Hold their feet to the fire

Supporters of the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) are always trotting out the claim that the initiative only applies to “judges.” That’s true but the rub lies in what they don’t tell you.

J.A.I.L. says the term judge includes “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity.” So who falls in that category? The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has nicely summarized (PDF file) the parts of the legal system to which judicial immunity can apply:

Among those the [Supreme] Court has found immune are: (1) prosecutors, when initiating a prosecution and presenting the state’s case, (2) prosecutors, when taking acts and making decisions in preparation for the initiation of a prosecution or trial, (3) administrative law judges and agency hearing officers, when performing adjudicative functions within a[n administrative] agency, (4) agency officials, when performing functions analogous to those of a prosecutor, (5) agency attorneys, in arranging for the presentation of evidence in the course of an administrative adjudication, and (6) individuals, when acting within the scope of their duties, who participate in the judicial process, such as grand jurors, petit jurors, advocates, and witnesses.

(Emphasis added and citations omitted.)

That’s right, someone who invokes J.A.I.L. can not only ask to sue the judge, they can also go after the jurors and even those who testified in the case. All he or she needs to do is claim these individuals acted in “deliberate disregard of material facts.” How many people do you think are out there who believe they lost their lawsuit or were convicted because the judge or the jury chose (deliberation) to ignore (disregard) the facts the litigant thought were important (material facts)?

So, don’t take at face value J.A.I.L.’s claim that the initiative applies only to “judges.” Press the J.A.I.L.ers on this point on the South Dakota Focus broadcast, at Brandon Saturday afternoon or at any of the other public forums to see if they tell you the truth — that J.A.I.L. can let people sue not only elected officials other than judges but also jurors and witnesses for doing their job.

The true motives of our actions, like the real pipes of an organ, are usually concealed. But the gilded and hollow pretext is pompously placed in the front for show.

Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon or Many Things in Few Words

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