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The Scott Huminski Story


 Man who called judge a legal 'butcher' settles lawsuit ---12-26-06

Scott Huminski wins 7-year free-speech odyssey -- 3-31-06











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A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Introduction to Scott Huminski

By: Dorothy Mataras -- 2/27/05

News Updates

Click for Articles by Scott Huminski

News Updates

December 23, 2006

Man who called judge a legal 'butcher' settles lawsuit

Rutland Herald Story

By Alan J. Keays, Herald Staff

Ending a long-running legal battle, a former Rutland County sheriff has agreed to pay more than $500,000 in legal fees, expenses and damages to an outspoken court critic from Bennington, according to a final settlement in the case.

Scott Huminski, 47, who now lives in North Carolina, prevailed earlier this year in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the former sheriff, judges, court staff, and others. Huminski sued them for barring him from a Rutland courthouse in 1999.

The settlement is the result of talks that have taken place since then between lawyers for Huminksi and lawyers for former Sheriff R.J. Elrick, now the executive director of the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford. Those negotiations centered on payments Huminski's legal team should receive for attorneys' fees and expenses.

Any costs Elrick is required to pay will be covered by a liability insurance policy, sheriff's department officials said.

"It's the total end of the case," Huminski said Friday. "It's nice to have it behind me."

Attorneys for Elrick could not be reached Friday for comment.

All told, Huminski has been awarded $708,428, including a previous $200,000 settlement from the state. Huminski said most of the money paid his lawyers' fees, although he was imprecise about how much of it he kept.
"I don't want to state exactly because it's kind of personal financial data, but it's between $100,000 and $150,000," he said.

Judges issued no-trespass orders against Huminski in 1999, banning him from the Rutland courthouse where he had been demonstrating against a judge. Elrick was Rutland County sheriff then and enforced the orders. His lawyers have contended he did nothing wrong because he merely carried out the judges' directives.

A settlement reached earlier this month calls for the payment of $508,428 to cover Huminski's legal fees, expenses and damages in the case. In exchange, the former sheriff is clear of any further claims in the matter.

Huminski will "forever discharge the Rutland County Sheriff's Department, its officers, employees and agents including, without limitation, Robert J. Elrick … from any and all manner of actions, claims and demands whatsoever, in law and equity arising from the issuances of notices against trespass to Scott Huminski on May 24, 1999 and May 27, 1999," the settlement says.

The release, signed by lawyers for Huminski and Elrick, has not yet been filed in federal court.

Earlier this year, a federal judge awarded Huminski $378,211 in attorney's fees and $80,215 to cover costs and expenses stemming from his lawsuit against Elrick, the sole remaining defendant in a legal battle that has raged for more than seven years. In addition, a federal jury awarded Huminski $50,001 in compensatory and punitive damages following a trial in March. Huminski and Elrick's attorneys later filed notices of appeal.

Huminski's attorneys at one point had been seeking more than $1 million in fees and costs from Elrick.
The out-of-court agreement ends those appeals, which would have been heard in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.

Huminski has described himself as a "court reporter" and "defender of justice." He is a longtime, outspoken critic of Vermont's court system.

He had been upset for years with what he has described as mistreatment by judges in Vermont, particularly Judge Nancy Corsones, who presided over a criminal case involving him in 1997. He was later thrown off Rutland District Court property in May 1999 after plastering his van with signs critical of a presiding judge.

"Judge Corsones: Butcher of the Constitution," read a sign posted on the side of his van in the courthouse parking lot.

In May 1999, after court officials became concerned that he might be planning violence, Huminski was issued a trespass notice ordering him to stay away from the courthouse.

The federal appeals court in New York has ruled that Elrick, Corsones, another state judge and a former Rutland court clerk violated Huminski's rights by issuing and enforcing the no-trespass order. But the appeals court also ruled that the judges were immune from paying damages. The court extended no such protections to Elrick and the court clerk.

Huminski and the state settled the case involving the court clerk late last year for $200,000.

Huminski said he doesn't know if he will ever move back to Vermont from his new home in North Carolina.

"The cost of living down here is much less," he said.

September 2006

Sheriff must pay $400K to protester

The Associated Press

The head of the state police academy has been ordered to pay more than $400,000 in legal fees and costs for violating the free-speech rights of a man who parked his truck in the Rutland courthouse parking lot with signs critical of a judge. . . . R.J. Elrick was Rutland County sheriff in May of 1999 when he ordered Scott Huminski, then of Bennington, to remove his truck from the courthouse parking lot. At the request of two judges, Huminski also was issued a no-trespass order banning him from courthouse properties throughout the state. . . . Huminski, who was upset by some rulings handed down by Judge Nancy Corsones, had put a sign on his truck calling her a "butcher of the Constitution."

In e-mails to the Banner Huminski said he does not think his case had an impact on state policy. . . . "In my opinion, this case changed nothing in Vermont and court watchers and court protesters should beware because Vermont is a Bill of Rights hostile state. The governor proved this when he appointed civil rights violator to the top police job in the state ... Elrick should be in federal prison right now, not training Vermont police officers."

Sheriff must pay $400,000 in free-speech case

The federal appeals court said Corsones and Zimmerman violated Huminski's First Amendment rights. But it ruled the judges were not liable for damages. . . . That left Elrick. After the case came back a second time from the appeals court, a federal jury in Brattleboro this March determined that Elrick should pay $50,000 in compensatory damages and $1 in punitive damages. . . . Judge J. Garvan Murtha determined appropriate legal fees for Huminski's attorneys to be $500,347. From that he subtracted $150,000, saying that much of the settlement of Predom's role in the litigation was considered to be attorney's fees. He then added $75,764 to cover travel and other costs for Huminski's Washington-based lawyers, bringing the total to $425,764.

Sheriff liable for $400k in court-access case
By Alan J. Keays Rutland Herald

Following a trial in March in U.S. District Court in Brattleboro, a federal jury found that Elrick should pay Huminski $50,000 in compensatory damages and $1 in punitive damages. . . . Huminski is a self-described "court reporter" and "defender of justice." He is a longtime outspoken critic of the Vermont justice system. . . . He had been upset for years with what he has described as mistreatment by judges in Vermont, particularly Judge Nancy Corsones, who presided over a criminal case involving him in 1997. . . . He was later ordered not to trespass at the Rutland courthouse after protesting outside the building where Corsones then was presiding. . . . The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Elrick, a former Rutland court clerk, Corsones and another state judge violated Huminski's rights by issuing and enforcing the no-trespass order. . . . However, the appeals court also ruled that the judges were immune from paying damages. . . . Huminski and the state settled the case involving the court clerk late last year for $200,000. Elrick was left as the only defendant, leading to the trial earlier this year.
Following the trial, Huminski sought more than $1 million in attorney fees and expenses. . . . Judge Murtha, in awarding the $350,347 in attorney fees for Huminski rather than $1 million, wrote that he based his decision on the lower hourly rate charged by Vermont attorneys compared to the higher Washington hourly rate sought by Huminski's attorneys. . . . "(Huminski) has not 'clearly' shown the unwillingness of local counsel to represent him," Murtha wrote. "The court does not find there are no Vermont attorneys who were both sufficiently and relevantly skilled to take his case." . . . Robert Corn-Revere, a Washington lawyer whose firm specializes in First Amendment cases, represented Huminski. Corn-Revere could not be reached for comment.

Sheriff liable for $400k in court-access case

By Alan J. Keays Rutland Herald

A federal judge has ordered former Rutland County Sheriff R. J. Elrick to pay more than $400,000 in legal fees and expenses to an outspoken court critic from Bennington who prevailed in a civil rights lawsuit earlier this year challenging his barring from a Rutland courthouse. . . . Scott Huminski, formerly of Bennington, had been seeking more than $1 million in fees and costs from Elrick, now the executive director of the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford. . . . Elrick was Rutland County sheriff in 1999 when the no-trespass order was issued against Huminski, prohibiting him from the Rutland courthouse where he previously had demonstrated against a judge. . . . Elrick's attorneys have contended that their client was simply acting on orders issued by judges. . . . Federal Judge J. Garvan Murtha issued a ruling last month awarding Huminski $350,347 for attorney fees and $75,764 to cover costs and expenses stemming from his lawsuit against Elrick, the sole remaining defendant in the long-running legal battle.

