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"We the People" Perceptions of the Courts
News & Views


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June 2009

American Statement of Grievance on Government & Judiciary (Part 4 of 4)

Thomas Jefferson Could See the Future

Summons to our Leaders and the Judiciary for Review of Defects and Amelioration

by Gary Trieste, (libertarian), Nolan Chart

7-24-09 -- In light of the above, we of the judicially aggrieved class, and the People of the United States of America, do hereby indict the judiciary as responsible for all of the above defects and infirmities incumbent in our legal system. It is they who have let it go astray, and who are always in the position to reform it instantly. . . . We assert that this condition is a cancer upon us and distinctly unAmerican in its state. . . . All we as a people ask and seek from our judiciary, the most important branch of our unique form of government, is adherence to the principles and implementation of due process and respect for the precepts of the U.S. Constitution. . . . We would be satisfied with judges and courts that are simply professional, unbiased, neutral, attentive and even dispassionate/ indifferent to the cases and litigants before them. . . . We want the triers of law (and often times of the facts) to adhere simply and formally to the written rule of law, showing no favoritism for particular litigants or causes or social platforms, and bereft of the tendency to reinterpret or expand the law into something other than what is exactly written. . . . Conversely we want the judiciary to not shy away from the liberal application of its legislation-invalidation powers, i.e., the striking down of laws and statutes that either [1] do not comport with the bald edicts of the U.S. Constitution, [2] are prima facially ambiguous or incomplete, or [3] are logically inconsistent with their own construction or with that of other existent laws. . . . Our hope and expectation is that with such proper policing, a message would be sent to our lawmakers that the end product of their legislative process should be released only after proper investigation, conference, public comment and consideration, and a true weighing of the pros and cons of the ramifications the subject law would have, and thus would regain the level of conciseness, integrity and true form that has been sorely lacking in the past few decades. Instead of laws designed more for the acronyms they moniker (e.g., USA PATRIOT ACT, RICO), the Legislative should be concerned with the viability and cohesive substantive content of the laws they produce.

June 2009


The People Speak: Dismiss judge in child rape case from bench

Sharon Tidwell, Council Hill / published in Muskogee Daily Phoenix

6-27-09 -- I couldn’t disagree more with the opinion stated in the June 21 article of “Editorially speaking” regarding the Pittsburg County child rape case. The punishment Judge Bartheld imposed on David Earls is shameful. It is high time that people (yes, even judges) are held accountable for their actions. . . . Regardless of who initiates the action of removing Bartheld, public opinion is clear and stands firmly on the side of right. I applaud the resolution Reps. Mike Ritze and Mike Reynolds have submitted. These gentlemen are elected officials who are speaking for and acting on my behalf. Since I don’t have the resources to voice my concerns to the Council on Judicial Complaints, I am thankful they are making an effort to correct what is wrong with our society and judicial system. . . . Why not let of the people, for the people, and by the people work for a change?


Nothing is more disgusting in Chicago than the lack of justice
Cook County Circuit Judge John Fleming

By Ray Hanania, Southwest News-Herald

6-26-09 -- Had Anthony Abbate been Black, he would have had the book thrown at him. But Anthony Abbate is an arrogant fat pig of a Chicago cop who was caught on tape in a drunken stuper beating the crap out of a young female bartender. I don’t mean “fat” as just some kind of pejorative adjective, although that certainly hangs easily around Abbate’s dirt bag neck. . . . At 250 pounds, he’s overweight and that only added to the disgusting video scene as he pummeled, pounded, beat, kicked and dragged mercilessly the 125-pound Karolina Obrycka as she tended bar where she was working in February 2007 and where Abbate was drinking himself into an alcoholic stupor. ***** Instead of throwing that fat dirt-bag cop in to jail, Cook County Circuit Judge John Fleming gave the 40-year-old Anthony Abbate, a slap on the hand: home curfew of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and 130 hours of “community service.” . . . Who is this Fleming? Here’s his bio from one of those legal web sites:

