February 10, 2006
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter
or Reform Abusive Government
The Right Upon Which All Other Rights
The Torchbearer for J.A.I.L. Nationally - Support Them!
P.O. Box 412, Tea, S.D. 57064 - (605)
Before The Senate Today
What is your reaction to State Legislature passing a Resolution
critical of J.A.I.L? In one case, a Legislator, Rep. Tom Hennies, said
it would cause "anarchy." I need to know by 1:30 p.m. today for my
colulmn deadline for Sunday.
Thanks. I appreciate it.
My reaction to the Legislature passing
a Resolution critical of J.A.I.L. is that it is unethical and immoral and
has the appearance of a Campaign. The South Dakota Judicial
Accountability Committee has had to use private funds to promote the
Amendment. Why should the Legislature be allowed to use public resources
to oppose the Amendment?
My reply to Rep. Hennies is this: How can
Amendment E, which is designed to enforce law cause "anarchy," which is the
absence of law?
Also David, you may be interested in the testimony I
delivered at the State Affairs Committee meeting in Pierre this
morning. You are bound to hear about it, as the Committee was
perturbed that I declined to answer their
questions following my
testimony. I did however advise them that I would respond to any
written questions they choose to provide.
Here is my testimony of
2-10-06:Good morning Mr. Chairman and Committee
My name is Bill Stegmeier, and I am the Sponsor
of Amendment E.
Legislators pass laws. That's their job. That's
what we pay them to do. That is what they have done from the very beginning. So there can be no doubt that Legislators should be experts
at reading and understanding legal language. Amendment E, the Judicial
Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.), which will be on the ballot in
2006, was not written just so legal experts could understand
it. It was written in plain language so that all who read it may understand it. Therefore we can not give our Legislators the benefit
of the doubt of not understanding it.
Yet you, our South Dakota
Legislature, have passed, or are presently attempting to pass, House
Concurrent Resolution 1004 against the South Dakota J.A.I.L. Amendment,
primarily based on your accusation that the Amendment will put all public
servants at risk of being sued for doing nothing more than their jobs.
This assertion is ludicrous on its face, considering that there are at
least three stumbling blocks to frivolous litigation presently in place or will
be in place with the passage of Amendment E.
#1. Anyone can already sue anyone, even if frivolous. It
happens all the time. But genuine frivolous lawsuits are quickly thrown
out of court by summary judgment. And no, the Amendment will not
"prohibit summary judgment." It will however encourage judges to be
careful not to use "summary judgment" unreasonably.
#2. The Amendment addresses only the Judiciary and specifically
"judicial immunity." Words mean what they mean, providing we all use the same
common English dictionaries.
The Amendment doesn't say anything
about "County Commission Immunity," or "City Council Immunity," or "School Board
Immunity." No, it only addresses "Judges, and all other persons claiming
to be shielded by judicial immunity." Once again, words, such as the adjective "judicial" have a meaning
that is not subject to this Legislative body's, dare I say, caviler
interpretation. "Is" means "is," and "judicial" means "judicial."
the #3 stumbling block to the frivolous litigation that this Legislature
envisions will wreck havoc and even anarchy, on our system of justice,
is the soon to be created Special Grand Jury, comprised of honest, upright,
common sense citizens selected at random from the voting ranks of ordinary
South Dakota citizen/voters!
Yes Gentlemen and Gentle Ladies, Amendment E, whether you like it or not,
returns the ownership of government back to the People, just as our Founding
Fathers had originally designed.
We must ask ourselves why, have our
State Legislative leaders chosen to push this Resolution? We must ask ourselves why is it that our Legislators see a need to protect a judge who
engages in the misconduct that the Amendment addresses?
misconduct covered by the Amendment is the following:
deliberate violation of law
2.. fraud or conspiracy
intentional violation of due process
4.. deliberate disregard of
5.. judicial acts without jurisdiction
blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case
7.. any deliberate violation
of the Constitutions of South Dakota or the
From our perspective, the office of judge should be the most respected
position in our society. In our form of government, the judiciary, the third branch of government, exists to protect all of us from the
the Executive and Legislative branches.
