869Return of the Polls
- Nov 2, 2004J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California November 1, 2004Return of the PollsWe realize that when we say "Return of the Polls," most of you will be thinking that we are talking about the national election, as that will be the hot-button tomorrow, November 2nd. But that is not what we are referring to.We have received the results of our J.A.I.L. Poll question to the people of South Dakota, "Have you, or anyone you know, ever been treated unfairly by the court system or any particular judge?"Before I give the South Dakota results, I would like to construct a perspective. Around the turn of the century ('2000), a poll was conducted by the California Judicial Council, the policy making body of the judiciary, which found that just over half of the people of the state are less that pleased with our state's judiciary.Of course, their thinking was that the judiciary of California was not the problem, but rather people's perception was the problem. So they proposed a program should be implemented to try to familiarize people with the inner-workings of our judicial system. We laughed over this because we knew that the more the people became familiar with the judiciary, the more their polls would show a decline in confidence in our judges. We have noticed that there seems to be no more polls conducted to evaluate people's opinion about our judiciary. The fact is, their poll has shown as good as it gets.I might point out generally that of those qualified to registered to vote, only half actually register. Of that half who do register, only about half actually turn out at the polls to voted. Therefore, by-in-large, 13% of the voters decide the election on behalf of the other 87%. Sound shocking? Well welcome to the world of reality. We suppose this is because most people have concluded that there is little to nothing to vote for as far as options are concerned.Now with that as a background, let's get into what our statistics have found. Keep in mind that this survey did not take into consideration whether one was a registered voter or not.Among the Democrats, 8.9% answered in the affirmative as to knowing someone, or having themselves been treated unfairly by the courts, while the response from Republicans was 6%, and Independents 9.8%.Rating by age, 18-24 was 4.6%, 25-34 was 6.5%, 35-54 as 9%. This tends to show that as one aged with experience, their attitude about the judicial system changed over the years to the worse. Thus, it might be concluded that youth gave the benefit of the doubt to trusting the integrity of the court system. However, as one moved out into the senior years, their attitude toward the courts stabilize at approximately 7%. This is probable due to the fact that they are no longer involved with kids, and they have forgotten some of their more unpleasant experiences that once caused them to roll sleeplessly on their pillows when they were younger. Further, fewer were driving, and thus less likely to be harassed by police.Strangely, women seemed to be slightly more dissatisfied with the courts than were men, 7.9% to 7.5%.Among the races, whites said "yes" 7.2% of the time, while blacks and Asians said "yes" 100% of the time, and natives said "yes" 27.9% of the time.Overall, among all classes, parties, ages and races throughout South Dakota, the average was 7.7% to knowing or experiencing perceived injustice in the South Dakota courts. There is an acclaimed +/- 3.5% in this scientific poll.Whatever conclusion one draws from these figures are up to the reader. What I gather from this is that judicial corruption is not a dead-letter issue in South Dakota, and that the people there are not greatly unfamiliar with the problem of bad judges.Let's keep in mind that when J.A.I.L. does go on the ballot in South Dakota, of the prospective 25% who vote, 100% of those voters will either vote J.A.I.L. up or down. Thus, while maybe they do not know of anyone who has experienced injustice in the courts, they will be called upon to vote on the issue of whether they want judges to be accountable.On the plus side, perhaps more people who either are not registered to vote, or who do not vote may be motivated to go to the polls and vote on this issue because it steams up their spirit to vote for something that actually means something. Thus, we can likely count on new registerees to vote affirmatively for J.A.I.L., and that a greater turnout of voters will profit it passage.On the negative side, the people of South Dakota will be barraged with unending propaganda that if J.A.I.L. passes, a large earthquake will open up under the state of South Dakota, and the entire state will fall into the center of the earth along with the sky. Schools and libraries will close, police and fire departments will have to cut back or be closed down, and the boogieman will come to haunt them at night.Hopefully, we will experience a kick-back of disgust at all those ads that will attempt to place lipstick and pretty bows on pigs in seeking to justify the lawyers and judges, and make them look good.Our key punch will be at driving home our point that judges are not above the law. "Judicial Accountability Initiative Law: Because judges are not above the law." Of course, our opposition is not going to want to debate us on that point, but try to emphasize that judges are already accountable. In any case, J.A.I.L. on the ballot will place our opposition on the defensive, and that is a bad position from which to argue.Bill Stegmeier, rmsroll@..., has expressed his encouragement at this poll result, as it has surpassed his expectation. There is one more positive result that may be reasonable anticipated. Not only will this debate issue rebound throughout South Dakota, but throughout the nation as all kinds of authorities enter the fray over the potential passage of J.A.I.L. Governments at all levels, both state and federal, will stand stiff with eye-brows raised at the very thought that this just might pass.-Ron Branson
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