Legal Experience: 1980-83, assistant general attorney, Chicago Park District (in house counsel); 1983-91, assistant state's attorney, Cook County (traffic 4th Municipal District and Felony Trial Divisions); 1991-94, deputy general attorney, Chicago Park District (supervise the Litigation Division); 1994-1995, ALJ, City of Chicago (Personnel and Parking departments); 1996-1996, Director of Administrative Adjudication, City of Chicago. . . . . Judicial Experience: Judge Fleming was first elected to the bench in November of 1996. He was originally  assigned to the 1st Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County. He served in Traffic Court, Domestic Violence and Misdemeanor sections. He is currently assigned to Felony preliminary hearings and Central Bond Court at the Criminal Courts Building. .

He has the “culture of corruption” stamp padded all over him.

Judging The Judge in the Cop Beating Case

Dennis Byrne, Chicago Daily Observer

6-26-09 -- For more than 20 years as a columnist, I’ve kept my mouth shut whenever a judge or a jury makes a decision that I don’t believe is right. Even when every opinionizer in the country was fuming over the jury’s acquittal of O.J. Simpson of murder charges, I didn’t write in disagreement, although I was mightily shocked. . . . The reason is that I wasn’t in the courtroom, hearing all the facts and law. I wasn’t in the jury room, listening to peers shift through the evidence. Second guessing the justice system is a dangerous sport, weakening our respect for the law and criminal proceedings. . . . This self-imposed silence on my part is now challenged by one Cook County Circuit Judge John J. Fleming, who sentenced a big cop to two years probation for beating up a tiny woman bartender, as shown on a security camera tape that circulated digitally around the world. The 250-pound cop, Anthony Abbate, also was ordered to perform 130 hours of community service at a homeless shelter, attend anger management classes, observe a strict 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew during the probation period and undergo drug and alcohol evaluations. . . . Sounds like a lot, but it’s not much compared with the licking he handed out to the bartender, Karolina Obrycka. Fleming could have sentenced Abbate to as much as five years in prison, but the judge said, “If I believed sentencing Anthony Abbate to prison would stop people from getting drunk and hitting people, I’d give him the maximum sentence. But I don’t believe that’s the case.” Well, judge, deterrence, is supposed to be a part of it.


Law Firm & Judge in Cahoots, Texans Say

By Cameron Langford , Courthouse News Service 
6-19-09 -- A law firm in Robertson County conspired with a district judge there to extort money and steal land and mineral interests from residents for 15 years, a group of landowners claim in Federal Court. . . . Attorneys Bryan Russ and James McCullough, with Palmos, Russ, McCullough and Russ have cultivated a cozy relationship with Robertson County District Judge Robert Stem that allows them to use shell companies to claim interest to land they don't own, buy property at reduced prices and influence settlements, the plaintiffs say. . . . "Russ and McCullough target three primary groups: poor people, African-Americans, and outsiders, i.e., people who reside outside of Robertson County," the complaint states. . . . "It is widely known in and around Robertson County that Judge Stem will rule in favor of the clients of The Firm with no regard to the facts or the law," it adds. . . . According to the complaint, it works like this: "When stealing land or mineral interests, Russ and McCullough often use shell companies to create sham transactions. Shell Company A, for example, will purport to transfer its land or mineral interests to Shell Company B, even though Shell Company A never owned the land or mineral interest in the first place. Russ and McCullough, acting through The Firm, then seek a declaratory judgment that Shell Company B owns the land or mineral interest.


Jury: Brainerd, Minn., woman owes record firms for sharing song downloads. She maintains her innocence.

By Alex Ebert, Star Tribune

6-18-09 -- A 32-year-old woman from Brainerd, Minn., owes $1.92 million in damages to recording companies for downloading their music, a federal jury in Minneapolis decided Thursday. . . . That amounts to $80,000 a song for the 24 songs Jammie Thomas-Rasset was accused of downloading. . . . The damages are eight times more than Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four, was ordered to pay the first time she faced six record companies in court on claims that she downloaded more than 1,700 songs. The judge granted a retrial after deciding that he had wrongly instructed the jury. . . . "The only thing I can say is, 'Good luck getting it from me,'" said Thomas-Rasset, who looked tearful immediately after hearing of the decision, but then appeared resolute.


