Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Carlton County Attorney Tom Pertler should Resign
The Carlton County legal team has disgraced itself repeatedly over the last few months, having been involved in several debacles.
Sixth District Court Judge Robert Macauley dismissed two different criminal cases on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, due to the county attorney’s office repeated failure to provide discovery to the defense attorney. These cases had drug on since October 2009 and February 2010. The charges included felony terroristic threats, misdemeanor damage to property, misdemeanor indecent exposure, and misdemeanor dangerous weapons.
Defense attorney Port Wright said some of the cases were 28 months old and that they had been in court on omnibus [related] cases eight times on some. The county attorney’s office has suggested understaffing as the reason for its inability to process cases in a timely manner. How much discovery (evidence) could there have been? Some witness statements, weapons pictures, and possibly video seem to be the only possible evidence. Even an understaffed office should be able to provide this simple request in 28 months. Instead of performing their duties, they drug out these cases as the expense of taxpayers for more than two years for no benefit. Court time was also wasted that could have been used to deal with other legal matters.
The fact that Minnesota courts consistently allow proceedings to drag on because one of the parties is playing games during the discovery process is unjust to those trying to see their case resolved. What purpose does the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure serve if the process can be continually stayed because of gamesmanship? It serves to drive many parties out of the process due to the increasing costs of repeatedly going to court over the same matter. Until a firm discovery date is upheld by the courts, there will be no due process and this travesty will continue. The judges who allow this, and the legislators who simply sit by and play spectators, are as much to blame as the attorneys engaged in this game. The question everyone should be asking themselves, is “how much of our tax money is going to support this circus act?”
On February 27, 2012, Carlton County attorney Thom Pertler resigned from his position as an adjunct instructor at Fond du Lac due to a drinking incident. On that day, Mr. Pertler shared two pitchers of beer with an old friend over 70 minutes before driving to the college to address about 40 enforcement students on Minnesota statutes. Pertler reasons that the combination of pain medication for a shoulder injury and alcohol caused his stomach and head to be jumbled. I wonder how many drunk drivers or instructors would get off with simply saying “sorry”. Admittedly under the influence, Mr. Pertler should be charged as any other citizen, and if he had not resigned immediately, fired. Where are these charges? As Pertler said himself, “I think a person, in my opinion, is better off by owning up to your stuff…I try to do things right, and the bottom line is that if something is up, and you know that I’m the person at the helm, I’m going to take responsibility, or take credit, if credit is due. I knew what I had to do.” Fine, he resigned from his position, but what about the criminal charges that are due?
Mr. Pertler was involved in a car accident on November 18, 2011, in which the driver of the other vehicle brought a conciliation court claim against him claiming he [Pertler] was at fault.
In June 2009, Marvin Pirila filed trespassing charges against two Thomson Township individuals with the Carlton County office. As of March 13, 2012, not a single thing has been done. From the get-go, Mr. Pertler had told Mr. Pirila, “I will not do anything that helps your case.” He [Pertler] was referring to the lawsuit that was pending between Pirila and Thomson Township etal. Mr. Pertler effectively postured himself with the other party by failing to do an unbiased investigation of the facts. This was his reasoning for sitting on it initially, but now it is a myriad of other reasons. Now, Mr. Pirila has heard that the Thomson Township officer does not feel comfortable doing the investigation, it was handed off to another attorney, and it was going to be conducted by the Fond du Lac police. This “above-the-law” attitude of county and township employees leaves everyone wondering where their fair representation lies. Perhaps it exists between two ordinary citizens, but it surely does not between an ordinary citizen and a government worker.
After countless emails, letters, and phone calls, one expects a little more than mere excuses. As Attorney Pertler said regarding the alcohol incident, “…the bottom line is that if something is up, and you know that I’m the person at the helm, I’m going to take responsibility, or take credit, if credit is due.” The credit is due him for the various failures of the county attorney’s office and he should resign.
Posted by Marvin Pirila at 3:19 PM
Marvin Pirila May 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM
As of May 8, 2012, Pertler and his office has done absolutely nothing to resolve the trespassing charges. If you want the legal right to trespass, at least in Carlton County and its counsel, become a township, city, county, or state worker. Who knew becoming a building inspector gave you the right to trespass at will?
