3.13.2012

The Trials and Tribulations of Law in America



Article and Life Experience
WANTED: Paul Bourassa
Crime: Theft by Deception, Unlawful Conversion, Bench Warrant for previous crimes not associated with this one.
Last known location: Lexington, KY
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            One of the many benefits of living in a country such as America is the benefit of knowing that when something wrong occurs in our lives of a criminal nature or criminally suspicious, we can call our local law enforcement to help.  As with any system of law there will always be room to debate and improve especially when the wording or application is “in the grey area.”  Those who decide what is and isn’t criminal themselves may be subject to “eh, not worth the time” or “not worthy of indictment” if a given set of circumstances arise that are certainly civil but may not necessarily be criminal and cost the taxpayers unnecessary money.  This subjects the citizen to a shuffle of offices without justice, without answers and somewhat enriched by the experience as a whole.  Readers, not only will we need our truth glasses in this, but we may need a pillow for our heads when we faint from being overwhelmed by the application of this set of particulars in ordinances or law. 
            The Scenario:  Subject A has been declared terminal with brain cancer.  Subject B who is a friend of Subject A’s son, is offered a deal on use of a vehicle, for 50 dollars per week until able to afford to arrange other means.  Subject A’s gives 1st week use, free, receives 50 dollars the next week and two weeks later an additional 100 dollars from Subject B.  Subject a dies and Subject B’s time to pay to use goes a full week over due.  Subject A’s spouse goes to find Subject B at their known address, discovers home is abandoned and no car to be found.  Spouse goes to known work place of Subject B, discovers that Subject B has quit their job and the girlfriend of Subject B, who also works there, has also ended her employment.  The vehicle cannot be located, the “user” of the vehicle cannot be located, the owner of the car is now Subject A’s spouse as no title transfer occurred nor was any exclusive rights given except the verbal arrangement between the now deceased and Subject B. That pretty much sums up the scenario, what happens next will shock and astound some of you.
            The spouse now wishes to recover the vehicle, but cannot as there is no known location of Subject B, nor is there a place of employment to find him.  Logic dictates that we would call the local police and fill out some sort of report.  That was indeed attempted and without any success in accomplishing and here is why:  “It’s a civil matter.” This was told to the spouse when she tried to file a stolen vehicle complaint, the sheriff’s office of her county said, because the deal was made verbally, it is binding and it is no different than going to a car lot and taking a car and not making payments on it, there is no crime committed, only the loss of property’s payment and in order to get any recovery, she would have to file a claim in court, which means summons and court dates, with attorneys and such, costing the spouse an out of pocket amount close to 2500 dollars, by the way, the vehicle is valued at 4000 dollars.   I am certain by now, lots of police officers who read this would argue, “theft by deception”, which is a misdemeanor crime and yes there is a degree of agreement, however, since we cannot locate the subject I would also presume it safe to say he might have crossed a county or even maybe a state line, this in consideration to the “up and moved out and quit the job” and yes, it gets even deeper.
            While digging into the depths of truth and researching the circumstances, I chose to call my county officials (which is adjacent to the county this happened in) and discovered, by presenting the above scenario to them, I heard, “unlawful conversion” and “theft by deception” as well as “why don’t you just get the car?” Once I explained not being able to find Subject B, the local police said, “If it had happened in our county, regardless of verbal or written contract, we could pick him up.” I was curious, how could one county over see things so differently, was there something more to this or am I just not accustomed to hearing one office say we can help and the other say not our problem.  I decided to contact the spouse direct and explained to her what we had uncovered and that maybe a in person approach together at the sheriff’s door would help, little did I know what I was about to uncover would make me sit down and share this with our readers as a “have to know” article.
            The Battle:  Upon meeting with the spouse and going over some details, we travelled to that sheriff’s office, with our new information of what we might be able to file, in order to locate both Subject B and the vehicle.  We walked up to the counter and proceeded to tell the deputy we would like to file an “unlawful conversion” or “theft by deception” complaint.  The deputy listened to the circumstances and smiled saying, “Sorry, that is a civil matter, even if the verbal agreement was made with a terminally ill brain cancer patient, I am sorry for your loss, nothing we can do.”  We immediately demanded to speak with the sheriff direct and after a couple of moments were directed around the counter and walked into Sheriff Kevin Corman’s office.  We explained the set of circumstances again and with a smile on his face, and a nod over to the deputy, he again stated, civil matter.  Upon conversing with this sheriff I mentioned, “Unlawful conversion” (which is listed in the local ordinances), he replied with “in my 25 years of work, I have never heard of a law called unlawful conversion and I still say there was no crime committed.”  I and the spouse were floored, not only by how a law enforcement official didn’t even know the ordinances of his county but how is it that someone can make a deal with a dying person, break a contract, disappear and not be held accountable criminally – the verbal agreement in this state is as binding as one that is written. 
