Capitalism, Democracy, Justice, and My Civil Rights!
Blue Ridge Springs Orchard | By, CB Julian
November 18, 2013
Why is my story important to anyone? Because it’s about the failure of the American dream. The government’s involvement in destroying the dream, its potential, jobs, and rural and economic development. A dream that began failing at the hands of corrupt local officials and businesses, its destruction aided by Congress’s passage of Dodd-Frank, help denied from the SBA, and alleged illegal acts by government employees. When done by ordinary citizens these alleged torts have legal remedies. However, employees of the USDA and the University of Virginia State Agricultural Mediation Program have protection under sovereign immunity. In this case now in the Federal Court, we ask the court to decide if racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations act ‘RICO’ by an agency and employees of the State of Virginia and the US Government can be absolved by Sovereign Immunity?
What makes this story relevant is the Government’s impediment to small businesses. The pain created by the mortgage mayhem, financial firms’ destruction of wealth, and how Dodd-Frank has been bad for those who had done everything right and now suffer because of the recklessness of others. Three decades of corruption in the USDA and how we allege the Government is abusing power to avoid accountability or responsibility for inept, negligent, corrupt management of the people’s resources. It’s about a difficult labor market and age issues, about whether the judicial system will truly render justice or protect corruption in the bowels of government. It questions how the Department of Justice reconciles the irony of prosecuting citizens for crimes while defending with immunity government employees for the same offenses. How all of this is stealing life, liberty, and happiness from my family and friends.
I never wanted to tell this story. I tried unsuccessfully now for some time to find a writer to do this for me. I really don’t have the time to be doing this at all, although, I still have hope the story ends well, and having written it down will help pander to some business success. Furthermore, I hope it will someday provide my young daughter with a picture of her parent’s trials in these difficult days. I don’t think much of my writing abilities. I find it hard work, and in the end, I never find I’ve done it well and I wish I had paid more attention to grammar in school. Over the last year, I’ve been relegated to doing much more of it, for reasons no one wants to have. I have the last year acted as my own attorney, attending mediation, pre-hearing conferences, and hearings, doing my own legal research, writing briefs, and presenting this case. Consequently, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the law, writing briefs, and documenting facts to cross my t’s and dot my I’s. On September 16, 2013, I filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Virginia, Western Division, as a Pro-Se plaintiff i.e. representing myself and my family.
This story spans most of the last decade but I would like to start with some of the most recent events. At the end of last week, I contacted the 4th circuit Federal court of appeals. I asked, how I might file a complaint against the court or judge? I was quickly directed to this website
http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/rules-and-procedures/judicial-conduct-disability. See Page 2 of Judicial Rules of Conduct. It did not take much reading to tell the Appellate court is not interested in making complaints easy for the average citizen you should check it out. This is one of the most double-speak, most difficult-to-comprehend rules I’ve ever met. It’s as if to be intentionally stated, to be so confusing it cannot be understood. Just consider the fact stated by the site itself. “Almost all complaints in recent years have been dismissed because they do not follow the law about such complaints.” Perhaps the court should consider whether it has anything to do with the ability of the average Joe to understand the complaint process?
I was able to glean two facts from the site. if you had a complaint it needed to be either about inappropriate behavior by the Judge or it needed to show he lacked the faculties to perform his duties. However, my complaint was neither. The best I could tell the court had not acted inappropriately and I have yet to meet the eighty-four-year-old judge.
My complaint is, as a Pro-Se plaintiff unfamiliar with the court’s regular character, I found repeated actions by the court I felt were prejudicial. To understand this you need a little background. First, the clerk’s office had informed us, that Pro-Se plaintiffs in a civil case were not given access to file electronically nor did the Judge ever grant them representation. Second, as mentioned above the defendants, in this case, are State and Federal employees and therefore, represented by the Virginia State Attorney General’s office, and the Virginia Division of the US Attorney generals office, an agency of the US Department of Justice.
We filed our complaint on September 16th, 2013, and waited to receive notice of the defendant’s representation, we expected them to respond to the complaint in 60 days. Did you know Government employees get almost 3 times as much time to respond to a complaint as a civilian? On October 24th in the mail, we received a Roseboro notice from the court. Basically, this notice informs us, if we fail to respond, or reply with an issue outside the complaint it will be subject to summary judgment. Very interesting! What motion we’ve not filed, nor had we been served with any? A quick check on pacer.gov the electronic system for case management reveals the VA State Attorney General has filed a notice of appearance, a motion to extend the time to respond, and a motion to dismiss the case and declare the defendant has sovereign immunity and the case should be dismissed. Now the thing is they did this and the court approved the motion to extend time, as well as, sent the Roseboro notice without us ever being served with the motions.
The State Attorney General had certified to the court we had been served electronically? However, the court and the clerk should have known this was not possible since they had told us we would not likely be granted access nor had we formally requested it. In the court’s defense, these filings were done electronically.
This then put us in a bind, and request an extension of time to reply, thus extending the defendant’s time to respond, do nothing, and ask it is dropped because of failure to serve even though the court had made us aware of its existence, or quickly try to respond appropriately, cover all the basics, and maintain the deadline to file an answer. So we choose the latter responding to the motion and delivering it on the last day the court gave us Friday, October 8th.
On Friday, October 8th the VA, US Attorney General files a motion to extend the time for Federal defendants to file an answer to January 14th, 2014, another 49 days of waiting. He properly served us and we got it in the mail Saturday as we were leaving town. I believed at the time I had 5 days to respond with an opposition. I should mention weeks earlier the assistant attorney general asked if I would object, and I informed him I would. The filing reflected this fact. Well, in this case, the court counts days beginning with the day after the filing and counts every day including holidays. This meant our response had to be in the clerk’s hand by Wednesday, Oct 13th. Monday was a holiday so how could we mail it and ensure it was received in the clerk’s office? Bias Note 1
I wrote the objection, and mailed everyone copies on Saturday night, but, I made the post office in Charlotte, NC at around 7:25pm, and the last pick up on the box was supposed to be 7:30 pm, holiday and all who knows for sure when it went out.
On Sunday, Oct 17th I sent the clerk’s office an email and asked if they could possibly let me know if the motion was received by Wednesday, and if not, I would drive to Danville to get it filed, in time for the deadline. I waited until about 1:00pm on Oct 19th for a reply from the clerk’s office, generally, they’re quite responsive to our questions. Well, not this time, I never did get an answer. That afternoon I drove to Danville to ensure my opposition got recorded in time. Mind you I believed at this point, I was a day ahead of the deadline. As I gave the motion to the clerk and explained they should ignore the one coming in the mail, I was handed an envelope by the clerk I had written the email, and it was the Judge’s order approving the US Attorneys’ motion to extend time. Bias Note 2 the motion showed we had an objection, but the court approved it without giving us a single day open at the clerk’s office to file an objection. Bias Note 2
A review of local court rules says the Judge can approve whenever he wants to and you need to file a motion to have any orders reconsidered. Once, again it was as if the court were giving preferential treatment and ignoring any objections we might pose outright.
From our perspective, the State Attorneys response’s were interesting as was the US Attorney’s filing notice of appearance after getting the motion approved and our contacting the Appellate court. As of today, we are awaiting the court, the decision on the State Attorney’s motion to dismiss and our objection thereto although, we would not be surprised to see the State motion for another extension after all the Government got one until January 14th, 2014. This will of course depend on the court ruling on their motion.