Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Will HB #1020 Survive Today?

Chancellor to rule by Friday.  

Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas is holding a hearing on whether to issue an injunction against HB #1020 this morning.  The hearing is streamed below.  

* The Chancellor will address whether the appointment of the special judges to Hinds County is constitutional.  

* The plaintiffs contend the Mississippi Constitution (MC) states only the Governor can appoint temporary judges.  Judge Thomas will ask the defendants how they can get around that provision. 

* Another issue for Judge Thomas is whether there is a right to appeal in the CCID special court. 

* The Court first addressed Chief Justice Randolph's motion to disqualify him from the lawsuit. The Chief Justice  argues he enjoys absolute judicial immunity.   His lawyer argued the Chief Justice should be dismissed because judicial acts, including appointments, enjoy such immunity.  The Chief Justice lacks sufficient interest in the outcome of the litigation.  He can only appoint if the law is valid as he is neutral and has no power to enforce the statute.  

The plaintiff's attorney, Cliff Johnson, claimed seeking injunctive relief instead of damages takes the Chief Justice out of the realm of absolute immunity.  The Chief Justice did not "ask for this" but the "legislature forced it upon him."  He may be neutral to HB #1020 but is central to its enforcement.  The law directs him to appoint the special judges.  Mr. Johnson said the Chancellor can enjoin the Chief Justice from making the appointments.  The goal of judicial immunity is to keep judges from worrying about being sued for damages based upon their decisions.  He likened it to suing department heads when suing state agencies.  

Funny.  Mr. Nelson is pointing out the Alabama case cited by Mr. Johnson was the "Ten Commandments case."  The attorney for the Chief Justice argued both injunctive relief and damages are brought about under civil actions, under which he enjoys absolute immunity. 

* Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zachary Wallace sought the same relief as the Chief Justice.  His attorney, Pieter Teeuwissen, said the lawsuit states Circuit Clerk assigns the cases.  The Circuit Clerk assigns the cases at the direction of the Chief Justice.   The attorney claimed there is no case in Mississippi that states a Chancellor can order a Circuit Clerk to do anything.  There is simply no reason for Mr. Wallace to be a party in case.  Mr. Johnson said he is needed in the case so he can obtain relief from someone who "administers relief."  Mr. Teeuwissen said Mr. Johnson inadvertently walked into the problem.  Mr. Wallace can only assign cases sent to him.  It's not necessary to involve his office.  

* Mr. Johnson asked the Court to include the state as a defendant in case he dismisses the defendants.  

Judge Thomas took a break to consider the matter.  

* Cliff Johnson argued in closing the Mississippi Constitution requires the election of Circuit Court judges.  It allows the appointment of judges in only limited circumstances when judges are unable to sit on the bench.  HB #1020 requires the Chief Justice appoint four temporary circuit judges for Hinds County.  No limitations are placed upon their duties.  The judges will serve 42 months, 6 months shy of a full term.  The Chief Justice has abused his authority in the past to appoint special judges in Hinds County.  He appointed four such judges last year.  Mr. Johnson argued he needed a preliminary injunction so he could engage in discovery and other matters to properly litigate the case and protect the citizens of Hinds County from the harm of HB #1020.  

Section 165 of the Mississippi Constitution provides the crux of his argument: 

Whenever any judge of the Supreme Court or the judge or chancellor of any district in this state shall, for any reason, be unable or disqualified to preside at any term of court, or in any case where the attorneys engaged therein shall not agree upon a member of the bar to preside in his place, the governor may commission another, or others, of law knowledge, to preside at such term or during such disability or disqualification in the place of the judge or judges so disqualified.

He argues no where is the Chief Justice mentioned when judicial appointments are made.  The lawyer also argued the CCID court should be declared unconstitutional since it does not have a right to appeal its decision.  

* State attorney Rex Shannon argued the Chancellor lacks subject-matter jurisdiction while the plaintiffs lack standing.  The plaintiffs are asking the Court to terminate all appointments of special judges.  The injunction would invalidate their orders and rulings.  The Chancellor has no power to review the power of the Chief Justice to appoint special judges.  

