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Was the Bowl of Dicks jury tainted by a secret Masonic blood oath?

Last updated on 02/09/2016

You be the judge. For background on the Bowl and the verdict read this. The arguments on UO’s plea for remittitur will be in Portland on Friday.

Here’s Andrea Coit, the $290 an hour HLGR lawyer whom Randy Geller put in charge of defending UO against former UOPD officer James Cleavenger’s “Bowl of Dicks” lawsuit, on page 335 of the official trial transcript from day 2:

MS. COIT:  Mr. Cleavenger is wearing a Freemason pin on his lapel. I know the connotations for Freemasons. I don’t know the jury’s membership in any sort of community like that. I don’t think it’s necessary that he wears it.

THE COURT: He has the First Amendment right to wear whatever he wants to, frankly; but I wouldn’t say the Freemasons are real popular either, It cuts both ways.

MR. CLEAVENGER: Your Honor, it’s actually a University of Oregon pin.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.22.30 AM

THE COURT: Oh, it is? Counsel?

MS. COIT: My apologies if that’s —

THE COURT: He’s going to give that to you. You’re a Duck, aren’t you?

MS. COIT: I am. Absolutely. My apologies if that’s —

What in the world was Ms Coit talking about? I’m no legal history professor, but it all started with one of the weirder episodes in early American politics:

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Wikipedia has more here. And if you google “freemason oath jury trial” you’ll find this, along with some similar anti-semitic arguments:

Page 183 of the Masonic Handbook states: Whenever you see any of our signs made by a brother Mason, and especially the grand hailing sign of distress, you must always be sure to obey them, even at the risk of your life. If you’re on a jury, and the defendant is a Mason and makes the grand hailing sign, you must obey it; you must disagree with your brother jurors, if necessary, but you must be sure not to bring the Mason guilty, for that would bring disgrace upon our order. You must conceal all crimes of your brother Masons except murder and treason, and these at your own option, and should you be summoned as a witness against a brother Mason, be always sure to shield him. Prevaricate, don’t tell the truth in this case, keep his secrets, forget the important points. It may be perjury to do this true, but you are keeping your obligations.”

More recent work on the Grand Masonic Conspiracy comes from the noted English barrister John Cleese, here. And here’s video of Louis Farrakhan, explaining how the Free Masons have manipulated US politics since George Washington – an idea which Farrakhan apparently got from watching Nicholas Cage in National Treasure, or maybe from reading way too many Dan Brown novels.

In short, the possibility that the plaintiff is using his lapel pin to make secret signals to his brother Masons on the jury is not the most credible argument to try out on a judge – even if it hadn’t turned out to be a Duck pin.

HLGR is due in court in Portland this Friday Feb 12th, for one last attempt to convince Federal Judge David O. Carter to set aside the jury’s verdict from September awarding Cleavenger $755K in damages plus legal fees. The docket is here. I’m starting to get a sense for why UO has decided to pay HLGR senior partner Bill Gary $315 an hour to give Ms Coit a little help with this case.

The best summary of events so far comes from longtime Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond, here:

A federal jury awarded a former University of Oregon public safety officer $755,000 Friday after finding that UO Police Chief Carolyn McDermed and a top lieutenant retaliated against the young officer for blowing the whistle on department wrongdoing. The eight-person jury sided with ousted UO public safety officer James Cleavenger, who said the chief and Lt. Brandon Lebrecht vindictively retaliated against him for speaking out about department bias and ineptitude. Top university officials, including the No. 2 in-house lawyer, were in on the decision to punish him. “This is a victory for every honest police officer,” said Jason Kafoury, Cleavenger’s lead lawyer. “The jury today honored and enforced an officer’s right to speak freely on matters of public concern, regardless of whether their superiors approve.”

… Kafoury said of the verdict: “This is a loud and clear message that the University of Oregon needs to get new leadership in that police department.”

Top UO human resources officials were intimately involved in the decision to fire Cleavenger, and McDermed testified that Douglas Park, then UO’s No. 2 in-house lawyer, knew she was going to try to get Cleavenger on the Brady list. Since then, Park was promoted on an interim basis to be UO’s top in-house lawyer, but he is slated to return to the No. 2 job when a permanent successor takes over in about a week.


  1. just different 02/08/2016

    What pathetic, desperate horseshit. I’m surprised she didn’t accuse him of wearing an ISIS pin. Fat lot of good these shenanigans did her.

  2. Thom Aquinas 02/08/2016

    Myopic lawyers. What did you expect? That’s what it takes to take a case like this to court, as opposed to settling.

  3. Transcripts are ready? 02/09/2016

    Where’d you get a copy, they’re not on RECAP yet?

  4. I knew someday someone would catch on and discover that Puddles The Duck is actually a secret Masonic symbol and all those who wear His image are either Masons, or even worse….part of the ominous “Skull & Feathers Society.” And the scariest part is that these people are EVERYWHERE….wait….someone just walked into my office wearing a hat with His image…OMG…gotta go!

    • Daffy D 02/09/2016

      It’s no coincidence that the judge cut off Coit just as her questions were getting close to exposing the true extent of Puddles’s diabolical conspiracy.

  5. Class of '89...Go BobCats 02/09/2016

    What a good read. Very much appreciated! But when will James Cleavenger release the transcripts of his testimony to UO Matters? Blame it on my my ancient journalism degree but having access to every other transcript less his has me thinking; “What could he be hiding?” I suppose he could have elected not to testify though. Please advise one way or the other.

  6. Old Grey Mare 02/09/2016

    And at noon on Phil’s birthday the new Duck statue casts its shadow right towards the name Knight on the arena.

    • Uh, 02/09/2016

      I’m pretty sure there isn’t a part of campus that isn’t already under Phil’s shadow.

      • uomatters Post author | 02/09/2016

        No – PLC is still untouched by his generosity and architectural panache.

        • Uh, 02/09/2016

          True, my bad. It’s cheaper to wait for an earthquake than to hire a bulldozer. After which UO will sell the land to Knight for a dollar, while he does whatever he pleases with it. It’s simple economics.

          • uomatters Post author | 02/09/2016

            Live by BCA, die by BCA.

        • Dog 02/10/2016

          maybe so but they seem to give a lot of A’s in some courses …

  7. just different 02/12/2016

    Anybody know yet how this turned out for the HLGR all-stars? Their hearing was this morning. Wish I could have been there.

    • Nobody 02/14/2016

      Have an upvote just for using could have instead of could of :D

    • uomatters Post author | 03/30/2016

      That’s one interesting article, Millard. Donald Trump and the Bowl of Dicks – not just correlation, but causation.

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