March 31, 2006

Courthouse gadfly wins 7-year free-speech odyssey

By The Associated Press

A former sheriff has been ordered to pay $50,001 for violating the free-speech rights of a courthouse gadfly in 1999.

On March 28, a jury in U.S. District Court in Brattleboro returned the verdict against R.J. Elrick, former Rutland County sheriff. Elrick must pay $50,000 in compensatory damages and $1 in punitive damages to Scott Huminski, 46, formerly of Bennington and now of North Carolina.

As sheriff, Elrick ordered Huminski to leave the Rutland courthouse grounds after Huminski parked there and posted a sign on his truck critical of a judge.

"Elrick's own attorney told the jury that they could only award punitive damages if Elrick was found to have acted with malice," Huminski said in an e-mail. "The jury did find that malice."

Huminski's lawyer, Robert Corn-Revere, confirmed the outcome of the case yesterday. Messages left at Elrick's office and at the office and home of his lawyer, Pietro Lynn, were not immediately returned. Elrick is now executive director of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, which operates the state police academy.

"They (the jury) determined that punitive damages were justified because the deprivation of his First Amendment rights had been wanton, meaning reckless and with callous disregard" of Huminski's rights, said Corn-Revere, a Washington lawyer who specializes in First Amendment cases.

Of the $1 award for punitive damages, he said, "The jury decided to temper justice with mercy when it came to actually charging the sheriff with additional damages." He said attorneys fees in the case against Elrick were yet to be determined.

The case was triggered by an incident in 1999, when Huminski was angry about the outcome of a case he had had in the Vermont District Court in Bennington in which Judge Nancy Corsones presided.

Corsones was later assigned to Rutland. Huminski, who for a time variously described himself as a "court reporter" and "defender of justice," went to the Rutland courthouse while Corsones was presiding there, parked in the parking lot and put a sign on the side of his truck that read "Judge Corsones: Butcher of the Constitution."

Court officials later said they ordered Huminski away from the courthouse grounds, and barred him from all courthouses in Vermont, because they feared he might turn violent, which he didn't.

Huminski filed suit against the judges, Rutland court manager Karen Predom, Elrick and the Rutland County Sheriff's Department. The state attorney general's office settled Predom's portion of the case with Huminski last year, agreeing to pay $200,000 in damages and legal fees.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Corsones and Judge Patricia Zimmerman, who were both involved in the no-trespass orders against Huminski, violated his First Amendment rights. But it ruled the judges were not liable for damages.

Corn-Revere said the jury's task was to determine the damages to assess against Elrick. Still to be decided by Judge J. Garvan Murtha is whether to issue the court order sought by Huminski and Corn-Revere that would bar the sheriff's department from enforcing any similar no-trespass order against Huminski in the future.

While the First Amendment case was pending, Huminski was a prolific writer of e-mails and letters accusing Vermont officials including Attorney General William Sorrell and former Gov. Howard Dean of corruption.

Huminski said of Elrick in an e-mail yesterday, "So now we have a malicious civil rights violator training every single police officer in Vermont."

Corn-Revere said he hoped the former sheriff had learned something about the First Amendment. "Hopefully this decision will help him get better training on compliance with the Constitution. ... I think he's gotten an advance tutorial at this point."

3-24-06 UPDATE

BALANCE OF TRIAL BEGINS Monday, March 27, 2006 -- 9:00 A.M.

United States District Court, Brattleboro, Vermont, 2nd floor of the post office.

