Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

by Pete Talbot

The folks who practice in front of Judge Cebull say he’s a stand-up kinda guy.  What else are they going to say?  Also …

“Many of the attorneys contacted for this story declined to comment on the record,” says the Great Falls Tribune.  And there aren’t any quotes in the article from those who may have been wronged in court (read: potential appellants) or comments from other federal judges (surprise, surprise).

Cebull has apologized and has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to investigate.  He admitted that the content of the email was “racist” and “awful,” but said that he is not racist.

“I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama,” said the judge.

This story will play out for months, mostly under the radar.  Here’s the background for those who’ve been away from the news.

Another anti-Obama slam, this time directed at a Georgetown University law student, came from right-wing spokesman Rush Limbaugh.  He called an advocate for birth-control coverage at religious institutions a “slut.”  You know the story but here’s a recap.

Limbaugh finally apologized but not until Republicans started distancing themselves from the remarks and advertisers cancelled.

Anyway, I expect this sort of anti-Obama, misogynistic trash from Limbaugh; not so much from Montana’s chief federal judge.

Living in Missoula, most of the criticism of Obama that I hear comes from the left, so I’m always amazed at the vitriol that comes from the right.  I’m talking a deep-rooted hatred.  The right wingers didn’t like Bill Clinton (“Slick Willie, as they called him) either, but there didn’t seem to be such a profound hatred.  And Clinton’s and Obama’s policies arent all that different.

So I have to wonder if there isn’t a little racism in this hatred from the right.

by Pete Talbot

There’s a reason why we have two sets of laws for criminal activity: one for adults and one for kids. As I understand it, adults have a better understanding of right and wrong, and need to be held accountable for their actions. Kids, on the other hand, don’t have quite as developed a sense of the consequences of their actions.

That’s why we don’t straddle kids with the same sentences that are handed down to adults. It’s why, if a kid keeps his or her nose clean after committing a crime in their youth, we tend to expunge their records. That way, maybe the kid can grow up to have a productive life without the stigma of a criminal record.

Rep. Janna Taylor (R-Dayton) wants 16-and 17-year-olds convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence to do hard time — say, 30 years in the state pen.

Granted, Montana has a serious DUI problem. The legislature has a number of bills in the hopper that will address this issue but this particular bill is as bad as it is ineffective:

“It is very questionable whether laws like these would have a deterrent effect,” said Niki Zupanic of the ACLU of Montana. “We are now piling on more and more crimes and pushing more and more juveniles into an adult corrections system.”

Just another example of compassionate conservatism: instead of educating our kids to the dangers of driving impaired, wait until they’ve killed somebody, send them to Deer Lodge and then throw away the key.

by jhwygirl

I am beyond disgusted with this kind of stuff. If I’ve never written to the fact that the Constitution is the ultimate law of the land, I’ve written nothing.

Today I find that the MT GOP, at its most recent convention, re-affirmed its 2008 platform calling for making homosexual acts criminal.

And lest you think I’m making this up – mainly because the page link I provided has been removed today by the MT GOP – here is a cached version, courtesy of the google.

Now – these Einsteins of the MT GOP apparently have no respect for the Montana Constitution, nor the United State’s Constitution. See, both the Montana Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States of America have struck down “anti-sodomy” laws.

The Montana Supreme Court did so in Gryczan v. State, 942 P.2d 112 (1997). Not only that, Gryczan and the right of privacy it has conferred has been reaffirmed over and over again by both the Montana courts and other state and federal courts repeatedly since its rendering.

The United States Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence et. al. V. Texas (02-102) 539 U.S. 558 (2003), finding a constitutional protection to sexuality. Only Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

In other words – it’s no government’s business what anyone does in their bedroom.

Where does it stop, MT GOP? What is it you want? Are there not enough problems out there facing Montanan’s? Have you no respect for the ultimate law of our land? Of our nation?

By Goddess, something is really failing us here, Montana – I am gosh darn sick and tired of politicians on both sides of the aisle proposing voting for passing and signing bills into law that violate the constitution (be it the Montana Constitution or the Constitution of the United States).

It’s beyond disrespectful that politicians think they can push the boundaries of these precious documents as if saying to The People “Go ahead and sue me – you can’t afford the fight.”

