Monday, August 13, 2012

Here Is More Evidence That Federal Judges Are Trying to Hide Hunting-Club Corruption in Alabama

B. Avant Edenfield

How many ways can a federal judge screw up a case before him? Quite a few, it turns out, when the case threatens to expose corruption among fellow members of the legal tribe.

We have written extensively about two federal lawsuits that alleged certain judges and lawyers used a hunting club in Lowndes County, Alabama, as the nexus for a scheme to fix divorce cases. We've shown that federal judges unlawfully dismissed both cases, denying the discovery that probably would have allowed plaintiffs to prove their cases and uncover corruption that has heaped untold harm on Alabama families.

Now we have another example of federal judges botching the hunting-club cases in a way that almost had to be intentional. As often is the case with judges who are both corrupt and arrogant, they violated simple procedures--the kind of stuff that is taught in Law School 101.

Summary judgment is a key hurdle that plaintiffs must clear in almost every lawsuit; it's where a judge determines whether a case presents issues that must go to a trial. One of the fundamentals of the summary-judgment procedure is this: All facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.

Either side can file a motion for summary judgment, but usually it comes from the defendant--and that makes him the moving party. The plaintiff usually is the non-moving party.

In his opinion on the first hunting-club case, U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield correctly stated the law. (See opinion at the end of this post.) On page 4 of his ruling, Edenfield states:

On summary judgment the Court must view all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Alabama-Tombigbee Rivers Coalition v. Kempthorne, 477 F. 3d 1250 (11th Cir., 2007; Cooper v. Southern Co., 390 F. 3d 695 (11th Cir., 2004).

So we've established that the judge knew the correct law. Why, then, did he refuse to follow it?

Joseph W. Blackburn, a professor of taxation at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, alleged in the first hunting-club lawsuit that former Jefferson County Circuit Judge John C. Calhoun engaged in corrupt behavior outside his official capacity, meaning Calhoun was not protected by judicial immunity. (Blackburn represented himself as the lead plaintiff in the first hunting-club case; in the second, he acted as an attorney, representing other victims of alleged corruption in Alabama divorce courts).

Blackburn's position is summarized on page 23 of Edenfield's ruling:

Plaintiff at most has alleged that [Calhoun] acted with corrupt (bribed) motives when he ruled against him and his proposed co-plaintiffs. True he has alleged that this defendant has done things off the bench like pal around with corrupt lawyers, soak up illicit "hunting club" (etc.) benefits--all to foster an illegal enterprise. 
But those allegations are all "quid-pro-quo-tied" to Calhoun's rulings. Meanwhile, it is settled that damage claims premised upon a judge's adjudicative (as opposed to, for example, administrative) duties are barred by judicial immunity. See, e.g., Mireless v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9 (1991) . . . 

Later in the ruling, also on page 23, Edenfield undercuts his own argument and shows that he has violated  simple procedural law by ruling against Blackburn:

It is certainly possible to separately classify off-bench conduct (secret meetings at hunting lodges, etc., in furtherance of a RICO enterprise) in order to support a non-immune RICO claim in this context. However, public policy against flood-gate/disgruntlement RICO suits warrants the linkage applied here. . . . Hence, the Court grants defendant Calhoun's motion for summary judgment on these grounds, thus obviating the need to reach his other defenses.

So there you have it, straight from Edenfield's own mouth: It is possible to construe the facts in a way that show Calhoun's off-bench conduct was not protected by judicial immunity.

And what does that mean? As we showed above, Edenfield was required under the rules governing summary judgment to view the facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Edenfield's own words show that the facts could be construed in Blackburn's favor--and, under the law, he was required to find in Blackburn's favor.

So why did he not do it? Our guess is that it was for the same reason he denied discovery--even though clear procedural and case law shows that summary judgment cannot be considered, much less granted, without discovery. (See Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia, 859 So. 2d 865, 11th Cir., 1988.)

And what was that reason? Too many American judges, at both the federal and state levels, are more interested in protecting their corrupt legal brethren than in administering justice.

Edenfield, by the way, was appointed to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter. That tells us that judicial corruption is not a matter of left vs. right or Republican vs. Democrat. The No. 1 loyalty for judges and lawyers is to the legal tribe--not to a political ideology, not to the law, and certainly not to the cause of justice. If that means providing cover for even the most corrupt members of the tribe, so be it.