Marvin PirilaJune 27, 2012 at 5:47 PM
They are both on the MCAA (The Minnesota County Attorneys Association) Board of Directors. They likely confer with one another on special cases. Anything you want me to look into?
Marvin PirilaJune 27, 2012 at 5:50 PM
The Carlton County website (http://www.co.carlton.mn.us) states, "Thomas H. Pertler is the Carlton County Attorney. The County Attorney is an elected official with specific obligations set forth by statute that include prosecuting all adult felony crimes in the County as well as misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses occurring the unincorporated areas of the County and other areas defined by statute..." This being stated, he (Pertler) will do nothing to prosecute those in his own nest for trespassing -- fire chief, building inspector. What public trust could a person possibly have in him?
Marvin P July 6, 2012 at 8:07 PM
To Thomas Pertler, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: Trespassing -- Action Needed
There's a disease of complacency, judicial misconduct, favoritism, and political gamesmanship that rules Carlton County, extending to many parts of the state. Legislators must do something about county attorneys that simply do nothing to protect the private property of citizens. It is now more than 2 years since this hit Mr. Pertler's desk and he has done absolutely NOTHING! He's a disgrace and so is his staff. If the law isn't enforced what good is it. Instead of legislating more laws that the justice system ignores, how about enforcing the laws already on the books. This district is a farce in every respect -- no common, decent citizen will find justice here. Don't tell me you are restricted from intervening in judicial matters as legislators, because I know it is possible -- and very much warranted. Eric Holder epitomizes the corruption of public attorneys, misplaced loyalties, and failure to follow the letter of the law. Mr. Pertler is doing the same thing. Some of you suggest the ethics board, and I may go that route, but that too is seriously flawed. Real quick fire Pertler -- almost five months after the latest promise not a single finger has been raised.
The trespassers in this case are buddies or friends of buddies of Mr. Pertler's and very likely the reason nothing is being done. What professionalism is that?
Disgusted, frustrated, and tired of endless rhetoric. Get off the sofa and do the job you're paid to do.
Marvin P July 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM
Responses: None; This is standard outside of political cycles. Wait until they need a vote, then they'll pretent to have a heart and some understanding. The country doesn't have to look very far to see where the problems are.
email@example.com July 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM
email: July 19, 2012
To firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas Pertler, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been ignored for more than two years by Mr. Pertler's office in regards to trespassing charges against fire chief Jeffrey Juntunen and ex-building inspector John Gulland. Mr. Pertler promised to take action and continually violated these promises. It's very clear he's more interested in breaking the law than enforcing it. In light of his latest acts and the danger he imposed on the public, we ask that you demand Mr. Pertler's immediate resignation. There is absolutely no public trust in his ability to represent the public. I will happily transfer copies of all letters, charges, and emails shared with Mr. Pertler and his office over the last two years. His broken promises and lack of action is inexcusable. If you fail to hold him accountable you are essentially violating the public trust that is entrusted in you. He hurts each and every one of you every day he stays on the job.
A written response is requested.
email@example.com July 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM
Mr. Pertler has spent too much time breaking the law to enforce it. He's a disgrace and must be forced to resign. Everyone needs to lean on the County Commissioners to get him out.
Emails for three commissioners: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Addresses and phone numbers for all county commissioners:
COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 1
Mr. Dick Brenner
1501 Summit Avenue
Cloquet, MN 55720
218-879-5572 - Home
COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 2
Mr. Marv Bodie
1 Timberline Drive,
PO Box 187
Esko, MN 55733
COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 3
Mr. Thomas R. Proulx
Cloquet, MN 55720
COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 4
1541 Eagle Avenue
Cloquet, MN 55720
COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 5
2011 Vice Chairperson
Mr. Ted Pihlman
PO Box 424
Moose Lake, MN 55767
218-485-4068 - Home
218-485-8106 - Work
marvindp July 19, 2012 at 7:55 PM
DWI charge could impact Carlton County attorney's elected office -- read the story at http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/237415/ -- press your county commissioners to remove Mr. Pertler
Marvin Pirila July 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM
I have not received a single piece of your message on a prior occasion. Where was it and why weren't we kept in the loop in the least? I would interpret that as being ignored. The claim that there is insufficient evidence is outrageous and negligent. We have their admissions, two eye witnesses, and letters. If this isn't evidence there is no such thing. How exactly do you and the Carlton County legal department define evidence? This was concrete, yet your office failed as far as we can see to do a single thing. This should have been referred to St. Louis County because of the various affiliations between Thomson Township officials and your department. You have confirmed my claims that this is purely political gamesmanship and protection of the "good ole boy club." Mr. Foldesi, Mr. Pertler claimed, excused himself because of being "uncomfortable" with the case. I would like to see any record of any "real" investigation. I didn't hear of the eyewitnesses being questioned, we were never contacted, and no follow-up of any kind occurred.
