Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 07:42:17 am
http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=546

I loved this. The formal court lord and ladyship crap we have here in our system needs to go.

I don't mind the desk and gavel so much, but toss those robes in the same place as we threw those powdered wigs.

What really grates my nerves though is the lingo. Not only the deliberate obfuscation of the 'terms of art' by all the Latin phrases, (all the more to consolidate power in the lawyer's guild), but the general condescending attitude. My ex-SO's request for a divorce was phrased as "prayed to the court" for relief! 

Note: I don't have an issue with the judge's ultimate authority in the courtroom, just like I don't have an issue with a pilot's ultimate authority in the cockpit.  But when that pilot gets into port, or the court goes out of session, the pilot/arbitrator/judge always needs to face full accountability for his/her actions.

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 07:58:23 am
I'm not sure I understand what was meant.  "This is not some whore court?"

In defense of terms of art in Latin, lawyers often refer to them as such because they relate to principles of Roman law.  With your other gripes, a page of history is worth a book of logic.  "Praying" to court for relief stems from the time when the local lord meted out justice.  As a vassal, freeman or serf, you literally were begging the lord to take your side.

Finally, what advantage would there be for the judge to be "held accountable" for his decisions?  Would that really lead to greater impartiality or would the judge be constantly worried about the impact that his decisions could have on him personally?  As a practical example, do you feel that better justice comes from judges that are elected (i.e. state judges in many US states), or judges that have lifetime tenure (i.e. federal judges in the U.S.) ?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 08:00:18 am by Damocles »

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 08:21:55 am
The last time I got hauled into court it was because of the ticket some other guy got because he got into an accident and the responding police discovered he was driving without a license. I had stopped to render first aid (In accordance to our state's "good Samaritan law", I was legally required to render first-aid, but that's another story)

Well, the guy refused first-aid, did not want to go to the hospital, even though he t-boned another car and the airbag went off in his face. But he was 30ish and did not ever have a driver's license (at least in this country). I gave my contact info as a witness just in case the fault in the case was not settled out of court.

Instead, I was hauled into court as a hostile witness for the ticket he got for driving without a license. I was thanked by the judge for showing up, but it wasn't voluntary.

  • Had I not shown up, they could have issued a warrant for my arrest
  • I was not compensated for my time.
  • I had to pay for my own parking at the courthouse.
  • Court started half an hour late, thanks to the judge.
  • Of course, she did not apologize for waisting everyone else's time, because she's the Judge
  • Because the defendant did not properly ask for a Spanish interpreter beforehand, my time in court was extended as they scrambled to round one up.

Had I been a jury member, I would have at least been given a token amount of pay (after 12 weeks delay) for my indentured service. Of course, typically that pay is below minimum wage if you have to wait in the pool for more than a few hours.

I also would have been given some wiggle room for when I could serve my jury duty "sentence". You can typically call the court and say this conflicts with my vacation, and get it rescheduled.

The real eyeopener was the other cases. While I was waiting for the interpreter, I got to see several cases that all regarded one particular enforcement trap. There was a county schoolbus stop on a very busy divided highway, and the police were inclined to write 10 point / $200 tickets to the people who failed to stop on the other side of the highway.  There was a long stream of very apologetic offenders who said they were really, really, sorry and would be more careful next time. The judge admonished them that they have to stay alert while driving before reducing the fine and points by half (and then adding in $80 in court fees). One lady, however, was not exactly playing the part the judge wanted her to. Because she did not plea to the court, because she was not acting remorseful enough, the judge suspended her trial and went on with the other cases. She told the remorseless one to watch carefully to observe what the others were doing.

Needless to say, I was watching carefully too. The whole traffic court seemed to be more of a state legitimized protection racket than a regrettable method to enforce traffic laws for the safety of the rest of society. The collusion between the judiciary and the executive branch never even considered that perhaps, in the interest of the safety of all the kids that this law was designed to protect, (to say nothing of the dramatic penalties evoked to make people pay attention to this law), it would be in everyone's best interest to move the school bus stop around the corner to a side-street. 

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 08:24:33 am
...
In defense of terms of art in Latin, lawyers often refer to them as such because they relate to principles of Roman law.  With your other gripes, a page of history is worth a book of logic.  "Praying" to court for relief stems from the time when the local lord meted out justice.  As a vassal, freeman or serf, you literally were begging the lord to take your side.
...


