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Archive for Saturday, October 25, 2008

County accused of rights violation

Latest lawsuit claims 1st Amendment breach

Several Douglas County officials will go before a federal jury next week after a man claims they violated his constitutional rights.

October 25, 2008

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— Multiple Douglas County officials are accused of violating a man's constitutional rights, in a civil case that goes before a federal jury Wednesday in Topeka.

In the lawsuit, Michael Van Deelen alleges two Douglas County sheriff's deputies and two county tax appraisers violated his First Amendment rights by trying to threaten and intimidate him. The suit comes after a lengthy tangle with the county.

Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson, appraiser's office employee Steven Miles and sheriff's deputies Dale Flory and Kenneth Fangohr are listed as defendants in the suit. The board of county commissioners and Sheriff Ken McGovern were dropped from the lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2005.

'Frequent filer'

Van Deelen, 58, claims the county officials violated his rights, by retaliating against him for his continuous attempts to appeal the county's property tax assessment of his Eudora home, 1025 Acorn Drive. After multiple appeals and a lawsuit, Van Deelen alleges that he was verbally intimidated, that an appraiser scowled and stared at him, and that a sheriff's deputy poked him and threatened to shoot him if he continued to file appeals, deterring him from pursuing additional appeals, an exercise protected by the United States Constitution, according to court documents.

Van Deelen repeatedly has represented himself in lawsuits across the country and is described by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Sam Crow in a court document as a "frequent filer."

He filed multiple lawsuits in Douglas County District Court during the 1990s against an umpire, parents and organizers of a baseball association. In 1993, he filed a suit against Massey, who at that time was a Eudora police officer, claiming Massey verbally abused him during a Eudora Little League game.

In 2003, he filed a lawsuit against the Lawrence school district, claiming his son was threatened by Lawrence High School cheerleaders and fans during a wrestling match.

More recently in 2007, he filed suit against a school district in New Mexico, where he was a teacher.

Successful appeal

More than two years ago, Crow had dismissed the case that goes before a jury next week in Topeka, saying it wasn't a matter of public concern, court documents said.

But Van Deelen, who is not an attorney, won an appeal he filed with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

"One might well question the merits of Mr. Van Deelen's petitions or their significance, arising as they do from an ongoing and increasingly personal spat with county tax officials," said the appeals court in reversing the case on Sept. 10, 2007. "But a private citizen exercises a constitutionally protected First Amendment right any time he or she petitions the government for redress. : The First Amendment does not pick and choose its causes. The minor and questionable, along with the mighty and consequential, are all embraced."

The spat began in 1993, when Van Deelen sued the county and city of Eudora, after repeated issues with flooding at his home, which he purchased in 1991.

He complained that a nearby culvert contributed to the flooding. He was paid damages, the culvert was replaced with a bridge and Van Deelen dropped the lawsuit.

In 2000, Van Deelen thought the county overstated the assessed value of his home.

Things got nasty when he was unsuccessful in appealing the county's assessment during about eight administrative hearings over the next several years, court documents said.

During one of the hearings, Van Deelen allegedly made "accusatory" and "derogatory" comments toward Miles, court documents said, and that prompted the Douglas County appraiser's office to ask the sheriff's office to assign a deputy to be available outside the appraiser's office during their next meeting. Fangohr was assigned.

In February 2005, Van Deelen filed a federal civil lawsuit, alleging unconstitutional property valuations and perjury by Miles, court records said.

In March 2005, the county reduced the assessed value of Van Deelen's home by $5,000 and Van Deelen dismissed the lawsuit.

But later that month, Van Deelen pursued another tax appeal with the appraiser's office. Johnson requested a deputy - this time Flory - to sit inside during the meeting. Van Deelen alleged the deputy's attendance was intended to intimidate him, in retaliation for his lawsuits and appeals and to deter him from bringing future appeals, court records said.

Van Deelen, in the most recent lawsuit in the matter, claims Flory deliberately bumped him during the hearing, had his hand on his gun and made menacing looks.

He said the deputy's presence surprised and frightened him from pursuing future appeals.

Van Deelen is seeking $500,000 in damages.

Van Deelen and county officials had no comment Friday when contacted about the lawsuit.

