Saturday, September 15, 2007

Story Covered by a Paper

Illegal tender: Couple accused of using 'barter currency'

(Published Saturday, September 15, 2007 01:38:52 AM CST)

By Mike Heine/Gazette Staff

An Illinois couple arrested this spring may be the first to try and use a "private barter currency" in Walworth County, District Attorney Phil Koss said.

Shaun A. Kranish, 22, and Svetlana V. Dudnik, 24, both of Rockford, Ill., are accused of using and trying to use "Liberty Dollars" at three Walworth businesses.

The U.S. Mint says the currency is illegal to use, but its creators say it's OK if both parties agree.

Kranish and Dudnik recently posted their story a new local blog site,

They claim they were harassed by police, booked into jail and thrust into the court system for doing nothing wrong.

On May 6, Kranish attempted to pay for his meal at the Dari-Ripple in Walworth with a $20 "fine silver Liberty Dollar." Shortly after he gave it to the clerk, a police officer arrived and started asking him questions.

"I tried to explain that it was not against the law, that I was offering silver for trade ..." a writer claiming to be Kranish wrote on the blog site.

Kranish and Dudnik-who now are married, according to the blog posting-were arrested and taken to jail.

Kranish is charged with four counts of party to misdemeanor theft by fraud, and Dudnik is charged with three counts of party to misdemeanor theft and one count of party to attempted misdemeanor theft.

Kranish also was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. He had a .45 caliber handgun in a CD case in his car May 6, and he was wearing an empty holster, according to the criminal complaint.

Passing the buck

Walworth police had been tipped off about Liberty Dollars. They were notified of Liberty Dollars being used at the Walworth Landing gas station, Daniels Sentry and again at Dari-Ripple, all in late April, according to the complaint.

Dudnik told police she was with Kranish when he used the coins at the three locations, according to the complaint.

The cases are pending.

"I've spoken to many lawyers since this has happened, and they have all said the same thing-Walworth County, Wisconsin, is the most corrupt county in the state," Kranish wrote on his blog.

"They nail people, especially people from out of town or out of state. It's a huge racket, just like everywhere else. But in Walworth, they do whatever they want with impunity."

Kranish wondered why he couldn't get the silver pieces back from the stores and give them U.S. currency, as he had done before in Rockford, according to the posting.

Barter currency

Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Liberty Dollar, argues the coins and paper currency are legal.

The company's Web site says the money can be used if both the seller and the buyer agree to use them as payment.

Von NotHaus even sued the federal government, claiming damage to his business from warning publicized by the U.S. Mint against using Liberty Dollars.

"The Liberty Dollar is a 'private voluntary barter' currency, which is not and has not been represented as 'legal tender,' 'coin' or 'current money' in the United States," according to the lawsuit.

The company, which says the currency is backed by silver and gold reserves, has "encouraged persons who utilize the barter currency to offer it to merchants as barter payment for goods and services but not as 'legal tender' or 'current money.'"

The company's Web site reminds users that Liberty Dollars are not U.S. currency, but it says to offer them "with the confidence that it will be accepted." It even gives a 12-step "how to use the Liberty Dollar" guide.

A spokesperson for the company did not reply to requests for interviews.

Is it legal?

Using Liberty Dollars as circulating currency could be a federal crime, according to the U.S. Mint. The federal government warned consumers and businesses last September that using the coins is a crime.

"They are not genuine United States Mint bullion coins and are not legal tender," according to warning on the Mint's Web site. "These medallions are privately produced products that are neither backed by, nor affiliated with, the United States government."

Kranish and Dudnik are facing charges in Walworth County because by using the coins they were "intentionally deceiving the persons with a false representation," according to the complaint.

After being told of the federal warning and U.S. Mint's stance, which is backed by the Department of Justice, Koss said the case theoretically could have gone to federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Mint says only the government may pass or create "any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metal, intended for use as current money."

The Mint also says the company is confusing consumers by saying Liberty Dollars are "legal" and "constitutional."

A spokeswoman from the U.S. Mint said she cannot comment about Liberty Dollars because of the lawsuit, but she said the situation was big enough that the Mint issued a rare consumer alert.

Rare here

The company says 100,000 Americans are circulating $20 million in Liberty Dollar currency. Few are around here.

Within a 50-mile radius of Janesville, only seven Wisconsin businesses and three in Illinois-none of which are retail outlets-are willing to accept the Liberty Dollar, according to the company's Web site.

Most of them also appear to be exchange outlets where people can turn in their Liberty Dollars for regular currency or vice versa.


The federal government does not prosecute people who engage in trade. It doesn't matter if it's used bubble-gum, curling irons, toothpicks, or anything else you can name. No law can prohibit men and women from engaging in free trade like this. The government does not have a monopoly on the minting of gold and silver bullion medallions. A "coin" is a medallion issued by government. The Liberty Dollar is not, and never has claimed to be, a "coin." Shaun and Lana have never said they were "coins" either.

Why are the locals prosecuting a case that should be taken up by the federal government? This is because they no no crime has been committed -- but they still want to extract money from Shaun and Lana -- or should I say more money from the newly-wed couple.

The next confusion technique being used by this newspaper, the feds, and perhaps the locals, would be the use of the term "legal." "Legal" means created by law. However, we commonly use "legal" to mean "abiding by all laws." The actual word that should be used for this is "lawful." Something can be both illegal and perfectly lawful at the same time. For example: walking three dogs down the street. There is probably no law anywhere in the country that says you may specifically walk three dogs down the street. This means this act is illegal. However, since there is no law that says you may not, this act is also perfectly lawful. You may not be cited for walking three dogs down the street, just because no law says you can. Luckily for us, our rights are not created by law or government -- but rather bestowed upon us all equally at birth.

The U.S. Mint says only the government may pass or create "any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metal, intended for use as current money."

