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A New Direction Alright: Lawyers to Rule Judiciary Committee

Senator Mae Beavers was stripped of her Chairmanship on the Judiciary Committee.

On the decision to remove Beavers from the Chairmanship, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said that Beavers has not always been a “team player” and “we wanted to take a different direction.”

Empty explanation here.

A new direction alright, a direction where attorneys control the Committee.  Attorney Brian Kelsey was appointed Chairman and Attorney Doug Overbey was appointed Vice Chairman.

Wonder who that “we” is in the new direction?  Lawyers and Judges?  Now that’s a great direction.  I guess “we” really are in for new direction in Tennessee, like Judicial selection/retention.  Oh wait we already have that.

It’s Brian Kelsey who is pushing for the Constitutional amendment to make that legal and Doug Overbey who said not to use the Constitution on that issue, reported here first.  Good ole boys who wish to make it legal to do what they’re already doing illegally.  What a great new direction.

The people voted the last attempt to legalize judicial selection/retention down.  It looks like the Republicans want their turn at defeat as well.  Schizophrenia here “we” come.

Constitutional Philosophy: Jon Roland, Lecture 1, 2012/11/10

Constitutional Philosophy: Jon Roland, Lecture 1, 2012/11/10

 

Jon Roland discusses political philosophy with a focus on discovery of the principles of constitutional design as the key problem in that field.
Lecture 1. 2012/11/10.   Austin Philosophy Discussion Group

Constitutional Philosophy: Jon Roland, Q&A 1, 2012/11/10

Q&A for preceding Lecture 1

 

Slides for the lecture.

Doug Overbey’s Position on Judges is Schizophrenic

Blount County (BC) Public Record was the first news source to publish Doug Overbey telling Senators to not base their vote for the election of Judges on the Tennessee Constitution.  Tea Party and Liberty Groups and a Conservative PAC went viral with this story after I posted it last year, but never mention that I was the first to bring this story to light.  Stacey Campfield posted the Senate hearing on the election of Judges on his blog and I was disgusted when I heard Overbey be so flagrant in trashing his oath of office.

Proposed Judical Ethics Reform would have prohibited Judges from financially contributing to popularly elected offices.  However, the Tennessee Supreme Court quietly removed that.

Doug Overbey has opposed following the State Constitution because he believes that money will have an influence on the judicial races, or so he says.  But what about Judges contributing to legislative races?

Overbey has received donations from 3 Appeals or Supreme Court Judges.  The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Cornelia Clark, donated $200.  Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Charles Susano donated $500 and Judge Michael Swiney, also a Court of Appeals Judge, donated $125.  Judge Swiney’s wife donated $125, for a total of $250 donated from donated from the Swiney household.

There may be more.  I haven’t had time to review all of his donations.

This raises an important question.  Why is a bad idea to allow money to be donated to Judges, but not a bad idea to allow Judges to donate to non-judicial races?

List of Rights

Constitutional scholar Jon Roland has made a list of rights protected by our Constitution.

Here is what he sent me this morning.

A question I often get is to indicate a comprehensive, authoritative list of constitutional rights. Most legal scholars in the past have declined to offer such a list, saying that it would be infinite, so no listing could ever be adequate. Of course, some have provided partial lists, as James Madison did with the Bill of Rights, which included a catch-all, the Ninth Amendment, for all the other rights not made explicit in the other amendments. Essentially, he was referring people to legal history for the details, but too many judges refuse to acknowledge rights that are not spelled out.

I offer two things that try to identify the rights in more detail. The first is a law review article, Presumption of Non-authority and Unenumerated Rights, that goes into the historical background to find what got lumped into the Ninth. The second is a proposed Civil Rights Act to be introduced in Congress. For the convenience of readers, here is the part of that Act that lists the rights:

