J.A.I.L. News Journal
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Los Angeles, California                                           November 21, 2005

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www.SouthDakotaJudicialAccountability.org
 
J.A.I.L.'s Purpose: To Threaten
Judges With Blackmail (Gazette-Times)
 
Gazette-Times
Corvallis, Oregon
November 15, 2005
 
Keep judiciary strong and independent
http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2005/11/16/news/opinion/1weded1116.txt


Almost every day, a letter to the editor arrives regarding Amy Stack's pending sentencing hearing. But unlike most letters, these are not addressed to the readers or editors of the newspaper; they are addressed to Judge Locke Williams of the Benton County Circuit Court. The heartfelt message is expressed in varied ways, but it is essentially the same:

Stack, 28, was not adequately held legally accountable in connection with her role in the 2004 hit-and-run death of bicyclist Robin Jensen, 18. The letters speak of the devastating loss of Jensen. Most take Williams to task for not admitting at trial some of the prosecution's evidence that could have alerted jurors to the possible involvement of alcohol. The letters conclude by urging the judge to impose the maximum sentence possible during Stack's sentencing hearing, scheduled for Thursday.

One letter writer candidly said the letters were part of an organized effort to sway the judge's decision. "Our goal is a letter a day until the sentencing," the writer said.

Not all of the letters were published, only those that addressed readers and raised relevant issues. Besides, we doubt that judges formulate legal decisions based on how many letters are published on the editorial page.

The judiciary is supposed to be an impartial filter of laws and precedents. But the idea that justice is too often hijacked by the law is feeding a growing dissatisfaction with judicial authority. It is rooted in the belief that this authority is too absolute.

In fact, that isn't so. Judges are challenged all the time. They are removed from the bench for judicial misconduct; their decisions are overturned on appeal; they are voted out of office. Yet this growing discontent, as evidence by the often-heard grumbling about "activist judges," is fueling an effort in South Dakota to put a measure on the ballot that would strip judges of their immunity from prosecution.

The goal of this measure is to reverse a century of prosecutorial immunity for judges, presumably to afford citizens what? the right to threaten judges with blackmail if they don't rule the way a litigant wanted, rather than what the evidence and the law requires?

That's certainly a fast road to chaos, and we trust the voters in South Dakota to see the folly in yanking that thread from the fabric of our constitutional democracy.

The legal system has not yet finished with the matter of the hit-and-run death of Robin Jensen. Aside from whatever sentence is imposed Thursday, we foresee a change in state laws that modifies the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident without checking for injury when serious injury or death had resulted.

Our interest as citizens should be to strengthen and make more equitable the laws that protect us all, not to undermine the process by which those laws are administered.


 
The Oregon Gazette-Times has lost all perspective of American History in setting forth that J.A.I.L. in South Dakota will blackmail judges, so it is time they receive a refresher course on history. Our Founding Fathers founded this country on the very same principles the Gazette-Times now blasphemes. We call to witness the voices of those down through American History. 
 
It was Thomas Jefferson, the famed author of our current and respected Declaration of Independence unanimously adopted by Congress July 4, 1776, who said, "The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law."  ~ Thomas Jefferson 
 
Notwithstanding Thomas Jefferson, the Gazette-Times believes that the People cannot be trusted, and that they must surrender their power to the judiciary, i.e., "Keep judiciary strong and independent." This is the very thing our Founding Fathers feared, and sought to avoid.
 
It was Patrick Henry, the man who affirmed, "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death." who said at our Constitutional Convention,  "Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government, and created checks and balances to prevent abuse of power by each branch. But where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny."
 
Thomas Jefferson affirmed the fears of Patrick Henry, "The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceeding to its own will."
 
Further, he said, "The germ of destruction of our nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body - working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."  "At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed us in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping little and little, the foundations of the Constitution, before anyone perceived that invisible and helpless worm had been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account."
 
What he contended was that if America would be destroyed, it will be through a strong and independent judiciary. In other words, if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he would strongly condemn the words of the Oregon Gazette-Times.
 
Senator Sam Ervin stated,  "... judicial verbicide is calculated to convert the Constitution into a worthless scrap of paper and to replace our government of laws with a judicial oligarchy."

U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones on February 28, 2003 stated, "The American legal system has been corrupted almost beyond recognition."
 
In our May 28, 2004 J.A.I.L. News Journal entitled "Why Democracies Fail" we set forth, "The internal collapse of all nations require the concurrence of a nation's judiciary, and without such concurrence, there can be no police state established. Through the passage of more and more laws, with its attendant finger-pointing of blame, People begin to discover hypocrisy, and thus they will learn from government to disrespect law and authority until there is a complete collapse into anarchy and bondage."
 
More recently, on November 14, 2005 we published a J.A.I.L. News Journal entitled, "Beware of The Phrase: Independence of the Judiciary" Therein we completely destroyed the common notion of "Judicial Independence," showing it means exactly the opposite of what those opposing J.A.I.L. attempt to teach. "Independence" as applied to the three branches of government, is always a sword, never a shield. It is for the exercise of power against the other two branches of government. Otherwise, pray tell, how could there exist an independent system of checks and balances of the three branches of government if judicial independence meant what the Gazette-Times attempts to interpret it to mean? It couldn't!  
                                                                                   - Ron Branson
 


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