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Election Day: Judges matter, and here is who matters most

Here in Dauphin County we have four candidates to choose from for three seats.

I have some connection to each candidate, though much less with one. My opinions about each candidate is based on extensive personal experiences with them over many years.

If you care about having fair judges in front of you or your friends in the court room, then here is who you would vote for:

  1. Ed Marsico. Though Ed is very much a moderate “establishment” Republican, and he is cross-filed as both D&R, Ed is probably one of the most experienced judicial candidates Pennsylvania has ever had. Ed’s proximity to the state capital area has given him the unique opportunity to prosecute the widest variety of crimes. I admit to being frustrated that Ed did not stand up for his lieutenant, super-qualified deputy prosecutor Steve Rozman, back in the primary race, instead of going along with the county GOP politicized endorsement process. Ed is a fair guy, and he will be an outstanding judge. Please vote for Ed Marsico.
  2. Royce Morris. Royce represents the Abraham Lincoln wing of the Republican Party, though cross-filed as a D&R, and is a person who has been a highly respected defense attorney for a wide variety and spectrum of people caught up in the beginning and later stages of criminal law procedure. Royce would be the first black member of the Dauphin County bar, and while that alone might motivate some people to vote for him, voters can rest assured he is interested in actual justice per the law. Royce is a refreshing face in the judiciary for so many reasons. Please for for Royce Morris.
  3. John McNally. John is the only candidate running as a Republican. The three local people reading this blog already know well that John McNally and I have suffered a decreasingly effective relationship over the past six years. So too speak. John is very much a political establishment insider and ladder-climber, and several times a beneficiary of lame political shenanigans, endorsements and financial largess that were not reflective of the other candidates in various races he was a candidate in. John and I have had our differences, and we have run against each other directly and indirectly. We are about as opposite on so many issues and ways of doing things as you can find. That said, John has undergone some serious personal growth and introspection in the past couple years that could only produce a better person and a better judge, and I am setting aside my own personal history. Please vote for John McNally.

The fourth candidate is attorney Lori Serratelli, who was appointed to a vacant county judgeship last year. Lori is a good person but a political extremist, to be honest. Of the four candidates on the November 7th ballot, she is the one most likely to legislate and activate from the bench, disregarding law in favor of the current liberal method of dispensing with jurisprudence and dispensing politics, instead. We have seen this model as recently as this week, when a federal judge decided she was the new Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, using her civilian (non-military) court to overreach into the executive branch’s business by blocking a military decision by the US President. The current President made a decision that overturned a decision by the past Commander in Chief, and this federal judge decided to insert herself into the command structure. Lori is very much cut from this same activist cloth.  We don’t need this model in central Pennsylvania. Please do not vote for Lori.

 

Judge, Jury, and Executioner…Judge, Congress, and President

Federal Judge Watson from Haw’aii has demonstrated a passion for power far beyond his designated duties, but similar to the recent approach of the Venezuelan court.

How?

First he ignored US law and the US Constitution, and ruled against an executive order over which he had zero jurisdiction.

Then he actually stipulated details in his holding, as if he had written a law passed by Congress and signed by the president.

Then, after the US Supreme Court overturned his holding, he immediately accepted a new, repeat appeal of the same executive order that the US Supreme Court had just upheld, and then overturned the holding of the US Supreme Court, actually once again throwing in new requirements as if he had just written a law.

Judge Watson is behaving exactly the opposite of how a federal judge is supposed to behave, and he is also directly challenging the authority of the the entire US government, and most worrying, the US Supreme Court, to whom you would think he had some shred of loyalty.

Judge Watson wants to be judge, jury and executioner. Or in these exact conditions, he wants to be judiciary, congress, and president. And he is acting just as he wants to be, despite our nation’s law and Constitution clearly prohibiting his actions.

Judge Watson wants to rule by fiat, by declaration.

Judge Watson wants to be a law unto himself, unaccountable even to his fellow judiciary.

Judge Watson is a rogue political actor, abusing the legal process clearly defined by our laws and Constitution, for the narrow purpose of advancing his political agenda.

