Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rebutting Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch

A couple weeks ago, the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Rebecca White Berch, wrote an op-ed which The Arizona Republic newspaper published. Titled "Agency's ratings of judges keep voters informed," the Chief Justice is really politicking for one of her own. For it turns out that the Republican Tea Party is working to remove Justice John Pelander. And Berch doesn't want voters to read the Tear Party's material against him.

Before we knew the subtext, we offered the Arizona Republic our rebuttal to Chief Justice White Berch, based on our experience (as here) of social meida's impact on the judiciary.

You can read her original op-ed if you want, but you'll be able to figure out what she said as we quote her back, below.

(For whatever reasons, The Arizona Republic did not publish our letter. It didn't even acknowledge receipt.)

 Social media shines light on dark Judiciary

In her My Turn column (Monday October 22), Rebecca White Berch, the Chief 'Justice' of the Arizona Supreme Court, lamented over the "unfortunate" effect social media might have on voters voting to retain judges. She worried that voters might learn too much about judges by Googling their names to find what we say about them. But that would be double-plus ungood.

Berch is worried that social media might "unfairly" portray judges. Or that "people who have an agenda" or are too stupid to understand might "misrepresent" legal opinions. So, as in the People's Paradise of North Korea, Berch suggests that, while voters have a civil duty to be informed, voters should only be informed through government approved sources. Like the State's official Judicial Performance Review Commission.

But the JPR, like the Commission on Judicial Conduct, is composed of judges and attorneys. Priests and altar boys in the Church of the Court. Hardly independent. (Attorneys are licensed by the State Bar, an arm of the Arizona Supreme Court. Consequently, their livelihood depends on pleasing their masters.)

No, it's only We, the People, those outside the Court who are truly independent observers of the priesthood.

Look, we need the citizen oversight social media brings (that those in power usually hate) because the Judicial branch is has the least light shining on it.

First, from a simple logistics perspective, most voters have never had the misfortune of experiencing our "professional and impartial court system." So it's important for voters who haven't experienced candidate judges first hand to hear the real world experiences of those who have.

Second, it's almost impossible for the average citizen to find any "dirt" on judges through official channels because the judiciary doesn't report dirt. And that's by the judiciary's own design.

For example, a few years ago, for a few months, you could search for a judge by name on the Commission on Judicial Conduct's website to see if there were any complaints of judicial misconduct against him. (But only "valid" complaints. If the Commission dismisses a complaint, as it almost always does, the judge's name is kept secret.) Presumably unpopular with bad judges up for retention, this search feature mysteriously stopped working for two whole years, officially said to be "under construction." (The Commission's website now says this feature is "disabled" after an email to the Court's PIO.) As it is now, voters who want to be informed have to read EVERY valid complaint on the Commissions website to weed out bad judges.

So, while the data is there, it's not easy to find. And there's no "two party" system (love it or hate it) in the judiciary to find it for us, as there is in the Legislature and Executive, where one side gleefully reports the wrongdoings of the other. The ONLY way for informed voters to get uncensored information about judges is via social media, where good citizens post their complaints and observations on the web. (The Press not able to report it all.)

Berch has been quoted saying "I live in the real world." But I submit she lives in an imaginary world, a sterile Judicial Utopia, where only good is reported. And she would like us to put our blinders on and join her in her narrow view of the State's version of "Pravda."

Social media has always been the bane of repressive governments and those who detest transparency. But in our world, informed voters need social media to shine light as long as the Judiciary insists on a blackout.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the Complaint Process

In late July, I received a comment from an anonymous reader. They wrote
I just found your site. I'm in the process of preparing a complaint to the Judicial Committee [sic] against the Dishonorable Howard Hinson dating back to Sept. 07. His actions are still reeking [sic] havoc in my life! [That should be "wreaking havoc," although it makes a good pun your way. This stinks!- Editor.]
While you can certainly file a complaint of misconduct at this late date, I'm not sure what good it will do. First, remember that a complaint of judicial misconduct cannot change a bad ruling by a bad judge. A bad ruling can only be reversed by another judge.

While I think a successful complaint of misconduct should be taken into consideration by an appellate judge or court, even allowing another bite of the appellate apple (perhaps initiated after filing a Rule 60(c) motion to vacate for fraud) and while I've heard of courts spontaneously reviewing cases adjudicated by an ousted judge, it doesn't seem to happen often. And while I think the State should automatically pay for your appeal due to a bad judge, that ain't gonna happen ever. (You would have to sue the judge after you win. See below.)

Besides, judge hinson resigned. While there was an attempt to bring him back for a short time, and while I suppose hinson could be called back for duty at some later date (apparently, like a Marine, once a judge, always a judge), a complaint at this late date seems pointless. I expect the Commission would simply dismiss your complaint since the judge has "retired." (But again, he's still in the system, so maybe I'm wrong here.) But unless you have new information about actual misconduct (vs. a bad ruling), as you can see from this blog, even the law enforcement authorities refuse to prosecute hinson for defrauding the State.

What would really be just (in addition to criminal prosecution) would be to sue former judge hinson in federal court under a § 1983 civil rights action. The Commission on Judicial Conduct has already found that hinson violated your constitutional right to a speedy trial. (I.e., a de facto violation of your 14th Amendment right to due process, as codified in the Arizona constitution.) As it stands now, the court system has protected itself, claiming, in spite of the law, that judges have absolute immunity from a civil rights suit. But "absolute immunity corrupts absolutely" and this policy of the court has to be challenged and changed. Before anarchy breaks out. (If the courts are lawless, the people will follow.)

But I expect you all are time barred from suing former judge hinson. You would have had to file a Notice of Claim with the State within six months of the Commission's finding (or possibly, as soon as you found out about it), and brought a federal complaint within a year of the Commission's finding. I've not heard of anyone doing that in federal court (someone tried to do it in State court-it was dismissed), so until hinson stands before God, he's off the hook.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Kiss of Death?

Presiding Judge MackeyI first mentioned Judge Mackey in this blog in September 2009. At the time, I happened to be in his courtroom randomly, evaluating a prospective attorney, when Judge Mackey, sua sponte, sanctioned attorney Chester Lockwood for, if I recall correctly, being tardy filing some papers. Oh, if only that would happen more often. And not just when attorneys are tardy.

From what little I was able to observe during a wicked woman's divorce, Mr. Lockwood, her first attorney, was somewhat sloppy with his paperwork (ever hear of spell check, Chester?) and the sanction was deserved.

Since then, it appears Mr. Lockwood fled Yavapai County and is now working in Pinal County (Apache Junction). Check out his disciplinary record on the AzBar website. He was suspended for a while. Here's a page from the Arizona Supreme Court. (Thanks J & S for the latter!)

To be fair, while I think Mr. Lockwood was somewhat of a scummy lawyer, in that he suborned / elicited horrible affidavits from a family's children, pitting the children against the father without investigating any of mom's allegations but assuring the court it was all true (all for a buck) and forever tearing a family apart, he was often very reasonable when it came to negotiating with dad, restraining wife's very unreasonable demands. (She once called him to try to get him to prevent a family friend from seeing their children on father's visitation day!) And I applaud his candor about what an angry woman she was. (Chester, she claimed to be a Christian, but was not. Please don't base your assessment of Christianity on that evil woman.)

At the time of my post, I was worried that mentioning Judge Mackey on this controversial blog might be the "kiss of death." a career ender. (Not because I have any power, but because, at the time, with the press coverage of former judge hinson's lies, the blog was popular.) Thankfully, it wasn't the kiss of death since he's now been made the presiding judge in Yavapai County.

Now, first impressions are hard to change, and as I said, I was impressed with Judge Mackey for sanctioning Mr. Lockwood. Hopefully, unlike the former presiding judge, judge Brutinel, Judge Mackey will also sanction judges who break the rules as Mr. Lockwood did.

Still, I heard some grumbling from one pro se litigant about how Judge Mackey screwed up their case by forcing out of order witnesses. (If I recall correctly, the pro se plaintiff wanted to get the defendant on the stand first, to set him up so a second witness later would prove the defendant had lied.) Since I don't have reason to believe Judge Mackey was malicious (but maybe insensitive), I'll hold my tongue on whether he is a good presiding judge or not. To use a metaphor, the jury is still out.

