The "Mental Health" Card: Judicial Extortion
By Kyeann on June 9, 2009 8:38 AM
I guess few people have the opportunity to witness judicial corruption up close, so I'll look at what my mother and I endured at the hands of Judge Robert Deschamps yesterday as a unique opportunity to understand the abuse of power.
We knew that questioning witnesses under oath would open the door to testimony surrounding participation in the harassment/criminal conspiracy we have endured. We didn't realize just how important it was that the facts not come out in open court. Apparently, the testimony and facts would have been much more damning than anyone could have imagined, because the judge assured that we would not be able to present a case.
Something is obviously fishy when any of the following happen -- not to mention all. A judge has allowed Jeffrey Doud, the counsel who was caught lying, withholding documents, and taking action without his client's informed consent, to withdraw without notice or providing the opportunity to find alternate counsel. Subsequently the judge does not allow the defendant to in any way remedy the lawyer's misconduct. The judge does not allow a defendant to name an expert witness. He allows opposing counsel Tim Geiszler to have another unrecognized attorney file motions (because doing so himself would have disallowed the attorney of record any claims of deniability about Steve Loken's fabricated bills and documents) even though doing so is clearly a violation of procedure. In general, he flat out, just fragrantly ignores procedure because doing so is favorable to the plaintiff. He allows the trial to move forward when there has been no pretrial order filed. Really, he observes procedure completely arbitrarily. Procedure that is Montana Code -- the Code that we are all meant to observe because it is the law that governs us all.
(We tried to find another attorney but many were reluctant to take it on because of the way the corrupt attorney and the judge had stacked the case. Of course, we also had to worry about whether a new attorney would truly act in my mother's interest.)
So, of course, it would be important for the judge to create a reality in which none of the witness tampering or attorney collusion could possibly be true. Rather than at all exploring at any stage in an impartial manner whether actual illegality was occurring (as was his duty under the law), yesterday his honor finally used her claims about illegal activity as evidence of my mother's mental insufficiency. He planted that charge apropos of nothing last week when it was clear that his biased rulings and discriminatory behavior hadn't bullied her into settling -- apparently "insufficiency" was the ace in the hole. He used the fact that we were charging that he was actually colluding as evidence that my mother needed to see a psychiatrist the next morning before the trial could start.
The judge used Mom's suffering a panic attack as a pretext. We were in judge's chambers just before proceedings were meant to start. She had brought to his attention a number of matters that he had ignored or not ruled on (he had a habit of completely ignoring my mother's claims/arguments). He made it clear that he was not going to consider my mother's very valid arguments about the validity of the lien against her property (arguments that her previous attorney should have made but didn't, because having the lien thrown out would have destroyed Steve Loken's leverage). Mom had been relying on the idea all along that I was going to help her try the case. After the judge said last week that I couldn't speak in court because I was not a party to the case, we then took action that we thought made me a party to the case by the judge's definition. Ignoring the fact that he was throwing his own logic out the window, he said that I could not speak. I had planned to perform voir dire and the opening statement. Public speaking is not one of my mother's many gifts. Suddenly, in the next few minutes, this exhausted and stressed senior citizen who had tried in vain to find legitimate representation and was relying on the assistance of her daughter as she represented herself was going to have to undertake a task that she was not at all prepared for and it was so clear in that moment that the judge was going to be even more flagrantly biased than we could have ever imagined.
The weight of two years of unrelenting harassment, combined with realizing fully that she was at the mercy of such a biased and corrupt system, made her collapse. I could have easily moved forward. The judge for a moment agreed (off the record of course) that I could do so if Mom wasn't able to in the afternoon. The other side unofficially nixed that idea, and then opposing counsel and the judge discussed the idea of an incompetency hearing for my mother -- off the record. Judge Deschamps mentioned the idea to me off the record, but then told me he couldn't discuss it with me. I was obviously upset, and admonished him for his impartiality. (The court belongs to the people -- this man was elected.)
What would have been the harm in allowing me to try the case as my mother's pro se agent? I would have been effective. Last September as I became involved in the case, my mother's colluding attorneys tried to exclude me from meetings and phone calls because of their supposed grave concern about attorney-client privilege. When they held a deposition in May of '08, they instructed my mother that she must come alone (a review of that deposition shows that it really never should have taken place, and the attorneys should have objected multiple times). When we pressed on the validity of my involvement, they suggested that I could be involved if we declared my mother incompetent. That was their solution! Unbelievable! Having her declared incompetent has clearly been a goal.
