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Hooker Wants to Address Judicial Evaluation Committee

Letter from John Jay Hooker to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission; December 3, 2013:

David Haines, Esq.
General Counsel Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission
E-mail: DHaines@tncourts.gov,
David.haines@tncourts,com

Dear Mr Haines:

I am writing to request that you advise all the members of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission that as a litigant in the case of, In Re: John Jay Hooker, before the Supreme Court, I would like to have an opportunity to personally appear before the Commission on Friday December 6th or anytime thereafter before the Commission makes its final evaluation at a time convenient to the Commission here or at any other location, regarding whether or not the Supreme Court Judges should be Retention-Elected. Respectfully, I believe that I and other citizens who have grievances towards various judges, for various reasons, have a constitutional right to be heard under Article I §1, Article I §23, Article XI §16, (see addendum,) to reform the Government

In my opinion the members of the Supreme Court should not be Retention-Elected as a consequence of the decision in the aforesaid case. Based on my personal knowledge under my attorney’s oath I want to inform the commission that the five members of the Supreme Court, in my case, in accordance with the Commission’s evaluation criteria, set out in Supreme Court Rule 27 §3.01 showed a lack of integrity, were guilty of impropriety, personal bias, and did not decide the case based on the law and the facts. They were not impartial and they did not comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct, regarding a Judge’s duty to recuse if an objective person would question the impartiality of the Judge, Supreme Court Rule 10-Rule 2.11(a), Disqualification.

The objection that I have regarding all five members of the Supreme Court, who declined to “disqualify” themselves in the, In Re: Hooker, case is based on the fact that the members of the Court had an “interest” in the subject matter of a Motion in that case. Nonetheless, the members of the Court declined to “disqualify” themselves under Article VI §11 and therefore acted without jurisdiction. While they denied my Motion to disqualify for their own benefit, in In Re: Hooker, claiming that a litigant cannot challenge the manner by which Judges are elected, however the Court reversed itself on that issue in the case of John Jay Hooker vs. Governor Haslam pending before the Special Supreme Court.

Under our Constitution, every litigant is entitled to “Due Process of Law” and this litigant was deprived of “Due Process of Law,” because the Members of the Court were manifestly “prejudiced” against this lawyer because of my long efforts in the Courts, before the Legislature and in public forums, sometimes, reported in various newspapers, to get the Retention-Election Statute declared “unconstitutional.”

I sought relief in the public interest on behalf of the qualified voters of the State or district, because the Retention-Election Statute provides for the “appointment” of Judges by the Governor when the Constitution specifically provides that “Judges shall be elected by the qualified voters.”

May I suggest that the file in the, In Re: Hooker case should be procured by the Commission. The file will reveal the totality of my claims. My claim includes the fact that the Court put down an order prohibiting me from filing any further papers in that case, which order is still effective as of this day and therefore I request the Commission to ask the Clerk of the Appellate Court, Mr. Michael Catalano to have the file made available to the Commission. The order depriving this litigant of the right to file papers in that case was and is blatantly unconstitutional. Furthermore, that Order was put down for the benefit of the Members of the Court, and for the purpose of harming this lawyer. Consequently, that Order deprived this litigant of my constitutional right to access to an open court, (see attached letter from the Clerk).

That action violated the Official Misconduct statute, for which technically the Judges were subject to criminal liability. Simply put the members of the Supreme Court, who decided my case, were guilty of an abuse of power for their own benefit, in an effort to deprive this lawyer of my Constitutional right to request said Judges to disqualify themselves. The fact is these Judges declined to do so because they were prejudiced against me for my efforts to remove them office. Furthermore, these self serving Judges declined to do so in order to keep this lawyer from challenging the constitutionality of the Act under which they were appointed.

However, subsequently the members of the Court in the case of John Jay Hooker vs. Governor Haslam, did recuse themselves on the basis that the had an interest in the subject matter of the case, which interest was the same interest, the Judges had when they declined to disqualify themselves in the disciplinary case. The result was, they suspended this lawyer’s law license in, In Re: Hooker, when under the decision in the Hooker vs. Haslam case, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to do so. That conduct proves said Judges should not be Retention elected, and should be put in situation where they have to answer in public, in a contested election.

