Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Archive for November, 2005

Stella Awards – The Escapist Mentality

Posted by zaphriel on November 30, 2005

As some of you may know I am a great proponent of tort reform. Frivolous lawsuits just irritate me beyond belief. So I subscribed to the Stella Awards News letter, and occasionally I like to publish some of the better ones (I would just provide a link, but these stories do not appear online). This one is great because it involves two of my favorite subjects, stupid criminals, and an idiotic lawsuit. Well, I�ll let Randy Casdsingham tell the rest of the story.

THE ESCAPIST MENTALITY
by Randy Cassingham

Scott Bolton had bad luck in cell mates. Accused of stealing several all-terrain vehicles, Bolton was awaiting trial at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania in October 2003. His cell mate, Hugo Selenski, was awaiting trial on homicide charges — the sort of charge any inmate would want to escape from.

And Selenski did just that, climbing down a rope fashioned of sheets tied together. Selenski, Bolton claims, beat him to near unconsciousness in order to stuff his body through the cell block window. That, Bolton says, caused him to fall several storeys to the ground, leaving him comatose for several weeks, confined to a wheelchair for life, and with damage to his brain, spinal cord, nerves and internal organs.

Bolton was found and rushed to the hospital by air ambulance, and he survived.
Selenski escaped, but turned himself in three days later.

Bolton filed suit over the escape attempt in U.S. District Court — for “civil rights” violations. His suit names Selenski as the primary defendant, but murder suspects aren’t exactly typically flush with cash. So the suit also names Warden Gene Fischi and Deputy Warden Rowland Roberts, eight guards, two County Prison Board members, and three County Commissioners.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” says Warden Fischi. “I guess it’s like the old saying: If someone robs your house and slips on a roller skate going out, they’re going to sue you.”

Fischi paints a very different portrait of what happened. He says Bolton was a willing participant in the escape, and was climbing down the makeshift rope when he lost his grip and fell. And why did he lose his grip? Apparently Bolton wasn’t moving fast enough for his co-conspirator, so Selenski pushed him, another inmate says. (Tip: always let the alleged murderer go first!)

The county commissioners are particularly perplexed at being named in the suit, which Bolton filed without the aid of an attorney.

“It’s very hard to be responsible for something that occurred three months before we took office,” says Commissioner Todd Vonderheid. “Somebody is incarcerated because they broke the law, then agrees to be a party to an escape, then is dumb enough to act as a human mattress for
[Selenski], and they’re not responsible for their actions? It’s repulsive. Is no one responsible for themselves in this society?” Call it escapism from reality.

The amusing part of the whole case is the basis for Bolton’s lawsuit: he says his injuries are due
to the prison guards’ failure to patrol the cell block, and therefore to discover that the window to the cell Bolton and Selenski shared had been pried open, and only that allowed Selenski to “viciously assault” him to “near unconsciousness” and then push him from their cell window, as if
anyone trying to escape a murder rap would take the time to do that on his way out.

And, of course, those would be the same “failures” the escapees had relied on to escape in the first place. So he counts on these guards not to do their jobs to the letter, then blames them when they behave as he expected and things turn sour.

His suit seeks a minimum of $1,000 for attorney fees (even though he doesn’t have an attorney), plus payment of all past and future medical bills, plus $10,000 in compensatory damages,
plus $25,000 in punitive damages, all court costs, plus “any and all other relief” that the jury
sees “fit, necessary or required.”

Commissioner Vonderheid has something to say about Bolton not using an attorney for his suit: “Maybe if he hired a lawyer he would know who to sue.” Maybe, but it’s not likely Bolton wants to sue the person who is actually responsible for the injuries he sustained during his commission
of a crime: himself.

Bolton, who has now been moved to a state prison, has since initiated a second lawsuit against the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, the details
of which are sketchy. It’s also not clear whether he was charged in connection with the botched escape. If not, perhaps we can expect yet another lawsuit for that failure. As an inmate, he has all the time in the world to create problems for other people; just because he’s in prison — or a wheelchair — doesn’t mean he can’t continue to find victims to taunt.

