Tag Archives: attorney ethics

Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea – who decided to destroy court records?

I have not gotten a response yet about who or what decided to destroy original court orders and other court records, and to have them scanned and stored in a digital environment.  (See various posts on this blog on this topic, and my attempt to get answers from Sue Dosal and Jeff Shorba.)  If you are the Chief Justice, don’t you have an obligation to inform your public?

Do you know who or what made the decision?

And who or what selected the company that would do the shredding and scan the records?

And where is the contract?

I want to see it – and I want to see it Monday.  No stalling, no run arounds, no games.

 

Minnesota Courts have a policy or custom of violating court orders: Part 3

Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, defines seal,

As regards sealing of records, means to close by any kind of fastening that must be broken before access can be obtained.

The point of a seal in the courts, is that people including court personnel are physically sealed shut so that they cannot be viewed.  True, some court personnel will have to see them at times, but in the days of the taped envelope, at least that was kept to a minimum.  A pink bar, or a category of electronic data, that the entire courthouse can see, is not a “seal.”  (It may be possible with certain types of encryption or other electronic process to make a digital record difficult to access, by the average user, but the thing that court personnel need to understand is, that there is no encryption that a hacker cannot hack.  That’s what they do.   Hackers hack.  Do you think they do not?  It is no less than foolhardy to put sensitive data in a digital environment.)

The Judge/referee in my case sealed certain records.  (He did not seal al the records, but I’ll come back to that in Part 4.)  So that judge’s order to seal has been violated by the digital scanning/storage mechanism that someone selected.

I still have no response from anyone in the MN Judicial Branch as to who or what made the decision to destroy original court orders and to have them scanned and put into a digital environment.  The public has a right to know.

I am also concerned about the security for this storage system.  Could someone please explain to me what effort were made to:  a) study security and vulnerabilities; and b) put in place practices, physical and electronic safeguards to prevent hacking?  This is important, so please tell your Public.

I looked at two cases at Ramsey County (two file numbers).  My concerns about my cases, multiplied by the number of cases in which there is a seal or confidentiality issue (are juvenile records online now?  Has this been implemented statewide?) equates to is a policy or custom afoot.  Some know what that means.  Others should.  No matter what, you can be sure that this will be pursued.

Letter to US District Judges

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What is Jeff Shorba’s current role, and will he answer questions from the public?

The email that I received (see “A public question for Sue Dosal from a member of the public” posts, Part 2), said to ask Jeff Shorba or Kristina Ford.  I then sent the following email:

email Shorba 1

And then followed up with this email, which had my original questions:

email Shorba 2

I did not see any response.

Is someone going to answer these important questions?  I asked Shorba not to refer me to someone else.

(For out of state readers, these names are all part of the Minnesota Judicial Branch community.)

It’s past 5 o’clock

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MN Supreme Court – the buck stops with you!

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The Complaint Against me by Judge Wexler (retired)

I told you that I’d discuss the charges against me in some detail.

You might recall that I ran for Hennepin County judge against Thomas Wexler in 2002.

I wrote a post about that, and my experience with Judge Wexler during a case.  Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

In January 2009 Judge Wexler left the bench.

In late 2011, several clients of mine had issues with Judge Lloyd Zimmerman.  In December 2011, one of my clients indicated by letter indicating he would seek to recuse Judge Zimmerman.  For reasons that are still unclear to me, this set off a veritable firestorm of events.  Judge Zimmerman began issuing sua sponte orders.  These appeared, to us, to be roadblocks which would (unfairly) prevent the client from filing his motion to disqualify Judge Zimmerman.

My client made the decision to seek review by a higher court.

I went to the signing judge to get some orders signed first.  I thought it was going to be perfunctory.

When I learned retired Judge Wexler was the signing judge that day, my instinct was to leave.  But I have tried over time to give people in the system with whom I’ve had a bad experience the benefit of the doubt.  I believe in second changes, and when appropriate, third chances.

What transpired was a fairly weird session, which ended rather quickly.  Suffice it to say that Judge Wexler signed one of the proposed orders, and I left with one signed and one unsigned.

For reasons that have never been clear to me, documents signed by the signing judge are handed back to the lawyer (or police officer) to walk them to filing.  I can tell you now from experience that this is a bad system.  Why would we want to spend any time in this system arguing about what the signing judge signed?  Why doesn’t the signing judge keep a copy like all other ports of call?

So anyway, I handed the documents to a court clerk at filing and thought nothing else of it.

As it turns out much was happening behind the scenes.

For purposes of this post, after talking to Judge Zimmerman and his clerk(s), Judge Wexler filed a complaint with the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against me.

Even after reading the complaint, it took me some time to figure out what it was about.

The complaint alleged that in the document I had walked to filing, I had “mix[ed] up the pages.”

Wexler stated, “When the [documents] were presented to me, I am almost 100% sure they were each stapled.  So to mix them up Ms. Clark would have had to remove the staples and restaple them.”

Apparently the complaint was that I had purposely unstapled a document in order to mix up the pages.

Even at best, this was a strange complaint.

But here’s how it’s played out so far:

Craig Klausing of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility “investigated” the complaint.  This consisted almost entirely of him asking me two questions.

And then he charged me.

The litigation started gearing up, and Judge Wexler’s deposition was noticed.

The original document that I was said by Wexler to have purposely unstapled and then re-stapled was brought to a deposition by Judge Zimmerman in an envelope.  The envelope was held by the prosecutor (Craig Klausing) of the OLPR until Judge Wexler’s deposition.  Then it was opened in front of all of us there.

I took a picture of it.

Judge Wexler looked at the document, and admitted under oath that there was no evidence of a staple having been removed, and the document re-stapled.  (Not verbatim.)

So…what happened to their case?

I was present and saw Craig Klausing hanging his head so much it almost touched the table.  He would not look me in the eye.

 

You’d think Klausing would have dismissed this charge at that time.

But the case has trudged on.

I still am having difficulty figuring out how they can get (even in theory) from mixing up pages, to an ethics violation.

During one of the hearings, it became clear that Mr. Klausing or staff under his control had mixed up numerous pages in one of the hearing exhibits.  I actually spent some time following the hearing sorting them out so that an accurate copy would go to the Judge.  Apparently when Klausing mixes up pages, that’s not an ethics problem.

We live in a world of poignant double standards.

Interestingly, Judge Wexler stated in his complaint to the OLPR, “I expect that Ms. Clark will argue that our history of conflict per the 2002 election has some bearing.”  I didn’t say it.  He did.