Friday, October 13, 2017

Good Cop, Bad Cops Pt 4


     (By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
(Disclaimer: The proprietor of this blog and Mr. Wilson have an ongoing years-long friendship, in which the former has benefited on several occasions by the generosity of the latter. However, that in no way, shape or form has influenced the blog owner’s decision to post a series of articles about his case nor the content of what is written below.)
By now, even if you've had the intestinal fortitude to read this series of articles consecutively, I think it's well worth everyone's time to sum up our police soap opera: MA State Trooper Antone Wilson is assaulted, detained and ultimately was under false imprisonment at the hands of the Franklin, MA Police Department, who then had the nerve to file charges of assault against him. His attorneys were corrupt, incompetent and/or duplicitous enough to earn long suspensions from the state Board of Bar Overseers and he did not get the support he expected from his colleagues in the department. His family was stalked and burgled for years by elements believed to be state police-affiliated, his troop commander tried to illegally prevent him from serving with his Army Reserve unit and, oh yeah, a shrink from that same Massachusetts State Police deemed him unfit for duty for simply recognizing and pushing back against his own persecution. Are we all on the same page now, boys and girls? Excellent. Let's continue.
     By May of 2009, nearly eight and a half years after his ordeal began in Franklin, Massachusetts, Tpr Wilson was sent to another psychiatrist by the MA State Police for another in-depth assessment. As he had with the first shrink, Wilson provided documentation to this one who was ostensibly brought in for a third and definitive opinion (the second counselor had been paid out of Wilson's own pocket) and laid out all the facts regarding his persecution at the hands of the state police, the Franklin Police and the corruption and duplicity of his own attorneys. Wilson informed him he was being counseled by another behaviorist and had even begun serving with a local Army Homeland Security unit that was attached to FEMA. After this May meeting, Wilson was placed on active duty orders by the Army between July to October. Perhaps not surprisingly to Wilson, the third shrink backed up the first one's diagnosis and declared he was suffering from PTSD (although he'd attributed it to the improper actions of the state police and his attorneys).     
     By July 2009, Wilson was informed by the state police that he was still unfit to return to law enforcement duties because of the PTSD diagnoses and that they would discharge him from duty a month later, though they informed him that he should contact the agency if he requested an accommodation-read appeal. Wilson, requested another review because he believed the state police and the behaviorists misunderstood his motives. Wilson got this idea because the psychiatrist's diagnosis suggested Wilson was aiming for a 72% tax-free disability pension (he was not.). It's known as "a 72 and screw."
     Hence Wilson's request for an almost unprecedented third opinion. For once, things seemed to be going his way. The psychiatrist's documented assessment confirmed Wilson's contention that the mistreatment at the hands of the state police and his own attorneys was directly attributable to his condition. In fact, the third behaviorist's report stated that Tpr Wilson had improved enough to return to duties and he even suggested that Wilson be allowed to serve as police academy drill instructor. He'd further noted he could be placed on light or limited police duties as he continued his counseling.
     The counselor confirmed a PTSD diagnosis but concluded that the so-called PTSD would resolve itself over time, his psychological bearing being harmed, primarily, by the state police dishonoring him. Unfortunately, the psychiatrist's report never mentioned that his family had been stalked and burgled. However, he placed the blame for what had happened to Wilson squarely on the shoulders of the state police. Not surprisingly, this was the moment the Massachusetts State Police chose to stop listening to Wilson's shrinks.

