Josephine County Criminal Justice System Indicted by Not Guilty Verdict: Steve Andrews Walks
By John Taft, Investigative Reporter
GRANTS PASS, Oregon (11-25-02) – This story is being whispered about in the halls of the county courthouse, in snug lawyer’s offices, and the favorite eating and gossiping place for the courthouse crowd, the Powderhorn Café. Steve Andrews is a man in his sixties who has several physical problems for which he is being treated. He was forced to endure addition mental suffering for two years when he was plagued by unfounded charges deliberately pursued by the Josephine County Criminal Justice System. In the end, a jury found Steve Andrews Innocent.
Key Players in Dangerous Game
Players in this real life drama are as follows: On the prosecution side was the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office headed by Dave Daniel, Detective Gerald C. Rylander, and District Attorney Clay Johnson. On the defense team were Edward Snook, Investigative Reporter for the US Oregon Observer, and Portland Attorney Richard Cohen. The DA’s office paid for an investigation that resulted in a case the prosecutor couldn’t prove. It seems District Attorney Clay Johnson lacks the ability to tell a good case from a bad case and presented this loser to a grand jury. The grand juries in Josephine County are known to be quite gullible in that they applaud almost all the song and dance routines put on by the DA’s office. The old saying, "A DA could get a grand jury to indite a ham sandwich," seems quite true in Andrew’s case.
Pro-Tem Judge Pat Wolke Nailed
Interestingly, Andrews’ court appointed attorney was Pat Wolke, who has had bad things to say about this reporter and the Oregon Observer. Wolke has recently been upgraded to being a pro-tem judge in Josephine County (JoCo). Andrews is quoted in his letter as saying, "Had I trusted in my original court appointed attorney Pat Wolke, I would be writing from a cell in a state prison."
Innocent Man Stiffed For $250
The prosecution of this bogus case has cost the taxpayer-funded criminal justice system tens of thousands of dollars. It has destroyed Steve Andrews’ life as he knew it and has placed him in severe financial distress. There is no compensation to put his life back in order as it was when Detective Rylander asked Andrews to see him at his office. In his letter, Andrews describes the apparently legalized theft of $250 claimed to be for security release costs deducted from his bail money of $5,000.
Bugs Only Bugs
In too many cases the public is relegated to being a mere bug crawling through the JoCo Criminal Justice System. There are men in this court system waiting to mutilate and destroy other men’s lives with no more care, concern, or remorse than mashing an insect. The following is a letter from Steve Andrews and highlights some of his grotesque experiences in battling a criminal justice system in Josephine County that has an exterminator mentality.
DA Clay Johnson Tried to Send Innocent Man to Pen for Six Years: Steve Andrews Informs Public
By Steve Andrews
"I am writing regarding my recent experience with the justice system in Josephine County.
"Since I’m sure most, if not all of your readers are familiar with my case, I won’t elaborate needlessly on detail. Suffice it to say I have walked away a free man from the phony charges leveled at me by persons with bad faith motives and the ability to influence law enforcement negatively against me. I know some of your readers have most likely found themselves thinking that the original article in The Oregon Observer (December issue) regarding my case reflected a large amount of paranoia on my part. After all, it would be hard to believe that a man’s own brother would conspire with that man’s ex-girlfriend to have charges of child abuse brought against him. Law enforcement in Jackson and Josephine counties followed right along with them like a donkey would follow a carrot on a stick. The authorities were all too happy to play along with these persons because it looked like they would have an easy conviction at the end. Remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you! This has changed my whole life. Even though I was acquitted by a jury of twelve good people, I no longer have the pleasure of living in my own hometown of Gold Hill, Oregon. This is denied to me, as the stigma is already there. After one and one half years of mental anguish and grief and a lengthy trial, I am finally free. But it isn’t over by a long shot! I now have to rebuild my life and I have to do that from a different place, as I can never feel good about living in the Rogue Valley again. While I appreciate all the support and prayers from friends and family alike, no one can know how I still hurt deep inside from the trauma of lies, false arrest, and false imprisonment. I sincerely hope that none of your readers (or anyone else) will ever have to be in the position I found myself.
Oregon Observer gets Credit
"If it hadn’t been for Ed Snook, his wife Penny, and The Oregon Observer, I could never have prevailed in court. Ed Snook directed me to attorney Richard Cohen of Portland, Oregon when my "court appointed attorney" quit me. After a sharing of information from Ed Snook regarding my case, and a look at my file, Mr. Cohen graciously agreed to take my case. Now, after having had the pleasure of working with and being successfully defended by Mr. Cohen, I have to revise my opinion about lawyers. Sure, Mr. Cohen is a very expensive attorney, but what is the value of freedom? This experience has assured that I will have no share of my mother’s estate, no money in the bank, and I can only look forward to a life of poverty on the small SSI income I now receive. I won’t complain about what my defense has cost. It was well worth it. If I hadn’t had Ed Snook on my team, even Mr. Cohen would have had a tough time defending me, and had I trusted in my original court appointed attorney Pat Wolke, I would be writing from a cell in a state prison.
"Ed’s investigation is what started the ball rolling. With what he discovered we were able to understand the enemy and defeat them. Never underestimate the worth of a good investigator. I would strongly recommend that anyone being run over by the system get straight to The Oregon Observer and Ed Snook before it’s too late!
Merry Christmas from Under a Bridge
The US Oregon Observer will carry a feature story on the front page of the mid December 2002 issue blasting the prosecution of Steve Andrews.
John Taft can be reached at email@example.com This article is posted on StrobeZone http://www.strobezone.homestead.com