SOURCES:
1) “Man Hurt in Escape Sues Selenski”, Times Leader, 29 September 2005 http://StellaAwards.com/cgi-bin/redirect5.pl?68a

2) Lawsuit Filing, Scott Allen Bolton v. Hugo Selensky, et al., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (3:CV 05-1947), 27 September 2005 (PDF scan, 460K) http://StellaAwards.com/cases/bolton.pdf

That Reminds me of a saying… A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.

Check out Randy�s Website for more details and to sign up for the newsletter yourself.

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The Strategy for Victory

Posted by Mark on November 30, 2005

This isn’t really any different from what the President has been saying for months now. But, now its on paper, in an unclassified document for all to see. I’ll spend some time on it over the coming days. But one thing I will say now; if you oppose the Iraqi front of this war, you need to read this document before making another comment. To do anything else is simply acting out of ignorance.

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Ask the Soldiers

Posted by Mark on November 30, 2005

Great blog! Ask your questions about the military to some military guys. Of course, here at Liberty Just in Case, you can just ask Matt. Great site nonetheless.

And thanks Timmer, for leading me to AubreyJ.org. An excellent blog, one I’ll return to again and again.

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The Strategy for Victory

Posted by Mark on November 30, 2005

This isn’t really any different from what the President has been saying for months now. But, now its on paper, in an unclassified document for all to see. I’ll spend some time on it over the coming days. But one thing I will say now; if you oppose the Iraqi front of this war, you need to read this document before making another comment. To do anything else is simply acting out of ignorance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Another Democrat Speaks Out on Iraq

Posted by Mark on November 29, 2005

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

It’s a Democrat. Really. Why, this Democrat was Algore’s running mate in 2000! And, there’s more from Joe Lieberman:

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

If you are on the left, please read this editorial from Senator Joseph Lieberman. He’s bucking his Party in saying these things. He’s making himself a target for the Mainstream Media. He’s telling the truth.

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Another Democrat Speaks Out on Iraq

Posted by Mark on November 29, 2005

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

It’s a Democrat. Really. Why, this Democrat was Algore’s running mate in 2000! And, there’s more from Joe Lieberman:

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

If you are on the left, please read this editorial from Senator Joseph Lieberman. He’s bucking his Party in saying these things. He’s making himself a target for the Mainstream Media. He’s telling the truth.

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Changes, and a Need For Feedback

Posted by Mark on November 29, 2005

Okay, the new template is up and running, thanks to a yeoman effort by Matt. Tell us what you think of the new design, what would you like to see changed, etc.

My wish was for three columns, which I just love!

Give us your feedback, if you would be so kind…

Posted in War and Terror | Leave a Comment »

Changes, and a Need For Feedback

Posted by Mark on November 29, 2005

Okay, the new template is up and running, thanks to a yeoman effort by Matt. Tell us what you think of the new design, what would you like to see changed, etc.

My wish was for three columns, which I just love!

Give us your feedback, if you would be so kind…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Mother Sheehan Without an Audience

Posted by Mark on November 28, 2005

Okay, I admit it. I love this photograph!

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan waits for people to show up at her book signing near President Bush’s ranch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005 in Crawford, Texas. Sheehan, whose 24-year-old Casey died in Iraq, called for anti-war activists to return to Crawford this week as Bush celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

She held a book signing…in Crawford?!? After the mess she made of that town of 700 in August? She lucky she wasn’t run out of town…by sheepdogs. (Scroll down to get the joke.)

Posted in War and Terror | Leave a Comment »

Mother Sheehan Without an Audience

Posted by Mark on November 28, 2005

Okay, I admit it. I love this photograph!

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan waits for people to show up at her book signing near President Bush’s ranch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005 in Crawford, Texas. Sheehan, whose 24-year-old Casey died in Iraq, called for anti-war activists to return to Crawford this week as Bush celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

She held a book signing…in Crawford?!? After the mess she made of that town of 700 in August? She lucky she wasn’t run out of town…by sheepdogs. (Scroll down to get the joke.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »