Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Attorney Violates Federal Gag Order

The attorney was attempting to argue that the opposing attorney should receive sanctions—in the process, the attorney may have opened up the door for sanctions against himself. His mistake? In trying to prove his point, attorney Douglas Mansfield released information covered by a federal gag order.

Mansfield was fully aware of the nature of the information he released. The judge had issued an order stating that the documents Mansfield wanted to submit were to be “filed under seal.”

On Friday he did file the documents under seal but then went ahead and included his summary of their contents in a publicly available memorandum.

The reason that there was even a gag order in the first place was because Mansfield’s clients, the Dennis family, had complained about John Freshwater releasing information from settlement negotiations.

When Freshwater spoke to the Mount Vernon Board of Education in May, he briefly summarized a settlement offer made to him by the Dennis family.

Although the documents that Mansfield summarized are not of a settlement offer, they do come from settlement discussions that Freshwater had regarding the related lawsuit against the school board.

The documents in question are billing records from Freshwater’s attorney R. Kelly Hamilton.

Both Mansfield and judge Gregory Frost described the documents as being “subject to a gag order.”

In the gag order, Frost wrote, “Any violation will meet serious consequences, including monetary sanctions and other sanctions up to and including the most severe this Court can impose.”

Related documents

The National Center for Science Education maintains an archive of many of the court documents for the case Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al. and for the related case Freshwater v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al.

24 comments:

Carly B said...

You're missing something in your argument. The existence of the billing records was already explicitly discussed by Judge Frost in his 6/1 Opinion and Order issued after the "gag order". It is therefore permissible for the attorney to discuss the mere existence of these previously contemplated records and his reasoning for filing under seal, as long as he does not reveal the substantive contents of those records. Upon review of the docket, it appears that Mansfield was proceeding with an abundance of caution.

If you don't mind me saying so, your article title is a bit misleading and muckraking. It would be helpful if you would publish an interview with a legal expert on this.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

Carly B said, “It is therefore permissible for the attorney to discuss the mere existence of these previously contemplated records […]”

Mentioning the “mere existence” of records is not the problem. The issue is that Mansfield included his summary of their contents in a publicly available memorandum.

Judge Frost’s 6/1 Opinion and Order does not provide a summary of the contents of the documents.

FSM_Ed said...

Looking for some fair reporting from this slanted website, Carly? Look again... It's from yet another misguided religious person who thinks it's OK to have ancient primitive superstition taught in the classroom right along with actual science.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed,

By “ancient primitive superstition” what did you have in mind?

Both creationism and evolution have origins in ancient times.

According to thinkquest.org , “Aristotle was one of the first ever to come up with even a quasi-evolutionary speculation about the nature of living things.”

James said...

"Mentioning the “mere existence” of records is not the problem. The issue is that Mansfield included his summary of their contents in a publicly available memorandum."

The same records that Hamilton claimed were lost when his laptop was destroyed?

FSM_Ed said...

By “ancient primitive superstition” what did you have in mind? Why Christianity of course, ya knucklehead! It doesn't take but a cursory glance at the web offerings and posts of yours to see how your Bible believing Christian roots are showing! You can quit being coy anytime, try honesty for a change!

FSM_Ed said...

Hooray! Finally some more progress in the case, "Freshwater sanctions possible" from a non-biased news source. Anyone interested in reading a story without an agenda can look here, http://www.mountvernonnews.com/local/10/07/08/freshwater-sanctions-possible

James said...

Thanks for the link FSM, it looks as though Freshwater and Hamilton are in real trouble. It appears that Hamilton lied about the billing records being as destroyed as he was able to give them to the school boards counsel two months later. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that perjury?

FSM_Ed said...

I know James, I can't wait until Fresh "H20" loses, and he will, to see the wild spin that Sam Stickle puts on it. The lid is really going to come off of his can of crazy when that happens. Unless Fresh "H20" is held to a non-disclosure agreement he will undoubtedly wind up a darling martyr of the religious right. I'll make a prediction now that he makes regular appearances on Glenn Beck's show.