"They are not genuine United States Mint bullion coins and are not legal tender," according to warning on the Mint's Web site. "These medallions are privately produced products that are neither backed by, nor affiliated with, the United States government."

Indeed, by definition of "coin," only the government may create a "coin." It would literally be incorrect to suggest that anyone but a government can create a coin. However, this is not to say that all circular pieces of metal used in trade are "coins" -- this would also be incorrect. The Liberty Dollar has never claimed to be a coin of any type. So the mint is not lying here, but they are trying to mislead you into think you may not trade valuable gold and silver. They would like a monopoly on the creation of round metal discs to be used in trade -- this is their business. Thankfully and most fortunately, we have still retained our right to mint and trade medallions of our own. Our government does not use precious, valuable metals -- they use the cheapest stuff they can get away with. Silver and gold are precious and valuable -- this is why people like Shaun and Lana use and promote the Liberty Dollar.

So, we've established that they aren't "coins" created by the government. The Liberty Dollar is quite happy to admit this -- after all, the whole point of using this currency is that it is not created by government!

Within a 50-mile radius of Janesville, only seven Wisconsin businesses and three in Illinois-none of which are retail outlets-are willing to accept the Liberty Dollar, according to the company's Web site.

It was good of this paper to be forthcoming about the source of this. Although few businesses are listed on the Liberty Dollar website, many businesses, presumably hundreds or thousands, will accept the Liberty Dollar in both states. Shaun and Lana had quite a few businesses in their own town that happily accepted the currency -- vendors and retailers that appreciated receiving something of value in trade.

Kranish also was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. He had a .45 caliber handgun in a CD case in his car May 6, and he was wearing an empty holster, according to the criminal complaint.

How can one be arrested for carrying a weapon when it's in one's car? This is equivalent to being arrested for having open liquor in your car when it's in your refrigerator at home! According to our research, one statute in Wisconsin says that no firearms may be concealed. Another statute says that when you are transporting a firearm in your car, you must conceal it by putting it in some sort of container. This is very similar to the statutes in Illinois (Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states that forbid citizens from carrying concealed firearms for personal protection). These two statutes in Wisconsin are obviously at odds with each other. According to the courts -- when it comes to transporting in a car -- the statute that requires a citizen to put it in a container overrules the other statute. did Mr. Kranish violate this statute. Mr. Kranish is the founder and executive director of a gun rights organization in Illinois. According to him, he has spent years researching the statutes and understanding them. He has also never been convicted of anything other than a traffic offense. He's never victimized anyone. This means he's not a criminal, but rather a law-abiding citizen. Why are they trying to prosecute him when he's going further than many people do and being careful to follow the statutes and avoid trouble?

While we're on the subject, how did the officer have probable cause to search the car anyhow? Kranish certainly did not consent to a search! After having been illegally and unlawfully arrested for offering solid silver in exchange for some food (what kind of moronic store attendant would refuse such an offer?), the officer then searched his car without warrant or probable cause? HOLY CRAP!!! Kranish's bumper stickers and empty holster must have made officer Kjendlie drool at the prospect of fishing for more "offenses" to create with the flick of his pencil -- offenses that would result in financial extraction(extortion) from Kranish and his family.

Offering Liberty Dollars cannot be a crime, unless you falsely represent them. Kranish knows the rules -- he has never said they were anything that they were not. There is no evidence -- indeed, nothing even in the charging documents that mention anything about a false representation (other than the name of the statute used for the charge). So where is the crime? Who is the victim? No crime ever even occurred -- let alone having been perpetrated by this innocent couple. There is no law that forbids the wearing of an empty holster. Kranish proved that well in Illinois when he won a criminal case and then smacked his college with a civil suit for having arrested him for wearing such a harmless device.

No victim. No crime. No probable cause. Yet they arrest, search without warrant, interrogate, hold in jail, bring before a judge and extort money on the pretenses of FELONY CHARGES that were never even charged! Thousands of dollars in bond money -- $5,200 total -- was extorted from this couple because the judge told them they were charged with felonies. They were never even charged -- they never received anything with felony charges. As far as we can tell -- no felony charges were ever filed.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

You can help by calling!

We would ask that you take a minute or two out of your day and call the numbers listed on the left side. These are the three businesses that were allegedly "victimized" -- two of them freely accepted the Liberty Dollar and one of them called the police. None have sought a simple solution -- such as asking Shaun to give them federal reserve notes instead!!!

We ask that you be as polite as possible and simple ask them to look into this matter and try to resolve it in a simple way, by asking for paper instead of silver. They may also wish to post that they don't accept the Liberty Dollar or train their employees to let patrons know. Just like many stores don't accept credit cards -- Dari Ripple included -- they can simply let people know. Having them arrested and/or pressing charges is ludicrous!

Thank you for standing with us!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Simple Solution for Shaun and Lana?

If you read Shaun's own account of what happened -- you will see that he has encountered a store (apparently only ONE store) in the past that changed their mind about having accepted the Liberty Dollar currency. This store was a Blockbuster Video in Rockford. Shaun used a $5 1/4 ounce silver Liberty to rent a movie, and the next time he came in they asked him if he would give them regular FRNs.

Shaun has no problem buying back his silver Liberties from stores that changed their minds. Why wasn't this suggested as a solution from the beginning? If a guy is using silver instead of worthless paper currency in your town, and you don't like it (yes you, Walworth Police) why not just ask the guy to stop? If the stores didn't want it, why did they accept it? If they simply didn't know what it was, they shouldn't have taken it and should train their clerks better. According to Shaun, he has never misrepresented the currency -- in fact he's a registered and licensed distributor of the currency -- so he's probably familiar with how it works!