A Supreme Court Nomination Stirs Up Bad Memories

By Fernanda Santos, New York Times

6-9-09 --Jeffrey Deskovic heard a TV talk show host announce President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court last month, and his mind raced. That name; he remembered that name. . . . He emerged from bed and riffled through the boxes of motions, appeals and letters he had accumulated in the 16 years he spent in a New York prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. . . . And there it was, a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, dated April 26, 2000, and barely two pages long. It was co-written by Sonia Sotomayor. . . . “We have considered all of petitioner-appellant’s remaining arguments and find them to be without merit,” the ruling said. . . . Imprisoned at the age of 16 for the killing of a high school classmate, Mr. Deskovic, now 35, filed a habeas corpus petition in 1997 in Federal District Court contesting his conviction. The court denied the request because the paperwork had arrived four days late. Mr. Deskovic and one of his lawyers — who he said had been misinformed about the deadline for filing — appealed the decision to the federal appellate court on which Ms. Sotomayor sat. . . . Ms. Sotomayor, along with the other judge on the panel, ruled that the lawyer’s mistake did not “rise to the level of an extraordinary circumstance” that would compel them to forgive the delay. There was no need to look at the evidence that Mr. Deskovic insisted would affirm his innocence, they said. . . . Mr. Deskovic spent six more years behind bars, until DNA found in the victim not only cleared him, but connected another man to the crime.

Jeffrey Deskovic was wrongly imprisoned for 16 years and at one point had his appeal rejected by Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. (June 11)

April 2009


Good Riddance to a Bad Judge--One With Ties to the Siegelman Case

by Roger Shuler Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer,

4-30-09 -- News came recently that Alabamians soon will have one less bad judge to worry about. That's because Jefferson County Circuit Judge Allwin Horn is retiring, effective June 1. . . . That's good news because we've seen Horn in action, and he's a lousy judge. It's frightening to think Horn has played a major role in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, one that has connections to the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. . . . Former HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy, the codefendant in Siegelman's criminal case, has long been embroiled in a civil case in state court. The case is styled Tucker v. Scrushy, and Horn has been right in the middle of it. . . . Tucker v. Scrushy started in 2002 when HealthSouth shareholder Wade Tucker filed a derivative claim on behalf of the company in state court. Several settlements have been announced in the consolidated case, but I believe it still has not been fully resolved. . . . Will Horn take more more action in the case prior to his June 1 retirement date? Stay tuned.


Government Geldings

By Jan LaRue, American Thinker

4-29-09 -- Iowans may as well issue a formal declaration of surrender to the oligarchs on their supreme court if the governor and state legislature are allowed to forfeit their duties to uphold the state constitution. Why waste billions of dollars keeping them in office? Death to liberty needn't be so expensive. . . . After 152 years, the Iowa Supreme Court had a judicial epiphany. On April 3, the judges divined an "equal protection" right to "same-sex marriage" in the Iowa Constitution. The court declared in Varnum v. Brien, "the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage." . . . The fact that the Iowa Legislature reaffirmed traditional marriage in a 1998 statute was of no moment to the court. You'd think that the only branch vested with legislative authority would react to the court's ruling by issuing a declaration reaffirming the statute's constitutionality and its refusal to pass a law permitting "same-sex marriage." Not yet.


