes Imperial County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County) for appointments for serious felony convictions for those in prison, and without sufficient resources to pay for an appellate attorney.
In his first appointed appeal, Mr. Steering represented a Polish immigrant who chopped-up his wife with an axe in San Diego (he caught her in bed with another, and waited for her paramour to leave. He left their wedding photos on her chopped-up body, and called the police to turn himself in. The jury gave him Second Degree Murder, and Mr. Steering was trying for a reduction to manslaughter.
In his next appointed appeal, he represented a man who had attempted to hold-up a liquor store by draping a sweater over his hand with his finger pointed to attempt to look like a gun barrel. The store clerk immediately recognized the items underneath the sweater as a hand, hit the alarm, walked around the corner and beat-up the defendant / appellant. Mr. Steering tried to appeal on theory of the impossibility defense, but the Court of Appeal wouldn’t go for it. Under the impossibility defense to crime, one does an act that no reasonable person would think would result in the desired result of the action. The classic example is the Voodoo Witch Doctor who casts a spell and sticks pins in a Voodoo doll in an attempt to kill another. Under the impossibility defense, no reasonable person would believe that their actions, in that case, casting a death spell and sticking pins in a Voodoo doll, would result in death or any harm; yet the mental element of most crimes, the mens rea, is the same in such a case as if one believe that home made bomb would work, when it wouldn’t as assembled; when it would have been impossible for that home made bomb to explode. This was the case with the sweater. It was so obvious from the look of a flimsy sweater draped over the defendant’s / appellant’s hand with pointing finger that there was no gun, only a finger, that no reasonable person would have believed that the result (i.e. making the store clerk believe that he had a gun under the sweater) would have resulted from the defendant’s / appellant’s conduct. Again, however, this is a criminal case, and the Court of Appeal ignored the Voodoo Doctor’s pin-sticking, and affirmed the conviction.
Mr. Steering continued his appointed appellate counsel for several more years.
Bill L. Harbert v. United States of America; The King Can Do No Wrong.
Mr. Steering has even filed a civil action for a Declaratory Judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (that got transferred to the Northern District of Alabama) Bill L. Harbert v. United States of America; District Court Case No. 05-00173 CV-LSC-S. Mr. Harbert, was essentially “extorted” by the United States government to guarantee a $54,000,000.00 fine for a Sherman Act violation by a Liechtenstein company owned by him. He was neither a defendant to the criminal Sherman Act case against Bilhar International Construction, nor accused in any way in the Indictment of his company, and its London based President; Roy Anderson. The Declaratory Judgment action sought to relieve Mr. Harbert from having to pay that fine, based on the ground that he was extorted into signing the personal guarantee for the $54,000,000.00 fine imposed against Bilhar International Construction in said Sherman Act case.
Bill L. Harbert International Construction, one of the largest international construction companies in the world, and its affiliate company; Bilhar International Construction, a Lichtenstein company, was awarded a contract to rebuild the water delivery system for Cairo, Egypt by the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”.) The $285,000.00 contract was a product of the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords, where President Carter negotiated permanent peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Although President Carter may have been a persuasive fellow, the United States had to provide and to pay for large construction projects in Egypt, to get Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to sign the peace treaty.
After being awarded the contract and completing the Cairo water delivery project, the United States government indicted Bill L. Harbert International Construction, Bilhar Company, and it’s London-based President, Roy Hill, for violation of the Sherman Act and making a false claim for payment to “Uncle Sam“; claiming that the Bill Harbert companies had “rigged the bidding“ on the water delivery project, via a group of several international construction companies, called “The Frankfort Club.” The Sherman Act is a federal law that prohibits “anti-competitive business practices”, and nothing is more anti-competitive than bid-rigging.
Although the government Indicted Bilhar and an affiliate company, along with its President, Elmore Roy Hill, the government never claimed that Bill L. Harbert even knew about the bid-rigging. However, in order to settle the criminal action against Bilhar, Mr. Harbert was forced to (extorted) sign a personal guarantee of the criminal fine against Bilhar; a $54,000,000.00 fine. The fine terms called for an immediate payment of $10,000,000.00, and payments of approximately $740,000.00 per month. The personal guarantee also provided for the estate of Mr. Harbert to continue to be liable for the fine, even after his death.
Since he was never Indicted, the government couldn’t collect any monies from Mr. Harbert, other than via his personal guarantee. Moreover, Bilhar company, the actual defendant, only had $34,000,000.00 in total assets. Therefore, Mr. Harbert was being forced to pay $20,000,000.00 more than the total assets of the defendant company. Something had to be done. Although Mr. Harbert’s personal guarantee was negotiated by Nashville, Tennessee attorney Jim Neal (the man who put Jimmy Hoffa in prison), and his companies were represented by, among others, Charles F. (“Rick”) Rule (lead counsel for Microsoft in USA v. Microsoft), no one had a solution for Mr. Harbert’s problem; getting out of paying the remained of the$54,000,000.00 fine, and at least not having to pay the extra $20,000,000.00.
In 2002, Mr. Steering was hired by the Harbert legal team to solve the problem. Mr. Steering came-up with the idea of filing an action for a Declaratory Judgment; ordering that Mr. Harbert is excused from paying any of the fine, as being the product of extortion by Uncle Sam himself. While this case was going on, former United States Senator Bob Dole (R-Kansas) was escorting Mr. Steering around Capitol Hill, and introducing him to Senators and United States Representatives (Members of the House of Representatives) to sign-off on a Congressional letter of support for Mr. Harbert’s cause. On June 19, 2003, Sen. Dole even wrote to Attorney General Ashcroft, and accused the United States Department of Justice of extorting the personal guarantee from Mr. Harbert. See, June 19, 2003 letter from Bob Dole to Attorney General Ashcroft.
The Eleventh Circuit ultimately held that whether or not Mr. Harbert was “extorted” by Uncle Same, that “The King Can Do No Wrong“; that notwithstanding the oppressive conduct by the government toward Mr. Harbert, that the federal government had “Sovereign Immunity” from being sued. In many unfortunate cases, it is true; “The King Can Do No Wrong“.
Jerry L. Steering also handles many other types of criminal cases, such as:
* DUI cases; * Drug cases; * Theft / Fraud cases; * Failure to Register cases (drug offenders and sex offenders); *Assault and Battery cases; * Domestic Violence cases; * Criminal Threats; * Economic Crimes cases (investor fraud, securities laws violations; * Homicide cases; * Other offense * Towing Cases
If you have a legal problem, please call (949) 474-1849 for a free telephone consultation to see if we can help you with your criminal law problems.
Jerry L. Steering, Esq.
The Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering services the following Orange County Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places.
Incorporated Places have an asterisk (*).