Red Herring Alert

There's something fishy going on!

Dakota County Discredited Again!

April 13, 2016 | UPDATED: 4 days ago

A former defense attorney jailed for weeks on the subsequently dropped charge that he set his girlfriend on fire — resulting in international news coverage, including a Taiwanese cartoon casting him as a maniac — has filed a federal lawsuit against the law enforcement agencies involved.

David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff's Office)
David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

The suit, filed in federal court in St. Paul last week on behalf of David J. Gherity, 62, and his then-girlfriend Joan Isabella, accuses Burnsville police and Dakota County Attorney’s Office of violating Gherity’s constitutional rights.

It also names two investigators who worked for the department during the 2014 case, along with chief Eric Gieseke and the Hennepin County Medical Center, where Isabella received treatment after the fire.

The suit alleges unlawful arrest and confinement and violation of the “protected liberty interest in his (Gherity’s) good name.” It further alleges the agencies hid evidence, manipulated witness statements and kept Gherity in jail knowing he was innocent.

Joseph E. Flynn, an attorney representing the city of Burnsville, responded, “We find the claims to be completely unfounded, and we will be addressing the specific claims with the actual facts in court.”

Flynn added that Gherity’s arrest was based on “compelling statements of the victim, forensic evaluation and interviews of numerous witnesses. The investigation was thorough, complete and timely, and we had probable cause to proceed with the arrest.”

The Dakota County attorney’s office declined comment.

In February 2014, firefighters were called to the Burnsville condominium where Gherity and Isabella lived, and found Isabella sitting at a table with burns on her head and face, neck and legs.

Gherity, 62, was charged in April 2014 in Dakota County District Court with first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree arson. He was arrested and held in jail from April 2 until May 30 of that year, according to the suit; charges against him were dropped on June 13.

Read More:http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/13/former-defense-attorney-sues-burnsville-police-dakota-county/

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Motion to Reconsider…Ever Retaining a Family Law Attorney

Family CourtWhen getting a divorce, the first thing most people do is contact a family law attorney, as they have been conditioned to believe that they actually NEED an attorney. It’s important to understand that if you retain a family law attorney, you will relinquish control over your life to a highly paid stranger that really doesn’t care what happens to you or your family.

Other perks you can expect when you join the family court club? Well, there’s the membership fees ($50-$100,000 for a contentious split).That amount doesn’t ensure that you will actually have the marital dissolution process completed. It just means that your finances, property and parenting time (if you have kids), will be completely chaotic.  Remember ladies and gentlemen…This is all about conflict for profit!

You can also expect lots of gaslightng. What’s that you ask? Gaslighting is a game of mind control and intimidation that is used as a way of controlling, confusing and debilitating someone. Your ex may engage in it, but the real gaslighting is done with the collusion of the court professionals. They will take any information you present and spin and twist it against you, as well as selectively omit facts and evidence that support your claims. This makes you doubt your own memory, perception and sanity. But remember – you’re not crazy…the systems are!!!

Let’s see, what else do you get in the FC Club? Oh yeah, divorce attorneys do file paperwork and negotiate agreements, just NOT FOR YOU! The swirls of paperwork will be given to you in file boxes which you can dig in frantically over the next 5, 10, 15 or 18 years you’ll be involved in the system if you have kids and it’s contentious. You will be required to collect numerous affidavits from co-workers, friends, family, doctors, teachers and anyone else involved in your children”s lives to prove that you’re a fit parent. You will also get to bring in the court ordered mental health professionals and services that will be a part of your life for years. Who are these “experts”? They include parenting consultants, parenting time expediters, parenting coordinators,custody evaluators, forensic psychologists, guardians-ad-litem, early neutral evaluations, child interviews,reunification therapists, uncoupling therapy and mediation to name just a few.

So what is this really all about??? 2 Word s- MONEY LAUNDDERING! Nothing more-nothing less!

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An interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict. (What they really mean is” dedicated to destroying the lives of children and families”)

Do You Know Your AFCC? YOU SHOULD!

Excerpts

“Completely omitted from this AFCC history is the very relevant fact that Meyer Elkin also co-founded in 1985, the leading fathers rights group-Children’s Rights Counci;. Study these people and their site carefully because it is the “blueprint” of how the courts are organized to rig cases for their paid-up allies. Nobody has to slip an envelope full of cash into the pocket of co-conspirators to rig court cases for these people. It is all done for them by the government. They get their bribes paid for them!