See, I wrote a letter to Judge Mackey in late January, asking him to look into something there in Prescott. But as of this writing, haven't received a response from him. I don't know if he's taking the time to investigate (I hope) or if he blew me off. Time will tell.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment with your experiences about Judge Mackey as a judge and as a Presiding Judge. If he's a good Presiding judge, we should commend him for that. If not, then maybe someone will start a kiss of death blog.

You can remain anonymous when you comment. But I do ask for some specifics so I can verify your claims, especially if negative. If your specifics are too specific, you'll have to trust I will keep you anonymous when I tell your story.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kudos to Linda Stein, Daily Courier Reporter

When former judge hinson resigned, Republicans (as opposed to Conservatives like me) spun the story to say judge hinson "retired." Unfortunately, Governor Brewer spun it this way.

Usually the lame-stream media, lapdog instead of watchdog, parrots the spin (mixing metaphors) and, if I recall correctly, this is how I saw the story reported.

So kudos to Linda Stein, the court reporter at the Prescott Daily Courier Newspaper (or "Newsletter," per locals) for reporting it right. Hinson resigned.

Linda knows her stuff and even knows that a prosecutor is required to disclose all exculpatory material in a criminal case. She knew all about Brady.

Unfortunately, I've not seen a by-line in the Courier by Linda since the end of December and calls / emails to her at the Courier are un-returned. I'm thinking she may not work there anymore. A shame, because, as I said, she knew her stuff.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Personal Note to R.M.

Since you're following, thought I'd try contacting you this way, since the domain for your blogger email was based in Hong Kong and maybe wrong? (

Got your 3 comments. You didn't say if I could publish them or not. I have an "Opt In" policy. You will have to tell me it's okay to publish your comments. (I can cut and paste them so as to remove your identity.)

Please let me know either way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anyone anti-SB 1070?

Prescott has offered to settle with me for a federal civil right lawsuit I brought for unlawful detention by the Prescott PD. But they're claiming the law isn't the law. This has SB 1070 implications and, being the good citizen I try to be, I was wondering if any attorneys might want to press the issue?

Specifically, A.R.S. § 13-2412 says in part "A person detained under this section shall state the person's true full name, but shall not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of a peace officer." Contrast this to SB 1070 which says, of a person detained, "a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."

In my case, the cops seized me, telling me they were "detaining" me and wouldn't release me until I gave them more than my name. (We read the law together. All on tape.) I'm a white man, so they didn't ask me about my immigration status. But they could have.

After I said I would settle (but nothing signed yet) they changed their position and now are claiming that A.R.S. § 13-2412 doesn't apply!

That's not right. Any attorney interested in jumping in at this point? Perhaps you can get a written assurance about this from Prescott and set a little precedent about SB 1070 in federal court.

Discover is due in three weeks. I have most of the material already. Settlement talks scheduled for April 15. So you might get a payday then.

If interested, please leave a comment here (it wouldn't be public) with your law firm contact or call me at the number on the masthead of my pleadings. The case is CV 10 8013 in the Arizona District Court.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If only it were Judge Robert Green

Press Release regarding indictment of Robert Green by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard
The hypocrisy is pretty brazen. A day before the November elections, on November 2, 2010 (timing is everything), former Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) announced the indictment of Republican Arizona Senatorial candidate Robert Green.

The charges? According to the Press Release, Mr. Green was indicted "on multiple charges that include fraud, theft, forgery and perjury for actions he took during his Arizona Senate primary campaign." Remind you of anyone? (Hint. You're reading the blog.)

"The indictment alleges that from 2009 through July of this year, Green committed fraud on the Arizona Clean Elections Fund by submitting false documents to the fund in an attempt to illegally collect more than $21,000 in funds for his campaign."

But didn't former judge hinson do the same thing? Didn't he commit fraud on the State of Arizona by submitting false documents in an attempt to illegally collect more than $21,000 in salary?

"In the documents, Green allegedly lied about receiving qualifying contributions, which are necessary to make a candidate eligible to receive funds from the Arizona Clean Elections Fund."

Again, didn't former judge hinson lie about qualifying to receive his salary, falsely claiming he had no matters due beyond 60 days, which is necessary to make a judge eligible to receive funds from the State? The Commission on Judicial Conduct said he did.

"When Green was asked about these contributions during an administrative hearing, Green made allegedly false representations regarding the contributions in an effort to cover up the violations."

Ditto. See former judge hinson's response to the Commission.

But when Mr. Goddard was informed about all of this with former judge hinson, he declined to prosecute.

If only Mr. Green were a judge. Then he'd be above the law.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas America?

It's time for my annual Christmas message.

Ever since Jesus came back to life and ascended back into heaven, every generation of Christians has warned of His imminent return and the subsequent judgment to come. (Unlike winter and spring, Jesus went out like a lamb but will come back like a lion. Think of the oddly named Battle Hymn of the Republic: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;" )

We've been waiting and warning for 2000 years now. Maybe you think we're "crying 'Wolf!'"? (See 2 peter 3:4) But certainly every day is closer to the Last Day, by definition. It seems to me, in my short life, that the world, or at least America, is becoming more and more lawless/godless, a requirement for judgment. Globally, in the U.S. neither our Legislative, Executive or Judicial branch obey our own laws. It's getting more blatant. No one blushes (is ashamed) anymore. Same comment with local politics, as I've been forced to intimately observe these past few years. (Maybe it's always been this bad but the Internet is shedding light on the corruption now? Still, the sea change in the past few years (since Clinton?) is that, when caught, no one is ashamed anymore but rather is defiant.)

We're already suffering the consequences of a godless society: "Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path." Isaiah 3:12. We've had women in power for quite some time. (Even in the churches.) Now we have a child President.

More telling, homosexuality is becoming more prevalent, blatant and "protected," throughout the world. Remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. They served as an example for what's to come. It seems the predicted earthquakes have started. Famines and pestilence are next. (Not to mention North and South Korea - "wars and rumors of wars.")

It sure seems like ours is the generation since we now have the technology so that events predicted long ago in the last book of the Bible don't sound like science fiction anymore. (Implantable chips for the coming cashless society and webcams to watch the bodies of the two witnesses as they lie in the street. See Rev 13:16-17 and Rev 9:10-11 respectively.) If I'm right, there will be a great apostasy of so-called "christians," which, in my own little world, seems to have already started. And the Muslims haven't come yet to accelerate the process!

So here are some selected Bible verses for religious Americans to consider as you ostensibly celebrate the birth of God come in the flesh this December 25th. As they pertain to this blog, they are a sign of the times. "Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted." (Habakkuk 1:4)

You probably saw the cute (but faked?) youtube video of the Christmas Food Court Flash Mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus? This was the year that Americans fought back against political correctness and insisted it was "Merry CHRISTmas," not "Happy Holidays." Sounds great, huh? But "'You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" Matthew 15:7-9

[Strictly speaking, Jesus was talking to the Jews of His day. But can't this apply to the religious in our country today? Consider: God says, and every mom knows, it's a baby in the womb. No mom ever says "The 'fetus' kicked." Even little girls know it's a baby in there. And yet our Supreme Court teaches and rules it's okay to murder unborn babies. And we do. I don't see how we can escape judgment.]

"'Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it." Numbers 35:33And, "See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer." Isaiah 26:21

Or consider marriage vows before God. God says, "... what [I have] joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:6). So people-most hypocritically, religious people-marry and make their vows before God in churches. But they break their vows to God in a court of law (ironically, testifying under oath, "so help me God") and divorce because men teach and rule that they can. And, because, like murdering their babies, they want to.

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." 1 Sam 15:22-23 "The man (or woman) who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4

"... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8

"Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years." Amos 4:4 (Sarcasm. Yes, God is sometimes sarcastic.)

Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees (American 'christians') who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.'" John 9:39

"Then he told me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.'" Rev 22:10-12 10

Well, in light of that last passage, I won't preach to you. If you're vile, so be it. It's your choice. I'll simply repeat Jesus's question to you: "What good will it be for a man (or woman) if he/she gains the whole world, yet forfeits his/her soul?" (Matt 16:26)

May the Lord reward you according to what you have done. And He will.

Merry Christmas?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anyone but Terry Goddard

This blog isn't a political blog, per se, although to the extent that "character matters," you can learn a lot about a person's character by their actions. So I want to tell you why you may not want to vote for Terry Goddard for governor tomorrow.

Aside from the Liberal / Conservative divide, you need to remember that Governors, like Presidents, select judges. It doesn't happen very often, so we tend to forget they do it. But, for example, it happened recently in Yavapai County, when Governor Brewer selected a replacement judge for the former judge hinson.

While judges in Arizona aren't set for life as they are in the Federal gov't, judges in Arizona are almost as good as set for life. Whether elected or retained, have you ever heard of a judge being kicked out by the electorate once they're in office? No.

So what's my beef with Terry Goddard?

Well, he was (and still is) State Attorney General.

He's been trying to garner publicity by announcing the arrest of the Nogales mayor. Didn't we pass a law requiring politicians to resign from office when running for another office so they couldn't (mis)use their office to get free publicity? (Yes.)

So, first, he's not obeying our "resign-to-run" law. (Contrast this to Andrew Thomas who resigned to run.)

As it pertains here, he believes that judges are gods. (small "g.") See my post about this and the youtube video. That is always dangerous when you believe someone can do no wrong.

More specifically, Mr. Goddard has steadfastly refused to hold judges accountable. He has refused to criminally prosecute former judge hinson and he (his office) has refused to investigate Judge Mary Hamm for criminal tampering with a public record, possible witness tampering, etc. (I see I still need to post the responses from Mr. Goddard's office regarding my several requests to prosecute former judge hinson. There never was any prosecution, so you know what his responses were anyway.)

Contrast this to what Mr. Rick Romley said on PBS's Horizons program, that no one, including a judge, is above the law. (Video pending.) So we know what the right answer is. But Mr. Goddard has shown he's on the left.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Complaint against Cele Hancock re: Hinson

This is, as lawyers say, moot, since Judge Brutinel has already anointed, errr... appointed Cele Hancock as a judge pro tem and she is running unopposed for judge this year in Prescott.

Curiously, the local newspaper reported
Celé Hancock of Prescott filed for the Division 5 seat to replace William Kiger, who was elected in 1998 and took out a nomination packet but did not file nomination petitions by Wednesday's deadline.
But she's running anyway.

A reporter tells me they made a "mistake" in reporting. Reminds me of Mike Royko old Mayor Daley Chicago style politics. (Nothing in Prescott would surprise me anymore. Can you say "Small town politics?")

Still, for the record, I offer this complaint of misconduct regarding former judge hinson, filed against Cele Hancock late December 2009, before the Yavapai County Supervisors approved her as judge.

I wasn't at the Supervisors meeting when they took Hancock's appointment up for consideration. As I allege the Supervisors have demonstrated a failure to supervise (regarding approval of Judge Mary Hamm, who engaged in ex parte communication with a litigant, caused the tampering of a public record, perhaps tapered with witnesses, etc.), I'd be curious to know if the Supervisors did any due diligence here and considered this complaint or simply rubber stamped the appointment.
This is a complaint against Attorney Cele Hancock for violating Arizona Ethics Rule 8.3(b), for not "Reporting Professional Misconduct." There is at least one count, documented herein. Upon information and belief, there are likely more.

As background, this complaint revolves around the established misconduct of former Superior Court Judge Howard Hinson. The former judge resigned as a result of a finding of misconduct by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. (See News Release, Exhibit 1.) The Commission's full report is found on its website at

The Commission found that, over a three year period, former Judge Hinson had violated Arizona's constitutionally mandated 60-day Rule at least twenty five times from 2006 through 2008. In fact, according to the Commission's report, this had been an on going problem with the former judge, dating back to 2001. In my informal conversations with a few attorneys in the Prescott area, Judge Hinson's unconstitutional delays in deciding rulings was well known.

In particular, as it pertains to Mrs. Hancock, one of the violations the Commission found involved one of Mrs. Hancock's cases. Namely, Bodine v. Bodine, as shown in Exhibit 2. [Exhibit 2 is available for review at the Supreme Court's Finance office. It is a Quarterly Report of Submitted Matters, prepared by the Superior Court clerk in her oversight capacity, per Supreme Court Rule 91(e).]

As Mrs. Hancock was an attorney in this matter representing Plaintiff, and as she is based in Prescott and is well connected (that is, she would have known the scuttlebutt about Judge Hinson's reputation), she had to know that Judge Hinson had violated Article VI, Section 21 of the Arizona Constitution with his tardy ruling in her client's case. In fact, even the client was aware of Judge Hinson's delays, per her comment in the web edition of a Prescott newspaper. Commenting about Judge Hinson, Plaintiff acknowledged, "Yes, we had to wait... " (Comment from Melody [Bodine], page 2 of Exhibit 3.)

Now, Ethics Rule 8.3(b) specifically requires that "A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority." That this was a "substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office" is a foregone conclusion, having now been adjudicated by the Commission, resulting in the resignation of Judge Hinson.

The Bodine v. Bodine violation occurred on September 9, 2008. Judge Hinson was overdue by a month, 33% over the time allotted by law. But according to the Commission, there were no complaints filed against Judge Hinson in the two years prior to the landmark complaint filed in late November 2008 which resulted in his resignation. Therefore, Mrs. Hancock violated E.R. 8.3(b) because she did not file a complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Hinson for violating the Constitution and her Plaintiff's right to a speedy trial.

Furthermore, according to the Defendant in this case, even though the Superior Court clerk did not catch them in her quarterly audits, Judge Hinson violated the 60-day Rule at least three more times during the Bodine trial. I have information from many other litigants that Judge Hinson likewise violated the 60-day Rule in their cases which were also missed by the hand audit of the clerk. May I suggest the State Bar contact Mr. Bodine for the specific dates of Judge Hinson's violations to see if Mrs. Hancock was further obligated to report?

To be fair, C. Hancock was Plaintiff's second attorney, albeit for a majority of the case. So not all of these unreported delinquent maters may have occurred during her watch. (Although, having watched the entire trial, I expect they all did.) Again, any violations of the 60-day Rule which occurred why Mrs. Hancock was Plaintiff's attorney would be more violations of E.R. 8.3(b).

And there may be other cases in the three year list of Judge Hinson's violations the clerk complied which involve Mrs. Hancock. As I do not have the resources to find the attorney of record for these, I ask the State Bar to do the research. There are 24 other 60-day violations by Judge Hinson which were complied by the clerk. Would you please check to see if Mrs. Hancock was counsel for them? If she was, then these would be further counts of violating E.R. 8.3(b). I have provided the clerk's audit in PDF on CDROM to aid you in your research.

My overarching concern is that Cele Hancock recently applied to be a Superior Court judge.
Ironically, she was applying to fill Judge Hinson's vacancy. Also ironically, while Judge Hinson resigned for ethics violations, Mrs. Hancock had violated the Ethics Rules herself by not reporting his violations.

Considering that her father is a venerable Superior Court judge in Yavapai County, I presume she is even more aware of her ethical responsibilities to the Bar and to the Court. Yet she failed to obey the Rule by not filing a complaint with the Commission, leaving the responsibility to an ordinary citizen.

This complaint needs to be in the record so that, if Mrs. Hancock should again apply to be a judge, the Governor or the JNC may be fully informed of her history.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Here we go again!

You'd think the stink created here about former judge hinson violating the 60-day rule and falsifying affidavits to get his pay would be enough to keep other judges from doing it.

Apparently not. I still hear reports of judges going beyond 60-days to rule.

