Category Archives: Law & Justice

OPINION: A New York Minute

I’ve always been a fan of the Eagles, starting back when Hotel California was first released. So right now, while kicking back and listening to the Eagles “New York Minute”  I’m reflecting upon just how quickly things can change – for good or bad.

I’ve had my share of those New York minutes – and some of them went on for hours,months, even years – a series of events which kept my life moving in out between  states of limbo and/or flux.

The most recent being the issue of my former landlord. Imagine, living someplace for ten years, but because the 83 year old matriarch did not appreciate my not falling in line and knowing my place, she (Rose Collins), lashed out at me in a voicemail, and was offended because I told her that her actions were ones which discriminated against me. She and her son did not appreciate my son having the audacity to complain about not having air conditioning in the summer. Nor did she care for my raising the issue as to repairs. It was as if she thought: ‘how dare you express your need for decent housing!’  And for that, she decided, that we had to move. We, however did not learn of that decision until months later, when they breached an agreement – (after accepting money for months based upon that agreement), and demanded that we move.  The New York minute was her voicemail and the notice to move was another.

So listening to the song, my reflections led to not only agreement with the song, but also the epiphany as to how quickly things can turn and change. The entire process was  a series of New York minutes.

There were other New York minutes, in my life: the death of my youngest son, the suicide of one of my siblings, the death of my father, the death of my mother, and so many other events which would qualify as New York minutes. And,  ALWAYS getting evicted in Tucson, Arizona is among them, because this most recent time, was not the first time. The false foundation upon which I thought I stood was ripped away, as were my rights. I decided that I was NOT going to let it go. Not this time.

Housing, a roof over your head, is supposed to be your sanctuary as long as you pay your rent. So when those other events happened, I did at least have a place to grieve. When that gets ripped away illegally, it certainly qualifies as a New York minute shift, especially if you are a senior citizen, coming out of nowhere, like a death, and changing your world based upon the simple whims of racist landlords and judges. It took a year of my life and continuing. I owed them no rent, yet they obtained a judgment because the pro-tem refused to adhere to the provisions of the law, so once again, my credit is screwed.

In a New York minute,everything can change, things are getting pretty strange.”

When the ones you love are no longer around to provide shoulders upon which to cry, or provide laughter, it is a new and unfamiliar world, and a difficult one at that. One realizes just how much those individuals filled your life.

Take care of your own, ’cause one day they’re here , the next day they’re gone

  “If you find somebody love in this world, you better hold on tooth and nail.”

  “What the head makes cloudy, the heart makes very clear”

The song ends with hope, as does this blog

                     “I know that somebody somewhere can make these dark clouds disappear, I have to believe, that,

                     in a New York minute, everything can change…”

My prayer and hope is, to soon see a good change in my life, in a New York minute. Equal justice,fairness, peace, are those changes I seek and soon hope to see.

https://dotsub.com/view/284ee66b-9fa6-4200-8644-5fb2ddcc8e21

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/don-henley/new-york-minute

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OPINION: Is There Racism in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court? Are the Agencies Charged with Investigation Also Racist?

 

Why is it that so many within the judicial system in Tucson, Arizona seem to feel that Black people are not entitled to the same access to justice as other ethnic groups? Is it because those within the other ethnic groups feel that they are better than or even superior to Black people? Do they feel that as long as the person is Black, that there is ‘no harm, no foul’?

They would take the word of a White junkie over that of a law abiding Black woman, and bow their heads to the throne of White privilege. And it is not just White people, but it is also Mexican people as well. They will all pull together in order to uphold the White person, even if that White person is wrong. It appears as if the system has not changed much since the times of reconstruction, when, in an effort to retaliate for their loss of the institution of slavery, they ignored the law and morality. It still happens today, in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court, and, in some courtrooms in Pima County Superior Court. But also, in many courthouses and courtrooms in this country which are found within ‘red’ states. They cannot let go of the past, and always seem to feel the need to deny equal justice to  Black people simply because they are Black.

Case in point: Justice of the peace, Susan Bacal, who, during a hearing, ignored the Black woman in front of her, and did not even request that the woman speak on her own behalf. She merely decided that the issue was ‘moot’, because her White female colleague lied. Now, the Black woman responded to a motion that was filled with lies, asserting it was a false pleading and lack of candor before a tribunal. Justice Bacal did not seem to care about that, and instead, ignored the lies, and gave the White attorney, Blythe Edmondson, a pass. So the Black woman was essentially ignored by Bacal. When it was all over, and the woman inquired as to the other motions, Justice Bacal responded in a mean-spirited way that she need to go down to the second floor. This was surprising, since the customer service personnel were the ones who had advised the woman that the motions had been forwarded to Bacal for review. Suffice it to say, Bacal, in the opinion of this writer, was saying to the woman in other words, get the f**k out of my courtroom!  The woman, stung by her change in demeanor,  said nothing, and left the courtroom.  Now, the woman, on several occasions, had requested that Bacal recuse herself, and did so as a matter of right. But Bacal refused, hanging on to the case which was apparently steered to her, and, according to court documents, allowed all sorts of illegal shenanigans to occur, either via herself, or via the Pro Tem judges over whom she had oversight. Bacal even ruled on a motion which was filed during an appeal, and was supposed to be ruled on in Superior Court. And, yet, no one seemed to care or even want to do anything about it. It is the opinion of this writer, that, had the woman been White, it would not have happened in the first place, but also, the Commission of Judicial Conduct would have taken steps to reprimand Bacal.  But, reprimand a White judge based upon a complaint of a Black woman was not something which was going to happen. Just like it has always been. Seemingly, Bacal allowed her own sense of White privilege to take over, and her loyalty appeared to be with Blythe Edmondson and all of the other non-Black persons involved, instead her oath to have loyalty to the law. The Black woman had the right to have a change of judge – but nobody wants to either talk about that or do anything about it.