The AFCC claims their focus is on training judges, custody evaluators and mediators about custody and divorce issues. But in reality they are a father focused organization and promoting alienation theories to explain away family violence by men. In reality they act as a “clearinghouse” for organized case rigging.”

“Basic Judicial ethics prohibits judges from belonging to organizations with people who appear before them in the court cases. However, this doesn’t stop the crooked AFCC affiliated judges from appointing Guardian at Litem (child’s attorneys) or court psychological evaluators who are AFCC members to the same cases which the AFCC member judge is handling. Also the AFCC conducts joint conferences with the CRC – fathers rights group – usually on the subject of Parental Alienation – which they all know has been discredited as being not a valid method for use in court evaluations.”

Continue Reading: http://thetruthaboutthefamilycourt.blogspot.com/2010/01/do-you-know-your-afcc-you-should.html


The men and women I have met have been assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayal and fraud and retainment of each of the legal professionals has only aggravated the problems they were employed to remedy.

And if you think you can ever hold these “professionals” accountable for their sins against you, guess again!

7,827 Drug Cases Called into Question After Police Lab Tech Caught Faking Test Results 

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Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned, and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law.”      Senator Richard Blumenthal

Carey Wedler | Anti Media – March 4, 2016

A lab technician for the New Jersey State Polices’ Office of Forensic Science has ‘retired’ early after being caught falsely identifying a substance as marijuana without conducting the proper tests. On Monday, Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon issued a memo to Public Defender Joseph Krakora explaining Kamalkant Shah’s falsified report:

Laboratory Technician II Kamalkant Shah of the New Jersey State Police Laboratory (in Little Falls) has been found to have ‘dry labbed’ suspected CDS specimens. Basically, he was observed writing ‘test results’ for suspected marijuana that was never tested.

According to NJ Advance Media, “Ellie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice of the Attorney general’s office, said in [a] Feb. 22 letter to county prosecutor’s offices that Shah ‘failed to appropriately conduct laboratory analyses in a drug case.’”

The letter, released from the Attorney General to the news outlet on Wednesday, disclosed that “Mr. Shah was observed in one case spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana and recording an anticipated result without properly conducting the analysis.”

The letter advised prosecutors to disclose this information to defense counsel,” NJ Advance Media reported.

The former technician’s indiscretion in that singular marijuana case has now called into question thousands of drug cases he conducted tests for, as the one in question was only the first observed instance of his dishonesty.

As Fallon noted, “Mr. Shah was employed with the lab from 2005 to 2015; obviously all his ‘results’ have been called into question.”

Continue Reading: http://theantimedia.org/7827-drug-cases-called-into-question-after-police-lab-tech-caught-faking-test

Read below about Minnesota’s own problems in the criminal justice system:

Dakota County Public Defenders Lauri Traub and Christine Funk

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Tevlin: Lawyers’ detective work must be commended

JULY 28, 2012

“If I were waiting on us, we’d have coffee by now,” said Traub, who along with Funk has caused upheaval at the St. Paul crime lab by questioning the way it processed drug cases.

Traub made her declaration with authority, but not the authority of a respected defense attorney. She made it with the authority of a waitress at a hotel restaurant, which she is when she is not defending drug dealers or murderers.

You could say Traub is well versed in both torts and tortes.

Together, they have raised questions about the St. Paul crime lab that should scare the bejeebers out of cops, prosecutors and anybody wrongly convicted of a crime.

Continue Reading:http://www.startribune.com/tevlin-lawyers-detective-work-must-be-commended/164151536/


St. Paul crime lab problems aren’t leading to overturned convictions

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COURTESY, DAKOTA COUNTY Judge Kathryn Davis Messerich

This summer, they identified about 1,700 drug cases in Ramsey, Dakota and Washington counties that could qualify for “post-conviction relief” because the evidence originally presented to the crime lab could have been mishandled or misinterpreted. But so far, attorneys in the already strained public defender’s office have filed for relief — anything from a shortened sentence to a dismissal of charges — in 17 cases where defendants were convicted with evidence that relied on the police lab.