Instead of spending thousands of dollars and countless man hours on this -- why wasn't it suggested that he just buy back his silver from the stores in the first place? The cops could even have asked him to not use the currency in "their" town. The stores could have told Shaun that they made a harmless mistake by accepting it, and would appreciate it if he gave them FRNs instead. As a distributor, promoter, and firm believer in the value-based currency, Shaun would have been more than happy to buy it back!!!

Some police agencies use what is called "community policing" wherein they try to solve problems in the community -- not create them by "pencil whipping" innocent, well-meaning people like Shaun and Lana. If someone has no criminal intent, and no real harm has been done, why go to such great lengths to "punish" the guy? This is not community policing, and it's not problem solving. What it is, however, is stirring up business and profit for the town, county, and state. That's right -- those thousands upon thousands of dollars charged to the real victims (those arrested) for bond go somewhere -- probably in some pockets too. They go to build big, fancy, marble-walled courthouses that can handle hundreds of other victims each day as well. It all comes down to business and money. This is why cops are out issuing tickets instead of fighting criminals like violent gang members.

We will post the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the businesses that were involved. They should be politely contacted and encouraged to seek a simple resolution for this matter as well.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Story of The Year!!!

Dear Readers,

Please take a moment to check this link out here:
This is a forum created by a young married couple who were victimized in Walworth for offering a solid piece of silver (a private currency called the Liberty Dollar which is 100% legal to use) at an ICE CREAM stand! I can't even begin to describe it. You will have to read for yourself.

The victims are Shaun and Svetlana Kranish. They write below, beginning with Shaun.


I'm going to start from scratch and tell the entire story -- every little detail.

Sunday, May 6th, 2007.

I live near the city of Rockford, IL, which is about an hour and a half west and a little north of Chicago. My family owns a cottage at Lake Geneva, WI, which happens to be 45 minutes from my home. I have been going up to the lake since before I was born.

On Sunday, May 6th, my girlfriend Svetlana (now my wife) and I were getting ready to leave the cottage and return home. We had just spent the entire day cleaning the cottage and taking care of the boat for my elderly grandparents. My parents stopped up at the cottage for a little bit as well. We were almost done cleaning and ready to go, and my Svetlana, my mom, and I sat down and each had 1 (one) beer. It may have been a Newcastle if memory serves me -- it was something different for sure.

Then my parents left and took the dog with them. Lana (short for Svetlana) and I stayed for about another 30-40 minutes finishing up cleaning and locking the place, etc. We were going to go home, but Lana was very hungry and wanted to stop. I actually tried to talk her out of it, saying "we'll be home in just 40 minutes..." but she really wanted to stop. So we decided to go to the "Dari Drive-In" formerly the "Dari Ripple" in the City of Walworth, WI (County of Walworth as well). I had been going to this place since I was a young boy -- my parents and grandparents would always take me (helped to convince me to leave the cottage).

So we stopped at the Dari Drive-In (outdoor icecream place with order windows). Lana and I decided what we wanted to get, and then Lana went next door to use the restroom. I placed our order, and offered a $20 one-ounce .999 FINE SILVER Liberty Dollar piece as payment. The attendant took it from me and took it the to manager, who then came to the window and said, "this doesn't exist," which is quite a funny statement since the chunk of silver was in her hand at the time. I explained that indeed it was real silver, but didn't go into it any further than that (when you offer Liberty Dollars everywhere, all the time, it gets tiring to go into the whole thing about the federal reserve, etc).

So, she looked at me kinda funny, and then took it and went away. At first I thought "cool, she changed her mind." But then time began slipping away and I still hadn't been given change. So I thought that she would NOT accept it, and that perhaps she was looking it up on the Internet. So I pulled out some Federal Reserve Notes and placed them on the counter. Shortly, I saw a Walworth Police vehicle pull up in the parking lot. The officer (officer Kjendlie) walked up, asked someone behind the counter if I was the guy, and then came over to talk to me. He asked me if I had silver -- to which I replied yes indeed, and showed him some of the Liberty Dollar pieces. I tried to explain that it was not against the law, that I was offering silver for trade, and everything else. He didn't care. He placed me under arrest (first I asked the lady behind the counter for my silver back -- she returned it to me).

So he handcuffs me, and I exclaim "this is America" disappointedly to the onlookers. Kjendlie asked me if I had anything to drink, and I admitted that I had had that ONE UNO SINGULAR beer about an hour earlier. I was in no way drunk, under the influence, or anything else for that matter (takes a heck of a lot more than one beer). I didn't think anything of it at the time, since I knew I wasn't under the influence. When he went to place me in the car, he noticed my EMPTY pistol holster on my side. This is something I had been wearing to remind myself of my disarmed status (I'm really into guns) due to the danger of being armed in Illinois and Wisconsin (it can be life-threatening) and the danger of entanglement with CORPORATE POLICIES masquerading as law.

So he starts questioning me about the holster, and asks me if I have guns (as if the 8 bumper stickers on the back of my van didn't give it away). He asked me where my gun was, and I replied "which one?" He wanted me to admit to having a gun in the car -- which I never did. He then ordered me to surrender my keys so that he could search my vehicle, and I complied under duress. They spent the next 25 minutes searching my minivan for this gun they were sure I had, but couldn't find it. They then threatened to literally "tear your car apart" if I didn't tell them where it was. I should have let them do that -- but it's my only car and gets me everywhere I go, so I told them where it was (unloaded and enclosed in a case).

So they took pictures and kept messing around with my car, even though there was nothing "illegal" or anything. I forgot to mention, that while I was at the window of the dairy place talking to Kjendlie, my now-wife, Lana, returned from the store next door to see the cops there harassing me. She pleaded with them to let me go and tried to explain that we hadn't done anything wrong. At the time, she had been with me over a year and had gone through 2 previous arrests -- so she knew how badly these incidents affect the lives of the victim (the man or woman arrested). She was very scared for me, and was crying and begging them to leave me alone. Kjendlie acted very aggravated and aggressive and told her to back off or he would arrest her too. She was standing a few feet away from him -- she wasn't even in reach. As is all too typical these days, cops are TRAINED to turn nonviolent situations into violent confrontations by provocation through yelling, swearing, making threatening gestures, and many more thing. She didn't make any approach to him, but simply kept pleading with him to leave me alone.