Second case in point: There is Xavier Verdugo, who, in the opinion of the Black woman, seemed to elevate himself to the position of judge. And, when challenged, it is the opinion of this writer that he persuaded Justice of the Peace Adam Waters, to block her motion for default judgment. Why? Was it because it would have placed a substantial amount of money into the hands of a Black woman? (Asking for a friend.) Because the counterclaim was never ruled upon, the attorney was served, and did not reply. And yet, within the case, it sits, without a ruling. The Black woman filed with the State Bar, but Blythe Edmondson lied to the State Bar and says it was ruled on, but in their reply, they were referring to another motion altogether. But, do they care? Apparently not. It seems as if, once again, it came down to a matter of race. And all because Mr. Verdugo initially stated that he “did not see service” and that opinion was parroted by Judge Watters, even though the actual record itself shows that Blythe Edmondson admitted that she had received it but had not replied.  And, according to Justice Court personnel, Verdugo initiated the disbursement of the funds within the bond she posted, even though her time to file an appeal had not expired. Those funds were supposed to sit there until all appeals had been exhausted. But again, did he concern himself with the law or the rules of procedure? Apparently not.

 

And so it goes on, as usual. No one will do anything about the misconduct of any of the people within their court system, no matter how blatantly obvious or egregious.  While attempting to make sense of it all, the Black woman recognizes that it has nothing to do with right or wrong, but rather of race. (It should be noted that this particular Black woman graduated with honors as a paralegal from one of the only programs in the state of  Arizona to be accredited by the American Bar Association. So she is no dummy, not by any stretch of the imagination.) She represented herself well … on paper. But, her skin was Black, so her written words meant nothing to a group of people who exist in a fairy-tale existence in which Black people cannot read, reason, or think. No one can imagine how much it hurts to be dismissed in this way. They essentially told her that she was nothing at all. Is it that Thomas Benavidea could not allow his colleague, Blythe Edmondson to lose the case? He even cut the woman off from presenting her case when it came to what her neighbors thought of her. And all it took was a stern, “Your Honor!”, from Blythe Edmondson, to remind him that he should not allow the Black woman to continue speaking.

The old cliche that “the fix was in” would seem to apply, but upon further review, it was not about a fix, but rather the old ‘agreement‘ when it comes to race. Ignore the light of truth in favor of the darkness of lies if that truth happens to be housed in Black skin.

The woman, who continues to appeal, realizes that no matter what they did, these individuals will be upheld, and it will be solely because she is Black, and not based upon the facts or the law. And so she feels like a non-citizen in her country. The country of her birth, and the country of the birth of her ancestors, going back seven generations – not including her Native American ancestors who were always here. How must that feel? No wonder it makes her not only sad, but it makes her cry. And as the tears fall, she continues though, to follow the rules, to appeal, to lodge formal complaints, all the while, tears dropping from her eyes. She is treated with not only disdain, but disdain based upon the fact that she exhibits intelligence, and because she can write – something their parents told them was not true about Black people. Her intelligence is ignored. She knows that even if she were to state that the law of physics does not exist within the rings of  Saturn, despite scientific proof, she would be treated as if somehow, it must be a lie, simply because she, a Black woman,  said it.

She is an American – but treated as nothing.Should she just throw up her hands and quit? No, because they stole from her. They stole her rights, her money, and some of  her possessions. She will fight until there are no more courts to which she can appeal, no more lawsuits to be filed, but fight on she will. Coming from a background of Black educators, who soared to heights which were difficult for Black people to achieve in the 1940’s thru the early 1960’s, including obtaining Master degrees from institutions of higher learning such as USC and during a time which it was difficult for a woman to get into a university, (especially a Black woman from the rural south), she cannot and will not quit because a few misguided individuals feel that she is nothing. Not this time. All the members of her family fought in two world wars for this country and the women worked in defense plants – so there’s also that. They participated in every opportunity to exhibit their patriotism – and no way would they want their descendant to give up on seeking redress and justice.

To all who participated in this folly – you  sold your soul and the soul of the justice system with payment being continued bias,bigotry, and racism. Are you proud of yourself for upholding wrongdoing?  At the very least you may be satiated and satisfied after eating the meal of racism.

https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/non-criminal-injustice/Content?oid=1081185

https://tucson.com/news/local/steller-column-judges-question-hiring-of-pima-court-official-linked/article_7b638840-bf23-5b91-9e65-e248e66dcc47.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism

https://news.azpm.org/p/news-articles/2018/3/9/125471-tucsons-36-percent-reflections-on-being-black-in-a-white-city/

 

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