Appellate Judges

A Video Series Showing 5 Outlaws in Black Robes and Still the Crimes These Judges Commit Are Above the Law

If citizens accept this illegal behavior by judges on the bench then change will not happen and your civil rights will be forever impacted.

LIT COMMENTARY

The Judiciary is said to be “Above the Law”.  Some people question that statement. Here’s 5 examples of Judges who were given a pass when put on trial before their peers.

It is a known stratagem that the judiciary will delay matters which are in the public spotlight. In the judiciary they call it ‘percolating’.

It allows for the crimes to fade over time so they can then dismiss the charges or issue a slap rather than a sentence.

History has shown it’s generally what will happen and these five judges behaving badly provide up-to-date proof of how time makes the case easier to dismiss in favor of a guilty judge.

The citizens of the United States should not tolerate the brazen and blatant corruption we witness daily in the judiciary.

It’s time for change but that can only be achieved by the people.

If you accept this illegal behavior by judges on the bench and their colleagues who are aiding and abetting in the coverup(s) by either completely dismissing the charges or issuing admonishments or ‘slaps’, then change will not happen and your civil rights and liberties will be forever impacted.

Former NC Superior Court Judge Arnold O. Jones, II Sentenced for Felony Payment of Gratuity to a Public Official Charge

Originally published; May 17, 2017 | LIT Republished; Sept 5, 2020

ELIZABETH CITY – United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce announced that today in federal court before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, former North Carolina Superior Court Judge ARNOLD OGDEN JONES, II was sentenced to 2 years’ probation, fined $5,000.00, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. On March 16, 2017 JONES pled guilty to Promising and Paying Gratuities to a Public Official.

During the hearing on the defendant’s guilty plea, the Government summarized the evidence supporting the defendant’s guilty plea. The evidence established that between October 10, 2015 and November 3, 2015 JONES gave, offered, and promised cases of beer and $100 to a Federal Bureau of Investigation Task Force Officer in contemplation of the Task Force Officer’s act of compelling Verizon to produce JONES’s wife’s text messages in order to disclose those messages to JONES, even though JONES was not permitted to receive them by law.

The evidence showed that, as a judge, JONES was familiar with the processes and procedures law enforcement must undertake to obtain private text message content, including the need for the FBI to have an ongoing investigation and a legitimate law enforcement need for such text content.

The evidence established that JONES desired the text messages for use in a personal domestic dispute.

Multiple recorded conversations established JONES’s desire to conceal the FBI Task Force Officer’s involvement in obtaining the texts. JONES agreed to destroy evidence of the crime, including a disk that purported to contain the text messages and text messages coordinating the exchange of cash and a disk.

The evidence also included a video of JONES exchanging the cash and disk on the steps of the Wayne County Courthouse in his judicial robe. No text messages were obtained or delivered to JONES.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorneys William M. Gilmore and Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Las Vegas family judge wins reprieve from high court

July 20, 2020  | Republished by LIT; Sept 5, 2020

A Family Court judge who lost her seat in the June primary has been given a reprieve from the Nevada Supreme Court.

Judge Rena Hughes, whose term expires at the end of the year, had faced public reprimand by the state’s Commission on Judicial Discipline in 2018 for her orders in a custody battle.

But the high court wrote in a decision handed down last week that the punishment was not warranted, and the commission overstepped its powers after it “misconstrued” the judge’s orders.

The court’s decision stems from a set of hearings and orders issued by Hughes in 2016, when she granted a father temporary sole custody after the child’s mother did not cooperate with visitation sessions.

The mother filed a complaint with the commission, which leveled a public reprimand against the judge and ordered her to undergo further legal education.

The Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Lidia Stiglich, said the order should have been appealed to another court.

“A challenge to the exercise of judicial discretion to modify child custody is a matter for appellate review, not a judicial discipline complaint,”

Stiglich wrote, with Justices Kristina Pickering, Mark Gibbons, James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre in agreement.

“The commission exceeds its authority when it reaches the merits of claims that should be contested through the appellate process.”

Justices Elissa Cadish and Abbi Silver agreed that the commission erred in imposing a public reprimand but wrote that “some form of discipline was warranted here,” saying that they would send the decision back to the commission for reevaluation of an “appropriate discipline.”

