Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Robert Vance Jr. Does Not Deserve Democrats' Support for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice

Robert Vance Jr.

Robert Vance Jr. is Democrats' last-minute choice to challenge Republican Roy Moore in next week's election for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. But one sentence in one ruling shows that Vance is a dishonest judge who does not deserve the support of Democrats--at least those who take justice issues seriously.

In fact, Vance's proven ethical shortcomings should disqualify him from the position he currently holds--circuit judge in Jefferson County. He certainly has no business serving as the top administrative official in Alabama's entire justice system.

Vance Jr. has a noble reputation because he is the son of the late Robert Vance Sr., a genuine civil-rights hero who was killed by a mail-bomb blast in 1989. But Democrats should not confuse this Vance with the one who proceeded him; they are not remotely alike.

How do I know? I filed a legal-malpractice lawsuit against Jesse P. Evans III and Michael B. Odom, the first two lawyers I hired to represent me in the bogus case filed by a criminally inclined neighbor named Mike McGarity. I could write a law-review article on the numerous ways that Evans and Odom cheated me--and how Vance Jr. unlawfully let them off the hook, proving that his No. 1 goal is to protect the interests of legal elites at all costs. But all we need to do is focus on one sentence from Vance's order granting the defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

We focused on the order in a recent post titled "Robert Vance Jr. Is Not Fit to Serve on the Alabama Supreme Court, And Here Is Why." My feelings about Vance are so strong that I have vowed to vote for Roy Moore, even though his tendency to mix religion and public service makes me extremely uncomfortable. I believe there is at least a chance that Moore will follow the rule of law and stand up for the rights of regular Alabamians against legal and corporate interests. I see no chance that Vance Jr. will take such an approach--and I come by that conviction through first-hand experience.

What about that one sentence from an order that proves Vance Jr. is crooked? Here is how it reads:

For the reasons stated in defendants' motions, the plaintiff's complaint, as amended, fails to state a cause of action for which relief may be granted.

What is wrong with that statement? We can find the first clue in my response to the defendants' Motion to Dismiss. I lay out the standard for review governing such a motion--often called a Rule 12(b)(6) motion--and you can read it on pages 1 and 2 of my opposition at the end of this post. (Vance's order denying my Motion to Amend also can be read at the end of this post; it pretty much regurgitates what he said in his original order.)

We already have quoted University of Alabama law professor Jerome Hoffman saying that "Rule 12(b)(6) motions will almost never be granted by trial courts. And those that are will almost always be reversed by appellate courts."

Law does not get much more simple than the governing standard for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Quoting from a case styled Nance v. Matthews, 622 So. 2d 297 (Ala, 1993), I pretty much tell you all you need to know in my opposition:

The appropriate standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6) is whether, when the allegations of the complaint are viewed most strongly in the pleader's favor, it appears that the pleader could prove any set of circumstances that would entitle [him] to relief.

This tells us two key points about review of a Motion to Dismiss:

(1) The review focuses on "the allegations of the complaint";

(2) Those allegations must be viewed most strongly "in the pleader's favor." The pleader is the plaintiff, and in this case, that was me.

A 2011 case Alabama Supreme Court case styled Scannelly v. Toxey lays it out in even more stark terms:

On a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the [trial] court's inquiry essentially is limited to the content of the complaint.

Ah, now we've caught Robert Vance Jr. red-handed. Recall that he dismissed my case "for reasons stated in the defendants' motions." But as clearly stated in Scannelly, Alabama law limits the inquiry on a 12(b)(6) motion to the content of the complaint. The contents of the Motion to Dismiss have almost nothing to do with it.

So Vance acted in a crooked fashion in both key components of his review: (1) He unlawfully went beyond the allegations in the complaint; and (2) He unlawfully failed to view the allegations most strongly in the pleader's favor.

We know from UA professor Hoffman that defendants can cite only about three legitimate grounds for a 12(b)(6) motion:

* The complaint fails to cite a recognized cause of action. (That didn't fly here; legal malpractice clearly is a recognized cause of action.)

* On the complaint's face, it falls outside the relevant statute of limitations. (That didn't fly either, and Evans/Odom didn't even try to argue the point.)

* On the complaint's face, the defendants are protected from suit by some form of immunity. (Again, that didn't fly, and Evans/Odom didn't even try to argue the point.)

What is the No. 1 characteristic that voters of all political stripes should remember about Robert Vance Jr. on election day next week? His inquiry on my case involved the simplest law imaginable; his failure to get it right is the equivalent of a math teacher who can't count to three.

Robert Vance Jr. earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton and his law degree at Virginia, so he isn't stupid. But his actions indicate that he is an elitist snob. He thinks people like you and me are so stupid that we won't realize it when he jams us up the rear end in open court.

If you are a Democrat who treasures the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, equal protection, due process, the rule of law, and other fundamental standards of justice . . . please take this from a liberal who has seen the real Robert Vance Jr. in action. He does not share your values, and he does not deserve your vote.

  Evans Opp. to Dismiss
Evans Vance2


James Greek said...

Roy Moore is also a firm believer in obeying the constitution.

Anonymous said...

I don't like either choice in this race. Can you vote for "other"?

Raymond said...

Roy Moore cleans Vance's clock by 20 points, at least. Book it.

Redeye said...

Caught between a rock and hard place. Damned if we do. Damned if we don't. Thanks Alabama Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

Vance Jr. sounds like a Democratic version of George W. Bush. A guy with no principles, riding on Daddy's coat tails.

Deidra said...

LS, I agree with you on most things, but I can't vote for Roy Moore.

legalschnauzer said...


I understand your feelings. You have to experience Vance in person to realize just how bad he really is. No question he makes a better public impression than does Moore, at least for those who are left of center. But it's a facade, a fake. I do give Moore credit for actually standing for something, even though I don't much care for it.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer, I get the distinct impression that you weren't happy with the outcome of your case before Judge Vance.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:14--

Hah! Good one.

Pete said...

How long before you start getting the "Bob Vance knows the law, and you don't" comments?

legalschnauzer said...

Usually doesn't take long, Pete.

It's hard, though, for anyone who is serious about the law to counter this. The law on a 12(b)(6) motion is as simple as it gets--it's the equivalent of learning 1 + 1=2 in first grade.

There's really no argument to it. The law is clear, and so are Vance's actions. He was crooked on my case.

Has he been crooked on other cases? I don't know. But my experience has been that when a judge rules unlawfully on one matter, you can rest assured there are plenty of similar rulings in his background.

Anonymous said...

In a state of 4.8 million people and 2.8 million lawyers, we can't come up with better choices than Moore and Vance?

As Ross Perot would say, "That's sad . . . sad."

Anonymous said...

"... The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has to lead the effort to save America from the Great Betrayal. It is essential to focus on the self-destructive nature of austerity. The irony is that a proponent of austerity has just handed us a coup. Becky Quick, co-host of one of CNBC’s business entertainment program, recently wrote a column intended to discredit Paul Krugman. Quick solicited a written statement from former President Bill Clinton to use in her attack on Krugman (who had criticized Quick and her co-host’s stream of “zombie facts” when he appeared on their program). Quick reveled in her success in obtaining ammunition from Clinton to attack Krugman, asserting that it constituted a “damning retort to Krugman” and proved the need to adopt austerity. In fact, Clinton’s statement voiced his agreement with Krugman:

[I]t’s important not to impose austerity now before a growth trend is clearly established, because as the austerity policies in the eurozone and the U.S. show, that will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits….

.. Clinton is a leader within the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party that has been seeking to create the moral panic, but even he admits that “austerity now” “will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits.” The Great Betrayal of the safety net will begin if Obama is able to deliver the “grand bargain” imposing austerity that would “slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits” and unravel the safety nets – the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.

.. Obama is telling the media that the Great Betrayal is his first, and overarching, priority should he be re-elected. We are forewarned and we must act now to make clear that we will block the Great Betrayal and crush at the polls any member of Congress who supports it.

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/bill-black-the-great-betrayal-and-the-cynicism-of-calling-it-a-grand-bargain.html#pXC1WIUtvHz6rPbm.99

"... As Ross Perot would say, "That's sad . . . sad."

Anonymous said...

