Damocles on October 11, 2010, 10:22:26 am
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."

I don't know that your point necessarily holds true.  While there have clearly been abuses from judges with lifetime tenure, the relevant question is whether judges with lifetime tenure are more or less abusive than judges that are elected.  State court judges are more susceptible to public opinion and are more likely to take it into account when issuing their rulings.  This creates a perverse incentive to do what is popular instead of what is legal.  The U.S. judicial system is fairly unique (and admired) precisely because it is an equal branch of government with the legislative and the executive and can restrict the abuses of either branch.  This system is founded on the independence of judges, and the only way to truly achieve this is by granting them lifetime tenure.  Judges are then able to follow their conscience (or sadly, their agenda) for better or for worse.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 10:28:50 am

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. 


You're new around here, aren't you? ;-)

Please re-read what you wrote/copy/pasted. Even  "nonviolent noncooperate" people deserve to not have their civil rights violated so terribly such that they'll hopefully plea to get out of bondage and prevent the state from being held accountable for it's heavy handed oppressive tactics.

Sorry, but it sounds like you think that if I call a cop a "pig" when he arrests me rather than writing me a ticket for speeding, that action therefore justifies the police officer giving me a black eye when no one is looking. And with some assistance from everyone else on the other side of the "thin blue line", it's therefore OK to cover up his crime of assault.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 10:37:53 am
<snip>
I don't know that your point necessarily holds true.  While there have clearly been abuses from judges with lifetime tenure, the relevant question is whether judges with lifetime tenure are more or less abusive than judges that are elected.  State court judges are more susceptible to public opinion and are more likely to take it into account when issuing their rulings.  This creates a perverse incentive to do what is popular instead of what is legal.  The U.S. judicial system is fairly unique (and admired) precisely because it is an equal branch of government with the legislative and the executive and can restrict the abuses of either branch.  This system is founded on the independence of judges, and the only way to truly achieve this is by granting them lifetime tenure.  Judges are then able to follow their conscience (or sadly, their agenda) for better or for worse.

By the way, the elephant in the courtroom here that everyone was ignoring was that the guy accused of driving without a license was almost certainly in this country illegally.

30ish years old, no driver's license, got a learners permit when asked, needed a translator...

So they sure to be "admired" because they're more than willing to run a revenue scam enforcement trap, but at the same time they're not willing to refer a crime they don't want to enforce to Immigration even when they trip over it!

quadibloc on October 11, 2010, 10:47:14 am
So they sure to be "admired" because they're more than willing to run a revenue scam enforcement trap, but at the same time they're not willing to refer a crime they don't want to enforce to Immigration even when they trip over it!
But I thought it was illegal for local law enforcement to report those crimes to Immigration... for some bizarre reason, given the fuss over some recent legislation in Arizona.

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 02:14:56 pm
You're new around here, aren't you? ;-)

Please re-read what you wrote/copy/pasted. Even  "nonviolent noncooperate" people deserve to not have their civil rights violated so terribly such that they'll hopefully plea to get out of bondage and prevent the state from being held accountable for it's heavy handed oppressive tactics.

Sorry, but it sounds like you think that if I call a cop a "pig" when he arrests me rather than writing me a ticket for speeding, that action therefore justifies the police officer giving me a black eye when no one is looking. And with some assistance from everyone else on the other side of the "thin blue line", it's therefore OK to cover up his crime of assault.

The treatment she received, if her allegations regarding being shackled are true, might violate her civil rights (prison officials would then have the opportunity to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the restraints were reasonably necessary for preventing her from inflicting harm on herself or others), as it would constitute cruel and unusual treatment while being held pending trial.  Otherwise, I don't think she has much of a case for a violation of her civil rights.  She refused to request bail, so she only has herself to blame for her incarceration.  It appears (although there is no way to be sure from the contents of the article) that all due process requirements were respected.  So I reiterate: be silent at your own risk.  Refusing to acknowledge the authority of the judiciary does not insulate you from the court's power to order your imprisonment.

Regarding your other comment, I don't see how your example regarding insulting a police officer is qualitatively similar to the case of Ms. Canario.  Ms. Canario was imprisoned due to her failure to exercise her rights, and then was allegedly subjected to illegal and abusive treatment while incarcerated.  Calling a police officer a pig does not justify his or her use of force, unless the police officer can demonstrate that your demeanor and verbal abuse reasonably put him or her in fear for their safety such that they had no choice but to use force to restrain you.  Now, do cops sometimes illegally strike citizens that insult them? Sure.  Do they then try to pass off the whole incident as self defense? Yup.  Illegal behavior should be sanctioned, regardless of the source.  Rule of law is and should be the governing principle in our society.  We constantly fall short, but that doesn't discredit the principle.

SandySandfort on October 11, 2010, 03:09:21 pm
I'm not sure I understand what was meant.  "This is not some whore court?"

The French use "putain" as  an intensifier, in much the same way English speakers use "f.ucking." Neither the French nor English term is meant literally.

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.) ?

The judge in arbitration is only held to whatever contractual obligations he negotiates with the parties.

Damocles on October 11, 2010, 03:25:57 pm

The French use "putain" as  an intensifier, in much the same way English speakers use "f.ucking." Neither the French nor English term is meant literally.

In that case, I believe it should be "putain de court" as in "ce putain de tribunal" /end_nitpick  ;)

terry_freeman on October 11, 2010, 03:46:14 pm
Apologists for government courts claim that their idiotic policies are designed to keep costs down. However, in the Real World, more cases are settled by arbitration than by government courts; it is only the government which insists on using inefficient government courts. This is probably because the government does not trust independent arbitrators to find for the government itself. When the government handles prosecution, incarceration, and adjudication, there is a clear conflict of interest, a collusion to protect the interests of the various government interests.