Making Watson’s actions worse is the cheering section he has among millions of Americans, who care only for process when it suits their goals and caring for it not at all when it gets in the way of their goals.

This cheering section also cares not for abiding by laws they disagree with, and they will therefore use any source of power or authority they can find to contradict the laws that have passed through the procedure by which we all agree to live.

So they cheer on Judge Watson the anarchist judge.

That this is the most elementary anarchy and not just corrosive but destructive of America’s foundations seems not to deter the cheering section. It is the end of the rule of law.

“Win at any cost and in any way” is their motto.

How anyone can live harmoniously with this shattered approach to governance is anyone’s guess. This is exactly how the American Civil War began in 1860, and it may well lead to another civil war in 2017.

Making this situation worse is a president and a congress who believe in not only playing by the rules, but excusing every rule infraction of their opponents, with the silly notion that somehow their opponents (the cheering section for anarchist Judge Watson) will eventually come around and accept the fact that they lost an election and are not, therefore, able to consolidate power and control through yet more abuse of the system as they had planned.

Our current president could take a lesson from prior presidents, who, having had quite enough of over-reaching judges, simply encouraged those judges to go ahead and enforce their unconstitutional holdings in the face of a lawful president doing what he was elected to do, enabled by law and Constitution.

Lacking the means of enforcement, those overreaching judges were forced to simply watch events pass them by, having undermined their own authority by their own hand.

Our current Congress could take a lesson from past congresses, stop being such limp di#ks, and act out their Constitutional authority, such as impeaching and removing from the judicial bench those rogue judges who threaten to tear down the very society they are sworn to uphold and protect. Like anarchist Judge Watson.

Friends, none of us has an idea of how this is going to work out.

About a third of the nation is in open, violent rebellion in the streets, and in the few halls of power they still control, against established laws and against the Constitution.

About a third of the country is itching for a fight to get the first third back in line, because we cannot afford the high cost of these illegal antics.

And another third of the country is drinking beer, eating hamburgers, going to summertime baseball games, and wondering aloud when the other citizens are going to get this all worked out.

America is equally divided into thirds, perhaps in the potential roles as judges, juries, and executioners, or as judges, elected representatives, and chief executives.

We are very close to working this all out peacefully, if we all agree to just stay within those established roles, because then we will have restored the balance of power among the three co-equal branches of government that has always defined American government.

Now everyone line up into three lines, pick one line, and stay there. Then vote, and stick with the result like adults.

 

Marsico, Rozman and Morris for Dauphin County Judge

If you consider experience and qualifications alone when selecting a county judge, then there are only three logical people to get your vote on May 16th, 2017:

Ed Marsico

Michael Rozman

Royce Morris

Ed Marsico has been Dauphin County’s district attorney for a long time, so long that I have lost count of the years. During his time as the chief law enforcement official for Dauphin County, Ed has always struck a balance of fairness and restraint, when lesser people would have given in to anger over some of the heinous crimes committed in the Harrisburg area. That always struck me as the sign of a well developed personality, because man, I did not feel that way about some of the scumbag criminals he prosecuted. I wanted a public stoning. Ed pursued justice. Without any stain on his long career as a visible and scrutinized public servant, Ed Marsico is the most qualified candidate for county judge in this race and one of the most qualified we have ever had. He has earned your vote. (Ed has done a great job as DA, and I and many others would have liked to have had him run for Pennsylvania Attorney General, but Ed is devoted to Dauphin County).

Michael Rozman has served as deputy district attorney under Marsico for a long time. Often laboring away out of the limelight, Rozman has racked up some of the greatest experience any lawyer can have. Rozman’s mastery of forensics, crime scene investigations, police interviews and interrogations, and knowing how to distinguish a bad boy from a true bad guy puts him head and shoulders above any of the other candidates, except for his boss, Ed Marsico. Again, if experience and outstanding qualification matters to you, if you want justice and not politics in the court room, and if you want to be judged by someone who has had decades of experience dealing with courts, criminal matters, justice, and police work, then Michael Rozman has earned your vote.

