Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Court Plan Battle Looms

A battle for the survival of the Missourian Nonpartisan Court Plan is looming, according to a recent article in the Columbia Missourian.

The most direct challenge to Missouri’s nonpartisan court plan comes from the Federalist Society, a conservative activist group that is seeking signatures to put repeal of the system on the 2008 statewide ballot. Two lawmakers also say they plan to pursue changes during the next legislative session. Meanwhile, six former Supreme Court justices have created a group that seeks to protect the existing process.


If you are interested in learning more about the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, the CCP has organized a forum on November 29th at 6:30 at the UMKC Law School Courtroom (500 E. 52nd Street). The forum is free and open to the public.

38 comments:

SSideDem said...

Please preserve the un-democratic Missouri system for selecting judges; otherwise, political fundraisers like Steve Bough has no chance of snoozing on the bench someday. Remember, buying a judgeship is much easier for rich attorneys than facing voters and explaining themselves.

bluemom said...

ssdem, I wish you would stop attacking democrats with your elitist and borderline racist comments all over the local blogosphere. It has come to the point when I see your name I have to prepare myself for another diatribe from someone who describes themselves as a democrat. You are a disgrace to the democratic party. Why not just come out of the republican closet? We would all appreciate your honesty and candor, and at least then your name would reflect your posts and opinions.

bluemom said...

by the way the plan is so awful that only 30 other states have adopted the same plan.....

whistleblower said...

bluemom

It is true that many states adopted the Missouri Plan, but only a handful have not modified it to correct some of its inherent flaws.

Some of the flaws are discussed in an article written by a, now retired, Texas Appellate Court Justice.
http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2002-3-2-veritas-judgelect.pdf

"Lawyers overwhelmingly favor appointment rather than popular election of judges..."

"At the core, lawyers believe if they can control the appointive process, they can be assured of having judges who will likely decide legal disputes in their favor. Popular election of judges often frustrates their attempts to shape the judiciary to their advantage."

That is a quote from Judge Tom James.

More than 75% of the states that adopted the Missouri Plan subsequently decided to change it. The Plan has our name on it. Of course we are going to be one of the last states to admit that it is and always has been flawed.

Any system that limits outside influence will eventually become corrupt. -That's human nature at its worst.

When you file a complaint against a lawyer or a judge, they keep the complaint in house. That way they keep the public from seeing how bad the whole system has become.

Read Judge Dierker's book- "The Tyranny of Tolerance"

Judge Dierker is a result of the Missouri Plan and received a 90% Bar approval rating before his last retention vote.

sophia said...

At the core, lawyers believe if they can control the appointive process, they can be assured of having judges who will likely decide legal disputes in their favor.

The only way to be assured the judge will decide in your favor is on a default judgment (one side doesn't show up). Your typical case actually has lawyers on both sides. In your fantasy world where lawyers control judges, how do the judges decide which lawyer will win? So many of the anti-lawyer assumptions that fuel distrust of our current system are silly if you give it a moment's thought.

whistleblower said...

sophia...

Since you are anonymous, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and accept the possibility that you have not been exposed to the intricacies and available paths for corruption to take place.

"In your fantasy world where lawyers control judges, how do the judges decide which lawyer will win?"

Who said lawyers control judges? Judges are lawyers.

Many cases have their outcome predetermined by mutual agreement of the participating lawyers. This agreement is presented to the judge off the record.

In cases where contingencies are eliminated, the attorney gets paid the same amount, win or lose. What is the motivation to win?

A corrupt attorney with ties to a judge does not need to win every case, just the important ones.

The most prevalent cases of judicial corruption exist in the associate circuit court. The less money that is involved, the less anyone will look at it. Appeals are rare, as they are cost prohibitive.

If your attorney is the one taking the fall, he or she will fail to object to items that even the greenest attorney would know are precluded. Your attorney may object after prompting from their client, but the judge ignores the objection. When your attorney fails to do their job; it was their strategy. Your attorney does just enough to appear to be there.

Even if your attorney doesn't go along with the con, who are they going to complain to? They want to continue to practice law. Don't they.

