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Letter to friends and family

We are so grateful to have such incredible support, and to be so near achieving our goal of helping Paul, because of you.  We wanted to update you on Paul’s case, and share some of what we have learned through this terrible abuse of our legal system, as we thought it would shock you as it has us.  Here are a few short stories written about the blessings of adoptions Paul was able to facilitate. We could provide you 500 more!

ppetersen

Adoption Story #1

This picture was taken 3 years ago at one of the many adoption reunions arranged by grateful Moms and Dads.                                         

My heart just aches when I look at them today.  No matter what the outcome is for Paul, we will be forever grateful to him for what he did for our family.  We can rest assured that there was nothing illegal or ugly about our adoption 8 years ago. We followed a prompting from the Lord & we saw miracles happen during our adoption.  We have no regrets whatsoever….only fond & happy memories. 

Thank you, Paul!

 

Adoption Story #2

Mike and I met in the spring of 2001 and were married only 6 short months later. Over the next 8 years we were blessed with 4 beautiful children.  After my 9th miscarriage we knew that we needed to stop trying to have more kids. But I just knew in my heart that there were two more kids still meant to be part of our lives.  I wondered if somehow my body would heal itself and we would eventually bring the last two into our home.   

But God had a different plan and opened our eyes to that idea, when he helped us realize that we would adopt someday. We began our journey of adoption in January of 2014.  Three years later we met our daughter Miley when she was born January 6th, 2017. A few short months later the birth mom contacted us again and informed us that she was pregnant and asked if we wanted to adopt Miley’s sibling.  We couldn’t believe it.  

Kaylee was born December 13th, 2017. Yes! We were blessed with two beautiful little girls born in the same year. Kaylee unfortunately spent 13 days in the NICU because of a liver condition.  Kaylee has been healed and is doing amazing!

These girls have melted our hearts and filled our lives with immeasurable joy. The minute they were brought home all of our children fell in love with them and have loved watching them grow up.  Every little milestone has been a joy to watch.  We wanted to adopt and now we have Miley AND Kaylee.”  It makes us so happy to see the joy that they have brought into our other children’s lives.  

None of this would have been possible without our adoption attorney, Paul Petersen. We cannot thank Paul enough for making it possible for our girls to be in our lives. Our hearts have broken for Paul and his family to see him be vilified by the media and unfairly attacked by political interests.  In our view, Paul has always acted in the best interests of both the adoptive family and those placing for adoption.

 

Adoption Story #3

We adopted through Paul and a number of our friends did also. Our twins would have not survived a birth in the Marshall Islands. We are still in communication with our boy’s birth family. We know the good in Paul, and that we are grateful for him and we are grateful our children were born here to get the care and medicine that saved their lives.  That our birth parents got good care here and were treated well and that they are happy with their choice to place these babies for adoption. 

 

Adoption Story #4     

We have been blessed to adopt 3 of our 5 children. Paul was our lawyer for the adoption of our 2 sons. His adoption services were an answer to our sincerest prayers and desires as a family. Each time we experienced nothing but genuine support and devotion in Paul’s efforts to create families through adoption. One of our adoptions was a tribal adoption, and Paul was upfront and honest that he had not done a tribal adoption before, and he made sure he reached out to experienced tribal lawyers in Arizona to be sure that he upheld the law in finalizing our adoption. Our son has Down syndrome and was in the hospital for heart failure awaiting surgery when his birth mother placed him for adoption with our family. We love her dearly for her courage and trust in us.The blessing of adoption not only filled our arms and home with our amazing son, but very well saved his life.

We have been in the adoption community for 13 years, and Paul’s name and services were always highly valued among, and those familiar with adoption and its many legal and financial complexities. Though our words may fall short of the depth of our gratitude, we are truly GRATEFUL for his professional services, and for the goodness of his heart bringing a better life to children that would not have had the life they have in their adoptive families. We also witnessed Paul’s efforts to keep an open community for the families he served and the birth parents. We have 3 open adoptions and know that they yield beautiful blessings of healing and hope for the birth parents, along with understanding for the children. We stand certain that our family, though uniquely formed by the blessing of adoption, was divinely led to be. We also feel certain that others feel just as blessed and have Paul to thank for the joy in family life they now hold.

