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Thread: OT: Are Portsmouth Judges Exceeding Their Authority?

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    OT: Are Portsmouth Judges Exceeding Their Authority?

    Yes, this is off topic. Anybody know Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson? The four Circuit Court judges have ordered him to remove an American flag-based work of art from the lobby of the courthouse. Someone needs to let the Sheriff know that the judges may have exceeded their authority with this order.

    The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF LEE COUNTY v. EDGAR BACON, COMMISSIONER OF ACCOUNTS OF LEE COUNTY that the "courthouse", and with it, the authority of the judges to dictate rules and policy, only applies to that part of a building that is actually used for the purpose of the court.

    From the opinion: "Only that portion of building appointed for use of circuit court constitutes courthouse."

    If the Portsmouth courthouse has any other offices or functions in that building, then the lobby is common area, and not "appointed for the use of the court", and the judges would have no more authority to control the art-work on display there than they would in any other city-owned building.

    If anyone knows the Sheriff, he might want to take a look at this.

    Read the opinion here.

    Read the news coverage of the controversy here.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    So Sheriff Watson decided to ask the judges if it would be OK to put up a display in the lobby of the building devoted to the functions of the courts, and he got told not only no but why no, and because 'Murica and "Heroes" he's all cheesed off and went looking for publicity over something. Do I have it right?

    Why is nobody besides me upset at the desecration of the flag by that "thin blue line"? Or is it not a flag at all but merely a piece of art?

    Why push the actions of the Portsmouth judges via Board v Bacon when the same argument can be made for every courthouse and every chief judge in the Commonwealth? What turned this straw into the one that broke your rage's back?

    Tempest, meet teapot.

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    So Sheriff Watson decided to ask the judges if it would be OK to put up a display in the lobby of the building devoted to the functions of the courts, and he got told not only no but why no, and because 'Murica and "Heroes" he's all cheesed off and went looking for publicity over something. Do I have it right?

    Why is nobody besides me upset at the desecration of the flag by that "thin blue line"? Or is it not a flag at all but merely a piece of art?

    Why push the actions of the Portsmouth judges via Board v Bacon when the same argument can be made for every courthouse and every chief judge in the Commonwealth? What turned this straw into the one that broke your rage's back?

    Tempest, meet teapot.

    stay safe.
    This is not about a picture. it is about defining courthouse. for OCDO this is important because courthouse = no gun, not the courthouse = gun
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

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    The US Flag Code is unenforceable for conflict with the First Amendment.

    Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

    4 USC §8(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    nightmare, i owe you a cup of joe for finding the cite i just knew was out there and one which i would spend hours looking for...thanks!!

    open note to the sheriff...your appreciation of 'ART' is significantly lacked and you need to take art 101 again.

    ipse
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    So Sheriff Watson decided to ask the judges if it would be OK to put up a display in the lobby of the building devoted to the functions of the courts, and he got told not only no but why no, and because 'Murica and "Heroes" he's all cheesed off and went looking for publicity over something. [1.] Do I have it right?

    [2.] Why is nobody besides me upset at the desecration of the flag by that "thin blue line"? Or is it not a flag at all but merely a piece of art?

    [3.] Why push the actions of the Portsmouth judges via Board v Bacon when the same argument can be made for every courthouse and every chief judge in the Commonwealth? What turned this straw into the one that broke your rage's back?

    Tempest, meet teapot.

    stay safe.
    1. No, from what I understood, the Sheriff put up the art, and was then told to take it down. Did you see any report that indicated he asked permission? I didn't, and would be glad to read such if you know of one.

    2. I probably share your opinion on the "thin blue line," but taste in art-work is not germane to the issue of the authority of the judges to control the art in a common area lobby.

    3. Why push this one, when yes, there are many dozens of other violations? Because this one is in the news, and you have to start somewhere. As Thundar notes, how this is resolved is very important to gun rights in public buildings. If we can force these rogue judges to follow the clear ruling of the Supreme Court of Virginia on art work, then we have a foot in the door to forcing all the other judges to pull back their gun-bans to their actual court rooms as well, leaving the rest of the building subject to 15.2-915, which it already should be!

    TFred

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    A law unto themselves....

    I have oft heard judges, especially Circuit Court Judges, called a law unto themselves. If they say it is law, it may as well be, because there is no one to appeal to. Good luck getting the legislature to reign them in. This is not as it "should be" but it is as it is.
    Last edited by The Wolfhound; 03-12-2015 at 02:08 PM.
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    If true, as reported elsewhere, the artwork (Flag) in question happens to be facing an area that the public (including jurors and potential jurors) uses to access the court facilities.

    The artwork appears to be prejudicial towards police and is therefore inappropriate in such a setting.

    The court got it right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wolfhound View Post
    ... Circuit Court Judges, called a law unto themselves... because there is no one to appeal to. ...
    Literally wrong or figuratively sarcastic? There is the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    As mentioned, this is not about artwork. But the judges have a need to control what artwork does or does not get put up lest they find themselves deep in that First Amendment swamp.