Royce Morris is also exceptionally qualified to be judge, and he is the Yin to the Yang of Marsico and Rozman. Morris has been one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading criminal defense lawyers for a long, long time. His view of criminal law is seasoned with the understanding of the behavior and reasons why certain bad things happen and how people either purposefully or mistakenly end up in the criminal justice system. Royce has received accolades from judges, jurors, prosecutors, defendants and police officers for the careful way he has handled some of the region’s toughest defense cases. Again, if experience is what you care about, and you want to be judged by someone who is not a party hack or a devotee of political climbing, then Royce Morris earns your vote.

It is true that there are other candidates for the three vacant seats on the Dauphin County court. But none of those candidates has anywhere near the hard-bitten experience dealing with tough crimes and careful analysis like Marsico, Rozman, and Morris have had.

The quality difference between the top three candidates and the others is measured in light years, which is to say an enormous gap, not even close.

Yes, it is true that a Republican political endorsement was made for this seat, which benefited one of the other candidates, and while I am no fan of political endorsements in general, if there is one place where a political endorsement does not belong, where it actually indicates weakness and not strength, it is during the selection of a judge. Politics has no business entering the court room or the judge selection process, and only you, the informed voter can stop it.

About eight years ago now-Judge Andrew Dowling was not endorsed by the Dauphin GOP, and he was told not to run, and yet he went on to win his seat on the court, overcoming what is obviously a very shallow and judicially meaningless political process. A better process would be to rank judicial candidates by a letter system, or by gradations of qualification (e.g. Highly Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified). That election, when Dowling overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Three years ago outstanding judicial candidate Bill Tully was passed over by the Dauphin GOP, and another, very young and less qualified candidate was endorsed. He was closer to the political establishment. The voters rejected that set-up, too, and sent Tully to be the next Dauphin County judge. That election, when Tully overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Readers may ask why I write these essays about candidates and politics, and I will tell you it is simply because I have always had a passion for good government and fairness. Believe me, I make no friends writing these things, I receive no money and actually have lost business because of my opinions. And I have garnered some enemies along the way, too. But if Americans are not brave enough to stand up for what they deserve, then they get really bad government filled with political hacks who care nothing for the welfare of their fellow citizens. Maybe I am brave, maybe I am foolish, but I stand up nonetheless, and I tell it like I see it, and I tell it from the perspective of the person in the street.

Vote for Marsico, Rozman, and Morris, and you will get judges we can be proud of. That is my opinion.

Tyranny by Ten

This Tuesday, two and a half days ago, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals created a new law about guns and gun ownership in America out of thin air and completely contradicting recent US Supreme Court decisions the lower courts are bound to follow

If you want to see why citizens’ faith in the judiciary branch has declined, this bizarre decision is the best latest example.

It is gross over-reach far exceeding the court’s authority, and nullifying all of the judicial precedent litigated and decided before by the highest court.

Recall that judges cannot make up law.

They are fully bound by precedent.

They cannot make up policies.

They cannot come to a conclusion that is outside the subject of what has been litigated in front of them.

They cannot second-guess Congress.

They cannot ask what personal motives were behind a president’s executive order.

It does not matter what a judge personally thinks. None of this is supposed to enter into a judge’s ruling. When it does, the ruling is meaningless garbage.

Judges can only interpret the laws that are passed by Congress and signed by the President, or the state equivalent. That is it. That is their sole scope and ability.

At their most precise and honest moment, judges simply determine if a law is Constitutional, or not, or if it needs to go back to the state or federal legislative branch for re-work.

Brazen activism like this week’s decision serves only to undermine the judiciary, not strengthen it, because people will either utterly ignore these wayward judges, or they will seek to have them removed from their office, for good cause. Or both.

I myself do not feel bound by this illegal decision, and I will not comply with it no matter who says I must. These ten judges-gone-wild do not outweigh the collective decisions of the populace. If this court wants my guns, the authors of this decision can come to my home and try to take them away.

