Dear Mr. Ligon:

I got your email to Ms. Lonsway as set forth below.  I have had a lot of people asking why I am facing disbarment, and they deserve an honest explanation.  Additionally, your response was rather misleading, and this seems as good a place as any for setting the record straight.

Let’s start with your claim that the Committee directed you to file both petitions, so you are just doing what your job requires.  Hogwash. You included in your supplemental disbarment petition the following complaint:

Count 32 – Arkansas Rule 8.4(d)

1. By his repeated attempts to relitigate his Arkansas state license and

discipline issues and charges in federal courts in Michigan, Arizona, Hawaii,

Tennessee, Washington, Nevada, and Mississippi, Mr. Stilley has wasted the

time and resources of those courts that could otherwise be put to use on other

cases and business of those courts, conduct prejudicial to the administration

of justice in those courts.

2. Arkansas Rule 8.4(d) provides that it is professional misconduct for

a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of

justice.

Mr. Ligon, this is solely and exclusively your accusation, unless you undertook ex parte conversations and got directives that don’t appear in the record.  I have complained that you made this frivolous accusation on the fly, without ever having it considered by any panel of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct.  In fact, you took umbrage at the perceived suggestion that you had decided to do this on the basis of ex parte communications.  The majority of the accusations made against Oscar Stilley in your Supplemental Petition for Disbarment were made by you without any official directive to you whatsoever. Yet despite the fact that you are the named petitioner and the sole accuser as to much of the supplemental petition, you have thus far evaded your responsibility to sit for depositions concerning your accusations.

You are in effect saying that a constitutional due process claim is a waste of judicial resources.  You know that I have never gotten any reasoned opinion on my claims of violation of due process.  Yet when I asked you to admit that I had a right to raise constitutional questions, you said:

199. Admit that a lawyer has a legal right to raise claims of denial of due process,

when defending licenses to practice in jurisdictions other than a jurisdiction that has

suspended the lawyer’s license.

Response: Denied, as this issue calls for a legal opinion, interpretation, or

ruling by a court on any such foreign jurisdiction.

In my attempts to be admitted in various jurisdictions around the country, I have been admitted some of the time and denied admission some of the time.  However, no one has ever ruled on my constitutional due process claims.  When I am granted admission the question is moot, when I am denied admission there has always been a way to evade the questions presented.  Why?  You admit that you have been discussing this matter with US Department of Justice attorneys who handle federal tax cases.  It appears to me that you are “tag teaming” with them to prevent me from getting a ruling on my due process claims, and seeking to intimidate me from making further attempts at a ruling, by alleging that such a request is a disbarment offense.

You have admitted that the essence of your claim for disbarment is the accusation that Oscar Stilley criticized the government, and more specifically that he made unflattering statements concerning certain judges.  You have steadfastly refused to allege the falsity of these statements, presumably because you know that most of them are the truth and suspect the same of the remainder.  You actually sat in depositions in which Judge James Marschewski admitted that he was not telling the truth when he said he had not been on a committee for WestArk College, now UAFS, yet you persist in seeking my disbarment because I alleged the same thing in a courtroom, in a case in which these facts were clearly pertinent to the legal issues involved.

You claim to just be doing your job, but you have blockaded my efforts to get a ruling on whether on not truthful speech about matters of public concern are protected by the US Constitution.  Of course you know that they are, that’s why you are so adamantly opposed to a ruling.   In June 2007 when you were opposing my efforts to get a ruling from Panel B of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, your main reason was that I had already been suspended for six months for the same thing.

Mr. Ligon, the fact that you violated my constitutional rights once is not a legitimate cause for you to violate my constitutional rights a second time.  If you have official or implicit orders to obstruct my efforts to get a ruling that would exonerate me altogether, you need to say that so that the public can excuse you and blame the guilty party.  Otherwise, I hold you responsible for your frontal assault on the 1st Amendment.

You didn’t have any case law to challenge my case law to the effect that truthful statements relevant to matters of public concern are absolutely privileged.  Rather, you criticized the law.  You took issue with the decisions of the US Supreme Court saying that the 1St amendment protects truthful speech.