So, when we appeared in court again in the afternoon, I could have voir dired the jury that the taxpayers paid to assemble for the case. Mom was too exhausted, but could have done so on Wednesday. The judge said that we could choose the jury, and that he had scheduled an evaluation with a psychiatrist for the next morning. We're not sure that this is proper procedure -- steps must be made for an incompetency hearing. But we didn't have the opportunity to research the law, and when a corrupt judge has chosen a psychiatrist, you know that it's not one that you want to see.
My mother was forced to settle. She settled so that she would not have to submit herself to the power/definitions of a corrupt judge's hand-picked psychiatrist. Many had been working so hard for so long to frame us as paranoid or incompetent to cover up their misdeeds, we knew that this had been part of many end game strategies. Mom had no choice but to capitulate. It essentially amounted to a sort of judicial extortion from the bench: "End this case, or we will use legal and psychiatric discourses to define your existence." They had to know that this would end it.
This is the type of Kangaroo Court that I've only associated with novels about lawless lands. The fact that all of this took place in the United States yesterday is completely baffling to me. This is not a justice system.
I feel compelled to write about my mother's mental state. She read about the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome a few years ago and asked my brother and I if we thought they sounded like her. We absolutely did, and so she saw someone who evaluated her. No official "diagnosis" was given because it's a newly discovered affliction -- it's not a mental deficiency, but a "different" set of mental capacities. It's thought that Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson perhaps had it. Mom's "deficiency" is that she doesn't read facial cues and so can't tell when people are deceiving her like many of us can. She also processes questions differently -- not always answering the exact questions she's asked. She has a very difficult time defending herself verbally. She gets lost easily, and has a tendency say things that are inappropriate to social context. These are all attributable to Aspergers, but also afflict many people who are "normal." That is the extent of this woman's "affliction." She manages money expertly (she has an accounting degree), has a knowledge of history that surpasses anyone I know (she used to teach it), is an amazing writer, and is the kindest, strongest and most loyal person I have ever known. She has a law degree but has never practiced and never had any intention of being a trial lawyer -- her interest is in Constitutional law. (Saying that she should therefore be an expert in Montana Construction Law is like saying that a gym teacher should automatically be qualified to teach calculus.)
Her only profound fault is not reading people who are taking advantage of her, and being willing to take very bad advice from people whom she has paid to look out for her interests. When she realizes that she has been taken advantage of, she defends herself to the best of her ability. She is 62 and exhausted from dealing with nonstop harassment. She has survived this ordeal better than most people could have. She should be commended rather than derided.
My mother has also suffered from mercury and carbon monoxide poisoning in the last six months (as well as high arsenic and lead levels). Strangely, in a effort to impugn her, opposing counsel chose to question these facts in open court. This was a continuation of the effort to make her look "crazy." I can only assume that the facts of her poisoning and the tampering with her car that occurred just before one of the pretrial conferences was scheduled are quite damning to the plaintiff. Why question something that is so easily provable? Why try to make it seem like the mere stating of these facts about one's health history (at the judge's prompting) is evidence of incompetence?
This tidbit about Montana's system of judicial oversight shouldn't surprise anyone:
Today, the nation's first comprehensive study of the systems that hold state and federal judges accountable ranked Montana 42nd in the nation and issued the state's program a D+ grade. To shine a light on the typically secretive and toothless systems that often fail to remove abusive and incompetent judges from the bench, legal consumer watchdog group HALT, Inc. released its 2008 Judicial Accountability Report Card, analyzing programs in all 50 states, D.C. and the federal circuits.
"Montana's system of judicial oversight is one of the most secretive in the nation," stated HALT Senior Counsel Suzanne M. Blonder, noting that Montana rules allow some dysfunctional judges to be sanctioned with private reprimands, and in these circumstances the public never learns of the judge's history of misconduct.
We did make an effort to have the judge removed from the case and have no idea how the Supreme Court responded -- apparently it's a secret. Unfortunately for us, the Supreme Court contains the former Attorney General who likely rubber stamped much of what has been allowed to happen to us. On the one hand, I know that there are special circumstances contributing to the overwhelming discrimination and corruption we've encountered. On the other hand, if people like us can't get justice, who can?
The fact that my mother was representing herself was framed as evidence of some sort of fault of hers, when in reality she was doing an excellent job with the skills she had. Few people would have made it as far as we did. That it took the threat of psychiatric intervention to compel retreat shows really how skilled she was, and how damning the trial would have been for the plaintiff and his associates.
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