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Facebook Messages Land Rural Georgian Tree Farmer In Jail And May Cost Him Millions
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Facebook Messages Land Rural Georgian Tree Farmer In Jail And May Cost Him Millions

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Lister Harrell, a maliciously prosecuted farmer, is now facing the prospect of losing his family farm of thousands of acres in southern Georgia. At the same time his young son has been taken by …

Lister Harrell, a maliciously prosecuted farmer, is now facing the prospect of losing his family farm of thousands of acres in southern Georgia. At the same time his young son has been taken by authorities and placed in the state’s foster care system.

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  • 1. April 29th , 2014 For Immediate Release Facebook Messages Land Rural Georgian Tree Farmer In Jail And May Cost Him Millions Lister Harrell, a maliciously prosecuted farmer, is now facing the prospect of losing his family farm of thousands of acres in southern Georgia. At the same time his young son has been taken by authorities and placed in the state’s foster care system. A single father and lifelong rural Georgian tree farmer from Dodge County, Georgia, Lister Harrell, has been maliciously jailed on multiple trumped up charges that the local District Attorney seems to have an endless supply of. Dodge County, Georgia, named by George Magazine and the Atlanta Journal Constitution as one of the ten most corrupt counties in America, continues in that proud distinction to make headlines yet again. Dodge County District Attorney, Tim Vaughn. and Superior Court Judge. Freddie Mullis. revoked Mr. Harrell’s bond on the pretext of simply using the internet. Vaughn and Mullis are quoted as saying, “We must teach him a lesson and keep him off Facebook and the internet.” It is the hope of Mr. Harrell’s team that the release of these facts will generate significant investigative attention. Going online should not be a crime and privacy in matters that had nothing to do with the current case should never have been violated. Mr. Harrell has been hounded by officials and treated unfairly by the people in power who are trusted with upholding the law, not bending it to their whims. Courts do not work that way and as people of America, we cannot let someone get away with such a level of blatant corruption. People lose faith in the judicial system because of acts like this. Join with Mr. Harrell in making sure everyone has a voice and that it cannot be silenced due to pettiness and greed. The facts stand that this man was treated unfairly and in this country that is not how things are done. It is not right, it is not constitutional, and it will not be allowed to continue at such a blatant level as it already has been. This is not somewhere that people get to make up the rules as they go and decide how things should be run. There are laws that must be followed and people will be held
  • 2. accountable for their actions toward Mr. Harrell. For more information please contact: THOMAS F. JARRIEL Attorney for Defendant Macon, Georgia (478)254-5181 Telephone admin@listerharrell.com www.listerharrell.com Please see following for supporting facts. IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF DODGE COUNTY STATE OF GEORGIA STATE OF GEORGIA * * CASE NO.: ____________________ v. * * CHARGE: AGGRAVATED STALKING LISTER W. HARRELL * * _____________________________________________________________________________ _ _____________________________________________________________________________ _ I. STATEMENT OF FACTS Prior to March 15, 2011, LISTER HARRELL, hereinafter “HARRELL” was physically attacked by his ex-wife, who on two occasions, broke into his home and attacked him with a meat hook and a butcher knife. On both occasions, HARRELL sought the assistance of law enforcement officers, including the Sheriff, and district attorney, TIM VAUGHN, hereinafter
  • 3. “VAUGHN”. The Sheriff simply took no action, referring HARRELL to VAUGHN. VAUGHN informed HARRELL that this was a domestic matter and would take no action. Against this admittedly sketchy backdrop-referred to herein simply because of what we perceive as enmity on the part of law enforcement officials toward HARRELL-the problems began on March 15, 2011. On that date, HARRELL was charged with violating O.C.G.A.§44-7- 14.1 by having the electricity from an alleged tenant’s residence cut off. That code section makes it “unlawful for any landlord knowingly and willfully to suspend the furnishing of utilities to a tenant until after the final disposition of any dispossessory proceeding”. It did not matter then, nor did it matter when HARRELL was tried by the Court in July, 2013, that there was no landlord-tenant relationship and that there was no dispossessory proceeding . The relation was either that of a licensee or employer-employee. The statute really never applied. And, as important, the statute provides for a maximum $500.00 fine. No period of incarceration may be imposed. After HARRELL was arrested1 , he was made to post a cash bond in the amount of $1,000.002 . HARRELL experienced financial difficulties and was required to file two (2) bankruptcy petitions. In addition to these matters, he had to conduct day to day business activities. Therefore, he wanted to go ahead and dispose of what should have been an extraordinarily minor matter. He asked VAUGHN on at least two (2) occasions to simply forfeit the bond and allow him to go ahead and pay the $500.00 fine. VAUGHN refused, telling HARRELL “you’re not going to get off that easily”. At some point, towards the beginning of 2013, there was a scheduling conflict between a 1 One wonders why he was arrested, and not merely cited, since there could be no period of incarceration even upon conviction. 2 The math is easy-this is twice the maximum fine.
