August 30, 2007

Mary Cummins vs Los Angeles City, Ed Boks Et Al; What Is The Definition of "Witness Tampering"?

The Los Angeles City and the City Attorneys office is now looking at more than 25 potential witnesses who are willing to step forward, or answer subpoenas to speak out against Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates frivolous lawsuit for wrongful termination against the City of Los Angeles, Ed Boks et al. These witnesses are people from all walks of life who know ALL ABOUT Mary Cummins and do not want her to practice her treachery and intimidation EVER again against LAAS employees, volunteers and the city's homeless animals.

Three days ago, Mary Cummins (posting in her idiotic alias Ann Angeleno or AnnAngeleno) had her "article" stripped down from LA Voice. The site now says that the post "has been deleted because of alleged copyright infringement and misappropriation of identities. We're keeping an eye out for any further attempts to hijack this site." Maybe former LA Voice Publisher Mack Reed--who was harassed by Mary Cummins and had his wife defamed by Mary Cummins ON HIS OWN BLOG--contacted the new publishers when he realized AnnAngeleno is a fake name and also that Cummins had the temerity to post one item in his name.

But we digress. Today we were contacted by Mary Cummins victims who post to the closed blog Many were concerned about Mary Cummins latest post to her wacko lying blog, as there are many nasty emails now posted there.On her blog, Animal Advocates' Mary Cummins now admits to speaking about ALF-like actions against decent citizens, some of whom aren't even in the humane community. She admits her knowledge of a proposed campaign of terror against HER critics by posting fliers and contacting their neighbors and to multiple trips to LAPD to get these citizens arrested. FOR WHAT? For figuring out what a nut she is! That is right folks! Deputy Mayor Jim Bickhart's girlfriend Mary Cummins did this AND MORE, all the while Jim Bickhart was sponsoring and defending his girlfriend Mary Cummins, disgracing the Mayor, the City of Los Angeles, his position. Jim Bickhart acted with total disregard for the citizens of Los Angeles and to the detriment of all.

Moreover, the witnesses expressed concerns that Mary Cummins, who is A KNOWN EMAIL FORGER, spammer and computer identity thief, would continue on this path AGAINST THE CITY'S POTENTIAL WITNESSES with the possible result of terrifying or dissuading the city's witnesses against testifying in this case by using her infamous Mary Cummins nonsense, lies, defamation, libel, slander, harassment, contacting their employers, families and friends, DEFAMING their employers, families and friends, fabricating emails, fabricating false criminal records and threats to have her detractors fired and/or arrested (ALL KNOWN MARY CUMMINS TOOLS).

Is this witness tampering? We honestly don't know. However, one of the City's key potential witnesses had his attorneys fax over this definition this morning. We are posting it, without making any comments to how the content pertains to Mary Cummins latest crazy posts on You will have to go there and read them for yourself. And we will continue to take information--as well as monitor the tides in cyberspace--for the brave folks who have decided to speak out about this bogus Mary Cummins lawsuit that is packed with lies and inaccuracies.

Other avenues worth exploring:

Board of Animal Services Commissioner Kathleen Riordan learned from Mary Cummins that she was planning to sue LA City and Ed Boks for wrongful termination in early March, 2007. Kathleen Riordan expressed her delight about the proposed Mary Cummins lawsuit against Mr. Boks to witnesses who balked at any suggestion or allegation that Mary Cummins was wrongfully terminated. They declared to Kathleen Riordan that they would go forward in defense of the city, as there were numerous affiliates of the rescue and humane communities that believed Mary Cummins was rightfully terminated by The City of Los Angeles. One day later they informed Kathleen Riordan that they had indeed informed other LA city officials, including city councilmembers, of their intention to give declarations and court testimony if necessary on behalf of The City of Los Angeles in what they felt would be a frivolous lawsuit.

At that point, Kathleen Riordan and Jim Bickhart fed personal information (including conversations Kathleen Riordan had had with the witnesses under the guise of "friendship") and emails from several of these declared witnesses to Mary Cummins, which appeared as distortions of the truth to harass abuse and libel these witnesses in emails from Mary Cummins to said potential city witnesses, their friends, employers and family members, and on Mary Cummins' various libelous and abusive blogs. Does this fit the definition of "witness tampering" or "conspiracy" as set forth by the state and federal codes cited below? Again, we don't know. We will be keeping a close watch on this situation, presenting the facts as they come available and then leaving it up to the courts to decide.

(And due to the fact that some of these witnesses have been libeled and harassed by Mary Cummins friend Edward Muzika, we will also keep an eye out for potential interference with city witnesses on Muzika's blog @

Meanwhile, here is the California statute regarding WITNESS TAMPERING...(the Federal definition follows below:

West's Annotated California Codes Currentness Penal Code (Refs & Annos)

Part 1. Of Crimes and Punishments

Title 7. Of Crimes Against Public Justice

Chapter 6. Falsifying Evidence, and Bribing, Influencing, Intimidating or Threatening Witnesses (Refs & Annos)§ 136.1.

Intimidation of witnesses and victims; offenses; penalties; enhancement; aggravation

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person who does any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:

(1) Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.

(2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.

(3) For purposes of this section, evidence that the defendant was a family member who interceded in an effort to protect the witness or victim shall create a presumption that the act was without malice.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), every person who attempts to prevent or dissuade another person who has been the victim of a crime or who is witness to a crime from doing any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:

(1) Making any report of that victimization to any peace officer or state or local law enforcement officer or probation or parole or correctional officer or prosecuting agency or to any judge.