So they arrested her too. Another police vehicle arrived (and SUV) with more officers and they took her. This was when they started searching my car. They took us both (separately) to the city police station. Kjendlie made me get out of the car and submit to a "field sobriety test" in the garage of the police station. He told me that according to Wisconsin law, if I refused the test I would automatically be charged with drunk driving. So at this point, I thought I don't want things any worse, so I agreed under duress. He wanted to go through with the test, even though we had been talking in the car the way there and I knew that he knew I wasn't drunk (although like a broken record he kept saying "I don't know that" -- good gestapo training).

So we begin the test, and he's holding a pen in front of my eyes and going back and forth, up and down, side to side, for about 3-4 minutes. Then he began to describe the "walk the line" test for me. Telling me that I would place one foot in front of the other, etc. So he actually said "put your right foot in front of your left foot" and so I did. He then began yelling (I kid you not -- shouting at me) "I didn't tell you to start yet -- what do you think you're doing" etc. My intellect was kicking back in (it goes away a bit when you're startled/frightened/completely surprised) and I began to ask myself why he wants to do this test when he knows I'm not drunk. I began remembering how the cops or someone else TAMPERED WITH EVIDENCE from arrest #2 and began to not trust this man who, despite the fact that I'm clearly 100% sober, wants to do a sobriety test on me. I also have respect for myself, so I said, "you know what, forget it. I'm not doing your stupid test. This is dehumanizing and you know I'm not drunk anyways, so forget it." He said, "fine, we're charging you with drunk driving."

They took me into an interrogation room, read me my rights, perhaps had me sign papers (under duress), and asked if I wanted to talk to them or if I wanted to exercise my right to remain silent. I said I did not wish to speak with them -- only with my attorney. We didn't have any words after that really.

I sat in the office for an hour or more while they interrogated my wife, to whom I once tried to yell and tell her NOT to say anything to them. She was furious by this time, though, because they were doing all of this to us FOR NO LAWFUL REASON.

They handed me off to another officer and had him transport me to the hospital for a blood test (since I was so sloshed off that one beer). I talked with the officer the whole way there. Although he made himself sound to be a tough guy (talking about how he beats up drunks and stuff when they fight him, etc), he didn't do anything to me. He also talked about how he loved his taser (he had to walk back into the station because he forgot it and he really wanted it with him).

So we talked on the way to the hospital and he SOUNDED like a decent guy. He said he loved guns, owned many, belonged to the NRA, etc. Who knows. Even if you are lucky enough to encounter a decent cop -- they still always follow their orders, no matter how bad, how unlawful they are. You could have 4 good cops in the room with 1 bad cop and they would all go bad. They have in all of my experiences.

So we get into the hospital, and he offers to take my cuffs off finally. I accept the offer and promised him I wouldn't try to do anything. We stopped at the bathroom and then went into a little room with a bed and waited, and waited, and waited for the hospital guys. The cop explained to me that we WOULD be taking a blood test -- with or without my cooperation. He explained that if I fought it at all, he would literally sit back and watch as the "fat, hairy" hospital guys came and sat on me while they took the blood. Remember -- this is all for an alcohol blood test when I'M STONE SOBER. I told the cop that I wouldn't fight the blood test, but that if they tried injecting me with anything I would fight it.

The cop read me a paper that basically said I have the right to refuse this test (no kidding) but then he said how the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that blood can be taken even without consent, and that you automatically consent to the test for the "privilege" of driving on the roads. So even though I refused on the paper (and I have a copy of that), they still took the blood. They took two viles, and I thought they packaged them separately (as if they were sending them different places), but I was told by my attorney that they went to the same place and then were later destroyed (somehow I doubt that). They probably have my DNA sample now -- if they didn't have it already.

So...then he took me to the jail. They booked me, and read off MISDEMEANOR charges of theft by fraud or some other BS. Then there was the one count of "Carrying a concealed weapon" since I had an UNLOADED firearm IN A CASE IN MY CAR as Wisconsin "law" stipulates. So -- 5 misdemeanor charges. I was placed in a cell without a phone call. They actually had phones all over the place at the jail (a phone in each cell even) and none of them worked. There was absolutely no way to talk to someone on the other line. The service would only do collect calls -- which most phone companies block nowadays -- so most numbers you'd call couldn't even hear the phone ring.

If you called a number that didn't block collect calls, you could hear the man or woman on the other end pick up, say "hello," listen to the recording, and even press "3" to accept the charges. Once they would accept the charges, it would just go dead and you couldn't hear them and they couldn't hear you. I think it was actually a scam. I think it's another way they extort money to be honest. My mother actually called the phone number for that service and had to prepay like $40. Even after prepaying, I could not reach her. I was never successfully able to talk to anyone through those phones.

When I demanded a phone call, I was denied one every time. They even said that "it's your problem" that the phones didn't work. So I sat in a cell with a fellow younger than I -- 19. He was arrested because he was drunk and punched a wall in his own house. His girlfriend's mother who was living with them at the time called the cops and the cops came. He wouldn't come out of the house so they shot him with a pepper ball and attempted to taser him through the window -- then rushed in and tackled him and took him to jail. I guess it's "domestic battery" when you beat up your house?

Lana and I were in the jail for nearly 24 hours with nothing to do. They even stuck Lana in solitary confinement. I consider this mild torture myself -- being in a SMALL room with no windows -- just a solid door. You can't turn the lights on or off if you wish. You have nothing to do. You have a phone that doesn't work. She had a 1 foot square window at first, but she was standing up and look out it to keep her mind occupied and not feel so claustrophobic, so one of the guards came and slammed a metal thing shut that covers the window completely.

