For those of us attentive to the darker hue of global events, there have been many news stories over the past decades that struck our collective consciousness like well-timed blows, leaving us shaken and uncertain of our basic trust in humanity. For many of us it was the brutal crushing of human hopes and peaceful protest beneath the treads of Chinese Army tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Much more recently for others, it was the fiery execution of Jordanian airman, Moaz al-Kasasbeh by ISIS. For yet others it may well have been the April 19, 1993 armored assault on the Mount Carmel Center near Waco Texas wherein scores of men, women and children died--many of them burned to death. That massacre would launch a thousand governmental lies that the Branch Davidians had set themselves ablaze. Yet, in an age in which it is common to see news media embedded with American forces deployed abroad, why do you suppose the Government drove the media far away, before their attack at Waco?
In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter whether atrocities or acts of corruption are committed by the American government, the Chinese government or by no government at all when real people, their lives, their hopes and dreams are crushed and devoured by cataclysmic forces. No rationalization or denial can offset assaults on civilians with tanks. Nor can there be any justification for the insane excesses of burning men, women and children alive. Governmental justice can often be no less frightening than “mob justice.”
If the so-called “Founding Fathers” of this nation knew anything, it is that governments cannot be trusted--no government. This Nation’s founders knew that any government, no matter how benign its structure or intent, can morph into a monster. Therefore, they didn’t trust the very government they were bringing into being--and for good reason. Neither governments nor mobs are entitled to blind trust, and when governments behave like mobs, there is little, if any, difference between them.
Recognizing the inherent fallibilities of men and institutions, it would be naïve to believe everything government officials would have us believe, just as it would be naïve to believe everything a criminal defendant would have us believe. It is only from this perspective that any reliable approach may be made towards an analysis of the Federal prosecution of Terry and Gerry Smith.
On or about August 21, 2013, Terry Smith was arrested in connection with a joint State and Federal Task Force investigation. According to the August 19, 2013 Affidavit of Task Force Officer (TFO) Richard A. Dalrymple, Smith and several others in Clay County, came under investigation for Oxycodone trafficking in mid September of 2011. All persons subject to investigation were determined by a list of names provided by a Confidential Source (CS), himself a confessed drug dealer who was implicating others in an attempt to spare himself. Apparently, too, these investigations began as State operations and were co-opted by Federal authorities under the Task Force arrangement.
Over the course of almost two (2) years of investigations, with oxycodone and other drugs flowing into the Clay County like water, not a single drug transaction involving Terry Smith was observed, electronically or otherwise, and not a single trace of any drug was found on Smith, on his property nor in any of his vehicles.
According to Smith, that was when the authorities decided to sponsor an all-out “tell-athon for hardcore drug traffickers.” Whether “coerced by rubber hoses or seduced by rubber lies” these known drug dealers and drug abusers would line up to tell on themselves and anyone else. Smith attributes the law-enforcement obsession with him to three factors: (1) His spacious home behind its gated fence fitting the law-enforcement profile; (2) the abject willingness of desperate people to lie in order to save themselves; (3) the corrupt willingness of State and Federal law-enforcement authorities to utilize falsehood and perjury to secure convictions. Smith notes that it is a clear matter of U. S. Department of Justice (U.S.D.O.J.) records that prospective witnesses were informed that Terry Smith was the specified target and that information against Terry Smith would be rewarded by immunity.
According to Smith, these prospective witnesses, with heavy State or Federal sentences dangling over their heads, were actively encouraged to come up with testimony implicating Smith. Smith states plainly that these witnesses were encouraged to lie, and that their lies are apparent in the U.S.D.O.J. records. Smith cites the August 27, 2013 Report of Investigation (ROI) of an August 22, interrogation of Jimmy Harris. Although the ROI provides only a summary of the interrogation, it is clear upon the record that Harris confessed to authorities that he made out-of-town drug-procurement trips; that he made some of the trips for Smith in a “Ford Crown Victoria that Harris’ father had;” that he never saw anyone receive money for the trips from SMITH;” that his (Harris’s) role “was strictly to transport the groups back and forth.” According to the ROI, Harris contacted TFO Dalrymple two (2) days later and materially changed his story. Harris reportedly admitted that the Crown Victoria he used for out-of-state drug trips belonged to him (Harris), not his father; that he “saw SMITH give the money to the people for the trips;” that “SMITH would sometimes give the money to HARRIS to hold during the trips;” that once the group was away from the Smith residence, he (Harris) would “distribute it to each person on the trip.” According to Smith’s arguments in his pretrial motions, this character of evidence conforms perfectly to the “irreconcilably-contradictory” and “necessarily-false” standards of proof. Under this standard, it’s unnecessary to prove which of two (2) contradictory statements is false, since at least one of them has to be a lie. Harris had to know that the car he was driving to out-of-town drug mills belonged to him, rather than his father. Whether Harris lied in insisting that he had never seen Smith provide money to anyone, or he lied in alleging that he did, the same result obtains--Harris has removed all doubt that he lied to State and Federal authorities. Lying to Federal authorities violated 18 U.S.C. Section 1001(a). Harris’s willingness to expose his own lies to Federal authorities and to assume an even larger criminal role for himself was rewarded by his favorable treatment and promises of immunity from prosecution by governmental authorities.
