As the Judicial Complaint against Senior Judge David Hittner is dismissed by Chief Judge Priscilla Owen, it’s another daily reminder of the unlawful and erroneous opinion of this court in 2016, when it referred to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as the mortgage servicer as part of a manufactured opinion #15-20201 to reverse and remand in favor of the admonished bank.
Upon review of the threatening dismissal of the Burkes complaint against Hittner, the response is typical of this circuit, it is shambolic, error laden and cynical.
“The Burkes Wanted Certain Judges to be Shot.” – admitted liar Attorney Mark Hopkins stated in open court, intentionally repeated and then concluded by saying he – “wanted this to end, sooner than later…”
The court has dismissed not only a judicial complaint, but patently condones a lawyer, Mark Daniel Hopkins of Hopkins Law, PLLC, Austin, Texas repugnant acts. Hopkins came before the lower court and falsely accused the Burkes of wanting ‘certain judges shot’ to the apprentice magistrate judge, Peter Bray (under the ‘management’ of Snr United States District Judge David Hittner). The magistrate judge joined in the assault on the Burkes, including stating that this was “way more serious than a counter claim” and shouting at John Burke “Are you a criminal?” – without first fact-checking Hopkins [self-admitted] lies before the court, witnesses and the shocked Burkes.
It is without doubt, a continued threat management tactic with the blessings of the Department of Justice. The Burkes have been under surveillance for an extended period by the United States government responsible for judicial security. The Burkes are hardly the profile for this type of surveillance. However, when the Burkes uncovered and revealed the sheer scope of judicial corruption in the courts and government in the U.S., apparently that is all that is deemed necessary to stalk and abuse these elderly citizens. Any ethics, civility and justice are set aside, indefinitely.
The Chief’s Decision is Unconstitutional and a Perfect Example of Why Litigants Do not Trust the Federal Judiciary and Why Judges Should Not be Judging Themselves. It’s an Auditor’s Worst Nightmare as this is Rife for Fraud and Corruption, as Witnessed Here.
For the Chief Judge to then claim (see order below) the Burkes complaint is ‘merit-based’, conclusory and issue a warning violates the Judicial rules as well as in contradiction of Supreme court precedent and in conflict with ‘The Breyer Report’ standards.
As you will see below, combined with the order (PDF version) there is an enclosed pack from the Fifth Circuit regarding the rules. LIT has comprehensive articles including the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings on our website It’s very evident from the record that this circuit court deals with judicial complaints as an inconvenience, a necessary chore.
This is reflected by the outdated members of the council and also how they list the complaints, as required, on their website.LIT has even replicated their dismissive listings into a simple yet dynamic database of the complaint history.
However, in keeping with this circuit’s disdain for complainants, they fail to maintain the register of complaints in a timely manner e.g. the Burkes complaint is still not listed on the 5th Circuit website.
A review of sister court the 11th Circuit shows a similar style as to what LIT has designed, a tabular, searchable, sortable database.
United states Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
November 10, 2020
Lyle W. Cayce Clerk
Pro se litigants Joanna Burke and John Burke [“the Burkes”] have filed a complaint alleging misconduct by Senior United States District Judge David Hittner in Burke v. Hopkins, STX No. 4:18-cv-04543.
The Burkes, who describe themselves as “80+ year[s] old,” allege that Judge Hittner engaged in a “consistent pattern of bias” against them.
For example, the judge:
– denied the Burkes’ motion for electronic filing privileges on February 13, 2020 and, on March 14, 2020, “refused an extension of time to allow the Burkes to amend their complaint when Joanna Burke was gravely ill in hospital,”1 decisions which resulted in Mr. Burke’s having to disregard the Texas Governor’s “stay at home” orders to drive to the courthouse on March 29 during “a worldwide plague” to “hand-deliver the documents … while [Mrs.] Burke was in hospital on her own”;
– overruled the Burkes’ objection that Magistrate Judge Bray’s Memorandum and Recommendations was “premature”;
– failed to “start formal perjury, contempt or other disciplinary action” based on the Burkes’ objection that defendant Mark Hopkins, an attorney, “twice pos[ed] premeditated lies” about them during a September 10, 2019 status conference before United States Magistrate Judge Peter J. Bray;
– took no action on their objection that to cover-up his improper and prejudicial conduct during the conference, Magistrate Judge Bray “doctored” the transcript and audio-recording and “significantly delayed” providing the Burkes with copies of those records;2 and,
– canceled a scheduled March 19, 2020 status conference on March 17, and “sordidly exploited and abused his authority as a Judge for malicious and vindictive reasons” by entering final judgment. in favor of the defendants on March 18, thereby “intentionally depriv[ing] [us] of [our] right to a fair hearing.”