Agreed, and I think it's just about time to ditch this "lordly" attitude. All men are created equal and all that jazz that's been in fashion since 1776 or so.

I understand it's traditional and customary to use the latin phrases. However, I would argue that the reason the traditional is kept is more akin to "guild secrets" rather than "that's the way we've aways done things". At some point you've got to realize that the lingo is getting in the way of the defendant fully understanding the proceedings.

I'll give you an example. Let's say you paid a contractor $1000 in advance to install some windows (say it's a $2000 total job). The contractor not only does not install the windows, but stops answering your calls. You have a signed contract and an open and shut case.

Your choices are the more layperson friendly "small claims court" where you are likely to get your $1000 back, and maybe a few bucks to pay for court filings;  or to file where the big boys do, in regular court. Here you can ask for punitive damages, which would tend to prevent the contractor from pulling the same scam on another person. The catch is you need to be quite up on all the lingo or you'll have to hire someone from the lawyer's guild.

Now, tell me what happens when someone from the  lawyer's guild charges $2000 for a $1000 case. Feeling priced out of justice yet?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 08:37:41 am by Apollo-Soyuz »

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 08:34:12 am
With respect to appearing as a witness, our modern justice system has not yet come up with a way to balance the inconvenience and cost to the witness with the requirements imposed by due process.  I take it that you would not feel as angered by the whole fiasco if you had appeared to give crucial testimony against the accused in a murder trial.  It is the trivial nature of the proceedings that is the issue.  Unfortunately, nobody has yet figured out a way to meaningfully draw lines or make value judgments as to when witnesses should be required to appear.  And so to err on the safe side, our system systematically requires everybody to appear.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 08:48:32 am
I take it that you would not feel as angered by the whole fiasco if you had appeared to give crucial testimony against the accused in a murder trial.  It is the trivial nature of the proceedings that is the issue. 
  • The court could have politely contacted me for an agreeable time for the court session (edited to add: I was ordered to appear and told on my "invitation" that if I didn't show I could be arrested)
  • The court could have paid my wages for the day, in cash, promptly, if they wanted me so bad as a witness
  • The court could have seen how the defendant would have pleaded before holding a gun to my head and making me appear. As is he pleaded guilty with an explanation and he had his learners permit with him
  • The court could treated me as an honored guest with reserved parking. instead of making me park in an expensive lot far away from the courthouse

Remember, I've done nothing wrong except to not ignore that "good Samaritan law".
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 09:22:41 am by Apollo-Soyuz »

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 09:11:31 am
Finally, what advantage would there be for the judge to be "held accountable" for his decisions?  Would that really lead to greater impartiality or would the judge be constantly worried about the impact that his decisions could have on him personally?  As a practical example, do you feel that better justice comes from judges that are elected (i.e. state judges in many US states), or judges that have lifetime tenure (i.e. federal judges in the U.S.) ?

Search for "Lauren Canario". She was charged with the crime of trespassing, held for three months in prison without access to visitors or a lawyer or even the Red Cross. During most of this time she didn't even have a court date. There's a number of other outrageous stunts the state pulled like suddenly changing the date of her hearing to fool her supporters into not showing up.

Judge Kevin P. McMahon was the lord of the courtroom in this case. He'll never stand trial for holding Lauren in solitary in a cell with wrist and ankle shackles so tightly that they left marks. Or the freezing cold cell temperature and the lack of even a blanket.

Lauren can't sue in civil court (I think, I'm a layperson) because after all that torture, she put in a Alford plea. That's just plain criminal. McMahon should have released her on her own recognizance and allowed her ample time to prepare for court and consult with a lawyer.

In this case, I'd prefer to be able to vote this asshole off the bench and into some jail-time, but  Ceres judicial system seems to require an independent arbitrator that's agreed on by both sides. Market forces and a person's reputation for fairness would probably prevent this from happening.  (Edited to add: In the very worst cases, on Ceres they happen to have plenty of airlocks; and I hear Ceres is also quite a harsh mistress ;-)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 09:16:37 am by Apollo-Soyuz »

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 09:16:34 am
You are correct on all points.  The court could have done all of those things, and could do so for every witness it subpoenaed.  But what would have been the practical consequences?  Simple: delay and costs. 

