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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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When “X” causes harm already, how will legalizing MORE of “X” help?

by Bill Simon

Legislative Boxers

How are the following bills interrelated? HB-1, HB-56, HB-196, SB-45, SB-98, SB-99, SB-159

One bill deals with cannabis oil…three bills deal with judges making prejudicial remarks during a trial…and three bills deal with no-knock search warrants.

In any other environment, these 7 bills might appear to involve completely independent subject matter.  However, from the 25,000 foot viewing level, I see a pattern of related processes, and, I figured, “Hey, it’s worth a shot” to see if I can inject some logic to the thought processes of some of you legislators.

Part A:  Let’s look at HB-1.  HB-1 started off as a bill to allow for many types of patients with diseases to have access to, and consumption of, medical cannabis oil to treat their conditions.  In this House Judiciary Non-Civil Substitute version of the bill, this got changed to only being eight specific, top-level classifications of diseases enumerated that would be eligible for certain THC percentage levels of cannabis oil.  On the House floor, a ninth category (sickle-cell disease) got added, and the bill passed the House.

Upon passage in the House, it has gone to the Senate for consideration…and early noises in the Senate kinda point to this list of 9 diseases being completely cut down and rather than patients have access to the oil, Senator Lindsey Tippins wants there to be a study done first in the state, and limit that study to, perhaps, only four disease classifications.

Or, something like that.  The exact nature is irrelevant because I am just Joe-Blow Citizen here who listens to 106.7 FM for my news in the morning, and don’t have the time to get all the details.  (Again…I’m looking at the legislative process from the 25,000-foot level.)

My takeaway from the 25,000-foot level of observation about HB-1 is, essentially, some people are concerned that if you legalize something for one intended purpose, then that legalization may, directly or indirectly, cause more detrimental activity in a related vein.  That is, someone is afraid that someone will figure out a way to abuse the cannabis oil and get high, or resell it on the black market, etc., right?

So, to summarize the logical interpretation of a 25,000-foot view of the legislative thought process of HB-1: “Legalizing the use of X in these specific cases will cause many more opportunities for the use of X in all other cases.” (“X” being cannabis oil in this HB-1 example, but “X” can apply to any subject matter in any other bill)

Part B:  Turning now to HB-196 and SB-98 and SB-99…all three of these have to do with the identical subject matter of changing the law on allowing a judge to make any comment they want to make, whether it prejudices the case in favor of the plaintiff/prosecution or the defense/defendant.  HB-196 and SB-99 appear to be two versions of the same criminal procedure issue, and SB-98 applies to civil procedure.

The premise of these 3 bills is to require, while the case is being tried in a courtroom with a judge on the bench, the aggrieved party (i.e., whatever side of the case that is harmed by the judge’s comments injected on the evidence presented) to immediately make a motion to the Court (i.e., the judge who just opened their mouth to inject their partial/prejudiced opinion into the trial proceedings) to halt proceedings, call for a sidebar that is outside of earshot of the jury, to (as an example) inform the judge that his jack-assed comment about the defense’s evidence being “a bunch of bullsh*t” is a statement that the aggrieved side objects to…and why the aggrieved party has an objection to it.

And, if the aggrieved party misses doing that, during the trial, well tough cookies…the jury gets to continue while being influenced by an unethical POS judge.  THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the gist of what each of these three pieces of legislation are attempting to accomplish.  That is, to let the judge BECOME the 13th juror, whose opinion tends to have more sway in courtrooms than any other evidence presented.  That is what these three bills intend to accomplish.

These three bills seek to make it harder for the defense to receive a fair trial because all of a sudden, the onus is put on the defense to object during the trial to the judge’s input.  AND..what do you think might happen if the defense objects every time the judge opens his mouth?  After awhile, the judge (who already violated standard judicial ethics) may get tired of the objection, and work even harder to prejudice the jury against the defense.  (‘Cause, they kinda think they are God themselves, and know everything.)

Essentially, these three bills will want to “legalize” a judge to make all the freaking comments they want to during the trial, and require the harmed side to point out the unethical behavior of  the judge….to the judge and let the very same judge ponder as to when he called a witness “A lying piece of sh*t”, did that prejudice the jury to the point of having to go back and instruct the members of the jury to ignore that input into their brains?

Soooo…from my discussion above of HB-1, what do we suppose happens when you legalize the occurrence of something to happen more often?  You get more people (in this case, judges) engaging in that very same activity, more often.  More judges will freely open their mouth and eff-over any side they want to, as often as they want to, because, all of a sudden, they are now the “judge and jury” of whether or not their comment was prejudicial.  And, if they decide it wasn’t, the aggrieved side can simply go pound sand at that moment.

Now, as a sidebar to you folks…from what I understand, these bills came from some idea that Judge Nahmias developed after a case was recently heard in the Ga Supreme Court.

What I don’t get is why is the Legislature messing with judicial conduct at all?  Seriously.  Because of my research into the issue of “Why isn’t the Judicial Branch of Georgia required to follow Open Records Act  laws when there is no written exemption allowing them to ignore them?,” I discovered case history dating back to the early 1990s that the Judiciary declared itself to be exempt from Open Records/Sunshine Laws simply because their interpretation of the Ga Constitution is that the Legislature CANNOT write any law that requires them to do anything.

So…again, seriously…why are these three laws even being proposed?  In fact, why is any judicial procedure codified by legislative statutes if the Judiciary has declared itself exempt from them?  Maybe Judge Nahmias needs to do a little bit more research in just what super powers he and the rest of the judiciary of this state have.  That is, they do not have to follow legislative statutes…ever…as per this 1992 case via the Ga Court of Appeals shows.

But, I digress from my purpose here.  To circle back to HB-196, SB-98, and SB-99…if you make it easier for “X” to happen, then you will get more of “X” happening, to the detriment of everyone involved.  And, trust me, to people who already think they are God (i.e., judges), you will be giving them more power to act in a prejudicial manner in the courtroom, and deny anyone their God-granted right to be treated fairly.

Yes, I know…the concept of “fairness” is an arcane subject to many judges and legislators and others in government.  It still bears repeating that unless you wish for Georgia to become a banana republic, the right to a fair and impartial jury is a concept still expected in some parts of Georgia, and all three of these bills should be voted down, and never passed.

Part C: Turning now to the three bills dealing with no-knock search warrants: HB56, SB45, SB159….because this discussion will involve much more presentation involving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, I will cover these three bills in more detail in the 2nd part of this story.

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Today's Deep Thought

Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at the word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: 'mank' and 'ind.' What do these word mean? It's a mystery and that's why so is mankind.


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