|Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse|
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, my wife and I see unmistakable signs that our federal justice apparatus is broken. We are operating in the civil arena, not criminal; no one figures to be in physical danger. But we see mounting evidence here that federal-courthouse employees--a couple of judges, perhaps a law clerk, a member of the U.S. Marshals Service, various personnel in the clerk's office--are involved in a scam.
The criminal investigation in Boston and our civil matter in Birmingham are separated by about 1,200 miles and many degrees of complexity and national interest. But central figures in both belong to the U.S. Department of Justice. And both cases seem to be raising this question: Can federal justice officials be trusted to get it right?
A quick check of the Web reveals a torrent of information and opinion about the events in Boston, and it's easy to find material that suggests many Americans do not think a wide-ranging investigation will uncover the full story. It's tempting to dismiss such sentiments as conspiracy-minded quackery. But my wife and I are finding clear evidence that something seriously is amiss at the Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse here in Birmingham, and it appears to be driven by individuals with a warped sense of right and wrong--and little, if any, regard for the law.
In fact, the culture at the Hugo Black building seems so dirty that we want to take industrial-strength showers whenever we return home from a visit there. Is there any reason to believe the "justice" culture in Boston is more pure than the one in Birmingham. I can't think of any--and given Boston's reputation as a place of political patronage and arm twisting--the culture there might even be nastier than ours.
|Boston Marathon bombing scene|
As I reported last week, we appeared for a hearing only to be told that the judge who had scheduled it, U.S. Magistrate T. Michael Putnam, was not there. On the surface, that might not sound so sinister. But join me for a brief journey through the legal underworld--a trip that will show something most certainly is afoul at the Hugo Black building.
No visit to the underbelly of the Alabama legal world would be complete without a visit from our old "friend," U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon. An Obama appointee to the federal bench, Kallon has cheated MS and me on multiple occasions, leading me to vow that I would not renew my vote for the president in the 2012 election, as a form of protest. I only changed my mind on that after realizing that GOP nominee Mitt Romney was one truly warped and frightening individual; I had a civic duty, it seemed, to vote in a way that would help keep Romney out of the White House.
I wound up voting for Obama in 2012, but MS and I still loathe Kallon. And we were none too pleased to learn that he had been "randomly selected" to issue an order and memorandum opinion on Putnam's findings in the case up to that point. (Kallon's opinion can be viewed at the end of this post.)
We did not have to read even two full pages of Kallon's 14-page opinion, to realize that he was up to his old tricks. In footnote No. 2 at the bottom of page 2, Kallon references the "tortured procedural history of this case" and notes that MS had filed a motion to stay proceedings because she did not receive multiple documents from the court via U.S. mail. That's pretty important for a pro se litigant who is not allowed to file or receive documents electronically and must rely on the U.S. mail to keep up with her case. Because she was not served with certain key documents, MS had not been given an opportunity to object to the magistrate's reports and recommendations.
Kallon states in his footnote that the magistrate had granted MS additional time, to March 25, 2013, to file objections. Then Kallon offers this pearl: "Even so, plaintiff has filed no objections."
Both of our jaws dropped when we read that. Why? Well, my wife had filed objections, and the docket clearly shows that. Her document was filed and time stamped at 11:31 a.m. on March 25, 2013, well within the deadline that she had been given. (See the time-stamped objections at the end of this post.)
Kallon apparently ripped off his order and opinion without even bothering to check the court file for my wife's objections. How in the hell did that happen? We vowed to find out, and that's when a foul odor really started to hit our noses.
Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones in Boston. May the machinery of justice operate much more efficiently there than it does in Birmingham.
(To be continued)