Prosecutors have largely taken a hard-line stance on the challenges after a judge ruled earlier this year that evidence that had been retested could be used in court. Since then, many requests haven’t made it past the filing of copious paperwork; judges denied evidentiary hearings where arguments could be hashed out in open court and requests to withdraw guilty pleas were denied. The decisions, made in chambers based on court transcripts and written arguments, are well within a judge’s purview — but frustrate the public defender’s office.

“[Prosecutors] want to hold onto the convictions,” said Jenny Chaplinski, an attorney in the appellate unit who is spearheading the challenges. “That’s their job; I get that.

“I thought there would be a lot more open communication between the public defender’s office, or myself, and the prosecutors’ offices, and that hasn’t been the case.”

Only two defendants have met with some degree of success — their convictions in Washington County were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and they were released early from probation after prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiated.

“In this case, the two lawyers talked and saved everybody time,” said Fred Fink, criminal division chief for the Washington County attorney’s office. “I thought it was a reasonable way to handle things. The state still walked away with a … conviction.”

Chaplinski isn’t optimistic about the status of the remaining cases. Six cases in Ramsey County have been denied post-conviction relief, six are pending and one was dismissed by the defendant. Two are pending in Dakota County.

Both sides face a delicate balance as they continue to navigate fallout from a hearing last year that showed major scientific flaws with how the St. Paul police lab tested suspected drugs. Everyone agrees that the lab had problems even as people were convicted with evidence it produced, or pleaded guilty before evidence could be sent there for testing.

But prosecutors and defense attorneys have clashed about how much review, if any, older cases should receive in light of the revelations. For Chaplinski and others at the public defender’s office, the implications merit thorough vetting — and a hearing in court — for anyone who steps forward.

Continue Reading: http://www.startribune.com/despite-st-paul-crime-lab-failings-few-convictions-overturned/237258871/


Crime Lab Scandals the Focus of New DOJ Plan

DECEMBER 8, 2015 by KATIE WORTH Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships

The equipment in the St. Paul Police crime lab was filthy. Technicians accidentally contaminated some samples, and made fundamental mistakes while testing others. In one case, a Post-it note on a case file indicated that someone not employed by the lab had opened drug evidence and weighed it. In another, a technician used Wikipedia as a “technical reference.”

These were among the findings of two independent reviews of the St. Paul Police crime lab — findings that shocked Minnesota authorities and shut down the facility for six months in 2013. That summer, state public defenders identified 1,700 drug cases that could qualify for “post-conviction relief” because evidence brought to the lab might have been mishandled or misinterpreted.

Continue Reading :http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/crime-lab-scandals-the-focus-of-new-doj-plan/      

Just another fake solution to pacify the public. Anyhow, what ever happened to the 2 Dakota County Whistleblowers?


Attorneys of the Year: Lauri Traub and Christine Funk

Minnesota Office of the Public Defender
Read more: http://minnlawyer.com/2013/02/25/attorneys-of-the-year-lauri-traub-and-christine-funk/#ixzz44OpX9Ijy


Public defender who criticized St. Paul crime lab sues over data privacy breach

Lauri Traub says employees from several police departments and sheriff’s offices illegally perused her driver’s license information.

NOVEMBER 6, 2013 

In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Lauri Traub accused unidentified members of the police departments and sheriff’s offices in St. Paul, Farmington, St. Paul Park, Hastings, Burnsville, Aitkin County, Dakota County and Sherburne County of obtaining personal information from her motor vehicle record about a dozen times since June 2010.

Continue Reading: http://www.startribune.com/public-defender-who-criticized-st-paul-crime-lab-sues-over-data-privacy-breach/230748051/

Christine Funk                                                                   Attorney at Law

Advisory Committee on The Minnesota Rules of Evidence August 2005 – June 2006 Member by Appointment.

Responsibilities included reviewing the Minnesota Rules of Evidence with an eye towards new case law and statutes, making suggested changes and alterations in keeping with current law, as well as trends in Federal Court and around the nation.

Innocence Project of Minnesota  June 2003 – present. Member by Application

Consultant regarding fore nsic DNA issues in cases involving Innocence Project clients. May 2006 – present

May 2006 – present Board Member Consultant regarding forensic DNA issues in cases involving Innocence Project clients. Contribute to pursuit of Innocence Project mission, including education in the community.

