By Jim Pepper, Contributor to US Daily Review
Our court system in this country is a hodgepodge of courts; Municipal Courts, County Courts, CountyDistrict Courts, State Courts, State Appeals Courts, State Supreme Court, and so on.
Most of these courts are appointed positions with a few being elected. They tend to operate by their own set of rules, not necessarily the rule of law. They make interpretations of laws where there is no interpretation necessary. They sometimes ignore common sense to put their own feelings forward in their decisions.
I have learned that it is common practice, at least here inMissouri, that speeding tickets, for example, are reduced to non-moving violations with a higher line. While this may benefit the jurisdiction as far as money goes, it does not do one thing to reduce the number of habitual speeders that could be taken off the road by the assessment of points on their license, nor the cost of insurance as a result of points. Something else that has been observed is the reduction of DUI and DWI citations to non-moving violations (especially if you happen to be “connected”).
All of these judges and attorneys that are involved in our judicial system are members of their respective bar associations. At times it seems as though this is turned into a good old boys club where they each protect the other’s rear.
What is a judge? I was brought up to believe that he/she is “a public officer authorized to hear evidence or legal arguments in a case in order to pass judgment and decide cases in a court of law; a magistrate charged with the administration of justice”. They are supposed to perform these duties impartially and in open court, but too many times the interject their own personal opinion and ignore the law AS WRITTEN.
Now don’t get me wrong, not all courts fall within the arena of suspicion, but in my opinion, they are very few and far between. Just look at the absurdities coming out of the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit in California. How out of step are they?
With all of these Courts, where is the accountability of their actions to the citizens? Very rarely do you hear of a judge being removed from the bench. More often than not, they are entrenched for life. How many times have you read about judges turning loose child molesters, thieves and murderers only to have them commit another crime.
When going to the voting booth, how many times have you seen the question “Shall “so and so” be retained?” How could I honestly vote ‘yes’ when there is no means of assessing their performance?
As was done in 2010 with our Congress and with many state legislators, maybe it is about time to do some minor overhauling and make our judges accountable for their performance.
What was designed to be a fair system for all, with certain constitutional rights for the citizen and restraint for the judges has turned into an Imperial Judiciary.
Jim Pepper is a former Mayor and City Councilman in St. Louis County, MO. Jim is currently a Councilman in O’Fallon, MO, a city of approx. 80,000. Jim also spent 35 years in the corporate world of Xerox.