Hughes, who took the bench in 2014, said during a Review-Journal primary election debate this year that she disagreed with the commission’s decision. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

Attorney Bill Terry, who represented Hughes before the commission and also represents other judges facing potential discipline, suggested that the commission’s decision cost Hughes a chance at re-election.

“I’m sure that the opinion of the commission had an adverse effect on her election,” Terry said. “They did the same thing that they accused Judge Hughes of doing. They made a mistake. But she has no redress. She can run for office again, but not this time.”

At the time Hughes faced the commission, Terry had said that Hughes had acted in the best interest of the child.

The judge’s lawyers in appealing the decision, Daniel Marks and Nicole Young, could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Supreme Court’s decision urged the commission to “take care in future proceedings” and suggested a lesser form of discipline should have been considered, saying that there was no evidence Hughes “committed a knowing or deliberate violation,” which would eliminate the possibility of a public reprimand.

“For claims where relief may ordinarily lie in the appeals process, disciplinary proceedings should be pursued sparingly,” Stiglich wrote. “Proceeding otherwise risks chilling the exercise of judicial discretion and harms the administration of justice.”

The commission’s executive director, Paul Deyhle, didn’t return messages seeking comment.

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New Mexico drunk-driving case against El Paso magistrate judge dismissed

Originally Published; Jan 12, 2020 | LIT Republished; Sept 5, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The case against a Texas judge accused of driving under the influence was dismissed by a judge in New Mexico.

Deputies from the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office arrested El Paso Magistrate Judge Ray Gutierrez in October, KRQE-TV reported Friday.

Gutierrez allegedly backed into another vehicle in the Santa Fe Opera parking lot while trying to leave the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, deputies said. He then performed poorly during field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol content above the legal 0.08 limit, authorities said.

Concerns were raised about the video evidence and defense attorneys for Gutierrez have said that the state couldn’t verify its authenticity. Judge David Segura suppressed that evidence, officials said. As a result, prosecutors dismissed the charges, officials said.

Gutierrez was placed on administrative leave pending this investigation, KRQE-TV previously reported. It is unclear whether he is to return to his job.

Gutierrez serves as a magistrate judge at the El Paso County Jail in Downtown El Paso.

Not only DUI, but a Pattern of Harassment swirled around Judge Lundell

Originally Published; Mar 14th 2019 | LIT Republished; Sept 5, 2020

Newly released records describe a climate of disturbing encounters, leering looks and provocative political commentary that surrounded Eric Lundell while he served as presiding judge of St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The now-retired judge left a wake of vexed employees in the county courts system during the months leading up to his retirement, which coincided with revelations about alleged harassment, according to previously unreleased St. Croix County documents compiled during an investigation into a complaint against Lundell.

Shortly after his retirement announcement, Hudson police stopped Lundell during a suspected drunken-driving incident.

Police later said there was insufficient evidence during field-sobriety exercises to arrest Lundell during the Dec. 8, 2018, traffic stop, where the judge later provided a preliminary breath test that showed a 0.129 blood-alcohol level.

Lundell retired Jan. 1.

His friend River Falls attorney Barry Hammarback said Lundell had no comment for this story. Hammarback said in February that Lundell had since voluntarily entered and completed a 30-day rehab program and had gone on to outpatient support.

Records released by St. Croix County’s Human Resources department include individual interviews conducted after Lundell was accused of making unwanted advances toward a female employee while they were at work in the Government Center.

A second woman revealed to HR investigators that Lundell had asked her out, though that woman didn’t file a complaint.
The names of witnesses and victims were redacted from the St. Croix County records.

The first woman to come forward – the one who filed the complaint – told investigators Lundell approached her Nov. 2, 2018, and asked her to come to his house. He told her she “trips his trigger” and that he’d dreamt about her, the records state.

Later that day, Lundell returned to the woman’s desk, sat behind her for about 30 minutes and asked what she thought of his offer. He told her he could make her “a rich widow,” according to the documents.

The woman told investigators she didn’t feel physically threatened by Lundell, but was “very uncomfortable and didn’t want to be alone with him,” according to a report from her interview.

Investigators asked what outcome she wanted.

