February 2005

Demanding Accountability

Legal "Craft"

By Curt Chancler and Jeanne Wollman

Cries of outrage resonate throughout the country as government officials, both elected and hired, trample the rights of the citizen. The most common response when discussing their lack of attention to our rights is “No! They can’t do that!” Unfortunately they can and are. Public officials are allowed to break the law through several legal avenues. They can simply ignore the law, pervert the law for their own agenda or make a law that perverts the law. It is the arrogance of unlawful power.

The most egregious cases with perhaps the most potential for damage to the American way of life are Pierson v Ray, Imbler v Pachtman and Briscoe v LaHue.

PIERSON v. RAY, 386 U.S. 547 (1967) establishes immunity for judges even when they are acting maliciously and corruptly in order that they are “at liberty to exercise their functions with independence and without fear of consequences.” This is noted as per Scott v. Stansfield, L.R. 3 Ex 220, 223 (1868) as quoted in Bradley v. Fisher, supra, 349, note, at 350.

Do you really think judges are acting in the public’s best interest when stifling or misconstruing the law? Or, if they are acting “maliciously and corruptly”? What about the judge that comes to court unprepared or dozes off during testimony? Do you think it is to the public’s advantage to have a judge corrupted whether through intent, a basic meanness of spirit, or laziness?

In IMBLER v. PACHTMAN, 424 U.S. 409 (1976) the Supreme Court held that a state prosecutor acting within the scope of his prosecutorial duties was absolutely immune to civil suit for damages even if the allegations of wrongdoing were true.

Does this doublespeak mean that it is okay for the prosecutor to act illegally if he perceives this to be within the scope of his prosecutorial duties? Prosecutors pledge to obey the Constitutions of the United States and the state and to faithfully and honestly perform the duties of the office. Yet, the Supreme Court decrees that the prosecutor is immune to civil suit even if the allegations of wrongdoing are true!

In BRISCOE v. LAHUE ET AL it states that Title 42 U.S.C. 1983 (1976 ed., Supp.V) asserts that a claim for damages cannot be made against a police officer for giving perjured testimony at the defendant’s criminal trial.

In other words when an officer of the law, under oath, gives perjured testimony which results in a defendant being convicted, there are no sanctions, but if Martha Stewart talks informally to an FBI agent she goes to jail. What is wrong with this picture?

There is case after case where the rights of the people are trampled while those in government are elevated to the status of superior beings in direct violation of our Constitution and the law. When the Laws of our nation are twisted to allow perversions such as these, why are there no howls of outrage or demands for change?

The first thing is recognition of the problem. The word must be spread that some within the government have contrived to seriously diminish the citizen’s rights to equal protection under the law.

Too many laws now fall under statutes, ordinances and codes which are dealt with administratively. Even though the laws are to follow constitutional precepts, they do not. In the interest of more money and control for the county or city the public has been sold a bill of goods that costs them greatly in time, money and loss of rights. Our commissioners, mayors, judges, officers of the law and some public employees have opted for more restrictive laws that diminish our rights in order to enhance their positions and powers. They are empire building!

Anyone involved with court watch will quickly see that our courts are too often money machines that oppress the innocent as quickly as the guilty. There are instances where the system is far more lucrative for the attorneys than their clients. The administrative courts—probate, social security, forestry, IRS, etc.— often do not offer the full protection of a judicial court and can ruin the lives of those appearing before them.

At every level of government the citizen must ascertain whether each law does align with Constitutional dictates. Question whether your public servants are following the law. Read and know your Constitution. Many legislators have copies for their constituents.

While you are at your legislative office question your legislator and check his voting record. Do not assume he is working for you. If he is not courteous and willing to talk to you, remember that the next time you vote. Make sure your public official follows through on the promises made while campaigning. Remember that at every level of government you are the boss and they are the employee! If you hold their feet to the fire…

It must be noted that many, government employees are diligent and honest, doing the best job they can. They deserve our highest accolades.

What must be rooted out are those public servants who no longer believe in government by, for and of the people. Americans are not serfs! Our rights must be closely guarded and defended when necessary. The government should never be allowed to break the law in order to enforce a law. All statutes or case law dealing with immunity must be done away with and our legislative branches of government are the ones that can accomplish this. It is imperative that we re-gain control of our judiciary and justice system and put an end to judges who create their own laws, lawyers who swindle their clients and officials who act above the law. All public servants must be accountable, not immune.

It is your efforts that pay for this government. Are you getting your money’s worth? Ask questions. Demand answers.




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