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When Citizens Fight Judicial Corruption

In her 502-page book, Anne Morrow, who opened a gift shop in a Corpus Christi strip mall in 1984, documents how a dispute with a well-connected landlord who refused to erect a directory sign as promised, initiated a chain of horrendous events that eventually endangered her life, ruined her health, and involved a district attorney, drug trafficking, a judge, FBI agents, elected state and federal officials, and scores of lawyers who either refused to take her case or who abruptly withdrew under suspicious circumstances.
“A CASE OF INJUSTICE”  by Anne Morrow

BOOK REVIEW by Joel M. Skousen

This is a dramatic and powerful account of one feisty Texas businesswoman who wouldn't quit. I don't know why she is alive today, except by the grace of God. The powers arrayed against her were and still are ruthless. This real live story is set in south Texas, an area of the US which in the 1980s became an alternate source of drug importation for the CIA and other competing drug lords — after south Florida became too hot, politically.

Anne Morrow had married into one of the first families of Dallas — the Parrino family. She had political connections and money. Life was good. After the death of her husband, she ran a successful gift shop and, in 1984, decided to expand her business down into Corpus Christi. Like any normal unsuspecting business person, she entered into a standard lease for space at a new shopping center owned by one A.C. Gilmore — a seedy, unkempt king of the florist trade in south Texas (her first mistake). Readers of the book will note that as her account unfolds, Anne makes a series of little errors in judgment, each compounding her involvement in future bad situations, and each error accompanied by those subtle nervous feelings of conscience that forewarn of trouble. She doesn't heed the little warning signs, being positive and upbeat. This mistake is made by most people basking in the illusions of "good times." For Anne, it wouldn't take long for her experiences to shatter these illusions, a hard lesson in learning to listen better to these small warning signs.

After the absentee landlord failed to fulfill certain verbal agreements dealing with the critical issue of signage, Anne tried to sue for breach of contract. During her initial investigation, she found out the seedy landlord had altered the lease document in order to justify his breach — an obvious and outright act of criminal fraud. Gotcha! — or so she thought. Little did she know, the seedy, overweight A.C. Gilmore was protected by a corrupt local judicial system, intrinsically linked with local law firms. Gilmore was in fact involved in the drug trade, and was using his investments in shopping centers and other legitimate businesses to launder the profits. How many of us do business with companies every day (sometimes national chains) who appear legitimate but which may be fronts for money laundering operations or secret government operations? You may never know, but it's a much bigger problem than you think. Even major airlines and banks are involved.

The truth about a company's linkage with organized government crime may only surface if you have a significant legal problem with them and find out, in your quest for a resolution, that this particular business is beyond the law. Most front businesses are smart enough to not make a major issue of small legal matters — they settle quickly to keep their profile low. But A.C. Gilmore was a slob — he didn't care how he handled the situation because he knew he was working for people bigger than even the state of Texas. He also had local judges in his pocket and was confident they would cover for whatever he did. He was right.

This slowly started to dawn on Anne as she engaged one attorney after another in Corpus Christi. In each case, they turned from friendly one day to sour and distant the next and started giving her the run around about why they couldn't represent her, or why she didn't have a case. Somebody was turning these lawyers against her. She couldn't believe a louse like Gilmore could have this much power. Could he be buying them off? She had a near air-tight case and no attorney would take it. Convinced that Gilmore couldn't control all 650 lawyers in town, she kept trying. A private investigator stepped forward one day and offered to help — suspiciously, without charge. He and other connected politicians steered her towards an attorney who did agree to take her case — and then proceeded to sabotage it in a major way. He was talking to all her adversaries and acting on their behalf — a clear violation of attorney responsibility. When she threatened to charge him for misconduct to the Texas Bar Association, he just laughed. He was protected.

One of the keys to this story is her documentation of dealings with these attorneys. For those who distrust attorneys, this book will justify your every suspicion. It wasn't that everyone was involved personally with A.C. Gilmore. He wasn't paying them off. Most of these attorneys didn't even recognize the name of Gilmore when she initially presented her case to them. But then the following day, someone would get to these attorneys and their demeanor would change. None had the principles to blow the whistle on those applying pressure. They all folded and turned on her — every one, without exception. This means that there is an informal control system that shadows the legal profession — even in small communities. Individual lawyers never see it or know it exists until they start to handle a case that threatens some higher power. Then the phone calls come; subtle threats or warnings are uttered. Names are dropped. Potential consequences are hinted at. Lawyers are ladder-climbers in the profession. Most value their position in the legal pecking order more than their sense of justice. This is telling...and chilling.