“I want him to resign or retire,” the woman replied. “He is not in his right mind right now. He shouldn’t be sentencing people.”

Caitlin Frederick, a human resources officer from the state’s management services department, led the investigation and compiled a report. She said in the report’s conclusion that statements from witnesses “suggest a pattern of inappropriate and/or unprofessional behavior by Judge Lundell that could also be potentially construed as harassment.”

Frederick’s report notes Lundell did not attend respectful workplace training in fall 2018, which was not mandatory for judges. Her report to Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick recommends making such training mandatory for all circuit court judges and Supreme Court justices in Wisconsin.

Asked if that recommendation has led to changes, Tom Sheehan, court information officer for the Director of State Courts Office, indicated it has not.

“Respectful Workplace/Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is mandatory for state court system employees and is available to all judges,” he said in response to an email inquiry.

It’s not clear whether the Lundell investigation led to a complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. Jeremiah Van Hecke, executive director of the commission, said he could not confirm whether a complaint concerning Lundell had been filed.

“Given the confidentiality laws under which the Commission is required to operate, the Commission does not comment on any actual or potential complaints filed with the Commission against judicial officials,” Van Hecke said in an email.

‘She can feel his eyes’

The woman who came forward told investigators how Lundell had twirled her hair in the past and made other comments about her appearance but that his behavior “has been ‘getting worse’ for several months,” the report states. She said that culminated Nov. 2 with Lundell’s advances.

A written statement from a witness describes how the complainant came to her office after the incident. The complainant described what Lundell told her, relating that the judge “made it very clear that he was interested in her, in a sexual way,” according to the document. The witness urged the complainant to report the encounter with Lundell, which she did – first to St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham, who alerted Court Administrator Don Harper, who notified St. Croix County Human Resources Director Tarra Davies-Fox.

Other witnesses reported seeing the complainant in tears later that day as she recounted Lundell’s overtures. One of those witnesses said she tried consoling the complainant and told her “he asked me out, too.”

That witness described how Lundell wouldn’t leave the bench until he watched her walk out.

“She can feel his eyes on her butt and legs,” the report states. That same woman also said Lundell had previously admitted he’s had trouble with sexual harassment in the past.

The documents state an incident from about 20 years prior was described. Davies-Fox requested an employee find records from that incident; Davies-Fox later told RiverTown Multimedia that those records were likely destroyed, per the county’s retention schedule.

That same witness told investigators how Lundell’s commenting on gay people, politics and women’s body sizes “drives her nuts.”

“Such a waste after all those years on the bench,” the report states.

A letter from a different witness said she was reluctant to come forward at first, but hit her breaking point after the Nov. 2 revelation.

“Judge Lundell’s behavior has been escalating and I just couldn’t take it any longer,” the letter states.

“He is a judge and a man of power and I was afraid to come forward. I was afraid of what would happen to me and my family if I said anything.”

Her letter outlines times Lundell made her uncomfortable, including how he would stand over her shoulder while she was at her desk. Her letter also describes how Lundell once gave her a T-shirt that read “Don’t be an ordinary witch.”

County Board commentary

Lundell’s alleged commentary about politics wasn’t limited to the courtroom, according to the report.

Interview notes include a statement from Harper, who said he was told by a different county employee how Lundell’s comments during a Community Justice Coordinating Council event in Eau Claire raised concerns, along with separate remarks Lundell made during a St. Croix County Board meeting.

The Eau Claire meeting involved comments about “dumb liberals” and “dumb Democrats” by Lundell, according to Harper.

The second round of comments came during a County Board meeting where a Muslim cleric delivered the invocation.

“Judge Lundell made the comment to just go in for two minutes and hold your breath,” the Harper interview report states. “It was interpreted that this was said with the intent to indicate that the Priest/Muslims had an odor.”

The documents don’t specify when the remark was made, but a member of the Islamic Society of Woodbury delivered the invocation at an Aug. 7, 2018, County Board meeting.

An Aug. 9, 2018, email from Harper to Needham states Community Justice Coordinating Council coordinator Mike O’Keefe “may strongly consider retirement next year if Lundell continues in his current position.”

In an interview with RiverTown Multimedia this month said he has “let bygones be bygones.” He said Lundell was “old school” and that he sometimes reflected attitudes from the 1970s.

