I’ve mentioned Jana and Ronan Madoch in previous posts. They are the founders of The Amnesty Project which is a non-profit organization that specializes in providing legal counsel to those who have been falsely accused and are at the mercy of the criminal justice system.  Currently, The Amnesty Project, is in the cross hairs of some influential and powerful people mostly because of Jana’s unrelenting thirst for the truth. I don’t know how long the organization will last because the manner in which the organization came to be was impure and the virus of deceit was already formed in its DNA.

In order to understand the minefield that we as an organization find ourselves in I should start from the beginning. I wasn’t around for the formation but this what I’ve pieced together from asking questions, digging around and observing:

Jana is a Florida girl from Miami. Her family had money to start but her dad went to prison for trafficking drugs so her little cushy upper-middle class life pretty much dissipated after that. She did her undergrad Gainesville and after she graduated she worked at Enterprise for a year before applying to law school.

I’m one of those people who believes in patterns. I don’t think the things we experience in life are wasted.  Well let me rephrase, it’s our choice to waste or capitalize on our experiences. If we choose to embrace it, I believe it works out for the greater good… at least that’s what I tell myself. It helps me cope and in a way brings me hope. I brought up the idea of patterns because Jana has talked to me about how her dad’s experience after his release from prison shaped who she is. Seeing his life and her life rattled like that made her interested in law or at least planted the seed.

She ended up enrolling in Charleston School of Law. After her second year she took a summer internship at Cravath in New York. If you haven’t heard of this firm look it up. It’s as high-powered as it gets. They got an office in NYC and one in London. The firm’s been around since the 1800s if that gives you an idea of the kind of power and influence they have.

I asked her why she chose to work in NYC instead of staying in South Carolina or Florida. She told me that NYC or DC is the mecca for law, I guess she felt she needed that as validation. She applied to Harvard, Yale and Columbia and didn’t get into any of them and I’m sure deep down she has a complex about it. She had something to prove… that she belongs. She wants to prove to the world that she’s smart. I get it. We all need to show the world that we belong. Why the hell else would social media exists if this weren’t the case?

She met Ronan at Cravath. He was a 2L as well and doing a summer internship. Ronan is one of those guys that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, his ear and another up his ass. His dad worked for the Clinton administration so that’s the tribe he comes from. His mother is some finance guru on Wall Street, at least she was until the collapse. Now she has parlayed her expertise to government consulting, rubbing elbows with presidents, prime ministers and all that.

So you have Jana who pretty much had to scrap from a young age and then Ronan who basically was born with petals at his feet.  After the summer internship Jana went back to finish up her last year at Charleston. Cravath wasted no time in offering her a job to come back as an attorney after graduation. That’s what everyone wants, to land a cushy job so you can pay off your incredible loans. She accepted and moved up to NYC at the end of the school year. My feeling is that she did it to be close to Ronan. They kept in touch and she moved up there for him… big fucking mistake.

The problem with these big firms is that as a young lawyer all you’re doing is pushing paperwork and clocking in 80 to 90 hours a week. It’s no way to live. It certainly wasn’t for Jana. She was more interested in criminal law but here she was working for corporate fucks. She sold her soul temporarily to be close to Ronan.  I get it, Ronan’s a good-looking guy, smart and very charming. He’s always been influential. He played sports in high school. He’s one of those guys that when you see him, you think to yourself, ‘well shit, some people just get all the breaks.’ This is the thing with Ronan, he’s a power broker or at least that’s what he aspires to be. He doesn’t have that grind it out mentality like the rest of us. He wants to be around power and influence, that’s what drives him I think and he’ll do anything to get there. That’s the world he knows because that’s the world he grew up in. This is a problem and you need to remember this because it’s Ronan’s thirst for influence that really set up the trajectory.

Jana quit Cravath after a year. Ronan wasn’t too happy but the thing about Jana is once she’s decided to do something there’s no stopping her. Maybe that’s why we get along. They did the long distance thing and as she tells it, it wasn’t smooth at all. Countless breakups blah blah, you get the idea, we’ve all been there. Jana ended up taking a job at the public defender’s office in Miami. She worked there for three years then her mentor, Bob Murray, who worked in the same office, relocated to Chesapeake to open up a small firm.  Bob convinced Jana to relocate and work with him, so she did.

