Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: News item blasts Judge Freeman holding proof of competency to be expired!

  1. #1
    Moderator / Administrator
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    See below - does anyone have In re Austin handy? I'd like to post that Appeal Court slam dunk of Freeman here at OCDO.


    Judge criticized over gun permit denials

    Monday, Apr 21, 2008 - 12:57 AM

    BY Daniel Gilbert

    ABINGDON, Va. =96 Bill Hubble's military discharge papers from 1947 did
    not pass muster for demonstrating competency with a handgun, a Smyth
    County circuit court judge ruled in November 2006.

    It was not the first time that Judge Isaac St.C. Freeman had denied a
    concealed handgun permit to an honorably discharged veteran, even
    though such status qualifies an applicant for a permit under Virginia

    In the last year, two of Freeman's rulings on concealed weapons
    permits have been repudiated by a higher court and by legislators who
    last month passed a bill clarifying the state code. One lawmaker
    lodged a formal complaint with the Virginia Supreme Court about
    Freeman's demeanor and rulings.

    It was Hubble, 78 years old when he applied for a permit, who
    precipitated the legislative inquiries that tacked on eight words to
    the state code =96 which become effective in July.

    Hubble had hoped to settle things by meeting with Freeman, but after a
    testy encounter in which the judge stood by his ruling, Hubble got on
    the phone to state lawmakers.

    Among those he called was state Delegate Joseph P. Johnson Jr., an
    Abingdon Democrat who himself had been honorably discharged from
    military service.

    "A discharge is a discharge, and the law is the law," Johnson said in
    a telephone interview.

    The Code of Virginia lists proof of an honorable discharge as one of
    the standards for demonstrating competency with a handgun and states
    that "no applicant shall be required to submit to any additional
    demonstration of competence."

    "In the code and the law, it's acceptable," said Johnson. "I don't
    know for what reason it was not acceptable" in Hubble's case, he said.
    Calling Freeman's ruling a "misinterpretation, maybe," Johnson
    introduced a bill adding the following language: "nor shall any proof
    of demonstrated competence expire."

    Hubble, a tall, snowy-haired octogenarian, said: "It shouldn't have
    had to go through the legislature. It's my right as a citizen."

    "I will not accept it"

    The tiff that eventually reached the General Assembly began with a
    letter Freeman wrote on Aug. 22, 2006, in response to Hubble's

    "Dear Mr. Hubble," Freeman wrote, "You must complete a proper
    handgun/weapon course before I will sign your application. ... The
    proof of training you submitted was a discharge from the U.S. Navy,
    which occurred in December of 1947. I will not accept it."

    A week later, Hubble arrived without an appointment at the Washington
    County Courthouse hoping to speak with another judge about the issue.
    He met with Freeman.

    Freeman did not respond to interview requests for this article or to
    written questions submitted to his secretary.

    But some basis for Freeman's rulings can be gleaned from court
    records, in which the judge also wrote an account of his meeting with

    In Freeman's version, Hubble refused to take another weapons course
    and threw the judge's letter at him.

    "He got very angry, threatening to go as far as he could =96 regardless
    of the cost =96 to get me," Freeman wrote in a note in Hubble's court

    Hubble reviewed and disputed that account, calling it "completely and
    totally untrue."

    In November 2006, Freeman denied the permit, noting that Hubble "has
    not demonstrated competency."

    Several months earlier, Freeman had given similar instructions to an
    Army veteran who submitted his discharge papers as proof of

    "You will need to submit an updated certification exhibiting your
    competency with a handgun," Freeman wrote to Jefferson Dale Baldwin
    Sr. on May 26, 2006.

    Both the Smyth County sheriff and commonwealth's attorney had signed
    off on his application, and Baldwin was stunned by Freeman's letter.

    "Every county that I know of around us honors an honorable discharge,"
    Baldwin, 80, said in a telephone interview. "But [Freeman] didn't. I
    don't know what his problem is."

    Baldwin opted to take a firearms course and his permit was granted the
    following month. "There was no point in appealing. Not with that guy."

    Kevin Austin, a 32-year-old emergency medical worker, took a different
    tack when his application for a permit was denied, a month after
    Hubble's was rejected.

    Austin had submitted a certificate for a state-approved hunter
    education course when he applied for a permit. The sheriff and
    commonwealth's attorney found no disqualifying factors and added their
    signatures to his application.

    Freeman, however, demurred, noting that Austin completed the training
    course 18 years ago =96 at age 13. "I do not consider it sufficient
    proof of competency," he wrote to Austin in an October 2006 letter,
    recommending the applicant take "an up-to-date course."