a. All rights already established in the above titles.
b. Due process
1. General
1. Due notice of time, place, manner, parties, and subject of any proceeding with sufficient time to respond.
2. Fair hearing and decision on the legal merits, with redress for just grievances, including damages, property, or injunctive or declaratory relief.
3. Not to have just remedies made inaccessible or excessively difficult or costly.
4. Mandated testimony of witnesses.
5. Unimpeded access to courts, court filing, and grand juries, subject only to routine scheduling.
6. Direct presentation of complaints to a grand jury without the presence of any other government actor without the consent of the grand jury.
7. Standing to privately prosecute a public right without having been or expecting personal injury.
8. Not to be subject to retaliation.
9. Not to have admitted any plea or testimony induced by a plea bargain.
10. Not to have any property or asset taken or forfeited without civil or criminal judgment in a trial, with possession presumed to establish title unless proved otherwise.
11. Not to have any right, privilege, or immunity disabled by statute unless one is a minor, which by default shall be any individual under the age of 18 unless the disabilities of minority are extended or reduced by court order.
2. Criminal trials:
1. Indictment by twelve members of a randomly selected grand jury of 23 who elect their foreperson, upon a finding that the court has jurisdiction and that there is sufficient evidence for a trial, except for persons subject to military or militia discipline.
2. Service as prosecutor upon receipt of an indictment by a grand jury, subject only to consolidation by the grand jury if more than one person seeks to prosecute the same offense.
3. Trial by a randomly selected jury of twelve sworn to uphold applicable constitutions in criminal cases for which the penalty is more than 90 days.
4. No excessive bail when there is little flight risk.
5. No excessive fines imposed.
6. No  cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
7. Speedy and public trial before an impartial jury of the state and district previously defined by law, wherein the offense shall have been committed, and to have the location of commitment be deemed where there was concurrence of mens rea and actus reus.
8. Not to be twice prosecuted for the same offense or same facts under different jurisdictions.
9. To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence, but not to have counsel or an attorney imposed on him without his consent.
10. Not to be compelled to be a witness against himself.
11. Not be disabled in the exercise, or deprived, of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, by unanimous verdict of a jury of twelve.
12. Unimpeded presentation of all evidence by the defendant, without being subject to a motion in limine.
13. Unimpeded presentation of all legal argument to the jury, up to the final instructions to the jury, except for argument on a motion in limine that cannot be made without disclosing evidence properly excluded.
14. Unimpeded presentation of all pleadings, alternative instructions, and certified copies of applicable laws and constitutions, to the jury.
15. Not to have a sentence that does not separately disable the exercise of the immunity, and order deprivation of it, within the scope of that disablement
3. Civil trials:
Trial by a randomly selected jury of twelve sworn to uphold applicable constitutions in which the amount at issue, including costs, exceeds the equivalent of at least 15.46875 troy ounces of pure silver.
4. Appeals
Appeal from a jury verdict only on a writ of error or habeas corpus, according to the rules of the common law in the United States as of 1787, unless the Constitution is amended to provide otherwise.
c. Nonauthority
1. Presumption of nonauthority for any claim to authority, to be strictly proved by an unbroken logical chain of derivation from a constitution.
2. Not to have any government actor exercise a power not delegated, regardless of whether one may be personally injured by such exercise.
3. Not to have government actors exercise powers on the pretext of being “necessary and proper” when they are not just to perform his official duties but to get a desired result beyond such duties.
4. To have delegated powers construed as narrowly, and rights, privileges, or immunities construed as broadly, as the language of the Constitution as meant and understood when ratified permits.
