Tag Archives: court administration

Full disclosures demanded from Lorie S. Gildea and Staff

This is being re-blogged from Jill Clark Continues.  I also sent an email yesterday to  Rita DeMeueles with the site address:  www.jillclarkcontinues.wordpress.com so she would be sure to note the demand for disclosures.

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I have spoken with Rita DeMeules, MN Supreme Court Commissioner.  I am aware that she reports directly to Lorie S. Gildea.  I am also aware of documents purporting to be ‘orders’ in In re Clark, that state at the bottom, that Gildea “took no part” in the decision.   How am I to believe that is true?  When the staff report to her?

Full disclosures are demanded, by end of business day Thursday, May 16, 2013, including but not limited to:

1) all involvement of Gildea in In re Clark;

2) a list of all meetings regarding In re Clark that were not held in the courtroom including who was in attendance and what was discussed;

3) a list of all meetings regarding In re Clark that did not involve the full Court and including who was in attendance and what was discussed;

4) why the recusal motion filed by Clark July 2012 was not considered and decided by the full court (from talking to DeMeueles, it sounds like there is some “docket” that motions and other matters must be placed on, and that staff decide what will be placed there, and why – why isn’t the public told that what we file can be sidelined by staff?  And how am I to believe, under those conditions, that staff did not do what Gildea, their supervisor, wanted them to do?)

5) whether the motion to change status of email evidence filed February 2012 was considered and decided by the full Court, and if not – why not.

Look, this is just for starters.  I am going to have MANY MORE questions.

May 14, 2013 (re-blogged May 15, 2013 on jillclarkspeaks).  No derivative works are authorized by copyright holder(s).

Good news – I think

Well,

Supposedly things are working again on Jill Clark Speaks.  You can visit the site at jillclarkspeaks.wordpress.com

If you have trouble with that, please let me know.  I am receiving emails addressed as coming from WordPress and would like to continue to make reports of any issues with WordPress, and to others.

Check out the post on jillclarkcontinues.  The link below might have to be pasted into your browser.

http://jillclarkcontinues.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/lorie-gildea-the-buck-stops-with-you/

If people tell me they can’t access the post through that link – I will post the whole thing here!

Thanks for hanging in there with me during these technical issues…

multi color thanks

Minnesota JSB: Heading in the Right Direction

I have been a vocal critic of the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards.  I also want to speak out when I think they are doing something right.  According to this story at Twin Cities.com (Pioneer Press) here, it sounds like the JSB is heading in the right direction.

As a bit of background, I have railed against the use of the Lawyers Board as a way to punish lawyers who complain to the JSB about judges, railed against the way the JSB has facilitated that agenda.  I have opposed the JSB as defender of judges, and promoted the prosecution of judges.  We, the public, receive no deterrent value from the Judicial Canons, if that Board never publicly charges judges.

But it’s not the sheer number of charges that are at issue.  It’s the type of charges that a board with limited funding goes after, that matters.  I believe we have such vital problems with judges stepping across clear, easy to see lines, lines drawn to protect the integrity of the process, and I have not seen the JSB go after those judges in the past.

So it’s appropriate that I also step out and say, this time, good job.  I have not investigated the facts alleged by the JSB against Judge Perez.  Here’s a link to the JSB website, where you’ll find the formal complaint against Judge Perez, as well as his Answer.

Judge Perez is entitled to defend, entitled to due process.  I am not here assuming all allegations are true or that he has no defense.  But I am interested in discussing the type of charges in this case.

Falsification of official documents:  Judge Perez is charged with falsifying official records that related to his processing of cases.  Falsifying public documents is a problem in the courts.  It’s something I’ve been troubled about for some time, and I just wasn’t seeing anyone doing anything about it.  My clients have raised these issues in their cases (for example, complaining that a court transcript was not accurate), although we could not get appropriate attention to what we perceived as glaring facts.

Unfair distribution of workload/misuse of chief judge ‘authority’:  Judge Perez is accused of using his position as chief judge to get court staff to treat him and his case load differently.  This gets at several important issues.

1) What is the proper role of a chief judge in our courts?  The Federalist Papers did not envision the bureaucracy of the modern courts.  We usually think of judges in their role as judge (decision-maker on a case).  Rarely do we select judges for their administrative abilities, and, until now, rarely have judges been scrutinized for how they administer.  It looks like this case will examine the proper role of Perez as chief judge, and whether he abused that role.

Once we begin scrutinizing the role of judge as administrator, it makes sense to review other conduct pointed out in the Perez complaint, 2) using court staff to perpetrate judicial misconduct.  Perez is said to have told staff to skip him in the assignment of cases.  The larger issue is what authority an “administrator” judge has in the instructions given to staff (non-lawyers, non-judges).  Chief judges often have control over large number of non-lawyer/non-judge staff.  We need to examine that role to be able to ensure an impartial court process for the public.  If the facts of the Perez case are proven true, this case gives our justice system the opportunity to say, outright, that a judge cannot do through staff that which they are prohibited from doing themselves.  That it is not a defense to a judicial misconduct charge, that a non-judge took the actual actions.  And that staff cannot be used to treat others unfairly (here it was other judges, but that should also apply to parties to cases and lawyers).

I hope this case leads to some discussion of the role of ‘chief judge,’ why we have them, what are their responsibilities, and what are the limits on their authority.  It is dangerous to the public to give a judge a big staff, without a clear demarcation of authority.

This leads to a more macro discussion.  We’ve acknowledged that in the executive branch, a significant issue is the growth of the bureaucracy.  The President and Congress have even taken steps to reduce the federal executive-branch bureaucracy.  In the courts, the ‘administration’ has also grown.  But it’s grown up pretty much out of sight.  When I began to question the administration of the Hennepin County Court, I was targeted for a take-down.  We need to discuss court administration, initially, to ensure parties before the court are getting equal access, and equal treatment.

But an even larger issue looms before us.  What is working well in court administration (and there is a lot that is), what are the pitfalls, and where are the problems?  Should judges be managers – at all?  Or should we separate case-decision-making from administration?  As Americans engaged in self-governance, we are entitled first to know what is happening, and second, to comment on it unmolested.

What’s interesting about this case, is that it appears fellow judges may testify against Perez at the hearing.  That’s what should be happening.  I’m not talking specifically about Perez, but in general, judges should not sit idly by waiting for some member of the public to complain about another judge, or waiting for some lawyer to do it.  In the current state of affairs, those individuals are still too vulnerable to retaliation, and being ignored.  When judges make complaints about judges, or are willing to be interviewed and testify, my guess is the JSB is more likely to listen.