Tennessee Supreme Court and retaliation against Attorneys

Fellow citizens…..

I started challenging the retaliatory tactics of the Supreme Court through its Board of Professional Responsibility in 2008 and have been continuously discovering MORE information about how they pick and choose who will be prosecuted under the vague and ambiguous standards and sanctions established by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In July 2012 I discovered (with the assistance of Jim Roberts) that there were secret email communications that were never disclosed to attorneys against whom the BPR pursued.  When I sought to obtain those emails, the request was denied and the Attorney General’s office (who is appointed by the Supreme Court) defended this secret communication. 

In November 2012 Davidson County Chancellor Lyle told the State they HAD to produce the emails.

The State appealed.

Last week Justice Richard Dinkins on the Court of Appeals (joined by Justice Frank Clement)…..

wrote this opinion that all of the separate units under created under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Supreme Court are ONE UNIT and therefore they can communicate secretly about the attorney that they intend to pursue and discipline.

I have served as a District Attorney in Davidson County so let me give you an analogy.  This is like the District Attorney, the Judge, and the Grand Jury all having free reign to communicate ex parte and secretly about pending cases. 

Do you think that perhaps we have a basic due process problem here?

Let me add this to the mix:

Under TCA 16-4-102 the judges that create the Court of Appeals are to be “elected” every eight years.  Neither Judge Dinkins nor ANY of the 12 members of the State’s Court of Appeals have EVER BEEN ELECTED to hold that office.

Under TCA 16-3-401 the Supreme Court is allowed to make rules “for the better disposition of business before it.”  Under TCA 16-3-404, those rules are not effective until they have been approved “by resolutions of both the house and the senate.”  Tenn. Supreme Court Rule 9, the rule that creates the disciplinary procedure for Attorneys and upon which Judge Dinkins is relying, has NEVER BEEN APPROVED by the General Assembly and the Supreme Court doesn’t care.  They have already been confronted on this issue and they have snubbed their nose at the law and said that they had “inherent” power to control the licensure of attorneys.

The Tennessee Constitution provides under Article VI that the Supreme Court is “APPELLATE ONLY” and that ONLY the Legislature can create any lower court and give them jurisdiction.  However, our Tennessee Supreme Court submits that they have the power to create this “Court” called the Board of Professional Responsibility, assign its jurisdiction, appoint its members, and NOW allow them to all communicate secretly. 

In December 2012, one brave State Senator proposed a law that would make this secret communication among appointees of the Supreme Court a misdemeanor.  This bill fell asleep when Sandy Garrett from the BPR appeared before the Legislature and explained that she knew that had happened but she had FIXED the problem and it wouldn’t happen anymore.  And, oh yes, she made a point of telling them that the only person who had complained about this was “an attorney who is being prosecuted by our office”  (that would be me of course)  just to discredit the complaint. 

In 2010, Senator Mae Beavers recognized the inherent problems in the Supreme Court governing itself and its judges and worked with citizens to abolish the Court of Judiciary.  However, her efforts were diverted by Senator Mike Faulk who got his bill creating the “Board of Judicial Conduct” approved.  This NEW creature was a “distinction without a difference”. 

This animal is still controlled by the Judicial Branch.  I attended the meeting of this new ‘oversight’ arm and heard the chief disciplinary officer, Tim Discenza, tell the other members that he had recently attended a meeting of the American Adjudicatory Society and they had the most fun listening to the “stories” that came out of Tennessee regarding judicial misconduct.  This comment gave rise to a chuckle from the other members in the room and on video conference.  The members of this committee include judges from across the State. 

Senator Mae Beavers was then REMOVED from the Senate Judiciary Committee by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:

Mike Faulk received a judicial appointment by Gov. Haslam who is seen here chumming with Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade:

If I haven’t made you cringe yet….let me add this bit of history:

Historian William Meinecke, Jr. wrote:

Nazis gained power by co-opting the justice system through its courts and lawyers. They knew they were dependent on the lawyers operating in the system and wanted to bend them to their way of thinking.

They worked at getting sympathetic leadership in the organized bar; initiated a loyalty oath to Hitler as part of the admission to practice; developed incentives to gain cooperation and heavy handed and brutal disincentives for those who opposed the system.

Do YOU believe that the this new opinion is intended to ‘SILENCE’ attorneys who would speak out about judicial corruption, abuse of power, and constitutional abuse in the courtroom?  Do NOT be blinded.  The trickledown effect of this opinion will certainly further insulate the Judicial Branch of our Tennessee Government. 

What are you going to do?

 

DO THIS:

 

  1. 1.  Here are the links to the Senate and House Judiciary committees:

a.  http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Senate/committees/judiciary.html

b. http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/committees/civil-justice.html

c.   Forward this with your support.

d. Contact the Legislature and let them know that you have had enough.

e.   Remove the control over the licensure of attorneys from the Judicial Branch and place it in the Executive Branch (just like doctors, plumbers, psychologists, and any other profession which requires a license)

 

2.  REMOVE the members of the Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court

a.  Tenn. Const. Art VI allows the General Assembly to “remove” judges giving them ten days notice to appear in a joint session and a 2/3 vote.  No impeachment proceeding is required.

b. Solicit the General Assembly to REMOVE these judges

 

3.  VOTE – On August 7, 2014 all members of the Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals and Tenn. Supreme Court will be on the ballot to “Retain” or “Replace”.   VOTE REPLACE and spread the word.  55% replace will remove them from office.

 

4.  VOTE NO on the constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November 2014 to change the constitution and allow the “life-time” appointment of judges in Tennessee.

Yours Truly,

Connie Reguli

Attorney at Law