If you want to claim that this doesn't occur. What safeguards are in place to prevent it from happening?

Why do you think that I have no fear or retaliation after making claims that judges like Michael Wolff and Gary Gaertner are two of the most corrupt appellate judges this state has ever seen? Most would consider these statements to be libelous.

Why do they remain silent? -The answer is simple..I have evidence.

SSideDem said...

This is becoming the funniest show on the internet. Yes, Whistleblower is alert to all these conspiracies that evade all the rest of us! Over on Gonemild.com, he has announced that you shouldn't sign your organ donor card, because the doctors will make you brain dead and steal your organs!!

Whistleblower is simply insane. He makes Republicans like me look bad.

whistleblower said...

ssidedem...

(I doubt that you are the original ssidedem, but more likely a poser)

"Over on Gonemild.com, he has announced that you shouldn't sign your organ donor card, because the doctors will make you brain dead and steal your organs!!"

Is that really how your feeble mind works? Your inability to comprehend the information presented is only surpassed by my amazement in your ability to write. You lack the ability to respond intelligently so you resort to personal attacks on me.

Take the time to read and comprehend the material presented on these blogs and you might actually learn something.

sophia said...

Whistleblower is simply insane. He makes Republicans like me look bad.

At long last, proof that the "dem" in SSidedem stands for "demi-monde"

And in defense of WB, I'll say he's the sanest of his type (the justice system screwed me/ practitioner of internet law) I've ever encountered. I'm not saying he can be talked down off the ledge, but I don't think he'll jump. He'll just stand there waiving his arms and making noise as long as they keep delivering pizza.

whistleblower said...

http://www.massnews.com/2003_Editions/3_March/030703_mn_american_legal_system_corrupt.shtml

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR7g41_4758

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2uB7IGZfyo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnLaF1OLedg&feature=related

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/04/national/main566433.shtml

http://faqusajudicialcorruption.blogspot.com/

http://www.jail4judges.org/

http://www.judicialcorruption.com/

http://ebionite.com/hempstead.htm

If you need more, I would be happy to provide them. This information has only become widely available because of the internet.

Read the comments to the YouTube videos.

Dan said...

They're on the internet, so they must be true. Just like the article about the doctors stealing organs.

If you're not willing to throw out the most successful judicial selection process in the nation based upon a Youtube comment, what more proof do you need?

SSideDem said...

Whistleblower, the offensive post that questioned your sanity and called me a Republican was not put there by me. Just another liberal trick perpetrated to make up for weak ideas and proposals.

Mr. Bough seems very quiet. I guess he feels like this kind of thing might come up in an internet search at a time when the liberal lawyers cartel is selecting judges. He cannot AFFORD to become an issue, because he does not want to spend his whole life chasing ambulances and stealing money from doctors and businessmen.

Bluemom, conservative Democrats have been around a lot longer than you liberals. When conservative Democrats ran things, the party ran the country. It was the liberals that chased away southern voters and gun owners and business people who do not want to spend all their money on so-called safety rules and environmental standards. Tolerance of too many loser groups trashed the Democrat party, but some of us want to bring it back to strength. That's why I look for Democrats who know how to use a gun, run a business and face down foreign terrorists. That's why I like guys like Funkhouser, Jason Holsman and Jason Kander, because they do not take crap from liberal special interest groups. It is also why I support reasonable Republicans like Governor Huckabee. They are the type of people that drive the average (C)CCP member, or let's say it the average PINKO, crazy. They can't stand it when people think for themselves instead of just following the party line dictated to them by groups representing "the rights" baby killers, mexicans and welfare queens. Oh was I not supposed to call a spade a spade?

Anonymous said...

ssidedem,
You're either insane or a farce. Either way, if you look into the positions of the folks you mention in your post, I'm sure you'll see that they are all pretty progressive.

And it's hilarious how in one breath you trash a trial lawyer while promoting one in the next. You really have no idea what you're talking about, or maybe you know exactly what you're doing and you have some strange purpose.

Either way, it's tragic to watch.