  • In the interest of providing "prompt" justice, our justice system demands that you abide by the court's schedule, not vice versa
  • In the interest of keeping administrative costs down, our justice system demands that you donate your time (or take some token payment for in the case of jury service).  Paying your wages would require additional paperwork (prove your wages, etc...), could be a quantitative headache (what if you're self-employed?) and could be prohibitively expensive (some CEO witnesses could bankrupt the court)
  • Checking with the defendant regarding his plea would require two proceedings, which would further add delays to an already burdened system
  • Parking is a source of income for many municipal institutions, and they don't see a reason to give it up.  Not a legitimate reason, I agree, but that's the thought process.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 09:26:27 am by Damocles »

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 09:25:48 am
Search for "Lauren Canario". She was charged with the crime of trespassing, held for three months in prison without access to visitors or a lawyer or even the Red Cross. During most of this time she didn't even have a court date. There's a number of other outrageous stunts the state pulled like suddenly changing the date of her hearing to fool her supporters into not showing up.

Judge Kevin P. McMahon was the lord of the courtroom in this case. He'll never stand trial for holding Lauren in solitary in a cell with wrist and ankle shackles so tightly that they left marks. Or the freezing cold cell temperature and the lack of even a blanket.

Lauren can't sue in civil court (I think, I'm a layperson) because after all that torture, she put in a Alford plea. That's just plain criminal. McMahon should have released her on her own recognizance and allowed her ample time to prepare for court and consult with a lawyer.

Not that it is an authoritative source, but Wikipedia has an alternate version of the events:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_Canario

"On October 2, 2007, Canario was the subject of a traffic stop in Milford, New Hampshire. She was subsequently arrested for speeding, driving without a license, driving an unregistered vehicle, refusing to obey lawful orders of a police officer, and resisting arrest. Canario has refused to speak or communicate in any way with police, court officials, or jail guards, as she does not recognize the authority of the government. Therefore, she has made no attempt to make bail or retain an attorney, or participate in the jail system enough to make out an approved visitors list. Canario was released on November 7, 2007, after being convicted and sentenced to time served."

If the Wikipedia entry is correct, it sounds to me like most of her troubles were self-inflicted.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 09:30:37 am
I'm not sure I understand what was meant.  "This is not some whore court?"

I assume putain court is a Malapropism for Puritan Court. ;-)

Azure Priest on October 11, 2010, 09:34:01 am
I take it that you would not feel as angered by the whole fiasco if you had appeared to give crucial testimony against the accused in a murder trial.  It is the trivial nature of the proceedings that is the issue. 
  • The court could have politely contacted me for an agreeable time for the court session
  • The court could have paid my wages for the day, in cash, promptly, if they wanted me so bad as a witness
  • The court could have seen how the defendant would have pleaded before holding a gun to my head and making me appear. As is he pleaded guilty with an explanation and he had his learners permit with him
  • The court could treated me as an honored guest with reserved parking. instead of making me park in an expensive lot far away from the courthouse

Remember, I've done nothing wrong except to not ignore that "good Samaritan law".

Precisely why I oppose the "judge" or "justice" for life tenure system. Judges who have to face elections don't act this way for very long. Judges who are on the bench for life tend to view themselves as "GOD" and if they come across a law they don't like, rewrite it on the bench, with no accountability to anyone.

Here's some glaring examples.

1.) "Separate but equal." For decades, racism was OK as long as the "colored" got treated "equally" somewhere else.
Numerous examples of "separate can not BE equal" were brought to the court's attention, but they were ignored until the Rosa Parks case came to light.

2.) Abortion. In the 1960's, the supreme court, without legal precedent or relevant constitutional authority of any kind, created a "right to choose" that pre-empts both state and federal law regarding abortion clinics and procedures. In fact, in 1996, a clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, upon inspection, failed to meet even the most minimal standards for an outpatient hospital facility in terms of sanitary conditions and medical training. The clinic was immediately closed. Instead of demanding an investigation as to why such lousy conditions were allowed to exist, the pro-choice movement sued the state of Tennessee to have the clinic immediately re-opened under Roe Vs Wade. Outcome is still pending. (Color me confused, but I thought Planned Parenthood, NOW, and NARAL wanted to eliminate "back alley abortion clinics" not protect them.)