The law firm primarily represented poor people, so it wasn’t like the pay was great. Most of their clients couldn’t afford to pay. A lot of them bartered in exchange for legal services. The thing that frustrated Jana the most was cutting deals. She told me that Bob did all he could to avoid taking a case to trial. He was all about cutting deals with the prosecution even if it was clear that his defendant was innocent. Basically his philosophy was that it’s too expensive to take a case to trial when the client can’t pay.

She told me a story about this kid who was facing prison time for missing school… I shit you not. I can’t remember the kids name so let’s just call him Joe otherwise it might get a bit confusing. So Joe missed almost 20 days of school and he was fined, which he didn’t know about. The court issued a warrant for his arrest because he failed to pay the $500 fine, which had now ballooned to about $6,000 because of late fees and court costs. Does this sound unbelievable to you. Do you think this kind of thing doesn’t happen? Guess again. Here’s an example of your justice system at work. Read this article:

High School Kids Jailed For Missing School

Here’s another newscast talking about a different case, an honor student was put in jail for missing classes. My issue with this news piece is that they are more upset that it was an honor student jailed… they seem to indicate that if it was some other low-level student then jail is OK. As a country we’re too comfortable with locking people up. You’re only creating beasts behind bars:

Anyway so now Joe was facing serious charges but do you know the reason why he missed school? The kid was living with his grandma and she got really sick. Medical bills piled up so he picked up a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant/bar and would work till about 5AM… which meant he would sleep in sometimes and miss school. Bob didn’t want to take the case to trial so he negotiated a plea deal and Joe got one year in prison and community service to pay off his fine. Now how fucked up is that? There’s a portion of the legal system that’s dedicated to doing good to the community at large but there’s another portion of it that’s in it strictly for profit. I know most people don’t want to hear that. We’ve learned to trust the authorities and give them the benefit of the doubt… if that’s how you see things well that’s on you and I hope the system doesn’t fuck you like it did me and countless others. I’ve seen the abuse of power and it’s real. Problem is these fucked up people who are gaming the system are putting the good ones in harm’s way.

Shit that was a tangent. I tend to do that, I apologize… OK so back to Ronan…

Ronan decided he was going to move down to South Carolina to be closer to Jana. So he took a job at Adams, Barringer & Baker. They’re another high-powered firm that Ronan’s dad has had some dealings with. I think you get the picture of the kind of person Ronan is, riding his father’s coattails everywhere.

Ronan and Jana eventually got married. Shortly after that,  Bob Murray was diagnosed with cancer so Jana took on most of his work load. I mean she was practically in court every single day, arguing for one client or another. She took the opposite view of Bob and would rather fight for her clients than settle. In some cases when it was better to settle Jana was so high up on her horse that she took on some fights she couldn’t win and it cost her. I think that’s her flaw… too much goodness. Look, its noble to want to help the poor and disadvantaged but to do it all the time is just plain stupid. That’s too much capital to spend. You need to parse that shit out and live to fight another day.

According to her, during trial, she would spend two or three days at the office before ever coming home. It put a strain on her marriage of course. Ronan was starting to think about having kids but Jana wasn’t even there yet. Another heap of problems on an already volatile marriage.

Christmas card the Madoch’s sent out last year, from this picture you wouldn’t know there was trouble brewing in paradise. 

Bob finally succumbed to his cancer and now Jana was running the entire firm. She realized there was no way to keep up with the bills so she came up with an idea, to turn the firm into a non-profit and try to get funding to keep it afloat but getting funding for this kind of thing requires a lot of favors and here’s where things get murky.

The firm Ronan was working at represents all sorts of powerful people. Ronan’s dad had connections to the firm as I mentioned. The firm also happens to represent a company called Atlantic Development which is owned by the Hess family. There’s that fucking name again. I swear these people are knee-deep in this state and it’s fucking infuriating. If you remember my post about Jessica Hess, you’ll recall that I mentioned that Mark Hess went crazy buying up tons of property across the state. Well, this company Atlantic Development was the company that he used to make those purchases. The firm also represented an investment fund that a bunch of local business people and politicians and put money into. The manager of the investment fund was Carlisle Harper who manages a large amount of the Hess family investments. Remember all this because it’s critical.