One funny thing is that the guards kept POINTING to my cell. There would a lot of cells in that place, shaped like a U. There were probably at least 15-16 cells. During shift changes especially just at random times the guards would be talking and pointing to my cell. I don't think they were talking about my cellmate either. I guess I was the terrible guy that went around town offering something of intrinsic value -- something that's been used for many thousands if not tens of thousands of years as money -- for trade for other goods of value. Or maybe it was because I was so young -- 21 -- and owned a pistol? A lot of cops like having a monopoly on firearms ownership and carry.

The next afternoon we "appeared" in court via closed circuit video. I was made to sit down in the chair, and the judge appeared. Instead of reading those 5 misdemeanor charges that they read when they booked me into jail, he read FELONY charges. Counterfeiting, and other things. I don't even remember what they were -- but they were all felonies except for the gun charge. He asked me if I understood the charges -- NO. Then he set bond at $2500 cash bond, $10,000 signature bond. They also made a special NO CONTACT condition on the bond. This meant that I could have no contact with my wife (girlfriend at the time). We could not be physically near each other, talk on the phone, send an email, NOTHING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We lived together at the time and I gave her rides to work every single day.

They said she was a party to a crime, and we were co-conspirators or whatever, so we could have no contact. I think they were trying to split us up. When we left the jail, we couldn't even see each other. We had to walk out of the jail separately, and get in separate cars. Both of my parents had to come and drive us home.

Oh, by the way, my parents were freaking out because they had no idea what happened to us -- since I wasn't allowed to make a phone call. It wasn't until the middle of the night or the next morning that they allowed Lana to call my parents. My dad drove up there to the jail around 11 or midnight while we were in the slammer and they wouldn't let him talk to me or see me. I'm not even sure that they would confirm if I was there or not. I think over the phone they wouldn't tell him so he drove up there.

I've spoken to many lawyers since this has happened, and they have all said the same thing -- Walworth County, Wisconsin is the most corrupt county in the state. They NAIL people -- especially people from out of town or out of state. It's a huge racket -- just like everywhere else. But in Walworth, they do whatever they want with impunity.


Below came from another post on their forum:


...A lot of these kids grew up with the belief that America was a free country -- a free place in a horrible world of oppression and tyranny. She [my wife ] was one of them. It didn't take long after being here to realize that the grass truly isn't greener on the other side of the fence. She was very heartbroken indeed. She had always dreamt of coming to America.

I was heartbroken too -- as I grew up, in my high school days and such. Everything I had been taught about America being free, standing for liberty, pursuit of happiness, you name it. EVERYTHING WAS UNTRUE. This is not the land of the free, home of the brave, as I was told. Freedom is an idea that we merely pay respect to with empty words, songs, and symbols (like all those stupid yellow ribbons on cars -- no, a ribbon or a flag on your car does NOT make you a patriot you fool).

You are not PATRIOTIC by supporting your "elected" so-called officials. You are patriotic when you question them, hold them accountable for their lies, deception (WMDs anyone?), and corruption. You are patriotic when you challenge the government and keep it in check. Not the other way around.

You are also patriotic when you trade and barter with things of value -- like your TIME, your labor. Using gold and silver instead of worthless debt-based paper scrip could also be considered patriotic. I used to offer it everywhere. Now I've had to sell the liberty dollars I had to pay for the lawyers.

Cash Bond for The Two of Us: $5,200

Lawyers for the Two of Us: $6,000 pre-trial, another $6,000 if trial

We've paid over 11k right now as I type this. $11,000 for what? For offering people something with some value? Silver at least can be used for a lot of things -- electronics, photography, jewelry, all sorts of things. It's pretty, shiny, and doesn't "grown on trees" like this worthless paper does. It costs money to mine it -- it can't be created easily like paper.

I have had ONE business ask me to take back the silver -- Blockbuster Video in my town. I gave them a $5 silver piece, and the next time I went there they asked if I would take it back. I said I was more than happy to take it back, and asked if they had the original. I then waited around for 10 minutes as they opened their safe and I gave them a $5 FRN and they gave me the $5 silver piece back. I'm happy -- they're happy -- no one is unhappy or hurt.

Why couldn't the two stores in Walworth do that? If they still have my silver, I would be more than happy to give them worthless FRNs for it. I would rather have the silver, personally. The only reason I even offer silver is because I actually DO give a shit about other people and would like them to own something of value as well.

$11,000 and counting for offering a $20 one-ounce silver piece at an ice cream parlor?

They extorted money from me by bringing all these false FELONY charges against me to have a high bail. I never received those "charges" on paper. Two weeks later, the charges were all misdemeanors as they were originally. It's a scam -- a con game. WHO ARE THE CRIMINALS?!?!?!

Even if you're RIGHT -- you still lose. Every time. The PUNISHMENT -- THE SENTENCE does not come after the jury says GUILTY. It comes even before the jury does. It comes regardless whether you're acquitted or convicted. It comes the moment they start using your name and start lodging charges against you. It comes when you have to bail yourself out of jail. It comes when you have to hire an attorney and spend many thousands of dollars in hopes of staying out of their prison system.

They punish you not for CRIMES (violating the rights of others -- victimizing others) but for unwanted BEHAVIOR ("offenses") -- which is pretty much anything that could be used as an excuse to extort money from you. Doubly if it has anything to do with exercising your rights and/or challenging the status quo.


Below this is a post made by Shaun's wife, Svetlana.


