Memorandum for:        Cynthia Snedar, Inspector General, USDOJ
Fax #:                        (202) 616-9881 or (202) 616-9898
Subject:                      Valerie Carlton Case
From:                         Leora Rosen, Ph.D.
Phone:                        (301) 770-2318
Fax:                            (301) 770-6019
Email:                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date:                          June 16th 2011

 

This memorandum should serve as an independent complaint although I would like to request that it be added to the complaint submitted by Valerie Carlton via fax on June 8th, 2011 so as not to need to re-fax all exhibits.

Although I have been collaborating with Valerie and her attorney, Michael Ettinger, in preparing materials on her case for presentation to you, I was not aware until after the fact that Valerie had already submitted these documents to you.  I was informed that there is an agent, or agents who are reviewing the Carlton complaint file, and I would like to further communicate with them in case I may have additional materials, which could further assist the investigation.  Since you already have materials explaining who I am and how I became involved in Valerie’s case, I will just summarize for you briefly, the history of my involvement in the case and my perspectives on it.

 

1)    I was first brought into the Carlton case in late March 2009, as an advisor to Valerie’s then boyfriend, Jacob Gendelman, to explain to him how he could best assist her in navigating the legal difficulties she was facing with advocating for her daughter, Winnifer at that time.  A description of this episode is detailed in a document that I prepared for a CINA hearing that never took place, but should be among the documents that were faxed to you.

 

2)    After a few conversations, I began to suspect that Gendelman was planning to set Valerie up for incarceration so that he could get custody of their soon-to-be born child. These suspicions grew when I found out that the State’s Attorney of Harford County was preparing to charge Valerie with 28 felonies.  I therefore initiated a series of phone calls to Gendelman, pretending to be on his side, and got him to admit that the purpose of the fake felony charges was to have Valerie institutionalized in a mental hospital, while he took custody of the child.  He added that it was also possible he could have the charges dropped if Valerie would agree to his custody demands, and to make certain concessions to her ex husband (indicating that the two exes were working in concert).

 

3)    Gendelman was convinced that the plan would work.  He was thus enraged when Valerie’s appointed CINA attorney put up a fight for his client and did not simply roll over.  Gendelman told me that this attorney, Roger Malik, was the only player in the system who was not “on board”, and that the longer he refused to cooperate; the worse it would be for his client.  Gendelman emphasized to me that the only appropriate defense strategy would be for Valerie to plead NCR (not criminally responsible).  He believed it was irresponsible of her attorney not to adopt such a strategy.

 

4)    After Valerie was incarcerated at the end of May 2009, I volunteered my services to work with her defense team and offered to help recruit expert witnesses who might be able to help with her case.  However, John Janowich, Valerie’s public defender in the criminal case, was primarily interested in sending her to Spring Grove Psychiatric Hospital, insisting that he was unable to communicate with her effectively.  This became his basis for entering an NCR plea on her behalf but without her knowledge or consent.  Mr. Janowich did provide me with copies of the prosecution’s materials in August 2009, and agreed to accept my offer to help find an expert witness specifically to deal with the sex abuse allegations.

 

5)    At the same time I was becoming increasingly concerned about Valerie’s mistreatment in the Harford County Detention Center, and I was particularly appalled that Mr. Janowich did not think this was anything out of the ordinary or that her symptoms of distress were due to her mistreatment rather than “mental illness”.  Thus, when Mr. Janowich did indeed send Valerie to Spring Grove Hospital, I hired Dr. Mark Mills, a forensic psychiatrist to evaluate her there.  Dr. Mills found Valerie to be sane, and I believe that copies of his reports are among the materials that Valerie sent you in her original fax on May 8th 2011.

 

6)    Meanwhile, through a contact with a rabbi in Silver Spring, I was able to bring Valerie’s mistreatment in jail to the attention of the Governor of Maryland.  The Governor requested that the Office of the State Prosecutor (headed by Mr. Robert Rumbaugh) open an investigation.  Rumbaugh opened an investigation and then shut the investigation almost immediately saying that his office did not deal with this type of problem.  He referred the case back to Sherriff Jesse Bane of Harford County saying that he was the appropriate authority to investigate the complaints.

 

7)    Sherriff Banes also opened, and shut various investigations.  He was informed that none of Valerie’s complaints could be taken seriously because she was “mentally ill”?