Here's a press release from the Commission on Judicial Conduct's website. Titled "Formal Charges Filed Against Globe Justice of the Peace," of note is the following:
The commission charged the judge with five counts of judicial misconduct involving, among other things, delays in issuing warrants and decisions, repeatedly filing false affidavits certifying that she had no matters pending beyond 60 days as required by law, and failing to diligently administer the court. In her response, the judge admitted that delays occurred but denied that her conduct was repeated or deliberate.
I don't know if this is her first violation or not. (Can't get any search results from the Commission's website, per my previous post). As with former judge hinson, she's denying she falsely signed those affidavits willingly.

Will she get a first, second or third "friendly letter" of warning?


Readers of this blog know I'm not a fan of the way the Commission on Judicial Conduct works. Specifically, it is judges judging judges, the fox watching the hen house (with predictable results) instead of true Check & Balance oversight by the Legislature. Still, credit where credit is due.

Search results for 'Hinson' saying 'No results found'I've made a stink before in my complaints that the Commission's listing of complaints against judges is not search-able.

Well, now it is. Kinda.

I tried a search for "Hinson." The site reports "No results found."

I don't know if it's my browser (I tried two on two different computers) or an IT problem at the Commission's end.

[If it's not obvious, you need to be able to search for complaints against judges because we vote for judges in Arizona. Due diligence requires you know everything you can about a judge before you vote for him.]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Polk was right (and I was wrong) about Thomas

One of the characteristics of being a Christian is that you confess when you're wrong. So I need to confess that I was wrong in a previous post when Sheila Polk criticized Andrew Thomas.

My prediction was also wrong that she would vie for State AG. Whether she is posturing to be a judge someday remains to be seen. She pitched for Judge Brutinel when he applied to be a State Justice which is why I wonder.

I hope to develop this further later someday (but am juggling two federal civil right lawsuits right now) but as quick review, Maricopa Prosecutor Andrew Thomas had gone after a few County Supervisors and a judge in Maricopa County, seating a grand jury to investigate corruption. Eventually the matter was referred to Sheila Polk, the Yavapai County Prosecutor who took the unusual action of writing a letter to the Arizona Republic about the "abuses of power by Sheriff Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas."

I am still bothered by Mrs. Polk's hypocrisy for not proactively going after former judge hinson for his abuses (as documented in this blog) and I'm especially bothered by Mrs. Polk's hypocrisy for not (as far as I know) assigning an independent prosecutor to prosecute Judge Mary Hamm for ex parte communication and tampering with a court file, possible witness tampering, etc., which surely causes "tremendous damage . . . to the entire justice system." (The quote from Mrs. Polk in her letter to the editor.) Oh that she would have the same zeal in her own backyard.

In any event, after Rick Romley released the transcripts of Mr. Thomas' investigation weeks before our primary elections, including the Grand Jury transcripts (the timing of the release of the documents awfully suspicious, as is the act of unsealing Grand Jury testimony, but motives don't change truth), I am sad to say that Mr. Thomas sinned. It does, in fact, appear as though Mr. Thomas abused his power to after political enemies.

Unfortunately, prosecutors, like judges, enjoy some degree of immunity from prosecution. And "absolute immunity corrupts absolutely." You know the story about how federal prosecutors went after former Senator Ted Stevens and now face criminal charges themselves for prosecutorial misconduct. (Maybe not.)

See how Prescott Prosecutor Glenn Savona also abused his power by filing bogus charges ("criminal faxing") and by withholding exculpatory evidence against a citizen who complained about a judge.

So what happened? Mr. Thomas seemed like such a good guy, which is why I gave him the benefit of the doubt. (And too, going after a judge is a righteous move, don't you think?)

There is a warning in the Bible that no one thinks applies to them. The Apostle Paul says: "Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character." (1 Corinthians 15:33)

In this case, the bad company is Sheriff Joe.

I like what Sheriff Joe has done with criminals. But when it comes to his political enemies, he clearly abuses his power. Just ask Dan Saban.

I think that the good Mr. Thomas got too close to the bad Sheriff Joe. And, again, as Paul warned, bad company corrupts good character.

Mr. Thomas lost the primary and is not in the running for State AG. There's some justice in that.

And Mrs. Polk was right about Mr. Thomas and was right to raise a "hue and cry."

Now, if only she would raise a hue and cry about the corruption in the Prescott court system.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A typical question . . .

I planned to address this question first and then got sidetracked doing a blog update, below. So let me get to it quickly now.

A typical question from an anonymous commenter. (Remember, you can post a comment anonymously. I have turned comment moderation on, which means only I see your comment.)

A reader asks: I had a case in 2008 that was mishandled by [former] judge hinson. I looked in 2008 and 2009 for help. Is there something that can be done against him now, and to change his rulings?

I get this type of question about former judge hinson a lot.

Sadly, the short answer is "No."

First, about changing his ruling. Unfortunately, you have to go back to the sausage factory if you want to try to change a judge's ruling. If you haven't been able to do anything in two years, your time to appeal or pursue some other form of justice is time barred.

But don't kick yourself. The sad fact is that appellate court judges are VERY reluctant to challenge a lower court judge's rulings, no matter how wrong or illegal that ruling is. (See my up and coming blog, blind man Bluff.)

Further making your uphill battle steeper is the fact that, barring any exceptional circumstances, the higher court will not entertain any new evidence you want to tell them. If you didn't tell your story right the first time or if it was misunderstood (or even corrupted), you don't get a second chance to present evidence unless you can get a "de novo" trial. (A new trial.) And even then, they'll try to send you back to the same (bad) judge.

I don't know if it's laziness on the part of the higher courts, unwillingness to rock the boat, or just a plain lack of Godlessness / Justice. (All the above?) But that's how it is.

This is not like the private sector, where, when you have a problem, you can go to a Supervisor, tell your story and get some satisfaction. No one can get fired in government, so there's no accountability, no incentive to make things right.

Further, there's a lot of confusion among the general public about the purpose of complaints of judicial misconduct. Even though the Commission on Judicial Conduct tries it make it clear in its rules, it appears many complainants don't read the rules or don't think the rules will apply to their egregious case.

The Commission does not have the power to change a judge's rulings, even if everyone on the Commission sees that your judge goofed at law.

In theory, the Commission only cares about clear "misconduct." But isn't making bad law part and parcel of "misconduct?" How does the Commission so easily separate a judge's actions from the judge?

But even in a blatant case of misconduct, like, say, if the judge took a bribe to rule against you, even then the Commission will probably disappoint you. (The federal court certainly will when you try to pursue a §1983 civil right lawsuit against him.)

For example, when I asked a staffer if the Commission would report bribery to law enforcement, she told me "It depends."

WRONG ANSWER. It should always be "Yes." But that's the Commission for you.

It's a screwed up system we have here. It's the Legislature, in its Check & Balance role, who should be overseeing judges. Not judges.

Unfortunately, the fox is watching the hen house (judges judging judges). That's how they like it and that's how it is in our Arizona Constitution since the mid-60's. I'm sorry to say that, given the inertia and vested interests, it's unlikely we will ever get a Constitutional Amendment to change this incestuous Good Ole Boys Club. As I've opined before, this will lead to anarchy soon as citizens blow off ridiculous rulings by judges and a lack of resources prevent law enforcement from reacting.

And you can see from my previous post that I've tried mightily to get justice for former judge hinson's criminal acts, without success.

So again, "No," I don't believe there's anything you can do against former judge hinson. We'll just have to leave his final judgment in God's hands.

Unless the former judge repents in this life, you can be sure there will be Justice for him in the next. For all eternity.

"Some animals more equal than others."

Sorry I haven't been able to update this blog more often... I've been kept busy with two federal civil right lawsuits. (With a third planned!)

And, frankly, depressed.

As one of the more righteous federal judges opined about traditions granting immunity to those Congress allowed us to sue: "The most remarkable thing about this sad story is that our law of excessive force, supervisory liability, and qualified immunity has become so labyrinthine (and maybe so overly forgiving) that both supervisors have substantial [legally valid, but morally bankrupt] arguments that they should not be liable for the violation of the dead man's civil rights."


As a brief update, which I hope to fully document more here someday with the actual correspondence back and forth, I've pretty much exhausted all attempts to get equal criminal justice for former judge hinson.