The Burkes submit that Judge Hittner’s “uncivilized and unlawful” conduct “can only be described as heinous when targeted towards sick, disabled and elderly citizens before the court and in defiance of a pandemic.”
To the extent that these allegations relate directly to the merits of decisions or procedural rulings, they are subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 352(b)(l)(A)(ii).
In other respects, any assertions of “willful misconduct” or bias appear entirely derivative of the merits-related charges, but to the extent the allegations are separate, they are wholly unsupported, and are therefore subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 352(b)(l)(A)(iii) as “lacking sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred.”
Judicial misconduct proceedings are not a substitute for the normal appellate review process, nor may they be used to obtain reversal of a decision or a new trial.
This is the Burkes’ third merits-related and conclusory judicial misconduct complaint.
The Burkes are WARNED that should they, together or separately, file a further merits-related, conclusory, frivolous, or repetitive complaint, their right to file complaints may be suspended and, unless they are able to show cause why they should not be barred from filing future complaints, the suspension will continue indefinitely.
See Rule IO(a), Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.
The complaint is DISMISSED.
Priscilla R. Owen
Chief United States Circuit Judge
November 8, 2020
“She reflexively favors manufacturers over consumers, employers over workers, and insurers over sick people,” said the @nytimes in an editorial opposing her appointment.
“Owen,” explains McDonald, Texans for Public Justice “is a Karl Rove special.” pic.twitter.com/7y5QuSsPl0
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) November 15, 2020
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Protecting Judicial Officials:
Implementing an Effective Threat Management Process
A successful threat management process consists of 10 basic elements, each integral to all the others. They compose the golden rules of contemporary threat management and demonstrate how the judiciary can identify, assess, investigate, and manage risks of violence to judicial officials. Following these 10 rules will allow the judicial threat manager to implement an effective threat management process.
10 Golden Rules for Effective Threat Management
Recognize the Need for a Threat Management Process
Assign Responsibility of Managing Cases to Trained Threat Managers
Provide Training for and Establish Liaison With Protectees and Court Staff
Create an Incident Tracking System With Well Documented Files
Establish Liaison With Other Agencies
Use Consistent and Valid Threat Assessment Methods
Conduct Thorough Fact Finding
Apply Threat Management Strategies Flexibly and Intelligently
Communicate With Protectees in a Professional, Confident, and Competent Manner
Manage Cases Appropriately
https://t.co/7dpyf1Q5HQ ⬆️Outlaws in Dirty Robes ⬆️ @judicialnetwork @JCNSeverino @CREWcrew @Public_Justice @Public_Citizen @ACLU_Mass @ACLUTx @SCOTUSblog @alexkotch @AlKapDC @Shayan86 @StarTribunePR @OpenSecretsDC @dailyposter @monthly @BresPolitico @ewarren @katieporteroc pic.twitter.com/Z1Qcu2CFAf
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) November 14, 2020
Rule 1. Recognize the Need for a Threat Management Process
Courts resolve disputes. They provide a neutral arena for judging emotionally charged controversies.
Disputants bring their quarrels before the bench. Each wants his or her claim sustained, each requests vindication. Most who stand before the court ultimately accept the court’s rulings, however adverse to their own interests. But some will not and only care for the result that most benefits them. When these individuals’ views clash with the court’s decision, violence may result.
Why do courts need threat management programs?
Because angry individuals, once denied their own sense of justice, may turn to violence for exoneration, vengeance, or even salvation.
They may direct their anger, revenge, and fears at the officials who personify the judicial process: the judges, prosecutors, clerks, and others who work within the system.
So it is no coincidence when these attacks occur at the courthouse, as the building itself symbolizes both dispensed and desired justice.
Without a competent threat management process to identify, assess, and manage potential threats, the justice system risks missing any opportunity to intervene and defuse the situation.
In addition, the number of these disgruntled individuals appears to be growing.