3.) "Seperation of Church and State." Despite the fact that the "Bill of Rights" of the US constitution includes the phrase "or prohibit the free exercise thereof," the Supreme court has taken upon itself the mandate to eliminate all forms of worship in "public" buildings including the removal of the Ten Commandments from lower courts, despite having the same commandments etched in stone above their own heads, and beginning each court case with a prayer, a practice which was started upon the founding of the US and ratification of the US constitution.

If these "Justices," had to face accountability, they would not get away with "legislating from the bench."

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 09:43:22 am

Not that it is an authoritative source, but Wikipedia has an alternate version of the events:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_Canario

"On October 2, 2007, Canario was the subject of a traffic stop in Milford, New Hampshire. She was subsequently arrested for speeding, driving without a license, driving an unregistered vehicle, refusing to obey lawful orders of a police officer, and resisting arrest. Canario has refused to speak or communicate in any way with police, court officials, or jail guards, as she does not recognize the authority of the government. Therefore, she has made no attempt to make bail or retain an attorney, or participate in the jail system enough to make out an approved visitors list. Canario was released on November 7, 2007, after being convicted and sentenced to time served."

If the Wikipedia entry is correct, it sounds to me like most of her troubles were self-inflicted.

Dig deeper. Maybe add the search phrase "New London". This was back in 2006 I think. After how the state screwed her over in 2006, I would not be surprised at all over her refusal to cooperate in 2007. That's how an oppressive state creates radicals. The police might consider just writing someone a ticket for trespassing, rather than hold them in solitary because they refused to walk themselves to the police car for peacefully protesting "unlimited delegated eminent domain for greater tax revenue". Heck, she wasn't even lying in front of a bulldozer, so I can't see why the state even needed to initiate force against her. She does have a right to protest, right?.

MacFall on October 11, 2010, 09:53:09 am
...Does the guy on the left in panel 3 look like Jet from Cowboy BeBop on purpose?
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 10:08:19 am

Dig deeper. Maybe add the search phrase "New London". This was back in 2006 I think. After how the state screwed her over in 2006, I would not be surprised at all over her refusal to cooperate in 2007. That's how an oppressive state creates radicals. The police might consider just writing someone a ticket for trespassing, rather than hold them in solitary because they refused to walk themselves to the police car for peacefully protesting "unlimited delegated eminent domain for greater tax revenue". Heck, she wasn't even lying in front of a bulldozer, so I can't see why the state even needed to initiate force against her. She does have a right to protest, right?.

Well, she doesn't have the right to trespass while protesting, but it sounds like she was protesting the fact that she was trespassing, so...

I have to say, I still think most of happened to her was self-inflicted.  If you're going to "nonviolent noncooperate" be prepared to pay the price. When the judge asks you what you are pleading, answering is always a good idea. 

http://www.newhampshireunderground.com/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=Lauren+Canario+Press+Release

For Immediate Release

Eminent Domain Protester Held Under Inhumane Conditions?

October 9, 2006

Lauren Canario was arrested while sitting reading a book on the porch of one of the homes seized under eminent domain in the Kelo vs. New London case. Canario moved to New London from NV to help protect homeowners from losing their property to be given over for private development. Canario has stated that she will not leave New London for good until the last home is razed. Canario is being charged with Criminal Trespass and Refusal to be Fingerprinted. To further protest the outrages of the city and state governments, Canario refused to cooperate in her arrest, and refuses to speak to any of her captors. Judge Kevin McMahon?, after giving a speech on prisoners having the right to remain silent, ordered her held for a month in York Women's Prison psychiatric ward for her refusal to speak, while a psychiatric exam is administered.

Mrs. Canario was arrested almost a year to the day earlier for trying to attend a public City Council meeting debating the eminent domain issue. Judge Kevin McMahon? did the same to her last year for her refusal to speak. When Canario was released after 17days, she reported that she was held in ankle shackles the whole time, under bright lights 24 hours a day and that most days she was kept extremely cold. Mrs. Canario has scars on her ankles from this treatment, according to her husband, Jim Johnson.

York Prison officials refuse to answer whether Canario is again being held under these inhumane conditions, saying, "That is not public information. If Ms. Canario will just cooperate with our rules, she could receive all the benefits of our community." Her husband has been refused entry to visit her. Officials will not even let members of the clergy see her and check on her condition.