As I started to outline previously, before the finding of fact by the Commission on Judicial Conduct that former judge hinson falsified affidavits to get his paychecks, I wrote to Mr. Terry Goddard, the current Arizona Attorney General. (Who is now running for governor.) I don't think I jumped the gun, as all the data to show criminal activity was in the public record I provided. The only thing the Commission's report did was certify the facts.

After he rejected acting, I went back to Square One.

After former judge hinson resigned from office, I filed a criminal complaint with the local Yavapai Sheriff (Steve Waugh). He in turn, passed the buck (apparently without any investigation) to the Yavapai Prosecutor. (Sheila Polk.)

To her credit, Mrs. Polk forwarded the information to former Maricopa County Andrew Thomas. (I pointed out in the complaint that Mrs. Polk had recused herself from hinson's ethic matter.) This was during the time that Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Polk were having their dust up over the Don Stapley matter, where Mrs. Polk declined to prosecute Mr. Stapley. Even though Mr. Thomas had gone after a judge in Maricopa County for bribery, he declined to prosecute former judge hinson. (I hope that was a staffer's decision and not his. But who knows?)

The Sonoran Alliance article, cited, above, reinforces my observation, alluded elsewhere in this blog, that Mrs. Polk is NOT a Conservative. So it's not just me saying it.

And call me "conspiratorial," but could there be a Mormon connection here again with her not prosecuting Commissioner Stapley? Remember the BIG favor she did for Mormon Senator Bennett years ago.

Then I went back to Mr. Goddard's office, where I got the usual blow off letter although a hint that I should go to the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Criminal Investigation Division to grease the skids, to bring this matter up through inside channels, not from the outside.

Interestingly, I got a letter from the Director of DPS, Col. Halliday. Someone did a little homework there, and outlined pretty much what I'm outlining here. He refused to act. (Did you see the lawsuit involving the Director's daughter? Pretty racy. If true, sounds like some ethics problems within the family.)

And that's where it ends. Contrary to a claim on PBS's Horizon programMr. Rick Romley made after he took over at interim Maricopa County Prosecutor, judges ARE above the law. (Mr. Romley claimed that "No one is above the law.")

You'll probably see this again in my civil lawsuit against Judge Mary Hamm for engaging in ex parte communication, which she's arguing that engaging in ex parte communication is a protected "judicial function."


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Soliciting attorney for federal civil right lawsuit

UPDATE: Lawsuit won! See the newspaper story. I deleted my first pass complaint below, as I made the typical pro se mistake of failing to state a claim. (I have since found that even professional attorneys make this mistake.) After doing more homework, I amended my complaint, and four out of seven counts survived dismissal. I will plan to post the complaint soon at "Prescott, Small Town politics."

I'm soliciting an attorney to champion a Title 42 Section 1983 and Section 1985 (conspiracy to deprive of due process) lawsuit against individuals in the Prescott PD and the Prescott City Attorneys. You would be reinforcing existing law on a "Terry Stop" and the "requirement" to identify oneself, especially relevant in this time of SB1070. And I'm a white guy, clearly a citizen of the US! If they treated me like this, imagine what they'll do if you look Hspanic! (There is no such thing as "Failure to ID" in Arizona. We need a bright line here. See also State v. Wyman.) Skip a few paragraphs to get to the complaint, below.

Every stereotypical thing you've heard about "small town politics" is true. It wouldn't be funny if there weren't some truth to it. Sadly, it would only be funny if it weren't true.

Since filing the complaint of judicial misconduct that caused former judge hinson (of Prescott, Arizona) to resign, the retaliation has been relentless. I have two federal civil right lawsuits in the works, with a third on the way.

The third is against the Prescott City Prosecutor, Glenn Savona, who charged me with "Criminal faxing." Yep. I was criminally charged for allegedly violating Rule 5(c) of Civil Procedure! Never mind that no judge said I had violated any Rule. And never mind it was my attorney who faxed the pleading for me! Interestingly, the judge, Kenneth Ray III, ruled Mr. Savona could pierce the attorney/client privilege and depose my attorney! More small town thinking. Amazing.

Anyway, the thrust of that lawsuit is that Mr. Savona withheld exculpatory evidence, a de facto violation of my 14th Amendment right to due process according to the US Supreme Court. Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1993). I found a police report he didn't give us where he says he knew I didn't violate the law. And a Prescott cop falsified a couple reports. Stay tuned.

The second federal civil right suit is against judge Mary Hamm for engaging in ex parte communication with a plaintiff, suspending the rules of evidence and procedure, etc. and is posted over at That one has been filed, but not yet served. I'm soliciting an attorney for that too, per my previous post.

But I have served papers and am waiting on answers for my first ever federal civil right lawsuit.

You attorneys should have taken my case. Could have made $40,000 in legal fees. Please, if you can represent me or counsel me, I'd appreciate. You can have the money. I just want Justice. I've done a lot of the legwork already and have audio of the unlawful stop, the unlawful dispatch, disciplinary records and police reports.

Please contact me via the info in the pleading or leave a comment here on the blog. Your comment will not be published unless you tell me to publish it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Federal lawsuit for being a "hireling of Lucifer"

Who wants to be (Half) A Millionaire?

I'm soliciting an attorney to champion my federal complaint (filed, but not served yet) against Judge Mary Hamm and Yavapai County for conspiracy / violating my 14th Amendment Civil right to due process. (1st and 2nd Amendment rights too.) We even have a judge who "unrecused" to rule against me. (Judge Arthur Markham.)

You can't make this stuff up.

It appears Presiding Judge Robert Brutinel might also be in on this, although unless someone spills the beans, it would be hard to prove.

You can have the money. I just want Justice.

Please see the details at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Terry Goddard's false religion contagious

I'm getting ahead of myself because I haven't blogged yet here about Terry Goddard's false religion when it comes to the worship of judges. I haven't even yet linked to the youtube video about it to put this in context. (Think "priesthood.")

Nonetheless, I'm cross linking here. See my post, titled "Terry Goddard says, 'Go ahead an ex parte!'" at my sister blog, documenting how the Arizona Attorney General's staff turns a blind eye to felonies committed by judges.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The End is Near!

No, I'm not talking about the year 2012 and the Mayan calendar.

Aside: Although God, in the Bible, does talk about the end of the world. But even if the final countdown started tomorrow, we would have 7 + 1000 years (1007 years) before everything is destroyed by fire and a new heaven and new earth are formed. The earthquakes seem to have started. If so, famines are next.

And I'm not talking about the fact that you have only a few days left if you want to affirm my Petition before the Arizona Supreme Court for more oversight of judges who violate YOUR constitutional right to a speedy trial. (Deadline is May 20 to comment! Already those in the system have filed two comments to oppose.)

No, this is more of a personal "housekeeping" thing. I'm talking about the end of an era here on this blog. And eventually, the end of this blog. Perhaps sooner rather than later (depending on Mr. Goddard... who, by the way, is running for governor). I'm sure the end of this blog will make some people happy.

See, ever since I discovered that judge hinson had misappropriated funds from the State by falsifying his monthly salary certifications, I have been seeking justice. Equal justice. For all.

You can see that from my first letter to Mr. Terry Goddard, the State Attorney General, which I hand delivered to him in January 2009, shortly after I filed the complaint of judicial misconduct against judge hinson, but before any finding of fact by the Commission.

Okay, time for the funny story about the hand delivered letter.

I used to attend the Arizona Peace Officer Standards & Training Board meetings. That was after Office Dan Lovelace shot and killed Dawn Rae Nelson at a Walgreen's in Chandler. A month before, all but one member of the POST, made up mostly of law enforcement officers (much like the Commission on Judicial Conduct is made up of judges), refused to revoke Lovelace's peace officer certification. (Unlike the Commission, the POST is fairly good about revoking certifications. They goofed on this one.)

I came to the next meeting to speak during the "Call to the Public," expressing my dismay at the Board's decision and to encourage the one lone voice who spoke up for truth (Dr. Michael Polakowski.) and wanted to revoke Lovelace. Perhaps I identified with the professor.