Reports at the federal level show a steady increase throughout the 1990s in inappropriate communications or contacts (IC&Cs) directed toward federal jurists.
The number of IC&Cs reported to the U.S. Marshals Service rose from a couple of hundred a year in the early 1990s to more than 700 in 2004.
Since 1979, three federal judges have been killed. In March 2005, a former claimant and suspect confessed to killing a federal judge’s husband and mother. Prior to 1979, only one federal judge was killed.1
Clearly, a ground shift occurred that resulted in a significant increase in the risk to federal judicial officials.
No comparable national data have yet been compiled on the risks to state and local judicial officials.
Informal research by the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) suggests that during the past 35 years, eight state or local judges have been killed.
Another 13 were physically assaulted.
Three local prosecutors were killed, four assaulted.
At least 5 law enforcement officers have been killed at local courthouses, 27 assaulted. At least 42 court participants have been killed at local courthouses and 53 assaulted.
In March 2005, a Fulton County, Georgia, jail prisoner delayed his escape long enough to seek out the judge presiding at his trial. After overpowering a deputy sheriff, he killed the judge and a court reporter in the courtroom, then killed another deputy sheriff outside the courthouse.
Risks to State and Local Judicial Officials: The Past 35 Years
8 state or local judges have been killed.
13 state or local judges have been physically assaulted.
3 local prosecutors have been killed.
4 local prosecutors have been assaulted.
5, if not more, law enforcement officers have been killed at local courthouses.
27 law enforcement officers have been assaulted at local courthouses.
42 court participants have been killed at local courthouses.
53 court participants have been assaulted at local courthouses.
A 1999 survey of 1,029 Pennsylvania state judges found that 51.8 percent reported being the target ofan IC&C sometime during the previous year.
In addition, more than 25 percent of the 1,029 state judges were physically approached, 1.2 percent were assaulted, and—more disturbing—more than one third admitted that they had changed their judicial conduct as a result of the experience.
Judges compelled to change their judicial conduct may sacrifice justice for security.
The risk extends beyond the individual jurists and goes directly to the ability of government at the state, local, or federal levels to ensure justice to its citizenry.
Attacks on the judiciary are assaults on the system of justice—one of the most crucial elements of democratic self government.
Rule 2. Assign Responsibility of Managing Cases to Trained Threat Managers
Establishing a threat assessment process must be emphasized, rather than a threat management unit or program, because a specific composition or quantity of resources should be determined locally. Depending on the size of the court, potential number of IC&Cs that might be reported, and number of cases that might be opened, the threat management process can be handled by a fully staffed unit of threat managers or by one person as a parttime collateral responsibility. Workload should be the principal criterion for determining the number of personnel and resources dedicated to the process.
Whatever the size or composition, whoever is assigned threat management responsibilities should be trained, and the training should be refreshed periodically. A number of organizations provide threat management training, and there is a growing library of research, articles, and books on contemporary threat management that can be accessed to better prepare staff. In addition, agencies and organizations, including the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, are reexamining concepts such as “secure by design” to determine their role in this crime prevention arena.
Rule 3. Provide Training for and Establish Liaison With Protectees and Court Staff
The next step in establishing an effective threat management process is to train court staff in what to report and how to report IC&Cs. Training staff helps the threat manager obtain the initial facts, unembellished by exaggeration or worry, as quickly as possible. Although key staff like judges, prosecutors, and chief clerks should be well trained, the majority of reports the threat manager will receive will come from receptionists, mail handlers, perimeter security officers, parking lot attendants, telephone operators,
cafeteria staff, and the newsstand operator. These are the people who deal most with the public. They are more likely to see, hear, or receive any IC&Cs, no matter who is targeted. Training them on what information to report and how to report it will ensure that the threat manager gets reports on IC&Cs in a timely and accurate manner.
Rule 4. Create an Incident Tracking System With Well Documented Files
Controlling the flow of information requires information management. Depending on workload, managing the information may require something as simple as an index card system or as sophisticated as a computer database. The system needs to be designed to retrieve information quickly and efficiently. It should include not only demographics on the subject, but also key words used by or topics of known interest to the subject. The latter may prove crucial in identifying anonymous subjects. At a minimum, the following variables should be captured for each IC&C:
How the IC&C was delivered.
