On February 27th, 2018, the case of Eugene Forte v. Stanislaus County, Deputy Sheriff Luke Schwartz, Case #1:13-01980-LJO-MJS goes to trial before Eastern District Court Federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill in Fresno California involving claims of First Amendment Retaliation by law enforcement of Merced County and Stanislaus County.
Forte alleges there was a law enforcement machiavellian ploy (Stalin’s Russian Style) to have him declared mentally incompetent and delusional without being examined by a Dr. (which cannot be done).
A court appointed psychologist, Dr. Richard A. Blak, without seeing or examining Forte, determined that Forte was mentally incompetent and delusional.
Blak based his medical opinion upon reading Forte’s articles in his Badger Flats Gazette and Forte allegations in the cases of Forte v. Merced County, 1:11-0318-AWI-BAM and Forte v. Jones, 1:11-0718-AWI-BAM alleging he was being retaliated against for exercising his First Amendment Rights.
The civil rights lawsuit alleges that Forte was unlawfully arrested in retaliation for Forte writing articles critical of Stanislaus County and Merced County law enforcement in his paper the Badger Flats Gazette and for audio/video recording law enforcement in the performance of their duties.
Forte claims that the joint objective of both Stanislaus County law enforcement and Merced County law enforcement was to harass, intimidate, and coerce Forte into not reporting crimes in process against him by Merced County Law Enforcement including DA Larry Morse, County Counsel James Fincher.
Forte was arrested on December 3rd, 2012 by Schwartz for the felony of threatening a police officer. The arrest was captured on cell phone video by Forte’s wife.
On February 4th, 2013 the District Attorney rejected filing any charges against Forte.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager and her Chief Investigator Dave Harris have been subpoenaed as trial witnesses in the case.
In 2014, Forte who is not an attorney, became the first in pro per (non-attorney) in Federal judicial history to trial an eight day jury trial in the E.D. Federal Court in the case of Forte v. Tommy Jones, 1:11-0718-AWI-BAM and receive a unanimous jury verdict with punitive damages. The jury found that Jones, during the time he was Mayor of Los Banos, maliciously retaliated against Forte’s First Amendment Rights due to Forte writing articles in his Badger Flats Gazette critical of Jones. Blak’s medical diagnosis based upon Forte’s allegations that Jones was maliciously retaliating against Forte were confirmed by a jury not to be delusions of Forte.
Forte filed a complaint against Jones with the Fair Political Practices Commission which found Jones had violated conflict of interest laws and disclosure laws by not reporting loans he received from Ranchwood Homes Developer Greg Hostetler while voting on annexations of Hostetler. Jones is scheduled to go to trial on October 29th, 2018 on felony bribery charges in the Los Banos school district corruption case of former trustee and mayor Jones and local developer Gregory Opinski.