“That made it difficult sometimes,” O’Keefe said. “But he was fair.”

O’Keefe said he heard Lundell make reference to Democrats at the 2018 Eau Claire meeting, but he said he doesn’t recall the former judge describing them as “dumb.” He also said he was not aware of Lundell’s alleged County Board commentary.

Timeline

The complainant came forward to coworkers Nov. 2, which set into motion a chain of events that led to Lundell’s resignation.

According to the records, the complainant emailed Davies-Fox the following Monday, Nov. 5, after speaking with Judge Needham. The meeting with Needham was also attended by the other woman who had been asked out by Lundell.

Davies-Fox learned on Nov. 6 that Lundell, who was on vacation at the time, decided not to come into work. Frederick, the state’s HR representative, got involved Nov. 6 and set up a meeting with her, Davies-Fox and court administrator Harper.

A department supervisor emailed Davies-Fox Nov. 7 to learn the status of Lundell’s return to work.

The complainant and witnesses were interviewed Nov. 12-13.

On Nov. 15, Davies-Fox tells Frederick that Harper learned 10th Circuit Court Chief Judge Maureen Boyle had spoken with Lundell the previous day “and they agreed Judge Lundell would not come into the Government Center,” an email states. The agreement was that Lundell was to stay away for the rest of the week – or until Boyle or State Courts Director Judge Randy Koschnick had spoken with him.

An email from a county facilities official states Lundell’s access to the building ended Nov. 20.

Harper responded to a media request into Lundell’s status with a statement announcing his retirement. The statement cites “non-life threatening health issues and because of my advancing age.”

“I feel as though it is time to turn things over to younger judges,” Lundell’s statement says, which goes on to recognize his accomplishments in St. Croix County, including being the youngest-ever elected district attorney.

Appellate Judge Jerry Smith pleads guilty to DUI, serving 48 hours in jail

Originally Posted: June 27, 2012 | Republished by LIT; 5 Sept, 2020
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An appellate judge who confessed this week to driving drunk hours before he was scheduled to hear cases in Knoxville will return to the bench next week.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry Lynn Smith, 58, pleaded guilty Monday in Knox County General Sessions Court to driving under the influence. A spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the Courts said Smith, who had taken leave after his early April 23 arrest, will return to the bench July 1.

In a statement, Smith noted he received no differential treatment in his plea. Court records show he was sentenced to 48 hours in jail. He will lose his driver’s license for a year — the standard penalty for a first-offense DUI.

Defense attorney Tom Dillard said Smith, who received credit for five hours spent behind bars following his arrest, is serving his sentence now in Knox County.

“I apologize to my family, friends and the people of Tennessee for my behavior,” Smith said in the statement. “I have taken steps and received treatment and can assure you this will not happen again.”

Court records show Smith has paid his fines and court costs and will apply for a restricted license allowing him to drive to and from work. That, too, is standard in first-offense DUI cases.

It was not clear whether Smith will suffer any disciplinary action by the Court of the Judiciary, which polices judges. Presiding Judge Chris Craft could not be reached for immediate comment. However, there is a confidential program called the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program that allows attorneys and judges to seek treatment and, if successful, lessen or avoid serious risk to their law licenses.

Smith, who is from Davidson County, had traveled to Knoxville to hear appeals in East Tennessee criminal cases, including that of convicted killer Raynella Dossett Leath. Leath was convicted in the slaying of husband David Leath and accused, but never tried, in the death of husband Ed Dossett, who was Knox County district attorney general at the time of his 1992 death.

Less than eight hours before court was to convene April 23, Knoxville police stopped Smith on Cumberland Avenue when they saw luggage tumbling from an open hatch on the rear of his 2010 Subaru Forester. Substitute judges served in Smith’s stead.

October 5, 2015

Former Court Of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry Smith has been appointed as an adjunct faculty member at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville.

Judge Smith, who retired from the bench in 2014, will teach appellate practice at the institution starting in October of 2016. He has been an instructor at the Nashville School of Law since 2002, teaching criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal constitutional law. He will continue to teach there as well.

Judge Smith holds a juris doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law and also received his undergraduate degree from UT. He was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1995.

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