Here is an update in my Federal Civil Rights violation case against the Town of Prosper and Prosper Police Chief Doug Kowalski and Paul D. Boothe. There are two separate answers to the federal complaint. First, is the answer to the complaint against the Prosper Police Chief Doug Kowalski and former Prosper Criminal Investigation’s Lieutenant Paul D. Boothe. The second answer is for the Town of Prosper. Up until this point, I have tried to post only the facts of the case and only the facts. However, due to the nature of the answer and personal attacks on myself and my character, I decided to actually, post a few things about my thoughts and feelings at this point in the case.
So, that everyone is aware, it is common sense that anything I post is being scrutinized by the counsel for the defendants. This means, I can’t totally express my true thoughts and feelings. I have to keep my vitriol, profanity, and rhetoric at bay. However, I think it is safe to say, that I can convey to the reader what is going with this case without being bias.
First word of news is that my lawyers will take the answers submitted by the defendants (below) and craft a reply. It seems there are several phases to this complaint/answer process. It’s a game of back and forth. Once dates and deadlines are established with the court, I’ll post an update. When we are passed this phase, I think that is when the brief is complete and then we wait on the process of dismissal. There are a lot of things that happen in that stage. Again, I’ll post status as the case progresses.08-Booth_Kowalski_Motion_to_Dismiss
If you were able to read all of that motion, I applaud you. It goes into all kinds of case law and weird stuff that is so far above my head. It also lists numerous references to subpoenas, arrest warrants, indictments, and such. These were uploaded to PACER and if someone really wants to review that information, I can provide it on my website. I hesitate to upload all of that information at the moment (even though it is public information now) because it shows the restaurants I eat at, my IP addresses, and my place of employment. Sorry, there are crazy people out there.
As I said before, I have reframed from comment on this case because I really do not want to cause a lot of heartache for my lawyers. However, I cannot let this answer go unaddressed.
So, me being me, I first apologize for this being a long ass read. I really do. I’m kind of wordy person going through a lot right now. Writing, is my outlet.
Moving on. Let’s do some law education. If someone went around, calling you a criminal or spreading false things about you. That falls under Libel. You can sue people for making false statements. However, there are laws protecting attorneys from libel – depending on the situation. In a court document, yeah… they can say whatever they want regardless of truth and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
The very first page in this motion to dismiss, states “Stripped of its self-serving rhetoric and culled from the professorial spin, Plaintiff’s case is founded on the implausible contention that since his phishing was done in the context of Public Information Act requests, he is somehow immunized by the First Amendment from culpability for his criminal conduct.”
I was never convicted of any criminal conduct or crime. For that matter, my case was quashed. Let’s just conveniently leave that out of the whole answer itself. It’s perfectly ok to paint me as a criminal, because hey, “I’m a lawyer, I’m shielded from any reprisal.”
My favorite part, the act of Phishing. I guess being a lawyer also makes you an expert in I.T. and the catch words. However, I’m going to take my MS in CS is more of an authority on phishing then the defendant’s legal counsel.
In simple terms, Phishing is the fraudulent practice of manipulating people via emails, texts, websites or phone calls into disclosing sensitive information.
Just so everyone is on the same page, the federal government setup rules and regulations around submitting freedom of information act request for the United States and for each individual states. Those states then rolled down those procedures for submitting pubic information requests (PIRS) to it’s counties, and so on. I followed Prosper’s procedure for filling out a PIR, which is set out by the state of Texas.
So, filing a PIR with the Town of Prosper is Phishing? By following a Federal, State, and Town process is considered Phishing? Submitting a form to a website and not directed at a specific person is Phishing? Hmmm… hard sell.
Next up: “On the cusp of 2020 elections, Plaintiff, masquerading as a Town Councilmember, engaged in calculated catfishing to try to obtain protected police records.“
Masquerading, interesting word. I submitted an open records request, using Prosper’s own Open Records Request form. I used a name that was NOT Jeff Hodges. I used an email that was NOT Jeff Hodges email. However, I can only assume their definition of Masquerading isn’t quite the same as mine (or Webster’s dictionary). Also, they use the term catfishing. If people who read this do not know this term – here is a link to its meaning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfishing. I think it is safe to say that with the evidence, subpoenas, etc. that is in the complaint and answer – that catfishing was a word thrown out by the defendant’s council which they had no idea what it meant. Just my personal opinion.