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January 2009

The Constitution - a citizen’s view - “cancer in the courts”

Written by Hillard Welch, The Barnstable Patriot

1-23-09 -- “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour . . .” Art. III, Sec. 1. . . .  While this provision says nothing about the duties of the judges, the dictionary states that a judge is a “presiding official in a court of law having authority to hear and decide cases . . .” The historical concept has been that the law is, and should be, essentially “blind” with respect to the parties involved, their backgrounds, character, status, or other defining attributes or characteristics. . . . To put it simply, a judge should decide a case solely on the merits and not on the parties involved. Further, in the case of the Supreme Court charged with deciding whether a case is within its jurisdiction, it also makes the decision based on the compatibility of the situation with respect to the Constitution. In other words, the Judges of whatever court, do not have the power nor the authority to “make law,” only to interpret the law as determined by Congress and, in the case of the Constitution. to decide if a law is consistent with the constraints of that document. . . . Unfortunately, ever since Roscoe Pound became the Dean of the Harvard Law School in 1916 we have had a continuous and steady infection of the judicial cadre with what we shall call the “international socialist syndrome.” A better term for it might be “cancer in the courts”, since the concept of law as expounded by Dean Pound has infected the judicial system ever since. Dean Pound’s idea was that judges should “bend” the law to suit the situation irrespective of what was right or wrong. His goal was to use “judge-made” law to make the federal government the supreme and ultimate authority. . . . It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” . . . To see how farsighted that statement was, let’s list a few of the “changes” brought about by judicial decree. Such decrees were without constitutional basis or compliance. . . . In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court outlawed state laws that had always allowed prayer and Bible reading in their schools. The cap on this came in 1973 with the Roe v. Wade decision striking down long-standing state laws against abortion. No matter how one might view this, the fact remains that under the original concept of our government, both these activities were state areas of responsibility, not the federal government. (Amendments IX and X). 

Hillard Welch can be reached at


Judge given 3-day unpaid leave

Scheibenberger suspended after outburst in 2007

Rebecca S. Green, The Journal Gazette

1-22-09 -- The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday issued its formal disciplinary finding against Allen Superior Court Judge Kenneth Scheibenberger, setting three days for an unpaid suspension. . . . In November, Scheibenberger and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications – an arm of the Supreme Court – agreed to the three-day suspension. The agreement stemmed from a November 2007 incident in which Scheibenberger unleashed an obscenity-laced outburst in another judge’s courtroom. . . . He will begin the unpaid suspension Feb. 11, court documents said. . . . The commission, which oversees the ethical actions of judges, filed a formal disciplinary action against Scheibenberger, alleging he committed judicial misconduct during that outburst. . . . In August 2007, Scheibenberger’s 27-year-old son died from a cocaine overdose. Three months later, Scheibenberger, while wearing his robe, went into Judge Fran Gull’s courtroom and sat in the gallery to witness the sentencing of a man accused of a weapons violation. . . . As the hearing concluded, Scheibenberger approached an Allen County deputy prosecutor and “created a disturbance,” telling the deputy prosecutor the defendant was a “drug dealer,” according to court documents. . . . Then Scheibenberger turned to the man’s parents, seated in the front row, and used profanity when asking them whether they were related to him, according to court documents. . . . The man had not appeared before Scheibenberger, according to court documents. The judge has said he believed the man sold drugs to his late son.

Click to read In the Matter of The Honorable Kenneth Scheibenberger


Alabama Voices: Judges' acts hurt Alabama

By Skip Tucker

1-16-09 -- A $10 million force-fed verdict by a duo of circuit judges in Macon County has played a large part in returning Alabama to the dread "Judicial Hellholes" list annually compiled by the American Tort Reform Association. . . . ATRA recently announced the list, which companies nationwide recognize as a warning signal to beware pockets of lawsuit abuse. The list often plays a role in company decisions on where to locate or expand business. . . . Until now, the award had garnered little attention outside the area, but it is a bit of tricky business. . . . While Alabama Voters Against Lawsuit Abuse has not heard trial lawyers cry out about the circumvention of jury privilege, members of the business community who are familiar with this thing view it as a threat to contracts overall. . . . Judges Steve Perryman and Ray Martin bestowed a holiday present of $10 million on a patron of Macon County Greyhound Park. The patron bet 25 cents on an electric reel-type bingo game with a clearly stated maximum payout of $10,000. The machine malfunctioned and wrongly rang up an award of 40 million credits, and Perryman ultimately took it on himself to award the patron $10 million. . . . That is just so wrong. It is the nature of machines to malfunction. The park's video clearly shows the malfunction, according to its defense. . . . Martin starred in Act I of this legal fiasco, denying MCGP the right to present any court evidence that the bingo machine in question malfunctioned by awarding credits in huge excess of what it was designed to provide, and led the patron to claim a $40 million jackpot, even though the maximum payout for the machine was $10,000.


