I noted with interest that a blog covered the topic of judicial misconduct. Check out the Swartz Campbell blog, proliability.schwatzcampell.com?tag=judicialmisconduct
That blog commented about judicial misconduct issues in the Pennsylvania courts, but noted that judicial misconduct occurs in every state.
It noted that the LA Times reported on the problem of fixing tickets in southern California. Why doesn’t our media here in Minnesota cover issues of judicial misconduct?
And here’s an interesting one: Georgia judge Bill Blass senior, according to the blog noted above, was suspended for 60 days for engaging in vindictive conduct against those who did not support his election.
Do you know any conduct in Minnesota that resembles that?
Blass was, according to that blog, also suspended for trying an empty chair as a defendant. Consider now, the Fourth District policy of trying defendants in absentia. (That means a trial, when the person accused is not there.)
Here it the trial in abstensia from the Fourth Judicial District, Minnesota (a/k/a Hennepin County Court) which was deposition exhibit 11 to the deposition of the Honorable Lucy A. Wieland. I deposed her in August 2011 as part of my “disciplinary” case. (More on that in other posts.)
It took me over 5 years to obtain these policies, even though I made numerous requests. Below the policy are some pages from the deposition of the Honorable Margaret A. Daly. I ask her about the ‘in absentia’ policy, and she gives me what I’ll call the “party line” at the time, which was that the policies were not mandatory. That broke down in subsequent questioning, as you will see. She ended up saying that it’s not that the policies don’t matters, but judges don’t have to follow them (see deposition for precise quote, pages at bottom of post).
That made no sense to me at the time, and makes less sense now that I have seen more (in particular, a Supreme Court order stating that all judges in the state are required to follow the policies of the Judicial Council). I believed then, and believe now, that numerous policies were intended to mandate judicial decision-making in the Fourth Judicial District, and therefore removed judicial discretion. I believe I was being given a ‘cover story,’ because certain people in the courts were afraid telling the truth about the policies would result in a lawsuit challenging them as unconstitutional.
I have problems with that.
First, tell us the truth. We are your Public. We are, supposedly, the ones you serve. We are, supposedly, the reason the courts are there in the first place. Don’t get so mired in yourselves that you fail to see the big picture: it’s about us; it’s not about you.
Second, now we have sued. (See page “Our federal lawsuit against the Minnesota courts”). The lawsuit exists. Can we sit down and intelligently discuss this now? Without the games?
Even now, even as players in the state court system make decisions about how to handle the lawsuit: it’s still about us. It’s still about the People of the State of Minnesota.
Work with us.
(What is the status of those policies? Are they still on the books?)