We did not receive a decision of any kind, so how can we either agree or disagree with it. This omission is simply egregious in itself. I personally won't hold any person in the utmost respect given the controversy and law-breaking antics of Mr. Pertler. You may say what you did out of blind loyalty, peer pressure, or self-preservation, but the fact is that nothing was done.
I am requesting a full record of your "claimed investigation."
This investigation was a sham and this defense of Mr. Pertler meritless. Mr. Pertler ought to spend more time getting work done on the behalf of law instead of running drunk and recklessly throughout the community.
Carlton County has failed its responsibility to protect private property interests in the favor of taking care of their own.
When was your team going to tell us you weren't pursuing this? Ever? Sickening.
I will seek a congressional investigation.
A disgusted private citizen,
Marvin Pirila July 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Thom.Pertler@co.carlton.mn.us; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Pertler and Trespassing Charges
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:02:03 +0000
In Mr. Pertler’s absence I felt I should respond to your email. I want to stress that our office has certainly not ignored your requests over the past years. Our office received Chief Foldesi’s investigation concerning the alleged trespassing in July of 2010. After review of the case by several attorneys in this office, it was determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges. Upon your insistence, the case was once again reopened in August of 2010. After much research by Mr. Dennis Genereau (an Assistant County Attorney during this time), an extensive letter was written to Chief Foldesi in August 2011, requesting additional follow-up investigation be done and submitted to our office for further review for possible criminal charges. Since Chief Foldesi felt there was a conflict for him to do any further investigation, he referred the file to Investigator Russ Rule of the Fond du Lac Police Department on September 20, 2011. Throughout the months that followed we were in contact several times with the Fond du Lac Police Department requesting they send us their follow up as soon as possible. On March 23, 2012, a letter was written to Investigator Rule again requesting the follow up. To date we have yet to hear anything further regarding this matter. Without this information I do not believe any of our attorneys will issue any criminal charges. I can only tell you, once again I will request this information from the FDL Police.
On the other hand, I must comment on your uncalled for remarks concerning Mr. Pertler. I have worked in the County Attorney’s Office since 1978, and have worked for three County Attorneys, all of which I have had and still have the utmost respect for. I know the fine work he is capable of and simply because someone does not agree with a decision that is rendered on a particular case they are involved in, does not mean we are not doing our jobs. Working with the public is never easy.
Annette M. Johnson
Sr. Office Manager
Carlton County Attorney's Office
Anonymous July 24, 2012 at 7:48 AM
Carlton County is a corrupt system that has it's officers out to make money for the county and keep the county workers salaries intact.
Anonymous July 24, 2012 at 7:46 AM
Thomas Pertler is a disgrace, I remember being prosecuted for DWI and he Upped my bail to not let me off. SO HE can get fucked up on pain meds and drink at the same time (definitely not recommended) and nothing happens to him?? Carlton County sucks. Where is the justice?
Marvin PirilaJuly 26, 2012 at 3:36 PM
Mr. Pertler rubs his indiscretions in the public eye, daring anyone to do anything to him. The fact is, in this joke of a county, no one will. Even his counterparts are quick to jump to his defense, knowing they all frequent the same parties. Looking out for one another and committing one hypocritical act after another. If Pertler is able to punish others indiscriminately, where is his just punishment? Outside oversight is needed in these little hick town county offices.