If your audacity prevails, you will roll back the clock to a time before the trial of John Peter Zenger in 1735.  Zenger was a publisher alleged to have criticized the governor of New York.  The accusation that he had criticized the government was true, just as the accusation that I have criticized certain public officials for their lies and misconduct.  The court in that case declared, as was the custom of that time, that truth was not a defense but rather an aggravating factor.  After all, lies are much easier to rebut than the truth.  Most of us know that Zenger was acquitted due to the brilliant arguments of Andrew Hamilton, but few of us remember that James Alexander and William Smith had already been disbarred for objecting to the crown’s shenanigans in attempting to hand pick its judges, in a way hardly any more egregious than that engaged in by those who selected Lineberger for this case.

Judge Lineberger agreed with you, citing only one case in support of his conclusion, Stilley v. Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, 128 US 1248 (February 19, 2008).   This was nothing more than a denial of certiorari, in which the justices probably never read or even saw the petition that I wrote and filed.  What neither of you seem to understand is that the sole question presented at the US Supreme Court case was as follows:

1)         Does the usurpation of the role of judicial officer of a duly constituted and legally separate tribunal, by the accusers of an attorney, in clear and undeniable violation of the written rules of the tribunal, in order to obtain an unlawful benefit for the usurpers, constitute a violation of due process? 

Mr. Ligon, you know that a denial of certiorari has no precedential value whatsoever beyond the precise language of the questions presented for review.  Yet you and Mr. Lineberger rely on this to overrule many decades of clear precedent stating that truthful speech concerning matters of public interest is absolutely protected.  Four key cases that I cited were Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, Florida Bar v. Went for It, Inc., Garrison v. Louisiana, and Standing Committee v. Yagman, parts of which are set forth below in the contest used in my brief :

The speech involved in this case goes to the very heart of the First Amendment.  In Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 1034, 111 S.Ct. 2720 (1991) the Court said:

There is no question that speech critical of the exercise of the State’s power lies at the very center of the First Amendment. Nevada seeks to punish the dissemination of information [Page 1035] relating to alleged governmental misconduct, which only last Term we described as “speech which has traditionally been recognized as lying at the core of the First Amendment.” Butterworth v. Smith, 494 U.S. 624, 632 (1990).

Such speech, even by a lawyer, gets the highest protection.  As the US Supreme Court said in Florida Bar v. Went for It, Inc., 515 U.S. 618, 634, 115 S.Ct. 2371 (1995):

Speech by professionals obviously has many dimensions.  There are circumstances in which we will accord speech by attorneys on public issues and matters of legal representation the strongest protection our Constitution has to offer.  See, e. g., Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030 (1991); In re Primus, 436 U.S. 412 (1978). (Emphasis added)

………………..

Truth is an absolute defense. In  Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64, 85 S.Ct. 209, (1964) the Court said:

We held in New York Times that a public official might be allowed the civil remedy only if he establishes that the utterance was false and that it was made with knowledge of its falsity or in reckless disregard of whether it was false or true. The reasons which led us so to hold in New York Times, 376 U.S., at 279-280, 84 S.Ct. at 724-726, apply with no **216  less force merely because the remedy is criminal. The constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression compel application of the same standard to the criminal remedy. Truth may not be the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions where discussion of public affairs is concerned. And since ‘* * * erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate, and * * * it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the ‘breathing space’ that they ‘need * * * to survive’ * * *,’ 376 U.S., at 271-272, 84 S.Ct. at 721, only those false statements made with the high degree of awareness of their probable falsity demanded by New York Times may be the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions. For speech concerning public affairs is *75  more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government. The First and Fourteenth Amendments embody our ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.’ New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S., at 270, 84 S.Ct., at 721.

(Emphasis added)

Here the complaint at CPC, and the Supplemental Petition, never alleged falsity.  As was said in Standing Committee v. Yagman, 55 F.3d 1430, 1438 (9th Cir. 1995):

[21] Attorneys who make statements impugning the integrity of a judge are, however, entitled to other First Amendment protections applicable in the defamation context. To begin with, attorneys may be sanctioned for impugning the integrity of a judge or the court only if their statements are false; truth is an absolute defense. See Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64, 74, 85 S.Ct. 209, 215, 13 L.Ed.2d 125 (1964). Moreover, the disciplinary body bears the burden of proving falsity. See Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 475 U.S. 767, 776-77, 106 S.Ct. 1558, 1563-64, 89 L.Ed.2d 783 (1986); Porter, 766 P.2d at 969.