5. Priority docketing of all prerogative writs filed by a any person as demandant in the name of the people with a court of competent jurisdiction and served on the respondant, within three sederunt days, unless the respondant requires more, but not more than 20 calendar days, including but not limited to, demurral, quo warranto, habeas corpus, procedendo, mandamus, prohibito, certiorari, and scire facias, and to have default judgment even if no proof is presented or a hearing is not held.
6. Unimpeded and unpunished communications, including speech, press, and education, except such as instigate or direct a felony, misdemeanor, or tort.
7. Unimpeded assembly and exercise of rights in concert with others.
8. Unimpeded assembly as militia for organizing, training, and response to threats to public safety, subject only to direction by state militia officers during a call-up.
9. Unrestricted keeping and bearing of weapons, equipment, and supplies commonly used by military forces, or suitable for militia, subject only to court order of disablement for being a threat to oneself or others, or to the lawful orders of militia officers during a call-up.
10. Unimpeded and unpunished petition for redress of grievances.
11. Unimpeded devotion or practice of religion, not preferentially supported by public funds, that does not instigate or direct a felony, misdemeanor, or tort.
12. Exclusion of government actors from intrusion into one’s real property, body, or use of one’s personal property, for search, seizure, or for any other reason, without consent, a declared state of war or emergency threat to public, safety, a warrant supported by an affidavit of probable cause, and just compensation for any losses incurred, for each incident.
d. Supervision of government actors
1. Access to observation and recordation of any government proceeding except trial and grand jury deliberations or their equivalent, or deliberations on matters of security requiring secrecy.
2. Receipt of records of all proceedings, and accounting for all receipts, loans, debts, and expenditures, and reporting thereof, for eventual examination prior to an election in which the issues may be reviewed.
3. Accurate recording, counting, and reporting of all votes cast by eligible voters in any public election with protection from disclosure of how each voted.
4. Access to all information about oneself, and either copies at cost of all documentation or to make one’s own copies using one’s own equipment.
5. Effective low-cost remedies for getting information about oneself corrected, and use of such information restricted to that for which there is consent by oneself.
f. Other
1. Association and contract to do things not unlawful, including practice of a profession or occupation, marriage, procreation, and acceptance or denial of medical prevention or treatment, except prevention of contagious diseases.
2. Formation, conduct, and revision or dissolution of corporations, partnerships, and other trusts, in which settlor, trustee, and beneficiary are distinct persons who may not be impeded or penalized from directly appearing in any court in such capacities.
3. Not to have some accorded special privileges or protections that favor them over the rest of the people, in ways not essential to the performance of public duties.
4. Travel within, to, and from the United States and any State, territory or locality.
5. Not to be removed from the location of one’s birth or lawful residence, or impeded from returning thereto.
6. Not to be enslaved or submitted to peonage except as punishment for a crime, but subject to militia, jury, witness, and other public duty.
7. Not to be impeded or punished for voting if one is a citizen and resident on grounds of race, color, creed, previous servitude, gender, age 18 or above, or failure to pay a tax.
8. Custody and care of close relatives who are non sui juris.
9. Not to be neglected or abused while in custody.
10. Not to be denied any right, privilege, or immunity for failure to have or present a name or other form of identification.
11. Not to be deported without proof that one has not been born or naturalized as a citizen, unless one is born to a person not subject to the allegiance of the United States, such as a foreign diplomat or an invader.
12. Not to be subject to penalty for not doing something, such as paying a tax, if government agents refuse to allow it to be done, such as accepting payment of a tax.
13. Not to deny relief from some government action for lack of an appropriation to process the application for relief, or having an official to receive the application, and to fail to recognize the demand for such relief as being granted by default.
g. The foregoing list is not exhaustive, and further rights, privileges, and immunities are to be found in the historical record. The rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius shall  not be applied.
 