Comments

Mixolydian 5 years, 5 months ago

Well alright! I finally got my nastygram!!Hello,The user howSTUPIDcanYOUget sent the following message to you via LJWorld.com:==============================you are a complete idiot........==============================Please do not reply to this e-mail message. To send howSTUPIDcanYOUget a response, visit this Web page:http://www2.ljworld.com/users/howSTUPIDcanYOUget/contact/++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++I can only have one response to that:>:- (

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 5 months ago

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 5 months ago

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

He's almost starting to sound like The 3 Stooges. Anybody wanna place bets on who gets the first message saying, "OH, a wise guy, eh?!"Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...

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BigD68 5 years, 5 months ago

I to got a message from him or his son:Hello,The user howSTUPIDcanYOUget sent the following message to you via LJWorld.com:==============================big d thinks he's a tough guy, huh..what's the d stand for, dumbass?

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 5 months ago

I bet he was picked on in school..... so he quit early!

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

I feel so honored--I've received another menacing email! He thinks I'm tough--and he's got yet another posting name:Hello,The user howSTUPIDcanYOUget sent the following message to you via LJWorld.com:==============================you have a big mouth, don't you, tough guy...........==============================Please do not reply to this e-mail message. To send howSTUPIDcanYOUget a response, visit this Web page:http://www2.ljworld.com/users/howSTUPIDcanYOUget/contact/

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Good comments, all.T_O-B: I suspect that my son might rather fancy getting threatened by cheerleaders. Kids these days.... :-)

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 5 months ago

The Phelps are actually mostly disbarred attorneys.I think there is no need to call you any names, you make a case for your own sanity without any of the rest of us having to say anything.It is why I love freedom of speech, I am glad to give you a microphone to expose what a phony you really are.

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howSTUPIDcanYOUget 5 years, 5 months ago

wow, I was under the impression from just reading the TOS that name calling was not allowed but from reading this blog I can see that is not the case so heres to all you, and I quote , all you cocky sob's, nutjobs, scumbags, friggin lunatics, etc, etc.And yes I am a friend of the Phelps, all attorneys by the way. If I was this guy in Eudora I WOULD file suit against you people........

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 5 months ago

"He wrote 3 responses, saying that posters were giving the story's subject cause to sue them for libel and defamation of character-and that their IP addresses could be subpoenaed"Nope. Marion has threatened to sue me numerous times. He could never persuade (or didn't ask) the LJW to give up my info. Of course, as with the prior posters, I did nothing wrong. Pointing out a fool is different than slander. "do you need assistance in sealing shut your auditory orifice ??" Dude to RII have no clue what this means. Does he want you to put putty in your earholes? Looks like someone got disappearededededed. I eagerly await a PM from this dude under a different name.On the other hand, I hope that my son is never threatened by cheerleaders. The horror.

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monkeyspunk 5 years, 5 months ago

I know all four of the "defendants" in this case. The LE officers are awesome guys, one is a huge opponent of certain types of taxation, especially property. He has written LTEs in the past. The other has too much to lose to make such threats. We know his family and they are awesome people. One of the appraisers is a very nice guy, very soft spoken and respectful. One of them on the other hand comes off as kind of a sour puss all the time, and I could see him "scowling" at Van Dingaling. Sounds like to me this guy is angry at the world, his mother/dad, his kids, and everything so he thinks he has to make up for it by trying to make productive members of society's lives miserable. If the federal jury has any sense they will rule against this fool.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

BigPrune: I don't disagree that the county likes to squeeze every possible penny out of all our properties, and that they don't like appeals, but have you looked at this guy's history--some of which is in this article? Google his name. Posters have also corroborated his pathological litigiousness (or threats) and cite examples of comments made by his poor kids, who have apparently been raised to think that threatening people with lawsuits is a good way to make friends and influence people. Eerily similar to the oppressive, brainwashing way the phelps kids grew up.If this crank who cried "wolf" really did see a wolf this time, he'll get his chance to prove it in court. In the meantime, we are free to express our opinions based on his past and present actions--and we have the right to do so without him pulling his threatening BS on us. To us, he is a figure in the news, no more, no less.AjiDeGallina and Mix: I join you in scowling and suggest we also ---- (fa la la la la) in his general direction!

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BigPrune 5 years, 5 months ago

Must keep comments at a minimum in regards to this article. Wouldn't want to get sued. But, you never know, perhaps this guy was intimidated. It isn't abnormal for the County Appraisers office to mess with people after they have filed an appeal, that's for sure.

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 5 months ago

poor thing, how miserable his life must be.I scowl at him too.and I dare him to track my IP, lol.