Damages sought against officials who denied gadfly's rights

3-24-06 Associated Press
A long-running legal battle waged by a man who was kicked off the Rutland courthouse grounds for posting a sign on his truck critical of a judge enters a new phase next week. . . . Various court decisions and a settlement with the state in which Huminski got $200,000 have narrowed the case so the only remaining defendants are former Rutland County Sheriff R.J. Elrick and the county sheriff's department. . . . The state's $200,000 settlement with Huminski removed Rutland court manager Karen Predom as a defendant. . . . Robert Corn-Revere, a Washington-based First Amendment lawyer who is representing Huminski, said, "Now that the court has determined that the defendants in the case violated Scott Huminski's First Amendment rights, the remaining portion of the trial is to determine what is the appropriate remedy." . . . "We're seeking a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the unconstitutional trespass notice and we're seeking monetary compensation," Corn-Revere said Wednesday. . . . He would not say how much in damages Huminski is seeking. <Full Story> -- also see:

Jury to decide damages in rights case -- 3-24-06 By: Alan J. Keays Herald Staff

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Introduction to Scott Huminski

By: Dorothy Mataras -- 2/27/05

Scott Huminski formerly of Bennington, Vermont is a citizen-reporter who was ejected from the Rutland County District Courthouse in May 1999. He had displayed posters critical of Judge Corsones on the side of his van. One sign read "Judge Nancy Corsones: Butcher of the Constitution" and enumerated why he believed Corsones had violated the Constitution.

After he parked his van in the Courthouse lot he was approached by sheriff deputies who ordered him to remove his posters. Huminski refused stating he had a First Amendment Right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. He proceeded to walk into Judge Corsones courtroom to take notes of the proceedings for a story he planned to write but the door was locked. Lo and behold, shortly thereafter law enforcement officials served him with two notices of trespass signed by Corsones and he was escorted out of the court.

One trespass notice barred him from district court property and oddly the other one barred him from the residential property of Judge Corsones. A few days later he was served with yet another trespass signed by Judge Zimmerman. This one barred Huminski from every courthouse and surrounding grounds in the entire state of Vermont.

Huminski, representing himself (pro se) went to federal court to challenge the state courts’ orders; with their usual treatment of pro se’s who object to their constitutional rights being violated, the federal court judge dismissed the case.

Huminski, like many other Victims-of-Law throughout the country, contacted the local media and civil liberties organizations who ignored him. Eventually Huminski contacted attorney Ronald K.L. Collins, a constitutional lawyer who then contacted First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C. An appeal was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit on Huminski’s behalf and an amicus brief was filed by attorneys at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Freedom of Expression in Richmond, Virginia.

Mr. Corn-Revere stated: "Like many such cases the facts themselves may arise from a seemingly insignificant local situation, but they go to the heart of fundamental First Amendment principles. This case is about the right to criticize public officials, the right to speak in the vicinity of the courthouse, and the right to attend judicial proceedings — all of which were thwarted by the arbitrary use of local power to silence speech. Government can be at its most oppressive at the local level if it is unchecked or unchallenged."

"It's a sad commentary on our First Amendment freedoms when a case like this has to be litigated all the way to a federal court. This is not a complex case. This is a simple free-speech case where a citizen's First Amendment rights are abridged for no reason beyond his saying what he had every right to say."

Attorney Collins put it this way: "If a citizen critic can't speak without fear of arbitrary government action being directed against him, then the very idea of constitutional democracy is a farce."

Finally, in October of 2004 Victims-of-Law was delighted to report, the "First Amendment Wins" as republished below. The rest of this site is dedicated to Scott Huminski's own writings about his trials and tribulations as well as his victories.





2nd Circuit: Vermont gadfly wrongly barred from courthouse
(click to read full story)

Order excluding Huminski from being present in and around certain state courthouses in Vermont gives rise to 85-page Second Circuit ruling: The opinion can be accessed at this link.