Content of and exact quotes from the IC&C.
Suspect’s motive, especially in relation to a court case.
With information on these variables, the threat manager can manage current cases, crossreference previous cases, share information on contentious cases or problem individuals as a case works its way up the appellate process or across jurisdictions, and create an institutional memory for that judicial setting.
Whatever system is created, it should be designed for easy sharing with other agencies and jurisdictions, ideally as part of regional and national information sharing networks.
The Obtuse. https://t.co/4TWyk1JLyh @sambrodey @mindyfinn @lomikriel @elizabethcrisp@Jordanfabian @benyc @ChrisMarquette_ @russbuettner @AndrewSolender @asmamk@A_W_Gordon @SenDuckworth @SenJoniErnst @SenGaryPeters @SenatorTimScott @SenTinaSmith @SenStabenow @stevenmnuchin1 https://t.co/2zKKYgcmLk pic.twitter.com/3uIaS7futs
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) November 17, 2020
Rule 5. Establish Liaison With Other Agencies
It is absolutely vital for the threat manager to reach out beyond the courthouse to make contact with law enforcement agencies, private security firms that provide protective services, and other judicial entities. The threat manager must have information flowing from all sources, both inside and outside the courthouse, because only through information can the threat manager begin to fill in the pieces of the puzzle. Information from disparate sources can link one IC&C to another and reveal relationships, motives, past behaviors, and previous actions of the subject—in and out of court.
Rule 6. Use Consistent and Valid Threat Assessment Methods
After receiving the initial IC&C report and gathering as many facts as are immediately available, the threat manager must next make an initial assessment from which to design the immediate protective response, set a course of fact finding, and begin identifying the most appropriate threat management strategies. A number of experts have developed some facile assessment tools to help the manager think through the case. For example, there are now tools that provide a comprehensive approach when used together. Threat managers can apply each tool in every assessment, as each allows the threat manager to examine what is known from a different angle. In combination, they provide a thorough assessment of the entire situation. Employing all of these tools helps the threat manager identify what is not known, thus giving direction to the protective fact finding.
These assessment tools address four broad but related questions. In each case, the threat manager should always ask:
What are the circumstances surrounding and context of the IC&C?
What stakes are involved, from the subject’s point of view?
Each of these questions focuses on different aspects of the subject’s behaviors, motive, and intentions.
The first question simply requires the threat manager to describe the IC&C, how it was delivered, to whom it was delivered and directed, what message it says or conveys, and what may have prompted it.
The second question deals with what may be at stake in any court case involving the subject. It addresses how desperate or driven toward violence the subject feels.
The third question seeks to determine if the subject has engaged in behaviors common to attackers or assassins.
The fourth question takes the opposite tack and asks if the subject’s behaviors compare similarly to the way non-attackers behave.
Rule 7. Conduct Thorough Fact Finding
Protective fact finding focuses on collecting facts concerning the circumstances of the IC&C and what prompted it, the subject, the target’s relation to the subject, the subject’s past behaviors, and the subject’s current behaviors. The purpose is to gather enough information and evidence to support an accurate and complete reassessment of the potential risks and the best way to defuse them. The judicial setting contains two valuable aspects, each of which offers a distinct advantage to the threat manager.
First, the target and his or her staff can be an invaluable source of information about the subject, the subject’s issues and motive, and the subject’s demeanor under stress. For instance, because most IC&Cs to judicial officials are initiated by a court case, the target frequently has some knowledge or suspicion about the subject and knows the details of the case. Often, court employees have observed how the subject behaved in court. In addition, court records are readily available in the clerk’s office.
Reviewing the records of the case may educate the threat manager about the issues and motivations that
assessing how desperate the subject may feel is readily available from the case files, the target, the IC&C, court staff who have dealt with the subject, and the subject’s friends and family, as well as through interviews with the subject.
Rule 8. Apply Threat Management Strategies Flexibly and Intelligently
The strategies for defusing the risk to judicial officials are best conceptualized as different options arrayed along a spectrum, where each option falls within the range that is determined by the option’s effect on the subject. The spectrum reaches from discreet, passive defensive measures at one end to intrusive, confrontational acts at the opposite end. The strategies run the gamut from doing nothing that directly affects the subject to using the authority of the law to restrain the suspect. The figure below illustrates the range of threat management strategies available for defusing the risk to judicial officials.
