** Texas Courts As Unprincipled Moneychangers
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California July 22, 2002For a beautiful navy blue T-shirt with "J.A.I.L." on the back and www.jail4judges.org large and visible over the pocket, imprinted in a bright yellow-gold lettering, send your check payable to J.A.I.L. for $11.95 plus $4 S&H. (Discounts on volume quantities.) Wear them to your next courthouse function and watch the reaction.Texas Courts As Unprincipled Moneychangersby Ray E. Dittmar, Texas JAILer, raydit@...The refusal of all Texas courts to rule on the constitutionality of the 1997 Texas Lien Release Act in the Bowles case is beyond forgiveness. It portrays Texas courts as unprincipled moneychangers in the halls of justice. Heads should roll!Certainly an independent citizen review board with power to demand accountability is called for.--Ray E. Dittmar
Ray E. Dittmar aka TX Court Watchers 2331 Droxford St. Houston, Texas 77008
713-862-8184 or raydit@...
July 20, 2002
EXPRESSING OUTRAGE THAT FOREIGN TERRORIST
GROUPS HAVE GREATER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
THAN CITIZENS OF TEXAS
Credit the JAIL4judges organization’s 7-18 newsletter for calling attention to a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert M. Takasugi in California to declare a 1996 anti-terrorist law "unconstitutional on its face" because it fails to give the various listed overseas "terrorist groups" notice and the right to challenge their terrorist designation. The 1996 law authorized the State Department to designate groups as "terrorist". The ruling went against the Justice Department attempting to prosecute persons in the U.S. giving "material support" to such groups. A federal official said the 1996 law can be fixed simply by having some sort of notice and hearing procedure
Here in Texas in 1997 the State Legislature enacted a law in which precisely the same constitutional issue has been brought before both state and federal courts. The law is the 1997 Texas Lien Release Law (often called the Republic of Texas Lien Law) which was aimed at persons who were filing bogus, fraudulent liens against public officials in the state. That law authorizes a state civil district court judge, upon submission of a purported false lien by a lienee, to declare the lien fraudulent without notice to the lien holder and without allowing the lien holder the right to challenge the judge’s declaration. The civil court ruling is then available to a district attorney as grounds for a criminal action against the lien holder if the holder refuses to release the lien. The unappealble ex-parte civil court ruling becomes the basis for a double presumption in the criminal court that (a) the lien is fraudulent and (b) that the lien was filed with intent to harm or defraud the person whose property is subject to the lien. This, of course, is a law that is "unconstitutional on its face" just as is the law Judge Takasugi ruled on.Houston businessman Harry L. Bowles was convicted in October 1999 under the 1997 Texas Lien Release Law. His is the only time the law has been prosecuted against anyone. The lien he filed was to protect a claim on property he owned in Harris County that was the subject of a civil suit. One need have no knowledge of the underlying particulars to understand that the trial court should have dismissed the case when the constitutional issue of "no notice" and "no hearing" was raised, which it was. That did not happen in Bowles’ case. The issue has now been brought before every tribunal in the state, the trial court, the 14th Court of Appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. Each and every court has refused to rule on the issue and Bowles apparently will be subjected to false imprisonment unless an appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court is permitted and a stay is granted for that reason.
The tragedy of this is that District Attorney John Holmes was informed before Bowles' indictment that Bowles had never filed a fraudulent lien against the property of any state official. Holmes was told Bowles was never a member of the Republic of Texas organization. He was shown a letter from the Texas senator who was the chief sponsor of the legislation, saying the law was intended only to offer an expedited method of removing liens having no basis for the claims made; Bowles gave him detailed information to prove basis, but Holmes refused to consider the circumstances. Thus Holmes, agent for the State of Texas, has forced Bowles to deliver some $50,000 into the coffers of the Texas legal establishment to unsuccessfully defend against ex parte justice in the courts.
One may hate everything Harry L. Bowles stands for. One may believe the members of the Republic of Texas organization are subversive and a threat to our governmental system. However, these are not considerations here. The Legislature unanimously enacted a law that disregards elementary and fundamental constitutional due process of law. All courts in the state have refused to review it for its conformance with constitutional requirements. The Legislature and the Judiciary have thereby melded themselves into a single, incompetent self-serving unit. Under that condition, tri-partite government no longer exists in Texas.
I have railed about the State’s prosecution of Bowles under a facially unconstitutional law for years, before and after the trial and conviction. The courts have ignored me. They have acted in dereliction of their duty to rule on the primary issues of constitutional due process. This exemplifies the swiftness with which the line between a constitutional republic and a fascist government can be obliterated. This is very disturbing,
Now, finally, U.S. District Judge Robert M. Takasugi has shown that at least there is one judge in America willing to express the obvious and declare that the Emperor has no clothes. His like is evidently not to be found in Texas.
The refusal of all Texas courts to rule on the constitutionality of the 1997 Texas Lien Release Act in the Bowles case is beyond forgiveness. It portrays Texas courts as unprincipled moneychangers in the halls of justice. Heads should roll! Popular election of judges certainly has its advantages when these public servants refuse to honor the responsibilities attending their office. Non-lawyer judges could do better.
Certainly an independent citizen review board with power to demand accountability is called for.Ray E. DittmarTexas JAILer
Our thanks to Ray for this article. Yes, "an independent citizen review board with power to demand (judicial) accountability is called for" not only in Texas, but all across this country!
It's called J.A.I.L.
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