The Management of Dissent: How to Destroy an Activist
By Janet Phelan <http://journal-neo.org/author/janet-phelan/>
While the West, and the United States in particular, has repeatedly voiced
criticism over human rights abuses in other countries, the US’s own record
in terms of detaining and incarcerating dissidents is now becoming
In presenting a recent report on human rights issues, US Secretary of State
John Kerry stated: *“Here is the truth, we believe: A government that fails
to respect human rights, no matter how lofty its pretentions, has very
little to boast about, to teach, and very little indeed in the way of
reaching its full potential
This report itself is heavily weighted in terms of naming Asian and Middle
Eastern countries as human rights abusers. Kerry reports that *“In every
part of the world, we see an accelerating trend by both state and non-state
actors to close the space for civil society, to stifle media and Internet
freedom, to marginalize opposition voices, and in the most extreme cases,
to kill people or drive them from their homes
The United States is not named in the report.
However, the US is itself a major culpable actor in such abuses. Despite
its continuing and increasingly strained efforts to self-promote as a
defender of human rights, the US is now inhibiting media and internet
freedom as well as regularly imprisoning activists–often without trial.
The world is already aware of the use of the Espionage Act to imprison and
otherwise intimidate whistleblowers. The cases of Bradley Manning
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Manning>, Jeffrey Sterline
, James Hitselberger
Kiriakou <https://www.rt.com/usa/229103-john-kiriakou-released-prison/>, and
others have hit the mainstream press
What the world may not be aware of is that non-CIA connected individuals,
who are merely attempting to correct and/ or broadcast injustices, are now
facing jail time.
*You Mean I Forgot to Tell You About Your Trial?*
Tim Lahrman is a name well known to disability rights activists. A trained
paralegal, Tim has been volunteering his paralegal skills to a growing list
of people who are engaged in legal battles against guardians and lawyers.
For those unacquainted with the issues concerning adult guardianships, an
overview reveals that these guardianships constitute a legal loophole
through which an individual may be declared incompetent and then stripped
of all his assets and the lion’s share of his rights. In fact, upon the
initiation of such a guardianship, the alleged incapacitated person may not
even be allowed to hire a lawyer to defend against the guardianship. The
National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse’s website has a compelling
summary of what rights are lost when one goes under a guardianship
Robin Gibson, a Los Angeles woman, attributes Tim Lahrman’s legal expertise
to the successful resolution of an ongoing legal conflict with the guardian
for her mother. Recently, the mother was released from a guardianship
which Gibson states was draining her mother’s estate and wherein the
guardian, Frumeh Labow
virtually sequestered the older woman from contact with the outside world.
*“I owe this all to Tim,“* pronounced an exhilarated Robin Gibson in a
recent interview. *“I have finally got my mother back.“*
Gibson is only one of many who have benefited from Lahrman’s legal acumen
and skills. And she may be one of the last. For Tim Lahrman now sits in an
Indiana jail cell, held without bail on two seventeen year- old misdemeanor
Candice Schwager, an attorney from Texas, has this to say about Lahrman’s
incarceration: *“There is an entirely different agenda behind this
seventeen year old persecution. It’s not even reasonable to think that
Goshen keeps misdemeanor cold case files and this was bad luck. This arrest
was retribution because Tim has brought up the crimes of a clouted
Tim Lahrman was himself placed under a guardianship in 1987. He was at that
point in time in his twenties and an owner of a thriving automotive
business which was subsequently ravaged through the guardianship
Lahrman’s guardianship was never legally terminated. After sacking his
business, the guardian, Kenneth Scheibenberger, “just sort of wandered
off,” according to Lahrman.
This left Tim Lahrman in legal limbo. Neither his rights nor his property
were ever restored to him. He was left, in essence, as a legal zero.
As the law states, Lahrman thus could not have had the “legal capacity” to
commit the two misdemeanors with which he was charged in 1999 —driving with
a suspended license and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Tim filed legal notice in the misdemeanor case of his stated “lack of
capacity.” The court took no notice and, after oddly failing in its legal
mandate to summon him for his trial, held the trial without him present,
found him guilty and sentenced him to two years. He was not present at the
hearing and was not subsequently apprehended.