 

The many Blessings of  Adoptions ( Extending Far and Wide)

“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper

Paul Petersen’s mission in life was  to honor a couple’s wish to raise a child of their own: 500 precious babies placed with a Mom and a Dad..

Paul facilitated 500 adoptions over 20 years. Think of this:

  • 1,000 Fathers and Mothers blessed 
  • 1,000s of brothers and sisters blessed
  • 2,000 or so Grandparents Blessed

 

Many thousands of uncles, aunts, cousins and other family and friends blessed through open adoptions facilitated by Paul.

“Because now I know what I have been waiting for. I know exactly why the other processes didn’t work. I know I was supposed to wait for this little girl.” Nia Vardalos

“I firmly believe that I have received the same child I was meant to receive, whether I gave birth or adopted. The same soul, the same entity, was meant to be mine, from the beginning of time.” Debra Shiveley Welch

HOW has All this GOOD been called Evil??

Sidney Powell, lead counsel for Ret. Lt. General Michael Flynn and a former prosecutor with the Department of Justice, speaks out against the same type of injustice that has happened to Paul: 

I wrote LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice . To feel, to feel the toll that a wrongful criminal conviction takes on everyone in the process. It is devastating, it is outrageous … If you have not had the unfortunate position to have the entire might of the Federal prosecutors focused against you to literally crush you, you cannot begin to comprehend what it looks like for those who are (sic).

Like Paul, Flynn felt he was forced to take a plea agreement, or risk the full wrath of the deep state piling up felonies against him. Powell was so horrified by what  had happened to Flynn, an innocent man, that she is now trying to get Flynn’s guilty plea retracted.  

We are sharing Sidney’s words with you. All the “BOLDED” words are either in her speeches or in her books. She has taken up the cause to fix what’s wrong with our criminal justice system. Her concerns parallel the unjust treatment and abuse of power that our son Paul Petersen has undergone and continues to suffer.  Sadly, as we’ve seen on the local, state, and national level, it can happen to any of us. 

We strongly encourage you to listen to the words she spoke at a recent leadership conference sponsored by Hillsdale College on March 11th of this year. 

Our Criminal Justice System is Broken” 

Sidney Powell describes the “Rule of Law” simply as equal and just treatment for both defendants and prosecutors. This rule of law comes from our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the United States of America, our highest aim is to seek justice, not primarily  a conviction.

Legal Wrongdoings in Paul’s Case

 

  • Selective prosecution
  • Follow the money
  • Politicizing the prosecution
  • Weaponizing the law
  • Seeking a conviction rather than seeking justice
  • Indicting a ham sandwich
  • Intimidation by “prosecutorial terrorists” as Sidney Powell refers to them
  • Civil asset forfeiture
  • Enhanced sentencing to force a plea
  • Inflating costs
 
Selective Prosecution 

Why Paul? 

The short answer: “Selective Prosecution” at its worst. Paul found himself in the crosshairs of the Marshallese government, and prosecutors here. It appears that the goal of the Marshallese government was to remove Paul as a direct competitor for the money paid by the adopting parents for adoption services he offered for 20 years. The Marshallese government wanted to solely profit from those adoptions. As they say, “Follow the Money.” 

Paul was one of a few adoptions attorneys across the United States, but primarily in Arkansas, who facilitated the adoptions of Marshallese children to loving American homes. None of the other attorneys were charged with any crimes. In fact, one attorney in Hawaii was allowed to retire rather than face any consequences. Clearly, they needed to make up crimes just for Paul, a self-evident example of “Selective Prosecution” and a “Double Standard” which is an abuse of the rule of law. 

Sidney Powell’s words written in her books or  in her speeches have hit us like a ton of bricks. She writes and says prosecutors are “making up crimes” to target whomever they want. They are “politicizing their prosecutions” and “weaponizing the laws against defendants.” 