Go to the link for the latest version.
  
 

See also:

Abuses for which one can’t get a jury trial

The jury is often recommended as the principal correction on government abuse, and it is urged to educate the public on how to serve on a jury, but if we examine a wide range of kinds of cases, we can find many for which the target of abuse can’t get a jury. Here are a few, and recipients may be able to add to it:

  1. Abuse of rights by a government official such as a cop
    1. File criminal complaint under 18 USC 241, 242
      1. Prosecutor refuses to prosecute, or takes to grand jury with recommendation they no-bill it; or
      2. Judge rules there is no question of fact, therefore no right to a jury; or
      3. Prosecutor takes case to trial, but neither he nor defendant request a jury, because the judge is a former prosecutor who likes cops; or
      4. Judge directs jury to acquit: or
      5. Judge removes jurors from panel until he gets jury he wants
      6. Case dismissed
      7. Remedy: Private criminal prosecution, which will require electing official to provide for that by law
    2. File civil petition under 42 USC 1983, or under Bivens precedent or other theory of law
      1. Dismissed by judge for lack of standing, failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted
      2. Never get to apply for a jury
      3. Appeal it, but no jury available on appeal
      4. Appeal dismissed
      5. Remedy: Elect different judge or judge-appointing official, or elect officials who will pass reform laws
  2. Judge sanctions lawyer large amount of money for making arguments he doesn’t like, pays money to opposing counsel
    1. No right to a jury
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will pass law providing for a right to a jury
  3. Administrative proceeding (such as tax court) rules wrongly against individual
    1. Wronged individual takes it to Art. III court
    2. Art. III court “defers” to finding of admin agency, putting burden of proof on individual
    3. Judge summarily finds for admin agency with no opportunity for jury
    4. Individual appeals, but no jury available on appeal
    5. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  4. Family court awards custody to one spouse, levies child support on other
    1. No right to a jury on custody issue
    2. Judge orders noncustodial spouse to jail for nonpayment of child support as “civil contempt”, or garnishes his wages in state that allows that
    3. No right to a jury on civil contempt
    4. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  5. Probate court unjustly settles estate
    1. Divides estate among cronies, lawyers, court-appointed administrators
    2. No right to a jury on probate
    3. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  6. Bankruptcy court unjustly settles assets of bankrupt
    1. Divides assets among cronies, lawyers, court-appointed administrators
    2. No right to a jury on bankruptcy
    3. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  7. One party unjustly gets injunction, or is denied injunction
    1. No right to a jury on injunctions, except in a few states like Texas
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  8. Individual prosecuted civilly for unauthorized practice of law
    1. No right to a jury on UPL
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  9. Individual ruled incompetent, consigned to nursing home or asylum
    1. No right to a jury on competency hearings
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  10. Property taken by eminent domain
    1. No right to a jury on eminent domain
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  11. Non-judicial foreclosure
    1. No right to a jury on non-judicial foreclosure
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  12. Asset forfeiture in rem
    1. No right to a jury on asset forfeiture in rem
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  13. Fines for code or zoning violation or for creating a nuisance
    1. No right to a jury on such cases
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment
  14. Ineligible official assumes office, or exceeds his authority
    1. No right to a jury on such cases
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will adopt constitutional amendment or statute to provide for quo warranto, perhaps decided by jury
  15. President enters into executive agreement with foreign executive on trade that puts someone out of business
    1. Dismissed by judge for lack of standing, failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted
    2. Never get to apply for a jury
    3. Remedy: Elect different judge-appointing official, or elect officials who will pass reform laws or impeach president
  16. President goes to war without congressional declaration of war or letters of marque and reprisal
    1. Dismissed by judge for lack of standing, failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted
    2. Never get to apply for a jury
    3. Remedy: Elect different judge-appointing official, or elect officials who will pass reform laws or impeach president
  17. Supreme Court or other appeals court makes wrong decision
    1. No right to a jury on appeals
    2. Remedy: Elect officials who will appoint different judges, or adopt constitutional amendment or statute to provide for reform
  18. Legislature passes, and executive officials enforce, unconstitutional statutes based only on wrong court precedents
    1. No right to a jury on constitutionality of legislation, or than the application of it to criminal cases
    2. Remedy: Elect different legislators, or officials who will appoint different judges, or who will adopt constitutional amendment or statute to provide for reform

Basically, the main opportunity for jury intervention is in contract, tort, and criminal cases, but many abuses do not involve such issues.

For almost all of these, the only remedy is elections and constitutional amendments.

-- Jon Roland of the Constitution Society.

Senator Overbey Violates Oath of Office: Tells Judicial Committee not to Vote Based on Constitution

On Tuesday, Senator Stacey Campfield’s bill SB0127 to restore popular election, as required by Article VI Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution, was heard and debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The good news, it passed 5-4 with an unusual tie breaking vote cast by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.

The bad news, Senator Doug Overbey violated his oath of office and told the Senate Judiciary Committee not to use the State Constitution as a means for voting to restore a constitutional requirement.

Listen to the discussion here:

Senator Overbey’s egregious remark begins at about the 10 minute mark, “You should only vote for this bill if you think direct election is the best policy.  Period.  If you think it’s the best policy then vote for it, but don’t use the Constitution as a means for voting for it.”

Here is my email to Senator Overbey, as he is suppose to “represent” me.

Dear Senator Overbey,

Article VI Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution states: The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.

This sentence is so clear that a blind man could read it.  You took an oath to the Tennessee Constitution, but you clearly violated it on Tuesday with your vote against restoring the election of Supreme Court Judges.

Since you are in violation of your oath of office, you have two options: resign since you have no intention of honoring your oath of office, or repent and vote for this bill when it comes before you again.

