ID STANDOFF: McGuckin Family - The REAL Story

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This is a land grab case not a child abuse case.

Don Harkins
ID STANDOFF: McGuckin Family - The REAL Story
Sun Jun 3 14:46:37 2001

To all:

The bulk of this release has been composed over the last two days. As
you will see, it is our contention that this is a land grab, and the
the children and the international media attention got in the way.
Well, we just moments ago learned that we were more right than we
thought and certain members of Bonner County government are
intimately involved in the foreclosure, seizure and disposal of the
McGuckin property to pave the way for a real estate development.
Apparently, the McGuckins, who the media reported had no water, are
sitting on the best source of clean water in the area and that source
is sufficient enough supply several sites with water. We will not
comment further on this aspect of the story until we have more
information. But, what we will be reporting soon is the real story
here and it may be explosive enough to really damage some very big
players in Bonner County government.
Stay tuned.

The McGuckin story
By Don Harkins
The McGuckin story, which, as I will explain, epitomizes both the
arrogance of county government and the power of network dominant
media. The story, which on the surface seems like a simple state-
concern-for-the-welfare-of-children case, is incredibly complex. I
believe that it boils down to a four (or more) year persecution of an
unfortunate family that has a really neat, and possibly strategic, 40-
acre piece of property with a pristine lake. This entire travesty
would never have made more than a few lines of the local evening news
if it had not been for one thing: The McGuckin children sicced their
dogs on the "authorities" and made a stand.

Since the Idaho Observer keeps its office within 17 miles of the
"standoff" and, since no other media in the area has the editorial
license to tell the truth and, since millions of people all over the
world are fixated on understanding the truth behind this surreal
scenario, I will place things into proper perspective. My wife Ingri
and I were able to gain the proper perspective by riding with Joann
McGuckin's (former) attorney Edgar Steele while he delivered a letter
that withdrew his representation from this case and when we
discovered that a bond reduction hearing that had been scheduled for
4 p.m. had been postponed until Monday, June 4, 2001 amid strange

Rather than turn this into a series of newsstories, this is just
going to be Don talking. There will be a mixture of facts that can be
verified by documentation and my own interpretation of events based
upon my knowledge of the characters involved and other stories that I
have covered which are connected or related. I will, however, break
each segment down under a headline to make things easier to explain.
To fully understand the McGuckin story, it would be best to obtain
copies of the November and May editions of The Idaho Observer wherein
we reported the christening of the Cutthroat (a 110 foot unmanned
submarine that is now being used for research in Lake Pend Oreille)
and the Parkison story wherein another Bonner county family was
squeezed for several years until they lost their property. I also
suggest that you obtain a copy of the September, 2000 edition of The
Spectrum newspaper (1-877-280-2866) wherein some interesting clues
regarding this region's importance to sophisticated technology
research are found.

It appears that the veneer of propriety on the part of the state is
extremely thin in this case. Now that the "standoff" has ended, it
will be a matter of simple investigation to prove that the McGuckin's
land was stolen from them illegally and that the charges of child
neglect alleged by Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson were
fabrications that are not supported by evidence.

Breaking News: "Standoff" has ended

By the evening of June 2, 2001, the standoff ended peacefully and the
five remaining children have been taken to Bonner General Hospital
where they were to spend the night. Three persons, including a family
friend and neighbor whom the children trusted, made contact with the
children and it was that contact which ultimately led to their
decision to come out. Bonner County Sheriff Phil Jarvis claims that
he sent word to the children that they would not be separated if he
has anything to say about it. The three mediators also gave the kids
a note from their mother in jail. It is reported that the note
allegedly from mom was what compelled them to go with "authorities."
Jarvis' promise that they would not be separated may not be his to
keep as the children are now in thecustody of state child welfare
workers who have made no such promises to the children.
By all reports the children were all in fine shape physically and
mentally were in good spirits when they left their home.
The children were taken to the hospital where they would all be given
physicals. It is also likely that the hospital staff was be ordered
to administer vaccines to make them current with state recommended
vaccination regimen. If the children are healthy now and then begin
to experience adverse reactions to vaccines, I am concerned that the
mother will somehow be blamed for the delayed reaction of ill health
and that the introduction of toxic substances directly into their
blood streams will not be considered as the cause. I am also
concerned that the "authorities" will, in their attempts to pacify
the children's emotional needs, start feeding them a bunch of junk
food which will exascerbate vaccine-related health complications and
compromise their psychological equanimnity.
There is still no word on when Joann McGuckin will be released from
jail though it appears there is no reason to continue holding her
because her children are obviously not the victims of neglect as
laaleged in the complaint filed by Bonner County Prosecutor Phil
Robinson May 29, 2001.

