J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California                                           September 9, 2005
www.SouthDakotaJudicialAccountability.org
 
A Progressive on the Prairie
sdfoad@yahoo.com
June 30, 2005
 
JAIL Escapes From The Asylum
 http://prairieprogressive.blogspot.com/2005/06/jail-escapes-from-asylum.html
Via the observant eye of SD War College comes word of an effort to JAIL the South Dakota judiciary. JAIL is the acronym of the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, for which a petition (PDF format) is being circulated to place on the 2006 election ballot. All I can say is it looks a lot like the inmates trying to take over the asylum.

The proposal would add a 24-part section to the South Dakota Constitution. Basically, it would create a 13-member "Special Grand Jury" to hear complaints against judges. Naturally, "elected and appointed officials, members of the State Bar, judges (active or retired), judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel" are disqualified from serving on the grand jury. Additionally, "[a]ll allegations in the complaint shall be liberally construed in favor of the complainant" and the members of the grand jury "are not to be swayed by artful presentation by the judge."

The grand jury can sanction judges or indict them. If a judge gets "three strikes" civilly, they are removed permanently from office and get half their retirement benefits. If a judge is indicted, the grand jury would appoint 12 "special trial jurors" and "a non-governmental special prosecutor and a judge with no more than four years on the bench" to try the case. If convicted, the jury would impose sentence on the judge. Of course, no judge brought before the "Special Grand Jury" or indicted by it can be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed public counsel or reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained in defending themselves. And since the judges are the source of the need for this entity, the grand jury is to be funded by a mandatory 1.9 percent deduction from all judicial salaries.

Finally, to make sure the proposed amendment doesn't have to worry about the rest of the Constitution, it provides that no judge who would be subject to the "Special Grand Jury" (i.e., every judge in the state) has jurisdiction to hear a challenge to JAIL and any such "pretended adjudication shall be null and void for all purposes" and provide a basis to file a complaint against that judge.

According to the href="../../State_Chapters/dc/DC_initiative.doc" target=_blank>sponsoring organization, the initiative is a grassroots campaign "designed to end the rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system of the United States," which will occur only if the judiciary is made "answerable and accountable to an entity other than itself. The individual circulating the petition, who calls himself the "South Dakota JAILer-In-Chief," appears to be having a skirmish with the Legislative Research Council over the language and form of the measure.

But if the special grand jury is going to be acting as a judge, why isn't it subject to JAIL? And won't it be interesting to look at the names of the people who sign the petition if and when it ultimately gets filed with the Secretary of State?

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The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.   H.L. Mencken
 
Respond to sdfoad@yahoo.com re: comments on this article.


Rebuttal >From J.A.I.L. Author Ron Branson Re:  "J.A.I.L. Escapes From The Asylum"

The above "A Progressive on the Prairie" attributes its credit to the "South Dakota War College" as their springboard for writing "J.A.I.L. Escapes From The Asylum." I am unsure as to what points made therein are supported by the South Dakota War College, or whether "A Progressive on the Prairie" merely took the acknowledged fact of the effort of the www.sd-jail4judges.org, and decided to deride it. One thing for sure is that "A Progressive on the Prairie" proudly boasts its points made therein.

I have unsuccessfully searched the South Dakota War College website for the origin of this article and have found nothing. Perhaps this is oversight on my part, but all I could come up with was a list of current active Initiatives taking place in South Dakota found at: http://dakotawarcollege.blogspot.com/2005_06_26_dakotawarcollege_archive.html 

The S.D. War College informs their readers that there exists an "Initiated Constitutional Amendment to add a new section titled Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.). View full text of petition." This is hardly an expose of South Dakota Judicial Accountability. So, until I know better, I shall place the full responsibility on "A Progressive on the Prairie" (hereinafter "Progressive) for the article I now critique.

It is oft said that we should give credit where credit is due. It is in that spirit I commend Progressive for having actually read the Initiative before taking up their pen to denigrate it. Such is unlike so many others who have failed to do.

Progressive quotes prolifically from the Initiative so as to inform the reader of the true nature of what South Dakota J.A.I.L. is all about that  it will actually win converts to J.A.I.L. rather than drive people away. Our differences seem to ride upon what we each believe how the populace will take to what J.A.I.L. actually says. I have oft said, "If you are going to critique J.A.I.L., attack it for what it says, not for what you wished it would have said." For the most part, Progressive has chosen to attack J.A.I.L. honestly.

The criticism raised by Progressive is, "But if the special grand jury is going to be acting as a judge, why isn't it subject to JAIL? And won't it be interesting to look at the names of the people who sign the petition if and when it ultimately gets filed with the Secretary of State?"

Progressive fails to understand the differences in position and function between that of a Grand Jury and a judge. Judges have jurisdiction to try and to adjudicate cases on the merits when the cases are properly before them, and particularly so where there are no jurors involved. Judges are either elected by the populace or appointed by the governor. Judges may seek re-election, and judges generally are not forbidden from pursuing continuance on the bench. Further, judges may anticipate a retirement.

None of the above is true with the Special Grand Jury. They have no jurisdiction to try a case on its merits, or to second-guess the exercise of a judge's discretion. They are neither elected or appointed. They cannot  seek continuance as a SGJ, and they will never receive a retirement for serving as a SGJ.

There is one another gigantic and outstanding difference between a judge and the SGJ. A judge is a public servant that serves the People in  the third branch of government. He must swear by an Oath of Office to uphold and defend the Constitution to which he is accountable.

The Grand Jury does not belong to any of the three branches of government. Grand Jurors are not public servants, they ARE in fact the People! They do not take an Oath of Office, for they hold no government office. 

God created the People, the People created the Constitution, the Constitution created the three branches of government, and all three of those three branches of government "derives it just powers from the consent of the governed [the People], that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."  ~ The Declaration of Independence.

As to the quote from H. L. Mencken, to wit;  "The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic."   It is obvious that Progressive's problem is not with the South Dakota Judicial Accountability Initiative, but with the founding document that established our country, namely the Declaration of Independence. The above quote asserts that all of our Founding Fathers were idiots, and that he disagrees with the American form of government they established by our Constitution. 

Further, by Progressive relying upon such a ridiculous quote, shows they do not believe in our American form of a government of the People, but rather advocates a government of the government - the People be damned! What a shame!

-Ron Branson
Author/Founder of J.A.I.L.


J.A.I.L.- Judicial Accountability Initiative Law - href="../../State_Chapters/dc/DC_initiative.doc">www.jail4judges.org
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