Judges, Integrity, and Coming Up Short… (Facebook? Really??)

Just in case you felt that judges were above the fray, this Facebook post by West Virginia Circuit Judge John Yoder says it all.  This man has a history of flagrant behavior, such as illegally forcing indigents to pay fees, and here he publicizes the plight of an angry father whose teenage son was jailed by the judge.  Judge Yoder’s caption for his photo reads, “Disappointed my free advertising is gone. This sign has appeared on Rt. 51 near Inwood for the last 6 months–a man complaining that I confined his son in a facility for breaking the law. Now it is gone. Everyone is asking me why the sign is now gone, and I do not have a clue why it has been taken down, but am disappointed I am no longer getting the free advertising.”

Yoder’s friend, Lauren Bell, replies “I didn’t know 15 year old have constitutional rights.”

As the Prison Industrial Complex doubles, triples, and quadruples in size… so do the number of judges.  This inevitably waters down the integrity of a judiciary that is supposed to be the model of moderators.  Judges who show blatant antagonism against any party have already violated their oaths.  So is Judge Yoder a tool of the prosecution?  Or do the prosecutors serve as this judge’s tools for vindictiveness against the accused?

The Judge Yoders are everywhere, and he is properly being reported to the Judicial Investigating Commission.  People around the nation should familiarize themselves with their state judicial ethics commissions, and begin the campaigns to ween out those who lack basic integrity required to sit on the Bench.

Where, one might wonder, do judges go for their guidance and role models?  The US Supreme Court is, of course, the highest court in the land.  Their own integrity has been properly called into question regarding the integrity of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas– both of whom have had extensive political involvement over their careers.

Common Cause has filed a petition with the Department of Justice, calling for an investigation regarding the activities and bias of Scalia and Thomas.  In particular, they are calling for their disqualification from the landmark Citizens United case (which granted “free speech” to corporations, especially the carte blanche to fund political activities).

Although family members of lottery workers are not allowed to buy a ticket, Judge Thomas’s wife has a political action committee.  Former Monsanto employee Thomas has ruled on Monsanto issues, while he and Scalia have very publicly been linked to Tea Party events and activities.  The list goes on.

We shall see what Attorney General Eric Holder (and his boss, Obama) have to say.  There is clearly enough information to rightly call for an investigation; a refusal to do so will raise suspicions of the Justice Department themselves.

About Bruce Reilly

Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender in New Orleans, LA. He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and author of NewJack's Guide to the Big House. Much of his writing can be found on www.Unprison.org.
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8 Responses to Judges, Integrity, and Coming Up Short… (Facebook? Really??)

  1. Do juveniles have constitutional rights? And, do the juvenile’s rights trump that of free speech?
    Of course, I agree that the judge is out of line and should be sanctioned, but what about the rights of the others to comment?


  2. advocareinc says:

    City Center East
    Suite 1200 A
    4700 MacCorkle Ave., S.E.
    Charleston, West Virginia 25304
    304-558-0831 Fax


  3. advocareinc says:

    Well, it looks like the people’s voice is sometimes heard.

    The judge’s posting on Facebook is now unavailable as is his entire page and profile.

    Too bad it takes so long and so much when some abuse their power and authority.


  4. Just because the inappropriate Facebook posts (and the Judge’s one profile) was taken down, I hope that we do not let the subject die. The innapropriate behavior and the abuse of authority displayed by judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement, and officials is becoming such commonplace that while dictators are being overthrown to make room for democracy, our democracy is being lost.


  5. Utu El says:

    Well the man has a valid point to say that his son is being held aginst his will. According to the constitution the constitution the land we no today to be America was founded as a republic, although we are in a democracy. Were are the article III courts with the article VI judge and the IV admenment warrent? . “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
    — Excerpted from the Declaration of Independence of the original thirteen United States of America, July 4, 1776 .


  6. AEB says:

    Mark Ciavarella, Former Pa. Juvenile Court Judge, Convicted in Alleged ‘Kids for Cash’ Case – ABC News



    • Annette says:

      This is so sad. It is so many cases like this that the media does not get. Cases like this is why the AdvoCare’s Family and Youth Defense Fund was created last year to help juveniles and their parents with legal issues.


  7. Pingback: Unprison 2011-2013 Index | unprison

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