Tuesday, October 30, 2018

U.S. judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins -- determined to cheat us in "The Jail Case," but with no ammunition to do it -- plays the pathetic "We Just Disagree" card

Virginia Emerson Hopkins
Judges have all kinds of ways to cheat you -- many of which we have covered on this blog -- but I recently discovered a new one. This comes under the heading of a "News You Can Use" tip, so it could come in handy for you someday.

Imagine you are involved in a legal case, and you (or your attorney) make a citation to law that you know is correct -- and you know it's a winner. You know this because . . . well, (A) You can read; and (B) It involves legal issues that are present in your case.

You, however, are dealing with a crooked judge so what can he do? You've boxed him into a corner. But he wants to cheat you, and he can't counter with a legal argument because you are right -- and he knows it. So, the judge issues an order that says he "disagrees" with your citation to law -- and that's it. No explanation, no citation to law that shows you are wrong (this isn't an option because there is no such citation). Nothing. Just "I disagree," maybe with a little dig at your status as a commoner who cannot possibly understand the mystical vagaries of the law.

It all reminds me of "We Just Disagree," the 1977 hit from English singer-songwriter Dave Mason, who performed with Traffic, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Winwood, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, and at least two former Beatles.

Who could turn a classic song into an evil courtroom sham? Leave that to U.S. Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins, of the Northern District of Alabama, who is so crooked that she's creepy -- and to my knowledge, I've never seen her. She must squeak when she walks from all the oil and grease dripping off of her.

Hopkins' disagreeable con game came in her order on our Rule 59 Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment in "The Jail Case," which centers on my wrongful arrest (a kidnapping, really) and five-month incarceration in Shelby County, Alabama. (The Rule 59 motion, two amendments to it, and Hopkins' order are embedded at the end of this post.)

Hopkins dismissed our complaint primarily on two grounds: (1) Statute of limitations, claiming we had filed the lawsuit too late; and (2) State immunity, claiming deputies, under the Alabama Constitution, are protected from suit -- even when they intentionally, maliciously, and violently break the law.

Dave Mason
We cited law in our Rule 59 motion and its amendments that shows, without question, Hopkins is wrong; our complaint was timely filed, and state immunity does not protect deputies who break into a home (without showing a warrant, stating they have a warrant, or stating their reasons for being there), beat up a resident and douse him with pepper spray, threaten to break his arm, and haul him to jail -- all over a 100-percent civil matter, a defamation lawsuit, that involved not one whiff of criminal allegations or procedure.

In other words, we backed Hopkins into a corner, where she could not counter with a valid citation to law. So, what did she do?

(1) She cited law -- correctly by the way -- that governs Rule 59 motions. From her order (Doc. 168-1, dated 8/27/18):
Rule 59 motions should only be granted on grounds of newly discovered evidence or manifest error of law or fact. Jones v. Thomas, 605 Fed. App'x 813 (11th Cir., 2015).
(2) Since our Rule 59 motion and amendments presented 74 pages of examples where Hopkins committed "manifest errors of law or fact," she could not explain all of that away. So, she didn't even try. Here's what she did, directly from her order:
Plaintiffs do not assert that there has been any change in controlling law or that there is newly-discovered evidence. Rather, they assert that the undersigned has made errors of law and of fact. The undersigned has carefully considered all of the arguments that the Plaintiffs have made but disagrees. Plaintiffs simply misunderstand either the opinion or the law or both. Accordingly, the Motion To Alter Judgment is due to be denied.
As you can imagine, Hopkins was not about to admit that she made 74 pages worth of errors. And she could not back up her rulings with actual citations to law. So, she resorted to what we now will call "The Dave Mason Trick." It involves a judge essentially saying, "There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy; there's only you and me, and we just disagree."

Note the little dig that we "simply misunderstand the opinion or the law or both." That's a curious way of putting it, given that Hopkins seems to be admitting there is a difference between her opinion and the law.

She sure as hell is right about that, and we will show you why in an upcoming post.

For good measure, let's check out a video of Dave Mason performing "We Just Disagree." The video has more than 7 million views, and they don't make songs like this anymore:

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Pretty embarrassing that a federal judge, who I am sure is paid very well, can't do any better than this.

Anonymous said...

"We Just Disagree" -- Great song, by a great artist.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a problem for a judge to more or less say, "We just disagree."

But it is a problem when she offers no further explanation.

Anonymous said...

When I saw this headline, I was hoping it was a reference to the Dave Mason song. Glad to see that it is.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Hopkins on senior status now? If so, could that force her off your case?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:20 --

Yes, Hopkins is on senior status, as of June, I think. I'm not sure what the rules say about her senior status and our case. Of course, she rarely applies the rules anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what you are talking about as far as legal issues, but I'm a huge Dave Mason fan from way back, so this post gets two thumbs up from me. Great video, BTW.

Pixel said...

@11:05 --

Agreed. Judges supposedly are the experts, so there is no reason for them not to explain their rulings. A citizen, at a bare minimum, deserves an explanation for what happens in court.

Anonymous said...

Traffic, with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Dave Mason, was one of the great "under the radar" bands ever. All of those guys went on to have distinguished solo careers, too.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:05 --

Perhaps I should note that Judge Hopkins, in our case, did offer citations to law in her dismissal order that supposedly explained her rulings. We filed a Rule 59 Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, showing that she was wrong across the board. The governing law on statute of limitations and immunity in our case is clear, easily understood, and cannot be disputed. And it can't be disputed that Hopkins got it wrong. Her ruling on our Rule 59 motion is where she resorted to the "We Just Disagree" card because we had shown that she was wrong, and she had nothing else in her quiver. She tried to con us with incorrect citations to law in her dismissal order, and when that didn't work, she more or less threw up her hands. In essence, she could not defend her own ruling.

Anonymous said...

surely, you'll win on appeal

legalschnauzer said...

@1:41 --

Nothing is a sure thing in the U.S. court system. We've been screwed at the appellate level many times, so there is no question it can happen again.

A key message of this blog: federal courts are no better than state courts, appellate courts are no better than trial courts. They are all bad, especially if you have been deemed a threat to their sanctuary.

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, and I forgot . . . don't call me "Shirley."