The reason I ask the Commission to procure the file, In Re: Hooker, is that I have received the attached letter this week, from the Clerk, which reflects that the members of the Court have again violated my constitutional rights to file a motion in that case, in an effort for this lawyer to bring the file to this Commission. Judges have no right to prohibit any litigant to file papers in an effort to support the Constitution.

Thank you sir, in advance, for requesting the Commission to give me an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the constitutional rights of those who desire to seek redress of grievances under Article I §23. I would like do so on Friday December 6th if possible, or in the alternative thereafter at the convenience of the Commission at any location of the Commission’s choice.

So that I can comply with the form usually employed by the evaluation process, please send me a copy of the survey form that others who have responded to inquiries by the Commission have received. Incidentally, notwithstanding the fact that I had the aforesaid case before the Supreme Court, I did not receive any inquiry from the commission to which I could have responded setting out my complaint.

Permit me to say with great sincerity, under my attorney’s oath that I have a firm belief that the all the members of the regular Supreme Court are “not fit” to be retention elected because they abused their power for their own benefit and to harm a lawyer that they are prejudiced against for challenging their jurisdiction and the manner by which they were appointed and subsequently retention-elected.

Thanks for your assistance:

John Jay Hooker

cc: Distributed to the Press and to the Regular Members of the Supreme Court

Addendum

ARTICLE I.
Declaration of Rights

Section 1. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

Section 23. That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address of remonstrance.

ARTICLE VI

Section 11. No judge of the Supreme or Inferior Courts shall preside on the trial of any cause in the event of which he may be interested, or where either of the parties shall be connected with him by affinity of consanguinity, within such degrees as may be prescribed by law, or in which he may have been of counsel, or in which he may have presided in any Inferior Court, except by consent of all the parties. In case all or any of the judges of the Supreme Court shall thus be disqualified from presiding on the trial of any cause or causes, the court or the judges thereof, shall certify the same to the governor of the state, and he shall forthwith specially commission the requisite number of men, of law knowledge, for the trial and determination thereof. The Legislature may by general laws make provision that special judges may be appointed, to hold any courts the judge of which shall be unable or fail to attend or sit; or to hear any cause in which the judge may be incompetent.

ARTICLE XI

Section 16. The declaration of rights hereto prefixed is declared to be a part of the Constitution of the state, and shall never be violated on any pretense whatever. And to guard against transgression of the high powers we have delegated, we declare that everything in the bill of rights contained, is excepted
out of the general powers of the government, and shall forever remain inviolate.

TN Supreme Court Rules

Rule 27 Section 3. Evaluation Criteria

3.01. Appellate judges shall be evaluated based on the following specific criteria:

(A) Integrity. In addition to other appropriate performance measures, the Commission shall consider:

(1) avoidance of impropriety and appearance of impropriety;

(2) freedom from personal bias;

(3) ability to decide issues based on the law and the facts without regard to the identity of the parties or counsel, or the popularity of the decision and without concern for or fear of criticism;

(4) impartiality of actions; and

(5) compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct contained in Tenn. S. Ct. R. 10.

Supreme Court Rule 10-Rule 2.11(a) Disqualification A Judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the Judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned…

Categories
Press Releases

Sullivan Co. Prosecutor Appointed to Judicial Evaluation Commission

Press release from the Office of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; November 29, 2012:

(November 29, 2012, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Robert H. Montgomery, Jr. to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

“The importance of a quality judiciary in a free republic cannot be overemphasized,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Without high quality judges who interpret the law and do not legislate from the bench, the legislature cannot provide the conservative government Tennessee voters want. Rob was an outstanding assistant district attorney for Sullivan County and is an excellent jurist. I am grateful that he has agreed to bring his talents and skills to bear on this commission. I look forward to his contribution and his insight.”

A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee College of Law, Montgomery spent nearly twenty years as a Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney. During that time, he was also the Sullivan County Highway Safety Prosecutor for eight years. In 2005, Montgomery received the President’s Award from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference for service to his profession and community. He currently serves as Criminal Court Judge for the Second Judicial District.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviews the performance of appellate judges using surveys, interviews and other information, as required by law. The Commission uses these evaluations to publish a report in which the Commission recommends appellate judges for retention or replacement. Of the nine members of the Commission, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, two are appointed by the Speaker of the House and five are appointed by the Judicial Council.