            Two hours later, Sheriff Corman directed us to the county attorney’s office noting that “it is up to the county attorney to decide whether or not to prosecute or even go after this guy, but in my opinion, it was a bad deal from the start and doubtful anything can be done.” The spouse and I hopeful that maybe talking to the county attorney about the whole scenario, would at least net some sort of “let me look into this” or “yep, I think it is a criminal act.” That would have been a delightful scenario, if it had occurred.  Upon entering the county attorney’s office, Mr. Brian Goettl acknowledged they had received a call from the sheriff, and before we could get the entire scenario out, “civil matter and won’t hold up in court.”  I have to admit something to our readers, at this point, frustration was setting in on me and the spouse, so I prompted the attorney with, “explain to me, how a verbal contract made with a terminally ill patient 34 days away from death, will hold water in a court as you and I both know, contracts are generally written in favor of the people who organize them and in this case, it was a dying man.” What happened next caused me to snap somewhat as what I heard from this person who calls himself the county attorney was, “excuse me and where did you go to law school at?” in a tone that was both loud and full of sarcasm, so much so, I had to wipe it off my feet to keep it from tracking all over the office I was standing in.
            A short debate of what is right and what is wrong, along with the ethical treatment of citizens who inquire about what can be done and why people in that position should never treat citizens as though they are better than anyone followed as well as the acquisition of the attorney’s name who also said, “this is my office and I decide who gets to file and who don’t”. My reply, “my taxes pay for your job, this building is rented and sitting on government property and do not insult me or be chide with me, when we are in search of what avenues can be taken as though you are better than me, I get dressed the same way as you.”  Readers, I must pause here as remembering this “class A” clown still gets my blood pressure up.  As Mr. Goettl passed by the spouse and me, he apologized for insulting us and for our loss, I reassured him that ethically, he was way out of line and votes carry strong messages.  At this point, I asked the spouse to return me to our original meeting spot and I would look into what actually could be done and given the experience of what we encountered, I looked forward to finding out.
            The Details:  Subject B is Paul Bourassa, he has a criminal background and did serve some time in jail in yet another county within this state, he is a friend of Subject A’s son, who also has an extensive criminal background, so much so, spouse was recognized by the sheriff only by association and immediately displayed distaste at the audacity of coming to file a report as they don’t like the spouse’s son.  The arrogance of the county attorney did not set right with me as stated, upon further inquiry, we were told we could go to courthouse, file criminal complaint there, have it presented to a grand jury and let them decide whether or not to prosecute or if there was even a crime committed, in order to do that, an attorney would need to be retained, court costs assessed, hourly charges and ect, going back to square one of “civil matter”. The spouse mentioned is my sister and her husband is the deceased and the dividing line of jurisdiction over which county has control, the yellow dividing line in the highway, just outside her subdivision.  The state is Kentucky and the two counties in question, Jessamine and Fayette, where Fayette offered more help and education than Jessamine. 
            The Opinion:  It is the sole opinion of this author, that a true travesty of justice has occurred and that when someone takes advantage of a situation such as the one mentioned above, there should be a more definitive approach that law enforcement can take.  Of all the things I encountered today, what my eyes saw and my ears heard was a “good old boy” talking to citizens he thought to be ignorant of the law (research in hand during encounter), a 20 year veteran admitting he did not know his own laws he is sworn to uphold, a county attorney with an obvious ego problem who needs to be reminded that WE the TAXPAYER put you there and respect of your fellow citizen is ethically correct, never mistreat or talk down to the very people who pay your salary, you might find yourself fired with no choice in its outcome or maybe being spanked by an ethics committee in our BAR Association and through all of this, not one single report filed so that anything further can be done or even show proof of attempt in a civil suit because we all know the judges like seeing hard evidence.  This is a retardation of law and application in one county, with people who are strapped into long term positions and only seem to care when it affects them, proof of this fact, the sheriff put us on hold to talk to the sheriff of Lancaster while we were in his office to talk about, “haven’t seen you in a long time, we need to get together.” I can only say this, Paul this author, family member to the spouse and concerned citizen in general, will not rest or let up till you are in jail and punished for taking advantage of a system, people and family all in one premeditated conversation.  Let it be no surprise, you are arrested when you are and know this, when you are, I will be in that courtroom to verify your criminal behavior, Face Book profile picture and truth glasses in hand.

            

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