Come and (try to) take them!

In this particular instance of judicial malfeasance, ten of the court’s fourteen judges decided on their own that a new legal test was needed, a test that had never been used before by Congress, by the framers, the Constitution, or prior courts.

These ten judges decided to call it the “weapons of war” test, and they simply state that the Second Amendment never intended for American citizens to possess “weapons of war,” which according to these judges include the basic AR-15 rifles that are commonly used to hunt coyotes every week across the nation. Never mind that this new test would have eliminated from their personal possession the very military grade guns the American Patriots used to defeat the British.

But obviously logic is not of concern to these judges. The language of the majority decision and supporting decision is florid, full of political and emotional hyperbole, uses sophomoric logic and impolitic language (“the American people deserve a break”), and is simply disconnected from Constitutional text or legal precedent.

It is the equivalent of my kids saying “So, there!” in an argument.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond being merely political, the majority bizarrely state that the decision is consistent with the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision, when it is in fact completely contradictory. Talk about shades of Orwell’s “1884,” where up is down, black is white, etc.

This is not a legal decision, it is a political decision.  It is a bold, defiant “I dare ya!” act by ten radical politicians wearing sombre black robes. And it is not just about guns. This decision is about rogue, out-of-control judges destroying the fabric of our Republic, which was not designed to turn over all issues to the judiciary, as if they make our every decision for us. This court throws the whole delicate machine of democracy out of kilter.

These judges are anti-democracy, plain and simple. They want a certain policy outcome, and because they cannot get it legitimately, legally, through the established legislative process, they simply want to wave a magic wand and make it so.

As much as this illegal decision shocks me, I do have to thank these judges, because they have outed themselves. By engaging in such egregious over-reach, illegally reaching deep into the realms of policy and law, they have willingly exposed themselves as frauds deserving of the most serious correction our system of government allows for – removal from the bench.

Now it is up to those American citizens who want to ‘drain the swamp’ and reclaim American government so that it serves We The People, to remove these anti-democracy activists from their sacred judicial roles. We can push to have them impeached or removed administratively.

Either way will do. Tyranny by ten cannot stand. We the People demand our rights.

 

Judicial independence, or over-reach?

Judges do not technically have an ability to do more than rule “Yes” or “No” on an issue that is both before their court and also justiciable.

However, for decades activist judges use “broad powers” to advance a political agenda and have continuously put average Americans on defense. This means overstepping boundaries around the judicial branch, reaching deeply into the legislative and executive branches. These activist judges ignore the elementary separation of powers at the heart of the American republic, and they establish themselves as rulers by fiat over all the little people.

Because all people (literally everywhere) want to respect judges, and the justice system, as the heart and soul of democracy and quintessential justice, a culture of deference has built up around even the most active judges who legislate from the bench. That culture is at work now as several extreme judges have ruled that President Trump’s executive order on immigration must stop. The truth is that the recent immigration order is both in keeping with existing law and with the Constitutional purview of the executive branch. Judges really have nothing to say about it. Technically speaking.

But, so powerful is the draw of an independent judiciary that Americans have for a long time given up their rights, liberties, even our immediate safety to even the most obvious judicial political over-reach. Plenty of judges create “rights” where none existed before, or take rights that are expressly stated in the US and most state constitutions.  The problem with this is it is unsustainable.

Judges are not elected, and when they act as if they are, and as if they are part of the political system from which they are supposed to remain aloof, they undermine the entire system of law that delicately balances upon their shoulders.

What is now happening as more and more judges engage in out-and-out political action, is the American citizenry believes less and less in what those judges do. The citizenry is losing confidence that those judges are capable of upholding the basic tenets of America, first and foremost.

A truly independent and cautious judiciary is one that passes up most legal complaints, focusing instead on the truly important ones that cut to the heart of American representative government. America is far beyond that now, and here is what we ought to be doing about it:

First, the executive branch must ignore the rulings of imperial activist judges. Simply ignore them, because judges have no actual enforcement power. Ignoring activist holdings will strand activist judges and draw attention to their powerlessness, re-focusing attention on the real heavy weight of truly well-considered holdings. Activist judges have only themselves to blame for this.