Of Judges, By Judges, For Judges

By George F. Will

1-15-09 -- In November, 13,402,566 California voters expressed themselves for or against Proposition 8, which said that their state's Constitution should be amended to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. The voters, confident that they had a right to decide this question by referendum, endorsed Proposition 8 by a margin of 52.3 to 47.7 percent. . . . Now comes California's attorney general, Jerry Brown -- always a fountain of novel arguments -- with a 111-page brief asking the state Supreme Court to declare the constitutional amendment unconstitutional. He favors same-sex marriages and says the amendment violates Article 1, Section 1, of California's Constitution, which enumerates "inalienable rights" to, among other things, liberty, happiness and privacy. . . . Brown's audacious argument is a viscous soup of natural-law and natural-rights philosophizing, utterly untethered from case law. It is designed to effect a constitutional revolution by establishing an unchallengeable judicial hegemony. He argues that: . . . The not-really-sovereign people cannot use the constitutionally provided amendment process to define the scope of rights enumerated in the Constitution; California's judiciary, although established by the state's Constitution, has the extra-constitutional right to supplement that enumeration by brooding about natural law, natural justice and natural rights, all arising from some authority somewhere outside the Constitution; the judiciary has the unchallengeable right to say what social policies are entailed by or proscribed by the state Constitution's declaration of rights and other rights discovered by judges.

December 2008


New Haven's Injustice Shouldn't Disappear

The Supreme Court should agree to hear the case of a firefighter who was denied a promotion because he is not black.

by Stuart Taylor

12-13-08 -- Frank Ricci, a firefighter in New Haven, Conn., worked hard, played by the rules, and earned a promotion to fire lieutenant. But the city denied him the promotion because he is not black. Ricci sued, along with 16 other whites and one Hispanic firefighter. After a 7-6, near-party-line vote by a federal Appeals Court to dismiss the lawsuit, the plaintiffs petitioned for Supreme Court review. . . . If the Court grants the petition, the now-obscure case will vault to the top of the nation's racial policy agenda, presenting a tough issue not only for the justices but also for President-elect Obama. He could come under great pressure to take a position for or against the blessing conferred by eight liberal lower-court judges on what many voters -- and, I would guess, five justices -- would see as a raw racial quota. . . . To be sure, it is far from clear that the Court will take the case, one of dozens scheduled to come before its confidential conference on December 12. Although a dissent by six conservative and moderate Appeals Court judges urged Supreme Court review, the case does not involve the kind of clear split among lower courts that only the high court can resolve. So it may disappear without a trace, with no occasion for Obama or his Justice Department to take a position.

November 2008


Judge Actually Follows the Law

North Georgia Judge follows the GA Child Support Guidelines And Rules According to the LAW!!!!!

By PrancnWolf,

11-15-08 -- After 5 years of continuous abuse towards me and my daughter from four previous Judges, numerous unlawful rulings and obvious bias, a Judge finally rules according to the law! The abusive "not in the best interest of my daughter" treatment from the opposing attorney and her "Pocket Judges" has not prevailed for once. In this case an act of justice by a "non-manipulated and unbiased" Judge has benefited my circumstances and benefited the best interest of a child, my daughter. . . . After 2 years and 2 months of an extensive conspiracy of extortion by opposing attorney, my daughter’s mother, and involving a couple other Judges, I have finally received a 32% reduction in child support payments. Obviously this Judge seen the corruption and these ridiculous acts committed against me and my daughter and thought it was his duty to correct injustice with a lawful ruling. I believe the economy has also played a major factor in this Judges decision, but all in all, he followed the Georgia Child Support Guidelines and ruled according to the law, unlike any other previous Judge I have been in front of. . . . This is a major victory for me and my daughter but yet my war is not over, OUR war is not over. I feel it may never be over considering the hateful mother and her notorious lying and child abusive attorney. This unethical attorney still has pull with another bias and controllable Judge here in this circuit and this will be explained further in a future writing.