That's what Edenfield did in the hunting-club case. And it explains why we need massive legal reform every bit as much as we need health-care reform.

Blackburn Calhoun Opinion


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I and my children have been the recipients of one of the most heinous sellout decisions in an alabama divorce courtroom. It started with the republican senator Richard Shelby receiving a campaign contribution from the husband's wealthy family in Delaware. From there it went to Bradley Arant law firm who represents the ex-husband's company. Then from BA law firm the judge and the divorce attorney were chosen to carry out the wishes of the white male decision to cheat me and the children out of every penny, every asset and leave us homeless, with out a cent to find shelter, food, and clothing, and education. The most amazing fact about this divorce was that Alabama never had jurisdiction in the case at all and when I appealed the judges crooked decision at the circuit court level and the state supreme court level, no comment was made and the judge's decision was upheld as both higher courts refused to hear or open the case.
This decision of the bribed and paid judge down to the lawyers changed the lives of my two children forever. They are 18 and 14 now and the 18 year old is going away to college this fall but her Father who was willing to give money to the "hunting club camp of racketeers" instead of his daughters, is threatening to not pay the fees for college registration this fall if I, her Mother shows up at any of the fall registration family picnics and receptions for parents. So even though he starved us, left us on the street with no home and no food or clothing, now that I have raised them , he thinks he is too powerful and important to be in the same room with me, the product of his neglect. I am sure the manufactured third wife with her expensive clothes, shoes and accessories will help him shine at these events in his expensive 2,000 dollar suits. However, I have been invited by the school and most importantly by my daughter so he will just have to once again figure out how to control the situation in his own underhanded way. On a more positive note I have been invited to speak and tell my story at a very prestigious divorce lawyer meeting in another state at their next meeting. This will be the beginning of the education for lawyers across the country about how the state systems work in the south especially. I want to let every lawyer hear my personal testimony about what happened to two beautiful smart little girls and how hard our lives have been as the result of the white male rule in alabama courts along with the kickbacks for elected officials. My divorce was unusual in that it was illegal for it to have happened here at all as I had an active divorce case in another state where decisions had been made concerning my young children. I hope I can make divorce attorneys and judges aware of the havoc they can reek in the lives of these young children who count on the court to take care of them when the father has decided to leave and start a new family with some willing woman who is morally bankrupt. Children deserve much more and frankly the mothers of these children deserve more respect from the court system. Leaving these adulterous white males with all the assets is starving and rendering women and children homeless in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Oh, LS I forgot to let your readers know who the divorce attorney was who helped my ex-husband rob us and also the judge who took a six year early retirement after handing down the court order which sealed my and my daugter's doom.......Gerry and John Durward were the lawyers and Al Crowson (honorable?) was the judge. He still comes to Shelby County and "helps" out with some divorce cases on an as needed basis. I am sure if I show up with a request to raise child support would be one of those as needed situations for this judge.

Anonymous said...

Please approve my comments so that these men can be known and other women are aware.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is the Summary Judgment "Motions Practices," was a set-up, a way to rid us of the "Jury Trial." And let us face the FACT, absent a trial by jury OF OUR PEERS, We the People are at the mercy of the fake COLORS over our good law.

Also, when APPEARING SPECIAL, noted in the "paperwork," stipulates that the party is THEIR OWN "ATTORNEY GENERAL."

Absolutely brilliant Roger, Legal Schnauz. Legal Tribe. Tribal is absolutely the word. These "Jokers" for the majority on the STATE and FEDERAL "BENCH" are seriously addicted to the credit fraud that has destroyed our American social contract.

But, it is going to get a whole lot worse. There is no way the TRILLIONAIRES that have lived like GODS off US, are going to DO THE RIGHT THING.

This "law" system by design is to be the biggest fatted calf, yet, for the "?" coming:

Pressures Will Persist
The NSC’s putdown of the Israeli report does not necessarily guarantee, however, that President
Obama will continue to withstand pressure from Israel and its supporters to “fix” the intelligence to “justify” supporting an attack on Iran.

Promise can be seen in Obama’s refusal to buy Netanyahu’s new “rock-solid evidence” on Iran’s
responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bulgaria.

Hope can also be seen in White House reluctance so far to give credulity to the latest “evidence” on Iran’s nuclear weapons plans.

An agreed-upon casus belli can be hard to create when one partner wants war within the next 12
weeks and the other does not. The pressure from Netanyahu and neocon cheerleaders like Jennifer Rubin — not to mention Mitt Romney — will increase as the election draws nearer, agreed-upon casus belli or not.

Netanyahu gives every evidence of believing that — for the next 12 weeks — he is in the catbird
seat and that, if he provokes hostilities with Iran, Obama will feel compelled to jump in with both
feet, i. e., selecting from the vast array of forces already assembled in the area.

Sadly, I believe Netanyahu is probably correct in that calculation. Batten down the hatches.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the
Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27 years in CIA’s analysis division, his duties
included preparing and delivering the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence

see TO READ Ray McGovern's entire article.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:58--

Sorry to be slow moderating comments today. Regular life called me away from the blogosphere this a.m., but I'm glad to let readers know about your experiences.

Bradley Arant and the Durwards have ties to the hunting-club story. Bradley Arant was the primary defense firm for the hunting-club lawyers. And one of the Durwards (I can't remember which one; I think the younger one) is mentioned in court documents as being tied to the hunting clubs.

I don't think there is any question that your case was cooked by hunting club lawyers. And these are people who are utterly amoral--they don't care if children lose large chunks of the only childhoods they will ever have. They don't care about mothers trying to raise children on their own with hardly any financial resources. (In some cases, it's the father who gets shafted; just depends on how the straws are drawn among the lawyers and who has financial/political connections).

Divorce courts provide a steady revenue stream for the legal tribe, and the lawyers have to put out very little effort to "earn" hefty fees. That's all they care about. The Alabama State Bar adamantly opposes common-sense reforms that would encourage parties to mediate divorce cases and limit the billable hours for attorneys. Such a bill was before the Alabama Legislature this year, and I'm told the bar took extraordinary steps to make sure it got nowhere.

Judges, lawyers, and the bar form what amounts to an organized-crime outfit, as described by RICO. And I'm sure similar situations exist in other states. You can Google and read hair-raising stories about divorce courts in NY and NJ, and I'm betting that California is horrendous.

The judge in the Blackburn case, Edenfield, ruled contrary to law--and I'm sure that was not an accident. It was his assignment to keep this issue under wraps.

jeffrey spruill said...

After reading this post I now know my fate was already predetermined BEFORE I even stepped into that Norfolk Federal Court.

I wish SOMEBODY would give a heads up on how the BROWNSHIRTS from the legal tribe operate instead of being absolutely flummoxed at what just happened in the courtroom.

Anonymous said...

Iseen it comming, but only after 6 years of a state case, that i was having removed to fed. ndal, and there were clerk rullings on two motions, against, so i dropped it.3 books after my demise,tx ls, youve been duped, in my case too

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the first post speaks of her ex's family being from Delaware. I believe Gerry Durward is from there. It's either Delaware or Maryland.
If you would care for a copy of the RICO lawsuits, you should contact Marc Kerley. His telephone number is 205-218-5666. He has plenty of info on the "hunting club" mob, also.
I met with Marc earlier tonight. He is working on the organization of meetings in Jefferson County to address public corruption. He will be posting on this blog, along with other venues, as to the times and locations.
I encourage LS readers who are fed up with this organized crime by our elected officials to contact Marc and offer assistance. I am certain what your help would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Letters, lots of letters, the names of every "Circuit" are at:

" ... The federal judiciary is respected throughout America and the world for its excellence, for the independence of its judges, and for its delivery of equal justice under the law. Through this plan, the judiciary identifies a set of strategies that will enable it to continue as a model in providing fair and impartial justice.

This plan begins with expressions of the mission and core values of the federal judiciary. Although any plan is by nature aspirational, these are constants which this plan strives to preserve. The aim is to stimulate and promote beneficial change within the federal judiciary—change that helps fulfill, and is consistent with, the mission and core values.

Download full report (pdf)

Judicial Conference of the United States


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