The Minnesota Justice System -
Making a Bad First Impression
(Part 1) - District Court
Mille Lacs News Staff Writer
January 22, 2010
II probably should have checked with my
neighbors, you know - asked their advice and input before embarking on my
long, arduous journey through the Minnesota Judicial System. After all - 94
of my neighbors are convicted sex offenders who've had plenty of courtroom
experience - and they aren't even eighteen years old yet. I, on the
other hand have somehow managed to make it for fifty-five years without
landing in any trouble. Now I am the defendant in not one but TWO lawsuits
brought about by - well, those who brought the sex offenders into our
neighborhood in the first place. Is it any wonder I didn't ask them for
their expertise? They are the ones out to crucify me.
By now, however, I've had enough experience
of my own to feel comfortable sharing my first impressions of Minnesota
Justice. Now, occasionally I've been criticized as "blasting" anyone who
doesn't agree with me - and since nobody has agreed with me in either the
Hennepin District Court or the Minnesota Court of Appeals, one might think
now's the time for Hannabelle to fly into a rage. Sorry to disappoint.
Believe me. I know what it means to be disappointed.
Judge Susan Burke - Freeman/D'Angelo Case
Motion to Dismiss
She kept us waiting about twenty minutes
before she finally arrived. She started by saying she had only had time to
glance at the documents we had provided and had not read them thoroughly.
During my lawyer's ten minute presentation, she kept looking at her
watch and interrupting him, asking him to hurry because she had somewhere
she needed to go.
This is my day in court? Really?
Then she blasted me for stating that the FBI
was investigating. The FBI was investigating! Does she think I just sit at my computer making things up
because I think its funny? Well, apparently so. Plaintiffs' lawyer
Victor Lund told her he thinks I do. (And Vic knows me so well.....like
we're sooo sympatico.) After a few minutes, it was all over. Judge
Burke then took a moment to oh-by-the-way-us that she happened to have a "conflict of interest" and did we
want her to recuse herself? Yes, we did. After dealing with the Onamia town
council for the past three years, I am totally opposed to conflicts of
interest. Am I the only one who doesn't have one?
So besides the two hour trip (one way) we
rush hour to get to court at the crack of dawn, or at least the crack of
8:30 a.m. for the 9:30 appointment we didn't want to be late for, it was a
total waste of everyone's time, Even in the backwoods of Nexusville, we have
telephones. Perhaps Judge Burke doesn't know that
lawyers charge by the hour. This is my life. That was Judge Burke. Mrs. Burke. (Not to
confuse her with her husband, who is also a judge.)
Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum - Freeman/D'Angelo
Case Motion to Dismiss
This judge glared at me as if I'd done
committed the most dastardly crime of the century - and of course I had. I
called Jim D'Angelo, the CEO of a corporation "Poopsie" after all.
Shame on me. During the proceedings, she admonished my lawyer and told him to admonish
me because I had
committed another crime. Yes. I got busted for "wiggling" and "frowning". We
can't have any of that in court, no matter how bad your back hurts. In fact, one of my lawyers told me he
thought my wiggling actually hurt my case. Could that be true? I doubt it. I
think it was more likely because I was too fat. Or too tall. Or had a bad
hair day. Certainly a judge would only consider the law and not be counting
how many times I frowned
while some Plaintiffs' lawyer told lies about me, assassinated my
character and told the judge I just sit at my computer and make things
up because I think its funny. Its okay for him to testify? I thought he
was the lawyer, not the witness! And don't cut me any slack because I'm sick
and suffer from chronic pain and it is very hard for me to sit still even on
a good day, Judge Rosenbaum. This was not a good day.
But hey, this isn't Court T.V. This is REAL
court. Of course I lost my Motion to Dismiss. No surprise since the judge
had me pegged as some kind of "gadfly" who just thrives on all this
attention and needs to be punished. Where'd she get that idea? From Victor Lund, of course. While my
brilliant lawyer argued the law, and with such eloquent logic, Victor hurled one personal
attack at me after another. You'd think that instead of peacefully and
legally applying my First Amendment Rights - seeking to procure favorable
government action to keep sex offenders away from day-care and little old
ladies, that I had grabbed a shot-gun and wiped out the town council over a
parking ticket. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. I lost.
