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The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor@pikecountytimes.com
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Judge Dismisses Prewarrant Applications Against DFCS Representatives
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - There will be three days of hearings concerning the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) and the granddaughter of Pike resident Randall Moss. Mr. Moss filed civil warrants through Pike County Magistrate Court against several former and current DFCS employees which will be heard in the main courtroom of the Pike County Courthouse in April.

Mr. Moss spoke to DFCS board members in January about problems that he has had over the past 1 1/2 years with Pike County DFCS alleging click here that accusations against him and his daughter were false and that he was denied defense in a jury trial twice. He said in a Pike County Board of Commissioner's meeting in January click here (section 9a) that he can prove perjury, subjugation of testimony, fabrication, and colloboration as well as hearsay evidence with those involved in the removal of his granddaughter from his home and said that the judge in this case has denied him his constitutional rights and his Georgia state law civil right to have a jury trial.

Cases Heard on April 3, 2013

The first three cases were heard in court today. Lamar Magistrate Judge William Thomas was scheduled to hear three cases in Pike County Magistrate Court today. Charles O'Neill, who is the Guardian Ad Litem for the Moss grandchild, Michelle Madewell, and Pike County DFACS Director LaResa Price. He ended up ruling on more than three cases as well as the prewarrant application that was filed by Mrs. Madewell against Randall Moss. Judge Thomas explained court proceedings and answered questions throughout the morning showing that Magistrate Court is truly the People's Court as it has been called.

Charles O'Neill

A motion to dismiss was filed by Michael Anderson this morning on behalf of Charles O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill had been accused of obstruction, malice, neglect, dereliction of duty and malfeasance by Mr. Moss in the prewarrant application. Most of the charges did not apply because they are not criminal offenses in the state of Georgia and obstruction deals with law enforcement and emergency responders so that did not apply either. It was stated during this discussion that prewarrant application procedures have specific rules that must be followed. A misdemeanor prewarrant application requires that the charges be outlined for the court and be accompanied by a police report. A felony prewarrant application requires a police report along with a criminal investigation.

Mr. Moss was not represented by an attorney. He argued the obstruction fell under federal law and said that he could prove that they had taken his grandchild by intimidation by coercion. Mr. Anderson argued that Mr. Moss' daughter's rights were terminated in Juvenile Court and said that Mr. Moss is trying to relitigate while an appeal is pending. Mr. Moss argued that there was no proof of deprivation, that he did everything that DFCS asked him to do and then some, and made the accusation that DFCS is using everything they can to keep this child from coming home.

Judge Thomas told Mr. Moss that this hearing was very narrow in scope and limited what could be heard in court today. Mr. Moss was given the opportunity to clarify his case against Mr. O'Neill. Mr. Moss advised that there is no counter to the argument to dismiss if nothing on the warrants is criminal. Judge Thomas dismissed the case against Mr. O'Neill on the basis that the statutes did not apply.

Michelle Madewell

Former DFCS caseworker Michelle Madewell also filed a motion for dismissal this morning. Mr. Moss was given the opportunity to review it in court. This prewarrant application was for obstruction and perjury. The judge noted that Georgia law does not allow obstruction in this case and discussed the perjury charge. According to the rules for prewarrant hearings, perjury is a felony and the prewarrant application must accompanied by a police report and a criminal investigation. There was no record of perjury without this though Mr. Moss showed a court transcript and argued that perjury was under federal law.

Judge Thomas advised that the rules of Magistrate Court show that a law enforcement investigation must accompany the prewarrant application and dismissed the case against Mrs. Madewell on that basis and that obstruction did not apply because neither was law enforcement or emergency responders. Judge Thomas made clear after dismissing the charges that "This is not an adjudication." He said that with proper documentation, this matter may be reopened.