    After Austin pressed the issue, citing the code section on competency,
    Freeman again advised him to submit further proof. "Otherwise, I will
    deny your application and allow you to proceed through the appeal
    process," Freeman wrote on Nov. 16, 2006. He denied Austin's permit a
    month later, indicating "failure by petitioner to demonstrate proof of

    In explaining his rationale for denying the permit, Freeman appears to
    conflate the legal required age for filing a permit =96 21 =96 with an
    applicant's age at the time competency was demonstrated.

    "He showed proof only that he took a hunter safety course before he
    was 21 ... Petitioner must be 21 to make application," Freeman wrote.

    Austin appealed the ruling, and in June 2007, the Virginia Court of
    Appeals ruled in his favor, instructing the lower court to grant the
    permit. In its opinion, the court noted that Austin had demonstrated
    competency with a handgun and that none of the 20 disqualifying
    criteria "involve the length of time between the petitioner's firearm
    training and the application for a permit."

    A pink Post-it note in Austin's court file, dated the day the appeals
    court opinion was filed in Smyth County Circuit Court and bearing
    Freeman's initials, reads: "Save this for Judge Kirksey or Judge
    Lowe." He granted the permit the following month.

    Questions of discretion

    Judges infrequently deny concealed weapon permits, according to court perso=

    Washington County Clerk Patricia Phipps said two permits have been
    denied so far this year out of about 300 applications received. Last
    year, five out of 820 applications for permits were denied.

    A clerk in Smyth County said that about 3 percent of applications are
    rejected per year. The county granted 300 permits in 2007.

    But gun-rights activists recall a time when denials were more common,
    and the wording of the law much looser. Before the code was amended in
    1995, the section on handgun permits left issuance to the judge's

    A bill introduced that year by former state Sen. and now U.S. Rep.
    Virgil H. Goode Jr. struck language instructing judges to weigh an
    applicant's character, demonstrated need for a concealed weapon, and
    physical and mental competence in issuing a permit.

    Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizen's Defense League,
    said that though the language is now much tighter, "we're forever
    having these extralegal requirements."

    Freeman's name "has popped up probably more than any judge," Van
    Cleave said by phone.

    Complaints about Freeman, he said, have ranged from his recent rulings
    on handgun competency to requesting that an applicant interview with
    him personally in 2005.

    "Some of these far western counties seem to still be living in the
    past," he said.

    Freeman, though, is relatively new to the bench. He was appointed as a
    general district court judge in 2003 and moved up to the circuit court
    in 2005.

    Before becoming a judge, Freeman had a general law practice in Marion
    for 29 years. He graduated from Virginia High School and attended the
    University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and worked from 1966 to 1971 as
    an aide to former Congressman William C. Wampler Sr., father of the
    currently serving state senator.

    Freeman, who twice ran unsuccessfully for state office as a
    Republican, said in an unrelated telephone interview last month that
    he "never anticipated being a state judge, ever."

    Legislators weigh in

    In his short time on the bench, Freeman has generated what one
    legislator described as "significant concerns."

    Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Lebanon, lodged a formal complaint against
    Freeman with the state Supreme Court. In a letter to Chief Justice
    Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr., Puckett wrote that Freeman "obviously is
    holding these applicants to a higher standard than the Code of
    Virginia requires, and is not following the law as required."

    Puckett also criticized Freeman's judicial demeanor "with regard to
    attitude, abuse of judicial power, and indifference to other
    individual's opinions and concerns."

    Delegate Johnson, who sponsored the bill on Hubble's behalf, supported
    Freeman's appointment to the bench and has practiced in his court. He
    said in an interview that he would not take a "Monday morning
    quarterback view" and that Freeman "does a good job" as judge.

    Delegate Charles W. Carrico Sr., R-Independence, said he spoke at
    length with Freeman about handgun permits and also wrote him a letter
    saying he found no "recency requirement for training" in the state

    "Therefore," Carrico wrote, "none should be interpreted."

    Sen. William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol, who also supported Freeman's
    nomination to the bench, wrote in support of Hubble, but declined to
    comment on the case specifically.

    Hubble, for his part, conceded that he does not really need a
    concealed weapons permit. Once an avid bird hunter, he said he has not
    bagged a grouse in years.

    "A friend talked me into the durn thing," he said of his reasons for applyi=

    But his resolve hardened, he said, " 'cause that guy told me I
    couldn't have it."

    On March 28, Hubble filed another application for a permit.

