152 What about the First Amendment?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

Something occurred to me while I was reading about the kid who flipped off a judge. It has nothing to do with that case in particular, but it is a question we really need to address.

How is it that we give up our First Amendment right of free speech when we are in some government room talking to an elected official in a black robe? What makes him so much better than any other citizen?

Think about it! The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."

If that doesn't exactly apply to laws made concerning the need to be polite to some old poop of a judge I do not know what does.

If, for example, some egotistical poop of a judge decides to do or say something that is just plain wrong, I fail to see why you do not have a perfect right to tell him so. Judges are not gods, nor are they aristocrats as they are over in England. We tossed all that crap out the window when we said goodbye to George III, didn't we?

Contempt of court should not apply to anything which is said as long as it is not perjurious and is not disrupting the normal flow of a trial. Two lawyers can get up and say anything they want about anyone in the courtroom--each other, the defendant, witnesses, anyone--but not the old poop sitting up front, who is not a perfect being of some kind, is as subject to error as anyone else, and who has no right to have his ego protected by the law anyone than anyone else does.

I have seen I do not know how many times when some judge has abused his powers by using contempt of court to control what should have been the free flow of information and ideas. That has got to stop!

This is something we need to look into.

Considering the crap that the First Amendment has been stretched to cover, it is ridiculous that we should give up the right of free speech just because we step into a government building with some old poop in a black robe sitting up front. Free speech is free speech!! If the guy is a jerk and he does something stupid or selfish, what happened to our right to tell him so?


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 10 months ago

Tom, Take the same position you offer and move it to the classroom. We do have a right to free speech and as such we have to be mindful of not abusing it. Do not students have that same right in the classroom. If a teacher is being "stupid or selfish" , in the eyes of some student, are you proposing that that student has the right to speak their mind and flip the teacher the "bird"? Perhaps disturbing the decorum and learning environment of the classroom? Is that appropriate? Can learning take place in such an environment? Civility and respect in certain situations is called for so that meaningful interaction can take place for all those involved, is it not? One can say what they want, when they want, and be as obnoxious as they want. But they must accept the consequences for using their "rights" in such a manner. I will post that old adage I've used before as I think it fits this discussion. " I am the master of my unspoken word, and a slave to those words that should have remained unspoken".


Pat Randall 3 years, 10 months ago

There is a judge in Gila county that should be removed for his actions.
He gave a case to an arbitrator when the defendent or attorney never showed up on thier court date. My attorney tried to call them from the court room and they wouldn't answer the phone. I should have won by default. The first arbitrator waited almost a year before a date was set for arbitration then turned it over to another one and she never set a date. She threw it out with out any hearing or anything. I received a letter in the mail saying I lost. No reason. Nothing.

Once before he threw a lawsuit I had filed for my dad because his caregiver had forged his name on some of his checks. One she used to bail her husband out of jail. She got away with that.

I think the man is senile. This is my opinion.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago


You told me about that some time ago. I still cannot get over that level of incompetance. In truth, I wonder how sime judges get away with what they do. What is incredible to me is that we have some wonderful, highly competant judges who do not even have law degrees, and yet are about as good as you can get, and yet some of the ones who have a string of letters after their names seem to have gotten them out of a box of Alphabits.


I agree with you about the need for the courtroom to be a place where there is a certain amount of decorum. There have to be rules of evidence and of reasonable behavior, and those rules have to be followed. Nothing which disrupts the smooth flow of information can be allowed. I would go so far as to endorse the gagging of anyone who had to be there, but who refused to follow the rules of evidence.

I thought I made my position clear though when I said, "Contempt of court should not apply to anything which is said as long as it is not perjurious and is not disrupting the normal flow of a trial." I meant that just as it reads, "...normal flow of a trial." Just telling judge that you disagree with, or disprove of, a ruling does not interfere with the normal flow of a trial, and is in my opinion protected speech.

I would apply that to the classroom as well as to the courtroom. The person up front has the responsibility for earning attention. It is not a given.

I have seen far too many cases where judges exceeded their authority and acted like pompous fools. And even more cases where some incompetent bonehead allowed a case to turn into a three ring circus. Look at the O. J. Simpson trial. What was that supposed to be? Bonzo comes to the courtroom? In that case I actually listened to a lawyer suggesting to a jury that they practice jury nullification to decide a case. In other words that they ignore the law and decide the case based on considerations that were extralegal, could not be testified to in a courtroom, and were entirely irrelevant. That lawyer should have been snatched up and charged with a crime. Instead he was allowed to go on and on about it. I could not believe my ears and eyes.