James said...

Perhaps, though I think its more likley he will just fade away once this is over. The real losers here however is the school district who have had to spend so much time and money trying to fire this man. It shoudln't be this hard to fire a teacher. The evidence is clear he misused scientific equipment to brand students, he taught creationism, it shouldn't be this difficult get rid of him.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

James said “The evidence is clear he misused scientific equipment to brand students”

Actually, that is not what the evidence shows.

The allegation of the burn was not collaborated, during the administrative hearing, by any source outside of the Dennis family. Freshwater denies that anyone was burned in the classroom demonstration. Other teachers at the school also allowed students to touch the spark from the Tesla coil.

See the articles:

“Student Was Not Burned, According To Medical Expert”

“Tesla Coil Matter Was Officially Resolved January 2008”

James said “he taught creationism”

Freshwater has denied this allegation. The students that were brought to the hearing to testify, that were from the same class as the student who says he was burned, stated that Freshwater did not teach religion in his class.

See the article, “Student Testimony—John Freshwater Addresses School Board”

Moreover, the Ohio Achievement Test scores for Freshwater’s 2007-2008 classes showed that his students learned the academic content standards. The average for his five classes was a score of 415.2. (The state average was 407 and the school average was 413.)

FSM_Ed said...

Gee Sam, what was the box of bibles for? What about the fact that he admitted ON NATIONAL TV that he burned an X not a cross on kid's arms? How about teaching evolution with a wink and a nudge about being in "here?" You really have no shame do you? You'll defend this liar all the way to the bitter end because he's a fellow christian like yourself. I propose a new definition of a minister or priest or rabbi, someone who lies to children for a living and doesn't have to pay taxes because of it.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed said, “Gee Sam, what was the box of bibles for?”

The box of Bibles was stored there by the members of the student group the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

FSM_Ed said, “What about the fact that he admitted ON NATIONAL TV that he burned an X not a cross on kid's arms?”

Do you have a link to a video of this?

Freshwater has repeatedly stated that he did not burn or brand anyone. Take for example the statement he made to the Mount Vernon Board of Education on August 4, 2008: “I have never, never, branded or burned a person.” (Source: video . )

FSM_Ed said, “How about teaching evolution with a wink and a nudge about being in ‘here?’”

Not sure what you mean by that.

Freshwater has testified that he taught the standards and that the standards include evolution. The test scores of his students backup his assertion.

FSM_Ed said...
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FSM_Ed said...
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FSM_Ed said...

A lengthy topic deserves a lengthy reply:

I thought the "X" not a cross business was part of his Fox News interview but instead it was part of a story from them, "http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,369549,00.html" It is also part of the HR On Call report on page 15, "Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement he simply made an "X" not a "cross," all of the students described the marking as a "cross" and the pictures provided depict a "cross"." He probably thinks he can safely say he didn't BRAND anybody because he didn't lasso any children, hog tie them, hold them down and burn their skin with a branding iron from a campfire so therefore he didn't BRAND anybody.

For a better understanding of the "here" comment, you should head over to the unbiased blog "Panda's Thumb" This is the first reporting of it I could find, http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/02/freshwater-day-9.html, but there's more there. Basically, when Fresh-H20 was forced to teach a scientific fact that contradicted his young earth creationist views, like radioactive isotope dating, he would clarify the statements with the word "here!" Which translates to, "It's not what the bible says but I have to teach this "here" in the publicly funded classroom." or "That's what it says "here" but we all know the bible says different."

And defending a box of bibles in a science classroom by saying they aren't his? C'mon, how disingenuous can you get? That's like a teenager getting caught with cigarettes and claiming they belong to a friend. Nobody would have any problems if it were a box of science books! And don't get me started on the religious displays! I'll bet the multiple displays of the ten commandments really helped explain photosynthesis.

