copyright (c) 1996, Electric Nevada
|When Jerry Carr Whitehead resigned his State of Nevada judgeship early this year rather than face federal prosecution, the actual charges against him were kept under seal and never made public.|
a host of previously unreported criminal complaints
against Whitehead have surfaced in court papers obtained
by Electric Nevada this week.
The documents -- filed in a case that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, recently agreed to hear -- allege that Whitehead for years knowingly and maliciously entered unlawful orders and sanctions against a Sparks businessman in an effort to compel him to abandon debt-collection rights won in a 1987 federal bankruptcy court judgment and to keep him from competing in the paging market with the debtor company.
The debtor company, a Reno beeper firm now known as Fast Page, was known as ARC Systems of Reno, Inc. at the time of its 1987 bankruptcy reorganization plan, supervised by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge James H. Thompson.
Under that plan [see accompanying story for details], the firm agreed that representatives of its creditors were to be allowed to "inspect any of the equipment" as collateral for money owed the creditors, "at a reasonable place and in a reasonable manner at any reasonable time."
However, in August, 1988, when an attorney for businessman Mark A. Edwards -- a paging systems entrepreneur whose equipment, leases, FCC license, trademarks, systems design and software had provided the entire original endowment of the company -- wrote and asked the debtor firm to "designate what, when and where the inspection shall be allowed," the company, by then renamed Fast Page, Inc., hastened to Jerry Carr Whitehead, and sought and received an Ex Parte Restraining Order to block any such inspection or verification.
Such inspection, said Whitehead, would appear to be "a tortious interference and obstruction of plaintiff's right to carry on its business" and would "do an irreparable injury to plaintiff."
Although bankruptcy matters are, under the U.S. Constitution, under the jurisdiction of the federal courts, Whitehead, a judge of the Second Judicial District of the State of Nevada, on October 18, 1988, turned the restraining order into a preliminary injunction, the intent of which was, he said, to maintain "the current 'status quo'" between Edwards and Fast Page, and insure "there shall be no disruption of plaintiff's [Fast Page's] business by virtue of the exercise of any rights being granted to defendants [Edwards and others] herein."
Early next year at a January 1989
hearing, the court documents charge, Whitehead
"attempted to coerce an assignment of the rights
granted by the bankruptcy court," using threats of
"incarceration, monetary sanction, and financial and
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