By Rob Sherman
Chicago Now Blog
August 2, 2009

A rodeo apologist web site, Back at the Ranch, today published excerpts from my previous post (with attribution, so it's OK), The Corrupt Economics of Rodeo. (Thanks for the publicity, whoever you are.)

In the Back at the Ranch post, entitled Steve Hindi - Shark? I say bottom feeder ....., the anonymous author ridicules animal rights hero Steve Hindi of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness).

One of the ways in which the author -- who refuses to give his name, so you know that he has no credibility -- attempts to smear Mr. Hindi is by referring to Steve at his supposed mailing address of: "McHenry County Jail, Attn Inmate Steve Hindi, Woodstock, Illinois. Steve Hindi is serving a 6-month sentence for his activities against a hunt in Illinois state."

I called Steve at home, this afternoon. Steve answered the phone. I asked Steve, "Where are you right now?" Steve said, "In my back yard." So much for the journalistic skills of the "Back at the Ranch" anonymous author and the principle, "Trust but verify." As a real journalist, I know that, if somebody tells me something, check it out before publishing it.

While there may be two sides to the rodeo debate (although I doubt it), as a professional journalist, let me assure you that you should place no credibility, whatsoever, in anything that the Illinois criminal courts do. The criminal courts, here, are widely recognized as a House of Fraud which fakes the conviction of completely innocent people for the purpose of attempting to smear the reputation of political enemies.

Here are five ways in which they do it:

1) Most judges in Illinois criminal trials are former prosecutors from the same state's attorney's office that is now presenting the prosecution's case. Blatant conflict of interest. The judge has numerous ways of rigging the outcome of cases to ensure conviction, as described below, regardless of whether the Defendant is guilty or innocent. Indeed, it doesn't even matter if the Defendant has not been accused of doing anything that violates the cited statute.

2) Block the introduction of testimony that exonerates the Defendant. The way that this scam works is, every time the Defense asks a prosecution or defense witness a question that, if answered, would clearly exonerate the falsely accused Defendant, the prosecutor objects to the question being answered and the judge, who is a former prosecutor (sort of a prosecution tag team), sustains the objection. The jury never gets to hear the testimony that would exonerate the Defendant.

3) Block any testimony from Defense witnesses who have the knowledge to refute everything that the prosecutor is contending. The way this scam works, the prosecutor objects that the testimony of the witness should not be allowed because the testify is supposedly irrelevant. The former-prosecutor judge, being familiar with this lawyer trick, sustains the prosecutor's objection and the witness is barred from testifying. A jury is required to base its decision on the evidence and testimony presented, so if the jury is only allowed to hear from witnesses that support the prosecution's trumped up charges, the jury has no choice but to render a decision based solely on the prosecutor's presentation.

4) Charge and convict the Defendant for the crime of nothing. This is a beautiful scam that any rodeo type would love. The prosecutor accuses a Defendant of being in violation of a law, but doesn't allege that the Defendant actually did anything that violates that law. After a trial on the allegation of the crime of nothing, the judge says, "I enter a finding of guilty," but not guilty of doing anything in particular. Then, when the Defendant complains to the judge, "I didn't do anything that violates the law. I wasn't even accused of doing anything that violates the law, and you haven't found me guilty of doing anything which violates the law. So, just what, exactly, is it that you found me guilty of doing that violates the law?" To which the judge responds, "You don't understand, sir. Now that I've entered a finding of guilty, you have lost your presumption of innocence. Therefore, you have to tell the Court what it is that you did that violated the law, rather than the other way around."

5) The hostage-taking scam. This scam is an extension of Scam #4, above. In this scam, the judge takes the falsely convicted Defendant hostage every time he has an appeal brief due, to keep him from appealing the fake conviction. The way that this scam works, every time that the filing date approaches for the Defendant to submit an appeal brief to the Appellate Court, the prosecutor and judge schedule a simultaneous post-trial hearing in which the prosecutor or court demands that the Defendant announce what it was that the Defendant supposedly did that violated the law for which he was falsely convicted. If the Defendant refuses to make up a false accusation against himself and be coerced into confessing to the false accusation, the Defendant is sent to jail, not for committing a crime, but rather for "Failing to cooperate with the Court's efforts to help him." This is done just in time to keep the Defendant from filing his appeal brief. No appeal brief, no reversal of the fake conviction. Quite a clever lawyer trick by the judge and prosecutor. On the other hand, if the trick succeeds in scaring the innocent Defendant into making up a coerced false confession, that moots out any appeal because the Defendant has supposedly admitted guilt to the non-existent crime. Either way, the fake conviction sticks and the Defendant loses.

Again, as a professional journalist, I have personally seen all of these lawyer trick courtroom scams. It's why nobody should ever take seriously ANYTHING that takes place in Illinois criminal court. It is truly a House of Fraud.

Meanwhile, Steve Hindi asks that you be the jury and judge for yourself the merits of his claim that rodeo is horrific animal abuse for entertainment and profit. Watch Steve's two latest videos. Then, come back to this page and leave a comment, telling me what you think.

Here's what Steve Hindi thinks. He just sent me this e-mail message, which would be a neat trick if he was actually in jail, as the "Back at the Ranch" guy is claiming:

"As you watch the videos, you'll see that a rodeo thug pulls on a strap around the horse's flank just as the chute gate is opened. It used to be called a buck strap, cause that's what it is, a strap that makes a horse buck furiously in an effort to rid itself of a torment. Today's still cruel but nevertheless politically correct rodeo thugs call it a "flank strap," That sounds harmless, doesn't it? Horses often "buck blind" in an effort to rid themselves of the hated strap. That's what it looks like happened in the case of both the horses featured in my latest two videos. When a horse is done bucking, the buck strap is released, and a horse will stop bucking immediately. These horses aren't wild, they're abused.

"I realize that in the old days real cowboys rode wild horses to tame them for domestic work, but rodeo people are forcing tame, domestic horses to act wild, and in some cases kill themselves in the process, so they can grab an ego boost and avoid getting a real job."
In this first video, Strawberry Fudge lies mortally wounded after crashing to the ground. What actually caused the death of Strawberry Fudge? It apparently is a secret. These things must be concealed to protect industry profits. To heck with the welfare of the animals.

In this second video, a terrorized horse crashes twice while trying to free itself of the torture strap.

Please leave a comment, below, to let me know what you think. And tell your friends about this.

I look forward to your comments on this one, especially if you like, or thought that you like, rodeo. If, like me, you care more about the animals than the cowboys, your comments are welcome, too.

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For more about Rob Sherman, visit www.robsherman.com

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