Before I had a firsthand experience with Alabama courts, I was probably like most of you--I assumed judges were honest. (Boy, was I wrong about that.)
Even after I had come to understand that trial-court judges can be grossly corrupt, I assumed appellate judges were honest, that they would fix anything that lower courts did wrong. (Boy, was I wrong about that one, too.)
This gets to perhaps the most scandalous truth about our judicial system. Most of us, I think, can comprehend that a trial judge, acting as a solo artist of sorts, could intentionally or unintentionally botch a case. But how can appellate courts, which include multiple justices, also get stuff wrong?
Well, it happens. And if you followed the Bush v. Gore case of 2000, which gave us eight years of President George W. Bush, you know that even the U.S. Supreme Court no longer can be trusted. (More coming soon on corruption in our nation's highest court.)
Why are appellate courts corrupt? I can point to two reasons: (1) Some judges are more interested in furthering a political agenda than in dispensing justice; (2) Some judges are more interested in protecting corrupt trial judges than in exposing them.
After I posted recently about William C. Thompson, the corrupt presiding judge of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, I received an interesting anonymous comment. I'm pretty sure it's from a member of the legal community. He uses the word "colorable," a term most regular folks aren't likely to use. (I'm assuming it's a guy; the language sounds guy-like to me.)
At first glance, my correspondent seems to be taking issue with me. But upon further review (as they say in the NFL), you see that he and I pretty much agree on the state of our courts--they stink.
This is a fascinating, and rare, inside account of what our justice system is really like. It's easy to see why my correspondent wishes to remain anonymous. Any lawyer who put his name to this would be blackballed for sure.
Here's what he had to say (with the original spelling, grammar, and punctuation in place):
Date: Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 4:00 PM
Subject: [Legal Schnauzer] New comment on Has Karl Rove's Terror Campaign Worked in the Deep....
Simply because an appellate judge rules against you does not mean he/she is corrupt. incompetent maybe, but not corrupt.
appellate judges get the law and facts wrong all the time. there are thousands of appeals, and very little court personnel to do an adequate job reviewing each appeal.
if your appeal was pro se, more than likely it was decided by a staff atorney, without judge thompson even reading it. the staff attorney probably just wrote a memo reccomending "affirmed no opinion" and the Court went along with it.
many times the Court does this (affirmed no opinion) to protect litigants. I have filed appeals before to cover my ass from a crazy client where i knew that i was beat on the law and facts. the court would affirm with no opinion, to spare me the beatdown that would follow.
the appellate courts in this state are bad, and they are generally bought off by either corporate or trial lawyer money. but i doubtjudge thompson specifically intended to committ fraud or any other crime in affirming the verdict against you.
maybe you are right. maybe the repubs in this state are out to take you down and have orchestrated all of this rigmarole to simply "get" you. But I would like to see some hard facts on this blog, rather than innuendo and accusations.
The proof is in the pudding. Post the depositions or the trial transcript. post the illicit conversations you recorded that implicate uab. post some hard evidence, rather than opinion.
also remember that if you do get a lawyer- a long shot given that it appears you have sued every lawyer you previously hired- to sue UAB for your wrongful termination (which by the way, may be a colorable claim), the defense will offer all of your web posting into evidence to portray you as a kook. be carefull what you post. post only what you can prove, or it can bite you in the ass in the future.
This guy is sort of taking shots at me, but I like him anyway. After eight years of hearing a constant stream of BS from lawyers, it is refreshing to hear one be this honest. He reveals all kinds of "inside baseball" about the justice system, but let's focus on just a few things:
* He disputes my contention that Thompson is corrupt, but he has no problem with the notion that Thompson is incompetent;
* He says appellate judges get the law and facts wrong all the time. In other words, my experience is not unusual;
* He says Alabama courts are badly understaffed, and "rulings" often are made by staff attorneys without the judge even looking at the case;
* He says Alabama appellate courts are "bad" and are generally "bought off" by corporate or trial-lawyer interests;
* If appellate courts are this bad, imagine how bad trial courts must be.
Well, there you have it folks, straight from one of the horses' mouths. Our courts are "bad," "incompetent," and "bought off."
That's a lawyer talking--not just a Legal Schnauzer.
Gosh, I would like this guy to do an occasional guest post at our humble blog. And he could do it anonymously. No telling what we all would learn.
The invitation is out there.