Minnesota Forensic Laboratory Advisory Board September 2006 – present Member by Appointment

Technical Working Group on DNA for Defense Attorneys October 2007 – present Member by Invitation National Institute of Justice


Public defender in Fitch trial praised – but the job’s challenges continue

February 11, 2015 By Shaymus McLaughlin

The Pioneer Press detailed the small, yet forceful steps Traub took to ensure her client, Brian Fitch Sr., got a fair trial.

Who could defend an alleged cop killer? She did & would again. Brian Fitch’s defender speaks:

Continue Reading: http://bringmethenews.com/2015/02/11/public-defender-in-fitch-trial-praised-but-the-jobs-challenges-continue/


 

What do we know for sure? These systems are going to collapse, it’s just a matter of when. The way things are going, I suspect it will be soon!

Minnesota’s DWI Test Refusal

Just Saying No: The Limits of Warrantless Searches

A case involving Minnesota’s DWI test refusal statute could yield a major 4th Amendment decision from the United States Supreme Court

0216-Police-DWIMinnesota is one of a handful of U.S. states that have criminalized the refusal to submit to a warrantless search in suspected DUI cases. This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Minnesota case as it determines whether states can make refusing to submit to a warrantless search a criminal act.

Minnesota is in the national spotlight, and in a very big way. This term we expect the United States Supreme Court to issue a major decision regarding the scope of the 4th Amendment warrant requirement, and the Court is using a Minnesota case to reach its decision: Bernard v. Minnesota.

It was the signed confession from a suspected rapist in Arizona that led the Court to issue its watershed decision regarding coerced confessions in Miranda v. Arizona.1 It was Illinois’ decision to relentlessly interrogate a suspected murderer for over 14 hours, while repeatedly denying his attorney’s demands to be present, that led the Court to issue its watershed decision regarding the right to counsel in Escobedo v. Illinois.2 When North Carolina went looking for a weapon used in a reported rape, and claimed that they found it during a “consensual” search despite the fact that the homeowner had been told that she had no right to refuse the search, the Court took the opportunity to reject “consensual” searches in the face of bald claims of lawful authority. That one was Bumper v. North Carolina.3

Why is a Minnesota case drawing such scrutiny from the Supreme Court? Bernard is a case about a drunk driver who refused to submit to an in-custody, warrantless search of his breath. Minnesota, not content to use the fact of his refusal against him as “consciousness of guilt” evidence at trial (something permitted since South Dakota v. Neville4), went one step further and criminalized the very act of refusing to submit to a warrantless search. This term, the Supreme Court is going to answer one broad question and one narrow one. The broad one is simply “can the states make refusing to submit to a warrantless search a criminal act?” The narrow question is closely tied to Minnesota’s (latest) rationale for claiming our test refusal crime is constitutional, and involves treating a breath alcohol concentration test as a “search incident to arrest” and therefore a search that is unprotected by the 4th Amendment.

Continue Reading: http://mnbenchbar.com/2016/02/warrantless-searches/

Gimme A Break!

Former Anoka County District Judge Alan Pendleton suspended from practicing law for 90 days

Alan Pendleton lied to voters about his residence. 

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Alan Pendleton

A former Anoka County district judge who was removed from the bench because he was living outside his district has now been suspended from practicing law.

In a petition for disciplinary action filed against Alan Pendleton in December, the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to suspend Pendleton’s law license for 90 days. The court agreed in an order filed last week.

Pendleton was removed from office in October after he lied to voters about his residence on his affidavit of candidacy. He was living in his wife’s house in Minnetonka, which is in Hennepin County, for eight months starting in December 2013.

In its 39-page decision for removal, the court agreed to the harshest penalty. The majority’s decision said, “In order for the public to have confidence in the integrity of the judicial system, the public must believe that there is an effective system in place to ensure judges abide by our Constitution and follow their ethical obligations.”

Continue Reading:http://www.startribune.com/alan-pendleton-former-anoka-county-district-judge-suspended-from-practicing-law-for-90-days/371567201/


I find it interesting that the court agreed to the harshest penalty for a fairly benign offense. In the Bench & Bar of MN article Summary of private discipline, Timothy Burke states, “Most complaints involving what appear to be allegations of isolated and nonserious misconduct are investigated by a district ethics committee (DEC). The DEC, after investigation, will recommend whether the Director’s Office should find a violation of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) has been committed and, if so, the appropriate form of discipline.”