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Mixolydian 5 years, 5 months ago

:- ( ^IIThat's me scowling and staring.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Mix~ You must feel devastated to have been left out of this exclusive club. As consolation, I think we should adopt your very fitting term and call it the "Aff of David Club." Anyone standing up to internet threats or intimidation is qualified to join.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

That's hilarious! Yep--I'm sure he's now convinced us all that he's a well-educated individual with a JD under his belt... assuming he's the same person whose posts were pulled from this thread. Did you get a chance to read them before they were disappearededed? I hope you forwarded your threat to the LJW, as well. (I sent mine to the writer of this article.) I don't think they tolerate attempts at intimidation, misguided though they may be.I can't find any posts from 27_sq_miles.., which leads credence to the thought that the posting name was newly created by someone whose previous one was pulled--yesterday, in all likelihood.If you search "pro se" on the LJW website, these two profiles come up:Usercitizens_law_pro_se Anonymous8 comments madeUserpro_se_litigation Anonymous6 comments madeI believe it is the second one that was posting here yesterday. I also believe they are the same person. You can't access any of the comments either have made, so it looks like both user names have been shut down. More reason to figure that the person threatening you and me is the same fool. At least he's coming to terms with what he is--hence the new name. Must be a rotund fellow...

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Mixolydian 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey! I dissed this guy too a bit...where's my private death threat? No fair!Maybe he's too busy preparing his "Aff of David" for his "saponea" to get my real name and address.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 5 months ago

Gosh Py,I got a message too:Hello,The user 27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity sent the following message to you via LJWorld.com:==============================do you need assistance in sealing shut your auditory orifice ?? HMMM?? do you??==============================Please do not reply to this e-mail message. To send 27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity a response, visit this Web page:Apparently the individual wants to help me plug one of my ears. Not really sure why... Seems like a pretty idiotic request.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

And well, well, well, guess what I just found in my email? Another, more direct threat. He has given himself a far more fitting name than the Latin phrase he posted with, but I assume it is the same idiot. I'm forwarding the threat to the LJW. I'll also share it with the rest of the posters here, in case anyone else would like to let "pure stupidity" know what they think of threats. Here's the message: Hello,The user 27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity sent the following message to you viaLJWorld.com:==============================you have a big mouth piewacker................better watch your back==============================Please do not reply to this e-mail message. To send27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity a response, visit this Web page:http://www2.ljworld.com/users/27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity/contact/------------------------------------Again--zero tolerance for cowards who use threats to try to intimidate people. This jerk really needs to get a life.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Mixolydian~ He wrote 3 responses, saying that posters were giving the story's subject cause to sue them for libel and defamation of character--and that their IP addresses could be subpoenaed, and that it wouldn't do any good to remove the posts because they had already been (legal-sounding gibberish), essentially meaning "copied" I guess... He mangled "subpoena," spelling it something like "saponea"--it was so wrong, you could only tell what was meant by the context. The posting name he used was "pro se... something" -- I can't remember, but it was some Latin term. Then he "offered his services" to van Deelen, suggesting he was indeed a lawyer.I figure that this screwy poster was either van Deelen himself or just a wingnut who wanted us to think he was a lawyer and be afraid--very afraid! ;-)I think the proper response to threats and intimidation is a show that we are not afraid, which is why I hit back right away. Bullies can't succeed if people stand up to them.I don't recall ever seeing a removed post totally disappear before. Is this what happens when the LJW actually kicks the person off the boards? I would say they were quite justified, if that's what they did. There should be zero tolerance for people who come on here and threaten others.

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Mixolydian 5 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket - I thought your posts seemed disjointed, now it makes sense. What did he write?

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27_sq_miles_of_pure_stupidity 5 years, 5 months ago

the reason you fear this man is because he has the gonads to sue you or anybody else in court. and so do I.

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autie 5 years, 5 months ago

Apparently the operative word here is "NUT". !!! I'm sorry he got picked on in gym class...but hell's bell's, get over it. This is the kind of guy that makes for good fences and bad neighbors...friggin lunatics

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey--where did the nutjob's posts go? There aren't even any of the usual "this comment was removed...." explanations. I guess the LJW REALLY doesn't like people coming on here making threats--good for them! The removal makes my last 3 posts look like I'm talking to myself, though... Honest, those posts were there. I was not imagining them! ;-)

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mom_of_three 5 years, 5 months ago

sue someone because they made menacing looks..come on, get real....

