You may recall that this blog and South Dakota War College are accused of not discussing “the actual issue” when it comes to South Dakota’s Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.). And while it’s interesting to see the new attacks launched on us, I find it more fascinating to see how the local J.A.I.L.’s website is actually the one straying farther and farther from the real issue.
In its FAQ advising readers that J.A.I.L. is “South Dakota all the way,” the website tells us “for the most part, and a few troubling exceptions aside, we are proud of our judges.” The main page says J.A.I.L. will mean “the end to the small number of judges who operate outside the law and in the interests of certain groups.” Certainly, J.A.I.L. would make the public aware of those judges “who operate outside the law” so know how desperately we need the amendment to get rid of those “troubling exceptions.” Don’t hold your breath.
When it comes to talking about why South Dakota needs J.A.I.L., that website tells us that the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct censured one New York judge and called for the removal of another. It then provides a “Newsflash” that a state appellate court in New York reinstated six felony counts against another judge in that state. It also reports that the Ohio Supreme Court is investigating one of the lower court judges in that state and it appears a South Carolina magistrate was arrested for accepting drugs from and doing favors for a relative.
Despite the fact these aren’t South Dakota judges and J.A.I.L. isn’t on the ballot in any of these states, these cases do have a couple things in common with South Dakota. First, we would all have to admit that South Dakota and South Carolina share a first name. The other is all these actions came from the very type of existing systems J.A.I.L. claims are inadequate to deal with judicial misconduct.
After mentioning the specific cases in New York, Ohio and South Carolina, the J.A.I.L. website reports there are problems in “a host of other states.” The link for that phrase takes you to a website run by none other than Bonnie Russell, J.A.I.L.’s “publicist.” Guess what? South Dakota is never mentioned in the page to which the link takes you. Instead, as the page says, it “concentrates on California judges.”
Also, the inaugural post at a new pro-Amendment E blog states, “Anyone whom [sic] has had dealings with [the judicial] branch of government knows the problems.” A nice broad sweeping statement that, like virtually everything else with J.A.I.L., is without a single example or documentation. The next post then makes reference to a federal judge in Detroit who retaliated against a guy who allegedly lied to him when called as a prospective grand juror. This has the same problems as above. Detroit is, to my knowledge, not in South Dakota. Even if the judge were in South Dakota, he is a federal judge and J.A.I.L. would not apply to him.
Perhaps J.A.I.L.’s old website indicates why J.A.I.L. talks about anything but South Dakota judges. Last year, J.A.I.L. asked South Dakotans to submit their “Courtroom Horror Stories.” On November 6, 2005, the South Dakota J.A.I.L.ers were going to select and award cash prizes to “the three most horrendous accounts of courtroom abuse experienced here in South Dakota.” After announcing the winners that day, South Dakota J.A.I.L.ers were going to post the horror stories on the website. More than five months later, we’re still waiting for the winners to be announced. And in what is undoubtedly nothing more than a freak coincidence, the national J.A.I.L. organization’s “Black Collar Crime LogBook” also doesn’t list a single case or incidence in South Dakota.
As demonstrated by the recent J.A.I.L. Lies series, opponents aren’t afraid to talk about the real issue, which is the idiocy, misrepresentation and potential impact of the J.A.I.L. amendment. It seems the “actual issue” J.A.I.L. proponents have is trying to explain why South Dakota needs J.A.I.L. and why they keep moving shells around to avoid the fact they have yet to identify abuse in the South Dakota judicial system.
When lying, be emphatic and indignant, thus behaving like your children.