Many matters in which a lawyer violated the MRPC are resolved through private discipline. In calendar year 2015, 124 admonitions were issued to Minnesota attorneys. Admonitions are a private form of discipline, issued for isolated and nonserious misconduct.

Ok, so the harshest penalty was recommended by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and agreed to by the MN Supreme Court for living outside the district, but the complaints below were dismissed? GO FIGURE! I would like to know the real story behind this disciplinary action as most of the time when a judge or attorney is targeted, they are seen as a threat to the status quo of the corrupt system.

Complaint Against Dakota County Judge David Knutson (Click to view)

Complaint Against Members of “the firm” Pennington, Lies & Cherne, P.A. St. Cloud, MN (See Below-Click to Enlarge)

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The Client Security Board is one part of the comprehensive system of lawyer regulation and public protection. The unique role of the Client Security Board is to help the victims overcome their financial losses caused by dishonest lawyers. The fund may reimburse up to $150,000 for dishonest conduct committed by a Minnesota lawyer. It covers the loss of money or property resulting from lawyer dishonesty, but not because the lawyer acted incompetently, committed malpractice or failed to take certain actions. Financially, the fund remains healthy and able to pay claims promptly should a major defalcation be uncovered. In short, the public remains protected and well-served by the Minnesota Client Security Board. NOT!!!


What do we know for sure?

Excerpt from: Legal Evil? In Their Own Words-Don Mashak

We know that “The Minnesota Legislature just set up “figure head” enforcement agencies to give the “illusion of oversight, law and order” (Simulated Justice) to the general public. The Minnesota Legislature rendered the agencies powerless to do anything about Citizen Complaints and Minnesota Governmental unit transgressions. Our Tyrannical Government counted on most citizens not having the financial resources nor knowledge to follow through on forcing their complaints and/or issues from being addressed and resolved. And for anyone who would dare press the complaints and issues beyond the initial “status quo guardians”, demonization, discrediting and economic retaliation are used to neutralize these voices of discontent and dissent.

SIMULATED LAW AND ORDER – DISTORTING YOUR PERCEPTION OF REALITY
Where are the Government agencies that are supposed to be the checks and balances on our Government?
Where is the Justice Department? Where is the FBI? Where are the County Sheriffs? Where are the County Attorneys? Where are the State Attorney Generals? Where are the people and agencies that are supposed to police the police, the lawyers and the judges? Why didn’t the Minnesota State Auditors Department do more?

All of this money is being spent for these people’s salaries for what? Aren’t these aforementioned Government Agencies supposed to protect WE THE PEOPLE from crime, corruption and the trespasses of our Government?”

Nothing’s Changed in the Rigged Court Game

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Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles by FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Twin Cities News Talk

Because Minnesota deserves the truth.  Posted Saturday, March 31st 2012

Radio Talk Show Host, Sue Jeffers, Minneapolis, MN – News Talk/AM 1130

Guests: Tim Kinley and Lea Banken On Air this Saturday, March 31st @ 1 pm, Judicial Accountability/Judicial Reform  

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Further Historical Information on Minnesota Courts

Posted on September 6, 2012  Carver County Corruption

The Grim Truth About MN Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea

http://carvercountycorruption.com/2012/09/06/chief-justice-lorie-skjerven-gildea-up-for-re-election/

VOTE DAN GRIFFITH FOR MN SUPREME COURT

Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea is up for re-election this November 6th in Minnesota. Lorie Gildea received Banken mother’s  Writ of Prohibition (an emergency appeal) last August 2011. Gildea signed the paper denying Lea`s emergency appeal stating Lea had a remedy; a regular appeal that would take up to a year and thousands of dollars, of which time Lea would have no contact with her three young children. Lea filed her regular appeal and it has now been over a year since she has seen her children ages 2, 6 and 8. Lea`s case is still in appeal, no decision has been made.