Anyway, the State AG is automatically a member of the POST Board. That has been Terry Goddard.

When I first started attending the meetings, he used to send a substitute. But later on, he would sometimes show up himself. He never voted or spoke, so I'm not sure why he came but anyway...

After I filed the complaint against judge hinson, I thought, "How can I file a criminal complaint with Mr. Goddard. Send him a letter? Naw... that would never get his attention." Then the Spirit put an idea in my head. I would try to get a complaint to him at the POST meeting.

So I came to the meeting a little early one day and put a packet by his name tag at the large dais. I was disappointed when the meeting started because he was a no show.

But about ten minutes into the meeting, he came! I saw him sit down and look at the packet. I could almost hear him think, "What the h*** is this?" He opened up the envelope and started reading the complaint in my previous post. I could see his eyes widen as he read. Probably made for a less boring meeting. It seemed like he sneaked peaks at the whole thing.

If there's a first letter to Mr. Goddard, you can be sure there's a second. Which is why I say we're coming to the end here.

Despite the fact that Mr. Goddard personally read my criminal complaint against judge hinson, I got the formal "blow off" letter. Which I'll publish next.

To be fair, the Commission hadn't finished its investigation yet, although the Commission isn't a law enforcement agency. There was enough probable cause for Mr. Goddard to start his own investigation if he had wanted. And I was short on criminal allegations, citing only felony theft. (Although prosecutors are particular adept at trumping up charges.) But, as I learned from this January's Horizon program on PBS, judges are gods to Terry Goddard so it wouldn't have mattered if I had given him a literal smoking gun. He has expressed his belief that judges can do no wrong and you should never, ever ever prosecute a judge.

Actually, it wasn't a total blow off letter. I did get some direction about pursuing criminal charges against judge hinson. Which, over the course of a year, I followed. With predictable, but at the same time, surprising results. (Credit to Sheila Polk who did the right thing. Ironically, Andrew Thomas' office did not. Hozzat for a teaser? I'll try to publish those as loose ends later.)

The bottom line is that no one to date has prosecuted judge hinson for his numerous felonies.

As the year went on, I would Providentially come across stories in Arizona about others who had committed crimes similar to judge hinson. Crimes like "engaging in fraudulent schemes," a felony. Crimes like "false swearing." Also a felony.

But because they weren't a judge, they were prosecuted. Like, here's the story of a police officer who "was dishonest and misused state property." He falsified his time sheet to collect his salary. Remind you of anyone?

The police officer was fired. Judge hinson was not. Even though the officer cited mitigating circumstances, as did judge hinson. Unlike judge hinson, the officer broke down and cried in remorse when caught.

So now that I've exhausted the lower levels, I recently made one last try at the highest level I can go. On Friday, I delivered a revised criminal complaint against former judge hinson to Mr. Goddard's office.

I had been saving all sorts of papers in a file for this final, last occasion. Now that the complaint has been sent, this matter is once again in Mr. Goddard's hands. (Who, by the way, is running for Governor.)

I've fought the good fight. I've done all that I can do.

As I close the file on this matter, and literally put the papers away, I expect this is an end to an era. I expect this is the beginning of the end for this particular blog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My first letter to Terry Goddard - January 2009

There's an interesting story about how Providence got Mr. Goddard to read my letter, but I don't have time to tell it now.

Below is a letter given, in January 2009, to Mr. Terry Goddard the State Attorney General asking for criminal prosecution of judge Howard Hinson.

Bear in mind that Mr. Goddard is now running for Governor of Arizona. (More on that as I post the follow on response.)
January 20, 2009

Mr. Terry Goddard; Attorney General
1275 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

RE: Criminal complaint against Superior Court Judge Howard D. Hinson, Jr.

Hello Mr. Goddard:

I'm writing to inform you of criminal conduct by Superior Court Judge Howard D. Hinson, Jr. (serving in Yavapai County). Based on a cross check of public Supreme Court records (attached), Judge Hinson has falsified at least 10 signed affidavits to the Arizona Supreme Court, falsely certifying that, pursuant to A.R.S. §12-128.01, he qualified to receive his pay at the time.

At this point, you might defer, suggesting I file a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct for investigation. I have done that. But, sadly, the Commission only narrowly focuses on judicial conduct. The Commission does not, and will not, forward any information on criminal conduct to any law enforcement agency. Therefore, I write you for indictment / prosecution.

Now, to continue, falsifying an affidavit to receive pay is a prima facie Class 3 misdemeanor, per A.R.S. §12-128.01 (C): "Any person who issues or causes to be issued any check, warrant or payment to a judge or commissioner knowing that, pursuant to this section, such judge or commissioner should not receive his salary is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor." The "any person" here who caused the State to issue a check to a judge who should not receive his salary is Judge Hinson himself!

I allege he committed felonies as well. Judge Hinson falsified his affidavits to the Court to receive money not yet due him, for work not yet fully rendered. Therefore, he defrauded the State of Arizona by appropriating his monthly pay under false pretenses. It should have been withheld. Considering the sums of money involved (a Superior court judge's monthly salary is about $11,000), this is felony theft per A.R.S. §13-1802.

Also, one of your staffers suggested this may also come under forgery, a class 4 felony.


A. A person commits forgery if, with intent to defraud, the person:

1. Falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument;


Article VI, Section 21, of the Arizona Constitution requires Superior court judges to rule on any matter within 60 days. This is our Constitutional Right to a speedy trial. "Every matter submitted to a judge of the superior court for his decision shall be decided within sixty days from the date of submission thereof."

Despite the Constitution's clear requirement, the Arizona State Legislature decided that judges needed "encouragement" to obey the 60-day Rule. Hence, A.R.S 12-128-01, titled, Receipt of salary by judges and commissioners; affidavit; pending and undetermined causes; violation; classification. This law encourages judges to obey the Constitution by withholding their paycheck if a judge takes more than 60 days to rule on any matter.

So, before a judge can receive a paycheck, the Legislature requires each Superior court judge to sign an affidavit once a month, certifying that "no cause has been submitted to me for decision which remains pending and undetermined for sixty days or more since the date of submission for decision." I'll refer to these monthly Judicial Certifications as "Cert's."

Unfortunately, the Legislature relies on self-reporting, asking the judge in question if he was obeying the law that this law was meant to enforce! It presupposes all judges are honorable and don't lie. But won't a dishonorable judge, who has already broken the law, break another one? Especially if telling the truth now would put his paycheck in jeopardy? Asking anyone to self certify is like asking Bernie Madoff if he's ripping you off . . . and believing him!

Fortunately, the Arizona Supreme Court provides oversight the Legislature did not. (Although no one in the Supreme Court acts on that oversight.) Supreme Court Rule 91(e) calls for each Superior court clerk to "report to the Administrative Director of the Courts, in writing, on the last day of March, June, September and December, in each year, all matters in that court submitted for decision sixty days or more prior to the date of such report and remaining undecided on the date of the report. "Pursuant to that Rule, every Quarter each Superior court clerk in every county performs a routine audit of the judges in their bailiwick and reports their findings to the Supreme Court's Finance Office. These are known as "Quarterly's." These records form the basis for this complaint.


There's a lot of raw data to digest from the numerous exhibits, but I've made it easy to absorb with Exhibit 1. This chart contains all the data at a glance in one easily understandable picture, where overdue matters are shown in red. (Exhibit 1 can be seen electronically, in color, at For your purposes, the meat of the Exhibit is the running count of falsified affidavits, the circled numbers on the chart. (In orange highlighter.)

I started by exhaustively examining the Clerk's Quarterly's (for Yavapai County) from the 1st Quarter of 2004 to present. (Exhibits 2-1 through 2-7.) Exhibit 1 charts the data. The time line starts at the 3rd Quarter of 2006, the first "hit" in the Clerk's Quarterly where any judge in Yavapai County violated the 60-day Rule. (It was, and has ONLY ever been, Judge Hinson) The time line continues to November 2008. (I expect more violations when the December Quarterly becomes available.)

