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Judge threatens to find Indiana mayor in contempt

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A judge threatened to find a central Indiana mayor in contempt of court over a dispute about pipes blocking a courthouse entrance.

The county sheriff led Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight to the office of Howard County Superior Judge William Menges on Tuesday afternoon, but Goodnight was allowed to go free soon afterward once crews moved concrete pipes for a pedestrian trail project, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Goodnight said the judge didn't call him or other city officials and instead chose "to engage in political theater."

"What this boils down to is you have a judge that's on an ego trip," Goodnight said.

The Associated Press left a telephone message Wednesday seeking comment from Menges at the judge's office, but a staffer said the judge wouldn't be doing interviews.

The contempt of court order issued Tuesday by Menges said the mayor had given directions for a contractor to place the pipes so they blocked a courthouse drive and prevent county crews from spreading stone to reopen the route so "potentially dangerous inmates" could be brought to court hearings this week.

Menges wrote that Goodnight's "actions were intentional and solely for the purpose of disrupting the regular proceedings of the court."

Goodnight said he received a text message from a county commissioner Tuesday morning about clearing the drive and was told that moving the pipes that afternoon wouldn't be a problem. Goodnight said he heard nothing more until Sheriff Steve Rogers arrived at his office with orders for him to appear before the judge.

Rogers said Goodnight was never placed in handcuffs or booked into jail.

"He was told he'd be held in the jail if he didn't comply," Rogers said. "He did (comply) and he was released."

Goodnight, a Democrat, said he didn't know a reason for the reaction by Menges, a former county Republican Party chairman.

"This is the judge's attempt to embarrass me," Goodnight said. "Unfortunately, he's embarrassed himself and the people of Howard County."

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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