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J.A.I.L.’s Lies – Part 11

This may end up being a never-ending series given the fact Amendment E proponents seem to have compulsion to mislead the public. The latest comes in South Dakota J.A.I.L.er-in-Chief Bill Stegmeier’s response to a recent op-ed piece by Sioux Falls attorney Dean Nasser Jr. But Stegmeier’s response is largely a repetition of the same old falsehoods we’ve heard before.

Stegmeier first says Nasser claims that J.A.I.L. allows elected officials to be sued individually “but offers no proof.” He then writes, “The fact is, Amendment E deals with judges, not school board and county commission members! The word “judge” appears 35 times in Amendment E. The word ‘school’ … zero. The word ‘county’ and the word ‘commission’ …zero.” Even though this claim has already been rejected by the courts, Stegmeier once again insists on ignoring the proof — the plain language of the amendment he claims to have “authored.”

Since Stegmeier either doesn’t want to or can’t understand “his” own proposal, let’s go through it one more time to see if he and the other J.A.I.L.ers can get a grasp on what it actually says.

The proposed amendment defines “judge” to include “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity.” As Judge Gors ruled, “[J]udicial immunity may extend to any decision maker who exercises judicial functions: petit jurors, grand jurors, school boards, county commissions, city councils, professional and occupational licensing boards, prosecutors and other attorneys.” Thus, as I have previously noted, every time J.A.I.L. refers to “judge” (35 times if Stegmeier’s count is correct), it is referring to the persons who sit on school boards, county commissions and other citizen boards.

Stegmeier next drags out the fallacy that because boards and commissions act as a group, the members cannot be sued individually. I’ve previously addressed this in detail. Yet to show the extent to which Stegmeier either does not understand his own proposal or believes it necessary to mislead the public, he says, “let’s say a person disgruntled with a school board’s decision is bound and determined to sue the school board president. Amendment E neither allows nor prohibits such a lawsuit, in fact it has nothing to do with it.” That is false.

Currently, a suit against a school board president arising out of the board’s quasi-judicial functions would be subject to the defense of immunity. Yet the express purpose of J.A.I.L. is to provide a mechanism by which to take away that immunity, even if the action complained of is “weakening” a person’s case or delaying the proceeding. Contrary to Stegmeier’s assertion, Amendment E has everything to do with whether the school board president could be personally sued and his or her personal assets put at risk for participating in our democracy.

Finally, one of the themes of Stegmeier’s response is the latest J.A.I.L. hallucination — the claim that Amendment E’s application to more than judges is simply a scare tactic hatched by opponents. Yet this is no more than Stegmeier trying to run from his own words and those of the national J.A.I.L. organization. It is yet another example of J.A.I.L.’s continuing effort to reinvent the past when it’s prior pronouncements are contrary to their current version of the “facts.”

So, other than attacking Nasser, the “response” is standard J.A.I.L. practice: lie to and deceive the public. It is no longer ironic ironic that a bunch of extremists who claim to carry a banner of accountability and accuse opponents of lying still refuse to tell the truth about the most basic facts of Amendment E. Rather, it is a sign of desperation and true insight into the type of people behind the proposal.


[Lying] is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later.

Philip Dormer Stanhope

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6 comments to J.A.I.L.’s Lies – Part 11

  • Anonymous

    Tim I don’t care if you post this or not, but let me just tell you how obvious the little brown stains in your pants are getting as we get closer to Nov. maybe that’s what happened to Anderson and he just couldn’t stand it? Either way the days are few…fate and justice will decide.

    ps I find oxy clean helpful with those unsightly skidders in my kids pants. Try it

  • Tim’s insistence that the Amendment will address individual members of boards and commissions and even jurors doesn’t hold water for the following reasons:

    1. Boards and commissions are already sue-able, and in fact get sued quite often. Amendment E does not make them “more sue-able.”

    2. To argue that Amendment E would allow for suing jurors is so laughable it pains me to address it. Jurors make one of three possible decisions; innocent, guilty, or undecided. How in the world could those three possible decisions violate any of the seven enumerated violations addressed in Section 2 of the amendment?

    3. The Amendment addresses “judicial” immunity. The word “Judicial” is an adjective. My Black’s Law Dictionary defines judicial as: “Belonging to the office of a judge; as judicial authority. Relating to or connected with the administration of justice; as a judicial officer. Having the character of judgment or formal legal procedure; as a judicial act. Proceeding from a court of justice; as a judicial writ, a judicial determination.” Boards, commissions, and jurors make decisions, but by definition are not “judicial” decisions, and therefore do not come under the jurisdiction of Amendment E, dispite what Circuit Court Judge Max Gors has to say.

    4. It could be argued that boards, commissions, and jurors have “quasi-judicial” immunity. But nowhere in Amendment E is the term “quasi-judicial” even mentioned.

    5. The reason “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity” was included in the Amendment’s language was just in case judges got smart and started calling themselves by some other title. You know, like “your highness!”