Think about this: Paul has had 500 adoptions approved in open court. Only one adoption was challenged over his entire 20 years operating in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah. Worth noting!  The challenge from just one judge was overturned by the Arizona Court of Appeals. Therefore, Paul had no reason to believe that his practices were anything but legal. He did not break any U.S. laws, so prosecutors — just as Sidney Powell points out — “made up crimes” and “weaponized the law,” not even an American law, but a vague treaty, perhaps poorly written, by the small nation of the Marshall Islands. Prosecutors had to fit a crime here in the U.S in order to make their charges. This is  “seeking a conviction rather than our American ideal of seeking justice!” 

 

Misuse of “Zealous Advocacy” Now Proven

Sidney Powell and a growing list of experts have made the case that AT LEAST 10% of the current two million incarcerated prisoners today (200,000 men and women) were either completely innocent or were wrongfully imprisoned by “overzealous prosecutors.” Think about the devastation in the lives of spouses, children and siblings: over the years, millions of fatherless and motherless homes due to this “conviction machine.”  Think of the billions of tax dollars spent on wrongful convictions while prevention and education programs have been frozen out of funding. Did you know that the phrase “zealous advocate” has been so abused by lawyers that it is being taken out of their oaths and ethical rules? Arizona was the first state in the country to remove that phrase from the rules of professional conduct for attorneys. 

It’s time to “fix our criminal justice and our prison system” practices and hold the prosecutors, the courts and the prison systems accountable. 

In  Conviction Machine, Harvey A. Silverglate, a prominent criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, said, “We laugh when we hear, Prosecutors can ‘indict a ham sandwich.’ It’s absurd!  But, sadly, it’s true. The criminal justice system is so stacked in favor of the government that shocking numbers of innocent people have been sent to prison.”  

Silverglate showed that every one of us is vulnerable to criminal prosecution in his book  Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent; as did Sidney Powell, who witnessed appalling abuses by prosecutors that prompted her to write  Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice, and co-author Conviction Machine.

Powell and Silverglate put a spotlight on the defects in the system: overzealous prosecutors, perjury traps, negligent judges, perverse limits on self-defense, vague and overabundant criminal statutes, insufficient requirements for criminal intent and no accountability for prosecutors. Most importantly, they provide a much-needed blueprint for reforming the Department of Justice and the criminal justice system at all levels, including actions an average citizen can take to help restore justice.  

 

Setting aside the Rule of Law through “Intimidation” 

Sidney Powell has labeled them “Prosecutorial Terrorists” 

Paul’s treatment has been frighteningly like other national figures. Paul and his family were returning from a trip to California and were stopped at the Arizona border. Paul was handcuffed on the spot as if he were a dangerous criminal — in front of his traumatized children!  And it was all a publicity stunt!  

At that same time, a preplanned “National Press Conference” was called. Federal and Homeland Security officials, two Attorneys General and other law enforcement officials proudly shouted “WE GOT HIM!” in front of the national media. These gleeful prosecutors pumped their fists together high above their heads, as if they had brought down Al Capone. They described our son as a dangerous man. Those who know Paul know he is kind and generous and far from a danger to anyone. He loved his work. He received great satisfaction uniting adoptive mothers and fathers with their  new adopted child, and from assisting willing pregnant mothers who wanted a better life for a child they could not, because of their own circumstances, raise.  Witnessing this perverse planned media spectacle broke our hearts. 

Where is the “rule of law“ here? No one has answered this simple question. Why didn’t these prosecutors meet Paul at his office, or call him into the Attorney General’s office, or someplace else to question him about his practices?  After 20 years of running a successful practice in the open, all above board and legal, all signed off on by numerous judges in many different jurisdictions, why now?  Why weren’t any of the other major practitioners, including  his Hawaiian counterpart, charged with anything? Selective Prosecution! Why the “double standard”? Is this another sad example of a “two-tiered criminal justice system” we see playing out on a national level?  Where are the “victims” of his “bad” deeds, and why would Paul be charged with multiple felonies based on another country’s vague laws/treaty?   