So why does this
Legislature feel the need to shield our South Dakota judges from being held
accountable to those seven awful acts of misconduct that I just
Now let's take a look at the admitted reasoning as set forth in
Resolution HR 1004 designed by, I suppose, the leadership of this
Legislature for the purpose of encouraging the good People of this state to
vote against the Judicial Accountability Amendment:
a.. Amendment E was drafted by a
resident of California.Even if this were true, if a California resident
found a cure for cancer, would the Legislature be against South Dakotan's
using it? The automobile wasn't invented in South Dakota, but all of
our legislators use at least one. Electricity wasn't invented in South Dakota
The Resolution states:
petitions were circulated by paid out of state persons. This is simply a lie
constructed by politicians. In today's fast paced world with the time
limitations imposed by law for the collection of signatures, we contracted
with a company whose business it is to collect signatures for petition
drives. That's the way the world works today. That company generally
hired and paid South Dakotan's to collect signatures. Plus we had many
volunteers. We even had a few volunteers who felt they had such a vested
interested in stopping absolute judicial immunity that they came from their
state to help us. We consider them to be friends and neighbors. Don't our Legislators have friends who live in other states?
a.. The people who supported J.A.I.L.
in California failed to get enough signatures to get it on the
Yep, they weren't able to do it several years ago. So
what? What's that have to do with the People of South Dakota, and this
South Dakota November 2006 ballot issue?
a.. South Dakota voters were told that Amendment
E simply provided for a remedy for intentional judicial misconduct. Well,
that's exactly what it would do, and on an individual basis.
Something that your supposed existing remedy, the Judicial
Qualifications Commission, or as some call it, the "Good ol' Boys
Club" does not do. And neither does removing a judge from office, nor
the appeals process provide a remedy for anyone damaged by a crooked judge
who did one or more of the above seven awful things. That's the reason I
sponsored Amendment E, so the People will finally have a remedy to individual
a.. If approved, Amendment E would allow lawsuits
against all citizen
boards. Not true, UNLESS those citizen boards are
claiming to be within the "Judicial System" and can somehow be accused of
violating those seven awful things mentioned above that Amendment E
Amendment E specifically says: the definition of a judge
is "A Justice, Judge, magistrate judge, judge pro tem, and all other persons
claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity." In other words,
Amendment E would allow lawsuits against everyone who clams to be above the
law. What's wrong with that?
Why do you Legislators want to protect ANYONE who claims to be above the law?
The Resolution states:
Amendment E would authorize and encourage jury nullification in South
Dakota. Well what is jury nullification? It is nothing more then the
right of jurors to determine if the law should be applied in a specific case.
All juries, yes, even in South Dakota, already have this right. They are
just not told of their rights by judges like they used to be told back in the
1800's. That doesn't mean they don't still have that right to judge the law
itself, as well as the facts of the case.
Cops have this right. As a
simple example, if a cop stops someone for speeding and finds out he is on
the way to an emergency, he often will determine right there on the spot if
the emergency is valid and if so, not
issue a ticket or arrest the
person. It is the same sort of discretion that jurys already
have. Amendment E doesn't give juries any additional power that they don't
The Resolution states:
prohibit summary judgment, a legal remedy currently available,
and used to
quickly and inexpensively rid courts of frivolous cases
feathers! Summary judgment is a legitimate procedure used by courts to
arrive at a lawful conclusion of a frivolous lawsuit... and will remain so even
after Amendment E is passed.
a.. Amendment E would
permit convicted felons to sue the people who
convicted them. Have the
authors of this resolution been smoking those same horse feathers?
the seven awful judicial misconduct things I spoke about, which the Amendment is
designed to address. If you were convicted as a result of one of them,
wouldn't you want to be able to sue those who violated your rights?