Second, activist judges must be removed from the bench, either through elections, impeachments, or administratively. For far too long judges acting far beyond their natural limits have gotten away with murdering democracy, and it is time for Americans to reclaim their freedoms. It is time to focus our efforts on reining in judicial over-reach, so that we might have an independent judiciary worthy of our admiration, respect, and deference.

Exercise the power of the People to impeach and remove bad judges

Both the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution make plain that American and Pennsylvania state governments derive their power from the People.

But my, oh my, have we not seen a tremendous erosion of privacy and basic individual rights and liberties over the years as government power to regulate and surveil expands. Much of this starts with local law enforcement.

Over and over again we read with amazement how some official government regulatory or law enforcement arm commits another over-reach deep into some poor citizen’s life. And then with even greater amazement we read how some judge, especially federal judges, uphold what would appear on its face to violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.  Here are some headlines:

“Ohio Court upholds police forced entry into private home over failure to signal at traffic light…”

“New Jersey Federal Court Upholds The FTC’s Authority To Regulate Data Security”

 

“Judge Upholds Police ‘Code of Silence’ Ruling…U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Last month, a jury found the police department obstructed the investigation into the beating death of bartender Karolina Obrycka at the hands of off-duty police officer Anthony Abbate in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.”

“Police can forcibly take DNA samples during arrests, judge rules”

 

“Federal Judge Upholds Warrantless Hidden Surveillance Cameras On Private Property”

 

“Court upholds dismissal of ticket quota lawsuit”

 

“Utah Cops Arrest Teen for Recording, Judge then Orders Teen to Admit Guilt before Trial”

 

“Law-Breaking Judges Took Cases That Could Make Them Even Richer

Federal judges aren’t supposed to hear cases in which they have a financial stake. Dozens do it anyway.”

And the granddaddy of them all, a truly unbelievable case in which a federal judge recently decided the police can simply take over your home and eat your food without any reason whatsoever:

“The Nevada case of Mitchell v. City of Henderson still slogs through the Nevada Federal District Court. This case has one unusual feature. It accuses police in two cities of quartering themselves in two private houses without the consent of their owners. This would breach the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with quartering of soldiers. The defendant city officials say police officers are not soldiers. But the Mitchells actually have a thirty-two-year-old precedent on their side. That case says one need not be an active-duty U.S. armed service member to be a “soldier” under the Constitution………………….the police in Henderson wanted to “stake out” the Mitchells’ neighbor. They forced the Mitchells (and Anthony Mitchell’s parents) out of their homes, moved in for the time of their stakeout, and helped themselves to whatever was in their refrigerators and pantries. They even arrested Anthony and Michael for obstructing the police. Those charges could not possibly stick, so the city dropped them. But the Mitchells are still suing, on every ground they could possibly cite.
The Third Amendment portion of the Mitchell complaint has been dismissed as of February 2015. The judge held that police officers are not soldiers for the purposes of the Third Amendment; he also expressed doubt that occupying the property for less than 24 hours would constitute ‘quartering’, although he did not specifically rule on that aspect.”

And so on.  You can do your own Internet search on this subject and read the stories behind these headlines and many more.  The purpose here is to call attention to the problem of judges who clearly allow unconstitutional government behavior to proceed.

And what is to be done with US Supreme Court justices who lie under oath in their nomination and confirmation hearings, in order to be confirmed, and then begin ruling exactly the opposite of what they testified to in the US Senate?

In all these instances, the People – us, the voters, taxpayers, and citizens of America – should take the necessary steps to legally remove these failed public servants from their benches.  These are no longer judges in the essential sense of the term, and they certainly no longer look out for the basic rights and liberties of the People. 

So they must be impeached or recalled.

Is it time for civil disobedience and ignoring kook judicial holdings?