October 2008


East Palo Alto Tenants Ask:
"When Will Justice be Served?"

by R. Robertson  

Photos: R. Robertson and E. Moran

Rally Before the Hearing by R. Robertson

On October 27, Judge Beth Freeman ruled against tenants seeking affirmation of East Palo Alto's authority to enforce and implement its own Rent Stabilization Ordinance. . . . Tenants eager to come out and demonstrate for their rights rallied in the early morning before a critical hearing in Redwood City yesterday. . . . Unfortunately San Mateo Superior Court Judge Beth Freeman ruled against the tenants at that hearing. The East Palo residents were seeking affirmation of their city's authority to enforce and implement its own Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Hard-working people, most with families, the tenants have become victims of landlord Page Mill Properties' predatory equity practices. Minority families have in particular been hit hard by the investor-landlord's actions. . . . Tenants and the City of East Palo Alto have been in a legal dispute with Page Mill. Properties/Woodland Park Management since January 2008 over Page Mill’s repeated violations of the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, raising tenant rents 2 or 3 times in one year totaling raises of 20%, 30%, and even up to 100%.  . . . Monday's hearing was to address Page Mill's challenge of the legitimacy of the revised Rules and Regulations for Implementation of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance that East Palo Alto's Rent Board passed in early July. These revised Rules and Regulations keep the intent of the original 1984 rent stabilization ordinance very clear; it is illegal for a landlord to raise anyone's rent more than the annual general adjustment in a given year--averaging around 3% each year.

September 2008


BigLaw Firm Runs Afoul of Free Speech Groups in Suit Over Attorneys' Home Purchases

New York Lawyer, By Lynne Marek, The National Law Journal

9-24-08 -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen and two other organizations advocating free speech filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by Jones Day over what the law firm alleges was trademark infringement by a Web site that reported on real estate transactions by its attorneys. (See "BigLaw Firms Take On Web Site That Posts Staffers' Home Purchases ")  . . . The organizations in a press release urged the judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to dismiss the case, arguing that is is founded on "baseless trademark claims" and aimed at quashing speech by the online news site Jones Day brought the case in August, saying that the posting of two real estate transactions on the Web site that listed its attorneys along with the firm's name and a link to the firm's Web site might "deceive and cause confusion" among its customers. Jones Day v., No. 08-4572. Judge John Darrah is presiding over the case.


When political clout tops justice

Leniency for the connected

By Tom Rybarczyk

9-14-08 -- The watch on my dresser is broken, its face smudged with dried blood, but the time still shows through. It perpetually reads 12:07. . . . The watch belonged to my uncle and namesake, Tommy Pietrzak, who was killed 33 years ago when a driver police believed to be drunk slammed into him after his car broke down on an expressway. . . . The driver, who hit Tommy so hard that he flew more than 200 feet, turned out to be politically connected, the son of a top Cook County prosecutor. After my uncle's funeral, a judge from the same courthouse sentenced the driver merely to probation for involuntary manslaughter. . . . Never mind that the guy refused to take a Breathalyzer test. The merciful Judge James Sullivan did not see fit to even suspend his license.

August 2008


Texas Tyranny and Braveheart Sam

Szandor Blestman

8-22-08 -- I have a new hero. He calls himself Sam I am and he´s from Texas. He has bravely decided to take on a gang of thugs, liars and thieves armed with nothing but a camera. He put his life and fortune at risk to expose these criminals. He rattled their cages a little and got under their skin. He took a big chance, realizing the violence they could perpetrate upon him, and yet he stuck to his quest and managed to film their shady activities for all the world to see. You can see the results here:

