Jun 15, 2017
Judge Reade Can't Hide Her Hate

Iowa Judge Linda Reade barely concealed her outrage at Sholom Rubashkin for trying to undo his 27-year jail sentence.

By Debbie Maimon, Yated

Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin has been sitting behind bars for eight and a half years. His ongoing quest for justice, supported by over a 107 legal experts, has powered a series of hard-hitting appeals that have ripped aside the legal veneer covering a shocking saga of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.

Court filings by attorneys Stephen Locher and Paul Rosenberg of Des Moines, and Gary Apfel of Los Angeles (working pro bono) reconstruct, step-by-step, the strategies by which Sholom's conviction and sentence were obtained through the violation of his constitutional rights.

With the case back in the limelight due to its new defense filings with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the compelling Motion to Recuse and Judge Linda Reade's denial of the motion have received new attention.

Through FOIA documents released by the government, the Motion to Recuse uncovered conflicts of interest on Judge Reade's part that so impugned her ability to remain impartial, she was required to recuse herself on her own initiative, judicial experts say.

These disclosures distinct from earlier FOIA revelations about ex parte communications that prompted the first appeal expose hidden conflicts of interests that legal scholars have said would impair any judge's ability to maintain neutrality.

SECRET COMMUNICATIONS CONTINUED TO SENTENCING PHASE

The FOIA documents provide new evidence that ex parte communications and Judge Reade's entanglement with the Rubashkin case continued up to the eve of his sentencing.

In particular, they shed light on an obscure "threat investigation" conducted by the FBI after Judge Reade complained that threatening letters had been sent to her by supporters of Sholom Rubashkin.

Based on the FOIA documents, defense attorneys charged the government with continuing to withhold crucial facts surrounding the threat investigation, specifically the correspondence between Judge Reade and the USAO regarding the alleged threats.

Attorneys argue that the "threatening" letters might well have biased Judge Reade against Sholom. Had he been given the full picture as opposed to the doctored one described below, he would have sought the judge's recusal.

JUDGE READE'S HUSBAND ENTANGLED WITH RUBASBKIN

The Brief also elaborates on legal problems posed by a conflict of interest involving Judge Reade's husband, Michael Figenshaw, a senior partner in the Bradshaw Fowler law firm that represented Agriprocessors in extensive bankruptcy proceedings.

Figenshaw had access to privileged information about Sholom Rubashkin's legal affairs that was material to the 2255 Motion. The recusal motion questions how judicial neutrality could have survived the Figenshaw-Reade-Rubashkin entanglement, as the strong possibility of confidential information leaking from Figenshaw to Reade (from husband to wife) destroys all appearance of impartiality.

Already compromised by the pre-raid and pre-sentencing ex parte communications, Judge Reade's ability to remain objective was even further undermined by her husband's legal and business relationship with Sholom Rubashkin.

In addition, the Motion states, Figenshaw, a senior partner in the firm, "had a financial interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the bankruptcy proceedings." When a fee dispute erupted between Bradshaw and Rubashkin-owned entities, and monies the law firm had billed for were not forthcoming, the Figenshaw-Rubashkin-Reade entanglement grew even more complicated.

The fee dispute raised the possibility that Figenshaw (and by extension, his wife, Judge Reade) may have been hurt financially by the dispute, profoundly heightening Reade's conflict of interest in the Rubashkin case.

Connect the dots: Judge Reade is presiding over the case of a man whose actions, directly or indirectly, might be hurting her husband's wallet.

Furthermore, the Motion to Recuse argues that Reade is unqualified to rule on the 2255 Motion inasmuch as she or her husband may be called as witnesses in an evidentiary hearing about government misconduct.

[The Motion to Recuse was filed together with the 2255 Motion, a brilliant document that reconstructs, piece by piece, government's schemes to harm Sholom Rubashkin by thwarting the sale of AgriProcessors during its bankruptcy period, followed by an attempt to whitewash its actions in court through false testimony.]

She could also be called to testify regarding her own conflict of interest, attorneys note. "No judge, no matter how well intentioned, could be expected to evaluate her own actions without legitimate questions being raised about impartiality," the Motion stresses.

Precisely because she is a potential witness in the case, the Motion to Recuse says, Judge Reade must recuse herself from the case and turn over the 2255 Motion to a judge who has no prior entanglement and therefore engenders no suspicion of an appearance of bias.

INVENTING FACTS ON RECORD

Strikingly, Judge Reade continuously presents as judicial support for her rejecting the Motion to Recuse pages of assertions that are not based on facts on record and carry no legal weight. They were not excerpted from trial proceedings, deposition, evidentiary hearings or discovery. They do not even have the status of hearsay in which a witness testifies under oath that he overheard or was told a particular piece of information.

For example, she writes emphatically about what her husband knew or didn't know regarding the Rubashkin case as if these assertions have the status of testimony given under oath, when they are nothing more than her own unsupported declarations.