Myths and fabrications
1. The children have no food and are eating lilly pad soup. This is
not true as more than one person reports that the children have
plenty of food.
2. The children have no heat. This is north Idaho. They have wood and
a wood stove.
3. The children have no electricity. The house has electricity that
is hooked up and paid for.
4. The family has 27 vicious and hungry dogs running wild and hunting
in a pack. The number is probably closer to 15 dogs that are more
protective than they are vicious.
5. The children are victims of neglect. Though they may not live in a
family like yours, these kids are not behaving like neglected kids.
These kids love each other, their deceased father, their mother and
their home.
6. Joann McGuckin spends her money on alcohol. There is no evidence
of this.
7. The children are armed. Benjamin said "go get the guns" to start
this standoff. Since that time nobody has seen them brandishing any
weapons. Benjamin, however, has allegedly admitted that there were
five guns in the house.
8. Joann McGuckin has mental problems and does not trust the
government. Joann has lost her husband, she has been slipping into
poverty for the last several years as her husband's health
deteriorated and has been in full knowledge that the loss of her home
was imminent. Intrusive government has not attempted to help her, it
has been attempted to remove her from the property by a variety of
means. Then, charges of child neglect are fabricated, she is tricked
by police into being arrested, she is thrown in jail and her kids
decide to defend their home. How would you feel?
9. The children must be taken into custody for their own protection
because there is no place else for them to go. A family friend of ten
years whom the children trust and like, who lives 30 minutes away on
a 140 acre ranch has offered to take the children in but the state
will not allow them to because they are not "licensed."
10. Benjamin "gave himself up to authorities." Benjamin had
apparently left the house on a recon mission two days previously. He
was unable to cross the police line and his coming into police
custody more closely resembles capture than a voluntary surrender.
Since he was taken into custody, nobody but "authorities" have had
access to him.
11. The bond reduction hearing was canceled because of a power outage
in the courthouse. The hearing was to take place at Bonner County
Jail, not at the courthouse. There was a TV setup at the courthouse
for media members who were going to watch the hearing from that
location. There had been no power outage at the courthouse as of 4:20
p.m. when Ingri and I left. At 3:55 p.m. we learned that Judge Heise
was still in the building and that Dublic Defender Bryce Powell was
nowhere to be found.
12. Ed Steele had his license to practice law in Idaho suspended. Ed
never mentioned such a thing and it does not stand to reason that he
would volunteer to represent McGuckin in this high profile manner if
he was going to be prevented from representing her in court. Steele
said that he has not been informed that he is not longer licensed to
practice law in Idaho.
13. The children are unhealthy and malnourished. There is no evidence
to suggest this is true. The children appear to be healthy, vibrant
and intelligent. Benjamin was given a physical after being taken into
custody and is reportedly in excellent health. Benjamin reported that
there is plenty of food and water in the house.
14. The children have been home schooled and taught to be suspicious
of the government. Both of these things might be true, however the
media spin is negative where I see nothing but positives. The
children were smart enough to not be taken into custody by police who
had tricked their mother into going to jail and had sold their
property at auction when it appears that the foreclosure, seizure and
sale of the property was conducted illegally. It would appear that
being suspicious of government is a survival skill that all children
should be taught. They are survivors, they are close-knit and they
have proven to be more capable than most children who attend public
15. The father died of malnutrition and dehydration. This may be
partially true, but persons who suffer for years from the ravages of
degenerative disease may not feel like eating or drinking the last
few days or weeks of their lives. It would be absurd to conclude that
the last four years of his declining health was because he decided to
starve himself and not drink water.

Steele withdraws from McGuckin case-for now

SANDPOINT, June 1, 2001-At 2:30 p.m. today Attorney Edgar Steele hand
delivered a letter to public defender Bryce Powell and Joann McGuckin
that announced his withdrawal from the case. Steele, who I must say
is a personal friend of mine, has stated to me that he would rather
not practice law in the courts of north Idaho because it has been his
experience that law is not the most important part of the judicial
equation here. The fact that he decided to try to help this woman and
her six children was, in my estimation, a purely selfless and noble
gesture on his part.
Steele had an excellent visit with McGuckin May 31. McGuckin thanked
Steele for representing her without charge and definitely, according
to Steele, wanted him to represent her and the children in matters
not related to Robinson's criminal complaint. He learned a lot and
found that there were several areas that he could be of service to
her because she and her family had been given a raw deal with regard
to the loss of the property. Powell was representing her on the
absurd criminal charges of felonious injury to children. Steele was
up until midnight researching and studying documents pertaining to
the case and working out a strategy. The following morning he was
unable to talk to her; she only wanted to communicate with Steele
through written memoranda and a couple of people friendly to McGuckin
were suddenly noncommunicative. Steele said that he cannot adequately
represent her under these conditions. He did tell Ingri and I that he
left the door open for her, though, and that if she was able to get
her thoughts together when things calm down, he would be glad to
Based upon what we can infer from the characters involved, the fact
that Powell is a young attorney trying to make a living in a tightly
controlled small town legal environment, that he is very likely in
way over his head in this case and that he must listen to the local
power clique to have a future practicing law in Bonner county, it
would appear that Powell convinced McGuckin to dissuade Steele, an
extremely competant attorney who cannot be controlled by the local
power clique, from digging into the injustices that have been done to
the McGuckins.
After delivering the letter to McGuckin through her jailers, Steele
was stopped by the news media to give on camera interviews. In
anticipation of the bond reduction hearing scheduled to begin at 4
p.m. (it was at this time 3 p.m.) there were several local and
national news teams and two satelite trucks waiting around in the
Bonner County Sheriff's Department parking lot. Steele very
eloquently and accurately said several things to the news media that
would have made all concerned Americans very proud. When asked what
he thought would be the best resolution of this matter, Steele said
that McGuckin should be let out of jail immediately so she can go
home to her kids and the police should go home to their families. He
also indicated that it was his belief that Bonner County Prosecutor
Phil Robinson's charges of child abuse were unfounded and
demonstrably false.