General is Honorable Only in Rank
At this point, it's worth noting that Mr. Wilson had been on limited duty with the department for about eight months when he got wind he was denied reinstatement to full duty. Furthermore, he'd received word of his termination from the State Police while on active military duty attached to the Department of Homeland Security. In other words, Uncle Sam thought Wilson was good enough to defend the nation but the MA State Police couldn't trust him to patrol a patch of highway in the Bay State.
     Because of the time he'd accrued, he could retire with a pension even though his discharge was termed "general" rather than "honorable." To anyone afflicted with such a seemingly small distinction, this is detrimental to future job prospects and Wilson was not immune. Now, he understood by this this time he could file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Not only would that have been his legal and moral right, Wilson was also savvy enough to know such a lawsuit would bring out the dirty particulars and potentially to be amplified in the media.
     It's also worth reiterating this was exactly what the Massachusetts State Police did not want to happen, as they'd gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up that dirty laundry, even going as far as to cover for a municipal police agency after it had physically and verbally abused one of their own troopers. The department was also smart enough to know the legal malpractice would be at least as explosive, if not more, than the rest of the dirt.
     The Massachusetts State Police was also aware that Wilson had the documentation to prove his case (remember, his house had been burgled and legal documents rifled through). Put together in a comprehensive form, even a casual outsider such as myself could immediately see how radioactive this case was and still is to all parties who had something to protect.
     Among those interested parties was the Franklin, MA Police Department who, on the initiatives of the State Police, would probably not perjure themselves in court if compelled to and that it would further implicate that same MA State Police. In other words, in this increasingly complicated web of deceit, the State Police were primarily looking out for their own interests in their cynical assistance of the Franklin Police. But, as anyone can tell you, the coverup is always worse than the original crime. That applies to politics and everywhere else in life and this case is no exception.

Manoff, Hands of Fate
This brings us, and poor Tpr Wilson, into the deteriorating orbit of one Paul Manoff, Esq.
     Manoff is like a living object lesson in a John Grisham novel as to what a lawyer should not be. It's worth noting for those who lost track while keeping score that Trooper Wilson had by time this been afflicted with no less than four incompetent, corrupt and/or duplicitous attorneys and all Manoff did was continue that unbroken skein of bad luck.
     Whatever malevolent hands of cruel fate that brought poor Wilson to Manoff's office door for its cosmic amusement, Wilson eventually secured Manoff as his new counsel for another $10,000 retainer. The lawyer informed him his case was to be tried in federal court. Wilson immediately saw the impact could be exponentially greater on a federal level than it likely would've ever had on a state level. Furthermore, the players involved wouldn't be able to fiddle fuck with the outcome as they had in state-run courts. In order to ensure that the case would go forward, Wilson never told Manoff about his bad luck with attorneys.
     However, as with his prior legal counsel, Wilson immediately became suspicious when Manoff announced the case would be tried in state court, after all, since he decided (or had decided for him) that this was a state matter. So Manoff filed the complaint in Suffolk County Superior Court. Furthermore, when Wilson asked Manoff for State Police documentation, which was his right to see, Manoff was sluggish in responding. Of particular interest to Wilson were documents dealing with his disciplinary history because he'd suspected the State Police would've "disappeared" certain documents (called "spoliation" in legal jargon).
     Then, Wilson found out that his new attorney had been temporarily suspended by the State Board of Bar Overseers for a minor violation. Despite this, Manoff had the audacity to beg Wilson to retain his services as the suspension, Wilson was informed, wouldn't last long. Despite the horrible optics, Antone Wilson's a pretty trusting guy by nature so not only had he agreed to do so he even patted Manoff's chubby hand and supported him during his suspension.

     (Note: Manoff has since been reprimanded, placed on probation and suspended again as recently as a year and a half ago for, surprise surprise, neglect of his clients, among other charges. You can read about it here. It's also worth noting the same Paul Allan Manoff had also made quite a reputation for himself in the state of California and their own Board of Bar Overseers, which had described Manoff as potentially representing "a substantial threat of harm to the interests of (his) clients or to the public.")
     Despite his trust in his now officially useless attorney, Wilson was now admonishing Manoff for being "a sloppy administrator" especially in the area of securing and sharing with his client defense requests, but continued his support.. In fact, Manoff finally got around to asking Wilson for some document requests from the State Police. As a courtesy to Manoff, Wilson agreed to communicate with him through email. However sometimes electronic communication makes the world a much larger place rather than a smaller one and this case was no exception.
(Part 5.)

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