My husband Shaun Kranish has described the arrest situation in a very detailed way. This nightmare has been in our lives for over 3 months, and it isn't gone yet. Unfortunately, our court system is designed to make you feel miserable and helpless. Even though Shaun and I will eventulally get out of it ( and probably the only way would be to involve publicity and let you guys know what people get charged in Walworth County with for a $20 silver piece, while real criminals rob, stab, murder and rape), we already paid 11,000 dollars for our lawyers and bond. "We have paid our fee. They taught us a lesson."

When I got arrested, I couldn't believe it happened to me for a long time. I kept asking the officer " ARE YOU REALLY ARRESTING ME FOR THIS?". I couldn't believe my ears when they told me "YOU BETCHA, YOU WERE ASKING FOR IT" And all I did was trying to tell them the truth, that there is no LAW saying you cannot trade. It's funny that I wasn't even there at the moment when Shaun pulled the liberty dollar out and offered it to the icecream lady. They grabbed me as an accomplice anyways, just because I was crying and asking them to listen to us first. It was so hard for me to realize why I was in jail. But, hey, it's Walworth County--the most corrupt county in the state of Wisconsin. And I think it is time for this BS corruption to stop.

I am asking for your help!!! If you know anyone that became a victim of unlawful prosecution in Walworth County, please let us know. We have to expose them for what they are doing to people like you and I--people who hurt no one, go by laws and common sense. We could really use your help by spreading the word and even contacting those involved to urge them to stop hurting us. Be polite, and let them know they are making a mistake, that people all over are aware of it, and it won't be tolerated. Let us stop this extortion and injustice.

I was born and raised in Russia, and I always had a dream-to come to America and be free. What I have been dealing with for the last 3 months has totally broken my heart. Now I can't even continue with my immigration process because of these bogus charges I am facing. I have not seen my family for 3 years, and without this being dropped I am stuck here even though I am married to an American. Sad

Article by The Center for Public Integrity

The article can be found here:

It highlights LOTS of corruption and prosecutorial misconduct in Walworth County. The article has been copied below for your convenience.


A Poisoned Prosecution
Misconduct in sexual abuse cases damages reputations—and can ruin lives

By Brooke Williams

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003 — In May 1999, Robert Wasser's life was turned upside down when Walworth County, Wis., Assistant District Attorney Diane Resch charged him with fourth-degree sexual assault. The charge stemmed from a complaint filed by Wasser's then 20-year-old adopted daughter Samantha (not her real name).

Wasser and his wife Bonnie had dedicated their adult lives to helping abused and neglected children. Over the years, the couple had adopted 22 children and were on the state's list of parents who take in special needs kids. The state would sometimes use them for emergency placement when children had nowhere else to go. When the Wassers adopted 14-year-old Samantha, they knew the risks. Her previous foster father had sexually assaulted her, and she would need special care. But they had had success raising similar adopted children and were confident they could help her.

Wasser's troubles began one weekend when Samantha was home from Wisconsin Lutheran College, a four-year, coed liberal arts school in Milwaukee. Wasser found a handwritten note from Samantha to her boyfriend, a man she would later marry, about dropping out of college and leaving Wisconsin together. Wasser confronted Samantha about the note. Later, he drove her back to college.

The drive to Milwaukee was tense—but still, the conflict with Samantha seemed minor to Wasser, considering her painful past. All that changed, however, a few months later, when an overzealous prosecutor with a history of misconduct and a series of mistruths and outright lies turned a minor dispute into a major crisis. While the charges against him were eventually dismissed, he lost his job, his reputation was damaged, and he incurred the expense of a court battle. The woman who prosecuted him, and misled the court in the process, still has her job.

Aggressive advocacy—and misconduct

At a time when the nation was still trying to make sense of a series of highly charged and much publicized sexual abuse trials involving children—some of which would show how the original accusations were either coaxed by aggressive investigators or induced by questionable therapeutic techniques—some prosecutors continued to push for convictions with very questionable evidence. Resch, for one, remained a passionate prosecutor of alleged sexual abuse and had assumed responsibility for most of Walworth's sexual assault cases since joining the DA's office in 1992. Since then, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has addressed her conduct at least seven times. In four of those appeals, judges ruled that her behavior warranted reversing the defendant's conviction. Two of the reversals involved alleged child sexual abuse. (See our clarification on these numbers.)

Resch declined requests to comment for this report.

In 1994, appellate judges reversed a conviction Resch won against Andrew Torstenson for the sexual assault of a child. There had been no physical proof or eyewitness testimony; Resch's case rested mostly on the victim's statements. During the trial, Resch told the jury that the trial judge thought the victim's statements were "reliable," "credible" and "trustworthy." Defense counsel offered no objection and the trial judge did not admonish Resch, though he did tell the jury that the prosecutor's opinions and arguments were not evidence. Writing for a unanimous appeals court, Judge Richard S. Brown held, "When the prosecutor commented that the court had given a judicial imprimatur to [the victim's] credibility, the jury was effectively being told that [the victim] was truthful and, therefore, that the State's case was the truth." Resch's bolstering of the victim's statements denied Torstenson a fair trial, the court concluded. "In a credibility battle, we can hardly think this to be unprejudicial," Brown wrote.

In a 1998 burglary case, Resch withheld exculpatory police interviews from the defense. In reversing the conviction, the appeals court held that the interviews showed there was no "criminal intent" and "seriously" impeached a police officer, who was also a witness for the state.

In a 1997 case involving child and animal neglect, Resch used juvenile-court records she had obtained on the eve of the trial without notifying the defense counsel. Appellate Judge Harry G. Snyder wrote that the court had "no confidence in the outcome of the verdict" and reversed the conviction.

The year after Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law that allowed children as young as 10 to be convicted of serious sex crimes, Resch charged a 10-year-old boy with first-degree sexual assault.

The charges, which led to a three-day, non-jury trial in front of Walworth County Judge Robert Kennedy, stemmed from two separate incidents, both of which occurred while David played in his backyard with other children. In the first incident, he touched a next-door neighbor during a game of truth or dare. In the second, he created a new rule for a game of capture-the-flag—the girls had to lift their shirts when they were captured. One of the girls said David touched her underneath the shirt.