  • 4. bankruptcy court hearing and the Dodge County Superior Court calendar call. HARRELL did not attend the Dodge County calendar call, believing that it had been continued, based on the advice of his then bankruptcy lawyer John Levis. As a result of HARRELL’s failure to attend calendar call, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. The case should have been disposed of then and there, without a bench warrant, by simply forfeiting the bond and disposing of the case. Instead, VAUGHN constructed a multi-state manhunt for HARRELL, enlisting the aid of the United States Marshall’s Office3 for an offense not unlike littering. Just prior to his arrest, HARRELL learned of the manhunt and attempted to have the bench warrant lifted by talking to the Dodge County Superior Court Clerk, Rhett Walker, hereinafter “WALKER”, and the assistant Clerk, Tammy Graham, hereinafter “GRAHAM”. Mistakenly believing that they could have the bench warrant lifted or disposed of, he vigorously and, no doubt, angrily, urged them to do so. He was neither courteous nor tactful.4 He followed up with two (2) Facebook postings on April 29, 2013. In one he suggested that if WALKER did not take care of the matter, HARRELL would see that he lost his job. In another, he threatened to reveal the details of a matter involving GRAHAM, which had occurred years before, and which had the potential for causing embarrassment. Two days later, on May 1, 2013, VAUGHN applied for, and got, from Judge Frederick H. Mullis, Dodge County Superior Court judge, an order for a “Trap and Trace Device” and telephone records. HARRELL was arrested a few days later and was illegally and unlawfully incarcerated until June 3, 2013, when he was indicted on two counts of Intimidation of a Court Officer-WALKER and GRAHAM- and one misdemeanor count of 3We do not know why a serious and significant department of the United States government would get involved in a matter such as this, but we hope to find out, possibly under the Freedom of Information Act. 4This may be a crime in Dodge County, Georgia. We certainly have no hesitancy in urging that it led HARRELL to be charged with crimes.
  • 5. Cruelty to Animals-charging that HARRELL killed a cat.5 HARRELL filed a Motion for Bond on the new charges on June 21, 2013, which Motion was summarily denied. He finally faced the original charge of cutting off utilities in July, 2013, at which time he was found guilty, again notwithstanding the fact that there was no evidence of a landlord-tenant relationship and no evidence of a pending dispossessory proceeding. It was ordered that his bond be forfeited in the amount of the maximum penalty of $500.00. On August 27, 2013, HARRELL filed an Extraordinary Motion for Reconsideration of Bond. Finally, after five (5) months of incarceration, on October 7, 2013, he was granted bond in the amount of $24,000.00, which Bond Order carried three (3) sets of conditions: 1) He was ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victims-a usual and reasonable condition; 2) He was ordered not to have any contact or communication with his daughters-strange because they were not involved in this case at all; and 3) He was ordered to have no internet activity whatsoever-a blanket condition which totally throttled HARRELL’s First Amendment rights. On January 13, 2014, HARRELL was stopped by Dodge County Sheriff’s Department deputies, as well as Eastman, Georgia Police Department officers, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. One of HARRELL’s daughters, accompanied by two (2) males, had apparently been following him. She reported that HARRELL’s vehicle had almost struck her vehicle. At least, that was the reason given to HARRELL for stopping him. He was requested to take the sobriety test. HARRELL initially refused to take the test, as by this time he had a healthy respect for what Dodge County law enforcement personnel could do to him, whether he had done anything wrong or not. However, after he spoke with a trusted Dodge County Deputy, he agreed to take the test. The test was administered and was negative. That is, it showed a 0 level of blood alcohol content. 5We do not know anything about this charge nor what possible relationship it can have to the other counts.
  • 6. On January 24, 2013, VAUGHN filed a Motion to Revoke Bond, alleging, inter alia, and principally that HARRELL had violated the terms of his bond by committing the offense of Aggravated Stalking with regard to his daughter and by making numerous internet postings. HARRELL responded to the Motion, denying all allegations except for making the internet postings. HARRELL asked that the Motion be denied and further asked that the Bond be modified to allow him to use the internet for business and financial purposes, all of which were necessary for him to conduct his business and deal with the pressing bankruptcy matters. At the hearing, it was pointed out to the Court, in full view and hearing of VAUGHN, that case law provides that a single incident of contacting his daughter-even if true, which was, of course, denied-would not support a charge of Aggravated Stalking. It was also presented that, at the time of the stop on January 13, HARRELL’s blood alcohol content was 0. But that did not prevent VAUGHN from later having HARRELL indicted for Aggravated Stalking and DUI. On February 17, 2014, HARRELL was indicted for Aggravated Stalking and DUI, along with three (3) counts of Aggravated Assault, Reckless Driving and Open Container. The three (3) Aggravated Assault counts are based on the transparently ridiculous theory that HARRELL attempted-and failed-to strike the other vehicle with his vehicle. When HARRELL was initially arrested on the bench warrant, he was moved to and from at least two other jails-other than Dodge County. One of them was the Bleckley County (the county adjacent to Dodge) jail. While there, HARRELL fell and seriously aggravated an existing hip and back condition. From that time until he was released on bond, HARRELL attempted to get treatment for the condition, with varying degrees of failure. He was able to be seen by emergency room personnel on one occasion, but was not actually treated because a Deputy came into the emergency room and threw HARRELL on the floor and drug him out to the squad car on a blanket.
  • 7. Since his re-incarceration, HARRELL’s condition has worsened dramatically to the point that he is almost non-ambulatory-all of which is a matter of almost complete indifference to the Dodge County Sheriff as well as medical personnel assigned to treat Dodge County inmates. The Sheriff has not been completely indifferent because one action has been taken, not beneficial to be sure, by removing HARRELL from the general population and placing him in the “hole”. Let us be clear: HARRELL was not placed in the hole because of an infraction, but because of his medical condition. Respectfully submitted, this ___ day of _____________, 2014. _________________________________________ _ THOMAS F. JARRIEL Attorney for Defendant State Bar No. 389650 PO Box 214 Macon, Georgia 31202-0214 (478)254-5181 Telephone (478)254-5685 Fax