The result? An acquittal of someone who had been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and a blot on the American justice system.

Don't tell me that judges like that deserve my respect. You want my respect? Earn it!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

The same thing goes for the classroom. Teachers have to earn respect. They do not get it just because they happen to be standing at the front of the room. If you are a fool and an incompetent then somebody should be doing something about it, not allowing you to continue on. I've seen too much of that in my days in the classroom.

Case in point. The same year I was hired to teach chemistry and physical science at a high school in Texas, a young genius was hired to teach physical science in the back-to-back classroom with mine. My two physical science classes were "resource" classes. In Texas that means the bottom of the bonehead category. I had some kids in there who were taking a freshman class for the fourth time. I just did my little thing; I taught, they learned. No problems.

The other guy's classes, which were all "normal" kids were mayhem; he had no control, none at all. After class each day I watched him patrolling up and down outside his classroom picking up the equipment the kids had tossed out the windows.

It finally got so bad in there that he couldn't even control his stay-ins after school. I had to take them for him.

The solution? Can his butt! Hire a teacher. And that's just what happened. They hired a young woman about 24 years old. A sweet, young, pretty woman who knew how to teach. She had no trouble at all. We were good buddies.

In my junior year in high school they stuck some idiot from Chicago in a classroom where he was supposed to teach English. His idea of teaching? Give us along lists of things to memorize. For example, I happen to know because I have a retentive mind that "Hedda Gabbler"--whatever the hey that is--was the first "closet drama"--whatever the hey that is.

He lasted exactly two months. Then some of us in my English class--the highest level out of seven classes--decided we had had enough. We went down to the principal's office, sat down, and politely told the principal that we came to school to learn and that we would walk out of the school and take the entire junior class with us--and maybe the entire school--if he did not get us a teacher. He was a wise man. He got us a teacher. We waited a couple of weeks and all was well.

You want respect? Earn it!

As an ex-Marine I'm sure you know where I'm coming from.

And by the way, don't kid yourself into believing that all teachers earn their pay, or that all principals have what it takes to weed out the losers.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 10 months ago

Years ago, I worked for the police department. On duty one evening I got a call from an officer asking me to run an individuals name though the National Criminal Information Database. I did so and replied the information to the officer, whereupon he informed me that he was going to be unavailable as he was delivering an arrestee to the jail. When I asked the officer what was the crime so I could put it in the log. He replied that the arrestee had "flipped him off" when the police car went past him. Turns out that "if an officer feels threatened by a gesture that someone make at him or her, he is within the law to make an arrest."

Huh, surprising that half the people in the country are not in jail. THAT was an egregious abuse of authority.


Bernice Winandy 3 years, 10 months ago

Tom, the person in question was definitely out of line. (I saw the video.) Some basic respect must be shown and if it isn't steps must be taken to show that the person has been disrespectful.


Pat Randall 3 years, 10 months ago

Lets go a little farther and have a dress code for EVERYONE that walks into a court room. No shorts on male or female, no muscle shirts, flip flops or caps. Shirt tails tucked in. Yes I am old fashioned. I may not respect or like the judge but I do respect and like my self.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago


"Tom, the person in question was definitely out of line. (I saw the video.)"

What are you talking about?

"Lets go a little farther and have a dress code for EVERYONE that walks into a court room. No shorts on male or female, no muscle shirts, flip flops or caps. Shirt tails tucked in."

Okay, Pat. Let me know when you are going to start work on that.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

Bernice, I hate to tell you this, but you are talking about the wrong string. That string ended a few days ago. First comment in this string: "It has nothing to do with that case...."


Do you like it when they tell you what kind of ice cream you can buy? Do you like it when they tell you you have to wear a seat belt? Do you like it when they install airbags that can kill someone your size? Do you like going into MacDonalds and buying french fries that are tasteless because they are fried in junk oil? Did you like it when that deputy threw a drink in your face because he thought that the people who rule us are better that we are? Do you like it when they write all those rules that tell you what to do because THEY know better than you do? Would you like it if someone actually told YOU what YOU had to wear to appear in court? Are you really willing to give up all your natural rights and let our "betters" else dictate to you?


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