Native America Calling Podcast - Kevin H. Sharp
On February 15, 2023, Peltier attorney Kevin H. Sharp, and others, along with Ed Woods, the founder of the No Parole Peltier Association, were on a Native America Calling podcast. The topic was Leonard Peltier and his chances for clemency.
Once again, Sharp made it clear that he believes he is the smartest attorney and former judge around, adding yet an even greater insult to others in the legal profession. His hubris goes well beyond simply excessive pride, revealing a disturbing character flaw.
Referring to the many decisions rendered in the Peltier case by federal judges, Sharp stated:
“There were evidentiary rulings that appear to be, from someone who made a lot of evidentiary rulings from the federal bench (referring to his own six years as a federal judge), slanted so that the prosecutor got the upper edge.”
This public statement, without ambiguity of his plain language, implies that those Peltier judges were corrupt, which is a very serious and slanderous allegation.
Sharp is mimicking what Peltier has been whining about for decades. It is part and parcel of the Peltier myth; some grand conspiracy between the government and judiciary to get Peltier and keep him where he belongs. Sharp’s “slanted” remark is just another way to describe it.
There have been no fewer than seventeen (17) federal judges, one District and the remainder Court of Appeal judges, and no fewer than (17) seventeen Peltier attorneys who have been through the Peltier case in microscopic detail, analyzing every word from the trial to the final appeal, motions, hearings and oral arguments. Collectively, all those many years of judicial and legal experience, in Sharp’s skewed and troubled reasoning, somehow deliberately tipped the scale in the government’s favor.
As for Peltier’s prior attorneys that Sharp shamelessly disabuses, the Court of Appeals clearly addressed this question: “The allegation of Peltier’s counsel on appeal amounts to no more than hindsight and second-guessing by one lawyer concerning trial tactics used by another lawyer. Peltier was equally well-represented at trial and on appeal.” And, “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, and informed, and engaged in sophisticated trial decisions on strategy.” 8th Circuit, 9/14/78
Sharp has been thoroughly blinded by his obvious and vocal contempt for the justice system while being enamored by the likes of Peltier’s feigned innocence and the publicity it draws.
True to form, during the podcast, Sharp repeated his laundry list of Peltier folklore, believing evidentially, that since he’s an attorney and former federal judge, that his claims have more validity today than they did when first offered decades ago by prior Peltier attorneys.
Sharp claims he has reviewed the record of Peltier’s conviction and numerous appeals, yet his hubris and fallback claim of Peltier’s alleged innocence, nevertheless, provides a different story. Based on his legal experience, Sharp’s assertions and alleged intimate knowledge of the Peltier matter, makes him accountable for all his public statements. Beyond his opinions, most often stated as facts, this is especially so for his statements that run contrary to the historical record.
What follows is the first of several blogs that challenge Sharp’s assumptions and public statements supporting Peltier’s alleged wrongful conviction, with facts, proving those statements amount to nothing more than a pattern of disinformation. Sharp brings nothing new to the debate not already previously created over the years by purveyors of the Peltier myth.
1) Regarding certain facts of the Peltier case: “That hasn’t been denied, the courts have said, those things happened, right, what was denied was his appeal to overturn his conviction to get a new trial…”
On the surface, this is a naïve comment from a former federal judge. A very simple but clearly obvious question is exactly on what basis did the Court of Appeals deny Peltier’s (many) appeals? Did they not have before them the trial transcript, Peltier’s motions and legal arguments, along with hearings, all for reference in their deliberations; let alone the law and collectively innumerable years of judicial experience?
Those decisions were not manufactured out of thin air, but based on the Courts’ addressing Peltier’s motions and claims with a detailed review of the record.
So, following Sharp’s logic, the courts did not take all those facts into consideration? However, clearly they did, and did so repeatedly. They addressed them, explained them, and provided decisions based on the facts, and the law.
2) Sharp mentions “coerced witnesses.”
“All three witnesses (Anderson, Draper, Brown) testified that when they were Interviewed, at early stages of the investigation, their answers to the F.B.I. questions were inconsistent with the truth for one reason or another. However, upon further questioning at the trial by the government attorney, they stated that the testimony they gave at the trial was the truth, as they best remembered it” 8th Circuit, 9/14/78
3) Sharp makes a claim of “manufactured evidence.”
“We note, furthermore, that Peltier‘s contentions of manufactured evidence are far from convincing. The district court allowed Peltier to present the following evidence relating to his theory of defense:” (The court then goes on to provide examples.) 8th Circuit, 9/14/78
Since judge Sharp knows the Peltier case, with the courts’ decisions to the contrary, then could it be that former judge Sharp is just honestly mistaken? One would trust that he is not knowingly offering a lie to the public, but rather has been swayed by Peltier propaganda that he is desperately trying to memorialize.
In closing, briefly, was Peltier given more consideration than other persons tried for murder? Yes, indeed he was.
Normally, a federal criminal defendant is entitled to a single court-appointed attorney chosen by rotation. Peltier received five (5) lawyers—two as trial attorneys and three as investigators. All were chosen by Peltier, rather than the normal rotation process, and, of course, all were paid for by taxpayers. The defense received almost double the normal number of preemptory challenges during jury selection. Pelter’s lawyers were allowed to personally question the jury, which is highly unusual in federal criminal cases. The trial court provided daily transcripts of testimony to the defense, a very expensive measure which is rarely done. After conviction, Peltier was allowed to dismiss four of his five attorneys, and hire at government expense, his selection of new appellate attorneys.
There is considerably more to follow.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”