Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In the court of public opinion, first impressions count

Larry Keilberg (L) of SelfDefenseFund.com helps arrange Grishams for TV interview
Battle royal shaping up in Bell County court

Ft. Worth, TX - Larry Keilberg, the national director of SelfDefenseFund.com out of Ft. Worth, advertises “complete peace of mind” when it comes to defending one self with the gun.

Cowtown, where the west begins, is as appropriate a place as any to buy one's pistolero insurance, and the “junkyard dog lawyers” from the self defense fund have it going on, according to the organization's website.

For an annual fee of $150.00, or the monthly mordida of $12.50, one is covered by the legal protection of Mr. Keilberg's stable of attorneys in any “state, territory, national park or tribal land,” insured against prosecution for self defense through the firearm if under attack by any person or animal, assured funding for legal representation, bail bond, or private investigator until either charges are dropped, an acquittal is reached, or a “no bill” of indictment is returned from a Grand Jury.

He proudly proclaims up to $1 million in coverage of legal fees and incidental trial expenses if necessary - “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Spectators at the trial of M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham in Bell County were treated to the spectacle of Mr. Keilberg, a portly gentleman who brushes his silver mane straight back from his brow, sitting at a desk in the well of Auxiliary Courtroom 1 in the sleek, modern Bell County Justice Center as prosecutors presented evidence and testimony against his client during the two days of the case in chief.

He was signed on as a member of the defense team, as the audio-visual technical assistant to the defense counsel, his lead attorney, Blue Rannefeld, who represented Sgt. Grisham in a mistrial in this sensational case that stems from a March 16 arrest for walking down a rural road in Temple, Texas, with his son while armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a Kimber .45 semiautomatic pisto,l for which he has a concealed carry handgun license.

With all the attendant flair of that great operatic factotum, Figaro, Mr. Keilberg shepherded his clients through this process of high drama, and faces a re-match on November 16, when visiting judge Neel Richardson, a retired jurist from Harris County, has set a re-trial. Mr. Rannefeld has said he will seek a change of venue in a location as yet undetermined.

Do you know how rare it is to see a judge get faced down in his own courtroom?” asked Mr. Keilberg. “We have established the fact by the court record that he (Judge Richardson) was helping the prosecution.”

He made a veiled reference to another jurist whom the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct recently removed from the bench for just such an offense.

One is reminded of his performance as the overly concerned volunteer who eagerly approached spectators outside the courtroom prior to jury selection to caution them against doing anything to prejudice the venire through inappropriate remarks or inadvertent voicing of opinion.

You'd better shut your mouth,” he said. “You could wind up in jail for talking.”

Naturally, unless a member of the panel is approached overtly, there is no intent, and besides, spectators are under no obligation to sequester jurors or exclude witnesses. That is the role of the Court, the reason for jury assembly rooms.

Judge Richardson introduced a high degree of suspense by excluding spectators and press from the return of the jury's verdict after two days of deliberations in which they sought legal instruction seven times, most of it regarding the legal definition of criminal negligence as it applied to the facts of the case of Sgt. Grisham. He was accused of interfering with the performance of Officer Steve Ermis as he sought to disarm him and place him under arrest because of his carrying his loaded assault weapon, an act that is legal is this state.

One may hear a lengthy interview he gave DontComply.com, an advocacy group that favors open carry of firearms.

In it, he repeats his original sentiment that he is not speaking for his employers, corrections officials who employ him at a local penitentiary. He is speaking on his own behalf, he repeatedly states for the record.

One may only be gratified that he is giving The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division, such a considerate break in this matter of a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a $2,000 fine and/or a year in a county jail, or both.
L.J. Coterrill, prison guard, erstwhile juror

Prior to his selection as a juror, he quizzed reporters and spectators alike about their opinions in the matter, receiving a negative response from each person, all of whom told him it is not their place to instruct him about the facts of the case. Prosecutors would handle that, he was told.

Had anyone responded, they would naturally have been placed in custody for contempt of court.

Immediately following the verdict, he told members of the press corps that he was one of five jurors who held out for a verdict of acquittal. As of the weekend, he had changed his tune, giving interviews that held he was one of those who changed his vote to guilty following the judge's instruction regarding self defense and the legal definition of criminal negligence.

High voltage. Let soldiers and townspeople ululate. Sound the bar sinister.


- The Legendary

1 comment:

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