Plus giving students extra credit for viewing the movie "Expelled" makes it obvious which side of the debate he is on. While we are on the subject of lies told by Fresh-H20, everyone needs to be reminded he did not burn those children with any ordinary Tesla Coil but a one hundred and fifteen (115) volt model BD-10A, High Frequency Generator Tester for Leak Detection, http://www.electrotechnicproduct.com/pinhole.asp. If handled correctly, a Tesla coil can be an interesting, safe and entertaining device, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_coil#In_popular_culture. But a BD-10A High Frequency Generator is a VERSION of a Tesla coil and has absolutely no good reason to come in contact with a child's skin, as a matter of fact, it comes with warnings against such conduct. You have access to same facts but your interpretation is wildly distorted.

James said...

Thanks for responding to the points FSM, just to add to your post the Pandas Thumb blog has been excellent in reporting this case an index to all the posts relating to it can be found here: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/06/freshwater-ligh.html.

I also notice that the Sam has twice now ignored the accustations concerning Hamiliton's billing records.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed said, “Basically, when Fresh-H20 was forced to teach a scientific fact that contradicted his young earth creationist views, like radioactive isotope dating, he would clarify the statements with the word ‘here!’”

Freshwater did have his students use the word “here” in class.

When Freshwater testified, he said that the use of the word “here” was not for the purpose of indicating that the textbook contradicted the Bible or his religious beliefs.

When Corbin Douglas Heck testified , an example he gave of the use of the word “here” was that if the textbook said the earth was six-billion years old, the students would say “here” to indicate that the date given was not exact or necessarily fact.

I came across a story about another science teacher who encouraged his students to use critical thinking and to be willing to question not only the textbook but also the teacher. The students even had a code word they would say aloud when they questioned the validity of something—Cattywampus.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed said, “But a BD-10A High Frequency Generator is a VERSION of a Tesla coil and has absolutely no good reason to come in contact with a child's skin, as a matter of fact, it comes with warnings against such conduct.”

There was no warning label on the Tesla coil stating that the spark should not come into contact with human skin. The investigators did not locate an instruction manual with the device. It was standard practice for teachers to allow students to touch the spark.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

James said, “I also notice that the Sam has twice now ignored the accustations concerning Hamiliton's billing records.”

The article mentions the billing records—the link at the end of the article provides access to the available court documents regarding the legal wrangling on this issue.

As should be apparent from reading the article, the billing records, at this time, are not available to the public.

FSM_Ed said...

Hmm, so his defense is that there is no instruction manual and it was standard practice? So now your argument is that not only were they incompetent with regards to the scientific learning aids in their classroom but also incapable of downloading the instruction manual? And the old "everybody is doing it defense??" That doesn’t even fly with your parents when you are five years old. HR On Call and I both had no troubles finding the instruction manual online, http://www.electrotechnicproduct.com/get_technical/BD10BDASInstructions.pdf. You should check it out for that thing, apparently even pregnant women should stay away from it.

Yeah James, Sam has ignored many more things about this case, but if he'd like to discover more of what he’s missing he can always surf on over to the "Panda's Thumb" or “Mount Vernon News.”

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed,

Incidentally, one of the HROC investigators and the then president of the school board Ian Watson both tried the Tesla coil out on their own skin.

Steven Farmer is one of the teachers who testified to having allowed students to touch the spark from the Tesla coil.

Attorney R. Kelly Hamilton asked Farmer if he had ever thought to look for instructions on the web about using the device.

Farmer replied that he never searched the web for instructions. Farmer said that he did not go looking for more information because he already felt comfortable in his ability to use the Tesla coil.

FSM_Ed said...

Forgive me, I'll never post a comment here again. Re-reviewing your video posts impressed upon me just how indoctrinated you are. Best wishes, I hope you can free your mind from the shackles of your religion someday.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

FSM_Ed said, "Re-reviewing your video posts impressed upon me just how indoctrinated you are."

Would your definition of “indoctrinated” be someone who presents multiple viewpoints instead of just one view?

The videos I have posted include multiple viewpoints—including the views of Richard Hoppe, the author of the articles you referenced on pandasthumb.org.

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