    His court file is unusually thick for this type of civil case. In
    addition to his application, there are letters of support from state
    legislators and a sheriff, the Court of Appeals decision in Kevin
    Austin's case, and the stapled text of House Bill 873, with its eight
    italicized words.

  2. #2
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Virginia USA, ,

    Post imported post

    Pretty sad that our vet's are denied the rights which they fought for. It is a shame these judges legislate from the bench.

    More power to the gentleman and his fight.

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Southeast, Missouri, USA

    Post imported post

    hsmith wrote:
    Pretty sad that our vet's are denied the rights which they fought for. It is a shame these judges legislate from the bench.

    More power to the gentleman and his fight.

    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  4. #4
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Newport News, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    What is the difference between Judge Freeman and a petty dictator?.....





    I don't know either.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    No longer in Alexandria, Egypt

    Post imported post

    "You will need to submit an updated certification exhibiting your
    competency with a handgun," Freeman wrote to Jefferson Dale Baldwin
    Sr. on May 26, 2006.
    Since Judge Freeman graduated in 1966 from UT perhaps he needs to show proof of competency with the law.

    Apparently practicing isn't enough for him.

  6. #6
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Virginia USA, ,

    Post imported post

    BobCav wrote:
    "You will need to submit an updated certification exhibiting your
    competency with a handgun," Freeman wrote to Jefferson Dale Baldwin
    Sr. on May 26, 2006.
    Since Judge Freeman graduated in 1966 from UT perhaps he needs to show proof of competency with the law.

    Apparently practicing isn't enough for him.

  7. #7
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    , Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    It's also pretty sad that any citizen has to beg permission and pay the government to Bear their arms in a particular fashion. Bear means Bear there was no distinction of the style or preference of carry for a reason.
    Actually it is not sad it is despicable and a disgustful thrashing of one of the most important parts of the Constitution. Only Vermont and Alaska have it correct.

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA
    "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"

  9. #9
    Moderator / Administrator
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    skidmark wrote: They don;t post them online - I have paid 50cents for a copy to be sent to me which I will post.

  10. #10
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    , ,

    Post imported post



    ------------------------------------------------ _fight/23120

    ================================================== ================================================== ==

    He Sues And Loses, But Pat Mannix Has Only Begun To Fight

    Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herald Courier

    Patrick Mannix discusses a recent court victory that was overturned on appeal.

    Daniel Gilbert< p>

    By Daniel Gilbert
    Reporter / Bristol Herald Courier
    Published: April 19, 2009

    BRISTOL, Va. – Two years ago, Pat Mannix sued a talk show host for refusing to take his calls and won a $3,000 judgment when the radio personality did not file a legal response.
    Since then, things have gone rather downhill for the litigious Bristol gadfly.
    After the radio host, Marc Bernier, appealed, a Washington County Circuit Court judge in September 2007 ruled against Mannix, determining that the case was not grounded in facts. The Virginia Supreme Court recently denied Mannix’s appeal. Now the Circuit Court is forcing him to pay a loser’s fee: more than $10,000 in costs incurred by his opponent’s law firm.
    The objections of Mannix are legion.
    He challenges whether there is sufficient evidence for the court to impose sanctions against him. He calls his opponent’s legal fees excessive – even fraudulent. He has tried to subpoena the law firm’s bookkeeper and billing records. He has twice sought to disqualify the judge and filed a complaint with the state’s judicial policing body.
    So far, to no avail.
    Mannix originally brought the case against a dozen defendants, including Bristol and Washington County law enforcement and another radio station, suing for wrongful arrest, fraud and false advertising, but since then it has taken on a different flavor, evolving into a kind of referendum on one man’s use of the legal system.
    Mannix, 57, has no formal legal training but is “blessed with the ability to read,” as he puts it. A former telephone repairman for the U.S. Air Force and a former postal worker, Mannix generally operates like a one-man law firm, representing himself, filing his own motions and serving his own papers.
    “I do not file things unless I’m serious about them,” he insisted when asked if his lawsuits always have merit. “I come to court as a last resort.”
    Since 1989, Mannix has sued 28 times in Washington County Circuit Court, not counting a divorce case and an application for a concealed handgun permit. He has sued three times in Bristol Circuit Court, not counting the Bernier case. He would not discuss in detail how he finances his legal crusades, but estimated that he has sunk perhaps $10,000 in them over more than two decades. He would spend that much again fighting to deny Bernier’s attorneys from collecting money he thinks they’re not entitled to, he said.
    “It’s become a matter of principle. Cost is not even a consideration,” he said.
    Mannix stands by his 2007 claim that Bernier discriminated against him by refusing to take his calls, and then obtaining an injunction against him in a Florida court. Bernier did not return a phone message seeking comment.
    But the crux of Mannix’s legal argument has shifted focus from Bernier to the system itself, and the presiding judge, Isaac St. Clair Freeman. Mannix has blasted Freeman as unfit for the bench, and believes the judge went outside the record to justify sanctions against him. That, at least, is how Mannix explains the printouts of his civil court history that appeared in the Bernier court file without authentication or notice, only to be referenced as evidence by Freeman at a hearing.