If you go to the above link and watch the videos, you will see that Sam I am is taking on the Texas justice system. He felt that there was an inherent conflict of interest in the system and wanted to demonstrate this for all to see. As he explains, he was pulled over by two armed men and detained for forty five minutes while they questioned him. According to Sam, they did not show him proper ID and did not tell him why he was being detained. They demanded he appear to be judged by one of their black robed men under the threat of being kidnapped and thrown in a cold cage if he should have decided not to show up. Knowing that any black robed man behind a bench would be paid by the same people that paid the uniformed men who had detained him, Sam felt that perhaps there was a conflict of interest here and that he would not be fairly judged. He decided to confront these people who seem to believe they are better than the rest of us. He armed himself with a video camera for his own protection and thought he might ask a few questions to get a better understanding of the nature of our convoluted justice system. What he found was deeply disturbing to anyone who loves freedom and wants to live their lives free of tyranny.

Supreme Court Litigant to Address Democratic National Convention

Tony Mauro, Legal Times

8-26-08 -- One sign that the Democrats will raise the Supreme Court as a campaign issue will come Tuesday night when Lilly Ledbetter addresses the Democratic national convention in Denver. Ledbetter, you may recall, was a Goodyear tire worker who lost a 2007 Supreme Court case based on her claim of unequal pay (pdf). . . . The justices, in one of the most criticized rulings of the Roberts Court, ruled that her claim was untimely because it was filed long after the initial pay decision was made. She worked for the company for more than a decade before realizing the disparity. Democrats reacted with outrage, and Ledbetter became a symbol of the effects of the Supreme Court's conservative turn.


UPDATE: 1/22/09

Judge given 3-day unpaid leave

Scheibenberger suspended after outburst in 2007

Rebecca S. Green, The Journal Gazette

1-22-09 -- The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday issued its formal disciplinary finding against Allen Superior Court Judge Kenneth Scheibenberger, setting three days for an unpaid suspension. . . . In November, Scheibenberger and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications – an arm of the Supreme Court – agreed to the three-day suspension. The agreement stemmed from a November 2007 incident in which Scheibenberger unleashed an obscenity-laced outburst in another judge’s courtroom. . . . He will begin the unpaid suspension Feb. 11, court documents said. . . . The commission, which oversees the ethical actions of judges, filed a formal disciplinary action against Scheibenberger, alleging he committed judicial misconduct during that outburst. . . . In August 2007, Scheibenberger’s 27-year-old son died from a cocaine overdose. Three months later, Scheibenberger, while wearing his robe, went into Judge Fran Gull’s courtroom and sat in the gallery to witness the sentencing of a man accused of a weapons violation. . . . As the hearing concluded, Scheibenberger approached an Allen County deputy prosecutor and “created a disturbance,” telling the deputy prosecutor the defendant was a “drug dealer,” according to court documents. . . . Then Scheibenberger turned to the man’s parents, seated in the front row, and used profanity when asking them whether they were related to him, according to court documents. . . . The man had not appeared before Scheibenberger, according to court documents. The judge has said he believed the man sold drugs to his late son.

Click to read In the Matter of The Honorable Kenneth Scheibenberger

'Rogues' and Humpty Dumpty Judges

by Thomas R. Eddlem

Note: U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young labeled me a "rogue" juror in a 43-page court memorandum issued July 25th. I’ve corrected them on my blog.

The Honorable
William G. Young

Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

8-13-08 -- During jury service earlier this year I sat in a judge’s robing chambers and was asked to take an oath that I expect no juror in American history was ever asked to take before or since: . . . "Would you be able to set aside your own reading of the Constitution, the judge’s past instructions, and judge the facts based solely upon the judge’s explanation of the law?" . . . The judge, U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young took 43-pages in a court memorandum last month to call me a "rogue" for not taking this unusual oath. . . . I’m not always the quickest on my feet, but on the drive home from the courthouse that day I thought a clever reply would have been: "Other than the actual words that are written in the Constitution, what words would you have me substitute when I think of the Constitution?" I wouldn’t have given him such a smart-alec reply even if I had thought of it at the time, though, as I was worried about a contempt of court charge. I stayed polite. . . . Judge Young’s oath had two parts: 1. Disregard the wording of the Constitution and 2. Follow only the instructions of the judge. . . . It was an oath to pledge to act as if we are not a government of laws, but instead act as if we are a government of men, respectively. If I had taken the oath, the judge could have said "the law says all Italians are guilty" and I would have been bound to declare the defendant guilty because the defendant was of Italian heritage. . . . I didn’t take the oath, and was immediately dismissed from jury service.