More treachery followed. Prosecutors demanded an outrageous $500,000 Cash Bond for the specific purpose of keeping our son in jail until his trial date — possibly up to a year! Paul is not an “El Chappo”;  he never was a “flight risk.”  For 20 years, Paul had legally facilitated adoptions for over 500 families, mostly newborn babies.  All adoptions require approval by judges in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas, in open courts, and with the oversight of state licensed adoption experts. 20 years and 500 adoptions without a single formal complaint. This mistreatment of Paul was a shock to all of us.   

What is even more ridiculous is the incredible waste of tax dollars.  Paul was not hiding in a cabin in the woods. He had a home and an office in Mesa and served as an elected county official with an office in Phoenix. He was forced to resign this position as Maricopa County Assessor.  We hope you can see that something is very wrong here.  This is a classic case of “prosecutorial overreach and an abuse of power.”  

 

Setting aside the Rule of Law through CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE 

It didn’t end with intimidation. Arizona’s proud Attorney General literally seized EVERYTHING Paul and his wife had accumulated together during their 14-year marriage. All of their assets, including their home, all of their business assets, all of their cash, and even some of their retirement money! So how would Paul pay for his defense, or even his family’s monthly bills? It quickly became clear that that was their point. 

 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is highly critical of civil asset forfeiture laws:

 This egregious law allows police to seize property, with limited judicial oversight — and retain it for their own use — has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses. 

Nationwide, civil asset forfeiture laws have been labeled “theft.” No fewer than 25 state legislatures and many civic organizations on the left and right of the political spectrum have called for changes to these laws for years. The American Civil Liberties Union and The Institute for Justice are two of dozens of civic organizations that support amending civil asset forfeiture laws. Many thousands of Arizonans, year after year, have lost millions of dollars in property and cash taken through this”‘legalized theft.” Sadly, less than 5% of these seized assets have been returned to their owners, even though no criminal charges were filed. This is a national disgrace! Call your legislators to make your voice heard. Ask them to fix the Arizona civil asset forfeiture laws now. Some states are already changing these unfair laws. It’s time for Arizona to do the same.http://chng.it/cC6jnHkf Go to this link to sign a petition that we will  be forwarded  to your legislator after we receive over 5,000 signatures. Forward this link to your family and friends. Any money contributed  on this site is not for Paul. 

 

Setting aside the Rule of Law through Enhanced Sentencing 

This nightmare continues. The next egregious abuse against Paul was something called “enhanced sentencing.”  Arizona is acknowledged as having one of the most draconian enhanced sentencing laws in the entire country. What it means is that a prosecutor can substantially  increase  the length of a sentence, under certain circumstances,  without getting the permission of the judge, or even informing the jury of the sentence enhancing. 

“…the growing practice of over-charging, particularly with crimes of dubious validity.” Sidney Powell,Foreward, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. 

Many of us might think, if a person were not guilty, why would they plead guilty? Sadly, few Arizona citizens know this law exists or how it works as a tool to extract a guilty plea. A recently retired lead prosecutor explained that enhanced sentencing has nothing to do with seeking justice! It is a prosecutor’s hammer used to squeeze a plea. We didn’t even know such a thing existed, or that it could exist in a free country. 

After reviewing Paul’s case, several other lawyers told us they felt each of the prosecutors’ cases were weak. They said weak cases are one of the primary reasons prosecutors use this tool. It works well in weak cases where prosecutors don’t want to argue their case before a judge and jury in open court, so they resort to “enhanced sentencing” to force a plea.  If you would like more information about how the prosecutors in Paul’s case used enhanced sentencing to force his hand and get him to negotiate a plea, instead of going to trial, call us. 

 