Those are the only honorable things to do.  Otherwise you lied to the people of your district and ultimately to all Tennesseans and you should be ashamed of your unfaithfulness to the Constitution.

Let freedom ring!

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/mar/30/presidential-birth-certificate-bill-dies/

Tennessee 2011 Judicial Reform Bills

Last year in summer study committee, the Senate Judicial Committee studied Judicial corruption and the Court of the Judiciary.  Several reforms have been proposed. 

These bills offer some needed reform, but not enough.  For example, the recusal bill is well intended and a step in the right direction, but most judges at the local level are friends.  Many attend the same political parties and have the same party affiliation and aren’t going to do much in the way of challenging their friends.  It would be better to have the bill read that a Judge at least 100 miles away and/or a Judge who does not belong to the same political party will hear the recusal cases.  Furthermore, the cases should not be heard by anyone who donated money to the Judge’s campaign.

SB1094: “The complaint shall allege specific facts, not conclusions.” 

If a person is alleging that a Judge did something wrong, why can’t they state the facts and infer or draw a conclusion?  Such conclusion doesn’t mean that the Court of the Judiciary has to agree with it, and if the facts are insufficient the Court is free to dismiss the case.

In my opinion, none of these bills strike at the heart of the judicial problems that we face in Tennessee.

Judges judging Judges 
Sure Judges will occasionally punish one of their own, and make an example, but not often.  The solution to this is to have the Court of the Judiciary be a citizen investigative body, much like a grand jury where all the members are selected at random.  There could be an attorney available for the Court/Grand Jury to consult and perhaps a Judge that would oversee that the investigation is fair and that irrelevant, prejudicial, and hearsay evidence is not used against the Judge. 

The secrecy of the Court
Why are Judges privately reprimanded for what they do to others in open court?  People are publicly humiliated, yet judges are given private reprimands, and we’re really left to trust the Court of the Judiciary that they did anything at all.  The public v private nature of punishment needs to be addressed.  If the minor reprimands are to remain private, the Court of the Judiciary should still issue a monthly or quarterly report of Judges receiving private reprimands and keep a tally, showing that this is the Judges first, second etc, private reprimand. SB1098 touches this issue, but much more is needed.

These are some of my thoughts upon first glance of the bills and my experience with the Court.  I could probably think of more if given several day to think critically about the matter of Judicial misconduct.

Read the bills here:
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB1088

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB1089.pdf

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB1094.pdf

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB1098.pdf

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB1099.pdf

Local Solution to Systemic Grand Jury Foreperson Appointment Problem in Tennessee

Rule 6(g)(1) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure allows The judge of the court authorized by law to charge–and receive the report of–the grand jury to appoint the Grand Jury foreperson.  Rule 6 specifies that the term of the appointment is two years, unless dismissed by the Judge, but does not specify a limit to the number of terms that the foreperson can be appointed.  The other 12 members of the Grand Jury are ineligible to serve on another jury for two years after their service on the Grand Jury.

Allowing the Judge to appoint the Grand Jury Foreperson may render ineffective one or more of the important duties of the Grand Jury, which are defined in Rule 6 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Grand Juries are supposed to be free and independent to investigate the actions of state and local public officials, and to examine the condition of the County treasury.  While it’s possible for any Grand Jury member to initiate investigations into any criminal matter, many simply don’t know that they can look into matters without the direction of the District Attorney.   Thus, it’s not likely that Grand Jury members understand the full range of their duties and the 12 that don’t serve as the foreperson are poorly paid and generally looking to go home as soon as possible to tend to their own affairs, as most don’t want to participate and are only present because they have to be.  It’s a sacred role that is poorly understood by most and under used as a result, and even less likely to be used by allowing Judges to pick the foreperson and allow that person to serve indefinitely.

The Judges role in overseeing matters of the Grand Jury and it’s foreperson should be strictly limited to three things: seeing that it’s properly empaneled, administering the oaths to it’s members and appointing a pro tem foreperson who will only oversee the first meeting of the Grand Jury long enough for it to choose it’s foreperson.  Even in the event that the foreperson can or should no longer serve, the Grand Jury should have it’s own appointed pro tempore Grand Jury foreperson to assume the vacant role.

The Foreperson of the Grand Jury is not a popularly elected office; therefore, it should be independent of all other influences and should not be a lifetime appointment or career.  Attorneys already have a monopoly on the judicial branch of government in the State of Tennessee, and have great strength in both the Legislative and Executive branches.  Thus, it’s vital to our Republic that the bulwark of impropriety of government officials provided by the Grand Jury and it’s Foreperson be free and independent from the Judge and DA, and truly be our 4th branch of government.

I have emailed my State Senator Doug Overbey, who is an attorney, about this matter.  He told me that he discussed this matter, with those whose opinions he values, and that they told him the system works fine and doesn’t need to be changed.  When I pointed out that he went to the people that make their living off the system and have no reason to change a system that pays them well, he mearly reiterated that he valued their opinion more than mine.  If you believe that the system does need to be changed, give him a call at (615) 741-0981 or send him an email.

The whole reason we have Juries, whether Grand or trial Petit, is because Judges have historically demonstrated that they can not be trusted.  If all Judges were honest, there would be no need for any type of Jury.  This is why it is a bad idea to let the Judge appoint the Grand Jury foreperson, because the whole point of a Jury is to be a check on the Judge, Prosecutor and government.

There is a very serious problem with the Attorney monopolization of the Judicial branch of government and the closed system it creates.  In Tennessee, with the limited exception of municipal Judges, one must be an attorney to become a Judge.  The Tennessee Constitution specifically states that Judges are to be elected, yet beyond the trial courts the Judges are appointed by the governor, through a recommendation process controlled by attorneys.  The Tennessee constitution authorizes the Supreme Court Judges to pick the State Attorney General.  It’s convenient that the Judges follow the constitution when it suits their power structure, but are willing to violate the State constitution and their oaths of office, when it makes them accountable to the voters.  The Tennessee General Assembly delegates it’s authority to the Supreme Court, by letting those 5 judges propose the rules.  It’s true that the General Assembly retains power to amend the proposed rules, but most of the rules are rubber stamped by the legislature.  The same 5 judges that are appointed, rather than elected, have written Rule 6(g)(1), empowering the Circuit Court Judge handling criminal cases, to appoint the foreperson.  The current Judicial system violates both the state constitution, and the lessons of history, which demonstrate the need for an independent Grand Jury.

All of this is compounded by the fact that in Tennessee the Grand Jury consist of only 13 members and it takes 12 yes votes to obtain an indictment or true bill.  If the foreperson is too close to the Judge or Prosecutor, there is one no vote and all it takes is one other no vote to allow corruption to continue.  The number of Grand Jurors should be expanded to 23 to allow for more votes to obtain the 12 needed for an indictment and to process more complaints without having to empanel two separate Grand Juries.  Expanding the Grand Jury to 23 members would allow for Grand Jury committees to examine more complaints, and in greater detail.  These committees could report to the Grand Jury as a whole with a recommendation and then a vote by all 23 members.

Here are my communications with Tom Hatcher, the Circuit Court Clerk, and his responses.
Inquiry 1          Response 1
Inquiry 2          Response 2
Inquiry 3
          Response 3
Tom Hatcher did not answer my question regarding the next opportunity for public comment on the local rules.
Blount County Grand Jury Statistics for 2006-2010

Information received from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) on Grand Juries

When there is a problem, it is always wise to have a solution before complaining to those in authority about a problem.  Don’t complain to those who claim to be benefactors yet exercise authority over you, by telling them they need to do something.  They may do something alright, but you may not like what that something is that they do, if you provide no solution.  Always have a well though out solution before approaching those in authority about a problem.

Read my letter to Blount County Circuit Court Judge David Duggan here.

The local solution proposed in my letter is not a permanet fix to the problem, and certainly doesn’t fix the problem in the other 94 counties in Tennessee.  It is up to the citizens of each County to fix the problem at a local level, or come together and fix the problem at a State level, which is the more complete solution.

PK Lowery, of the Tennessee Institute for Responsible Government, and I have been working for reform on this matter at the State level.  PK obtained a House sponsor and I obtained a Senate sponsor, but the House sponsor did not deliver the bill to the Senate sponsor before the filing deadline; therefore, the bill is dead this year.  We will be working to have this bill reintroduced in 2012, and your help is needed to make this happen.  This attorney-Judge stranglehold of government can be broken, if you will get involved.