HUMINSKI v. HON. NANCY CORSONES, No. 02-6201 (2d Cir. Nov. 04, 2004) Plaintiff's suit, challenging his prohibition from presence in and  around state courthouses, is dismissed where, even though defendant-judge violated plaintiff's First Amendment rights, she is protected by qualified immunity. . . . To read the full text of this opinion, go to: [PDF File]

Articles by Scott Huminski

Howard Dean Appointees Guilty

Federal Court Finds DNC Chair Howard Dean’s Judicial Appointees Guilty

(PRWEB) February 26, 2005 -- In a 1997 Vermont Press Bureau article, Howard Dean expressed his desire to appoint judges that were not so concerned about the Bill of Rights -- or in Howard Dean lingo “legal technicalities.” Howard kept his aim true. Within two months of his proclamation, he appointed Nancy Corsones and Patricia Zimmerman to the Vermont bench.

Shortly afterward, Vermont prosecutors set their sites on a local activist. Judge Corsones chose to advance justice in Vermont by violating the activist’s rights against double jeopardy, his right to counsel and his right to due process. Later, the Vermont Supreme Court sided with the activist and threw out the bogus criminal charges. One spring morning in Rutland Vermont, the activist appeared at Judge Corsones’ courthouse with signs on his van that detailed the Judge’s problems with the Bill of Rights. The signs correctly labeled the Judge a “Butcher of the Constitution”. Judge Corsones’ solution – banish the activist from the courthouse – for life.

In January of 2005 the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan found that judgment should issue against Judge Corsones and her colleague for violation of the First Amendment rights to free expression and to courthouse access. Kudos to Howard Dean for truly accomplishing his proclaimed goals of subverting the Bill of Rights, or in this example, subversion of the First, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution via judicial appointments. Sympathy to the Democratic Party for choosing such an arrogant and ignorant leader.

Scott Huminski
111 Killam Court, #2C, Cary, NC 27513, (919) 481-4663
e-mail protected from spam bots
Although Dean's appointees were found immune from cash damages, declaratory relief issued against them.

Terrorizing the First Amendment

Alleged Courthouse Bomber
Wins Free Speech Case

The case of Huminski v. Corsones, 2004 WL 2248175 (2d Cir., Oct. 7, 2004) concerns a judge spreading news of her fear that I had a bomb in my vehicle and that I was going to blow up her courthouse. Wow -- serious stuff.  I happened to have a sign on the side of my van declaring "Judge Corsones: Butcher of the Constitution".  “Butcher” referred to a finding by Vermont courts that Judge Corsones violated my rights under the United States Constitution, the Vermont Constitution and Vermont state law. Recently, the US Court of Appeals, Manhattan, found that this judge violated my First Amendment rights to courthouse access and free expression when she banned me from the courthouse for life after I criticized her.

Careful reading of this case reveals that this judge kept this horrible “bomb” scenario secret from all five sheriffs and police personnel at the courthouse that day.  Oddly, this “bomb” fear was not mentioned by Judge Nancy Corsones in litigation until she was enjoined by a federal court 2 years after the event. It then it became the centerpiece of her defense. One deputy on the scene testified that if law enforcement heard a hint of a potential bomb, they would have evacuated the facility and called in every available law enforcement person in the area. Perhaps Judge Corsones thought evacuation and investigation would be bad for business so she kept her "bomb knowledge" a secret from law enforcement.

Continued reading of Humnski v. Corsones reveals that my allegedly bomb-laden van was ignored during over 30 prior similar situations where Judge Corsones was not the brunt of my criticism.  To be fair, Judge Corsones did place a phone call to an administrator at the state capital, he advised her to have the police investigate or banish me from the court.  What course did she take concerning this "bomb" -- well let's not investigate (we know there is no bomb) let's banish him from the courthouse. For life.  So they did and in doing so the net result was that they ordered me to move the feared "bomb" to Burger King or Walmart without police investigation.  Apparently, the “bomb” was my criticism of this corrupt judge who chose to capitalize on terror hype to violate the First Amendment rights of a citizen that she clearly disliked. 

Oddly, one solution proffered by a court official concerning the “Huminski problem” was to ask another judge to substitute for Judge Corsones.  In light of the looming “bomb” concerns, this other judge must have been considered expendable by the court staff. The other judge had a full docket and could not fill in for Judge Corsones.  So to spare Judge Nancy Corsones exposure to the embarrassing criticism (“bomb”), I was banned from the courthouse for life. Like any oppressor, their greatest fear is being held accountable by those they oppress.  See the ruling in pdf format: Huminski v. Corsones, 2004 WL 2248175 (2d Cir., Oct. 7, 2004)

Now we have a Judge and government officials undermining constitutional rights via a corrupt use of false manufactured terror claims.  When the government wants to achieve a corrupt goal they scream Terror! Bomb! and this technique has extended very effectively to the First Amendment.  This reprehensible use of false terror claims to achieve illegal personal goals while capitalizing on past tragedies and deaths achieves a new low in government misconduct.  Is this Judge’s conduct a violation of federal criminal statutes? Sure. 18 U.S.C. §§ 241,242 (Conspiracy Against Rights, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law) Will she get criminally prosecuted for her conduct in 2002 (too late for 1999)  that resulted in my re-banishment from the courthouse --- never.  

The “Butcher of the Constitution” remark was true as found by the Vermont Supreme Court.  Truthful criticism seems to be the most painful speech that government seeks to silence. Judge Corsones violated my constitutional rights.  When I sought to publicize her disrespect for the Constitution, true to form, she patently violated more constitutional rights, the First Amendment, and to justify it she manufactured a bogus terror/bomb story.  This scenario begs for the question, just who is terrorizing whom?

NOTE: Under deposition, one government official, cited the great concern with me was due to the events of 9/11. Good answer, but, I was banished from the courthouse 2 years before 9/11 -- May of 1999. 

Scott Huminski
111 Killam Court, #2C, Cary, NC 27513, (919) 481-4663
e-mail protected from spam bots

Freedom Forum:

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

February 11, 2005

Letter to the Editor of Vermont’s “Caledonian-Record” [Internet links added]

Daring to speak out

To the Editor:

Last week, federal court in Manhattan held Rutland Sheriff Elrick personally subject to liability because he broke the law in Huminski v. Corsones, which was appealed in 2002 from Windham District Court. He is in good company, as the federal courts have already found Judge Corsones, Judge Zimmerman and Rutland District Court clerk Predom guilty of breaking the law as well.

The law they broke was the very first right our founding fathers established in the Bill of Rights - the First Amendment - the essential right that separates this country from a police state. Perhaps these defendants thought their conduct was justified in bringing Rutland County closer to the police state that many in government and law enforcement secretly desire.

Is this illegal conduct also a federal crime? Those who are Internet-savvy can look up the federal criminal codes, 18 U.S.C. ¤¤ 241 (Conspiracy Against Rights) and 242 (Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law) and decide for themselves.

After six years of litigation, none of these law-breakers have expressed any remorse or regret.

All is well with Vermont justice. The insurance companies will write their checks to settle the lawsuit and these judges, court clerk and Rutland Sheriff Elrick can set their sites on their next victim who dares to speak out against the government.
Scott Huminski, Cary, N.C.


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No-trespass order violates rights of 'citizen reporter'

Man banned again from court system over protest tactics (7/30/2002)

Judge allows 'citizen reporter' back into courtroom

'Amateur reporter' appeals case over courthouse access

Federal judge dismisses 'amateur' reporter's lawsuit

The First Amendment Center Org.

The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, the right to assemble and petition the government.


The assumption that respect for the judiciary can be won by shielding judges from published criticism wrongly appraises the character of American public opinion. For it is a prized American privilege to speak one's mind, although not always with perfect good taste, on all public institutions. And an enforced silence, however limited, solely in the name of preserving the dignity of the bench, would probably engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt much more than it would enhance respect.

Justice Hugo Black --
BRIDGES v. CALIFORNIA, 314 U.S. 252 (1941)


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INAUGURATED ON: February 27, 2005
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