Monday, December 28, 2009

Alabama Judge Packs Heat on the Bench

An Alabama judge comes to court with more than a robe and legal papers these days. The judge also brings a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Special.

And we're not talking about a right-wing, whack-job guy who presides over a court in the sticks.

We're talking about Suzanne Childers, who hears domestic-relations cases in Jefferson County, home to Alabama's largest city (Birmingham). Childers, by the way, is a Democrat who has shown no signs of being a gun-loving fruit loop.

In fact, our sources say Childers is far and away the best domestic-relations judge in Jefferson County, which might not be saying much. One of Childers' colleagues, Ralph A. "Sonny" Ferguson, is a hideously bad judge and has been the subject of coverage at Legal Schnauzer. (See here and here.)

Our sources say there is a pretty good chance of receiving justice when your case is before Childers, mainly because she does not play favorites with certain Birmingham law firms--something Ferguson is notorious for doing. (Much more on that coming soon.)

Childers only became concerned about security after a financial crisis caused the county to lay off 46 sheriff deputies. Domestic-relations court, where contested divorces are heard, went from having two deputies to none.

After Childers became afraid for the safety of two female attorneys in her courtroom--and officers took 40 minutes to respond to her panic call--she decided to get qualified to bring a gun to court.

An expert says the public usually does not become concerned about court security until there is an incident. But Childers says, once an incident has taken place, it's too late. Writes The Birmingham News:

"We need some help," (Childers) said. "I am just really concerned that someone is going to get hurt in my courthouse because, I hate to say it, but it's an angry courthouse. Every day people come to court, someone is angry at someone else."

Childers makes a good point. All courthouses can be angry places. After all, that's where people go to have disputes heard. Certainly, the parties are at fault in some cases. But it doesn't help when our justice system is permeated with corrupt judges.

Some litigants might be particularly edgy in Childers' courtroom because they've heard about Jefferson County's richly-deserved reputation for corruption in domestic-relations court--a reputation driven largely by Judge Ferguson.

Corruption, and angry litigants, are hardly limited to domestic-relations cases. As we've reported here at Legal Schnauzer, we've had firsthand experience with at least two Jefferson County judges--Allwin Horn and Robert Vance Jr.--who are demonstrably corrupt.

And don't even get us started on Shelby County, where the whole bench seems to be a cesspool. We know for sure that J. Michael Joiner, G. Dan Reeves, and Ron Jackson are crooks. And since Joiner is the presiding judge, it's hard to imagine that there is an honest arbiter anywhere near the Shelby County Courthouse.

It's too bad that Suzanne Childers feels she has to take courtroom security into her own hands. Our guess is that she realizes the problems in Alabama courts go way beyond a shortage of deputies.


Anonymous said...

Yes my search on judges and why they are getting away with acts that would put the American taxpaying citizen into jail or worse, killed does continue and follow the money is it.

Laid off those militant-police who were hired to protect the judges who either joined in knowingly or un-knowingly (either way the corruption is 100% real) in the privatization or securitization of their retirement portfolios.

Yes the digital system of retirement for the judges are traded and exchanged by the same miscreants who did the subprime global melt down.

The judges are automatically vested in the system and either do not look at what they are retiring on with respect to their "trades" (stock exchanges) or the obvious is that they know, do not care, do it because it pays big bucks.

Basically transferring the wealth of the American taxpayer by way of using the militant-police tactic of finding whatever guilty party decided upon (Siegelman and Legal Schnauzers) to run the system into its need for retirement portfolios that the judges "partner" in.

For example, the debt collection agencies (ring bells) are through another trade such as an insurance or ?

We must have transparency to see just how the private-public partnerships of judges can be a legal, ethical or certainly Constitutional representation of the law when their retirement depends upon the opposite.

Get some records subpoenas to the retirement portfolios in the transparency light and then let us see how many guns are being packed and by whom.


NSwan said...

I live in Alabama but was a victim of judicial corruption in Mississippi. Paul Minor was my former attorney and former Judge John Whitfield was my former judge during the time he was being bribed by Paul Minor. Both are in federal prison, but neither were required to compensate me nor others who where hurt by their crimes.

One of the biggest problems is judicial immunity which shields judges from compensating those they hurt when judges violate the law or ethics. Alabama is worse than Mississippi, if you can believe that.

I called the AIC to research the ease of filing a judicial complaint. At least in Mississippi you can download a judicial complaint form without given your name and address. You have to call the Judicial Inquiry commission to ask for information about filing a complaint, then the reception is more like you had just threatened a judge and start complaining about their reduction in funding. Alabama makes filing a complaint so threatening and intimidating, even the bravest souls wouldn't even attempt it.

Unfortunately, the editor of Legal Schnauzer seems to think it is okay to bribe judges in Mississippi, but not okay to have corrupt judges in Alabama.

Which way is it? How do can you complain about all the corrupt judges in Alabama but write that somehow it is wrong to jail corrupt judges and lawyers in Mississippi.

As I suspected, LS shows favoritism - something like "We should prosecute and unbench bad judges, just not the ones I happen to like." Perhaps that just reflects what is wrong in Alabama. The people judge their judges not on the law and ethics, but whether they like them. Judges rule by the seat of their pants then have to defend their decisions by packing guns. Good grief.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Biloxi has a great point. A lack of armed sheriffs deputies at the courthouse may encourage some of our brothers in error on the bench to follow the law. Also the rotten economy means the bribe money isn't flowing like it used to. SO there may be some hope of getting some justice at least until the economy recovers.

legalschnauzer said...

I agree that judicial immunity is a huge problem and that the Alabama JIC is worthless.

I'm curious about what crimes Paul Minor and John Whitfield committed against you. What was the styling of the case Mr. Minor handled for you and what was the outcome?

If Mr. Minor represented you and was bribing Judge Whitfield, then it stands to reason that you received a good result. What's your complaint?

Was your case part of the government's indictment against Mr. Minor? If not, how do you know Mr. Minor committed crimes in your case and how do you feel entitled to compensation?

Where have I ever said in my blog that judicial corruption is fine in one state and not in another?

NSwan said...

Legal Schnauzer. Read your past blogs about Minor and Whitfield convictions. Visit my website and read my blogs.

legalschnauzer said...

Looks like you have an interesting Web site. Look forward to checking it out.

I'm well aware of the content of my blog posts about the Minor case--I wrote them. If you take them to mean that judicial corruption is fine in some states but not in others, I think you are reading something into them that isn't there.

I don't know what happened in your case, where you were represented by Mr. Minor. But the government's criminal prosecution was built on two cases--Archie Marks and Peoples Bank--and both underlying cases were decided correctly, based on the facts and the law. So by definition, no one acted corruptly and there could not be bribery or fraud.

The financial favors Minor did for judges were legal under Mississippi law at the time. They shouldn't have been legal, in my opinion, but they were.

The key issue: Did Minor receive a benefit because of those gifts to which he was not entitled? And the answer is no. He won the Marks and Peoples Bank cases because, under the law, he should have.

Under the government's theory, a lawyer who contributed to a judge's campaign could never win a case before that judge. If he did, it would be considered a crime.

That, of course, is nuts. And it's not how the federal law reads.

Anonymous said...

A search of the corruption of judges led me here. Ferguson is the most despicable excuse for a judge that there can be. I'm so grateful that I never had to go before him. His partner in crime, Denise Pomeroy, should be doing time. They could share a cell, but oops, it appears that Ferguson likes boys. He'd enjoy a tight-fittin' cell with an inmate. But then, what would he do with the boyfriend that lives with him now? hmmmm..