Among the qualities the commission looks for in the judges are integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, an ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel.

Categories
Press Releases

Former State Rep. Appointed to Judicial Evaluation Commission

Press release from the Office of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; July 18, 2012:  

NASHVILLE – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of former State Representative Chris Clem to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

“Chris has spent a career both in and out of the legislature highly engaged in judicial issues. I can think of no one more qualified to evaluate the judiciary than my friend, Chris,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “This state needs high quality judges who interpret the law and do not legislate from the bench. With his experience, insight and integrity, I am confident Chris Clem will work hard to ensure Tennessee has a judicial branch of which it can be proud. I’m extremely pleased he has once again answered the call to serve.”

A fifth generation Tennessean, Clem was a leading conservative Republican in the Tennessee Legislature from 2000 to 2006 representing House District 27. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Clem has represented clients in complex litigation and personal injury claims for almost twenty years.

Clem is currently an attorney at Samples, Jennings, Ray & Clem, PLLC and is a certified public accountant. He lives in Chattanooga with his wife, Liz. They have two children, a son and a daughter.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviews the performance of appellate judges using surveys, interviews and other information, as required by law. The Commission uses these evaluations to publish a report in which the Commission recommends appellate judges for retention or replacement. Of the nine members of the Commission, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, two are appointed by the Speaker of the House and five are appointed by the Judicial Council.

Among the qualities the commission looks for in the judges are integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, an ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel.

Categories
Liberty and Justice News

Beavers Considers ‘Starting From Scratch’ on Court of Judiciary

In one of her strongest statements to date, Sen. Mae Beavers raised the specter Tuesday of doing away with the board that polices judges.

The Court of the Judiciary has been the subject of intense legislative attention this fall as Beavers has sought to revamp the make-up and operations of the body. Critics of the Court have said the system is one of judges protecting judges, and that reform is needed.

“I’m very much considering starting from scratch because there’s so much resistance from the Court of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court, to make even minor changes,” Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, said after a meeting of a House and Senate joint subcommittee.

Beavers has been a vocal critic of the COJ and as Senate Judiciary chairwoman led an examination of the court’s practices in September. She walked away saying the Court should be more transparent, require judges to disclose conflicts of interest, make disciplinary actions against judges public and add more laypeople to the panel.

Democrats generally agree that steps need to be taken by the judiciary to show the public and the Legislature they’re taking complaints about judges seriously, said the House minority party’s caucus chairman, Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory.

“Ninety-five percent of the judges out there are great public servants, but they’ve got a few bad apples that for some reason the judiciary seem to be protecting,” Turner told TNReport. “I think (if) they don’t do something the next couple months to demonstrate they want to get rid of real bad judges, then I think (the Court of the Judiciary is) gone.”

Presiding Judge Chris Craft, who heads up the Court of the Judiciary, says judges support renaming the committee, adjusting who appoints members to the court and other changes.

“We’re trying to make the Legislature happy and allay their concerns while at the same time making sure that the right people get appointed to the court,” said Craft. “We have 16 judges and attorneys and laypeople who really care about having a good judiciary, and we don’t want it to become political. We don’t want it to be some base on which you have other agendas.”

Legislators are also considering plans that would essentially eliminate the need for the Judicial Nominating Commission, which recommends judges for the governor to appoint.

Some lawmakers contend the state’s current process for selecting judges, dubbed the “Tennessee Plan,” violates the state Constitution by not requiring a vote of the people. Several lawmakers want voters to directly elect judges or switch to a plan that mirrors the federal selection process, in which the president nominates and the Senate confirms.

In a sign of displeasure, the subcommittee issued a “neutral” recommendation on whether the the Court of the Judiciary should be funded next year. The subcommittee decided not to weigh in on the Judicial Nominating Commission and a separate panel called the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, forwarding those issues back to the full Government Operations Committee by default. The full committee will now decide.

The decisions send a clear message, said one lawmaker.

“That’s as close as being shot in the head by the Legislature as you can be shot in the head by the Legislature. So they’re not out of the hot seat yet,” said Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport.