A public statement by Peltier’s attorney, Kevin Sharp, raises some serious questions.
On March 10, 2022, Sharp was interviewed on K103.7, KAHNAWAKE radio.[i] In addition to what follows, Sharp made a number of arguably false or demonstrably inaccurate statements regarding Peltier’s conviction and appellate history: [ii]
Sharp unmistakably offered that he had sworn an oath several times in his life, including, the Bar and a federal judgeship, and made a solemn vow to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Sharp repeated, at least twice, that in Peltier’s case “Constitutional violations were open and obvious,” and were “committed by others who took the same oath.”
This assertion, standing alone, would not readily rise to the level of a slanderous statement against the more than two dozen judges who heard, and made their lawful decisions against Peltier’s interests. Sharp is offering his opinion—as questionable as it is, that he, among all those others, is the smartest person in the (court) room. In and of itself, an insult is not slanderous unless it includes provably and knowingly false statements.
However, there is no mistaking Sharp’s meaning; his words and intent are clear and unambiguous.
(Before fully considering Sharp’s insult and personal attack on federal judges, perhaps Sharp may also believe he is more capable than the many attorneys who represented Peltier at trial and throughout lengthy appeals.[iii] It would logically follow that if there were Constitutional violations or reversible errors, that Peltier’s attorneys could have been a contributing factor. If Sharp does believe this, he needs to articulate what he would have done differently or better than the others. Notwithstanding Sharp’s apparent hubris, a court has already spoken on this issue: “We have carefully examined the record in the trial court and on appeal, and have concluded that the defendant’s trial counsel were aggressive, capable, informed, and engaged in sophisticated trial decisions on strategy.” “Peltier was equally well-represented at trial and on appeal”
Sharp publicly claims that the “Constitutional” violations would have been readily apparent to these jurists. Nevertheless, the stark reality that escapes Sharp is that there were none, otherwise, the Peltier matter would have since been relegated to the dustbin of legal history.
At least a few apparent conclusions flow from such a serious, demeaning and castigating accusation. If these judges, according to Sharp, ignored “obvious” Constitutional violations; then a crucial question to ask is: Why?
Did they recognize the Constitutional violations and deliberately ignore them?
Were they not as astute as Sharp, but incompetent by not recognizing any errors?
Or worse, for some inexplicable reason, knowingly made decisions to ensure that Peltier’s appeals were denied? Could it be that Sharp implies (as Peltier has done for many years), some overarching collusion between the Department of Justice and the judiciary? Sharp likely isn’t, but the implication cannot be ignored either.
Was Sharp’s public statement simply the braggadocio of a self-serving ego, cloaked under the guise of advocacy for an unrepentant cold-blooded murderer? [iv] A murderer, aside from the prevailing myth and folklore, who is saddled with his own Big Lie.[v]
An essential question is whether Peltier attorney, Kevin H. Sharp, owes a number of federal judges—at a minimum—an apology?
Is Sharp telling the public that his experience as an attorney and six years on the federal bench places him in a class by himself; smarter and more capable than judges who collectively may have had, if not decades, but likely a hundred or more years of distinguished judicial service?
There has been a ‘minimum’ of eighteen judges who participated in Peltier decisions, none of which had been decided in Peltier’s favor, with the exception of a remand to the district court for an evidentiary (ballistics) hearing, that was ultimately, on appeal, also decided against Peltier. [vi]
A number of these judges have since passed away; several are either inactive or in senior status, but three remain on the crucial 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, including the current Chief Judge, the Honorable Lavenski R. Smith.
Would these justices—or their surviving family members, find Sharp’s public denigration of their reputations and honorable public service, at least offensive, or worse?
How would those surviving judges, or the family members of those who passed, react to Sharp’s public insult and apparent character assassination? [vii]
They could react negatively and demand a retraction and public apology.
Or, they could simply dismiss Sharp’s comments as just another attorney who may be seeking his own fifteen-minutes of fame by attaching his fortunes to the likes of Leonard Peltier, hoping perhaps, for some recognition or at a minimum, some publicity. Thus far, he’s popular among Peltier sycophants, and perhaps not much else.
Sharp would likely remain rigidly unapologetic and linger in the camp of an unrepentant, cold-blooded murderer.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
[i] Sharp interview: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tuMvVGP3TyFwvKGtvQnvN68n5YX59DN6/view?fbclid=IwAR295jel5SiyjVWTq8FnKxNOEUC7D2iBC3-RsPJ5MfFWZWFLJXYYGiBdpZI (Last accessed July 3, 2022; 47.16 minute interview of Kevin H. Sharp by Kenneth Deer)
[ii] http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2022/04/peltier-judge-kevin-h-sharp-part-3.html, and http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2022/02/peltier-judge-kevin-h-sharpmisplaced.html, Among statements made supporting Sharp’s allegation that prior Peltier-matter jurists violated their solemn oath by knowingly allowing or ignoring “open and obvious” Constitutional violations, as well as investigative errors:
-AIM murders “that were not investigated.” False
-(Peltier) “Not extradited because there was no evidence.” False
-Withheld “exculpatory” (ballistics) evidence. Acknowledged, but rejected on Appeal (Bagley decision)
-The Government changed its theory of the Peltier prosecution. False
[iii] Peltier Attorneys: Elliott Taikeff, John Lowe, Stanley Engelstein, Terry Gilbert, William Kunstler, Michael Tigar, Arthur Kinoy, John Privateer, Bruce Henry Ellison,* Mark Gombiner, Lewis Gurwitz, Eric Seitz**, Lawrence Shilling, Ramsey Clark, Carl Nadler, Barry Bachrach, B. Ray Huff, and others.
[iv] Admissions of guilt and lack of remorse: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2022/06/peltier-admissions-of-guilt-and-lack-of.html
[vi] Some of the judges who ruled on Peltier appeals and the dates of those decisions: Paul Benson (1918 – 2004) Peltier trial & appeals, John R. Gibson (1928 – 2014) 8th Circuit, 9/14/78, 4/4/84, 9/11/86, Donald R. Ross (1922 – 2013) 8th Circuit, 9/14/78, 4/4/84, 9/11/86, Roy L. Stephenson (1917 – 1982) 8th Circuit, 9/14/78, Gerald Heaney (1918 -2010) 8th Circuit, 4/4/84, 9/11/86, 12/18/02, Theodore McMillian (1919 – 2006) 8th Circuit, 7/7/93, Daniel M. Friedman (1916 – 2011) 8th Circuit, 7/7/93, Morris Sheppard Arnold, Senior status, 8th Circuit, 7/7/93, 12/18/02,
David R. Hansen, 1938, Senior Status, 8th Circuit, 12/18/02, Paul A. Magnuson, 1937, Senior Status, District of Minnesota, 12/18/02, Stephanie Kulp Seymour, 1940, Former 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/03, Stephen H. Anderson, 1932, Inactive Status, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/03, Wade Brorby, 1934, Inactive Status, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/03, Ralph R. Erickson, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, 7/22/05, Kermit E. Bye (1937 – 2021) 5/1/09, Lavenski R. “Vance” Smith, Chief Judge, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. 5/1/09,* Steven M. Colloton, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, 5/1/09, Donald W. Frank, District of Minnesota, submission to the 8th Circuit 5/1/09.
[vii] Attorneys and Judges are generally reluctant to criticize other members, at least not publicly. However, the current judges, and families of former Peltier-related judges, may at least be interested in hearing Sharp’s public criticisms.