Also, the act of try to obtain protected police records. This is actually an awesome sentence if you do not understand FOIA. It sounds ominous, like a spy is trying to get something that is hidden in a safe or in a secure server in a hidden basement. Yeah, I’m Ethan Hunt and you have 10 more minutes to read this blog.
There are rules in FOIA on information that can be released and what cannot released. Typically, anything that deals with Police schedules, SSNs, pictures, address, the typical fare that could put law enforcement or any public figure in jeopardy cannot be released. Remember, there are crazy people out there.
However, while there are numerous rules on the state and federal level that prevents all kinds of records from being released – there is NO RULE ON WHAT CAN BE ASKED FOR. I could ask for the ATM pins of all city personal. That request would be denied; but violates no RULE. The constant use of the words “protected police records” not only in the complaint, but in case itself is simply a distraction. A way to imply deceit where no rule has been broken or law violated. Do not get me wrong. There are protected police records that cannot be released. However, I, you, anyone can ask for them all day long – since it is not against the law.
For example, below is one of my requests that was never fulfilled:
Because of the situation I’m in, I’m supposed to understand that the request above is considered Phishing and requesting Protected Police Records? What if someone used a different name? What if my name was Benn Shannon and I requested the exact same information for the same time frame. I would assume it wouldn’t be Phishing unless someone in the town had a name like Benn, maybe a Jenn, or even Glen. Then, depending on their position in the town, Benn could be accused of impersonating Jenn, Glen, or even Timm. However, is this still trying to request Protected Police Records which again isn’t a crime to ask for ?
Welcome to my world.
So, the plot does thicken just a bit. Page 8 of the motion, this appears:
So, because someone with a totally different name and no affiliation to anything prior in this case, requests similar information – is now the subject of an investigation? Again, using my hypothetical example from above, does that mean if 100 people requested the exact same information I did – while I was under investigation – they could to be subject to document hold and subpoenas?
Continuing the use of my example above.
Let’s say Benn, Sharron, or Kelly was doing some investigative work on their own, and decided that they wanted to figure out case load and work averages by detectives for surrounding municipalities. They happen to submit a very similar request about case load to the Town of Prosper, as I did.
Following the example above, the Town of Prosper would then submit subpoenas for their emails, IPs, and all personal information. All because Lt. Boothe recognized the request sought some of the same police records. That is pure craziness.
Now, the Town’s Motion to Dismiss (below).Document_9-Town_Motion_to_Dismiss
I have very little to comment on the Town’s Motion to Dismiss. It is way too much case law and really, a lot of stuff I do not understand. It wasn’t as caustic as the Police Chief’s and Paul Boothe’s motion to dismiss.
If you made it to this point, you must be asking yourself – why are we here? I ask myself that every single day.
I post a lot about FOIA and the Texas PIR statues and rules. Here is a link to Texas PIR Handbook.
Simply put, section 552.222 says (in summary) if someone requests some information – as a governmental entity – you can’t inquire about their reasons or motives unless the request is unclear (and few more things that doesn’t apply here). Well, the Police Chief stated in my search warrant:
Remember my request:
I was always taught to write documentation and target the early childhood level so everyone can understand what you are trying to say. Pretty sure the above request is cut and dry – barring any learning disabilities.
However, instead of simply contacting the requestor (me) using the supplied contact email – the Chief decided to contact JEFF Hodges!? This means the Chief of Police does not know the difference in spelling between Geoff and Jeff. Also, it means the Chief of Police does not know the difference between a *.gov email account and *.Gmail account. I would think some proper training in that area would be prudent at this point in time.
Again, the same question still comes to mind – why are we here?
Seriously, someone submits two open records requests using a fake name that has zero impact on anyone in a political setting regardless of if they are in the middle of reelection or not. I can’t tell people how to think or what to think, I’m just thinking out loud to myself about this whole situation. All that comes to my mind AND in my OWN opinion is maybe this had more to do with what the information CONTAINED then WHO actually was requesting it.
The unanswered request (submitted in 10/14/2020) that no one addresses:
Enough rambling. I again apologize for the lengthy nature of this post. Also, all the comments and opinions are mine alone and not anyone else.
On a side note, doing my part as a public service, here is the link to Prosper’s Public Information Request site – just encase someone else needs to submit a request (it has changed since I used it last):
Leonard (Buster) Johnson & Roxanna Johnson