Carver County`s Senator Juliane Ortman sent a letter to Chief Justice Lorie Gildea asking for an immediate investigation into Carver County Family Court practices back in April 2012. Link: ORTMAN LETTER Senator Ortman has been approached for years by citizens in Carver County about numerous family court horror stories where mothers lose custody of their children to wealthy ex-spouses with a history of abuse convictions. It is a pattern in this county no one can deny. Senator Ortman and Lea Dannewitz (previously known as Lea Banken) were interviewed by KARE 11 after the Ortman letter went out. Lorie Gildea got wind of the coverage by KARE 11 and sent a letter back to Senator Ortman immediately stating a full refusal to conduct an investigation. KARE 11 stopped the airing of the investigation for reasons unknown.

Lorie Gildea (incumbent) is up for re-election this November 6th. Gildea was appointed into office, not elected. Gildea is not a mother herself and is fully aware of the corruption in Minnesota`s judicial system. Gildea has allowed this corruption to continue. As a result hundreds of Minnesota parents, children and citizens suffer daily.

Every ballot in Minnesota this November will have a judicial section. Lorie Gildea`s opponent is Dan Griffith. Dan Griffith`s quest is to bring accountability back to the judicial system and ensure judges abide by laws and statutes that are enacted by the legislature and approved by the Governor. Currently, judges do not have to abide by the law – there is no remedy to hold them accountable.We have many readers contacting us and asking what they can do to help. Answer: get out to vote this November 6th. Vote Dan Griffith for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and help us bring change to a very broken court system in Minnesota.


Minnesota Supreme Court race

As featured in JP Election Brief: The Supreme Court Special on October 18, 2012.

This year, there are three Minnesota Supreme Court seats up for election: Place 1, Place 4, and the Chief Justice seat. Only 2 of the 3 Supreme Court races were considered in the primary, the Chief Justice and Place 4 seats. In those races, three candidates competed for each seat and the two candidates receiving the most votes proceeded to the general election. In both of the primary races, the incumbent was successful.

In the race for the Chief Justice position, incumbent Justice Lorie Gildea and challenger Dan Griffith won the highest vote percentages and will compete against one another in the general election. In the race for Place 4, incumbent Justice David Stras and Tim Tingelstad will face one another in the general election.

Both incumbents received higher vote percentages in the primaries than their closest competitor. In their respective races, Gildea received approximately 50% of the vote to Griffith’s 29%, while Stras received approximately 49% of the votes to Tingelstad’s 29%, making it very likely that both incumbents will be re-elected.

Place 1 was not contested in the primary, but will see incumbent Barry Anderson compete against challenger Dean Barkley in the general election. Barkley previously served as a lobbyist and campaign manager for former governor Jesse Ventura and is a member of the Independence Party.

In all likelihood, all incumbents will be re-elected to their seats, maintaining the current state of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Gee ya think?!!

Below are the results from the 2012 Election.

Supreme Court

Chief justice

Candidate Incumbency Place Primary Vote Election Vote
GriffithDan Griffith No Chief Justice 29.4%ApprovedA 39.59%   DefeatedD
ClarkJill Clark (Minnesota) No Chief Justice 21%
GildeaLorie Gildea   ApprovedA Yes 49.7%ApprovedA 60.0%   ApprovedA

Place 1

Candidate Incumbency Place Primary Vote Election Vote
AndersonBarry Anderson (Minnesota)   ApprovedA Yes Place 1 58.94%   ApprovedA
BarkleyDean Barkley No Place 1 40.65%   DefeatedD

Place 4

Candidate Incumbency Place Primary Vote Election Vote
NelsonAlan Nelson No Place 4 21.7%
StrasDavid Stras   ApprovedA Yes Place 4 48.8%ApprovedA 55.95%   ApprovedA
TingelstadTim Tingelstad No Place 4 29.4%ApprovedA 43.62%   Defeated

 

JUDICIAL IMMUNITY

By Guest Writer Angela M. Young

The statement “Where Law Ends, Tyranny Begins” is carved in stone on the Stearns County Court house in Minnesota, Seventh Judicial District.

John Locke states in Section 202 of Chap. XVIII “Of Tyranny” in Book II of the Two Treatises of Government that even magistrates must abide by the law:
Stearns Co.3

Image by Angie Young

Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another. This is acknowledged in subordinate magistrates. He that hath authority to seize my person in the street, may be opposed as a thief and a robber, if he endeavors to break into my house to execute a writ, notwithstanding that I know he has such a warrant, and such a legal authority, as will empower him to arrest me abroad. And why this should not hold in the highest, as well as in the most inferior magistrate, I would gladly be informed.”

