William Hoge and Aaron Walker, the vexatious duo still pursuing a bizarre right wing vendetta against Brett Kimberlin long after everyone else moved on, has just lost their most important means of legal harassment.
After many months of patient lobbying by Mr. Kimberlin, Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed HB0237 in May; it was finally published Thursday. Taking effect in October, the new law strikes down Maryland’s unique statute against admitting testimony from anyone who has ever been convicted of perjury.
Hoge and Walker have repeatedly used Kimberlin’s 1973 drug-related perjury charge to shield themselves from the consequences of their abusive conduct against his family. Every time that Kimberlin attempted to redress their behavior through Maryland courts, Hoge and Walker would once again invoke the statute.
In addition to preventing Kimberlin from being able to tell a judge what they have done to his family, the tactic was always aimed at prejudicing the court against him.
BU recently obtained an audio recording of a hearing last year in which Hoge’s attorney spent half the court’s total time objecting to Kimberlin as a witness on this basis.
But that era is coming to an end now.
“I worked behind the scenes on this for months,” Kimberlin tells BU. Saying nothing of his efforts in public so that Walker and Hoge could not “gum up the works,” Kimberlin began by telling his state senator, Susan Lee, how the two men have consistently used the statute to avoid responsibility for their endless stalking and harassment of his family.
Lee was also one of the legislators who worked to pass ‘Grace’s Law,’ a bill that was supposed to reduce the reporting burden of parents when they ask police and courts to protect their children against cyberbullies and online stalkers. The Kimberlins were the first Maryland family ever to invoke Grace’s Law,
Angered by the resistance of his victims, Aaron Walker is currently suing the state of Maryland to strike down that legislation, along with the underlying harassment statute, as unconstitutional violations of his ‘right’ to make life hell for the Kimberlin daughters.
But if any Maryland law is unconstitutional, it’s the one he loves to use against Mr. Kimberlin so much — an artifact of the common law days from before Maryland was even a state, much less part of the United States.
As explained in the bill itself, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) has concerns that
in certain types of cases, such as domestic violence and sexual assault, it is crucial that the victim be able to testify, since the victim is the only witness (other than the defendant) to the events. However, if the victim has a prior conviction for perjury, then the victim is prohibited from testifying under current statute. GOCCP reports that there is no other statutory ban on an individual testifying due to a prior criminal conviction.
In other words, no other American state has ever banned people convicted of perjury from the witness stand on a permanent basis — because doing so is contrary to public safety and the rule of law.
For example, just because a Maryland resident has been convicted of perjury some time in the past, their abusive spouse can prevent them from testifying in a divorce proceeding, or from pursuing a protective order.
Furthermore, due to the Maryland rules of evidence, a person kept off the stand this way cannot even produce character witnesses — a clear violation of the Sixth Amendment guarantee “to have compulsory process for obtaining” testimony in a defendant’s favor.
Jamie Raskin, a powerful Maryland state senator on the judiciary committee, championed the new legislation. Governor Hogan even submitted his own version of the bill to clear up minor differences in the House and Senate versions. That final draft passed the House 118-21, while all 45 senators were unanimous in support.
Every delegate from Carroll County, where William Hoge resides, voted in favor of the change.
The revised law furthermore requires that actual evidence of a perjury conviction must be presented to the court in order to impeach the credibility of a witness. This is a second blow to Walker and Hoge, who have never invoked the statute while holding an actual certified copy of Kimberlin’s 1973 conviction.
Instead, they have always relied on a footnote from a completely different proceeding to make an end-run around Kimberlin’s due process rights.
Kimberlin says that kind of overreaching behavior is exactly what convinced state legislators and the governor to change the law.
“I am so proud of the Maryland legislature and Governor for stepping up boldly to protect Maryland citizens from deranged stalkers and predators who abuse this statute to further torment their victims,” he says. “Now victims such as my family can fight back to hold these perverts criminally and civilly accountable. October 1st will bring a new day to Maryland victims.”