Tag Archives: Xavier Verdugo

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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OPINION: When The Doors To Justice Are Closed – Where Do You Go?

 

When the doors of justice are closed to you because of your race, it is painful, to say the least. And, when wrongdoing by officers of the court, such as judges and attorneys, is ignored, the sorrow of not being equal in your own country is without measure.

There are codified rules which are in place, which the courts are obligated to follow, but, there is a slight problem, if you are a Black person in Arizona, those rules do not seem to apply, and the wrongdoing is upheld in each and every venue. Of course, the purpose of having a Justice Court is vague, but rights are being denied to American citizens and Justice Court should be abolished. It’s employees act as if they are playing a game and many of them are unqualified and without proper knowledge as to the rules of court. And, unfortunately, the Office for Administration of the Courts does not even care that the Rules of Court are not followed in Justice Court, at least when it comes to a Black person. If they do not follow the rules of court, that office does not bother to really look into the issues, and those Justice Court employees are allowed to continue to run a court despite their failure to adhere to the Arizona Rules of court.

Another example, if a judge does something which violates  rules of conduct the judicial canons, one must take the matter to The Arizona Judicial Commission. In one case, a Judge named Adam Watters,  refused to seal medical records, stating that the court does not do such things, when, in fact, they do. And failure to do so is a violation of federal law, Arizona law and Arizona rules as well. However, the commission decided to give him a pass, even though he had been reprimanded before for wearing a judge’s robe in an ad when he ran for political office. They could reprimand him for wearing a robe, but not for violating the privacy of an American citizen? The medical information is now public record as the Superior Court law clerk used it in his so-called ruling.

Then there is Justice Susan  Bacal, who refused to recuse herself, for whatever reason, even though the party asserted that there had been prior contact with the party which was negative. And, in the opinion of the party, she exhibited a bias towards the party in favor of the White attorney. In fact, when the party appeared before her, after having filed an answer complaining as to the fact that the attorney had filed a pleading which was indeed based upon a false premise at no point other than for identification on the record, did the  judge address the party who responded in writing – in fact the party need not have even shown up as she was treated as if she were invisible. The judge ruled that the issue was “moot” without addressing the fact that the attorney had filed a false pleading, for which she should have been sanctioned. It appears as if the case remained under her supervision in order to enable Blythe Edmondson to prevail on behalf of her client … no matter what. For later, even the funds for the bond were released prior to exhaustion of appeals, which is also a violation of the rules of court. It is the opinion of this writer that the case was steered to Bacal for obvious reasons. Bacal  This writer wonders if the attorney and the judge are acquainted outside of the court. Apparently the Judicial Commission feels as if all of this is perfectly okay.

In Pima County Superior court, Judge Metcalf allowed a law student to respond to an appeal, and did so without the attorney for the opposing party even having entered an appearance, or pay the required fees. In fact, the ruling came down before the time for the opposing party to pay the fees had even expired! What was the rush? Did the attorney get a favor from the court or the student? It just so happens that the student is a law student at which the attorney still participates as a mentor. Did they have any contact? One may never know. But it is odd that an appeal was put on an illegal “fast track” in total contradiction to the normal pace of an appeal from Justice Court.

And then, there is the State Bar of Arizona, where, if you are a Black person who complains, an attorney can get away not only with violations of the ethical rules, but can lie to the investigator and be supported with full knowledge of the lies which are told. It appears as if the State Bar of Arizona is merely a clique of attorneys who are policing themselves while abusing their discretion when it come to Black complainants. (According Alberto Rodriguez of the State Bar Communications Department, the investigations department does not have any investigators who identify themselves as being Black or African-American.) Matt McGregor did not even afford the complaining party with the opportunity to provide clarifying or contradictory information which might have refuted what the attorney had stated in their response. Mr. McGregor did not even share the responses of the attorney until he wrote he “final” review. It appeared to the party that he had made up his mind prior to doing any investigation, and if he did not afford the party an opportunity to refute what Edmondson had stated, then he would not be bound by the truth of the matter at all, but could take the word of the attorney since it was the only word he had. Of course you can appeal it, but the Chief Bar Counsel, Maret Vessala will only support what the investigator, (Matt McGregor), stated, and in fact twist and distort issues in order to do so. Ms. Vessala, who has been with the bar for about twenty years, has a history with the complaining party, and once allowed attorneys to collude to prosecute another  individual without suffering any consequences, despite proof of their wrong-doing. One example of her non-factual attempt to support the attorney  is the fact that the party asserted that judge Pro Tem did not rule upon her counterclaim, while Edmondson falsely asserted that he had done so. (The employees, including Judge Watters, appear to have done everything that they could do to stop the default judgment of the counterclaim.) They insisted that he did issue a ruling, when he did not, and despite the fact that Edmondson admitted in open court that she did not reply, Vessala and McGregor insisted that he she did reply, but without stating when or where. But, because Edmondson asserted that she did reply, and, that the judge had ruled upon it, they attempted to misconstrue the record in order to support her false statements. They seemed hell-bent upon convincing themselves, because that is what they did in the end – convince themselves that the attorney must be telling the truth – because, after all, she is White, and the party making the allegations was Black. Surely the Black person must be either lying, or confused, or just not bright enough to understand simple language, let alone a court proceeding. (What they failed to realize or even check into was the fact that the party was a bona fide paralegal, who graduated with honors from a highly accredited program and nationally recognized as being one of the best programs in the state.)  There is much more which they allowed to go unpunished and unchecked, and this particular attorney is being allowed to roam the halls of justice without even so much as a slap on the wrist while she engages in behavior that is contrary to the ethical rules of the State Bar. But, she is White and the complaining party is Black. One is not left with any other reasonable conclusion than to believe that there is indeed motivation based upon race, especially after presenting on numerous occasions conduct for which their should be penalized.

So when the doors of justice refuse to open, what does one do? One continues to fight and soldiers on until the truth is known far and wide. One takes it to the next level, federal court. One takes it to the press. One does not accept being treated as less than. One does not accept their constitutional rights being violated or ignored. One does not waive their constitutional rights to equal protection under the law. One fights until they win and equal justice is achieved.

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

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