Resch argued that the law does not distinguish between childhood sexual exploration and an adult with intent to be sexually aroused. "This is just as wrong as an adult playing these games with little kids," she told the court.

Kennedy ordered the boy to be placed on one-year supervision at home with psychological counseling, restitution and community service. The judge also ordered him to register as a sexual offender and provide a DNA sample.

The boy provided a DNA sample but appealed the order requiring him to register as a sex offender. In 2001, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.

"Resch just went for the throat and was treating him like he was 18," the boy's mother told the Center for Public Integrity. "She wasn't interested in the truth; no one was interested in the truth."

Sexual assault alleged

About a week after Wasser had spoken to Samantha about her intention to quit school, Samantha called to tell him she had dropped out of college and was living with her boyfriend. A month later, Bonnie Wasser received the first of many letters alleging sexual contact between Robert and Samantha.

"Ask christen Bob about his sinful relationship with his foster daughter, Sam," one of the typed letters said.

"You must condemned this man from the innocent children under his authority," said another.

Wasser's workplace and one of his three birth sons also received letters. Soon, the reason for the letters became apparent.

"We got a call in December from the guy she is with saying the harassment would go away for $500 a month," Wasser said. He also received a letter from Samantha asking for money to help pay bills.

One of the letters was dated January 9, 1999. That same day, Officer Jeff Recknagel interviewed Samantha and her boyfriend at the Fontana Police Department. The police had been contacted by a therapist Samantha was seeing. During the interview, Samantha claimed that Wasser had sexually assaulted her once when she was 19 years old and once again when she was 20.

When Recknagel interviewed Wasser at his home, Wasser told him the allegations were not only false but also indistinguishable from Samantha's allegations against her previous foster father.

"He didn't believe me," said Wasser.

In February 1999, Assistant District Attorney Diane Resch took the case.

In March, Wasser received a certified letter stating that Samantha was filing a civil suit against him for monetary compensation.

Two months later, Resch pressed criminal charges.

Wasser hired defense attorney David Danz, who had previously served as District Attorney, to represent him. Danz entered a not-guilty plea.

"Our lawyer told us the system worked," Bonnie Wasser said. "But I think I overestimated the honesty of the system."

A culture of misconduct

Resch wasn't the only one at the Walworth County District Attorney's office with a recent history of aggressive prosecutions, error and misconduct. Since 1990—the year District Attorney Phillip Koss was elected to office—there have been at least 26 appellate decisions addressing alleged prosecutorial error. In the 20 years before that, there were three. In 11 of those 26 cases, judges ruled that the prosecutor's conduct required reversing the defendant's conviction.

The appellate court has addressed Koss's conduct in at least 11 cases. In five, the court ruled that his misconduct warranted reversing the defendant's conviction. Two reversals involved alleged child sexual assault.

In January 2003, for example, the Wisconsin appellate court reversed a conviction for sexual assault of a child because Koss convinced trial judge James Carlson to ignore a precedent-setting appellate decision, Richard A.P. That decision held that defendants in sexual assault cases must be allowed to use psychological experts in their defense. Koss apparently thought the decision was wrong.

"We are troubled by the district attorney's arguments that a trial court is free to ignore a published decision of the court of appeals," wrote Judge Snyder. "While the District Attorney may think that Richard A.P. was an 'obviously' wrong decision and contrary to nationwide precedent, it is the law."

In 1999, Koss prosecuted Mark Daer for sexually assaulting his eight-year-old stepdaughter. The appellate court reversed Daer's conviction in August 2002 because Koss "prevented the real question of Daer's guilt from being fully tried." Among the incidents the court found problematic were "the prosecutor's improper focus during closing argument on [alleged perjury by Daer's wife] Trina Daer and the prosecutor's comment during closing argument that defense attorneys routinely trumpet their clients' innocence no matter what the evidence at trial."

In another case, which Koss prosecuted before his election to District Attorney, the appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction because Koss withheld evidence suggesting that the defendant was innocent.

"This type of abuse wasn't present before," said Defense Attorney Jeffrey Krebs, who has practiced in Walworth for about 18 years and is now the deputy assistant state public defender. "It has been going on since 1990—it starts at the top."

Koss said some defense attorneys might mistake his vigorous public advocacy for abuse.

"I believe we are aggressive on prosecuting child sexual assault cases," Koss said. "We've prosecuted cases that other counties would not."

Karen Barbour, a victim's advocate who has worked in Walworth for 26 years, agrees.

"They take these cases extremely seriously and they are very proactive as far as prosecution," she said. "They will take on many cases that other district attorney's would not consider prosecuting." She has worked closely with Koss in many cases involving children.

"I think he is very professional and takes his work very seriously," she said.

No Plea

In June, Resch offered Wasser a deal. He could plead guilty to one count and the state would not recommend a sentence, leaving that to the discretion of the judge. Wasser turned down the deal. For the next seven months, his case lingered in the system on various hearings and continuances.

On February 8, 2001, Resch offered Wasser a second deal. He could plead guilty to disorderly conduct, and the state would recommend a sentence of costs only. Again, Wasser turned her down: Wasser said he was not willing to plead guilty to something he did not do.

Five months later, Samantha dropped her civil suit, and Resch withdrew the offer.

"With the issue of money no longer looming over the case, the defense was without any motive for the victim to falsely accuse the defendant," Resch wrote in a report.

On October 11, with the trial date approaching, Danz confronted Resch with the crux of Wasser's defense—the similarity between Samantha's description of the sexual assault by her previous foster father James Schlosser and her allegations against Wasser. Both cases involved manual masturbation and ejaculation.