When all the crooked judges, even republicans are for him then that's a sure tell sign. Those repubs are RINOs anyway. Must only mean one thing. Moore's the man!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 1:59--

You hit the nail on the head. Vance is the candidate of the corrupt judges and all of the corrupt lawyers at big law firms. He is the candidate of the legal establishment because they know he will watch out for their interests and do their bidding. When lawyers and judges win, the public loses. It's that simple.

S. in S. Alabama said...

Nothing to worry about Vance being elected, Roger. Since a majority of Alabama voters have been indoctrinated through the program initiated in the early 90s by Karl Rove and Bill Canary to vote against their own interest and buy every scheme put forth by republicans. Roy Moore will by elected next week as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Gov. Bentley will probably use some of his discrenary funds to erect a monument of Roy Moore on Dexter Ave. with chisel in hand carving the ten commandments out a block of Alabama marble.

legalschnauzer said...


I agree that Moore will win. Not sure Bentley will be thrilled about that. After all, Moore beat Bentley's appointee, Malone, in the primary.

Anonymous said...

see Neil Garfield, LivingLies wordpress

"... COnsumers Out of Money Again: How WIll Recovery Continue?

.. I don’t think it make a lot of difference as to who becomes President in terms of economic recovery. Romney is a pragmatist and Obama likes to proceed incrementally. The fact is that when Romney and his cronies decided that reducing labor cost was a great idea, they created jobs overseas, and reduced median income at home. In a consumer driven economy, you might as well shoot yourself in the head. Reducing costs is a going out of business plan. Increasing revenues, on the other hand, raises the water levels and hides a lot of stumps. Posted on October 29, 2012 by Neil Garfield

Frankly LS, et al,

The south is going to vote republican all the way.

The north is voting Obama, but not like in 08.

The machines shall decide.

We The People must step up the news about how the digital age can change the reality, but the journalists have to truly educate about the reality of NOT ONE HOMEOWNER, other than perhaps the "Judges?" has equity in any real property. See Neil Garfield's site for how to educate the "consumers" of America in uniting with respect to going forward in the digital exposed FULLY!

WTP must embrace the fact that we're controlled by those that choose digital fraud 'wealth' rather than mental health.

It's why we must expose fully the tap root fraud, and this should have been a tsunami of factual words daily of our serious conundrum:

digits and digit heads controlling.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:46,
Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. The Dems can't lead it nor lead! I should say progressives not dems bc that's what they are or in more blatant terms, communists. These crooked judges and lawyers aka RINOs are working for the same cause as the dems ie progressives. The cause is to destroy us. The plan is as everyone knows, almost complete which is why next tuesday is so important. There is an has been a new party in the US and for lack of better terms, call it the Torts! It's starting to make sense in hindsight why Moore was essentially demonized in the media. What he stood for was an attempt to keep justice and the progressives where they should be and keep our values in tact. At the time I have to admit I fell for the media attack and thought he was nuts. He certainly makes sense now.

Anonymous said...

And btw, ALL trial lawyers and judges are dems "progressives" for a reason and if they don't claim to be that, they are misleading the people. Imagine that, judges and lawyers that lie!

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you appeal this obvious travesty of justice? Oh wait, you did appeal and you lost (again) in the Court of Civil Appeals. You were so clearly wrong that the appellate court didn't even see the need to write an opinion. It seems that the only person who agrees with your legal position is you. Pathetic that you would vote for a man who disgraced his office and was convicted of unethical conduct just beacuse you (and only you) think you got a raw deal in Judge Vance's court. Of course, given that you have lost every single lawsuit and appeal that you have ever filed, you have a very long list of paybacks.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:29--

You actually trust the work of Alabama appellate courts, the same courts that let ExxonMobil get away with $3.6 billion worth of fraud against our state? You must be a member of the court or one of its employees. No one else with any sense would trust an Alabama appellate court. They rubber stamp bogus trial-court rulings all the time. Any semi-honest lawyer will tell you that--if you can find one.

legalschnauzer said...

BTW, I'm not voting "for" anyone in this election. I don't approve of either Moore or Vance. But I will vote "against" Vance because I know for sure that he disgraced his office--and I saw it with my own eyes.

Also, I've sent an interview request to Vance. He has failed to respond. I wonder why that is. Why is he afraid to answer questions from me?