If the Court finds it has jurisdiction, the request should be denied since HB #1020 does not violate the constitution.  Section 153 does not apply to temporary circuit judges.  Section 165 says the Governor can appoint when a permanent judge is disqualified.  It is silent on temporary judges.  It is well settled that the state constitution does not grant legislative powers but merely limits them.  Nothing in Section 165 limits the power of the legislature to appoint special judges.  The Court of Appeals said twice the section does not limit such appointments.  The powers of the Hinds County circuit judges are not diluted as the law, not voters, are their constituency.  

Section 172 allows the legislature to create inferior courts.  The CCID court will operate along the lines of a municipal court: 

The legislature shall, from time to time, establish such other inferior courts as may be necessary, and abolish the same whenever deemed expedient.

The CCID court will have the same appeal right as municipal and justice courts. The elephant in the room is Jackson's crime problem. Jackson is the state's capitol city and largest city.   The state has a strong interest in reducing crime in Jackson.  The law is an attempt to address the crime problem.  

Mr. Johnson said past orders and rulings will not be invalidated.  He said Jackson's crime problems "are no worse than anywhere else."  There is no analysis of how the extra judges will help the crime problem.  "Something is going on here."  The people are not blindfolded.  "This is dangerous.  It's unconstitutional," concluded the Oxford lawyer.  

The hearing concluded.  The Chancellor said the parties could submit additional memoranda until noon tomorrow.  He said he will try to have a ruling by Friday.  


Anonymous said...

Argument tokeep Jackson BLOODY

Anonymous said...

Just hang it all up and send it to the 5th Circuit so they can rule it is constitutional and it can quit bouncing around in these racist liberal lower courts and be approved once and for all.

Anonymous said...

You know what? I was born and raised in Jackson but I retired to Hattiesburg because Jackson has turned into some type of MadMax Dystopia. It is past time for you guys there to get the political will and revoke the city charter and start over.

Anonymous said...

This is what they do. If they don’t have votes they go to the courts. I still don’t understand why every time someone tries to help Jackson people fight it tooth and nail

Anonymous said...

@12:52 - I don’t think many citizens of Jackson see this as an honest attempt to help. I’m sure I would be quite jaded as well in their shoes. Not sure what you think is wrong with taking laws you think are unconstitutional to the courts, it’s kind of their purpose. The republicans do the same thing like when they successfully overturned a law directly voted on by the voters dealing with medical marijuana. Even though the citizens of the state voted heavily in favor, the Republicans managed to create a technical loophole to challenge it and since all the judges are hardcore republicans, they voted with the party against the citizens. Politics isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about money and control.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Cliff Johnson?

Anonymous said...

Is Johnson completely stupid?
I'd love to invite him to my house to hear the gunfire I hear at night.
How can anyone be that clueless?

Anonymous said...

Johnson: "You can call me Johnson or you can call me jaded, but I need those JPS dumbed down democrat votes to get my judge bucks.

Kingfish said...

Johnson is nothing more than a savage in a suit. He lives in the ivory tower up in Oxford. From his elevated view in the rarified air, Jackson doesn't have a crime problem. He opposes building ANY kind of misdemeanor jail or holding facility. He has no problem with the constant gunfire in all parts of Jackson every night, the speeding and donuts that have turned Jackson streets into roads of anarchy, has no problem with record murders or highest murder rate in the country, the dwindling police, or the soft treatment of murder suspects who commit more crime when they get back on the street. See the Hopkins case JJ recently covered.

Anonymous said...

@124 -- THe "Republicans" did it when they went to court over medical marijuana? Don't believe your attempt at throwing shade on your opposition party works here - City of Madison was the person who filed suit over the constitutionality of the existing I&R law.

They didn't file suit against Maryjo, and it wasn't "republicans". And all the judges are not republicans. Furthermore, the judges ruled on the law and not the politics - like you say, if they were ruling on the politics they would have ruled the I&R was constitutional (even though the law as weritten wasn't) because 57% of the people who voted, voted for it (or what they thought "it" was).

As to your other point, I think many citizens of Jackson see this as an honest attempt to help; many of the political ilk may not because it steps on their toes. And many defense counsel might not like it because they use the failure of the Hinds County Judicial system to try cases as a great defense for guilty clients. But many of the parents and grandparents that are tired of their kids and grandkids not being able to travel the streets, play in the yard, go to school - whatever - because of the rampant crime in their neighborhood streets want to see it fixed, and understand that the local officials don't want it fixed. So yes - they see any attempt at fixing the crime as being an improvement, and honest.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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