 

8)    Valerie’s original trial date was October 21, 2009, but the defense agreed to give the prosecution a postponement until January 2010.  During this period, I worked with the defense helping them to develop information for trial.  I examined the videotapes and transcripts of the children’s testimony and noted inaccuracies in the transcription as well as other suspicious characteristics of the prosecution’s case.  I arranged for Dr, Mark Mill’s to review the children’s testimony and write a report on it for the defense – a report from which he planned to testify at trial and is in the package that was faxed to you.   I also located a witness whose testimony indicated a clear Brady violation on the part of the prosecution.

 

9)    After the second postponement of Valerie’s trial in January 2010, my suspicions that Janowich was working against his client intensified, as he dismissed the Mills report and said he was not going to use him as a witness, and made no effort to challenge the prosecution on the Brady issue.  Thus I decided to start a website on Valerie’s case to publicize her plight, fearing that her mistreatment was escalating out of control and that her life was in danger.  Harford County Detention Center has a history of inmates dying under suspicious circumstances, and although there have been financial settlements with families of the deceased; no officer has ever been held accountable in any of these deaths to the best of my knowledge.  One of the victims was a homeless man with no criminal record who was picked up for “trespassing” and then tasered to death on the same day that Valerie was tortured in the “restraining chair” upon being informed of the death of her infant son in foster care on or around June 11th 2009.  I believe that a report on the chair incident is among the materials that Valerie faxed to you.  

 

10)    The website (www.thehostagechild.com) drew an immediate response from Assistant State’s Attorney, Bruce Smith, who tried to exercise jurisdiction over me and have me gagged, but he failed to accomplish this.

 

11)    In February 2010, I was able to retain a private defense attorney, Isaac Klein Esquire of Baltimore, to represent Valerie.  Klein asked the prosecutors for a continuance in the case, which was due to go to trial in March 2010, and also told Assistant State’s Attorney, Smith, that he wished to submit a proposal for Valerie to be permitted to leave jail under house arrest or some other type of planned supervision while he prepared for the case.  Surprisingly, Smith agreed to review such a proposal.  However, this plan never got off the ground because within days of Klein’s discussion with Smith, Valerie was charged with assaulting a correctional officer, and placed in maximum solitary confinement with no bail.  The videotape of the incident shows no evidence of Valerie assaulting the officer, but it does show the officer assaulting Valerie and specifically bashing her head into a concrete wall.

 

12)     Isaac Klein met with Smith regarding the new charges (prior to viewing the videotape) and told him that he might enter a plea of NCR for the assault charges.  Smith told Klein that he wanted him to enter a plea of NCR on all the charges including the 28 felonies. Klein refused.

 

13)     After the State’s Attorney refused to allow Dr. Mills to evaluate Valerie in the jail saying that a court order was required (which was not true), I did some research and found out that I could file a bar complaint against the State’s Attorney with the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland.  The complaint was filed on June 3rd 2010, and over the following few months I added to it.  Within a day or two of the filing of the original complaint, Smith had been taken off the case, and the Head State’s Attorney, Joseph Cassilly was floating a proposal to the defense to nolle prosse the 28 felonies IF Valerie would plead guilty on two of her five assault case charges. (The Grievance Commission continued to “investigate” the complaint for about six months and then dismissed it without taking any public action.)

 

14)     However, the 28 felonies were nolle prossed on June 30th 2010, and Valerie was released from jail on her own recognizance, but under pretrial supervision, to await trial on the [assault charges].  She was however forced to plead nolo contendere to a misdemeanor protective order violation for sending an email to her daughter’s first grade teacher.  I persuaded Valerie to accept the plea deal in order to get out of jail because I believed her life was in danger while she was in HCDC.  Isaac Klein then withdrew from the case, leaving her without counsel for the assault case.  

 

15)     No sooner had Klein withdrawn from the case, than a bogus warrant was drawn for Valerie’s re-arrest [Upon information and belief] this warrant alleged that Valerie had violated the terms of her pretrial release, although the nature of the violation was never clear and seemed to change over time.  All I know is that shortly after Valerie’s release, an inmate from HCDC, on a recorded prison line, an inmate called my home, where Valerie was staying, and informed us that a correctional officer informed him that Valerie was expected back in jail by the end of the week.  According to the inmate, the officer showed him the arrest warrant and said that orders were being processed to place Valerie in maximum isolation and on powerful psychotropic medications because of her alleged “mental illness”.

 

16)     Fearing for her life, Valerie left my home, and months later I found out that she soon thereafter left the State of Maryland with swat teams deployed to bring her into custody.  Since she resurfaced in New York, I have been working with her general counsel, to try to obtain some relief for her desperate situation.

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