Letter to Tatro
Addressed to John Tatro:
I am writing to you as a citizen addressing an elected official.
I was a defendant before you in the case of National Business Factors vs. Pope. I feel compelled to comment on three of your rulings in that matter.
I sought a jury trial, and under justice court rules invoked in this instance, the matter was left to your discretion. You denied me a jury trial. Why you would wish to deny me a jury trial when it was within your discretion to grant me one, I don’t know, but you did. You mentioned on the record a reference to cost and inconvenience. Strange, the defense would bear the cost, and is justice now subject to convenience? But the law clearly puts the matter at your discretion and you exercised it lawfully. I regretted the ruling, but so be it.
Less acceptable is that you next required that I must immediately go to trial despite the fact that the plaintiffs had ignored and resisted discovery motions for 15 months and finally made a partial response two days before trial, a condition so outrageous and contrary to law that no impartial judge would have ever inflicted it on any defendant. In fact, had I been a member of the bar, I suspect that the plaintiffs would never have attempted such a despicable ploy, but you allowed it.
Finally, and most outrageously, the attorney for the plaintiff had stood before you on Aug. 25, and stated on the record that there was no need to provide the defense with a witness list as he would call no witnesses. Then on Oct. 7, the attorney proceeded to call two witnesses over my strenuous objections. You allowed the witnesses to be called. The attorney deliberately misled the court and the defendant, to his own advantage.
Any presiding judge of the most minuscule character or intelligence would have been outraged to have been so misled and manipulated by an attorney that he would have been apoplectic. Instead, you countenanced the attorney’s lie, endorsed his behavior and admitted the testimony.
I immediately requested leave to excuse myself from the court, turned my back and exited, as any man of character would do in these circumstances.
It matters not whether my cause be just or no, like any American I would have been content to put the evidence before a jury of my peers. Failing that, I would have trusted in a fair hearing before a just man. I was denied on both counts. You, sir, have entered a judgment against my interests and the plaintiffs will undoubtedly enjoy some advantage. But I feel that I am not diminished nor are you enhanced.
Of course, as you are well aware, the supposed right of appeal is effectively denied to any man lacking property exceeding the amount of the judgment. People such as myself who are less than affluent, without property or substantial income, are effectively denied appeal through the lack of wherewithal to post an appeal bond, in this case of $5,000 or more. This convenient exercise allows you to perform without restraint. It is sad, for my own sake and the sake of our community, that you lack a sense of self-restraint, judicial temperament and a basic desire to see justice done and judicial fairness administered.
It is my observation that like many petty bureaucrats, you view your office as a stepping stone to further advancement, and correspondingly in that interest cater to the establishment such as your brother at the bar. No mere citizen standing alone could hope to overcome this bias, and it therefore explains your conduct.