Tammy Griner and LaResa Price

Special Assistant Attorney Tammy Griner filed a Motion to Quash the Supeona and a Motion for Protective Order on April 1, 2013 on the behalf of Pike County DFCS. Mr. Johnnie Caldwell Jr. was also served with a copy of this since he represents Pike County DFCS Director LaResa Price. Apparently, Ms. Griner had been served a supeona to testify in the prewarrant hearing against DFCS Director LaResa Price. Ms. Griner advised that it is the department's position that confidentiality applies to the record and that the record could be delivered to the judge though her file on the case was covered under attorney/client privilege. She argued that her testimony would be protected as well.

Mr. Moss argued that Ms. Griner had a lot of info and made an accusation that records had been altered, that it had been said to people at the Capital that this case had been screwed up when someone did an audit and never talked to any of his people. He asked that she still be on subpoena to testify even if the records were quashed. She asked for a protective order to limit her testimony regardless.

The Court ruled that attorney/client privilege must remain intact. The Motion to Quash was sustained except that Ms. Griner not be required to offer testimony that would infringe on the attorney/client relationship and he reserved the right to review documentation in her possession that was not attorney/client privileged. She argued that the DFCS record was separate and the HIPPA laws would apply. The judge advised that those could be reviewed "in camera" or in private as the case develops. She asked who would pay for the cost of duplication and was advised that he would not rule on that at this time.

Special Assistant Attorney General L.J. Overman was also in court on the behalf of DFCS, but he did not have to speak since the court ended up dismissing prewarrant applications that dismissed the one in which he was presenting. Rep. Johnnie Caldwell, Jr. argued on the prewarrant application filed against DFCS Director LaResa Price and another attorney on the behalf of Joan Oxley and Liz Fordham. All motions were identical except for the charges and they obtained permission to argue against the motions at the same time.

Mr. Caldwell gave case background saying that these prewarrant applications arose out of a case with DFCS about Mr. Moss' grandchild taken through Juvenile Court. He said that the case has been exhaustively tried with numerous orders and a final adjudication that has been appealed to the Court of Appeals over the past 1 1/2 years. He said that all transcripts show that the rulings have been against Mr. Moss' position. He said that it looks like what Mr. Moss is trying to do is come after these people because he lost his case in court and that wasn't right. He asked that these cases be dismissed like the others.

Mr. Moss was given the opportunity to respond. He asked that perjury against Ms. Price be left open but was advised by the judge that because there was no law enforcement investigation, that this would also be dismissed. Judge Thomas advised that the matter of perjury could be reopened if and when appropriate conditions are met for Magistrate Court. Mr. Overman verified that his Motion to Quash was a moot point since the prewarrant cases had been dismissed. This part of court adjourned at 10:57 a.m.

Prewarrant Application Hearing in Michelle Madewell v. Randall Moss

Michelle Madewell advised that she was ready to proceed and the afternoon case was begun immediately after the morning case. Mrs. Madewell and Mr. Moss both represented themselves in this case. Both were sworn in before the court and both were advised that they had the right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves. Mr. Moss was advised that Mrs. Madewell was seeking a warrant for his arrest, but that the burden of proof rested on Mrs. Madewell who had to prove that there was enough evidence to go to trial.

Mrs. Madewell was the former caseworker assigned to Mr. Moss' daughter and granddaughter during most of this case. Her employment with DFCS ended in October of 2012 and she received a phone call from Mr. Moss on February 24, 2013 which alarmed her. It was one phone call to a new cell phone that was listed on a for sale sign in front of her home asking to verify if that was the correct phone number and address for her. Mrs. Madewell's husband testified on the stand that she told him about the phone call and he called Mr. Moss and told him not to call his wife anymore. Mrs. Madewell said that she felt threatened by the phone call because she felt that he is desperate and angry because he says that his grandchild was kidnapped by DFCS. She said that normally one phone call wouldn't have been enough [to frighten her] but said that there was a pattern of harrassment that went back almost 2 years. Mr. Moss disputed these allegations and questioned Mrs. Madewell's husband, John, on the stand. During this time, the court heard that one phone call was made to Mrs. Madewell and that, after he spoke to Mr. Moss, he did not have a reason to believe that Mr. Moss had been back to the house and that he had not called again. Mr. Moss said that he confirmed the phone number and address as he had been instructed by Pike Magistrate Court in order to serve court documents to Mrs. Madewell. Mr. and Mrs. Madewell insisted that he did not say that he was confirming this when on the phone with them.