Fast forward to 2016. Tim is not only assisting others in their
guardianship cases but has now filed a number of lawsuits in his own matter
Filed on January 20, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Tim Lahrman also sued Elkhart
County Superior Court No. 2 (Stephen R. Bowers, Judge), the Chief Judge of
the Indiana Court of Appeals, the State of Indiana, the Office of Indiana
Attorney General and the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court
Administration. Lahrman was picked up in March of this year on the
seventeen year- old stale and expired warrant, and is being held in Elkhart
County Jail without bail. His writ of Habeas Corpus, filed with the court
this past week, was reportedly denied by Judge Bodie Stegelmann. According
to reports, Judge Stegelmann has ordered Lahrman into a psychiatric
Attorney Schwager, who has filed notice in this case, states that Tim was
put into “the hole”—solitary confinement—this past week after asking his
public defender for her name and also requesting the court file. The
request apparently frightened her. Schwager has more
The public defender subsequently withdrew and the judge has ordered Tim to
appear pro se—without legal counsel.
*I Don’t Know You But I Am Sure You Are Incompetent*
Another disability rights activist, Cary Andrew Crittenden, is now being
held in Santa Clara County Jail, in Northern California, after being
arrested on Christmas Eve on “secret charges.”
We can only term the charges “secret” because the Santa Clara County
Prosecutor’s office has consistently refused to honor its legal
responsibility to release the records containing the factual circumstances
surrounding Crittenden’s arrest. The California Public Records Act,
clarified by the court case known as “Kusar” mandates the release of these
Crittenden, who has launched an internet campaign against corruption in
Santa Clara County was previously arrested in Santa Clara County for making
online statements about public officials which were deemed to be “
An internal affairs complaint was filed on February 11 with the
Prosecutor’s office concerning the refusal of Assistant District Attorney
David Angel to comply with the records disclosure law, which is in place in
order to guard against “secret arrests.” This IA complaint appears to have
gone the way of the public’s rights to know—into the garbage can. No action
has been taken on the complaint.
The recipient of the complaint, a Lt. Jorge Perez, who states he is an
investigator with the DA’s office, has refused to even release the name of
the individual who has been assigned to investigate the complaint
concerning ADA David Angel’s refusal to comply with the law.
Recently, there was an attempt to have Crittenden declared incompetent to
stand trial. If an individual is so deemed, he may be incarcerated
indefinitely without ever having his day in court. Sniffing this rat,
Crittenden refused to attend the psychiatric evaluation which the court had
set up for him.
In a bizarre, Kafkaesque effort, a “doctor” –who never saw or evaluated
Cary Andrew Crittenden–trotted himself into court. In a declaration that
would have made any surrealist proud, Dr. Burke, the “doc-in the pocket” of
the court, intoned that in his professional opinion, Crittenden, a man he
had never seen, was “incompetent to stand trial.”
The fact that Burke had never evaluated Crittenden did not escape the
attention of the court, however. Crittenden was ordered into another
evaluation, and the subsequent medical professional reportedly determined
that Crittenden was indeed competent.
The propensity for courts now to order activists and dissidents into
psychiatric evaluation is something that deserves special attention. A
person adjudicated incompetent by a court may, in fact, never get a trial.
He can be locked up indefinitely on minor and potentially bogus charges and
also be court- ordered to be forcibly medicated with anti- psychotics,
which constitute a chemical strait jacket.
If you think that the cases involving Lahrman and Crittenden are the
exception, you may rest assured that, for cases involving guardianship
activists, this is standard court operating procedure. Rosanna Miller, who
was attempting to protect her father’s interests while he was under
guardianship, was arrested in 2014 for failure to pay court costs. The Ohio
Supreme Court, however, had issued a memo stating that an individual cannot
be arrested for failure to pay court costs.
Questions were raised about the possibility that the Bellafontaine judge,
Ann Beck, was involved in a number of financial improprieties. Beck then
quickly released Miller from custody. Barbara Stone, a NY attorney whose
mother, Helen, was under a questionable guardianship in Florida, was
arrested and charged with “custody interference”—which mandates a potential
sentence of five years in prison—for allegedly taking her mother to lunch.