Bond reduction hearing delayed

SANDPOINT, June 1, 2001-A bond reduction hearing for Joann McGuckin
that had been scheduled to take place at the Bonner County Jail at 4
p.m. here today in the court of Magistrate Judge Heise has been
postponed until Monday, June 4 because public defender Bryce Powell
was nowhere to be found. McGuckin, 45, was arrested through deception
by the Bonner County Sheriff's Department Tuesday after Bonner County
Prosecutor Phil Robinson filed a complaint against McGuckin for
felonious injury to children. McGuckin is being held on $100,000 bond
though most of the charges Robinson alleged against McGuckin have
been demonstrated to be false.
Bond is a mechanism that is used to protect the community from the
accused if they are at risk for fleeing prosecution or pose a danger
to the community. McGuckin is not a danger to the community and the
likelihood that she would flee the area and leave her children behind
is so remote as to be absurd to contemplate. Therefore it would
appear that $100,000 bond is excessive and put in place to keep her
in jail so that she does not have the opportunity to speak to the
press, have unmonitored access to legal counsel or have contact with
her children.
Local and national media with satelite uplinks were positioned at the
jail and Court room 2 at the Bonner County Courthouse in anticipation
of the hearing. Ingri and I were with several other reporters in the
courthouse at 3:30 p.m. when it was learned that Judge Heise was
still on site because Powell was nowhere to be found though he was
well aware of the hearing time, date and location. It was learned
later that he had been out attempting to talk the children into
giving themselves up. I believe that he was there doing that, but
that it was an excuse to not be present at the bond reduction hearing
at the jail. I believe that his controllers, the county that
appointed him to represent McGuckin in this case, arranged his not
being present for the hearing so that they could continue the hearing
to Monday. I think they wanted a couple days to think, hoping that
something magical would bring the standoff to an end before Monday.
The more conspiratorial side of me is concerned that she will be
psychologically manipulated into saying things that will compromise
public perception of her in a negative way.


The kids
Kathryn, 16, Banjamin, 14, Mary, 13, James, 11, Fred, 9 and Jane, 8
I have heard several people say that the kids, though sometimes a
little dirty, are nice, a little shy, but polite, intelligent and
well spoken. It sounds like these children should be used as poster
children for the benefits of home schooling rather than being labeled
as outcasts unfit to function in polite society. I for one, am proud
of the McGuckin children and hope to meet them some day and tell them

Conclusions to date

This is a land grab case not a child abuse case. The kids are fine
except that their father is dead and the police tricked their mom
into being arrested on charges of felonious injury to children that
are either bold faced lies or baseless accusations. In either event
there is no evidence to support the charges against Joann McGuckin,
there is no reason for her to be in jail and there is no
justification of $100,000 bond as she is not s flight risk or a
danger to society.
The McGuckin property, which has a homestead exemption and is worth
nearly $500,000, was seized for $5,000 in back taxes and sold at
auction for $50,000. It appears that the McGuckins have been under
attack for at least four years and the intent was to steal their
property. I personally believe the attack was subtle, and conducted
with the use of sophisticated technologies that to most people are
the stuff of science fiction. They became increasingly reclusive, I
think, because nobody would believe them if they told them what was
going on and they were afraid that people would think they were
So, the two components of this surrealistic scene is the provably
illegal seizure and disposal of their property and the provably
fabricated charges of child abuse and neglect. The veneer is so thin
that when this thing begins to unravel, the corruption and arrogance
behind this property theft will become obvious.
I was a disappointed that though there are millions of people talking
about this, the public was not represented at the jail or the
courthouse. The only people on hand were media types. I guess people
wish to be angered by the events by understanding the issue through
the eyes of the dominant media.

Copies of the complaint of child neglect filed by Bonner County
Prosecutor Phil Robinson (CR-01-01116) can be obtained by calling the
Bonner County Courthouse at: (208) 265-1432. The Idaho Observer will
FAX a copy. Call (208) 255-2307.

Don Harkins is the editor of The Idaho Observer, a monthy tabloid-
sized, 24-page newspaper that seeks to report the truth of events
that are shaping the socio/political, spiritual and economic demise
of our our once free nation. For back issues or subscription
information, contact The Idaho Observer at: (208) 255-2307 or by
visiting the website at:

The Idaho Observer
PO Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869
(208) 255-2307

Children, Dogs Hold Off Idaho Sheriff

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