Then I charted the start and end date (if the end date was reported) of the delinquent matters the Clerk found. I charted them in the order they appear in the Clerk's Quarterly's. She found 24 delinquent matters.

Each vertical grid line on the time line represents 10 days. So six grids away from the beginning date of any matter is 60 days. Anything longer than that is a violation of the 60-day Rule, shown in red.

Then I took Judge Hinson's monthly Cert's (Exhibit groups 3 through 5), and plotted an "X" each time he falsely certified he had no cases pending beyond sixty days. For the purposes of this criminal complaint, any X in any month constitutes a falsified affidavit! Receipt of salary subsequent constitutes one count of felony theft.

Notice also that Judge Hinson consistently ruled on delinquent matters when, and only when, the Clerk's Quarterly's were being generated. It appears he did this so as to not get caught by the system, to get in "under the wire" to get his paycheck. This demonstrates premeditation, that he knows what the law is. Also, see his mea culpa letter of July 2007 (Exhibit 4-7b), where he admits being delinquent and acknowledges the law.

Request for Prosecution

It should be obvious that people in high authority should be held to a higher level of accountability. Unfortunately, in our country, where we claim "equal justice under the law," those in high authority who commit crimes are often given a pass. (Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, for example.) This is not right.

A Superior Court judge is expected to obey the same law he holds us accountable to. Therefore, I am asking you prosecute Judge Hinson in the strongest terms. (FYI, I have never been a litigant in Judge Hinson's court.) You have a prima facie case of ten counts of misdemeanor falsification of his affidavits. That he committed felony theft follows. Even if he resigns, as did Judge McDougall for the same violations in August 2000, justice still demands prosecution. A felony is a felony and a public servant should not be able to escape conviction for fraud by quitting. More so if he receives a pension despite his malfeasance.

Please let me know what you intend to do,

Appendix A: Anticipating a Defense

Arguing Ignorance

As I perused some successful complaints to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, I was appalled to see judges plead ignorance of the law as a defense. That's never an excuse when they rule from the bench. It isn't an excuse now.

If Judge Hinson tries to argue he didn't know about the 60-day, that he didn't "knowingly" or "willfully" violate it, there is no language in the law that requires premeditation. The language of Article VI, Section 21 of the Arizona Constitution regarding the 60-day requirement is clear. And it's basic contract law that when someone swears an oath, entering an agreement, it's presumed that they have read the document to which they swore to support. A judge must know the law and not violate it. Period.

While A.R.S. §12-128.01(C) has a condition for "knowing," the Certification form itself cites the law! There is no excuse. One cannot sign the Certification form and claim to not know the law.

In fact, Judge Hinson demonstrated in his July 18, 2007 letter to the Supreme Court that he knew the law, had violated the 60-day Rule and would not receive his paycheck as a consequence. (Exhibit 4-7b) He cannot now claim to be ignorant of the 60-day Rule and the A.R.S. §12-128.01 requirement for certification.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Someone is suing former judge Hinson!

Go to the Yavapai County case look up page and type in Hinson, Howard for the last/first name. Then click on the topmost link. (Case P-1300-CV-200901567)

Unfortunately, this is being tried in State Court. I'm thinking a Federal suit, outside the powers that be here, would be the better venue. An uphill battle, to be sure.

Perhaps some of you keen lawyers who were yelled at by the former judge (you know who you are - as do I for some who wrote me) will send anonymous tips to the pro se Plaintiff via his contact info in his pleadings? He has a May 5 deadline to respond to the State's Motion to Dismiss.

Or maybe one of you keen lawyers who's about to retire, who can't be injured by the priesthood anymore will offer your services and fight the good fight?

30 days to comment on 60

Actually, you have less than 30 days.

If you've been harmed by a judge who violated your right to a speedy trial by violating the Arizona Constitution's 60-day Rule, you have until May 20 to comment to the Arizona Supreme Court about it. I've already done the hard work for you, Petitioning the Court to make it mandatory that any 60-day Rule violations caught by audit be automatically reported to the Commission on Judicial Conduct. If you agree with my Petition before the court, read their Forum Rules, get a password and write in! Even if you haven't been harmed but think this is a good idea, you can write in.

I've written before, urging you to act, but as of today, no one has posted a reply in the forum.

I did get a response from the State Bar to one of my Petitions regarding our 2nd Amendment right. (They're against it.) So it looks like I must be on the right track with that!

Look, I can't do this all by myself and we get the government we deserve. It's hard to know how the Court will rule on my Petition, but it seems that the more people who affirm it, the better. As it stands now, they have little reason to believe anyone has been harmed by tardy rulings. They often cite their audits saying something like "There's 99% compliance with self-certification."

But as we've discovered in the former judge hinson matter, self-certification does not catch a judge who lies on his certification. (By definition.) And, as we also discovered, many delinquent cases fall through the cracks during the Superior Court clerk's quarterly audit and are not reported. No one knows about your case better than you. So if you've been harmed, you need to tell the Justices so they have the data.

Now, I've talked to some of you and I know you're fearful of retribution. You still have a case pending in the system and you're afraid that if you make noise, you'll get hammered. (Don't I know it!)

Okay, so here are two options for you. You can send me a comment, telling me your story. If I have time, I will try to write to the Court relaying your story but keeping your name out of it. But I have to reply to the State Bar (per above) myself first...

Or, you could write to the Chairman of the House and/or Senate Judiciary Committee, asking them to chime in on your behalf. (Explain you are fearful of retribution by a judge and ask them to keep your name anonymous.)

I've primed the pump for you already. I've already written Representative Adam Driggs, who is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and I've also written Senator Chuck Gray, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking them to affirm my Petition. I'll try to post the letters if I can find the time.

Unfortunately, neither has responded in the forum. But if you call their staff and mention the Petition, perhaps they will affirm the Petition. To his credit, Senator Gray has written me before, expressing his interest in the judge hinson matter. So he may respond to you.

May 20 is only three weeks away.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Famous Amos

I read through the Bible periodically. (Cover to cover.)

I recently came across this command from God, which I've known was His will. But I had forgotten He said it so succinctly:

"Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts."

Amos 5:15

So for you who have falsely accused me of having nefarious motives for filing a (now justified) complaint of judicial misconduct against the former judge hinson, there's your motive.

Monday, March 29, 2010

If you're a victim and you know it...

... don't clap your hands.Write the Supreme Court!

I wrote in January, albeit close to the deadline, about how the Supreme Court was soliciting public input on its Rules. Did you write in?

If not, well, you get a second chance. This time I'm giving you more advanced notice. You have until mid-may to comment.

A petition to change the way the court handles 60-day Rule violations is up on the Supreme Court's public Rules Forum website. The Petition requests that the whenever the Superior Court clerk or the Supreme Court's Finance Office observes that a judge is in violation of the 60-Rule, the Court automatically file a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against that judge. This change is needed because, as we learned from recent history in this blog, no one in the system will report a judge if they're not compelled.

The text of the Petition is at the end of this post. You don't have to be nearly so formal in responding. You can write an ordinary free form email to the Court. Anyone can respond to a Petition. Read the Court's Frequently Asked Questions about how things work and then do it!

If you are, or have been, a victim of a 60-day Rule violation, you should write to the Court in favor of the Petition. Maybe you have an idea to improve the situation? Like, as someone suggested to me, maybe the Court should have a procedure whereby litigants, who watch as their right to a speedy trial is ignored, can anonymously notify the Supreme Court's Finance Office directly so that the judge's salary is withheld until he rules?

Similarly, since many of you have written to tell me your 60-day violation was missed by the Superior Court Clerk's Quarterly audit in former judge hinson's matter, there also ought to be a way to anonymously notify the Clerk directly when judges miss deadlines. Nobody knows-or cares-more about their case than you do.

Anonymously to avoid payback if a judge suspects you reported him.

(Would a judge really do that to you? Nah... )

It turns out, contrary to their own Ethics Rule, the State Bar won't discipline attorneys for not reporting this judicial misconduct. (Story coming soon!) We saw that former judge hinson's Presiding judge didn't report him either. For three years! So that leaves you.