*If I Can’t Get You, I’ll Get Your Kid*
The psychiatric incarceration of John Rohrer raises further questions about
motives to detain this young man, and detain him possibly indefinitely.
Rohrer, who apparently wandered into the wrong house while under the
influence of a hallucinogen, has now been detained over ten years, the last
six and a half years as an in-patient in a state psychiatric facility. The
case has been fraught with illegal maneuvers by the prosecutors and judge,
including denying him his right multiple times to hearings to determine
whether he meets the state’s definition of being “mentally ill.” In fact,
Rohrer has never been deemed incompetent. Rohrer is now being held at
Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, a State psychiatric hospital, where he
was forcibly drugged for years.
It should be noted that the Ohio Supreme Court has determined that a judge
may not order forced drugging unless he makes a finding that the individual
lacks capacity to consent. The forced drugging must also be in the
patient’s “best interests” and there must not be any alternatives deemed to
be as effective as the drugging. In the Rohrer case, Judge Corzine made
none of these findings, and in fact stated on the record that Rohrer
appeared “pretty lucid today.”
Nevertheless, Corzine ordered the forced drugging of John Rohrer.
According to reports, during a brief 2007 exposure to Risperdal, Rohrer,
who was at that time 27 years old, suffered a cardiac event, but this did
not stop it from being chosen as the primary drug to forcibly inject.
Medical and legal malpractice complaints were filed November 24, 2014 in
the Ohio Court of Claims and November 28, 2014 in the Franklin County
Common Pleas Court by the attorney for John Rohrer. The complaint states
that Rohrer was forcibly injected with Risperdal for more than 3 ½ years
although the drug is known to cause irreversible brain damage. In addition,
the complaint states that Rohrer’s rights to a fair hearing have been
The activist in the Rohrer case is actually his mother. Attorney and talk
show host Katherine Hine founded the advocacy group Stop Child Abuse Now in
Oklahoma and advised a group of foster mothers who were outraged at the
involvement of judges and lawyers in the murder of 2 year old Ryan Luke in
1995. She is the Executive Director of the Ross County Network for Children
in Ohio, an organization with a strong history of conflict with the Ross
County Prosecutors, surrounding two child murderers that the County had not
wanted prosecuted back in the 1990’s.
Hine is now with WJLA radio hosting a two weekly broadcasts—one exposing
illegalities of forced psychiatry and another exposing the consequences of
the lack of judicial accountability. She also is a contributor to The
Columbus Free Press.
The Ross County Prosecutor’s office has made it clear that they despise
her. Now, they are the ones making sure John Rohrer stays locked up.
Hine has faced three disciplinary actions. She writes, “My first
discipline was in Oklahoma in like 1981 or 1982 when my soon to be ex
grabbed by children in violation of an Oklahoma custody order giving their
temporary custody to me.” According to Hine, “He claimed he wasn’t served.”
She reports that “I got a private reprimand – where you go into an office
and they yell at you about 15 minutes. Told me what a disgrace to the
profession I was and how ashamed they all were of being in the bar
association with me.”
She was subsequently reprimanded by the Oklahoma Bar in 1997 for
communicating with a judge concerning a matter involving a suspected case
of child abuse, in which she did not represent a party
fact, Hine had signed a letter along with seven other individuals who were
concerned that the judge had authorized supervised visitation of a child
with a sexual predator and that the supervision stipulation was being
ignored. In other words, the child was allowed to be alone with the
predator. There was another attempt at discipline when she was accused of
ghost writing for a pro se litigant, but Hine invoked confidentiality and
the complaint evaporated.
Concerning the lengthy incarceration of her son, Katherine Hine has this to
say: “These people are like the Cosa Nostra. They launch intergenerational
vendettas and will go after your family.”
According to Hine, John Rohrer is no longer allowed online. He had
previously set up websites with his music and poetry but the public
awareness of his situation had launched protests among his readers and as a
result, he is now barred by the hospital from going onto the internet.
Recent articles have discussed the increasing incidence of suspension and
disciplinary actions taken against attorneys who are attempting to protect
the rights of individuals
the current trend continues, we may see anyone standing up for the rights
of another individual escorted into jail and, from there, potentially into
a rubber room.
*Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that
has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of
a tell-all book EXILE
exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook