I need to start by saying that I do not acknowledge the authenticity of the orders in my disciplinary case. I do not come to this lightly. I have studied on this.
It is not my fault that someone (some committee?) decided to destroy original court orders. That was not my decision. And I refuse to be punished for that decision.
I asked the Ramsey County Clerk (see Part 1) how she was going to authenticate the court orders, and she pulled out a page full of Ramse County Judge signatures. I asked if I could have a copy, she looked stricken, and ran away to “talk” to somebody. When she came back the answers was (predictably), no.
I asked why not, and she said something like, it is “their” document. This is just one more example of the entitlement that state court employees evince, as they prevent the Public from seeing Public documents. (And, I might add, we pay their salaries.)
I was told yesterday at Ramsey County Courthouse that I had to get a court order to see the documents in my case. The Clerk sitting next to me could see all of them on her computer. When I asked to sit there, she said no. She said I had to sit at the “public” computers.
I asked for a Supervisor, who came in a brusk, going-to-put-me-in-my-place style, and told me I could not have a copy of the judge-signature document. Someone tried to tell me the piece of paper I had observed was not a “document.”
I asked for the Chief Judge.
She came back with the Assistant Chief Judge. He was a nice man, but he didn’t know anything. I fault him for that. But I don’t have any animosity against him. He is sorely undertrained. When I mentioned the Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch, it was as if I was talking about the Moon. Before I could finish my sentence about how all documents are public unless a specific provision makes them non-public, he spouted that it was “not a record.”
I asked to see the court records that I had driven across town to see.
He said “no.”
I asked why not.
He turned to the CLERK and asked her why I could not see them. So much for going up the ladder.
The clerk said the documents were either sealed or confidential. (She didn’t even say which, obviously didn’t even know which one to say.)
The Assistant Chief Judge turned to me and said, they are either sealed or confidential.
When I said to him that they could not be sealed from me, a lawyer and party to the case, he would not budge. He said I had to come back.
He said I had to get a court order.
He said I had to talk to the Chief Judge (who was in a Judicial Council meeting – is that the body that made this horrific decision?).
Yet the entire BUILDING of court staff, judges, law clerks, were all permitted to see the case records.
Stay tuned for part 3.