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Collinwood Student Prosecuted For Protesting Teacher Layoffs Takes Deal In Lieu Of Trial Before Judge McLaughlin Murray
Submitted by JournalistKathy... on Sat, 07/30/2011 - 19:58.
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Administrative and Presiding Judge Nancy Fuerst. Via state law Fuerst, as presiding judge of the common pleas court in the county, decides whether municipal court judges should be replaced with other sitting judges on criminal, civil and other cases after parties file affidavits of prejudice. Data show that Fuerst often denies valid prejudice affidavits filed by Blacks and others to allegedly cover up malfeasance for her judicial colleagues. And in most if not all instances of when Fuerst denies a prejudice affidavit, she does so before the judge complained about can even respond in writing to the complaint, activity that suggest a preconceived bias against the complaining party.
From the Metro Desk of The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)
A Cleveland Collinwood High School student who graduated last summer and was facing misdemeanor criminal charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of official business brought by the City of Cleveland in what community activists say was a malicious prosecution in retaliation for participating in a peaceful student organized protest at the school last May over teacher layoffs and school closings has accepted an offer to participate in a diversion program in lieu of a prosecutorial trial before Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lynn McLaughlin Murray.
If Destini Bronaugh successfully completes her three months of probation before judgment pursuant to the diversion program, her slate in the case will be wiped clean and the charges dropped.
Bronaugh's mother said that the family opted for the diversion program not because of the merits of the criminal prosecution against Destini Bronaugh but because she believes that McLaughlin Murray, in cooperation with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and his law director Robert Triozzi, who usurped the role of Chief Prosecutor Victor Perez to bring the malicious criminal charges, allegedly because of anger at the Cleveland Teachers Union and disdain for Black Cleveland school students, would fix the case.
"I believe that my daughter would have been found innocent if the trial proceedings would have been fair, but with judges in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and others being convicted around alleged case fixing and similar activity appearing to be the case in The Cleveland Municipal Court, we chose the diversion program." said Tina Bronaugh, 42. "And we will continue to fight this case in other legal forums."
Earlier this month Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Presiding and Administrative Judge Nancy Fuerst denied Destini Bronaugh's affidavit of prejudice that sought McLaughlin Murray's removal from the case, a routine thing for Fuerst, who denies valid affidavits of prejudice against her colleagues, allegedly to cover up their malfeasance, and on a regular basis, data show. Destini Bronaugh had claimed, among other allegations relative to the affidavit, that McLaughlin Murray was handpicked to preside over the case in violation of her due process right to a neutral arbiter of the law, that she had a vested interest in doing what Jackson wanted her to do to retain his judicial endorsement, and that she harassed her by sanctioning malfeasance by two of her four attorneys in the case and by ordering her to appear without an attorney to face the policemen in the case that are accused of brutally arresting her, a clear violation of The Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure.
McLaughlin Murray was appointed to the municipal court bench in Jan. by outgoing Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland to serve out former Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Ann Keough's unexpired six- year term and is running in this year's Nov. election in hopes of retaining the seat against popular opponent Pinkey Carr, a Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor who is on the prosecutorial team that brought murder and other convictions against serial killer Anthony Sowell last week.
The Bronaugh case arose when last spring several students at Collinwood High School protested the announced plans to close 16 city schools, all but one on the predominantly Black East Side of Cleveland, and to lay off approximately 800 teachers and other school employees across the school district. The protest, held on the sidewalk in front of the school, was entirely peaceful, and for most, if not all of the students, marked the first time they exercised their right of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech ensured by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Nonetheless, and in violation of protocol, officials contacted the Fifth District Cleveland police to detain and arrest all curfew violators, even though state law requires the issuance of a citation first, and district policy requires that district police handle any such situation.
Destini Bronaugh's younger sister was arrested by Cleveland Fifth District Police for an alleged daytime curfew violation over the school protest, and when Destini Bronaugh peacefully complained about it, she was arrested too. The encounter was captured on video and is on youtube.com under the title "Cleveland Police Brutalize Student Protesters," one that has generated more that 24,000 Internet hits.
All charges against Destini Bronaugh's younger sister, including assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest, were dismissed last year by a Juvenile Court Magistrate as unfounded and because the arrest on a curfew violation without a previous citation violates state law. And though Destini Bronaugh was originally indicted by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on a felony charge of assault against a peace officer and resisting arrest a common pleas judge dismissed those charges last year with the approval of county prosecutor Bill Mason. Triozzi, however, brought back the misdemeanor resisting arrest charge on behalf of The City of Cleveland, and added a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of official business, all with the mayor's blessing.
After firing Attorneys Robert Demarco and Anthony Jordan for filing motions to dismiss the charges that in disguise said their own client was guilty, the Bronaugh family hired Cassandra Collier- Williams, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the common pleas court bench last year. Williams spoke with Destini Bronaugh and told her the ups and downs of the case and after speaking with family members, Destini Bronaugh opted for the diversion program so that she can go on with her life.
Community activist groups such as The Imperial Women, Black on Black Crime, The Oppressed People's Nation and The People's Forum that have supported the Bronaugh family and protested around what they say is a free speech issue as to the arrests for protesting on issues of public concern and a disrespect of innocent Black Cleveland schools children said that they are pleased with the Bronaugh family decision.
"The Imperial Womensalute Destini Bronaugh and her sister for their courgage and believe that Destini Bronaugh and her family made the best choice given that Blacks and women targeted by a union busting mayor and his racist and corrupt law director for malicious prosecution don't have a chance when the cases are handed to their endorsed candidate for judge this year, Judge McLaughlin Murray, so that she can fix them," said Kathy Wray Coleman, leader of the Imperial Women. "And we continue to urge Cleveland voters to rid the municipal bench of this corrupt and unethical judge by voting for her opponent, Pinkey Carr, relative to the upcoming Nov. 8 election."
The elder Bronaugh said that she believes that the unprovoked arrests of her daughters were motivated by racial animus and sexism since both are Black and female.
Tina Bronaugh also believes that since McLaughlin Murray had last month sentenced Coleman for allegedly resisting arrest rather than dismissing a jury verdict where the case was fixed with illegal jury instructions and other activity when sole arresting White male Cuyahoga County Deputy Sheriff Gerald Pace did not accuse Coleman of resisting his illegal 2008 arrest or even testify at the trial held in May of 2009 before then case fixing Judge Keough, her daughter Destini Bronaugh did not have a chance at winning at trial.
The Imperial Women have called for an FBI investigation of Keough, McLaughlin Murray, Jackson, Triozzi and Cleveland Municipal Court Presiding and Administrative Judge Ron Adrine, who handed the cases of Coleman and Destini Bronaugh to McLaughlin Murray to be allegedly fixed after Keough left the municipal bench in Jan to allegedly do her dirt at The Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals.
Coleman said that since Keough has joined the county appellate court bench via her successful election last year with Jackson's endorsement, impropriety and corruption there have increased, research reveals. Such activity, Coleman says, includes dismissing meritorious cases on the lie that individuals have filed the appeals rather than their attorneys, and refusing to docket the attorneys of record to assist corrupt mortgage companies like Chase Home Finance and their attorneys of the law firm of Bricker and Eckler, the firm hired by county officials to assess potential employee malfeasance. Coleman adds that other appellate corruption is to allegedly preclude more reversals on appeal of erroneous case dismissals and corruption by Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Timothy McGinty, a prospective candidate to replace Mason, who has opted not to seek reelection.
(CLICK ON http://youtu.be/RpmjnDW-Ys8 TOSEE THE YOUTUBE.COM VIDEO OF THE MAY 13, 2010 BRUTAL ARREST BY CLEVELAND FIFTH DISTRICT POLICE OFFICERS OF COLLINWOOD HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE DESTINI BRONAUGH AND HER YOUNGER SISTER, ALSO THEN A STUDENT AT THE SCHOOL, FOR A PEACEFUL STUDENT PROTEST AROUND SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND TEACHER LAYOFFS)
Journalist and Community Activist Kathy Wray Coleman can be reached at 216-932-3114 andktcoleman8 [at] aol [dot] com.