    “Unreasonable and oppressive”
    In September 2005, a local Christian radio station filed a complaint in Sullivan County, Tenn., against Mannix for telephone harassment, a misdemeanor.
    The programming director for WPWT claimed Mannix, in one month, had called about “150 times, tying up our phone lines and disrupting our business,” according to the affidavit.
    Mannix doubts he called that many times. But the dispute heightened when Washington County, Va., officers picked him up at his home, and booked him as a fugitive from a felony.
    “Telephone harassment,” Mannix mused. “How bad would it have to be to be a felony?”
    In Tennessee, harassment is a felony only when a person convicted of a crime is accused of contacting the victim of the crime.
    A Washington County judge tossed out the case in October 2005. A year later, Mannix was picked up by police in Bristol on the same warrant. Again, the charge was dismissed, but this time Mannix shot back, taking collective aim at the parties he believed wronged him.
    He filed a civil warrant seeking $15,000 – the maximum allowable in general district court. All defendants responded to his April 2007 complaint – except one, Bernier, based in Daytona Beach, Fla. A Bristol General District Court judge dismissed the charges against the rest of the defendants. He entered a $3,000 judgment against Bernier in July 2007.
    The next month, Bernier retained the Bristol firm of Elliot Lawson & Minor to appeal the judgment to Circuit Court.
    Freeman, a circuit court judge who sits in Marion, Va., was assigned to the appeal. In the first hearing in September 2007, Freeman appeared to find the legal arguments of Bernier’s attorney, Eric Reecher, vastly superior.
    Taking Reecher’s arguments under advisement, Freeman asked Reecher if the attorney had requested that Mannix pay court costs and his attorney’s fees.
    In fact, Reecher had not, but told the judge he planned to. He did so within a week, seeking $9,600 in attorney’s fees, based on an affidavit submitted by his law firm’s bookkeeper.
    Freeman, meantime, granted Reecher’s motion demurring to Mannix’s initial charge, and dismissed the case.
    After just two months of litigation, Reecher’s fee stunned Mannix, who served the bookkeeper, Susan Doss, with a subpoena and requested billing records.
    Reecher moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that it sought information protected by the attorney-client privilege, and calling it “unreasonable and oppressive.” Freeman granted the motion to quash the subpoenas, over the objection of Mannix and his attorney, Randall Eads.
    A Virginia court can impose sanctions, such as paying for an opponent’s court costs, when a judge determines that a litigant’s pleading is not fact-based or was brought to harass the other party.
    In an Oct. 26, 2007, hearing, Eads argued that the court lacked evidence to determine whether Mannix had done anything worthy of sanctions, and that he should at least be granted access to the people and records that supported the calculation of attorney’s fees; he could not cross-examine a written affidavit in court.
    “We don’t know if Mr. Mannix ever had a case or not because it was just not worked up to make that determination,” Eads argued, according to transcript of the hearing.
    “And Mr. Mannix certainly disputes that any attorney would work 46 hours on a case that would be appealed from a general district court to a circuit court,” Eads said, calculating the hours based on Reecher’s fee of $200 an hour. He later amended his calculation to 48 hours.
    “They could have done it pro bono for all I know,” Mannix said.
    Reecher, asked about the work involved in such a case, declined to comment last week.
    Freeman granted the motion for sanctions.