Diane Resch insisted that first Samantha then Diane Behrens, one of Samantha's previous foster mothers, said Schlosser had had sexual intercourse with her. Resch told Danz and Watson (and the court) that the Schlosser incidents "clearly involved sexual intercourse." Resch insisted the two assaults were entirely different. She told Danz she had spoken with Samantha, who had specifically told her the two assaults were different.

Danz sent Resch a fax transcript of their conversation together. He asked Resch to "call immediately" if she discovered that the two assaults were, in fact, similar. An hour later, Resch called Danz and said Samantha was in her office and had confirmed that the two assaults were "clearly" different.

The next day, armed with a transcript of the first foster father's trial that proved the allegations were similar, Danz went to Judge Michael Gibbs. At this point, Resch changed her story. She told the court that Samantha had never told her the assaults were different. She said it was actually Diane Behrens, one of Samantha's previous foster mothers, who had explained how the two assaults were different. She denied ever having told Danz otherwise.

Gibbs called an evidentiary hearing to determine the truth, and enjoined both sides from speaking to Diane Behrens or Samantha.

Because Danz would be a witness at the evidentiary hearing, Wasser hired local defense attorney Steven Watson to aid in his defense. Resch would also be a witness, so District Attorney Koss stepped in to aid in the prosecution.

Samantha and Behrens took the stand and denied telling Resch that the assaults were different. Behrens denied discussing the previous assault at all.

When District Attorney Koss asked Samantha to describe Wasser's assault, she instead described details of the allegations that led to her previous foster father's conviction. Samantha also testified that Resch never asked her about the differences in the two allegations.

Gibbs ended the evidentiary proceeding by asking all the attorneys not to talk to the witnesses while he decided on his ruling. "I don't want to see affidavits coming in with different versions," he said.

While waiting for Gibbs' ruling, Danz and Watson discovered a smoking gun. Officer Recknagel had interviewed Diane Behrens on June 30, 1999. He asked her about the similarities between Samantha's first father's conviction and her allegations against Wasser.

"Now is this the same type of sexual contact that her prior foster father had with her also?" asked Recknagel. "Yes it was," answered Behrens.

Resch had Recknagel's report of the interview all along.

In April, Gibbs issued an opinion dismissing with prejudice all charges against Wasser because of prosecutorial misconduct. (Courts rarely dismiss a case "with prejudice"; it means that a defendant cannot be retried. In Wasser's case, the judge cited the prosecutor's misconduct as the reason). Gibbs ruled that Resch provided false information and lied under oath in an effort to "cover up her misrepresentation to defense."

"The Court believes ADA Resch was dishonest with the Court and defense counsel," Gibbs wrote in his decision. "The Court finds that ADA Resch provided false information to the Court on October 12 and lied under oath on October 16.

"The misconduct has infected the proceedings with unfairness and has poisoned the entire atmosphere of the proceedings."

Permanent stain

Even with his charges dismissed, the court of public opinion continues to haunt Wasser. Before Resch filed the charges against him, he was the head director of a Milwaukee boarding school. Now he can't step foot on campus.

"It's a loss of profession," Wasser said. "I'm 59 years of age, and not too many people want to pick up a has-been." Wasser believes that the efforts he and his wife have made on behalf of children like Samantha made him particularly vulnerable to the charges that cost him his job. "[B]ecause we adopt children who have been abused, we're high risk for allegations."

Wasser filed a claim for damages against Walworth County, including Resch and Recknagel, for $910,000. In his claim, he stated that because of Resch's actions, he suffered significant injuries and damages, including humiliation and loss of future employment.

Koss suspended Resch with pay while he looked into her conduct in Wasser's case. The Office of Lawyer Regulations began its investigation by convening a small panel of clerks and attorneys from other counties to determine whether disciplinary action was warranted. A special prosecutor also investigated Resch's conduct to determine if criminal charges were appropriate.

During the OLR investigation, Judge Robert Kennedy, who served as Walworth County District Attorney from 1979 to 1985, wrote a letter to the OLR supporting Resch. A local newspaper had published Resch's endorsement of his judicial re-election campaign. So close is the relationship between Kennedy and Resch that local defense attorneys routinely charge judicial bias and request a different judge whenever the two are assigned to the same case.

"I am aware of an ethics rule that indicated that judges should not volunteer to testify as character witnesses," Kennedy's letter says. "If it does apply, then I must ask you to disregard this letter and return it to me." He closes the letter by "stressing the fact that her character for truthfulness and honesty both in and outside the courtroom to my knowledge is above reproach."

Although several sources with knowledge of the situation told the Center that the panel unanimously agreed to disbar her, Resch has received no disciplinary action. None of the sources could explain why Resch received no punishment. The special prosecutor did not press criminal charges, and Koss later determined that Resch's behavior did not warrant discipline.

After receiving notice that Resch would receive no disciplinary action, Steve Watson closed his law practice and moved to Vermont. "I just couldn't stomach it anymore," Watson said. Even with half a country between him and Walworth, he said the injustice he witnessed still upsets him. As recently as February of this year, he wrote a letter to the OLR appealing their decision. The OLR declined to revisit the matter.

"A circuit judge had made a specific finding of fact that [Resch] had lied, OLR's own investigative panel reached the same conclusion, and yet the final decision reached the opposite conclusion and gave no explanation whatsoever," Watson wrote.

The next day, OLR informed Watson that they would not re-open the case. The director of OLR "did not believe that this office could prove by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that Ms. Resch had made a misrepresentation."

Resch is currently prosecuting felonies, including sexual assaults of children, in Walworth County. As recently as February, she retried a defendant whose conviction had been reversed due to her conduct.


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This blog is dedicated to exposing corruption in Walworth County, Wisconsin, by any and all persons holding a government job! Are you the victim of a scandal in Walworth County? You've come to the right place. We hope to hold government accountable in this otherwise beautiful land.

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