The war against freedom and liberty has already begun and the battlefield is littered with innocent victims. The Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, that inconvenient piece of paper upon which it was written, has been used for kindling to consume the Tree of Liberty. That is the state of justice in America today. I have never supported the motives and purpose of the leftist ACLU when they attacked the laws in our country but it goes without saying that we have devolved into something our Founding Fathers never considered. Or maybe they did, they talked a lot about tyranny.
Today, every law enforcement agency, from the local police and Sheriffs to State and County Police to the FBI under the direction of the Dept. of Justice has adopted the same rule regarding the use of deadly force: it is allowed whenever an officer feels threatened. Far too many stories have been reported about the exaggerated excess this rule has produced. While we have civilians like George Zimmerman using a legal concealed weapon in self-defense against a trained martial arts attacker to save his own life and subsequently brought to trial for homicide for his actions, we then have Sheriff's Deputies killing a 13-year boy for failing to drop a pellet rifle and they were justified because they felt threatened - all within the span of 10 seconds. That case is not much different than the six Cincinnati cops who had surrounded a mentally challenged man holding a brick and shot him multiple times because he also failed to "drop his weapon" when ordered and they "felt threatened". They were "following procedures", said the Police Chief. Or in Cleveland, Ohio when an incredible 137 bullets were fired during a 23-minute chase that involved five dozen cruisers that wove through residential neighborhoods before ending in gunfire. The driver Timothy Russell, 43, was shot 23 times and passenger Malissa Williams, 30, was shot 24 times. No gun or shell casings were found in their car. But at least in this case 63 patrol officers were suspended and the 13 officers who fired their weapons face a Grand Jury investigation.
But what about the number of times that cops have shot and killed little dogs who did nothing but bark at them which caused them to "feel threatened"? A retired Deputy Sheriff in Ohio riding a bicycle shot a small dog that ran up and barked at him with his .357 magnum handgun. Even when the dogs were running away from the cops, as in Prince George's County, Maryland when a SWAT team invaded the home of the mayor on a mistaken drug sting and used the family dogs for target practice, they, too, were justified because they "felt threatened". Have these atrocities been allowed to make people fear life in a Police State?
Now we have the following story from Texas. And considering the politics in this state, it is hard to believe it happened there because if it could it will happen everywhere.
Oh, the hilarity that is the phrase "criminal justice system." Talk to any defense attorney and they'll tell you how the deck is stacked against defendants and defense lawyers. The ideal of "innocent until proven guilty" has become little more than a disclaimer tacked onto cop-centered reality shows. Defendants are guilty until the jury is somehow tricked by the defense into handing down a "not guilty" verdict. A lot of effort goes towards dissuading defendants from even making it this far, as prosecutors will present worst-case scenarios comprised of every violation conceivable in order to get an agreement to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
The prevailing perception that the person charged is guilty, with the only answer yet to be determined is how guilty, makes defending arrestees an uphill battle. Judge (former judge) Elizabeth Coker took this uphill battle, increased the grade to 85 degrees, covered it with a sheet of ice and sprinkled it with a 50/50 blend of Teflon and motor oil.
Elizabeth E. Coker may forever be known as the "texting judge," but her notoriety will soon be all that is left of her days on the bench of the 258th District Court of Polk, Trinity, and San Jacinto Counties. Coker signed an "AGREEMENT TO RESIGN FROM JUDICIAL OFFICE IN LIEU OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION" with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct…The agreement comes in the wake of a recent investigation revealing Coker texted instructions from the bench to a Polk County Assistant District Attorney who was assisting in the prosecution of a case in Coker's court.The good news is that Coker is being stripped of all of her judicial power. Once the resignation goes through, she won't even be able to perform a wedding. The bad news is that this texting incident was only one of several alleged incidents in which Coker undermined the justice system. [Perhaps someone should have passed her, and any prosecutors dealing with her courtroom, a copy of this letter from a Texas DA warning his staff away from ex parte discussions...]
[J]udge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information about the Reeves case to the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case; to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial; to ensure that a witness was able to refresh his memory and rehabilitate his testimony by reviewing his videotaped interview with law enforcement before he took the stand for the second time the following day; and to discuss legal issues pertinent to the case. in an unsuccessful effort to assist the State obtain a guilty verdict in the case…Add to all the alleged misconduct above the apparent fact that she kept using the same questionable tactics right up to her appearance before the Commission.
[t]he Commission investigated claims that Judge Coker allegedly engaged in other improper ex parte communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County District Attorney's Office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney, and certain defense attorneys regarding various Cases pending in her court; Judge Coker allegedly exhibited a bias in favor of certain attorneys and a prejudice against others in both her judicial rulings and her court appointments: and Judge Coker allegedly met with jurors in an inappropriate manner, outside the presence of counsel, while the jurors were deliberating in one or more criminal trials…
[t]he Commission also expressed concerns that Judge Coker discussed the Commission's investigation and Judge Coker's written responses to the investigation with a material witness prior to that witness' testimony before the Commission in an apparent attempt to influence that witness, and that the judge may not have been candid and truthful in her testimony before the Commission when questioned about her contact with the witness...In addition to stripping her judicial powers, the Commission also leaves her solely responsible for bearing the cost of any litigation arising from her alleged misconduct. The Commission, however, chose not to pursue these allegations in exchange for her immediate resignation. Coker utilizes that out in her public statement.
"The Judicial Commission made no finding or determinations of fact in my voluntary resignation, and I have not admitted guilt, fault or liability in my voluntary resignation. While I could have fought these allegations, it would have involved significant time, significant expense, and disruption to everyone involved. I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself" Coker stated.Yeah, that sounds about right. Coker sacrificing herself for the good of a long list of others, including the taxpayers who paid her salary and the court system she allegedly abused from a position of power. Thanks to the commission's decision, these will forever remain allegations -- the equivalent of "getting off on a technicality." If Coker ends up in court because of her previous improprieties, I would imagine she'll have to search well outside her district for a defense lawyer.
If you have any doubts about the truth in this story click the headline link and see the actual court papers.