e CommonSense: Aw Shucks . . .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Aw Shucks . . .

The folks here at DelcoTomPaine are blushing bright red, what with all the attention that Peter Porcupine is getting . . .

Editorial: What’s bugging Clouse? Who knows?

People love to gossip - especially about the famous and beautiful and those in positions of power. People like business tycoons. And movie stars. And mayors and governors. And judges.

That’s why some eyebrows were raised in the county seat when it was revealed last week that Delaware County President Judge Kenneth Clouse hired two former FBI agents to sweep the courthouse for bugs. Clouse spent something less than $2,000 to have the sleuths determine whether courthouse phones were tapped. His reason? "There was sensitive personnel information and all kinds of things that were leaked out," he said. "They were either leaked or the phones were tapped."

He also cited "confidential" information about the ongoing contempt-of-court case of jailed lawyer H. Beatty Chadwick. Clouse would not disclose what the agents found, saying only, "We’ve remedied some suspicious areas."

Clouse’s move came as a surprise to high-ranking county government officials. "This is a joke, right?" said Delaware County Council Chairman Andrew Reilly.

Reilly wasn’t laughing when he was assured it was not. After all, he’s in charge of funding the court system, and county council and Clouse have butted heads bitterly over budgets in recent years - to the point where the judge was threatening to sue for more money. While Clouse did nothing wrong in spending the money to hunt for bugs, Reilly didn’t seem happy to find out about it - from a reporter.

But why would Clouse be concerned about security in the first place?

Well, his professional and private lives have been in the spotlight for some time. He drew considerable attention as a Republican rebel and then political insider in the contentious world of Haverford Township politics.

Controversy followed him to the bench. Clouse was even the target of courthouse pickets in 2004 by those who claimed he misrepresented his marital status to avoid paying about $3,000 in real estate transfer taxes in 2002. Clouse later paid the money and an investigation by the state Attorney General’s office cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing.

Most recently, a local political blogger dubbed "Peter Porcupine" has written extensively about Clouse and the county courts system on his Web site, CommonSense. [Look, Ma! That's us!] It’s a fascinating blend of fact, rumor and speculation that’s as impossible to resist as slowing down to gawk at a car accident. That would be a fair description of the blogger’s opinion of Clouse’s tenure as president judge, by the way. [Actually, the term "train wreck" is what comes to mind.]

But everyone has opinions, right? And dealing with that is part of being a public official. Ken Clouse has certainly been one of the most interesting president judges in recent county history.

As long as he holds that post, he must know that people are going to be watching what he does and listening to what he says. And then talking about it. However distasteful that may be, it’s certainly no crime. Case dismissed.


At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair and balanced right-wing defender Gil Spencer is hot on the trail of this story and promises to tell (more of) Judge Clouse's side of things.

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's always some political discussion about Clouse on the Haverford Blog at http://www.haverfordblog.com.

Not very favorable opinions of Clouse around Haverford either...

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inky said today that the Judicial Review Board is looking into Clouse.

Forget about it. It is a totally corrupt board that will always cover-up for powerful judges. They hit their "quota" of finding some judicial corrutpion by going after local District Justices.

It's no different in Montco. President Judge Corso has been accused of covering-up for a Senior Judge who re-wrote and fabricated the transcripts from a hearing and for covering-up for a Distict Justice who lied under oath.

All of the Montgomery County and Lower Merion Twonship Commissioners have been provided evidence of fabricated court documents and a judge lying under oath. Those named as corrupt judges are Senior Judge (and former President Judge - see the buddy system) Joseph Smyth, who is also a former D.A., for fabricating court documents and Narberth District Justice Kathleen Valentine for lying under oath.

Yet, the cover-ups continue and the Judical Review Board is a joke. I was copied in on the letters that provide for the corruption. Any reporter ineterested should contact any Lower Merion or Montgomery Township Commissioner about receiving those letters of complaint, for which President Judge Corso never responded to the person complaining, as I understand it, and amongst the Main Line crowd aware of this, there is no expectation of any investigation or justice. Delco, Montco - both Courthouses and their Judges - especially the Senior Judges, live by the dictum of "power corrupts".

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Yale U. Law School Blog:

>P.S. If you insist that Chadwick wasn't railroaded at the county level or that the findings of "fact" solicited at the Media, PA County Courthouse are credible - despite the virtual absence of due process given Chadwick - merely as Exhibit "A" please read this statement made by a character witness the defense would have called to impeach the plaintiff, Mrs Chadwick-Applegate:

"Oh...we know all about what Mr.Chadwick is going through. How we know? We live next door to his ex-wife Barbara Chadwick. My husband and I have lived in the town of Thomaston for twenty-four years and Barbara Chadwick/aka Applegate had all kinds of suits against us(FALSE ALLIGATIONS) She and her new hubby thought they could come into a small town and brag about their wealth, dig for more money and rule us. Well, what they didn't know is that we are a tight knit little town and she thinks she can fool us like she is with the PA Judge. Our Lawyer saw right through her just as many in our town. The Judge on Chadwick/Applegate vs. Chadwick is so wrapped tight around Barbara's finger that it shows how weak the Judicial system can be. People think Mainers are backwards and stupid...Oh Ms.Applegate now knows she can't move our mountains. She sure plays quite a tune with Pennsylvania that must be a real stupid place to live! If they can't see through her negative ways and check on her legal history of taken people to Court...Wow! POOR Mr.Chadwick is stuck in the spiders web! We hope and pray for Mr.Chadwicks release. It is such a terrible thing to think that any sane decent human being can think that she/he can have so much power over someone to keep them squirming like a worm on a hook...it must be a personal thing with the individuals who have consumed such false power."


But there was no hearing! And 10 1/2 years have passed...

In conclusion a political hack like Clouse in DELCO... is all that stands between us and the Bastille.

Posted by: j. katz at November 13, 2005 08:59 PM

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clouse is a corrupt joke. No judge in Pennsylvania deserves any respect from the citizens. While there are plenty of honest judges, the corrupt ones have the power and the honest ones are afraid to speak up. Well, it is the duty (per the Code of Judicial Conduct) for judges to speak up against other corrupt judges, and it never happens. Thus, not a SINGLE judge in PA deserves ANY respect from the good citizens of PA. Our judical system is a farce.


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