(Emphases added)

Mr. Ligon, you know for a fact that you have a constitutional obligation to prove falsity.  Nevertheless, in this case you refuse to even allege falsity, which naturally precludes you from attempting to prove it.  In fact, you have personal knowledge that at least some of the speech for which you seek my disbarment is the truth.

No wonder you don’t want to sit for a deposition.   No wonder you fabricate ridiculous accusations on your own initiative.  You can’t honestly believe that the charges accepted by the Committee merit any punishment whatsoever, much less disbarment, so you cast about and dig and scratch for any mud that you can find to hurl against the wall, hoping something will stick.

As long as you and Judge Lineberger refuse to acknowledge the right of the citizen to engage in truthful speech critical of the government, I scarcely have any choice but to appeal to my peers.  The Arkansas Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to rule on issues that would force it to rule in my favor, so I have no reasonable expectation of fairness there.  The US Supreme Court considers less than 1% of the cases with respect to which a petition for certiorari is filed.  You like those odds.  I don’t.   The only reasonable defense I have against your lawlessness in public awareness.

Mr. Ligon, I respectfully request that you send another email to Ms. Lonsway and acknowledge to her that your email was not forthright and candid.  If you think I misstated anything herein, let me know.  If you can show me that I am wrong, I will make corrections, and provide that correction on my blog and by email to persons on the list for this email.  Ms. Lonsway, and the people of the State of Arkansas, are entitled to the truth.

Respectfully,

Oscar Stilley

os


From: Stark Ligon [mailto:Stark.Ligon@arkansas.gov]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 8:26 AM
To: CaroleG
Cc: Stark Ligon; Nancie Givens; Oscar Stilley
Subject: RE: Stilley

Ms. Lonsway, I sleep well at night, because I do what I think is appropriate, given the evidence and law in each individual case here. I also admit I do not always get it right, as the Committee at times has disagreed with our analysis and proof and has dismissed (“no actioned”) complaints. The Committee gets to make final decisions in cases, unless the case gets to a court, as with Mr. Stilley. You suggest I have the authority to somehow end this disbarment proceeding, and stop ruining this man’s life. The Committee directed me to file both of them, and I did as the Committee and the rules require. The Special Judge on his case is a veteran, retired state trial judge, who will make me prove whatever we charged. I have confidence the system will give Mr. Stilley fair consideration. I think I recall you sent an unsolicited letter about the Stilley case to Judge Lineberger recently and he wrote you back that such ex parte contacts are not appropriate. I hope you will understand that I am concentrating on my work here, and will not in the future be responding to your communications about cases. Stark Ligon


From: CaroleG [mailto:caroleg@tcworks.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 10:17 PM
To: Stark Ligon
Subject:

Dear Mr. Ligon:

I immediately thought about you when I read this in today’s Parade magazine.

The last part in particular “no role for politics” applies to your case against Oscar Stilley. You know this case against him is 90% politics 10% other.  I feel sorry for you because you must not be able to sleep at night knowing that you are pressed by the Supreme Court and political grievences against Oscar, and while you are paid by the Arkansas Bar Association only the Supreme Court can tell you what to do – or not do.  Not even your conscience can trump the SC’s wishes especially where the written documents in Oscar’s case are burned on paper by what this body has told you, not what you find in the law.

Go by your conscience Mr. Ligon. Give Oscar a chance to win this case (not throw it, just a chance to be heard honestly and properly according to the laws).  Please, keep your eyes, ears and heart open to doing the right thing.  You will live longer and more peacefully by doing what’s right not by doing what others make you do and where the law is concerned especially.  You will ruin a man’s life if you continue this disbarment proceedings.  Is this what you want?

He does not solicit,instigate, or approve of my writings to anyone on his behalf.  I do copy him on correspondences but only after I’ve sent them.

Respectfully,

Carole Lonsway

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