Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Judge rejects bid to destroy records in former Westar Energy executive’s case

January 6, 2011


— A federal judge has rejected a request by a former Westar Energy executive to have his arrest records destroyed because charges against him have been dismissed.

Douglas Lake was a top strategy officer at the Topeka-based utility when he and former CEO David Wittig were charged in 2003 with conspiring to inflate their compensation. Prosecutors dropped charges in August as they awaited a third trial.

Lake wanted all his fingerprints, photographs and records in Justice Department databases destroyed

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled Thursday that Lake offered no evidence of actual lost employment opportunities or prejudice to his economic interests. She says in her order that she understands that the government's seven-year prosecution had taken a personal toll on Lake, but his claims of damages are speculative.


Zachary Stoltenberg 7 years, 4 months ago

Well I still think he's a creep. He may have gotten off by burning through appeals but I still think he's guilty. That's all the proof anyone should need.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

So the gov'ts next step is to charge every citizen of crimes, take their fingerprints (DNA?) and then drop the charges so that Big Brother can obtain what they cannot otherwise constitutionally obtain?

What interest does the gov't have in retaining fingerprints of a citizen it admits has committed no crime? Why is Lake being asked to prove anything?

And those who see threats to liberty in every routine gov't action are where when actual liberty is destroyed?

littlexav 7 years, 4 months ago

how in the world are you sticking up for this guy? the government never "admitted [he] committed no crime," it withdrew charges because the Supreme Court suggested that the specific crime he was charged with required more evidence than they had to present to a jury.

do they need to keep his photos or fingerprints? probably not. but should he be allowed to force the government to delete the files they have on him? absolutely not.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 4 months ago

He must be well into his 60s. I seriously doubt he is looking for another job. I fail to see how this record will negatively affect him.

As for the legal process itself, this is a question of expungement because of "factual innocence" .

Here is an explanation of this from Avvo legal guide:

"The Court won’t grant the factual innocence petition unless it finds that “no reasonable cause exists to believe that the arrestee committed the offense”. That is significant. It means that if the Prosecutor opposes the petition and introduces incriminating evidence that could have allowed a jury to convict, then the petition should be denied. This may occur if the District Attorney dismissed the case due to inability to get admissible evidence in to court, though he believed strongly that the accused was guilty. Remember, it is not enough that there was a good defense that might have gained an acquittal at trial. Your expungement lawyer must prove that under the current evidence, no reasonable person would think that you were guilty. So you have to help your lawyer gather sworn statements from witnesses and others who know you are innocent, or other evidence that proves it. "

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

Notice the similarity between Lake's position and the abuse of governmental power regarding prisoners in Guantanamo or Julian Assange: We can't prove that you are guilty but we will still treat you as if we had.

At least in Alice in Wonderland there was a verdict that followed the sentencing. Here, there's only sentencing without bothering with a (guilty) verdict.

Can any "reasonable person" believe the Founding Fathers would have assented to such a disregard to the distinction between those found guilty via the criminal trial process and those not (or not even given the benefit of such a process)?

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 4 months ago


In what way are they treating him as guilty? Is he being held? Has he been tortured? Has his property been seized? There are many instances of injustice in this nation that involve one or more of the previous, but this is not one of them.

All they are doing is keeping the records, which is not "unreasonable" given that there are still civil claims against him. It is because of these claims, that Lake wanted the records destroyed.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 4 months ago

By the way, Wittig and Lake got off because the Supreme Court changed the law regarding bribes and kickbacks. I hardly think that this is a testament to their "innocence". Civil claims against these men by Westar continue.

Here is the LJ article concerning all of this:

Paul Geisler 7 years, 4 months ago

That's not true at all. The Supreme Court ruling was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the Wittig - Lake case. The Feds whole theory behind the misuse of corporate aircraft and other so-called fraudulent practices ended in a mistrial in the first case, and the conviction from the second trial was thrown out by the Appellate Court due to questionable, if not unethical, practices exhibited by the Feds (Dick Hathaway) and Judge Robinson. They both thought it was a slam-dunk case that would pad their resumes and instead they spent 8 years wasting tax-payer money and Westar money, only to walk away at the end without a conviction after the Supreme Court issued a ruling on "dishonest services". If you read every court document that has ever made publicly available you would understand what a fiasco the Wittig - Lake case was from the very beginning.

littlexav 7 years, 4 months ago

it's a fiasco because they have oogles of $ to make it a fiasco.

once again, proof that money buys (in)justice in America.

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