Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Tenth Circuit

I really must document some of the shenanigans being pulled by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where I filed a petition for extraordinary relief on May 6, 2011. "Extraordinary relief" means a writ of mandamus or prohibition pursuant to Rule 21 (F.R.A.P. 21). This is case 11-1207.

The Court told me I must file a motion if I wanted Rule 21 relief, so on August 3, 2011, I mailed a "Motion for Writ of Prohibition and Mandamus" to the 10th Circuit; and PACER--the public access electronic filing system--never showed my motion had been docketed. Because I had sent it by regular mail, it could not be traced. Thus, I remailed the motion on August 14, 2011, and paid for delivery confirmation this time. The court has now admitted it received it both times. But it refuses to file it in the case!

Instead, the court clerk opened a NEW case on August 5, case 11-1363, and put my motion into THAT. She then demanded we pay a second $450 docket fee on threat of dismissal. We didn't pay--and she dismissed it. I filed an objection in the original case 11-1207, which was referred to the "panel on the merits" on Sept. 6. It is now Oct. 28 and there has been no disposition of my objection, let alone my motion or petition.

***Update: It is now May 7, 2012, and there has STILL been no disposition of our objection.***

This is too bizarre for words. And it's far from a complete account of the runaround we've received. We were initially required to file the petition not even with the Tenth Circuit, but with the district court. We were required to ask the district court for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal, and our motion is back before--who else?--Judge Kane, who denied it. It is, of course, Judge Kane's orders we are appealing, and here he was blocking the door.

Kane ultimately found that neither my co-plaintiff Jerry Lewis nor I qualified as paupers. Never mind that both of us have been stripped of our homes, all our savings, and our livelihoods by the Defendants. I finally paid the $455 docket fee for 11-1207 out of exasperation, out of the $3,000 I had left to my name, or our appeal would have been dismissed. And then, as set forth above, the court tried to extort a SECOND docket fee out of us.

What our petition for extraordinary relief is challenging is the nonrandom transfer of the case to Kane, who is best buds with the Defendants. The chief judge, Wiley Daniel, took our case out of the computerized random assignment process to shunt it to Kane, who came on like a bull in a china shop and simply struck everything he found on file, although the case had been pending for two years. The rogue judge then directed the toady magistrate, Michael Hegarty, to trump something up to get rid of us, and Hegarty did that. Never mind that he had no jurisdiction, since our appeal was already on file in the Tenth Circuit. But this is the court. They're above the law, see.

When our petition was transmitted by the district court to the Court of Appeals on May 10, 2011, the clerk--or SOMEONE at the district court, I assume Kane again--then buried it at the bottom of 101 pages of extraneous paper. Eighty-eight pages of crap were put on top of our 13-page petition before the whole thing was docketed as "civil complaint."

And then, you must PAY to access the "full docket" on PACER before you can even see the link for this 101-page "civil complaint." So I have linked to it on this blog, where people can find it without paying and without plowing through the 88 pages of impertinent paper put on top of it.

The foregoing is, of course, just the tip of the criminal iceberg known as the judicial system. Because an administrative runaround--being charged a second docket fee to get a motion considered in your case--is something the public can readily understand, I have given a blow-by-blow of one of those runarounds here; but laypeople need to know this happens all the time, usually turning on interpretation of technical rules. This gets the Court where it wants to go, which is to aid the banking/developer/insurance cabal. Always. And gets it there in the way which will be least understandable to the public (and often even to lawyers). I have a website in progress where I have detailed more of this for several cases in which matters of great public importance were ground to bits in this maw, almost always resulting in the transfer of public resources to developers. I hope people will take the time to work through it.

What else can we do but publicize the takeover and subversion of our institutions? The takeover of the courts is most terrifying and evil, since they are the most powerful. I am afraid to even return to Colorado--afraid the next judge I appear before will trump something up and throw me in jail, like they did Richard Fine.