Can you name any proof whatsoever that Holsman isn't a liberal? I doubt it.

whistleblower said...

ssidedem...

Thanks for coming in and clearing your name. I thought I sensed a poser.

I like Jason Kander. I have emailed him, and he responded honestly. I may not agree with him on everything, but I think he is a good person.

My only problem with Jason is his Bar membership. We already have too many members of the bar in the General Assembly. They are licensed by the Judiciary, must follow rules specific to the Judiciary, and, as a member of the House, have the responsibility to act as a check on the Judiciary. This blurs the Separation of Powers

I have written a little more about that particular issue at: TownHall Blog

PS. I would suggest setting up a google blogger account to prevent posers from using your nickname.

Whistleblower said...

Does that work?

SSideDem said...

Kander is not the same kind of lawyer as Bough. As a matter of fact he should file a libel suit against this blog for allowing you to compare the two names LOL. Until Kander entered a primary controlled by liberals he worked for a firm that specializes in controlling over aggressive union bosses. His positions on important issues like Life are supportive of Missouri Values. He is not an abortion on demand kook. I don't care where he has found a make work job while he campaigns. It is the way things are done There is no real comparison between Bough and Kander so try again anonymous loser.

All of the unions opposed Holsman in the primary down here. I am pro-union members but anti-union leadership who have been brainwashed by socialists. If the union bosses opposed Holsman then he is ok to me.

I guess I am not supposed to use my God given brain and compare candidates in the real world. I am supposed to just say all lawyers are one way. I am not going to do that.

Whistleblower I am trying to figure out what to do about the poser posts. Someone has put posts "from me" on some local sites that I do not visit and now this one shows up on here. I guess I am getting under the skin of the powers that be.

They are afraid of democracy. They want to continue with a system that where lawyers spend 10 or 15 years raising money for candidates and they can get rewarded with a judgeship. I wonder if Bough is out raising money this morning?

Stay strong Whistleblower.

SSidedem said...

I guess one of the prices SSidedem pays for being an pseudonymous coward is that other pseudonymous cowards can hijack his name.

Anonymous said...

Holsman may have been opposed by unions, sside, but one look at his reports and it's obvious they like him now.

How do you differentiate one type of trial lawyer from another? You're insane. But no, they are not the same in one sense: Bough uses the old-fashioned referral system that real trial lawyers use, while Montee splatters his face all over the phone book. So I guess Bough wins in that comparison, but to me they do the same work.

As to what you call "life" issues affecting Missouri Values, I really doubt you and your good buddies agree. You have conjured an image of a moderate that I just don't think either of these guys live up to, nor should they necessarily.

whistleblower said...

ssidedem... the real one

I would be all for a constitutional amendment limiting the members of any profession to 5% of the House or Senate.

Domination by any profession creates a biased system of representation.

SSideDem said...

Looks like they ran out of steam Whistleblower.

Anonymous I think I know more about my "good buddies" than you do, but in a town dominated by union boss socialists and queers some future leaders have follow a stealthy strategy. I don't blame them.

By the way, any of you bloggers of like mind with me need to turn up the rhetorical heat on behalf of Mayor Funkhouser in the face of this mexican driven attack on his wife.

Stephen Bough said...

Sorry to miss you fine bloggers at the forum last week. We had a respectful exchange of ideas. Prof Eckhardt pointed out his problems with the system and Retired Judge Robertson talked about the merits of the plan. No insults.

1st year lawyers at Stinson Morrison Hecker and Shook Hardy & Bacon make almost as much as Missouri judges. So, thanks for mentioning my name for judge, but I will have to pass.

SSideDem said...

Typical ambulance chaser, Bough.
Show me the money.
Don't care about no justice just show me the money.

I will save this post and if your name goes to some future governor I will send it along so they know you do not want to take the pay cut.