Setting aside the Rule of Law by Deliberately Inflating Costs 

Some costs for some of the births were paid for by emergency AHCCCS (Medicaid).  Emergency AHCCCS is very common, and anyone, even a person who is here illegally,  can qualify for this federal program under certain circumstances. One of these, which Paul believed applied to these birth mothers, was if a person is in labor, the hospital must treat them, and they would then qualify for the hospital costs for labor and delivery. This is not regular AHCCCS, as was misreported in the media. He never received any funds directly from AHCCCS, or any other government source. Furthermore, the prosecutors deliberately and intentionally inflated these costs simply to make Paul look “bad” in order to increase fines and penalties. They have admitted as much to his attorneys; yet this has not been reported in the media either. Is this another case of “selective prosecution? Arizona is the ONLY state to make these AHCCCS abuse charges against Paul. Yet his operating practices were the same in Arkansas and Utah. ”Another abuse of power and a case of applying a double standard.” So Paul will be paying restitution only to the State of Arizona in the amount of  nearly $700,000. It requires vigilant citizens to ask their legislators if the Arizona Attorney General  is keeping this $700,000 for his office. Will the AZ AG return this money to Arizona and U.S. taxpayers? In labeling this money as restitution, the money should be returned to the federal government, since U. S. taxpayers are the payer of about 90% of all AHCCCS costs. U.S taxpayers should receive this restitution. Ask your legislator! 

 

Paul’s Sentencing? Sad, and very real for us. 

Paul is not the only person who has been or will be wrongfully sent to prison. Millions of others have been abused by our criminal justice system. Remember Sidney Powell has alleged that at least 10% of our current prison population is either totally innocent or has been wrongfully prosecuted for the purpose of ”seeking a conviction rather than seeking justice.” Our hearts and love go out to those who have been unjustly imprisoned.

Paul will appear in Arkansas for sentencing sometime in late October or November. After that he will appear in Arizona and Utah for sentencing. In exchange for his pleas, Paul’s attorneys stipulated that any prison time must run concurrently among all three states.

We are praying that the federal judge in Arkansas will show Paul the mercy he deserves. The sentencing range in all jurisdictions will be from 3 to 12 years. Probation would normally have been eligible on the Arizona offenses, but the AZ prosecutors did not want to allow a judge to have that option. Hopefully, Paul’s record of public service, with no previous criminal record, as well as the good accomplished through his 500 adoptions and his responsibilities as a father to four young children under the age of 12, will persuade the judges involved to impose a sentence on the low end of the range. We know God has a purpose for Paul.

 

Special Note: If you, or anyone you know, has a good relationship with a faith leader, a professional, business, or educational leader in Arkansas please call us. We will explain how this contact might bless Paul with greater Mercy. 

In Arizona, Paul is facing even more hostile prosecutors. They are saying they want Paul to serve an “aggravated” sentence upwards of 10 years! For what? No victims! All restitution has been paid  to the State. What further punishment is appropriate when he has already lost his home, his job, his ability to practice law, and his reputation?

 

What Can Be Done? 

If this were your loved one, what would you do? 

We have a petition to sign about the abuse of “enhanced sentencing”that will be sent to your legislators and our Governor requesting them to fix the draconian enhanced sentencing laws to prevent future abuses.

Sign the petition

 

What about Paul’s Defense Costs? What is still needed? 

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have donated to Paul’s defense. Paul’s plea has significantly reduced his defense costs by eliminating three jury trials in three states.   However, he still has significant legal fees and costs remaining to be paid to get him to the finish line with his sentencing in three states. These fees include attorneys’ fees, sentencing expert costs and fees, and travel costs to Arkansas for sentencing; he believes he still has at least another $200k in legal fees and costs still to be paid.

We are more than grateful for all your support and hope others will help us to reach this goal. If you are able, please consider helping Paul and his family. All donations, regardless of amount, will be gratefully received. 

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One final Note: We’re doing everything we can to see to it that Paul has the best legal representation possible. We know you would do the same, and we’ll be there for you, if you need us. That’s what friends do.  We hope you will reach out if you have any questions, need clarification, or want to pray with us. Call or email us davidapetersen@msn.com or 480-694-2470 

Again, emphasizing Sidney Powell’s statement as to the crushing effects of prosecutorial abuse on an individual, on families, and on society as a whole:

“ If you have not had the unfortunate position to have the entire might of the Federal prosecutors focused against you to literally crush you, you cannot begin to comprehend what it looks like for those who are.”  Paul has the added abuses from two State Attorneys General and their well-funded — at our expense — prosecutors too!  

“What happened to the defendants in this book can happen to anyone.” Sidney Powell

Paul and his family

“THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING” Edmund Burke

Our sincere gratitude and love– David and Patti

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