State legislatures — we have a problem

Why all 50 states need to overhaul their judicial oversight agencies

Judges make life-altering decisions every day. Whether through rulings in individual cases or through the establishment of case law, judges intimately impact the life of every American.

As a matter of public safety it is crucial to ensure that judges are making decisions free of corruption, cronyism, and bias.

The main line of defense against these evils are state judicial oversight agencies, which are charged with investigating judicial misconduct — violations of judicial ethics — and disciplining judges accordingly. The other core function served by these agencies is to refer criminal conduct to appropriate authorities such as an attorney general, district attorney, or federal agency.

But these judge watchdogs operate more like national security agencies than agencies responsible for overseeing public officials presiding over public courtrooms conducting the public’s business. The agencies withhold vital information about the conduct of judges, including complaints and private disciplines.

Why is information that would impact judicial elections and provide insight into the performance of judges being withheld from the public — including instances of actual misconduct that are being privately disciplined by secret letters?

To understand why we must take a look at the common beginning.

Continue reading State legislatures — we have a problem

Advertisements

Judging Hon. Valerie R. Manno Schurr FL State Judge

judging-the-judgesThe Robing Room – Where Judges are Judged.

Get this incompetent bimbo off the bench and soon – she has no clue and a horrible disposition – treats people with disrespect and extreme arrogance – is ignorant of the law and one can only wonder how in God‘s name she is on the bench. A horrible injustice to the legal system in Miami-Dade County. She should be removed, with pleasure. – View Detail

judge-manno-schurr-11th-jud-cir-miami-fl-family-court

Continue reading Judging Hon. Valerie R. Manno Schurr FL State Judge

The Due Process Clause guarantees more than fair process…

THESE JUSTICES WERE BOUND BY THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE
court-of-public-opinion-2015

By thefitparentsrights

…and the “liberty” it protects includes more than the absence of physical restraint. (citations omitted). (Due Process Clause “protects individual liberty against ‘certain government actions regardless of the fairness of the procedures used to implement them’ ”) (quoting *720 Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 331, 106 S.Ct. 662, 665, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986)). The Clause also provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 301-302, 113 S.Ct. 1439, 1446-1447, 123 L.Ed.2d 1 (1993); Casey, 505 U.S., at 851, 112 S.Ct., at 2806-2807. In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the “liberty” specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the rights to… to have children, Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535, 62 S.Ct. 1110, 86 L.Ed. 1655 (1942); [and] to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 43 S.Ct. 625, 67 L.Ed. 1042 (1923); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925);…

Our established method of substantive-due-process analysis has two primary features: First, we have regularly observed that the Due Process Clause specially protects those fundamental rights and liberties which are, objectively, *721 “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” id., at 503, 97 S.Ct., at 1938 (plurality opinion); Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, 105, 54 S.Ct. 330, 332, 78 L.Ed. 674 (1934) (“so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental”), and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed,”(citations omitted).

Continue reading The Due Process Clause guarantees more than fair process…

Is There a Difference Between Motioning for Reconsideration or Rehearing?

Ask any civil trial lawyer in Florida how many days one has to move for rehearing of an order simply granting a motion for summary judgment, and the odds are good the lawyer will respond, “Ten days.” Pursue the matter further with the lawyer, and ask where this 10-day period is set forth in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and the lawyer will invariably point to Rule 1.530, which by its title governs motions for new trial and rehearing.

Rule 1.530, however, provides that a motion for rehearing must be served no later than 10 days after “the date of filing of the judgment in a non-jury action.”1 An order simply granting a motion for summary judgment is not a final judgment; rather, it is a nonfinal order.2 So, too, are myriad other orders entered by a trial court before final judgment. Attorneys in Florida nevertheless regularly file “motions for rehearing” directed to such nonfinal orders. Often they believe they must do so within 10 days. Sometimes they also believe that such a motion tolls the time to seek appellate review of the nonfinal order.

Motions for rehearing of nonfinal orders are not authorized by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.3 Noting that motions for rehearing are exclusively governed by Rule 1.530, the Florida Supreme Court has observed that “[u]nless the filing of a motion for rehearing to an interlocutory order is authorized by a rule of court promulgated by the rule-making authority, then its filing is improper.”4 Indeed, it is not unheard of for an attorney to file a motion for “rehearing” of a nonfinal order and subsequently be confronted with a response from the other side echoing the court’s language and declaring that such motions are unauthorized and improper.

Yet while the rules of civil procedure themselves do not authorize motions for rehearing directed to nonfinal orders, a trial court does have the inherent authority to reconsider and alter or retract such orders prior to the entry of final judgment.5 Rather than constituting a motion for rehearing under Rule 1.530, a motion directed to a nonfinal order is actually a “motion for reconsideration” based upon this inherent and discretionary authority of the trial court.6 Despite this distinct and well-established basis for reconsideration of interlocutory orders, there still exists confusion among many practitioners about the differences between reconsideration and rehearing.

Much of the confusion stems from the fact that parties and the courts frequently use the terms interchangeably, at least in the context of motions directed at nonfinal orders. This is perhaps understandable given the lack of any rule-based authority for reconsideration of nonfinal orders; the articulation of the trial court’s inherent authority has of necessity come through the development of the common law. An attorney will, therefore, only be aware of the basis for reconsideration — as well as its effect on any subsequent appeal — from the case law.

Common Law Origin of Motions for Reconsideration

Continue reading Is There a Difference Between Motioning for Reconsideration or Rehearing?