Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Vic Kohring Discusses How The FBI Deliberately Lied To Him During The August 2006 Raid On His Wasilla Legislative Office

On February 7th, 2012, the second installment in a series in which former Alaska State Rep. Vic Kohring tells his own side of the federal Alaska public corruption probe was published by Alaska Dispatch. In this piece, Kohring discusses the FBI's raid on his Wasilla legislative office on August 31st, 2006. Most importantly, he shows how FBI agents, as permitted by law and upheld by court decision, can and did lie to him during the course of the raid.

The first installment, "Vic Kohring speaks: True justice served", was published on January 31st.

Summary: Vic Kohring was out and about in Wasilla when he received a phone call from an FBI agent advising him to get to his Wasilla office ASAP. Simultaneously, another FBI team was raiding his Juneau office. Kohring identifies specific lies told to him by the FBI:

-- Lie Number One: The FBI agent told Kohring they had a search warrant, which they never produced, but if he granted them permission to search his property, the FBI would not go to the press. Of course, the FBI statement was already redundant, since they were already in the office, having been admitted by a Kohring staff member who may not have been educated enough to demand to see the warrant as the price of admission.

-- Lie Number Two: Even though Kohring decided to let the search proceed without visible evidence of a warrant, the FBI went to the press afterwards anyway. But since Kohring maintains he had nothing to hide, he allowed them to continue.

-- Lie Number Three: During the raid, Vic Kohring was never informed by the FBI that his long-time friend and personal lawyer Robert Hall had arrived. Unable to open the locked door to Kohring's outer office, he knocked on the door and spoke to an armed agent but was turned away. Yet Hall remained outside the door and spent over two hours waiting. He knocked again and asked the agent to pass word to Kohring that he was outside wanting to advise him, but Kohring was never informed of this. Thus Kohring was also being detained and didn't know it.

In effect, the FBI team, bristling with handguns, had locked and detained Kohring in his inner office, prevented him from speaking with his lawyer with no honest statement of purpose or reading of rights, and then finally threatened him with 20 years in prison. He maintains no incriminating evidence was found.

Kohring says that Lie Number Four took place during his trial when the FBI agent testified that Hall never showed up. Kohring concludes that the FBI will lie, cheat, create their own values, anything to get a conviction. Since they are the prime law enforcement agency in the U.S., they can get away with venal behavior. Of course, they've proven that many times in the past, most notably at Ruby Ridge and Waco, so Kohring really shouldn't have been surprised.

The Supreme Court effectively upheld the right of police to lie during an interrogation to obtain a confession; the case was Frazier v. Cupp. The defendant was convicted of murder based on his confession, which he'd provided after receiving a "somewhat abbreviated description of his constitutional rights" (the interrogation predated Miranda) and being told that his cousin had already admitted to the crime, which wasn't so. On appeal of his conviction, the defendant that the confession had been involuntary and should have been excluded. But the U.S. Supreme Court brushed aside the defendant's argument for excluding the confession, concluding that "[t]he fact that the police misrepresented the statements that [the defendant's cousin] had made is, while relevant, insufficient in our view to make this otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible. These cases must be decided by viewing the 'totality of the circumstances,' and on the facts of this case we can find no error in the admission of petitioner's confession."

It is up to readers to determine for themselves how to react if a law enforcement team wants to search their homes without a warrant. In my case, I would permit a warrantless search in case of a neighborhood emergency in progress (fire, flood, gas leak), to clear an erroneous 911 hangup (often caused by a malfunctioning telephone connection), or in the case of a search for a missing child. You don't want to be a prick and stand on ceremony in such cases.

But in any other case, I would require presentation of a warrant to search my home, and if the law enforcement team were to insist on searching without a warrant, I would have to consider physical resistance. The only way to assure your rights is to exercise them, even at personal hazard.

Note: All previous posts about Vic Kohring available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

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