    6. And if all of the above refutations of Tim’s argument are still not enough, then maybe Tim can just walk us through the mechanics of using Amendment E to sue say, the school board president. Let’s see now, first you file suit in South Dakota Circuit Court. The judge dismisses the suit as frivolous, which he most certainly will because you had no business suing the school board president; you should have sued the Board in its entirety. So far Amendment E has not been used. Now you appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court, which is our appeals court here in SD. The SDSC would as usual affirm the lower courts decision. Still Amendment E has had no effect. But finally you are allowed to file a complaint of judicial misconduct with Amendment E’s Special Grand Jury. But your complaint would necessarily have to be against the lower court judge who refused to hear your case against the school board president! Amendment E STILL does not involve the school board President. But it gets better yet. Now you get the grueling task of convincing at least seven of the thirteen Special Grand Jurors that your gripe against the lower court judge has merit, and that you should be allowed to sue that judge for damages. STILL NO DIRECT INVOLVEMENT OF AMENDMENT E WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT. You on the other hand will probably be so exhausted that you won’t recall that your original mission was to sue the school board president. Are we having fun yet Tim? Can anyone tell me where I’m wrong on this?

    Bill Stegmeier
    Sponsor of South Dakota Amendment E

  • Tim, just to keep you up to date on how effective all my “J.A.I.L. Lies” have been, here is a little poll I commissioned:

    Date: September 22, 2006

    To: William Stegmeier
    Sponsor of SD Amendment E

    From: Rebecca Wittman
    315-624-0200 ext 230
    rebecca@zogby.com

    RE: Final Report on SD Judicial Question

    Survey Methodology South Dakota Likely Voters 9/20/06
    This is a telephone survey of likely voters conducted by Zogby International. The target sample is 504 interviews with approximately 15 questions asked. Samples are randomly drawn from telephone cd’s of national listed sample. Zogby International surveys employ sampling strategies in which selection probabilities are proportional to population size within area codes and exchanges. As many as six calls are made to reach a sampled phone number. Cooperation rates are calculated using one of AAPOR’s approved methodologies and are comparable to other professional public-opinion surveys conducted using similar sampling strategies. Weighting by party, age and gender is used to adjust for non-response. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

    Zogby International’s sampling and weighting procedures also have been validated through its political polling: more than 95% of the firm’s polls have come within 1% of actual election-day outcomes.

    Results

    1. Amendment E called the Judicial Accountability Amendment will be on the ballot this November. The amendment would allow the creation of a citizen’s oversight committee or special grand jury which would hear complaints of alleged judicial misconduct against judges. If a judge is found guilty three times of having engaged in judicial misconduct, he or she would be removed from office and could never serve in any judicial capacity in South Dakota again.

    Will you vote for Amendment E or will you vote against Amendment E?

    For 67%
    Against 20
    Will not vote on amendment/Not sure 13

    By more than three to one – 67% to 20% – voters in South Dakota say they will vote in favor of Amendment E which will allow the creation of a citizen’s oversight committee over judges accused of judicial misconduct. Thirteen percent say they are not sure how they will vote.

    A significant majority in every sub-group say they will vote for the amendment. Independents (73%) and Democrats (70%) are more likely than Republicans (62%) to say they will vote for it. Those living west of the river (74%) are more likely to vote “yes” than those living east of the river (65%).

    Men (69%) are slightly more likely than women (65%) to be in favor of the amendment and Catholics (71%) are more in favor than Protestants (63%).

    Among income levels, support for Amendment E is stronger among those earning less than $35,000 a year (about 72%) than those earning more than $75,000 a year (an average of 61%).
    End of Zogby report.

    I don’t know Tim, it looks like you’ve only been able to reach 20% of the voters. Are you sure you’re blogging enough on Amendment E?

    Bill Stegmeier
    Sponsor of Amendment E

  • I wish to add one more very important fact to my 7:07 PM comment which starts with “Tim’s insistence that the Amendment will address individual members of boards and commissions and even jurors doesn’t hold water for the following reasons:”, in #2 of my comment I state:

    ”2. To argue that Amendment E would allow for suing jurors is so laughable it pains me to address it. Jurors make one of three possible decisions; innocent, guilty, or undecided. How in the world could those three possible decisions violate any of the seven enumerated violations addressed in Section 2 of the amendment?”

    Here is what I would like to add: The jury’s decision, innocent, guilty, or undecided (hung), is announced by the jury Forman. The individual jury member’s vote is not public knowledge. So how is it that Tim supports the opposition’s contention that disgruntled criminals could sue an individual jury member when the criminal would have no way of knowing how that jury member voted? I need a little help here Tim. Bill Stegmeier, Sponsor of SD Amendment E.

  • Tim

    Quite simple. In a criminal case, a jury verdict must be unanimous. Therefore, someone convicted of a felony knows every juror voted to convict.

    In civil cases, any party has the right to “poll” the jury, whereby each juror must state whether that is, in fact, their verdict. This same right is afforded criminal defendants. It offers a chance for a juror to change their mind or announce disagreement with the verdict(and it has been known to happen as recently as this year in a South Dakota civil case).

  • Tim, are we strething things a bit here? You say: “Quite simple. In a criminal case, a jury verdict must be unanimous. Therefore, someone convicted of a felony knows every juror voted to convict.

    In civil cases, any party has the right to “poll” the jury, whereby each juror must state whether that is, in fact, their verdict. This same right is afforded criminal defendants. It offers a chance for a juror to change their mind or announce disagreement with the verdict(and it has been known to happen as recently as this year in a South Dakota civil case).”

    # posted by Tim : 11:03 PM

    Ok Tim. Walk us through your senerio of how Amendment E might work. Let’s do a criminal and a civil hypo. I’ve already given you a generic hypo. You have yet to address it.

    Bill Stegmeier,
    Sponsor of SD Amemdment E