A Black Eye for Arlington Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos?

17 Sep

When Arlington Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos ran for office in 2011, she promised to be hard on crime.  During her distinguished career, she prided herself in taking on and winning convictions of murderers in Arlington.  She said she loved the work the Commonwealth Attorney’s office does, and how it “gives voice to ordinary people” and to the witnesses and victims of crime, and that the “right decision might be the decision not to prosecute.”   She said she would fight “tough” but “fairly.”

Now that she is in office, her career as a prosecutor has taken a very perverse turn in the Ashlie  case.  Instead of dedicating her time to prosecuting serious crimes, she is personally prosecuting a “petty” criminal contempt of court case (less than six months potential sentence) against a 68 year old grandmother, Delores O’Brien Heffernan, for, in effect, caring about her own grandchild’s welfare.

Sound unbelieveable?  It is.  We wish it weren’t.

Ashlie Mae O'Brien and Her Loving Grandmother and Maryland Circuit Court Apponted Guardian

Ashlie and Delores O’Brien Heffernan

We have been unable to find anyone familiar with how the Commonwealth Attorney’s office prosecutes cases that can understand how this highest ranking prosecuting attorney in Arlington is spending her scarce resources on such a low level case — which is of highly suspect and questionable value to prosecuting in the first place.   It is definitely one where the “right decision” would have been Ms. Thamos “not to prosecute.”  It is an anti-family, anti-love, and anti-child case.  It is exactly the type of case that should NOT be prosecuted.

So, what is it that is so special about this case?  Why is she prosecuting this poor grandmother with such zeal?  In this case, the grandmother had exposed, and is continuing to expose, Medicaid fraud by the Arlington DHS (involving Assistant County Attorney Jason McCandless (a Stamos political supporter) in concert with Arlington GAL Karen Grane).   Is the real objective of prosecuting Ms. Heffernan to silence her exposing criminal activity in Arlington (at least for awhile), in collaboration with the likes of Hallmark Youthcare and Intercept Youthcare?

Almost a million dollars has been wasted by Arlington DHS, mostly in Medicaid funds.   To protect themselves, the County has used every trick in the book to isolate Ashlie from her family since she was beaten in public view by Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy Ventura on December 7, 2011.   Instead of going after the Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, Commonwealth Attorney Stamos’ office has gone after almost every member of Ashlie’s family, including her grandmother for caring about her granddaughter and exposing the fraudulent use of Medicaid funds by Arlington County.   She has done so with such zealousness that she has made documented gross misrepresentations in hearings in order to illegally incarcerate the grandmother without due process, without the right to confront witnesses, and without proper notice — outcomes that the GAL Grane now seeks to cover up with a motion to seal.  Ms. Thamos’ pursuit of this case promises to turn Ashlie (who is under the total control of Arlington DHS/Karen Grane, and suffering from Stockholm Syndrome) against her grandmother by forcing her to testify.

Ashlie Mae O'Brien

Child After Brutal Beating in Arlington County Courthouse

Is picking on the weak being tough on crime?  Is this what Ms. Stamos promised the County of Arlington when she ran for office?  You decide.   She is up for reelection next year (2015).  We hope she will stop pursuit of this case and focus on serious crimes in Arlington, like she promised.

The next hearing where Ms. Stamos will appear in the prosecution of this petty criminal contempt case of Ashlie’s 68 year old grandmother is scheduled for tomorrow morning (September 18, 2013 at 9:30 am) in the courtroom of Judge Fiore (Case No. CR13001445-00).     The so-called “trial” (which by all appearances Judge Fiore has apparently already decided before hearing any evidence, as he has denied Ms. Heffernan her right to a jury trial and to change venues) is scheduled for September 30, 2013 at 9:30 am.    We encourage our readers to attend both hearings and see for themselves what Arlington is wasting its time and money on.    Maybe if enough people see and speak up, these destructive and wasteful activities will stop.

As  Albo Oblon point out on their website.   In Arlington, the “legal culture has a small town feel.   Prosecutors and active criminal defense attorneys are relatively few in number here.  …  It is not uncommon for a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer to argue passionately and aggressively on behalf of their clients in court — only to hang out later over drinks, the day’s battle a footnote.”    Reassuring for justice?  Not really.  Makes for a culture where prosecutors, defense attorneys and the members of the judicial bench have the incentive to collude at the expense of defendants in order to continue to “get along.”    This case illustrates the deep flaws in and backwards nature of Arlington’s judicial/legal system, and its failure to protect children, their families and taxpayers.  No amount of lipstick will dress up this pig.

Jason McCandless Campaigning for Theo Stamos