Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maybe It's The Insanity Defense

Most people in Spokane are familiar with the case of Otto Zehm who died unnecessarily at the hands of the Spokane Police Department a little over four years ago. Officer Karl Thompson is charged in federal court with violating Otto Zehm's rights through an excessive use of force and of making a false statement.

In today's Spokesman Review, there's an article about the case concerning a possible cover-up by Spokane Police officers. The Review also includes a link to the document filed by the government (PDF). This is a very interesting read. I also found something very curious in it that wasn't mentioned in the Review article, quite possibly because there's no lack of issues to cover.

Go to page 49 and then answer these questions for me. What man who has been married for 38 years relinquishes his house, vehicle, other personal property, and half his retirement income, and agrees to take on all of the debt in an uncontested divorce? Who gets a divorce in a matter of three weeks? What man continues to live in the house he no longer owns with his now ex wife 1-1/2 years after the divorce was granted?

As a result of his now pauper status, Officer Karl Thompson has little to lose in the $2.9 million civil suit file by the estate of Otto Zehm. Plus he qualifies to be defended at public expense. Smart? Too obvious? Or just crazy?


Lucas said...

The telling bits in that are in the way the attorney structured the complaint. Putting "all" in quotes is intended to get the point across that they mean the looming civil judgment. Also, the prosecutor tips their hand in line 122, when they refer to her as his "purported" ex-wife.

This is obviously an attempt on Thompson's part to transfer assets to the wife because he thinks they will be safe that way, or that at least he will be able to get a public defender. As an armchair lawyer, I don't think he stands a chance. The prosecutor's language clearly indicates that he is not impressed and I would expect they will try to say that the divorce was a sham. I will also say I think the divorce was a sham because I can't even live in the same time zone as my ex-wife, much less the same house.

Lucas said...

Reading that further, can you believe the way the city was handling this thing?