The Supreme Court may not listen. But as is said of the Lotto, you can't win if you don't play. You have to try. Even if they don't do the right thing, you can be at peace in your conscience knowing you were a watchman on the wall.

Pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of the Supreme Court, Mike Palmer, a person "interested . . . in the adoption, amendment . . . of a court rule" respectfully petitions this Court to either amend Rule 91(e) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona to require superior court clerks to report 60-day Rule violations to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, or, in lieu, adopt a new Rule to require the Supreme Court's own Administrative Office of the Courts Finance Office to report 60-day Rule violations to said Commission. A four year delay in judicial discipline, which finally resulted in the recent resignation of former Superior court judge Howard D. Hinson, Jr. (Yavapai County), highlights the need for this amendment or new rule.

I. Background. Article VI, Section 21 of the Arizona Constitution, which codifies our right to a speedy trial, requires Superior court judges rule on any matter within 60 days. Unfortunately, this Constitutional requirement is essentially toothless, as there are no immediate consequences for violating it. Aside from his oath to God to support the Constitution of the State of Arizona and faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of office, there is nothing to force a judge to abide by the 60-day Rule.

Fortunately, the Arizona State Legislature tried to put some teeth into this Constitutional requirement by passing A.R.S § 12-128-01. As it pertains here, that law says "A superior court judge shall not receive his salary unless such judge certifies that no cause before such judge remains pending and undetermined for sixty days after it has been submitted for decision . . ." In other words, a judge's salary is not due him if he has any matters overdue.

Unfortunately, the Legislature gummed up the works. It left it to judges to self-certify that "no cause has been submitted to me for decision which remains pending and undetermined for sixty days or more since the date of submission for decision." In other words, a judge essentially issues his paycheck to himself. The Legislature overlooked the obvious fact that self-certification only works when everyone plays by the rules. It does not catch rule breakers, by definition. A bad judge will falsify his affidavit to the Court, as we'll see.

Fortunately, the Arizona Supreme Court provides some oversight the Legislature did not. Supreme Court Rule 91(e) calls for each Superior court clerk to "report to the Administrative Director of the Courts, in writing, on the last day of March, June, September and December, in each year, all matters in that court submitted for decision sixty days or more prior to the date of such report and remaining undecided on the date of the report."

Unfortunately, as it stands now, the clerk is not strictly required by law to (and, practically speaking, does not) notify the Commission on Judicial Conduct if she finds a judge has committed judicial misconduct by violating the 60-day Rule. Nor is the Supreme Court's AOC Finance Office strictly required to act, even though it is arguably more culpable than the clerk, since it has the data to know when a judge has violated the 60-Rule AND the data to know when a judge lied to the Supreme Court about it.

In the recent case of former judge Hinson, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, acting on a citizen's complaint, found the judge had violated the Arizona Constitution's 60-day Rule at least 25 times in three consecutive years. He falsified his monthly salary certifications regarding same at least 11 times in the same period. (See Exhibit 1, attached.) As a result of his misconduct, judge Hinson resigned from office in the Fall of 2009, almost a year after a complaint was filed.
II. The need. Shouldn't someone within the judiciary have reported this before a concerned citizen became involved? Nothing happened for three years. The system needs to be fixed. Let's start at the top and work down to see what can be done.

Judge Hinson's presiding judge in Yavapai County (R.M.B.), who presumably would know of the violations, was obligated at some point to file a complaint of judicial misconduct against his subordinate, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 81, the Code of Judicial Conduct. (Canon 3(D)(1) in the old Code, Rule 2.15(A) in the new.) Nevertheless, according to the Commission's report, the presiding judge did not file a complaint during his subordinate's three year "crime" spree.
Likewise, State Bar Ethics Rule 8.3(b) requires attorneys to report judicial misconduct to the appropriate authorities. But the record shows no attorney filed a complaint with the Commission against Judge Hinson in the three years the judge violated their client's constitutional right to a speedy trial. Whether any attorney complained to the presiding judge I cannot know. (If so, that would make the presiding judge more culpable to report.)

The Yavapai County Superior court clerk had at least part of this picture, but she did not file a complaint. As auditor of the Quarterly reports, she knew of former judge Hinson's numerous and egregious violations of the 60-day Rule. (See Exhibit 1, attached.) As she is an officer of the court, I submit she had a duty to report these violations to the Commission. But if it's not spelled out in the law, there's wiggle room for nonfeasance.

To get some insight about this, I spoke with a retiring subordinate in a different county who actually performed the audits. She said they called these Quarterly audits "tattletale reports." (Note the stigma. Nobody in the system wants to be a tattletale.) When I asked if she felt any obligation to report 60-day Rule violations to anyone, she said, "No." She felt her only duty simply was to compile the data and, typical of bureaucracies, "pass it on." (And "pass on it.")
If the Superior court clerk sees the judge's Monthly Salary Certifications go by as they are filed with the AOC Finance Office and so knows when a judge is falsifying his affidavits, I submit she is even more duty bound—not only to the court, but as a publically elected official, to the citizenry—to report what she knows. Especially since falsifying an affidavit (false swearing), defrauding the State, engaging in fraudulent schemes, etc. are felonies. (Although no law enforcement agency, including the State A.G., has yet to act on the Commission's information regarding judge Hinson.)

Last in the chain, the Supreme Court's AOC Finance Office has all the data, being the keeper of both judges' Monthly Salary Certifications and the court clerks' Quarterly Audits. While not officers of the court, they are an office of the court. As such, they are duty bound by the Arizona Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees. There, in Canon 3, Item H, Duty to Report, we read, "Judicial employees shall report to a supervisor, administrator, or judge within the judicial department any violation of the law or this code by another judicial employee."

A 60-day Rule violation is a violation of Constitutional law. You can't get higher than that. As Superior court judges are judicial employees, it seems the Code for Judicial Employees already calls for them to report judicial misconduct when it sees incontrovertible evidence of judicial misconduct as was the case with former judge Hinson. But they did not act. (Their Code may not be binding law, as Rule 81 is for judges. Even if it is binding, if a duty is not clearly spelled out in the law, there's wiggle room for nonfeasance.)

So, in spite of all these layers of ostensible oversight, no one in the system reported judge Hinson to the Commission. What to do? The language in the Code of Conduct for Judges and State Bar E.R. 8.3(b) for attorneys is already clear. No change here will stop nonfeasance at the high levels. Therefore, I propose the Court needs to clearly spell out this duty clearly so that lower level staff know when they must act.

III. Proposed change. I propose Rule 91(e) be amended to specifically require Superior court clerks to automatically report violations of the Arizona Constitution's 60-day Rule to the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Also, when a clerk learns a judge has violated the 60-day Rule, the court clerk should be instructed to pull the judge's monthly Certification to see if he reported accurately to the court. If he falsified his affidavit, that information should automatically be included in the clerk's complaint.

Alternatively, the Court could adopt a new rule, say 91(j),clearly spelling out the same trigger to automatically file a complaint, but by the AOC Finance Office instead of Superior court clerks. The Finance Office has easy physical access to both the Superior court clerks' Quarterly audits and judges' Monthly Certifications. Since the staff of the AOC is unelected (in contrast to Superior Court clerks), perhaps this is the preferred (prudent) solution, practically and politically speaking.

Last, while the Legislature allowed exceptions for physical disability in its law regarding payment of salary (A.R.S § 12-128-01), the Constitution says nothing about physical disability as a reason for not complying with the 60-day Rule. Because matters of physical disability are under the purview of the Commission, all violations of the 60-day Rule must be reported to the Commission for independent oversight. Therefore, if the Court amends or adopts a new Rule per this petition, the rule should not make exception for physical disability.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not so Funny Business

I thought about my previous post, and I suppose it's not so funny.

Really, someone has stolen property from me (albeit "intellectual" property, but property nonetheless). Do I have to remind you that stealing is sin? Deleting my uploads, taking property not yours, is theft. It's also criminal damage and harassment, as any young cop knows.

It cost me a few hours, but I believe I've restored the broken links. Again, if you come across any, please leave a comment. Please include the title of the blog entry in your report. Thank you.