An attorney representing Richard “Dickie” Meade has filed a scathing response in opposition to the government’s request to a judge that she be “held accountable” for a series of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct she has leveled in previous court pleadings.
In the 17-page document, which is rife with barbs, sarcastic comments and other straightforward, no-holds-barred language not often seen in court documents, Katherine “Katie” MacPherson of Grand Rapids. Mich., uses such terms as “lunacy,” “absolute stupidity” and “unbridled arrogance” to refer to the government’s motion, in which prosecutors demand she be summoned into court by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove and ordered to show the basis for a series of what prosecutors call unsubstantiated allegations of malfeasance.
“There is no polite way to say it,” MacPherson wrote. “The assumptions implicit in the government’s motion are morally and legally unethical, not to mention constitutionally appalling.”
MacPherson also scoffs at the idea that an attorney can be “held accountable” for saying bad things about the government. If that were true, she argues, it would violate the First Amendment. She also takes strong issue with the notion of being dragged into court on a show-cause order “for raising legal issues that she has a duty to raise and preserve on behalf of her client.
“The independent body charged with investigating reported acts of prosecutorial misconduct and unethical behavior is the Bar or the Office of Professional Responsibility. It is not this court,” she wrote. “The idea that a court would risk its own impartiality and take sides over such a matter, in a contempt proceeding, is outrageous.”
MacPherson also call Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor’s contention that she has been warned by the court about making “unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct” a “flat-out lie.
“And yes, she is using the word lie. Because it is. There will be no more sugar-coating anything going forward,” she wrote.
She also alleges the show-cause motion was filed for the purpose of intimidating her “into keeping her mouth shut and not protecting her client going forward in this case.
“That will never happen, period,” she wrote.
MacPherson, who was brought on board as part of Meade’s defense team following his conviction, also argues that by raising the issue of possible prosecutorial misconduct, she was merely trying to preserve it for appeal and that her failure to do so could have subjected her to an ineffective-assistance claim.
MacPherson also suggests prosecutors filed the show-cause motion “just because the government is mad that it is being out-lawyered and out-argued” by her.
She requests that Van Tatenhove demand an apology from the government “for the appearance of impropriety (it) has now managed to create” and that the judge order it to apologize to Meade’s defense attorney and sanction it for filing the show-cause motion.
Meade, 66, and Mark Justice, 53, both of Ashland, both were convicted of money-laundering, conspiracy and possessing a motor vehicle with an obscured identification number with intent to sell in a case involving an interstate conspiracy to traffic motorcycles stolen from biker rallies in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Daytona Beach, Fla., and Sturgis, S.D.
Ten defendants were originally charged in the case. Six of them pleaded guilty and received prison sentences ranging from eight months to 10 years. Charges were dismissed against one defendant, and another, George Ferguson of Ashland, was tried along with Meade and Justice in February and March and was acquitted.
Meade and Justice were to have been finally sentenced on Aug. 14, but Van Tatenhove opted to delay sentencing until objections to the defendants’ pre-sentencing reports were resolved and until after he has ruled on several post-conviction motions.
Among those motions are one by defense attorneys MacPherson and Michel Curtis of Ashland requesting their client be allowed to remain free on bond while he appeals his conviction to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Curtis and MacPherson also moved the Court of Appeals to arrest the judgment and dismiss the indictment against Meade, claiming it fails to charge him with an actual offense because the definition of money-laundering under which he was convicted didn’t go into effect until 2009 and the transactions that resulted in him being indicted and convicted occurred before then.
In a separate motion filed this, MacPherson also requests that Van Tatenhove recuse himself from the case due to the government’s show-cause motion, claiming the motion has painted the judge into a corner that he can only get out of by stepping aside.
“ ... at this point, ruling in the government’s favor on Defendant Meade’s pending motions would appear to confirm the bias implied by the government’s show-cause motion; however, ruling in Defendant Meade’s favor create speculation as to whether His Honor did so as a means of disproving and distancing himself from the implications of the government’s motion, and to avoid any potential claims of misconduct in the future. Which is not fair to Mr. Meade or to His Honor,” she wrote.
KENNETH HART can be reached at email@example.com or