Where law ends, tyranny begins. Let us talk a bit about judicial immunity. There is an argument that judges must be free from liability in order to allow them to make controversial decisions in the spirit of justice without fear of retribution- Even if said judges are acting corruptly or in bad faith. Think about that! Not only are judges human and subject to human error, and in order to preserve justice and uphold the law, they should be accountable to “fix” their mistakes, but even if they act in bad faith they are completely immune  no matter what damage is done.

According to the book Judicial Misconduct A Cross-National Comparison, by Mary L. Volcansek with Elisabetta de Franciscis and Jacqueline Lucienne Lafon, Complete judicial immunity was never intended, while it is our country’s current reality. Simply put, our district court judges have more authority and less “checks and balances” than the president of the United States of America. The word democracy comes from the roots power (kratos) and people (demos). In theory, US citizens have the power to regulate their leaders to a certain degree- to hold them accountable. This is not reality with judges.

Volcansek stated, “The issues of judicial accountability in democracies is a critical, though often neglected, force in achieving or maintaining democracy.” A judge’s role is to interpret and enforce the law, not to create law. However, Volcansek asserts that in the United States, “…at the national level the emphasis is on judicial independence, and accountability is clearly secondary.” Judicial accountability is beyond secondary, it is overwhelmingly non-existent.

The Minnesota Board of Professional Responsibility (that supposedly addresses complaints against attorneys) is privately regulated (verses state regulated) and funded by attorneys and judges. Doesn’t this seem like a conflict of interest? Or, at very least a lack of “checks and balances” that our country’s fore fathers found to be an imperative component of a government that is fair and just.   ANY other profession that requires a license is state regulated in an attempt to protect consumers. Think about that- ANY other profession: teachers, mental health therapists, doctors, dentists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, foster providers, and the list could go on and on. But not attorneys or judges. The Board of Judicial Standards in Minnesota (that supposedly addresses complaints against judges) is supposedly a state regulated board, but if one files a complaint against  judge, one will likely find no relief,  blaming the consumer for not having the money for an appeal, or if one does, the board itself acknowledges the appellate court has “many inadequacies.” The executive secretary, Thomas C. Vasaly acknowledged to this writer, ““I do not want to imply that your situation is not serious, I don’t want to imply that you have a remedy when you don’t”. This leaves me perplexed! WHAT, IF ANYTHING DOES THIS “BOARD” DO? WHAT ARE OUR TAX PAYER DOLLARS PAYING FOR???????

In Criminal Court, defendants are at risk of losing certain freedoms: the right to vote, to own/possess fire arms, to avoid unlawful incarceration. Therefore, in theory, more rights afforded to such individuals being charged with crimes: the right to a public defender, and more attention and focus of the court of appeals and the Supreme Court to assure such fundamental constitutional rights are protected. The Constitution supposedly affords us the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. Why is that not the case in family court?

What about parental rights? What about the rights of children? Are they not at least as important as the rights of (alleged) criminals? Their rights fall under the blanket of the constitution. Parents wanting to protect their children and act in their children’s best interest- and more importantly- the children they attempt to parent and protect- are vulnerable in family court. If one looks up any appellate court decisions regarding statute violations they will see the Courts basically cutting and pasting case law giving district court judges unilateral discretion. You will find arguments such as “District Courts have broad discretion in determining custody matters,) Goldman v. Greenwood, 748 N.W. 2d 279, 281-82, and that the Appellate Court is directed to “view the record in the light most favorable to the trial courts finds” In re the Custody of N.A.K. 649 N.W. 2d 166, 174 (Minn 2002). Finally, the appellate court asserts, “We cannot reweigh evidence presented to the trial court” Vangsness 607 N.W. 2d at 475. Let us also not forget that justice is not free.  Many people are financially devastated by attempting to protect their children in family court. Often times the parent who “wins” is the one with more money for attorneys, bought and paid for custody evaluators, Guardians Ad Litem, and on and on.

Judicial immunity is unconstitutional. It allows judges to make human mistakes without rectifying them to uphold the law, and in worse case scenarios, allows them to make decisions in bad faith and perhaps, criminally without accountability. “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” –John Emerich Edward Dahlberg-Action

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