Civil disobedience, non-resistance obstructionism, and peaceful protests against clearly unfair laws and violent government agents is time-honored in America.

Civil disobedience works because it appeals to the higher mind, it appeals to the best, highest conscience in Western Civilization.  You have to have an open mind to have civil disobedience work on your political views so that you vote for change from the status quo.

It won’t work in a Muslim country, where civil disobedience will just get you locked up and tortured, or summarily killed.

It did work for Ghandi in India because the 1940s British empire valued democracy and voting rights, and the public cry at home over images of British soldiers shooting peaceful protestors in Delhi’s public streets threatened to up-end political control at home.

Americans have successfully employed civil disobedience since the 1920s: Segregation laws, no voting rights for women, a lack of equal rights or opportunity across so many sectors of society… the causes were real and political changes were needed for America to live up to its promise.

And ain’t America an amazing place that it is designed to change and heal old wounds, to become a better place?

Because the original use of civil disobedience was so righteous, because so many of the laws being protested in the 1920s through the 1960s were so outrageously unjust, the behavior eventually took on a connotation of being above the law and always justified.  In fact, over time even violence became justified in the name of Marxist versions of “justice,” and pro-violence slogans like “No Justice, No Peace” evolved.

Today, violent, fake civil disobedience has been employed by the “Occupy Wall Street” thugs, and by the violent criminals in Ferguson, Missouri.  These events always start off as a routine, rote, formula civil disobedience act, and then they quickly devolve into destruction, arson, violence, beatings, attacks on bystanders….all in the name of some Marxist version of “justice.”

Inevitably, politically allied elected officials have begun to implement their jobs in a similar fashion.  No matter what the law says, they ignore it, and make a big public deal about subverting the law.  As if they are justified.  They actually take pride in failing to implement the law as they are supposed to.

Examples of elected officials ignoring and subverting the law are a county clerk of courts issuing same-sex marriage licenses, despite Pennsylvania law saying it is illegal.  Or Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane refusing to defend state laws, because she personally disagrees with them.  Or California banning state judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts.  Or the Obama administration willfully failing to implement immigration law.  Or Harrisburg City mayor Eric Papenfuse refusing to rescind city ordinances that are plainly illegal under state preemption law, because Papenfuse holds certain personal views about guns.

This lawlessness by the very people entrusted with safeguarding and implementing the law is dangerous.  These wayward officials stand on quicksand, because the basis of our republican form of democracy is the rule of law – equal application of the law, irrespective of what one personally believes.

If government officials begin ignoring laws they disagree with, and implementing law that was not voted into being by the consent of the voters, then the rule of law is over, it has ended.  The glue that holds America together is corroded, and the whole edifice can come down.

But let’s ask why only one side of the political debate does this.  We know they get away with this because the mainstream media protects them, but the MSM veil has been pierced by the Internet, so the flow of information is no longer completely bottled up by fellow travelers.

Put another way, why don’t other people, say people like American traditionalists, “conservatives,” engage in the same behavior?

Here is an example of what could be done: Last week a federal judge ruled that Arizona must issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.  Never mind that these people are in America ILLEGALLY, the claims they make for their applications could be and often are fraudulent, and the cost of these services is unfairly covered by taxpayers.

Why don’t the good officials of Arizona simply ignore that judge’s insane ruling?  That judge has no ability to actually make Arizona issue drivers licenses, and if I worked in Arizona government, or if I still worked in federal government and had something to do with allowing illegal immigrants in, I would simply ignore that judge’s crazy ruling, or the illegal commands of the occupant of the White House.

There, folks, how do you like the taste of that medicine now?

Think of the many kook, nakedly political judicial decisions that are handed down, contrary to law and policy.  Why reward these dictatorial jurists by following their dictates? Why not simply ignore them?  God knows, they are earning it.

Civil disobedience and official lawlessness is a game that everyone can play, and at some point the people who have been acting like adults will recognize they only stand to lose by following the rule of law while their opponents exploit their fidelity, and only by fighting fire with fire will they make it clear that everyone must follow and implement the law, no matter what their personal views are, or everyone loses.

