Stuck on Stupid
This is a repost of blog entry in 2012 / it can be viewed also on maryellenpecci.blogspot.com and on crossthreaded.co/
The first print of MEP's first novel 'Cross Threaded' will available to order on the website, crossthreaded.co/ or on Amazon by mid January 2016
“Stuck on Stupid” or “How to Fillet a Citizen”
© Mary-Ellen Pecci, 2012
© Mary-Ellen Pecci, 2012
There are a number of descriptive words and phrases that describe the unethical practices of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline as well as other judicial entities in our country.
Hence, when a complainant informed this commission that the judge on his case had been replaced without notice and his case had been given to a different judge for a decision, one whose ethics the complainant is questioning in his petition, the commission ignored the actual complaint. Instead they tried to justify the judge’s denial of the petition. This is not their job. Their job is to make sure that no judicial malfeasance was involved in that denial. A judge should not be reviewing a petition if that judge is part and parcel of the petition.
Appeals courts follow similar avoidant paths when they pay no attention to the question being raised but instead wander off into the back country of nonsense. How do they justify this wandering; they have reduced the citizenry to a notation in a mathematical equation. The courts are either unable to conceive that they can change the equation and produce results that address human dignity and fairness under the law, or they deliberately choose to mock the law.
Fairness should begin in the lower courts but in many cases it does not. On appeal the higher courts use an equation that figures in the competence level of those lower courts. Once the competence level of the lower court is determined then they apply the equation to determine who is or is not treated with negligent indifference. The possibility of a ‘Catch 22’ exists; the competence of the lower court is not accessed and a standard equation of negligent indifference is applied.
This standard equation propagates ethical violations. There are a number of District Courts in Colorado that suffer from this type of ethical malignancy. The Eighth District Court of Larimer County is an example. The fecundity of District Attorney Stu VanMeveren is known. For 32 years he fertilized and watered his seedlings and pollinated ethical tumors. Several of his fledgling plants, Terrance Gilmore and Jolene Blair, did not survive the rapid growth. The unchecked power of the prosecutor was checkmated by the citizens of Larimer Country. Gilmore and Blair were ousted from the bench for infractions they committed as prosecutors by the people of the Eight District.
Other descriptive words and phrases to describe the negligent indifference to ethical violations are: “deliberate ambiguity” or “strategic ambiguity,” obscurantism …
The smudging of language is “Orwellian” in nature; a “societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, …” It considers the people unworthy and incompetent of evaluating and managing the facts.
This style is practiced by prosecutors when lucky enough to grab onto to a citizen who is new to the legal system. Prosecutors know the citizen is extremely vulnerable to manipulation due to lack of knowledge. Across this great country prosecutors are failing to turn over mitigating evidence to public defenders and private lawyers. Their hands are tied in order to preserve bartering power in plea agreements, a nasty little invention that assures plenty of time on the golf course for the court house work group. Public defenders are not a match to the power of the prosecutor.
This judicial philosophy that is dangerous to democracy has been too readily accepted into general practice. Commissions on Judicial Discipline are supposed to be the home guard, protecting the rights of the people from judges and prosecutors who have become comfortable with a certain sloth that develops in patterns of organizational behavior. Amy Bach in her book, “Ordinary Injustice,” observes: “Ordinary injustice results when a community of legal professionals becomes so accustomed to a ‘pattern of lapses’ that they no longer can see their role in them.”
I don’t believe the commissions or the courts could be called Machiavellian because cunning is lacking; arrogance trumps cunning. The most apt phrase I have heard, one used in our prison culture, is “stuck on stupid.” This is a fitting description for the intense commitment to avoid the content of judicial complaints. It also describes the same needle stuck in the groove of indifference that our appeals courts scratch out.
How about “tergiversate” as another defining word; when one uses “weasel words” they create meaningless rhetoric, they communicate nothing useful or meaningful when answering a specific question; they evade by subterfuge.
These words and phrases indicate different forms of sophistry; the words of many of our judiciary look good on the outside but are rotten in the middle. Like biting into a shiny red apple, one must be aware of the pretty fruit; it may harbor a slimy worm. Better still, lets call this evasion what it is; it is self serving and pompous.
In her research Amy Bach noted the opinion of J. Richard Hachman, an organizational psychologist at Harvard; “There is plenty of Social Science evidence that proves the system often shapes the individual.” Our judicial branches have to endeavor not to become Ministers of Indifference, creators of unpeople (expungers of people), colonialized oppressors, purveyors of gibberish!
The question is “how strong is an “individual’s capacity to oppose the cultural current of a group or organization?”” Not strong enough because any body of law that adjudicates regrettably tends to end up shaped by the system they have become part of.
The overseers of our judicial systems must not be part of the judicial system. Oversight commissions should not be comprised of judges, prosecutors, or law enforcement. They should be comprised of legal advisors independent of political/judicial influence and representatives from special interest groups such as mental health practitioners, religious leaders, and people from the business community.