Anyway Ronan was at a work party one night and he met Alfonso Reyes. You remember I mentioned Reyes before. He was a police officer that was involved in the Nick Pelletier case and had some interests in Remount Road. Reyes is now a councilman, up and coming guy. People think he might damn well be the first Hispanic governor of South Carolina in the near future. He’s that talented, a smoother version of Marco Rubio if you will.

{DISCLAIMER: Jana doesn’t buy this portion of the story. I’m pretty sure this is what happened because Reyes admitted it to me in a private conversation. I’d say Jana is being willfully ignorant at this point.} During their conversation at the party Ronan mentions that Jana is trying to get funds for her non-profit etc. Ronan being the ambitious one that he is tells Reyes about his aspirations. Ronan wants to get into politics. I guess he figured doing it in the south would be easier than in NYC, I don’t know.

I had a conversation with Ronan once and I asked him if he fancied himself a Republican or Democrat and his response was, ‘whoever wins.’ Frankly personally I don’t believe in the political process, I think it’s all bullshit. I think it’s rigged and Ronan confirmed my suspicions. Yes his dad worked for the Clinton administration, arranging deals and the like but his dad did the same with Bush. Money is the name of the game and Ronan understands that. He’ll change his stances on issues if it proves to be a financially sound move to make.

About the month after the party. Reyes shows up at Ronan’s office with a proposal. He tells Ronan he figured out a way to get money funneled to Jana to get her non-profit off the ground but he’ll only do it if Reyes resigns and joins Jana in the venture. Reyes had a couple of criminal cases that were sensitive that the state supreme court sent back down for review and he needed a lawyer he could trust to defend the clients. Reyes also believed that by Ronan getting involved with a non-profit and a couple of high-profile cases, he’ll get the attention of the power brokers in the state and they’ll groom him for office. Ronan has the face of a politician, he’s smooth he’s savvy and he’s a minority. And just like that the Amnesty Project came to be. The first three cases they were given:

  1. Spanos and Yu murders (I talked about that one a bit in previous posts– Ronan and Jana represented the accused, Nick Pelletier, who worked at one of the Hess shipping companies)
  2. Lindsay Collette murder . I’ve yet to talk about this one.
  3. Jimmy Hill murder suicide that happened at Zaxby’s. I’ve not talked about this one either.

During our investigation with the Spanos and Yu murders it was clear from day one that Ronan has different priorities from Jana and that has been a source of tension. During the Nick Pelletier case we ended up angering Reyes because that’s when we started looking into CPD and questioning people like Warren Hoad. Reyes didn’t like that. He threatened to pull our funding but Jana doesn’t scare easily. Remember I told you about the investment fund Carlisle Harper was managing… well apparently that’s where Reyes siphoned money from to fund The Amnesty Project.

I think whatever Reyes and his friends wanted us to do, we did the opposite and they aren’t happy with that. My suspicion is that Ronan was supposed to shepherd all the cases and make sure we didn’t point anything back to Reyes and his business interests. Reyes need lawyers he could control to get a favorable outcome. It’s why he went out of his way to get Ronan because he has something that Ronan wants a lot more than justice and that’s access to the power structure in South Carolina. Jana on the other-hand is just a pure bread lawyer trying to help real people. So now husband and wife have conflicting inetersts.  It’s why I couldn’t adequately get to Reyes when I was running my investigation. Ronan was protecting him.

My question is why would the Hess family indirectly fund The Amnesty Project? Am I somehow indirectly doing their dirty work for them. A few weeks later Jana called me and told me she thinks her house is bugged. I went in to take a look and it was. We also discovered that her laptop was hacked. I also have the suspicion that I’m being followed. There’s a guy that I’ve seen on three different occasions so far. He has long hair. I’m no dummy, I notice everything around me. I was a cop I know when I’m being followed. So just FYI if anything happens to me at least you know who is responsible.

I’m trying to get as much information on these investigations out in the open. It’s tough, I’m hitting road blocks and some of it might seem jumbled and it’s because I’m delivering it as I’m uncovering it so just bear with me. CPD can’t hide behind the law forever and neither can the Hess family.