Or, people can do it the old fashioned way, and work to get the law changed one vote at a time.

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

Perry County, Pennsylvania, may be a deeply rural and tranquil place with just two traffic lights, but it is Ground Zero for the latest battle over your Constitutional gun rights.

The results of this battle have enormous implications for all Pennsylvanians, irrespective of where they live, because any legal holding will eventually apply not just to one county, but all counties and all citizens.

Unquestionably acting on political goals, the three county auditors recently sued the county sheriff, Carl Nace, demanding that he provide the names and addresses of concealed carry permit applicants his office processes. Nace refused, citing state law which seems crystal clear on the subject.

Much has been written here and elsewhere about this lawsuit and its genesis, so I will not re-trace those steps, but it is valuable to report back on where things stand as of yesterday.

Yesterday a hearing was held in New Bloomfield, Perry County’s seat of local government, on the auditors’ lawsuit against Nace. The hearing was intended to give both parties an opportunity to argue their case before a judge. The three county auditors are the plaintiff, and Sheriff Nace is the defendant.

I sat literally front and center in the court room, accompanied by Carl Fox and Jim Lucas, among many other wonderful citizens, activists, and concerned citizens. Carl Fox is president of the Duncannon Sportsman’s Association, and Jim Lucas is an engineer and well known political activist. Both Carl and Jim are involved in supporting Sheriff Nace and determining the background to the lawsuit. Both men believe the lawsuit has political purposes and goals, and is not some innocent procedural cause in the interest of perfect auditing everywhere.

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Nace, and attorney Craig Staudenmaier represented the three county auditors. The auditors were not present, either at the court house, nor at the hearing. Nace sat with his attorney in the court room.

Judge George Zanic sat directly in front of me with a clear line of sight between us, and I hope he wasn’t put off by my large prescription sunglasses, which I wear to keep summertime migraine headaches at bay, even inside. With my new, white, grizzled beard, wrap-around sunglasses, and unkempt end-of-summer hair, several people I already know approached me to learn who I was. One asked me if I was there for “the opposition,” and then laughed out loud when he realized who I was. That beard is coming off today! And yes, this is an indication that I am having a hard time letting go of the fantastic, if exhausting, summer I spent with my wife, kids, and friends.

Judge Zanic boiled down the entire argument to two points, one in each set of motions filed by each party. Zanic appeared most curious and skeptical about attorney Craig Staudenmaier’s assertions and claims about the need for the information, and the deficiency he says the county audit suffers from without the applicants’ names and addresses. More questions were asked of Staudenmaier than of Prince, and those questions for Staudenmaier were more pointed than those posed by the judge to Prince.

The judge was clearly having trouble understanding the plaintiff’s demand, or the need for the demand in the first place.

Citing general auditing standards, Judge Zanic referred to his own experience as a professional and as a former district attorney. Zanic disagreed with Staudenmaier about what information is necessary for any audit, let alone a county audit that was successfully completed by another firm when the auditors failed to do their own.

Prince did an excellent job in all respects, demonstrating a clear and quick knowledge of the governing statute, related laws, and the facts. Prince was articulate, clearly well prepared, and he stayed with Nace after the judge departed; both men answered questions from citizens and reporters.

Staudenmaier was often halting in his explanations, seemingly confused at times, and he argued in circles, often failing to directly answer the judge’s pointed questions. Some of his answers were rudimentary and elicited grumpy mutters from the audience. As soon as the judge left, Staudenmaier shot out of his seat, grabbed his papers, and fled out the back of the court house, through a hallway and door off limits to the audience. He took no questions from anyone in the court room, nor from anyone outside the court house.

Channels 43 and 27 were there, as was the Patriot News. Kudos to reporter Dennis Owens for pointing out that the auditors were not present at their own hearing, which is unnecessarily costing the county taxpayers a lot of money.  Their absence raises questions about just how seriously they take all this mess they have created.

Uniformed sheriffs and deputies from at least 15 counties were in attendance, in support of Sheriff Nace.

