Impeachment Powers

Reblogged from Jill Clark continues

Stay informed about important issues in the struggle for accountability and sunshine in the courts

I continue to remark on how other states appear to be investigating, disciplining and prosecuting judges more frequently than does Minnesota. And, I continue to wonder why Minnesota major media refuses to report about evidence of judicial misconduct.

Take this example from Pennsylvania.Philly.com reported that
Supreme Court Justice Joan Melvin was convicted last month of theft of services, conspiracy and misappropriation of state property. According to that news outlet, a jury determined that Melvin conducted political activity on taxpayer time, and used public resources to help further Melvin’s campaigns for the high court in 2003 and 2009.

Philly.com story address is here (you can cut and paste it into your browser, because for reasons that are unclear the link function on this blog appears not to be working):
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/harrisburg_politics/House-members-ready-resolution-for-impeachment-proceedings.html

Philly.com says Melvin is suspended without pay. Now the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Comittee can launch an investigation and determine whether to impeach her.

Pennsylvania’s last impeachment was in 1994 (according to the above story).

Minnesota has NEVER impeached a judge. Although Minn. Const. Art. VIII, Sec. 1 gives impeachment powers to the Minnesota Senate,

Section 1. IMPEACHMENT POWERS. The house of representatives has the sole power of impeachment through a concurrence of a majority of all its members. All impeachments shall be tried by the senate.

The Legislature has never adopted procedures for such impeachment process. I happen to know that Minnesota’s judicial reform activists have been pointing this out for years. The Legislature still has not done anything. I guess that means the only process that judges get – is that set forth in the Constitution itself: “No person shall be tried on impeachment before he has been served with a copy thereof at least 20 days previous to the day set for trial.”  (Art. VIII, Sec. 4).

Twenty days’ notice. That’s it.  Those are your procedures, judges. I guess we’ll have to go forward with that.

Minnesota Legislature, what’s going on over there?  The public wants to know why no Minnesota judge has EVER been impeached.  As some people know, impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office.  It does mean to investigate, make an allegation, and perhaps hold a trial.  Why has that process never occurred in Minnesota?

Now, you aren’t seriously going to tell me that there has never been any judicial misconduct in Minnesota, are you?  I mean, no one believes that PR any more.

I sent the below letter to the Legislature (copies for every member were hand delivered) in 2011. I never received any indication that any legislator wanted to dialogue about it, to obtain more information – even though I pointed out that I had transcripts in my office.

May 2011 letter re Martha Holton Dimick as bad recommendation for judge

Not only did I not receive any communication from the Legislature, I received nothing from the Governor’s office.  And Martha Holton-Dimick was appointed judge.

The Public really deserves an answer:  what is going on with these judicial “appointments?”  I mean, it can’t be about who is most qualified to be a judge.

The Public deserves answers to these questions.

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