Mr. Moss said that everything presented was hearsay and said that he was fighting for the life of his grandchild. He argued that he should be allowed to present documentation and court transcripts to the court to prove his side of the case to return his grandchild. Judge Thomas advised that the hearing was very narrow in scope and could only allow evidence about the criminal act that Mr. Moss was accused of with harrassment. Mr. Moss told the court that he followed instructions by Magistrate Court with obtaining addresses and phone numbers, that he never went on the property and that he has not been back to the property since that time. Judge Thomas said that one phone call is not harrassment and dismissed this case. Court ended today at 11:48 a.m.

Conclusion of Last Three Cases

On April 4th beginning at 10 a.m., the prewarrant application against Sue Coffin was heard. The case against former DFCS employee Jeannie Griggers who was fired in 2012, according to the Pike Journal Reporter, after being charged with criminal damage to property, second degree simple battery and disorderly conduct in Griffin, was heard immediately after her case as well as the case for Deanna Neill. The prewarrant applications against Joan Oxley and Liz Fordham were dismissed yesterday. Today was basically a repeat of yesterday's day in court. While Mr. Moss did have his police reports to give to Judge William Thomas today that he did not have with him yesterday, Magistrate Court requires that a law enforcement agency complete an investigation before it can proceed with the issuance of a warrant through its court.

Cindy Manning filed a motion to dismiss for Sue Coffin, who was accused of perjury and not present, but that was not a requirement for court today. Ms. Manning was the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the child. Ms. Manning presented motion to dismiss that said that perjury is not a felony and must have a completed investigation before the Magistrate Court can move forward with a warrant. The motion also joined with previous motions about recusal and an issuance of recusal that the judge ruled on in this motion, and pointed out that Georgia statutes protect lay volunteers with immunity. Mr. Moss said that Ms. Coffin acting with fraud and malice when talking about his grandchild's shot record and the immunizations that were required and even read from the court transcript, but Ms. Manning objected that Mr. Moss had to show intentional deceit. Mr. Moss asked for a Grand Jury investigation.

Judge Thomas ruled to dismiss the case against Ms. Coffin saying that the Magistrate Court cannot go forward without a law enforcement investigation. He also said that the recusal of the Magistrate and subsequent actions to ensure that these hearings went forward were not a factor in his decision because recusal does not preclude the Chief Magistrate from acting administratively to allow the case to proceed. And he said that while there is a contention of fraud or malice, the Court could not rule on this because of the absense of a law enforcement investigation prior to the prewarrant hearing.

Deanna Neill was accused of obstruction and perjury. The same arguments for the Motion to Dismiss were heard from all earlier cases. This case was dismissed without argument by Mr. Moss. The case against Jeannie Griggers was for perjury, obstruction, and defamation of character. Mr. Moss told the court that he was simply looking for an investigation and said that DFCS conspired and created deprivation where it wasn't, but the Judge advised Mr. Moss that the court could only rule on the motions that were presented today. He said that the court heard Mr. Moss' postion that he felt that he had been harmed by the system and DFCS and by actions from Juvenile Court but said that Magistrate Court could not retry or rehear evidence from another court and said that Magistrate Court cannot correct, interfere, or second guess the rulings of another court. He said that the proper avenue for this is through an appeal in the court system.

Mr. Moss objected by saying that he was allowed under Georgia Code 15-12-4 to ask for an opportunity to present evidence to a Grand Jury for investigation and said that he had previously been denied a trial by jury and that all he was asking for was a "fair shake". Judge Thomas reiterated what Magistrate Court was allowed to rule on in today's case and dismissed the case against Ms. Griggers on the grounds that Georgia statutes do not acknowledge obstruction and defamation of character as was explained yesterday and advised that perjury requires an investigative report. Court ended in all of these cases at 10:43 a.m.