The court room was about 85% full.

“I hope to have a decision for you very soon,” said Judge Zanic.

Here is my take-away:

1) A person can draw their own conclusions about the quality or necessity of elected officials who take taxpayer money, who initiate unnecessary and expensive litigation, and who then do not show up in public or even at their own hearing. You cannot kick the hornet’s nest without getting stung, and then complain about it, but that is what these three auditors are doing. What they have said, and what their spokesman attorney Craig Staudenmaier has said, is that these three feel unhappy about the negative reactions their citizens have had over this lawsuit. Some counties do not have auditors, and it seems that the three in Perry County have proven they are either unfit or not needed. Perry County should either eliminate the office of county auditor, or vote these three out of office.

2) Perry County should do everything it can to determine who is behind the auditors’ lawsuit, including determining who paid Staudenmaier. This should be done to determine what political forces are in play (CeaseFirePA? Bloomberg? Soros? The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania? A local elected official?), and why they are present, and also let’s see if the people who started this expensive mess can then be held accountable and pay for it out of their own pockets.

3) Perry County should prepare to recover any costs or legal fees associated with this lawsuit, whether from the three auditors or from someone else who may be accountable. I think that Joshua Prince is representing Sheriff Nace for free, but no one should have to spend time defending someone from a frivolous lawsuit at their sole expense.

 

 

Senate ceding its role to president: Chaos

The US Senate has recently changed rules that have helped maintain America’s checks-and-balances system of government for over 150 years.

In the interest of bolstering the executive branch’s incredible reaches for off-limits power, the senate has ceded its role as being a legislative check.  The senate is now an adjunct of the executive branch.

Recent senate rules change allowed radical, far out of the mainstream federal judges to be confirmed.  They in turn go on to help the executive branch implement its unconstitutional actions.

Assuming we get through this crisis without a civil war, what happens if a new president is elected from the other party, and he or she wants to correct the damage done to America, liberty, and democracy over the past five years? When that president employs the same exact methods, will the current party cede the field, acknowledge that politics is a two-way street, and relinquish their rights?

No, they won’t.  They will fight like hell, use their media allies to bolster them in the public eye, and accuse the new party in power of all kinds of contraventions.  Hypocrisy? Yes.  It is the norm in politics, apparently.

If amnesty is granted to 8-10 million illegal immigrants, and they become voters, then the two-party system is over.  America will become artificially dominated by a single party bent on controlling the citizenry through gun confiscation, NSA spying, and more onerous socialism designed to end our capitalistic system.

I, for one, will go down fighting, if necessary.  I hope you, too, will join your liberty-loving fellow citizens and either prevent the country from descending into chaos through successful political work, or prepare to meet that chaos in an organized way.

It’s official: Sunday hunting in VA

Two weeks ago the Virginia state House passed a Sunday hunting bill out of a committee that had bottled up similar bills for decades before. It was a surprising statement that it actually got through committee.  Then it passed the full state House, which surprised even its most ardent sponsors.

Well, today the Virginia state Senate passed the companion bill.  It allows hunting on private land on Sunday, a private property rights win if there ever was one. If you pay property taxes, say on a remote mountainside property, and you are deprived of 14.2% of your full use of that property for some vague reason, you might get frustrated.  It is your property.  You can shoot 1,000 bullets at a target on Sunday, but you cannot shoot just one at a squirrel.  Laws like this are by their definition arbitrary, the bane of democracy.

Virginia’s governor says he will sign the bill into law.

Welcome to the modern era, Virginia! We are envious of you.

Kudos to Kathy Davis of PA-based Hunters United for Sunday Hunting (www.huntsunday.org), who has devoted the past two years of her life to this issue, and who helped a great deal with getting the Virginia law passed and the lawsuit filed there.  The lawsuit compelled the state legislature to act, before a judge ruled against the state and the entire state was opened up.  While I would like to see public land open for Sunday hunting, I am satisfied with private land as a start to implementing it state-wide.  This really is an issue of the most basic American rights.