You can access the opinion of U.S. District Judge William G. Young of the District of Massachusetts at this link.

Juror's challenge raises legal issue

Commentary by: Jon Roland,

8-14-08 -- US District Court Judge William G. Young misuses the term if he wrote that [jury] "nullification led to notorious acquittals in the South of white defendants by all-white juries". Those verdicts were not disagreements with whether the statutes under which the defendants were charged were constitutional or justly applied, which is the standard definition of "jury nullification". That was bias, which is a different matter. A judge has the duty to interpret and apply the law in deciding motions before the court, but a jury, in reaching a general verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty" in a criminal case, is necessarily reviewing those decisions in the ways it reaches its verdict, and must therefore be informed as what those decisions were and receive the same legal arguments the judge did. [Stettinius v. United States, 22 F. Cas. 1322 (1839); 5 Cranch C.C. 573] Contrary to what they might want people to think, judges and lawyers are not experts on what the law is, and if a judge claims he is then he should step down from the bench and testify as an expert witness, subject to cross-examination and rebuttal. Judges and lawyers might develop informed opinions on that during the course of a trial, but honest persons can and do disagree on what is the law. A court precedent, when that precedent was wrongly decided, or is not understood, is not law. A constitution is law, the Supreme Law, and it supersedes all other official acts that may conflict with it. The removal of juror Thomas R. Eddlem was jury tampering.

See Jon Roland's 

ABA Head is Dealing Mostly in BS

Legal Schnauzer Blogspot

One couple's encounter with corrupt judges, slimy lawyers, and incompetent prosecutors in Alabama. . . and how you can avoid being cheated by the vermin who make a mockery of our justice system.

8-13-08 -- The new president of the American Bar Association is from Birmingham, and at first glance, it seems we should be proud that one of our residents has attained such a lofty position. . . . But if you listen to Thomas Wells Jr.'s public statements--and if you have some personal experience with the real ailments of our justice system (as I, unfortunately, do)--you might see the new ABA head as a grandstander who isn't interested in making substantive change. . . . Our impression at Legal Schnauzer is that Wells, like many of his professional colleagues, is more about protecting the interests of lawyers and less about doing what's best for citizens--or our struggling republic. . . . This post is not meant as an across-the-board condemnation of lawyers. Heck, we spend much of our time in SchnauzerWorld standing up for lawyers--Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, Wes Teel, John Whitfield--who have been the victims of wrongful prosecutions. Two of the biggest heroes in SchnauzerWorld--Scott Horton and Jill Simpson--are lawyers. In fact, I think it's safe to say that we never will get to the bottom of the Bush Justice Department scandal without the smarts, courage, and toughness of noble and honest lawyers.

February 2008

Juli Alexander, Executive Director of Redress, Inc. on video

YOUR HONOR? (You Tube video)

Juli Alexander, Executive Director of Redress, Inc. candidly discusses the present condition of the American judicial system. Examples of life destroying decisions void of common sense, morality and law handed down by judges are cited. The newest malady evolving from courtroom encounters called "Legal Abuse Syndrome" is explained. The accountability, qualifications and even the sanity of some judges are questioned and with good reason. The self policing or rather non-policing of judges is discussed and questioned. The fact that many actions have now been undertaken by judicial officers to protect themselves from the very people that they are sworn to protect is offered as a prime example of their fear of retaliation by those they "judge." The phenomenon of "power addiction" is also introduced. Don't let yourself become the next court room victim leaving a hearing wondering what happened to justice. See and hear what Juli has to say. One Hour $10 (+$.75 shipping)for studio quality DVD. Make copies for every American you know!


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