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Bill O'Reilly Draws a Bead on Yet Another Judge - May Be Losing His Audience

Reported by Marie Therese - April 19, 2005

In the past, when Bill O'Reilly went on a rampage, within hours, the story would be carried all over the right-wing websites. There would be diatribes against whatever new villain Mr. O had singled out and miles and miles of opinion and invective not to mention vitriolic e-mails, letters and phone threats directed at the hapless object of O'Reilly's wrath. Just ask Florida Judge Harry Rapkin, Ward Churchill, Elizabeth Hoffman (the outgoing Chancellor of the University of Colorado) and Atlanta D.A. Paul Howard, to name a few. However, in an interesting development, it would appear that FreeperWorld is not interested in O'Reilly's latest call to man the barricades and save the American way of life!

Yesterday in his Talking Points Memo and subsequent interview with former Florida prosecutor, Jilliane Hoffman, O'Reilly vented his anger against Florida Judge Walter Heinrich, the man who released David Onstott on bail after he was picked up and charged under Florida's new state law which makes it a crime for sex offenders to fail to register with local police when they move. Jilliane Hoffman was instrumental in crafting that law.

O'REILLY: Another bad decision by a Florida judge. Another dead girl. ... Last month [Judge Walter] Heinrich released convicted sex offender David Lee Onstott on cash bond of just $100 after he violated state law, failing to register as a sex offender. So Onstott was convicted of brutally raping a woman, was walking around unsupervised before he strangled Sarah [Lunde].

Then in true O'Reilly fashion he went on to show how Judge Heinrich is just another stupid jurist who favors the criminal classes at the expense of decent Floridians.

O'REILLY: ... The Judge could have been much tougher on Onstott on this sexual offender violation but he wasn't. Heinrich has done this before. In June 2003 40-year-old Mark Pickens stood before him, charged with rape and battery against a law enforcement officer - big-time accusations, right? Heinrich allow the guy's mother to post cash bond of less than $2000 and Pickens walked out. The cops were furious. Six months later, he raped a 39-year-old Tampa mother of two. But did Judge Heinrich learn from that? Apparently not. So now Heinrich has a rape and a murder on his sheet after letting criminals out on low bail. Walter Heinrich is known as "Buzzy" and sits on the nech in Hillsborough County, close to where 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was murdered last year.

You may remember [that] Judge Harry Rapkin let Carlie's accused killer, Joseph Smith, walk free, even though Smith had two probation violations and a slew of failed drug tests. Rapkin was unrepentant when we caught up with him last year.

VIDEO CLIP OF unidentified woman with microphone ambushing Judge Rapkin in his driveway, February 11, 2004.

WOMAN: We spoke to your office and said would you do an interview with us - with the O'Reilly Factor - and we had no calls back.

RAPKIN: The O'Reilly factor?

WOMAN: Five phone calls for you, sir.

RAPKIN: O'Reilly's a piece of scum! I really wouldn't give any interview to The O'Reilly Factor. You can put that on there. He's just a - he's just - everybody knows he's just a - whatever!

WOMAN: We just want ...

RAPKIN: That's not real, that's not real journalism, Mr. O'Reilly. I have nothin' to say.

WOMAN: Um.

RAPKIN: You want to know about the facts of the case.

WOMAN: Yes.

RAPKIN: I never saw this man [Joseph Smith]. He never appeared in my courtroom. No probation officer ever talked to me about this man. [End of clip.]

O'REILLY: Alright. Now, Judge Heinrich, yeah, had to know about Rapkin, who quit soon after that confrontation. He quit the bench. He's outta there as he should be. Now, last week we told you the judicial system in Florida has melted down. It's now open season on women and children because there are so many violent offenders walking free. The Miami-Herald reports that the state has lost track - LOST TRACK!! - of 1800 sex offenders. And judges and prosecutors routinely let them off easy. Onstott served less than six years for a violent rape and continued to cause trouble after he was released from prison. (loudly) Heinrich knew that but let him out on low bond anyway!! Outrageous! So what can be done? Well, because Heinrich is elected, nothing. You can contact his office in Hillsborough County and let him know how you feel but that's about it. [N.B. No contact information was shown.] The bottom line? Children are dying all over the USA and judges are the last line of defense. Most of them are doing their sworn duty to protect us, but some, like Heinrich and Rapkin, are not, leading to unimaginable tragedy. And that's the Memo.

During his interview with Jilliane Hoffman, former prosecutor and author of two crime novels, O'Reilly reiterated his talking points. To her credit, Ms. Hoffman did try to point out extenuating factors:

HOFFMAN: You know the only thing I can say - having not been in that courtroom - is you know he's got a full docket. He's overwhelmed. And bonds are set in Florida. the Department of Corrections has standard bonds, at least in Miami. Third degree felonies have a $5,000 bond. And second degrees have a $10,000 bond. And ... first degrees have a 15 [thousand dollar bond].

[COMMENT: I found Ms. Hoffman's comment here very interesting, because they were clearly corroborated during this very show. At various times throughout the segment, FOX News would air the same clip of David Onsott's arraignment on murder charges in front of Judge Heinrich. I stopped the VCR and counted no less than 30 other defendants awaiting their moment before Judge Heinrich. That daily sea of orange clearly shows that the entire Florida court system is operating beyond its capacity and that an effective "fix" of the system would cost lots of money, a fact that one of O'Reilly's guests last year mentioned to him, something I made note of during my period as a monitor for the movie OUTFOXED. On March 12, 2004 Bill O'Reilly interviewed former sex crimes prosecutor Greg Hagopian about O'Reilly's then-favorite demon judge, Harry Rapkin. At that time I wrote the following:

"Continuation of O'Reilly vendetta against Judge Harry Rapkin of Sarasota, FL. Mr Hagopian notes that the Florida legislature is considering a new bill that would incarcerate violent felons out on probation for even one infraction while on parole. However, Hagopian points out that there is one, teeny little problem - they've determined it would cost $1 billion a year to implement - and for that reason it will probably not pass!" [End excerpt.]

Apparently, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature - like the Republican-controlled federal government - believes in unfunded mandates. Obviously, they passed Jilliane Hoffman's feel-good vote-getting legislation but didn't provide enough money to fund it. Now that the system has had several highly-visible failures, the Republican noise machine must deflect criticism from itself. What better scapegoat than judges, who are the favorite bete noirs of the right wing these days? If they just happen to be Democrats, so much the better!]

O'Reilly interrupted Ms. Hoffman to continue hammering home his talking points.

O'REILLY (very agitated): Even this guy was able to come up with a hundred bucks. Alright! He wouldn't have been able to come up with a thousand bucks. OK? Ya' see, I don't understand Heinrich. I'm not gettin' Rapkin. I'm not gettin' these guys. These are violent people coming up!. These aren't car thieves. These aren't burglars. These are rapists, stone cold, who continue to have problems in the system, continue not to be able to function in society. What do they think they're gonna do?!! You said it up top. It's not a matter of if they're gonna re-offend, it's when.

HOFFMAN: That's correct. It's horrible. As I said, we put these laws on the books, so that we can have the opportunity to take them off the streets and to monitor their comings and goings in the sense that they have to register. And now he doesn't register. We don't know where he is. He comes to court. The police do their job. They arrest him for this and then he gets let go again. It really .. kind of smacks, smacks everybody in the face, everybody who's worked so desperately with these laws to get them on the books.

O'REILLY: Buzzy. Buzzy Heinrich, the judge. We've invited him on the program just like Rapkin. I'm sure he'll attack me. I'm the cause of all this, I'm sure. But you know in your state [of Florida] you can't get him off the bench. He runs unopposed in Hillsborough County. His father was the Sheriff. he's a home boy. And there's nothin' the folks can do, Miss Hoffman. He's gonna let 'em out. People get raped again. Poor woman in Tampa raped by a guy let out. And now the 13-year-old girl, dead by a guy he let out. I'll give you the last word.

HOFFMAN: Well, here ya' go and here's the people's opportunity to make sure they go to the polling places and they put in the right people. These judges are elected ... If you don't like what your judges do - are doing - in your county, then go out and do something about it. Get them off the bench.

O'REILLY: Well, we got Rapkin off and maybe we'll be able to get Buzzy off. Unless there's something I don't know. Buzzy's welcome to come on here and talks to me about it.

COMMENT

I found about 30 pages of information on Judge Walter Heinrich. The links are listed below for anyone interested. But from what I can gather, Judge Heinrich is a good jurist who is definitely not "soft" on crime. Here are a few facts I gleaned in my brief internet forays:

In Hillsborough County there are "300 to 500 inmates overpopulating the jail."

Heinrich was very tough on two parents who refused to cooperate with authorities when their daughter was charged with killing two young children in a hit-and-run accident, in which a three-year-old was dragged 150 feet. Heinrich is quoted as saying "The last thing I want to do is put these people in jail [but]I would do it if I have to.'' The parents later relented and gave depositions.

A report from[Tampa] Bay News 9, in which Heinrich is the more severe of the two judges:

"Judge Walter Heinrich condemned the actions of Denise McBryde in 1998, not long after the parents of a 15-year-old boy found out the teacher had been having sex with their son.

"If you even dream about him, I will put your butt back in jail and that's where you will stay," Heinrich told McBryde.

But investigators say McBryde couldn't keep her hands off her young student, so the parents went to Temple Terrace Police.

McBryde went to prison as a publicly known sexual offender, with all the restrictions that includes. But when McBryde got out, Judge Chet Tharpe took another look at the case and some say, a softer look at McBryde. He ended McBryde's house arrest one year early. [End excerpt.]

From ABC Action News, reporting on the case of William Deparvine:

Later, the 51-year-old was convicted in a car-sale fraud case in Jacksonville, but he's been back in the bay area and on parole since last April.

"We started to discover that his name has surfaced before in other cases, and that really aroused our suspicions," explained chief deputy David Gee of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "We're going to re-look at those, as a group, and see if there's any evidence that modern technology can help us out with and see what his involvement may actually have been."

Gee would only confirm that his investigators are sharing information with several law enforcement agencies from Florida and one other state. They are looking at Deparvine's whereabouts over the past 15 years.

Deparvine, meanwhile, is currently being held without bond after getting some harsh words from a Tampa judge at first appearance.

"Due to the fact you are on parole and also a prison release re-offender, you might be facing the death sentence. You won't be getting out of jail. You're excused sir," Judge Walter Heinrich told Deparvine. [End excerpt.]

From the Miami-Herald:

JUDGE SETS HIGH BAIL IN STARVING CASE

TAMPA -- A judge has rejected an attorney's request to set lower bail for a mother and her boyfriend accused of starving her 7-year-old daughter.

Hillsborough Judge Walter Heinrich set Connie Warrington's bail at $500,000. Her boyfriend, David LaPointe, also charged with abusing Warrington's daughter in their home, had his bail set at $1 million. [End excerpt.]

While I cannot verify that Judge Walter Heinrich is a Democrat, I did discover that his father - the former Sheriff of the county - was.

I continue to marvel at the total ineptitude of the O'Reilly Factor research team. How is it they missed all of these "tough on crime" reports? Bill really should fire them for incompetence!

The most fascinating twist on Bill's latest vendetta is that it has gotten no pick-up at all in the right wing echo chamber. Not a whiff of the name Walter Heinrich.

Could it be that the King of Mean is losing his audience?

Is the bloom off the rose for Mr. O?

Let's face it. He isn't getting the big-name guests much anymore - at least not first.

His months-long assault on Ward Churchill - which exploded into FreeperWorld like a rocket - resulted in a stalemate - the University of Colorado has put the whole question of Churchill's fitness to teach on a back burner for many months.

The Factor jihad against Atlanta D.A. Paul Howard over the Carisa Ashe case - - once again dittoed ad nauseam in the right-wing echo chamber - also reached an impasse. It would seem that O'Reilly's partner-in-destruction in that case - right-wing warrior princess and hatchet lawyer, Shannon Goessling - has dropped off the radar screen. (Inquiring minds wonder where she's gone and why.) It is my opinion that when Brian Nichols shot Judge Rowland Barnes in his own courtroom, O'Reilly was left hanging high and dry without a judicial whipping boy. Barnes had been the presiding judge in the Carisa Ashe "Baby Killer" case and, prior to his murder, it was clear to this News Hound that Judge Barnes was being set up to take the fall along with Atlanta D.A. Paul Howard.

For the past two weeks, O'Reilly has railed against the state of Florida for its (patently obvious) inability to protect its young girls. He went after State Attorney Brad King, a Republican. (Someone more cynical than I might smirk and say that Mr. O'Reilly HAD to target a Republican bigtime because his nasty little collusion with Goessling and the Southeastern Legal Foundation against Democrat Paul Hoawrd made it look as if the "fair and balanced" news channel was using its immense national platform to directly and materially influence Georgia state politics. But, only the most suspicious of minds would entertain such dastardly notions!)

The Brad King story was only marginally covered at Free Republic (which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Brad King is a staunch Republican loyalist!)

And, now, the follow-up attack on Heinrich - probably a Democrat - is a complete dud in the right-wing arena.

Just the crazy musings of a "pinhead" News Hound or signs that the Master Bloviator is headed for a fall?

We suggest. You surmise.

Links to information on Judge Walter Heinrich (posted at 9:00 PM ET, 4/19/05):


St, Petersburg Times, May 12, 2002

Miami Herald, September 28, 2002

Mark Ober's Website, August 12, 2003

ABC Action News, January 14, 2004

Tampa Tribune, April 17, 2004

Tampa Tribune, April 22, 2004

St, Petersburg Times, May 12, 2004

AP story on Dwight Gooden, Tampa Bay Live, March 14, 2005

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