Do private arbitrators ring up such long lists of abuses? They do not.

Apollo-Soyuz on October 11, 2010, 03:56:13 pm

The judge in arbitration is only held to whatever contractual obligations he negotiates with the parties.

A judge in arbitration that hands down wacky decisions will quickly find himself out of work. It may also affect his out of court interactions with other people. I'd hate to be shunned on a minor planet.

terry_freeman on October 11, 2010, 04:19:53 pm
Damocles:  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.) ?

Better justice comes from judges who do not draw paychecks from the government at all - for example, private arbitration, which actually handles more cases than the government, more speedily, and more efficiently. Private judges would not have the inherent conflict of interest which comes from drawing a check from one of the parties to a suit.

As Locke put it, it is wrong for a person to try his own case. But the government tries all cases against itself - and reserves the right to dismiss all cases which it finds inconvenient to even pretend to try.

Can you, as a private citizen, simply say "That's a frivolous case; I will not respond to your subpoena?" If you cannot refuse, why can government refuse your demands on them? What makes them so special?

Gillsing on October 11, 2010, 05:54:20 pm
Illegal behavior should be sanctioned, regardless of the source.  Rule of law is and should be the governing principle in our society.  We constantly fall short, but that doesn't discredit the principle.

Did you mean "should not be sanctioned"? Or were you using the 'international law' meaning of the word for the behaviour of individuals?
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

Apollo-Soyuz on October 12, 2010, 04:12:57 am
The treatment she received, if her allegations regarding being shackled are true, might violate her civil rights (prison officials would then have the opportunity to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the restraints were reasonably necessary for preventing her from inflicting harm on herself or others), as it would constitute cruel and unusual treatment while being held pending trial.  Otherwise, I don't think she has much of a case for a violation of her civil rights.  She refused to request bail, so she only has herself to blame for her incarceration.  It appears (although there is no way to be sure from the contents of the article) that all due process requirements were respected.  So I reiterate: be silent at your own risk.  Refusing to acknowledge the authority of the judiciary does not insulate you from the court's power to order your imprisonment.

Maybe we need to go back to the justice meted out to Giles Corey? Refuse to plea to a crooked court and the state can pile rocks on you until you expire (but your estate is safe from confiscation by the government).

The bottom line is that trespassing is usually a fine or maybe 24 hours of jail time, but evidently, refusing to enter a plea when demanded and reserving your right to remain silent is a crime that's much worse.

Exercising you right to remain silent and not meekly bowing down and submitting to the judge gets you an involuntary psych evaluation, several months in solitary, in shackles, and an unfair and non-public hearing on your detainment status.

I had a conversation with a police officer about peaceful protesters that "go limp" and refuse to walk themselves to the police car.  He said that such behavioral was called "passive aggression" and when such "aggression" was "directed" towards a "peace officer", that gave him the right to torture the suspect, including twisting or bending limbs, tazering the subject, and using pepper spray on the limp and handcuffed.  I suppose you're all OK with that?


macsnafu on October 12, 2010, 08:45:55 am

  So I reiterate: be silent at your own risk.  Refusing to acknowledge the authority of the judiciary does not insulate you from the court's power to order your imprisonment.

Nothing insulates you from someone who wants to initiate force against you except your ability to defend yourself--that's not the point of civil disobedience, though.  What really separates a government from a criminal organization is the government's perceived legitimacy--the approval that most citizens give to the government for its actions.  If civil disobedience can show the injustice of government actions, that affects its legitimacy and its willingness to take similar actions in the future. 

I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

Damocles on October 12, 2010, 11:38:51 am
Illegal behavior should be sanctioned, regardless of the source.  Rule of law is and should be the governing principle in our society.  We constantly fall short, but that doesn't discredit the principle.

Did you mean "should not be sanctioned"? Or were you using the 'international law' meaning of the word for the behaviour of individuals?

Good eye Gillsing.  This may be revealing too much personal info, but I'm an international arbitration practitioner, and many international law terms of art have crept into my every day vocabulary.

Damocles on October 12, 2010, 11:57:35 am
Damocles:  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.) ?

Better justice comes from judges who do not draw paychecks from the government at all - for example, private arbitration, which actually handles more cases than the government, more speedily, and more efficiently. Private judges would not have the inherent conflict of interest which comes from drawing a check from one of the parties to a suit.

As Locke put it, it is wrong for a person to try his own case. But the government tries all cases against itself - and reserves the right to dismiss all cases which it finds inconvenient to even pretend to try.

Can you, as a private citizen, simply say "That's a frivolous case; I will not respond to your subpoena?" If you cannot refuse, why can government refuse your demands on them? What makes them so special?


Terry,

It seems to me that you are being a tad unfair with the government (I am assuming here that your post relates to the US government).  First, the US government submits to arbitration all time.  In fact, it is its method of choice for resolving international disputes.  The State Department is a major proponent of international arbitration and was an influential contributor in the development of the UNCITRAL rules.  Second, your statement regarding the government trying its own cases ignores separation of powers.  When I speak of "the government" I mean the Executive as this the branch with which I interact the most.  I tend to view both Congress and the Judiciary as outside "the government", but still part of the State.  Third, I don't know that the government can refuse your demands.  The US government is hauled into court (and in front of arbitration tribunals) all the time.  I does not have the option of refusing the summons without risking a default judgment.