Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Liberal and Conservative intersect

I was reading and laughing at the various whiny posts at Huffington Post when I stumbled across one that made me agree with the writer, with the caveat that accepts the post as reasonably true.

The story from Victoria Fine is that her Father is being held indefinitely on Contempt of Court charges from a Judge.

Now, how long have I hated that charge? Pretty much all my life. When I was in school, I took a course that among other things gave a brief introduction into the courts. This instructor was astounded that I believed that Contempt of Court charges violated the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. You see, under this charge by a Judge, you are deprived of liberty without a trial by a jury of your peers. I suggested then that the proper way to do this was to have the charge reviewed and then moved to a trial by jury to see if the actions of the defendant were really contemptuous, or merely the ranting of a holier than thou judge.

Remember the asinine Judge in Niagara Falls New York? He jailed the entire court room over the ringing of a cell phone in his court. He was disbarred for Judicial Misconduct, but really, was his insanity any different than any other claim from a Judge?

Now, I understand that there must be some semblance of control in the court room, which is why I began by stating that it should be reviewed, and before you detain the offender for more than the normal 3 days, that charges be filed and the system allowed to work as it does for every other criminal complaint. I say criminal, because you're not supposed to be jailed for civil matters.

Accountability is the issue. Are the Judges accountable? Usually, no. All too often they're appointed for life, and this is the key. We have to hold the judges accountable. The obvious answer is one that will never be allowed by the legal profession. Have all Contempt citations reviewed by the next higher court. If a State Judge in Los Angeles issues a Contempt charge against a man, and orders him jailed, then the State Court of Appeals should review the record of that charge within three days, to guarantee that the charge is proper.

If it is found to be proper, then the person should be charged properly, and then tried by the prosecutor, and judged by a jury of his peers, not some sanctimonious potentate in a black robe.

Ms. Fine, I agree with you, that this is indeed troubling. This is one of those instances where the smaller Government less powerful Government Conservatives like myself, should support the cause of actual justice and the intent of the Constitution as written, no matter who the victim is.


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