Besides there being no wiggle room in the
courtroom, there was also no wiggle room in that woman's brain. Her limited
scope made it impossible to imagine that one can use the Internet to
influence the government. She ruled that since I used the Internet, I was
not actually seeking to procure favorable government action.
Now, before you go and say, "How dumb can she
be? She's a JUDGE for Pete's sake!" let me remind you she was appointed by a
Republican governor - and that not everyone knows how to operate a computer
or plays Bejeweled online or knows that Sarah Palin's Facebook page is
notoriously popular with the Right-wing Christies or that people actually
use the Internet to influence our government. My own Congresswoman told me
that she reads Hannabelle. I know for a fact that I reached people on the
town council because they're pissed off as hell with me. But Judge Rosenbaum
"The SLAPP law is to be used as a shield, not
as a sword."
That doesn't even make sense. She means that
I can't tell the truth if the truth is unpleasant, as it is in this case? I
can't call a spade a spade? I have no freedom of opinion and no freedom to
express that opinion? Isn't it possible that they are wrong and I am right?
What a concept.
But the Anti-SLAPP law is to be used as
a shield for citizen activists like me to protect me from the corporate
sword of a harassment lawsuit. This is my life. That was Judge Rosenbaum.
Mrs. Rosenbaum (Not to confuse her with her husband, who is also also
Judge John Sommerville
- Nexus Motion to Dismiss
Here, I didn't get my day in court at all. I
got my day in the judge's chambers. To my knowledge, there was no court
reporter present, which would mean, of course, no transcript. No record.
(That is, unless you count mine. Thank goodness I keep copious notes.)
Ahhh. They're so casual with my life, aren't they?
The day in Sommerville's backroom was so
strange that you'll have to wait for the book for all the details. But
imagine a judge in a pink polo shirt sitting behind a desk in a dimly-lit
room, two lawyers in front of him with a group of my supporters behind the
lawyers. Its show time! It's the Judge John Show.
At one point, the judge was laughing and
joking with the lawyers, calling each other names. Judge Sommerville says to
my lawyer, "I could call you a child molester." My lawyer says, "I'd say
Victor Lund is getting away with murder right now." (My lawyer makes
me proud. Its not his fault we keep losing. Victor cheats.)
Anyway, Sommerville told us a lot about his
life, which might have been interesting except that - and I don't want to
sound self-centered but - I thought this was about me. It did sound as
if we'd established that I was NOT GUILTY of defamation, indeed I hadn't
said anything half as bad as what's said on the Rachel Maddow Show or Bill
O'Reilly. We definitely established that Nexus suffered no damages. We also
established that I'd been seeking to procure favorable government action...
So I won, right?
This judge ruled against me too. Judge
Sommerville thinks that the Constitutionality of the Anti-SLAPP law might be
questionable because it interferes with the Due Process of Nexus' right to
jury trial. Again, Nexus has rights. I don't. I'm just a little gadfly. I'm
not a big sensitive corporation whose feelings were hurt. This is my life.
That was Judge Sommerville. (I don't know if he's married to a judge, but
considering the first two judges, maybe its a prerequisite? A little
nepotism in the Minnesota court system?)
If the District Court ruled in
the judges would be putting
themselves on the hot seat
because my Anti-SLAPP Motions
are cases of
Nothing like Hannabelle's
have ever gone before the
Minnesota Courts before.
If the judges deny my Motion
under the Anti-SLAPP Law
I get sent to jury trials and
the juries will decide,
not the judges.
Its a lot easier for them,
personally to send me to jury trials.
Then they don't have to THINK
They don't have to commit to a
This is MY first impression of
the Justice System.
I find it very disturbing.
So should you.
This isn't about me. It isn't
about supposed defamation. It isn't even about Nexus. Its about the judges -
and their political goals of getting re-elected.
Hannabelle wasn't born