It’s pretty friggin’ simple – policies must obey rules; rules must obey laws; laws must obey the Constitution. It’s not a “sometimes” thing. It’s not something that should only followed when it’s convenient or when the “other party” is in charge

It’s all the time.


“We are the army out to free men!” – Sheriff Richard Mack

I just want to get back to building an army and preparing for a revolution.” – Schaeffer Cox

“While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State. – Vladimir Lenin

That last quote by Lenin could have easily come from the mouth of your average American Libertarian.

This last weekend saw Ravalli County political group Celebrating Conservatism host the first ever Liberty Convention held at the Adams Center on The University of Montana campus.  While the Adams Center might have seemed a little hollow with so few people in attendance, that fact didn’t  seem to bother the convention organizers.  “This,” said Mona Docteur, the driving force behind much of Celebrating Conservatism’s activities, “was mainly a chance to network with like minded individuals.”  But while the numbers might have been small, the philosophical foundation from which the Liberty movement is building upon is not; it is bold, steeped Western anti-government sentiment and rugged individualism, and wants to radically change the relationship between the individual and the state.

The fact that Conservatism is in the name of the group is an insult to true Conservatives.  Conservatism as a political and social philosophy is one that respects traditional institutions that work to uphold the functioning of a society and rejects radical change.  Many of the people brought into speak at the Liberty Convention made a point to specifically call for a radical break from current political institutions and radically reshape American society.  On the surface of things, Celebrating Conservatism and many similar small groups around Montana and the West are pushing for many policies that many would associate with conservatism… gun rights,  states sovereignty, small government, and individual freedom.

Peel back the public veneer and what this movement wants is much more radical; a libertarian utopia devoid of any from of central government “tyranny,” and ultimate freedom for the individual.  When speaking about the “proper” role of government Gary Marbut – local Missoula gun rights advocate and author of the Firearms Freedom Act – questioned whether building highways was a legitimate use of government authority.  If a so called  “conservative” is questioning the building of roads you can imagine his opinion on the BLM, Forest Service, Social Security, DUI laws, etc.  To them, individuals should operate as they see fit without any regulation upon behavior… except for vigilante justice dispensed by local citizen militias and an armed populace.  I guess a clean gun is supposed to make for good neighbors.

Many of the speakers at the convention expressly stated such beliefs based not only upon political philosophy but also scripture.  2008 Constitution Party Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin – whom spoke Friday night – in a May 19th 2010 article available on his website predicts the breakup of the United States and applauds the prospect of states succeeding from the union (in the same article he also claims that bringing women into the military is a globalist plot to make our military less efficient and weaken our national security to the point that wee can’t operate without UN support).

Red Beckman – perpetual tax protester and long time militia movement supporter – shared this same view that the tyrannical Federal Government will be brought down because we as a nation have forsaken God and that, just as the USSR was brought down by God, the Federal Government will disappear as part of God’s will.  He also stated that illegal immigration was God’s curse on this nation for the Roe v. Wade decision.  They don’t just see the fall of the American Empire… they actively want to push it over the edge.

This group sees themselves as being oppressed by a tyrannical and unjust government that time and again ignores the constitution and has usurped individual freedom.  How they propose to reshape the political landscape is truly nothing short of a revolution.  Red Beckman implored the audience to follow the example of Romanian soldiers whom in 1989 turned on and killed the dictator.

The one feature of language used throughout the convention that surprised me was the constant allusions to and mentioning of “building an army.”  Speakers referred to the audience as “foot soldiers” and Mona Docteur asked them to, “stand on the front lines.”  As much as they disparaged against socialism, communism, and specifically the Bolshevik Revolutionaries it seems that they share much in common with the Bolsheviks in their formative year.  The pattern of history the Liberty Movement sees themselves part of is awkwardly similar to how Marx and Lenin foretold the fall of the oppressive Tsarist regime.

Just as the Bolsheviks saw themselves as the awakened and enlightened vanguard that would lead Russia to a proletariat democratic utopia; the Liberty Movement’s professional revolutionaries  on display this last weekend talked of “leading the charge,” and “bringing enlightenment to the rest of America,” from this small base of people that can, “see the truth,” of how oppressive and tyrannical the government is.  Speaker Schaeffer Cox – Fairbanks, AK militia organizer – talked of, “being right on the edge of having to bloody our swords… revolutions are not instituted, they are provoked, and they are provoked by government.”  Sounds oddly like “a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation,” declared by Vladimir Lenin.

The normal person involved in these meetings and the movement are just that… normal people that are simply fed-up with the current political atmosphere and I’m sure they wouldn’t consider themselves revolutionary.  A lot of the allusions to revolution might be hyperbole… but it seems to me that these luminaries, the professional revolutionaries of the Liberty Movement, believe what they are saying.  They are in no why cynical and actually quite optimistic in their assessment of what they can and will accomplish and are attempting to build a larger coalition across the West.

Groups like these feed off of troubling and uncertain times and today is full a many challenges and uncertainties about the future.  Just as in the 1930s this country, saw a large uptick in communist and fascist party membership people today are looking for a fresh political movement that will provide a clear way forward and a promising future to those that currently see only despair.  While this movement is small today no group that openly talks of revolution should be ignored.  Rather they should be studied to understand the mechanisms by which they operate and grow so that their very legitimate concerns may be addressed within society at large.

Vladimir Lenin established his first revolutionary group in 1895, it wasn’t until 1917 that the revolution came to fruition… jolted violently to life by the collapse of the Russian economy after WWI.  The Liberty Movement is predicting such a collapse… hoping for such a collapse… and biding their time until such a collapse happens.

Abject Failure

by jhwygirl

It’s a weekend…what the hell – here’s one to start it off: Billings man skips bail on 5th DUI.

Bail? On a 5th DUI? How wasn’t mere arrest on that some sort of parole or probation violation on the 4th (which would have been a felony charge)?

We have a judicial system that repeatedly makes poor choices. At question is why. Why would a presumably reasonable learned wise judge allow a 60 yr-old, four time convicted DUI andfelony burglar be allowed a bail of $7,500? Why would he be allowed bail at all, with a conviction meaning certain jail term?

Do they make these choices because of some financial analysis? Is there short space at the jail? Does the local have to pick up the tab – how does that all work? Is that the source of this?

Is that at the root of multiple DUI’s? Eight DUI’s? ELEVEN DUI’s?

Whatever it is, we aren’t doing something right…and rather than do the old Montana thing and try to figure it out completely on our own, why don’t we look at the statistics on per capita DUI offenses. See who’s at the top of that list with the least per capita – and see what it is they do on the enforcement and education side that attributes to that level.

Then let’s ignore the lobbyists that have a monetary interest in alcohol, and do what is right for the citizens health and safety….and for our overall tax paying interests.

by jhwygirl

In April, Missoula City Council will take up a proposed city ordinance that will ensure equal protection for everyone regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

See? Is that a big deal? Or maybe the question is Why is this a big deal?

This is such a no-brainer for me to support, my mind sometimes has a hard time “supporting” stuff like this because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people can want to treat certain people differently based on who they are. How can people can think that way? Where to begin with such ignorance?

Tonight I first came across this. I’m reading the comments there, and frankly, I’m amazed at the openly bigoted and blatantly ignorant things people will publicly say and put their name and face to it.

Then I get to Missoula Red Tape where I read about a website titled, where the lies and misinformation continue. They purport – and notice the careful wording there – to be “an alliance of 17 organizations with members within the City Limits of Missoula as well as dozens of concerned citizens.”

Could that mean “An alliance of 17 organizations spread out over North and South American, with 2 members with the city limits as well as dozens of concerned citizens living in northern Idaho”?

These Mel Gibson fans even had the gumption to send out a press release.

I truly hope that the press picks up on that…someone like that, going through all that trouble to create two webpages and issue a press release deserves all the attention their little twisted brain desires.

by jhwgirl

Pretty big deal. Montana’s Supreme Court remanded Beach’s case back to court to assess potential new evidence. The court ruling came unanimously.

As Great Falls Tribune Helena bureau reporter John S. Adams points out, Beach has consistently maintained his innocence, despite his confession which is says was coerced.

He’s also been the subject of numerous justice projects and media stories focused around his self-professed innocence.

The Trib story promises more tomorrow. I imagine this is going to create quite a media stir, given the attention the case has already had over the years.

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