Figure 1: Threat Management Strategies
The threat manager should consider all of the strategies, weighing the effectiveness of each given the particular and unique aspects of the case at hand. Each one has specific advantages and disadvantages, and each should be used only when certain conditions apply.
The threat manager must determine which one offers the best chance for defusing the risk in the case at hand at that particular moment.
Once a strategy has been identified and implemented, the threat manager should immediately recognize that the situation has changed precisely because a strategy has been employed.
The change requires reevaluating the case, assessment, and strategy, which may result in using other strategies.
Rule 9. Communicate With Protectees in a Professional, Confident, and Competent Manner
The threat manager should take care, by word and deed, to reassure the target and his or her staff that the threat manager is a professional problem-solver and that the responses to the incidents are under control.
In implementing the appropriate protective responses, the threat manager should never increase the protectee’s and staff’s fears by projecting the wrong attitude or sharing information they might misinterpret.
Frequent updates and open lines of communication with the protectees and their staff will help the threat manager keep them calm, attentive to instructions, and willing to follow the threat manager’s lead.
Judges, counted on to “be in charge,” are frequently tempted to take charge. This should be avoided.
The threat manager should always provide some protective response every time an IC&C is reported. Protective responses range from providing a security briefing at a minimum to a fullfledged protective detail or target relocation at the maximum.
The selection of the appropriate protective response should be directly proportioned to the assessment and findings of any protective investigation.
Always providing some level of protective response serves two purposes.
First, it enhances the protectee’s security. Even a security briefing reminds the protectee to take simple precautions and be aware of and immediately report any suspicious incidents.
Naturally, going up the scale of protective responses adds even more security. Provided that each response is in proportion to the threat assessment, the results of the protective fact finding, and the success of the threat management strategies, the threat manager will maintain a balance between needed security and limited resources.
Second, always implementing some degree of protective response sends a positive signal to the protectee. It helps underscore the threat manager’s professionalism, competence, and concern. That signal will help allay the protectee’s fears and give him or her the reassurance that everything necessary is being done.
Rule 10. Manage Cases Appropriately
Threat management cases are seldom open and shut. They begin when an IC&C, not necessarily a crime, has been directed toward a protectee. But unlike criminal cases, they have no climactic point of closing.
Even the most blatant and direct threatener can be arrested and convicted of that crime but continue threatening or, worse, plotting, from jail.
An anonymous subject may direct an IC&C toward a judicial official, then never be heard from again.
When can either case be closed?
Neither arrest and conviction nor time’s cooling effects seem enough to support case closure.
Threat management cases are not about investigating or solving crimes. They are about managing an individual’s behavior. Threat managers do not have a caseload of crimes assigned to them. Rather, threat managers are assigned problem individuals.
Consequently, a threat manager’s caseload is a hybrid between a criminal caseload and a parole or probation officer’s caseload.
Hence, it is recommended that threat managers avoid the terminology that has been historically used when opening or closing a threat management case.
Instead, it is preferred that cases be designated as one of the following:
Chronic or habitual.
These designations are best suited for handling threat management cases.
Contemporary threat management for judicial officials seeks to avert violence altogether. The judiciary must expand its security from simply fortifying courthouses and reacting to violent attacks.
It needs to incorporate an effective threat management process for defusing the risk of violence before the violence erupts.
An effective threat management process does not infer the ability to predict violence. Instead, it entails establishing procedures to enable the threat manager to identify potential problem individuals, assess the seriousness of the risk, investigate the circumstances, and then devise the appropriate strategies for managing the subject.
Implementing an effective threat management process requires the judiciary to follow the “10 golden rules.” Doing so will further enhance the judiciary’s security.
Who is… https://t.co/FhaugihVEp@statebaroftexas @DC_Bar @VAStateBar @TheFlaBar @TexasLawyer @TexasTribune @statesman @dallasnews @HoustonChron @NathanLHecht @tedcruz @GovAbbott @KenPaxtonTX @TheJusticeDept @uscourts @TXLaw360 @ReutersLegal @BLaw @abc13houston @KHOU @CNBC https://t.co/I8itKMa6NN pic.twitter.com/TXmslTpXDI
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) November 15, 2020
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This document was prepared by the National Sheriffs’ Association via funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.