    “The past is not my concern”
    In Freeman’s letter to the parties on Jan. 11, 2008, not only did he approve sanctions against Mannix, he sought to stop him from filing any legal action in the circuit without judicial permission.
    “Mr. Mannix shall obtain leave of court prior to instituting any cause of action within this circuit, regardless of which court,” Freeman wrote.
    The final order, which Reecher’s office prepared, opted for a narrower construction of Freeman’s opinion. The order billed Mannix $9,913.93, and obliged him to obtain the court’s permission before bringing a legal action against Bernier, his show or the broadcast corporation that produces the show.
    Reecher and fellow attorney, Dawn Figueiras, limited the scope of Freeman’s opinion in order to reduce the likelihood of an appeal, Figueiras said in court.
    This, though, was not Freeman’s original intent, the judge said during a Feb. 27, 2008, court hearing.
    “My intent was for Mr. Mannix to get leave of the Court to file any civil lawsuit in this Circuit, not just against Mr. Bernier,” he said.
    In explaining why, he cited Mannix’s lengthy civil paper trail.
    “And part of the record in this case was the number of cases that Mr. Mannix has filed and it is a lot ... and except for one, it appears to me that they were all either dismissed or there was no action taken.”
    To clarify, Freeman added: “And what has happened in the past is not my concern; it’s what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.
    The revelation that Mannix’s civil court history had become part of the evidence in the dispute with Bernier was news to Mannix and Eads.
    Following the hearing, they were alarmed to find in the court file printouts of electronic records listing Mannix’s civil lawsuits in Bristol and Washington County – the very records Freeman had referenced. The printouts were not authenticated nor stamped with a time of filing, as required by Virginia laws on evidence.
    The following week, Eads filed a motion to set aside Freeman’s verdict, objecting that the documents were improperly filed and “may have tainted the decision of the Court on the issue of sanctions.”
    Freeman denied it.
    Convinced that Freeman, himself, placed the printouts in the court file, Eads wrote in his appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court that judges “have no duty or obligation to search for evidence on their own in any particular case.” And he added a particularly apt metaphor for Freeman, an avid hunter: “Unlike hunting seasons established by the Game Commission to regulate hunting period activities for certain species of game, a closed season always exists for judges in reference to hunting for evidence.”
    Eads concluded: “The hunters of evidence should be no one other than the parties to the litigation and not the trial judge who has a duty to properly admit or reject evidence.”
    Eads’ appeal cited numerous judicial errors, from Freeman’s acceptance of the bookkeeper’s affidavit as evidence to the amount of attorney’s fees sought.
    The high court denied the appeal on Oct. 22, 2008. In February, the court denied a petition for a rehearing.
    With the case in an inexorable slide toward sanctions, Mannix again lashed out at the parties he believed had wronged him. Days after the final word came from the Virginia Supreme Court, Mannix filed a formal complaint against Freeman with the Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission – an arm of the high court that polices judges.
    Later that month, he sued Doss, the bookkeeper for Elliott Lawson & Minor, for fraud; the case is now pending in General District Court.
    Nothing, though, changed Mannix’s $10,000 legal bill – nothing except for more sanctions.
    Bernier, his victory intact, applied for more fees generated by the appeal: $1,000 and change.
    For most unsuccessful litigants, this would not be cause for celebration.
    For Mannix – though perplexed as to why two months of legal work at the trial court level cost 10 times more than the appellate work – it was a most welcome development.
    The application for more fees defibrillated the case, jumping it back on the docket, and requiring the entry of a new final order. Meaning: Mannix has not lost yet.

    “I’m not going to hear this”
    On April 14, Mannix appeared before Freeman for what the judge said would be the last hearing in the case.
    Before taking the bench, Freeman sent word to a bailiff denying a request by the Bristol Herald Courier to photograph the hearing. The judge did not inform Mannix nor Reecher of the request, and did not give the newspaper a chance to plead its case, as provided for in Virginia law.
    He did not state a reason for denying the request.
    The first motion Freeman entertained in court was Mannix’s argument that the judge should recuse himself.
    In the lengthy, four-page motion, Mannix incorporated his previous objections to Freeman’s rulings, and claimed the judge violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct by considering evidence that was not introduced by a party to the litigation.
    Mannix also quoted at length from a Bristol Herald | (276) 645-2558

  11. #11
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Fairfax Co., VA

    Post imported post

    hsmith wrote:
    Pretty sad that our vet's are denied the rights which they fought for. It is a shame these judges legislate from the bench.
    Good reason for the younger generation not to fight.

    I'd love to see an entire generation of young Americans declare they will not put on the uniform unless government restores all rights and erases much of the regulation we see today.
    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.

  12. #12
    Regular Member ChinChin's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Loudoun County, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    Citizen wrote:
    hsmith wrote:
    Pretty sad that our vet's are denied the rights which they fought for. It is a shame these judges legislate from the bench.
    Good reason for the younger generation not to fight.

    I'd love to see an entire generation of young Americans declare they will not put on the uniform unless government restores all rights and erases much of the regulation we see today.
    I like the way you think, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter!
    The problem with the internet is nobody can really tell when you’re serious and when you’re being sarcastic. –Abraham Lincoln

  13. #13
    Campaign Veteran roscoe13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Catlett, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    So, what's it take to remove a sitting judge for demonstrated legal incompetence?
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts