Skip to comments.South Dakota: Ballot Measure Targets Judges' Immunity ~~ YAH!!!
Posted on 10/26/2006 3:19:20 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Although wealthy New Yorker Howard Rich is behind most of the 2006 ballot measures seeking to curb government power, he is not engaged in the campaign for the most revolutionary measure - a South Dakota initiative that would strip judges of their immunity and expose them to possible fines and jail terms.
If Amendment E passes on Nov. 7, South Dakota would be the first state where citizens could sue judges for official acts. Supporters say it would rein in judges who deliberately disregard law and violate people's rights.
Opponents contend judges already are accountable through elections and review procedures. They say the measure is so broad that it would apply to school board members and city councilors, who sometimes make judicial decisions, deterring people from serving in such posts.
The amendment would create a special grand jury of 13 citizens who would determine if those making judicial decisions broke rules set by the grand jury. Judges stripped of their immunity could be subjected to civil and criminal sanctions, and lose public insurance coverage and up to half their retirement benefits.
"No one should be above the law," said Jake Hanes, a spokesman for the campaign pushing Amendment E.
Opponents of the amendment, whose ranks include lawyers, business groups and government officials, say on their campaign Web site that their adversaries "have a paranoid vendetta against our courts."
The amendment "is nothing more than a proposal for revenge, a path to anarchy and chaos," the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls said in an editorial.
The proposal, titled the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, was conceived by a Californian, Ron Branson, who contacted South Dakotans after failing to get it on his own state's ballot. The Amendment E campaign says it has severed ties with Branson and does not use his nickname for the measure - "Jail4Judges."
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GO South Dakota!
Item of interest....maybe we need an item like this on the California ballot.
Every State needs something like this!
I hope the US Supreme Court justices face the same legislation one day.
As the Founders intended????
Sorry, nice idea but the way this one is written is simply dreadful. SD is a small state and one that is relatively easy to get things on the ballot. Just one of the things I'm casting a NO vote on in two weeks..
I don't recall the Constitution saying anything about official immunity other than the Speech and Debate clause, but I could be wrong. Sovereign immunity seems to be something the Courts engrafted into American law notwithstanding the Founders' rejection of the sovereign approach to government--monarchy.
Sounds like a bad idea to me. Judges if they violate their duties can be remove by the Supreme Court. I don't need to worry aboot going against someone that can sue me and the judge
The Judges have long relished their Immunity with Impunity!
I was all set to vote against this until I read the state ballot desciption. It was all editorial against the measure. I don't like the fact that the state gov. would use a supposedly objective ballot measure description to lobby against the proposal. I don't think it will pass, but I want the legal elites to run scared.
Every State needs a 10th Amendment to the Constitution to be properly honored by the Federal Government, too!!!
Every State needs the US Supreme Court to revisit the destructive "Cows Don't Vote" decision of nearly 50 years ago! Talk about taxation with hardly any representation!!!
Everybody forgets... The States were here FIRST!!!
Now we're getting like the USSA!!! (In every way)(with judges being the appuratchiks)
"Mr. Govbechev... Tear down that wall!" Mr. Bush... Build up that wall!!! (Ironic, ain't it?)
Nobody will want to be a judge if they can be personally sued by anyone who thinks they made the wrong decision.
Would you take that job?
Very bad idea.
Getting rid of bad judges is a good idea. Exposing them to lawsuits for anything they rule on is not.
I don't have an attorney ping list or I'd use it. If I were a judge there and this passes, I'd resign immediately. I could have 20 new lawsuits filed against me every week, and defending them would bankrupt me, even if I won every one.
Now we're getting down to some fertile ground!
If it passes, some state or Federal judge will immediately strike it down on some ground or other. Officials at all levels and in all branches of government here in the US of A want to be less accountable to the sovereign people, not more, and they'll resist to the bitter end any effort to make them more accountable---popular opinion and ballot initiatives be damned. So...don't get your hopes up...
More to the point, judges power needs to be curbed. The jury needs to be placed above the judge in the evidence gathering phase of trials. Jurors should be able to direct questions of their choice to all witnesses.
A situation doctors, to take an obvious example, are in now. As are many businesses. That may be part of the point.
I don't actually think this proposition is a good idea. But out legal system has gotten out of control, especially if you happen to be at the wrong end of it (I haven't personally, but have 2 friends who have.) For all that I don't like the proposition, I do like the idea of turning the system against judges and lawyers. Ah well, not in South Dakota, so I won't be voting either way.
I'd just hope that it has some positive effect, however it turns out.
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