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whatupdown 5 years, 5 months ago

Sue him for somthing stupid too. All is fair in his game.

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BigD68 5 years, 5 months ago

I've had a so called run in with him and his son at a baseball field and I can say he's one cocky sob. He's gotten the house almost free thanks to a contract that didn't have all the i's dotted and t's crossed. This guy has the audacity to bring suits against anyone who crosses him. Hey LPD next time give him a tazer in the knee and tell him you didn't have very good control.

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Pilgrim 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow. Somebody "scowled" at him. Those bullies.ROFL!!!!!!

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pro_se_litigation 5 years, 5 months ago

irrelevant_redundant, did you say something? didn't think so.................

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 5 months ago

Dang,It's almost as if a crossing guard gave a friendly wave...

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pro_se_litigation 5 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and for someone so well-versed in the law, who went to the trouble to dig up a Latin phrase with which to stun us with shock and awe, your alternate and illiterate spelling of "subpoena" leaves much to be desired...

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Karma........Can't escape it.

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

Good. You have fun with that.Why don't you pro-se-do yourself right over to the nearest mental health facility, van dingdong? How unexpected (not!) that you're monitoring this article to try to intimidate posters. What a wack job!

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pro_se_litigation 5 years, 5 months ago

and just in case these comments are deleted by the LJworld they have already been saved via "screen shots".So keep on talking .............

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pro_se_litigation 5 years, 5 months ago

piewacker, we want to talk to you..............

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pro_se_litigation 5 years, 5 months ago

and you people realize of course that you are committing libeland defamation of character and your account information including your IP address can be sapeonad by this man. I will offer free assistance to him also.you people are not very intelligent ,are you?

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Pywacket 5 years, 5 months ago

This scumbag is a nightmare. At some point, with any luck, he'll go too far and trip himself up and land in prison. Then maybe he'll see what getting "poked" and threatened are really about.I have no use for this kind of self-serving weasel, who is intentionally milking the system for all the money he can get--taxpayers' money. May karma visit him soon.

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merrywidow033 5 years, 5 months ago

I realize I shouldn't find it funny ('cos in all honesty, this guy seems like he needs some mental help) but it made me laugh so hard! I love the "menacing looks" that are given. My favorite, however, is "an appraiser scowled and stared at him" -- you can't make this stuff up!

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Deja Coffin 5 years, 5 months ago

I went to school with his oldest son, not the one threatened by cheerleaders and I always felt bad for the kid. When we were in elementary school if someone picked on him he'd say his dad would sue you. He was really smart and even skipped a grade or two but the kid had no clue when it came to social interaction. I can only hope he grew up and realized that maybe the way his father interacted with people and dealt with the world isn't the best way.

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

EVEN A DEGENERATE HAS RIGHTSTHATS WHY BRUTAL KILLERSSIT ON DEATH ROW

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 5 months ago

Based on the background of the plaintiff, I am surprised this is even a news article. I mean editors are supposed to exercise news judgment.

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 5 months ago

fatheadff: "The cops were called and they did nothing to him because in there words they told me he would file a lawsuit against them so they just let him go:"That stuff ticks me off so much. Fred Phelps has enjoyed decades of similar look-the-other-way protection from his conduct.

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 5 months ago

Hmmm, how do you spell l-i-t-i-g-i-o-u-s??He sued because C H E E R L E A D E R S threatened his son during a wrestling match? Sounds like his son is a bit of a wuss.

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bizarre 5 years, 5 months ago

There are two kinds of people in this world.Those who will threaten to do something....and Those who threaten and then take actiion!

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Mixolydian 5 years, 5 months ago

No decent civil defense attorney lets this case get beyond the dispositive motion stage. Beat by a pro se court system abuser with court appointed pro bono appellate counsel...not good for the old resume.

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

seems like a chap with alot of time on his handskind of filling up the courts with alot of silly paperwork, but i guess if he gets the right judgehe will hit the motherlode for being scowled atplus we get to pay for itwoo woo, sounds like spreading the wealth

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fatheadff 5 years, 5 months ago

I had a run in with this Van Deelen a couple of years ago when he chased me and my daughter in his vehicle then when i pulled over he pulled a gun on me... The cops were called and they did nothing to him because in there words they told me he would file a lawsuit against them so they just let him go..... I guess who is the bully getting away with intimidating people....

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