(2) Causing a complaint, indictment, information, probation or parole violation to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the prosecution thereof.

(3) Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any person in connection with that victimization.

(c) Every person doing any of the acts described in subdivision (a) or (b) knowingly and maliciously under any one or more of the following circumstances, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years under any of the following circumstances:

(1) Where the act is accompanied by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness or victim or any third person or the property of any victim, witness, or any third person.

(2) Where the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy.

(3) Where the act is committed by any person who has been convicted of any violation of this section, any predecessor law hereto or any federal statute or statute of any other state which, if the act prosecuted was committed in this state, would be a violation of this section.

(4) Where the act is committed by any person for pecuniary gain or for any other consideration acting upon the request of any other person. All parties to such a transaction are guilty of a felony.

(d) Every person attempting the commission of any act described in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) is guilty of the offense attempted without regard to success or failure of the attempt. The fact that no person was injured physically, or in fact intimidated, shall be no defense against any prosecution under this section.

(e) Nothing in this section precludes the imposition of an enhancement for great bodily injury where the injury inflicted is significant or substantial.

(f) The use of force during the commission of any offense described in subdivision (c) shall be considered a circumstance in aggravation of the crime in imposing a term of imprisonment under subdivision (b) of Section 1170.

CREDIT(S) (Added by Stats.1980, c. 686, p. 2076, § 2.1. Amended by Stats.1982, c. 1098, p. 3997, § 1; Stats.1990, c. 350 (S.B. 2054), § 10; Stats.1997, c. 500 (S.B.940), § 1.)

FEDERAL CODE 18 U.S.C. § 1512

The federal criminal statute governing witness tampering is 18 U.S.C. § 1512.

Relevant provisions from section 1512 include subsections (b) through (f).

Subsection (b)
Pertinent language from subsection (b) includes the following: (b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to – (1) influence, delay or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding; [or]

(2) cause or induce any person to –

(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding; . . .
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.Certain of the terms used in subsection (b) are defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1515. The term “official proceeding” includes civil litigation in federal court. The term “corruptly persuades” does not include “conduct which would be misleading conduct but for a lack of a state of mind.

”The AAEM rules on expert testimony are manifestly implicated by this provision, inasmuch as the rules exist entirely for the purpose of “influencing” testimony in civil proceedings (or preventing it altogether, at least in the case of witnesses not meeting the rules’ criteria on qualifications). Whether the AAEM rules also satisfy the statute’s criteria for “intimidation,” “threat[s],” “corrupt[] persua[sion],” or “misleading conduct” will be addressed later – as will the question whether measures taken in abstract contemplation of future, unidentified cases should count as involving any “official proceeding” for purposes of triggering the statute.

Subsection (c)

Subsection (c) provides:

(c) Whoever corruptly – (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.For present purposes, the distinction between subsections (b) and (c) would seem subtle. Almost by definition, one who has influenced testimony in a proceeding by intimidating, threatening, or corruptly persuading a witness (as subsection (b) already proscribes) has also “corruptly” obstructed, influenced, or impeded the proceeding itself (as subsection (c) forbids). Subsection (c)(2), however, also sweeps in conduct that corruptly obstructs, influences, or impedes a proceeding, even if that conduct would not count as intimidating, threatening, or corruptly persuading a witness.

Subsection (d)

Pertinent portions of subsection (d) provide:

(d) Whoever intentionally harasses another person and thereby hinders, delays, prevents, or dissuades any person from – (1) attending or testifying in an official proceeding; . . .or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.This sweeps “harassment” into the arena of prohibited conduct, insofar as the harassment involves an intentional attempt to hinder, dissuade, or prevent a witness from testifying.Subsection (e)Subsection (e) provides: (e) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, it is an affirmative defense, as to which the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conduct consisted solely of lawful conduct and that the defendant's sole intention was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify truthfully.Subsection (e) makes purity of intent a defense. Mere professions of innocent intent, however, obviously do not confer immunity. Whether the “sole intention” of the actor’s conduct was to promote truthful testimony is a question of fact, and one to which the surrounding circumstances and the actor’s methods may be relevant.

Subsection (f)

Subsection (f) provides:

(f) For the purposes of this section –

(1) an official proceeding need not be pending or about to be instituted at the time of the offense; and

(2) the testimony, or the record, document, or other object need not be admissible in evidence or free of a claim of privilege.Under subsection (f)(1), it is not a defense that no proceeding was pending or imminent at the time of the offense. From a policy standpoint, this is eminently sensible. It has no less deleterious an effect on the administration of justice, if potential witnesses are threatened or intimidated before judicial proceedings are even in preparation. Indeed, witness tampering at that early stage may exert especially pernicious effects, by successfully preventing the subject matter of potential proceedings from ever coming to light in the first place. The statute’s mens rea requirements may demand that the actor have undertaken his conduct with the potential for official proceedings in view. But that is another matter.

A “harmless tampering” defense might also be imagined, in which the offender seeks exoneration on the theory that the evidence he sought to suppress would not have been admissible in any event. Subsection (f)(2) bars such a defense. Thus if a criminal defendant threatens to break the knees of the prosecution’s polygrapher if the polygrapher testifies, the defendant has violated the witness tampering statute even though the trial court may well exclude the polygrapher’s testimony anyway for want of reliability under Daubert.

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