State House Shenanigans
Why is it the local media never bothers to report on all those State House shenanigans? We have brought them to your attention before with the attempt to pass legislation we referred to as the Solicitors Protection Act and yesterday we pointed to the shenanigans of DUI lawyer Paul Thurmond who claims to be all law and order, but doesn’t think South Carolina DUI law needs to be amended to put an end to the ridiculous shenanigans judges have engaged in to make the law all but unenforceable. Of course, there’s no conflict in the fact that Thurmond charges thousands of dollars to get clients off on the very loopholes he now says are not a problem.
Today we were alerted to another attempt by the lawyers you have elected to the State House to protect other lawyers. H 3184 is geared toward protecting politicians (state and local) and judges while chilling the ability of citizens to file complaints. We are pretty sure that is not the sort of ethics reform you were expecting from your legislators or Governor, all of whom are hoping to have H 3184 signed into law by July 1st, 2015.
You folks who accuse the cops of sticking together in their Thin Blue Line have no idea how the folks in the legal profession and in politics put the cops to shame when it comes to looking out for their own.
Before we get to the heart of the matter we will give you a look at the politicians who don’t want you filing complaints against them or the judges they appoint.
Be sure to read this article by The Nerve and note former solicitor Tommy Pope’s failure to respond to the question of whether or not this legislation would put a chill on citizens who want to file legitimate complaints about politicians and judges. His failure to respond should tell you all you need to know about the true intent of this legislation. Make sure you read through the stats for judicial complaints at the bottom of the article.
We had to laugh at a reader who commented on an article from yesterday and told us what a great guy Paul Thurmond was for teaching DUI classes to cops and for being a prosecutor who was nice to cops. The fact that Thurmond sponsored legislation to remove from public view all cases plead down or dismissed by solicitors didn’t seem to be important at all to that person. We expect to get more of those comments with regard to Tommy Pope, who prosecuted Susan Smith for drowning her kids in a lake. Ever heard that phrase, “What have you done for me lately?” Doing something right in the past does not mean you are granted permanent immunity from the stupid or downright shady stuff you do later in life.
We don’t have to tell regular Charleston Thug Life readers how judges in South Carolina are largely untouchable and are completely unaccountable to citizens. Judges in South Carolina are appointed by legislators and those appointments are routinely used to repay political debts and favors. The administration of justice doesn’t seem to be a factor. Once a judge is seated by those legislators it is extremely difficult to have him or her removed from the bench. It is all but impossible for citizens to get anything done in that regard.
We refer you to the efforts of outraged citizens to have Judge Thomas “Felon’s Friend” Hughston removed from the bench in 2013 when he was up for review by the appropriate committee. That committee voted to keep Hughston on the bench in spite of an interview he gave the P&C in which he stated his primary goal on the bench was to ensure defendants left his courtroom feeling good. We have spent the better part of three years detailing the issues with the Felon’s Friend. Those issues, as well as the complaints of citizens both written and in person, were simply ignored and the Felon’s Friend was reappointed.
Now your legal eagles in the state legislature want you to put your freedom and your bank account at risk if you ever consider filing a complaint against a judge or politician. Should you file a complaint and the same folks who determined the Felon’s Friend was still fit to be a judge decide your complaint is bullshit they want you to be incarcerated, have a criminal record and pay criminal and civil fines for filing that complaint. Oh, and once you file that complaint, you are forever forbidden from discussing it…..with anyone…..unless the committee decides otherwise, under penalty of additional jail time and fines.
Ask your elected representatives why they want to keep allegations of misconduct or ethical violations secret. Ask them why they want to put citizens in jail and take their hard earned cash. The sole reason for this type of legislation is to keep the peasants - namely you - in line. What happens when you file a complaint you believe is valid, but the committee members declare your complaint is groundless? You get sent to jail, that’s what happens.
We find it curious that false complaints against police officers are not prosecuted. False complaints of rape are rarely prosecuted. Do you know why? Because the prevailing wisdom amongst police chiefs and prosecutors is that prosecuting those false complaints will put a damper on folks coming forward to report actual instances of police misconduct. Prosecuting those who falsely claim rape is deemed harmful as it would supposedly keep actual rape victims from coming forward. Those who file obviously false complaints must be protected so others won’t feel inhibited from filing complaints. Politicians and judges are special cases, though. They are a step above you peons and your ridiculous complaints.
So, what do you think is the ultimate goal of the changes in the law outlined above? The goal is to prevent any complaints against judges.
Oh, but wait, it doesn’t stop there. Want to file a complaint on that person you sent to represent you in the State House or the person you elected as sheriff or solicitor? Yeah, you could go to jail for that, too. In another section of H 3184 the same language and criminal and civil penalties are applied to complaints about them.
That’s right, folks. The same language and threats of jail used in H 3184 to protect judges is also used to protect the politicians. Want to file an ethics complaint against a politician? You better be sure he or she is not well liked by the folks who will be sitting on that committee. If they are, and your complaint is determined to be “groundless”, guess who gets a trip to jail? Well, it certainly won’t be the politician. They rarely end up jail.
The definition of ethics reform in South Carolina is punishing those who would dare file an ethics complaint about anyone in power. H 3184 is proof of that.
Elections have consequences. This particular consequence is a bipartisan effort to stifle your right to file a complaint. Still think there is a difference in the parties?