The other shoe has fallen.  John Bujak, formerly the Canyon County Prosecutor, has been charged with Grand Theft by Deception and by Embezzlement, and the investigation of the case is set out in a detailed affidavit that is available online at the Idaho Press Tribune website, or here.  But before you think this thing is over, I bet there are more falling shoes in our future.  Here’s why:

First, the affidavit indicates that although Bujak maintained neither he nor his chief of staff Tim Fleming would profit from the contract between Canyon County and Nampa City, BOTH did profit and neither apparently thinks there was any problem with their conduct. Bujak told the investigators that the issue wasn’t whether he took the money, but rather, whether he was permitted to take the money. Apparently in his mind, those statements that he would not personally profit (the Canyon County Commissioners say that they were led to believe Bujak would not profit) were only intended to refer to his agreement to "not take a salary increase."  So the investigation reveals that as the money came in from the City, which believed it was going to pay the County, Bujak used the money for his personal expenses, transferring money to his own private accounts.  It also shows that in late March 2010, Bujak used the same money to buy a $10,000 cashiers check for Tim Flemming – Bujak’s former chief of staff. Why was the $10,000 cashiers check, purchased out of Nampa City funds that were intended for Canyon County, going to Tim Fleming? Gift? Bonus? Mr. Fleming may have some explaining to do.

Second, the affidavit indicates that the contract (Prosecution Services Agreement) was between the City of Nampa and Office of the Mayor, and the Canyon County Prosecutor and Canyon County. Bujak’s claim has been that it was a personal contract between he and the City. If the contract actually is not in his name, then the money is likely not his; it belonged to the County. All of this stuff will impact on the pending lawsuits and bankruptcy proceeding. That failure to disclose to the Bankruptcy Court that he had possessed and sold a Rolex watch, could still land Bujak in another criminal case – in federal court. And of course there is the divorce proceeding and Bujak’s lawsuit against protagonists Bob Henry and the Michaelson law firm – remember he said they defamed him when they claimed that he had received money that he wasn’t entitled to?  Kind of sounds like the charges of Grand Theft in the new criminal case, doesn’t it?

Third and foremost in my mind is the likely involvement of the Idaho State Bar.  Bujak has been practicing law on a contract basis while this has been pending. He serves as an officer of the court and his conduct is subject to review by the Bar. 

Then again – I guess that potential fourteen years for each GRAND THEFT count will probably consume his time.  After all – he took the money – admits he got $236,000 from the City of Nampa that they believed was going to the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office. The only question is whether he was ENTITLED to take it.

I bet Kerry Michaelson and Bob Henry will sleep a lot easier tonight. They called it years ago.

And Mayor Dale, City of Nampa, Canyon County Commissioners: who was driving that bus when each of you allowed this mess to go on for a year? Just how is it that Canyon County taxpayers got Bujaked on your watch? You’ve got some explaining to do, too.

 


Continue Reading Bujak Charged With Grand Theft – Tells Investigators He Took The Money

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides you with many of your most important tools at trial. It is intended to guarantee a fair trial to every person accused of a crime. Whether you are charged with DUI, a drug crime, a sex offense, fraud, manslaughter or murder, the Sixth Amendment helps us to get you a fair trial.

If you have been charged with a crime, we will be happy to meet with you to explain your Sixth Amendment rights and how they can help us defend you in your particular criminal defense matter.

So what does the Sixth Amendment provide?  It provides you with these essential rights at trial:

You have the right to be tried by an impartial jury.
You must be informed of the nature of the charges against you.
You have the right to confront the witnesses against you.
You have the right to a lawyer.

These basic rights are just the start – for example you don’t want just any lawyer – you want an experienced trial lawyer.

You don’t really want just any jury that might be impartial – you want a lawyer who can use his or her experience to choose jurors most likely to listen to your story, and jurors who will want to help you.

So the Sixth Amendment gives us a framework to defend you, but the key to your defense – your trial and your innocence – is the lawyer you choose.

Before you hire a lawyer who says he or she has the experience you need to face a prosecution – STOP.  Ask that lawyer the five questions we have here.  Then give us a call. For over thirty years we have been providing the best defense in criminal cases in state and federal courts.


Continue Reading Just One Tool – Protecting Your Sixth Amendment Rights

You’re kidding me? A jailhouse snitch lied? Under oath? While being asked questions by a prosecutor? Who the 9th Circuit says KNEW that the snitch was lying? Huh.

That’s what the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found today as it reversed the death penalty for Lacey Sivak, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the killing of a convenience store clerk in 1981.  The Idaho Statesman reports this story here.

What should we take away from this? First, it ain’t over til’ the fat lady sings! Criminal trials and their outcomes are unpredictable, and the "result" is often subject to further review – by the courts of appeal. Second, the jailhouse snitch testimony is always suspect because the snitch is always looking for a way out of jail! Trial lawyers need to work on that snitch cross-examination so that the jury understands the credibility issues that exist with the snitch.

Maybe most importantly – we are reminded again of the important work performed by death penalty trial, habeas and appellate attorneys. Klaus Wiebe, Rolf Kehne, David Nevin, Leo Griffard, Bruce Livingston and Colleen Ward deserve a big congrats on their hard work. Death penalty and habeas corpus work is so difficult and such precision is required that we can never thank these folks enough.

What will happen to Sivak? Likely, he will be re-sentenced (if the State chooses to seek the death penalty) or the case will be settled for a life sentence.

Remember this – no matter what crime is charged – you need to retain the best attorney you can afford. Your life may literally depend upon that choice.


Continue Reading Sivak’s Death Penalty Reversed – Prosecutors Knowingly Permitted Jailhouse Snitch To Lie