She writes, "The undersigned's spouse [husband Michael Figenshaw] did not obtain any information concerning these proceedings because he had no involvement whatsoever in [Sholom Rubashkin's] criminal case or bankruptcy proceedings, and he has no interest whatsoever that could be substantially affected by the outcome of this case"

She then goes on to attest that her husband "as of December 2010 was no longer a partner of Bradshaw." Although he continues to work for the law firm, it is only in a "limited" way, with a fixed salary not contingent on fees paid to the firm by various clients.

Judge Reade's statements about the "limited" extent of her husband's involvement with Bradshaw, and the scope of his inside knowledge of the Rubashkin case are offered as facts on record. Yet a quick review of the case reveals that her husband never gave a deposition or testimony under oath in connection with any aspect of the Rubashkin case.

The implication is that the judge apparently feels her utterances do not require any form of legal authentication. The mere fact that she uttered them is sufficient to establish them as legal facts. In actuality, however, these assertions carry as much legal weight as say, the statements of any spectator in the gallery who was not deposed or questioned and cross-examined on the witness stand.



"NO REASONABLE PERSON WOULD HARBOR DOUBT?"

Judge Reade oversteps judicial bounds in another way; by evaluating and approving her own contested actions as if she were someone other than herself.

In other words, Judge Reade plays the part of witness for Judge Reade. She offers repeated assertions about what the "undersigned" (i.e. Judge Reade) did or did not do, and what "the undersigned" thought and intended regarding the entire saga of the raid on Agriprocessors and the criminal prosecution that followed.

To justify breaches of judicial ethics, she is forced to create an alternate reality in which unpleasant facts such as the country's top legal experts demanding that she recuse from the case are not allowed to intrude. For example, on page 71 of her Ruling to Deny, she writes that "a reasonable personwould not conclude that the undersigned's impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

Almost compulsively, on page 72, she repeats the "reasonable person" argument: "A reasonable person, being fully advised of all of the facts, would not harbor any doubt regarding the undersigned's impartiality."

Is she truly oblivious to the fact that 107 legal luminaries including former attorneys general, senior officials at the Department of Justice, United States attorneys and federal judges signed a friend of the court brief stating their expert opinion that she should have recused herself?

In addition, from 2010 to 2013, nearly 70 congressmen wrote letters to then Attorney General Eric Holder about the breaches of judicial ethics in the Rubahskin case related to Reade's excessive involvement with the prosecution. They demanded that his office review the case.

Do all these prominent legal personalities not qualify as "reasonable people"?

In view of the wave of legal opinion advocating her recusal from the case, Judge Reade's insistence that "no reasonable person would harbor doubt" about her impartiality is almost comical.



Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Judge Reade's brief rejecting the Motion to Recuse is her barely concealed outrage at Sholom Rubashkin for daring to try to undo his 27-year jail sentence. The judge's brief suggests a mindset fixated on ensuring this is not allowed to happen at any cost.

"[Rubashkin's] arguments boil down to a desire to invalidate all of [my] prior actions," she writes. All her prior actions. Like a Freudian slip, this telltale comment suggests the author's "prior actions" encompass much more than is known. She is deeply invested in the outrageous 27-year sentence. Under no circumstances can it be allowed to be "invalidated."

"(Rubashkin's) mudslinging is wholly inappropriate," Judge Reade wrote, dismissing the reams of evidence of shocking prosecutorial misconduct as nothing but "accusations, especially unjust ones, [meant] to damage the reputation of an opponent."

The prosecutors enshrined this mudslinging comment in their own brief, citing it in a block quote at the very beginning of their brief opposing defense motions seeking the right to appeal.

What irony. When unscrupulous people schemed to vilify and frame a man for a multi-million dollar rap and incarcerate him for life, neither judge nor prosecutors worried about mudslinging.

When star government witness Paula Roby told a client (quoted in the defense Application for Certificate of Appealability, p.14), "Rubashkin (whom Roby had never met) is the sleaziest [expletive] to ever walk the earth " and she was "going to make sure he was put away for a long time," mudslinging did not bother the judge.

Mudslinging was fine as long as the mud flew in only one direction.

"Mudslinging" became a problem only when defense investigations began to uncover gross prosecutorial misconduct and judicial impropriety. Although the final chapter of this sordid saga has yet to play out, one thing seems probable as efforts to learn the truth continue: the deeper one digs, the muddier things are going to get.



Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
Yemach shemah vezichrah
Why put her picture up? Would you post a picture of Hitler?
(6/15/2017 4:03:56 PM)
2
Boruch N. Hoffinger
When will this 'Great Democracy of America' become an 'Oligarchy' or 'Dictatorship?'
Yesterday
(6/15/2017 4:38:38 PM)
3
Meir
BS"D He needs to be FREE NOW. Hatzlacha Raba on the motion
(6/15/2017 4:56:04 PM)
4
President Trump
Please pardon Shalom, immediately.
(6/15/2017 6:20:14 PM)
5
Fool
She's the ultimate fool. She will come to a horrible ending for 'touching His annointed ones''
(6/15/2017 6:22:30 PM)
6
Strange

Why was it brought to her when its against her?
Where are the judges worthy of the title honorary judge?!!
May Hashem intervene on his behalf immediately!!!
(6/15/2017 6:25:48 PM)
7
Sickening, disgusting proofs of grievous injustice,
Reade should be prosecuted for misuse of her authority and power. M. Rubashkin should be released from prison immediately, and all of us from this miserable golus with Moshiach Now!! Horrible, corrupt abuse of justice on the part of Reade.
(6/15/2017 6:40:28 PM)
8
In god we trust
Let god do the work through vessels. Stop posting such articles for people share opinions.
(6/15/2017 6:48:16 PM)
9
Let's not hide our love!
I can't even read the whole article without losing my supper ... However, just looking at the headline gives a good indication of how we are to battle this injustice. If tuma can't hide the hate, we have to ensure that we are all walking, living, breathing examples of people that can't hide our love of our fellow Jews!
May we hear besuros tovos!!
Meirke
(6/15/2017 8:12:47 PM)
10
Insane
The US Congress needs to reign in these judges their out of control
(6/15/2017 8:29:40 PM)
11
Justice will be soon
Sholom suffered at the hands of an unjust judge who said, "I'm going to give it to this Jew." She will suffer.
(6/15/2017 8:29:41 PM)
12
We know
Reade (she doesn't deserve title of judge) should have recused herself for many a reason but didn't.
What can we do about that now though.
(6/15/2017 9:45:47 PM)
13
Pardon?
Why can't President Trump just pardon him like the previous thing did for all those actual criminals?
(6/15/2017 10:19:38 PM)
14
Like Soviet Union.
You think in Soviet Union the yidelach were persecuted without trial? No, they had a "trial" but the fix was in... Every time Rubashkin appeals the judicial malpractice of the judge, the judge reviewing whether his case for malpractice is founded or not, is the judge herself being reviewed. Almost like a restaurant writing their own Yelp reviews. The fix is in and this poor Yid needs a miracle, nothing less. Pray, pray, pray
(6/15/2017 10:20:15 PM)
15
question
Any reason why the defense didn't bring up about Reades husband being an attorney and collusion as was pointed out in the article ?
(6/15/2017 11:38:05 PM)
16

The background of her picture should have a large swastika wit the caption MEIN KAMPH. 👎👎👎✊✊✊
(6/16/2017 12:34:27 AM)
17
Why isn't Jared Kushner helping?
Are there Shluchim who are close with Kushner, asking for his help to get Rubashkin pardoned?
(6/16/2017 2:07:42 AM)
18
MRS PERL ARBOR
IF THERE IS ANY LEGACY WORTH LEAVING ABOVE ALL ELSE FOR DONALD TRUMP, IT IS GIVING A PARDON TO SHOLOM MODCHOH.




(6/16/2017 3:06:13 AM)
19
Shame on the this amaleki
May her name be erased among those who hate the chosen nation of the one above !!!she shall be ashamed and full of regret this cruel heart of murder
(6/16/2017 3:22:59 AM)
20
#9
Right on!!!! Show the love. Achdus is the only way!
(6/16/2017 8:17:22 AM)
21
She is truly corrupt,
She believes she is above the law, so therefore, can lie and commit perjury with impunity. But SMR is unworthy of justice and fair treatment in her version of the legal system. The law doesn't apply to her, but to SMR it does so in a perverse twisted way.
(6/16/2017 9:06:21 AM)
22
Justice?
And this is justice in America. We have no idea how skewed the justice system is here. Why is the same judge allowed to rule all thru every appeal? What is the point of an appeal then?
(6/16/2017 9:09:36 AM)
23
Let her meet her fate
As those who were judged a Nuerenberg let her be judged. Who display of ant semitism
As a Judge and a human being is appalling.
(6/16/2017 2:26:54 PM)
24
the picture
the reason that the picture iis shown so that you could put it on a dart board.
(6/16/2017 3:03:36 PM)
25
She may believe she is above the law
But she seems to be right.
She has been pulling this evil scam for a long time now, and
there seems to be no sign whatsoever that she will be caught or forced to step down, like she should be.
She actually should be in prison, but I am not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, either.
(6/16/2017 3:30:54 PM)
26
It's so obvious
she ruled this way for two reasons, nothing to do with his guilt or innocence but because she is anti semitic. and to spite her (ex) husband.
(6/17/2017 11:02:22 PM)
27
disgusting
what an anti semite!!!
v'shem reshaim yirkav!!!
(6/18/2017 7:06:06 PM)
28
judge read y"msh
One day the truth will be revealed-and SHE will sit in jail.
(6/20/2017 2:28:23 PM)
29
unreal
i truly believe in karma - its the only thing i have left to believe in, this judge will get what she deserves, she has an inbred hatred for jews and as a result S Rabushkin has been made to pay.......
(7/3/2017 4:27:19 PM)
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