Your Welcome

Stephen Bough said...

ssidedem,

You and the 3 other folks who read this blog will agree I shouldn't be a judge. But do you really want folks to be a judge if it is a pay raise for them? Do you really want people to be a judge if that is the only retirement they have? Do you really want highly experienced judges looking down on 1st year associates thinking "that 25 year old is making more than I am"? Don't we want our best and brightest lawyers seeking to be on the bench? Do we really want to attack the judges so much that only partisan hacks take the job?

For whatever I have done to tick you off, I'm sorry. How about we debate ideas rather than personal attacks on people we don't know?

whistleblower said...

Stephen...

If your commentary is sincere, and you think that judges should have a good retirement plan before sitting on the bench- What about Judge Breckenridge?

Member of the Bar 1978. Just four years later, appointed to the Associate Circuit Court. Now she sits on the Supreme Court.

Where was this concern for financial security / envy expressed with respect to her?

Back to the earlier topic.

I’ve been doing a little more research on the Missouri Plan. Of the states that are claimed to be using the Missouri Plan, only one, Indiana, actually closely resembles our plan. Most of the others provide for more substantial layman / elected representative input.

Missouri and Indiana are the only two states in which the Bar Association dominates
the selection, evaluation, and discipline process.

My source for this information is:
The American Judicature Society

While browsing other blogs, I found an interesting question posed that no one answered. Judge Hutcherson was not retained in 1992 following a bad review from the Bar. Was he a bad judge, or was he just a judge that was not willing to go along with some policy of the Bar?

Stephen Bough said...

Whistleblower,

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

My questions weren't real clear. I believe that judges are underpaid when compared with others in the legal profession. I am not advocating paying judges what partners at large law firms make, but we shouldn't make it financially difficult to serve the public on the bench.

I also do not want the bench to become a place where lawyers think "well I never saved a penny for retirement, so I will try to get on the bench in order to have a retirement plan." Likewise, I do not want to see the bench become a place where lawyers who have been unsuccessful in the legal practice end up. If the financial compensation of serving on the bench vs a successful practice becomes to great in disparity, I am concerned that we will never get big firm corporate lawyers on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should have people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different experiences.

Retirement - I am not advocating a retirement package before going on the bench. I think the state should provide a retirement package for long-term employees, of all kinds. I'm not advocating any change in the state's retirement package. My point is that the bench should not be a dumping ground for folks who do not plan ahead. I really want to see great, successful lawyers end up on the bench.

Now, Judge Breckenridge. She never made big firm money; she's always had pretty humble roots. She's an intelligent judge - from my viewpoint - although she happens to be a Republican. From my reading of her background, she returned to Nevada, Missouri to practice with her dad and husband. She served on the associate circuit court (small claims stuff, small dollar contracts, etc), circuit court, court of appeals and now the Supreme Court. Appointed by Ashcroft, Bond and now (reluctantly) by Blunt. After decades on the bench, you bet she deserves a retirement plan.

Sorry my questions were unclear. I think most reasonable humans would agree that decades of service to the state, with relatively low pay, should equal a retirement plan. I do not see Judge Breckenridge - who went on the associate circuit bench at a young age - as someone who was gunning for that lucrative state retirement plan. My concern is with the 50 year old guy who never saved a penny eyeballing a judgeship as a way to fund his/her retirement.

However, would some Republican take over defending Judge Breckenridge?

whistleblower said...

Stephen...

Thanks for your response.

I agree. Judges should be better paid. However, there should be a minimum amount of experience required to get that position. Missouri is a state that requires no experience. A twenty-five year old lawyer, that may have never held a job, can obtain a seat on the associate circuit.

I presented this in my last post and would appreciate your comments.

I’ve been doing a little more research on the Missouri Plan. Of the states that are claimed to be using the Missouri Plan, only one, Indiana, actually closely resembles our plan. Most of the others provide for more substantial layman / elected representative input.

Missouri and Indiana are the only two states in which the Bar Association dominates
the selection, evaluation, and discipline process.

My source for this information is:
The American Judicature Society

While browsing other blogs, I found an interesting question posed that no one answered. Judge Hutcherson was not retained in 1992 following a bad review from the Bar. Was he a bad judge, or was he just a judge that was not willing to go along with some policy of the Bar?

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