But the good ol' boys underestimated Anne Morrow's determination. She finally went to the local elected officials with her case. Friendly at first, they too turned on her, or actively attempted to steer her into the arms of other vultures. She then went to the county prosecutor to request that he file criminal charges. He refused to even see her — ever! He had already been alerted. She bypassed him and got the same treatment from deputy prosecutors. She then went to the grand jury direct but the foreman informed her they could do nothing without the prosecutor's approval (not true). She went to the county commission — same story. When she proceeded to the Sheriff's office, she initially did get an admission from them that the area is full of corruption. They welcomed her case, and promised to pursue it in order to clean up the county. However, within a month the investigation was shut down and they treated her like dirt.

Anne then turned to the State of Texas and charged the county prosecutor with prosecutorial misconduct. A major investigation by the Texas state Prosecutorial Council began. At first the investigators were on her side. But once again, after all the incriminating evidence was gathered and presented to the State Legislature, orders came down from "above the State" to kill it. The Council was disbanded for good. Over the course of the next 10 years or so, she took her story to the FBI (in many different states), to Congressmen, Senators, and others, pulling every political string she had. Same story — everyone protected the surly A.C. Gilmore. Anne's description of the hostility she received at the hands of the FBI, even as she went from one state to another, tells volumes about how completely the dark side controls this once-sterling agency of justice.

It was obvious to me, after reading halfway through her story, that A.C. Gilmore had more power than a simple south Texas drug lord. He had risen from a nobody to a multi-millionaire in less than 3 years. You can do that as a local drug lord, but you don't get the protection of the state of Texas, the FBI, and members of Congress unless you are working for the feds. In this case, I presume A.C. Gilmore was working for the CIA drug pipeline.

Certainly, not all of the players who stonewalled Anne's case were guilty of direct conspiracy, or even had knowledge of the underlying conspiracy. But one thing was certainly happening: people with federal power at a very high level were calling down to the State level and telling them to shut down Anne Morrow's case — probably in the name of "national security," that ubiquitous cover that stops anyone from asking further questions. Everyone stupidly snaps-to and salutes, "Yes, sir!" Anne was also surveilled throughout this ordeal — and not by mafia thugs. She was shadowed and watched by clean cut federal agent types, and still is today to a lesser degree. That takes a lot of expensive resources, even for the dark side of government

Anne Morrow still fights on. She wants closure, but she will never get it — not, at least, in terms of ultimate justice. I have tried to console her with the thought that she has done us all a great service simply by putting up the valiant fight, and having the courage to name names and document the extent of collusion and criminal behavior of the entire justice system. Her book can do much to wake up sleeping America. But the media isn't about to help. The 4th estate, which should have been sympathetic to this case of extreme prejudice toward a woman businessperson, has scorned and betrayed her. We can only make her sacrifice meaningful if we buy the book, read her story and pass it on. Order A Case of Injustice online at http://www.palatinepress.com. It's available as a hardcopy, or half price as an E-book download to your computer.  It's a must read.

What good will it do? Plenty. All of us, even conservatives, need to have our illusions of honesty and goodness on the part of local government shattered. It is true that not every town is as bad as Corpus Christi, Houston, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles, but every city is being worked on and is under pressure, and every city is slipping ever closer into the federal grasp.

Copyright © 2001 Joel M. Skousen

The Author:  Joel M. Skousen (http://www.joelskousen.com) is a political scientist, commentator, and consultant residing in Orem, Utah.  He is the author of four books, one on law and government, and three on special design innovation in security architecture.  He is also publisher of WORLD AFFAIRS BRIEF.  His review of Anne Morrow's book, A Case of Injustice, first appeared in the December 21, 2001 issue of that publication (http://www.centrexnews.com/columnists/skousen/2001/1221.html) and is reprinted here with permission.  The opinions and conspiracy theories expressed by Skousen are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. Bernofsky.  For additional reviews of Anne Morrow's book, see http://www.palatinepress.com/pressrel.html.

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