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Judge Jennifer Coffman's Kangaroo Court Continues

by J. Orlin Grabbe

Lawrence Meyers is lying. The FBI is lying. And everyone in the courtroom knows it. The Defense knows it. The U.S. Attorney's office knows it. The spectators in the courtroom know it. The press knows it. Judge Coffman knows it.

The jury should know it, too, but they aren't allowed to hear the evidence. Jennifer Coffman, who presides over her court like an anal- retentive Yuppie queen with one eye on her resume and the other on the clock, has a simple rationale: I be de Judge.

In fact, much of the trial has taken place with the jury absent, or at "sidebars" at the Judge's bench. AUSA Martin Hatfield rushes forward carrying his law book to explain why only evidence favorable to the Prosecution is admissible, and Judge Coffman bats her lashes at him adoringly. Meanwhile, several members of the jury roll their eyes at yet another whispered conference--but they are not allowed to know the facts that impeach the Prosecution's case.

  • The Louisville office of the FBI through Agent David "Orlin-Grabbe-is- Charles-Hayes" Keller passed falsified NCIC records to the US Attorney and the Defense. First AUSA Martin Hatfield highlighted Lawrence Meyer's misdemeanor conviction for walking out on a meal check and said, That's not so bad. He forgot to mentioned the missing grand theft felony conviction and the time spent in a mental hospital. When the Prosecution was forced to acknowledge this, however, new NCIC sheets were produced which again omitted evidence. To demonstrate this, the Defense produced a complete NCIC report on Meyers, but Judge Coffman forbid its introduction into evidence.

  • Coffman said no evidence about Lawrence Meyers' time spent in a mental hospital could be discussed before the jury. That the "personality disorder" on his Army discharge records could not be used. That none of the evidence about Meyers possessed by Kennetta Williamson, a 11-year criminal investigator for the Tennessee State Attorney General, relating to Meyers' involvement in another murder-for-hire charge, could be introduced. (Williamson was allow to say, however, that in her experience Meyers was a "professional pathological liar and not to be believed.")

  • Lawrence Meyers and two FBI agents said Meyers had never received payments from the government--except for his time in the Army (1976-1980) and tax refunds, under either of his two social security numbers. The Defense proposed to introduce evidence showing otherwise (which would thus show perjury by 3/4 of the U.S. Attorney's principal witnesses). The Prosecution protested (without offering any evidence) that the Defense could only have known about payments if the records were obtained illegally. ("We were lying, but you weren't supposed to know.") Buzz, buzz at the bench.

    No, Coffman had a simple solution to deal with a government case in trouble. She threatened to sanction Defense Attorney Gatewood Galbraith. After all, it's her court and she'll decide who gets a fair trial.

    There is a sulfurous smell of rotten eggs in the U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky. And much of it emanates from the robes of Judge Jennifer B. Coffman.

    January 27, 1997
    Web Page: http://www.aci.net/kalliste/