|Gerald Bard Tjoflat
If I ran a video of a bank executive stealing money from a vault, it probably would go viral--and the public, understandably, would be outraged at what it was seeing.
I ran the judicial equivalent of such a video last week, presenting irrefutable evidence of judges in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals committing what amounts to flagrant theft. In fact, I ran two posts--one here, and one here--that included documents every bit as damning as any video could be. And I showed this is not an isolated incident, that the same judges had committed similar acts of thievery before--in a case that captured national attention.
So, where is the outrage? Why would we be appalled by the dishonest conduct of a bank executive, but shrug our shoulders at similar conduct from a federal judge? Why the double standard?
One could argue that the behavior of the judges actually is worse than that of our mythical banker. The banker likely would be paid via private funds while acting as a crook. The judges, on the other hand, are paid with public funds; they are using our own money to steal from us.
And make no mistake about it . . . corrupt judges, such as Gerald Bard Tjoflat and J.L. Edmondson of the Eleventh Circuit, are stealing. They are thieves who happen to wear robes.
My anger on this subject is palpable because Tjoflat and Edmondson directly cheated me on the case in question--a lawsuit over my wrongful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (You can read my response to UAB's Motion for Summary Judgment at the end of this post, and that document explains the relevant law; UAB's motion could not lawfully be granted, but it was, and the trial court's bogus ruling could not lawfully be upheld, but it was.) While I was the direct victim in this instance, all citizens are indirect victims of judicial thievery--and it's not just my opinion that Tjoflat and Edmondson are thieves; that's the term federal law uses to describe their actions.
Here is another term that applies to these judicial con artists--"repeat offenders." In fact, Tjoflat and Edmondson have been on a veritable crime spree in recent years, at taxpayer expense. They were on the three-judge panel that upheld unlawful convictions in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Do the judges' corrupt actions have consequences? Well, Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody tomorrow--for a "crime" that does not exist under the actual law. He stands to lose roughly six years of his freedom because of corrupt judges.
Tjoflat and Edmondson probably committed multiple federal crimes on the Siegelman and Schnauzer appeals. Obstruction of justice is one possibility; another is honest services mail and wire fraud. Let's focus briefly on the latter offense.
The definition of honest-services fraud was narrowed with the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in a case involving former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling. In Skilling, the court found that honest-services fraud could be present only in cases that involved a clear bribe or kickback. The theory behind honest-services fraud, however, has not changed.
"Underlying Sec. 1346 is the notion that a public official acts as trustee for the citizens and the State . . . and thus owes the normal fiduciary duties of a trustee, e.g., honesty and loyalty to them. THEFT of honest services occurs when a public official strays from this duty.'" (U.S. v. Sawyer, 239 F. 3d 31, 39, First Circuit, 2001.)
That brief paragraph drives home three pivotal points:
* The public official, in this case a judge, acts as a trustee for ALL citizens--not just the parties in a particular case;
* The public official, in this case a judge, owes a fiduciary duty to ALL citizens;
* When a public official strays from that duty, he commits THEFT of honest services.
See what I mean by calling Tjoflat and Edmondson thieves? See what I mean by saying that they are stealing from me--and from you? Those terms don't come from my imagination; they come straight from federal law.
My case proves that Tjoflat and Edmondson aren't even clever thieves. Consider this laughable line from page 3 of their ruling upholding the corrupt shenanigans of U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr.:
After giving Shuler time to oppose the motions, the district court subsequently granted summary judgment to the UAB defendants based on the following findings . . .
Under the law, it's not a matter of giving me "time to oppose the motions." The nonmoving party (me, in this instance) must be given an opportunity to gather evidence via discovery. That's essentially what summary judgement is--a battle of evidence, to determine if there is a lawful reason to go to trial. I was given no such opportunity, even though I twice notified the court that no discovery had been conducted, and consideration of summary judgment would be premature and unlawful under those circumstances. (An Eleventh Circuit case styled Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia Bank of Savannah, 859 F. 2d 865, 1988 spells out the law on this issue.)
Parties normally hold a discovery conference, under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("General Provisions of Discovery"), and the court usually enters an order, establishing a plan and schedule for discovery. None of that was done in my case.
Why? I can think of only one reason: Discovery would unearth all sorts of e-mails and other communications showing who was responsible for cheating me out of my job--and both the trial and appellate courts are engaging in an intentional cover up.
As we've already shown, that amounts to theft; it's no different from a bank president walking into a vault and walking out with wads of cash sticking from his pockets.
Why are we outraged by one form of theft? Why do we tolerate the other?
UAB--Resp. to MSJ