Canario is a member of the Free State Project (freestateproject.org), a group formed to move 20,000 freedom minded individuals to New Hampshire in order to reduce the size of government. Some fellow Free State Project members will travel down to CT to York Prison to protest Lauren's unjust imprisonment and to demand information on her treatment during her incarceration. This protest will take place on Sunday October 15th, 11 am, in front of York Women's Prison in Niantic, CT.

Video of Canario's Arrest:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-446617073620220458

More information on Canario's Arrests:
http://tinyurl.com/zqd9l

....

From NHFree.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NO RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF CONTENT


Protests After Eminent-Domain? Resister Jailed, Officer 'Victimized'

NEW LONDON, CT, Sep. 24, 2006 - Anti-eminent-domain protestors held "Free Lauren Canario" signs at the city jail Saturday after she was arrested for sitting down in an attempt to prevent the boarding up of Fort Trumbull homes that were recently seized by the City of New London.

Eminent domain protestor Lauren Canario was arrested Friday, "because she was sitting outside a building near her old place in New London and refused to leave when they were boarding the place up," according to Kat Dillon, one of the protestors and a liberty activist with the New Hampshire Underground (NHFree.com).

The arrest was videotaped by Canario's husband of 28 years, Jim Johnson. The video allegedly shows two police officers dragging her away, then leaving her on her knees in the street at one point. In a Friday phone call, New London City Police Lt. Ackley said that Canario "victimized" him by refusing to cooperate. "I hurt my back when I had to drag her off the floor," he asserted.

Canario was also arrested during a town meeting last September and charged with criminal trespass, refusal to be fingerprinted, and interfering with police. For several weeks, she left the court, judge, and police in disarray over her refusal to speak or walk when commanded to do so. "I don't know what to do with this," Judge Hillary Strackbein said during Canario's second silent court appearance last year. Canario was eventually released and sentenced to time served.

Her strategies of "nonviolent noncooperation" seem unchanged from last year, when Johnson announced, "I support nonviolent noncooperation one hundred percent, and I support Lauren's actions one thousand percent."

"Lauren is a hero in the eyes of many of us. The only thing the government can do is let her go, and one day they will realize this. As before, her actions are negligible relative to the punishment the state has prepared for her," remarked Michael Fisher, a New Hampshire Underground activist.

Several members of the New Hampshire Underground (NHFree.com) who made the trip to the city jail Saturday said that visitors were not allowed to see Canario, and Johnson has been unable to call her. Rumors that the New London Development Corporation requested the arrest are unverified.

Fort Trumbull residents were forced to leave their homes after the New London Development Corporation legally seized the properties, with the subsequent approval of the U.S. Supreme Court. The remaining families moved out of their homes in August, and the city has apparently left the neighborhood in place for the foreseeable future.

In a WFSB interview this Friday, Johnson explained, "for the city to just take their house and not do anything with it, and now, as an empty shell, just to have homeless people move into it, it must be completely frustrating, angering."
a+ certification comptia a+ network+ security+ free vouchers

Anyone seeking more up-to-date information about the arrest may visit www.NHFree.com.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 10:16:14 am
You are correct on all points.  The court could have done all of those things, and could do so for every witness it subpoenaed.  But what would have been the practical consequences?  Simple: delay and costs. 

<snip>

  • The state felt that if could afford to pull two police officers off the lucrative state sponsored revenue enhancement scheme to be able to place the defendant at the scene. I'm not sure how much additional testimony I could have weighed in with. It wasn't a jury trial and along with the collusion angle, judges tend to accept a cop on the stand as a fact not in dispute.
  • "two proceedings" perhaps. There's no need to make every decision a formal full court production. Ever hear of plea bargaining?
  • Do you think the judge was required to park in the same lot as I was?

Face it, the court and the state didn't even consider me or my schedule or the hit to my income when they demanded my appearance.

And  a $15 token fee for jury duty is a further insult. After disarming  and forcing 600 people to sit around all day at your beck and call so you have a large enough pool to do voir dire (French for jury tampering). The prosecutor and the judge conspire to pick 15 or so people that will sit in a box and not judge the law or how it was applies in a particular case.  Reminds me of pointing a gun at someone, making them dance just because you can, and then tipping them a dollar because you are a nice guy.