It is a curious thing that one of the most notable political prisoners in recent U.S. history – Matthew F. Hale – has gone largely unnoticed by, not just the American press, but also by the greater public. The case is a exceedingly bizarre one that seems more the stuff of prime-time drama than real world struggle. The basic facts of the case are thus, Matt Hale, the leader (or Pontifex Maximus) of the racialist and avowedly pro-white and anti-Jewish religious organization, The World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) was taken to court in May of 2000 for copyright infringement. The group which took Mr. Hale and his organization to court was a religious group known as the Church of the Creator or TE-TA-MA Truth Foundation – a syncretic, new age Christian Church (Hale’s group, in contrast, was secular, non-theistic and strongly opposed to Christianity).
What was remarkable about the affair was that the TE-TA-MA had absolutely no legal foundation for their case. The reason for this was that the TE-TA-MA was founded in the 70s but only trademarked the name, “Church of the Creator,” in 1987 – in contrast, Hale’s group the WCOTC, had been using the name Church of the Creator since 1973. For those of you reading who have little familiarity with copy-right law, what this means is that the WCOTC’s name should have been uncontestable in court since no objection had been filed for a five year period. Additionally, the name is suitably vague (think of how many Church of Christ’s you’ve seen or heard of), so much so that many associated with the case also argued that this was just one more reason there was no case to be had. Due to the weakness of the lawsuit Judge Joan H. Lefkow ruled in favor of Mr. Hale and the WCOTC. However, Lefkow’s ruling was appealed and reversed by a appellate court which ruled decisively against Hale. The WCOTC was then ordered by the court to cease forever using the name Church of the Creator and to remove the name from any and all existing paraphernalia connected to the organization. Hale publicly stated that he would not comply this with injunction as it would require the destruction of the Church’s holy books (which to Hale was sacreligious) and was put in contempt of court, a motion which Hale (a former law student) also contested.
Three years later, in 2003, Hale was arrested by the FBI and charged by the DOJ with solicitation of the murder of one of the key officials involved in Hale’s copy-right infringement case, the previously mentioned Joan Humphery Lefkow, a senior United States Federal Judge. What was most striking about this newest addition to the Hale Saga was that Hale was completely innocent of any of the charges. However, there was a plot to kill the judge, but it’s source was not to be found in the person of Mr. Hale but rather in a man named (rather ironically) Tony Evola, a government plant who wormed his way into the WCOTC after ostensibly saving Hale from two violent assailants (who were likely working for the FBI or some similar agency – though I was unable to find any information on them).
Audio testimony provided by Evola (which was recorded surreptitiously without Hale’s knowledge) shows that Evola (who was living off of taxpayer subsidized funds, mind you) came up with a plan to kill the judge but that Hale wanted no part of it. What the court found so hideous was that Hale did not condemn Evola but rather simply said that every man must do what he thinks is right and follow his own conscience. Therefore, Hale neither condoned nor condemned the actions which Evola purposed, but rather remained aloof from them stating that he would have no part of any illegal activity. Regardless of one’s opinions about the morality of this decision it is clearly not illegal.
This, however, mattered little to the court who convicted Mr. Hale on Evola’s testimony and “circumstantial evidence,” on April the 26th of 2004. As Hale awaited sentencing a shocking development occurred – Judge Lefkow’s husband and mother were both brutally murdered. The double homicide occurred sometime just before February 28, 2005 when Ms. Lefkow returned to her home in the North Side of Chicago. Both Michael F. Lefkow (the judges husband) and Donna Humphrey had been shot multiple times in the head. Evidence recovered showed the murdered and utilized .22 caliber rounds, the shell casings of which were found at the scene of the grisly crime. Ms. Lefkow and her children were quickly placed under governmental protection pending Hale’s sentencing as he was fingered by many as the string puller behind the murders due to the fact that Mr. Lefkow was a Jew and Hale was known to hold a low opinion of the Jewish people. Lefkow’s part in the copyright battle was also stated by some as yet another motivation for Hale to sow the seeds of revenge. Hale, however, vehemently denied the accusations, stating that he had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of the judge’s husband and mother.
It came to light, around the 11th of March, 2005, that Hale and his organization had absolutely nothing to do with the double homicide. Rather, the murderer was a one, Bart Ross who was pulled over by a police officer in West Allis, Wisconsin and promptly shot himself in the head before he could be questioned by the officer. A suicide note found in Ross’ vehicle confirms that he was the one who orchestrated the murder of Mr. Lefkow and Ms. Humphrey. Additionally, the same shell casings found at the crime scene were also discovered in Ross’ van. No discernible connection between Ross and Hale or the Church of Creator could be found – indeed, Ross seemed to be a complete loner with basically no personal contacts at all.
On April 6, 2005, Matthew F. Hale was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the crime of soliciting a murder (that of Judge Lefkow) and was shortly consigned behind the bland red walls of the ADX Florence maximum security penitentiary in Fremont County, Colorado (the former Warden said death was preferable to life inside the prison). Whilst behind bars Hale was placed in solitary, denied his religious diet (despite the fact that Muslims and Jews were provided with Halal and Kosher food) and was completely denied any and all contact with the outside world. Hale was also denied a polygraph test to prove his innocence despite asking to be tested himself on numerous occasions. He went so far as to write a letter to the Assistant U.S. Attorney, David Bindi requesting a polygraph test – Mr. Bindi flatly, and rather tellingly, refused.
In June of 2016 Hale was finally moved out of supermax and placed in the medium security federal prison of FCI Terre Haute in Indiana where he is expected to serve out the rest of his sentence. Mr. Hale has continued to maintain his innocence to this day and has filed numerous lawsuits against the prisons where he has been kept, nearly all of which have been to little or no avail. Mr. Hale’s mother,Evelyn Hutcheson, who is not a member of the Church, nor a practitioner of Hale’s belief system, also upholds the belief in her son’s innocence. Currently, there are very few people petitioning for justice on behalf of Mr. Hale save for his mother who remarks that he still isn’t allowed to play his violin in prison (Hale is a talented, classically trained musician) and that, if full sentence is served, he’ll be 65-66 years old upon release, meaning that Ms. Hutcheson (who is in her late 70s) will be long dead. However, another woman, a one Emily Henderson (a associate of Mr. Hale’s a member of the Creativity Movement) continues to speak out about the injustice that has been wrought upon the radical political dissident.
One thing that should be made absolutely crystal clear is that regardless of one’s personal opinion regarding the Creativity Movement the WCOTC and its members or Mr. Hale himself, a grave miscarriage of justice has been carried out. To those that would say, “Well he’s a white supremacist, he deserves prison even if he didn’t commit any crimes,” or that he committed the “crime” of “hate-speech,” have a good long think about exactly what you are advocating – ultimately such statements amount to nothing more than the persecution of individuals based upon thought crime. If such is the system that one desires then we are, all of us, guilty.