    I agree 100% that this is about defining the area(s) where by statute firearms are not allowed in public spaces.

    Circuit court judges are no unappealable - even regarding building administration. I agree that looking to te legislature for a fix is pretty much a nonstarter. I don't see Commonwealth Attorneys finding a law that has been broken. Which leaves civil suits.

    We have often wondered what a higher court would do if the fact that a lower court was blatantly ignoring their ruling.

    Do we take up a collection among the faithful or Crowdsource this?

    stay safe.
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    The Federal Circuit has a unique jurisdiction.

    28 U.S. Code § 1295 - Jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

  12. #12
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I don't have standing in this one that's been selected because it was in the news yesterday. Someone who has standing please fish or cut bait.

    I'm not acting right now where I do have standing because I have other fish to fry.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
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    1) The Sheriff's authority extends to the provision of courthouse security, not interior decoration.

    2) A courthouse is a courthouse except when it's not really a courthouse - e.g., in the City of Falls Church, the General District Court meets in council chambers in what's really City Hall. One corridor on one floor is dedicated to clerk's office and such but if you need to do personal property tax or whatnot, you don't need to go anywhere near any of the court stuff. And when court's not in session, council chambers is not off limits. But a building that is dedicated to the courts and ancillary services (holding cells, commonwealth's atty offices, etc.) is, like, totally a courthouse, dude.

    3) It's generally up to the local government to provide space for the courts, sheriff, etc., so I don't think the judges have any interior decoration authority, either.
    § 15.2-1638. County or city governing body to provide courthouse, clerk's office, jail and suitable facilities for attorney for the Commonwealth; acquisition of land.

    The governing body of every county and city shall provide courthouses with suitable space and facilities to accommodate the various courts and officials thereof serving the county or city; within or outside such courthouses, a clerk's office, the record room of which shall be fireproof; a jail; and, upon request therefor, suitable space and facilities for the attorney for the Commonwealth to discharge the duties of his office. The costs thereof and of the land on which they may be, and of keeping the same in good order, shall be chargeable to the county or city. The fee simple of the lands and of the buildings and improvements thereon utilized for such courthouses shall be in the county or city, and the governing body of the county or city may purchase so much of such property, as, with what it has, may be necessary for the purposes enumerated or for any other proper purpose of the county or city. However, any portion of the property owned by a county and located within a city or town and not actually occupied by the courthouse, clerk's office, or jail, may be sold or exchanged and conveyed to such city or town to be used for street or other public purposes. Any such sale or exchange by the governing body of a county shall be made in accordance with the provisions of § 15.2-1800.

    The amendments contained in Chapter 90 of the 1986 Acts of Assembly shall not apply to the City of Virginia Beach.
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    1) The Sheriff's authority extends to the provision of courthouse security, not interior decoration.

    2) A courthouse is a courthouse except when it's not really a courthouse - e.g., in the City of Falls Church, the General District Court meets in council chambers in what's really City Hall. One corridor on one floor is dedicated to clerk's office and such but if you need to do personal property tax or whatnot, you don't need to go anywhere near any of the court stuff. And when court's not in session, council chambers is not off limits. But a building that is dedicated to the courts and ancillary services (holding cells, commonwealth's atty offices, etc.) is, like, totally a courthouse, dude.

    3) It's generally up to the local government to provide space for the courts, sheriff, etc., so I don't think the judges have any interior decoration authority, either.


    I guess GW Law School will have to change its JD degree from Juris Doctor to Juris Dude.

    Last edited by Citizen; 03-15-2015 at 08:55 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    SNIP Why is nobody besides me upset at the desecration of the flag by that "thin blue line"? Or is it not a flag at all but merely a piece of art?...

    Tempest, meet teapot.

    stay safe.
    I agree with tempest, meet teapot. Speaking for myself, I do not conflate the flag with America. The flag is the symbol of a specialized corporation referred to as the federal government. That fedgov has done more to desecrate its own flag than everybody else in the world combined. Just for perspective, I would sooner demand my local sheriff's department or police stop desecrating their uniforms with US flag patches. Not that I have much respect for police; I'm just sayin'.

    Even if one holds the US flag is a symbol of America, the fedgov desecration of the flag still holds. The fedgov has soaked the flag in blood and economic wreckage. What's the last count? I've forgotten. Is it 1300 or 3900 dead innocents killed in drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Fellow human beings whose murder the fedgov euphemizes as collateral damage. Ever see a photo of a predator drone? A few of the photo's I've seen showed a little US flag painted on them. So, even if one views the flag as a symbol denoting all Americans collectively, the fedgov is the principal desecrator. Under this flag = all Americans view, the fedgov is sliming all of us with its perpetrations on other peoples. And, ourselves, but that's another post.

    So, speaking for myself, I do not see a desecration of the flag. Desecration of art, maybe, but not the flag. And, if one branch of government wants to argue with another branch about the flag, fine. A little in-fighting amongst themselves might give a brief respite to one of their victims.
    Last edited by Citizen; 03-15-2015 at 08:52 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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