Similarly, Bill Stanley, in his ROI of December 11, 2012, acknowledged that he had “gone to pain clinics to obtain Oxycodone” for various sponsors, including several trips for Sue Fox. Bill stated that he had been sponsored by Terry Smith “on one occasion.” According to Bill Stanley, Patty Smallwood was not with him on the single trip he made for Terry Smith. That was significant because Bill acknowledged that Patty Smallwood was his girlfriend and that he had found Patty dead one morning following her return from a trip to a pain clinic. Bill gave no indication that he accompanied Patty on her last trip, nor that Patty was sponsored by Terry Smith. Bill stated only that he “knew FOX to have sponsored SMALLWOOD in the past.”
By the time this case came to trial, the U. S. Government was intent on establishing that Patty Smallwood had made her last drug trip for Terry Smith and that Smith, therefore, was responsible for her death. By that time, Bill had apparently changed his testimony to conform to the government line; he alleged that he was with Patty on her last trip and that Terry Smith sponsored the trip. Reportedly, Bill’s rambling, convoluted testimony at trial was that Sue Fox drove them, that Jim Harris drove them, that Terry Smith drove them and that he and Patty went by themselves. Smith notes for the record that expert witnesses established that no autopsy was performed on Patty Smallwood and that, absent an autopsy, there could be no reliable determination of cause of death. Nor was there any proof that any of the drugs in Patty’s system derived from any particular drug prescription.
Citing the U. S. Supreme Court case of Lilly v. Virginia, Smith argued in his motions that whenever a witness is trying to save himself by implicating someone else, the High Court mandates that such testimony is “presumptively unreliable” and that it must be viewed with “special suspicion.”
The U. S. Attorney had to know that these witnesses would proceed to give perjured testimony. Indeed, Smith charges that these witnesses were forced to perjure themselves in order to avoid heavy, punitive sanctions and that it was common knowledge that State and Federal authorities were telling witnesses precisely what they had to say in order to qualify for immunity. Smith produced a February 28, 2015 hand-written statement by a Clayton Turner that describes what was, apparently, a common experience among those caught up in the Terry Smith prosecution: “My name is Clayton Turner. I was in the cell with Steve Smallwood cell (312) at the Laurel Co. Detention Center. Steve Smallwood talked to be about his conspiracy case in detail. Smallwood told myself and others that Terry or Gerry Smith never once financed him on any trip to any doctor. He stated that he always had his own money. He told me that D.E.A. agents threatened him before his arrest that if he did not tell the story that they wanted him to tell then he would be arrested and charged with Terry Smith in a conspiracy case. Smallwood also told me he never sold pills for Terry Smith or anyone else. He stated that he never sold pills that he was a user. Smallwood told me that his attorney told him that if he didn’t plead guilty to conspiracy charges that he would get 20 years in prison, that no one could beat a conspiracy charge. He told me that he was going to plead guilty and lie on himself and others out of fear from the government. The government told him that if he did as they ask then he would be home soon.
Smallwood lied on Terry and Gerry Smith in fear of getting a large prison sentence and hopes of getting to go home soon. I will come to court and testify on behalf of Terry and Gerry Smith if needed.”
The statement is purportedly signed by Clayton Turner. Reportedly, Steven Smallwood was repeatedly threatened for several months but was not indicted as a co-conspirator until the second of three superseding indictments on or about April 3, 2014.
Terry Smith denounces these terroristic threats that compelled almost a dozen witnesses to testify and, at least in some instances, lie against themselves and others as being violative of his rights to due process, equal protection and fundamental fairness under the State and Federal Constitutions.
Smith argues that, after compelling witnesses to perjure themselves on behalf of the prosecution, the Government compelled defense witnesses to remain silent. Smith charges that the U. S. Attorney tampered with and intimidated a number of his (Smith’s) witnesses, thereby denying him the right under the Sixth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution to “compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.”
Smith states that it is a clear matter of record that the U. S. Attorney had the Court appoint separate attorneys on behalf of Sheila Barger, Randall Grubb and Suzie Grubb (husband and wife). Sheila Barger was reportedly warned not to show up at court, and she, apparently, stayed away. Suzie and Randall Grubb appeared, but were reportedly warned by their court-appointed attorneys that the Government would prosecute them on various charges if they testified on behalf of Terry and Gerry Smith. Based on their attorneys’ warnings, both apparently asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent.
According to Terry Smith, his own court-appointed attorney expressed dismay that the Government would so blatantly tamper with witnesses, saying in essence: I know it ain’t right; if I was to go to their witnesses and intimidate them, they would put me in jail; but they can threaten your witnesses, and it’s alright. Smith notes, however, that his court-appointed lawyer never voiced any objections to the Court.
Terry and Gerry Smith await sentencing in May; however, they remain hopeful that U. S. District Judge Karen Caldwell will take a careful look at the many constitutional defects in this case and the highly-questionable caliber of the evidence offered in proof.