From the January 2001 Idaho Observer:
Continuing education credit prejudices judges
SPLC-inspired The Anti-Government Movement Guidebook targets certain citizens for judicial ire
The following story is just the beginning of a volatile series of articles which will expose the judiciary as a prejudiced body that has no business sitting in judgment of certain types of citizens. How can a judge impartially oversee proceedings when he has been instructed to profile people in advance for what are often incorrectly assessed anti-government sentiments? This is explosive stuff. We ask that the reader review the material and make intelligent and strategic use of its implications.
By June Wisniewski
The Anti-Government Movement Handbook, a training manual for judge and court staff against pro se litigants, was published in 1999 by the National Center for the State Courts (NCSC) in Williamsburg, Virginia. This book, along with Dealing With Common Law Courts. A Model Curriculum for judges and Court Staff, published in 1997 by NCSC, was developed from an Institute for Course Management (ICM) course on dealing with common law courts held in Scottsdale, Arizona, February 5-7, 1997.
The curriculum for this course and manuals was developed under a grant, Award No. SJI-96-02B-B-159, The Rise of Common Law Courts in the United States: An Examination of the Movement, The Potential Impact on the Judiciary, and How the States Could Respond, from the State Justice Institute (SJI). SJI is a non-profit 501C(3) corporation that was started in 1986, and is funded by Congress to develop courses and training manuals for state courts and judicial training organizations.
The course and training manuals were developed by a group of 27 judges, court clerks, court administrators, and prosecutors in Arizona to learn about the history and procedures of the Common Law Court Movement (CLC) and to develop training curriculum and responses the courts, judges, and court administrators can use when dealing with common law courts in their own jurisdictions. My contact at the conference said one of its goals was to identify ways the courts can make pre-emptive strikes against the CLC movement.
Some of the keynote speakers who helped develop the CLC course in Arizona were Chief Justice Thomas Moyer of Columbus, Ohio; T.C. Brown, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from Columbus, Ohio; and Jonathan Mozzochi, Executive Director of the Coalition for Human Dignity in Seattle, Washington. Mozzochi distributed Guns and Gavels, a publication of the Coalition, and was listed as a nationally recognized expert on militias and hate group activity, sort of like the west coast version of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
I originally found out about this course by watching a videotape of a session of the 1996 combined conference of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators, held in Nashville, Tennessee, in the summer of 1996 called Impact of the Common Law Court Movement on the Courts. More than 50 state Supreme Court Justices and state court administrators attended the Tennessee conference and the CLC session was taped by a grant from SJI. The keynote speakers were Michael Reynolds, senior intelligence analyst for the SPLC, and James Reynolds, chief of Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, U.S. Department of Justice.
The panel discussion included Susan Hansen, senior reporter with American Lawyer; Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, past president of CCJ; Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael Zimmerman and judges Jeffrey Langton and Gregory Mohr from Montana. The taped session is over three hours long. At the end of the session, one of the speakers mentioned that there was additional funding for additional CLC conferences. I immediately called ICM, located at NCSC in Virginia and asked about additional CLC conferences. My contact told me that there was the Scottsdale conference going on in about three days. Since these two conferences, there have been additional conferences sponsored by SJI with other organizations.
SJI sponsored a conference with the American Judicature Society in Scottsdale, Arizona in November, 1999, that was closed to the public and the press. There will be an ICM course in Orlando, Florida February 5-7, 2001 called Increasing Access to Justice for Pro Se litigants, with the organization's perception on what access means.
Constitutionalists in Court was held in the St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota area in the summer of 2000 by the National Judicial College (NJC) of Reno, Nevada, and the same course was held again November 13-14, 2000, at NJC in Reno, Nevada. This course discusses the history of protest movements affecting the judiciary, identifies typical challenges and ways to handle them, anticipates courtroom security needs, and plans solutions and strategies.
NJC, together with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), conducted a survey, developed the material for their courses from SJI materials and grants, and published a brief report called Right-Wing Extremist Challenges to the Authority and jurisdiction of the Court in 1998. This course and report is a pre-emptive plan against pro-se litigants and anyone that disagrees with the court, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Native American protest groups, religious organizations and anyone else who may disagree with a court decision. The information from NJC is so controversial that NJC has banned their course and conference materials from the public, but their library and SJI repository is open to the public.
I originally started researching judicial training organizations in 1996 after I was denied an inheritance from the New Jersey court system when my parents died, and after I was denied entrance to a conference and course materials at NJC in May, 1996, called The National Conference on the Media and the Courts: Working Together to Serve the American People. The media conference was closed to the public. Only one New Jersey judge, Martin Kravarick, attended this conference. Judge Kravarick was elected president of the American Judges Association (AJA), a judge's organization under NCSC. AJA publishes a quarterly journal called Court Review available in your local law library, by subscription or by an inter-library loan.
I first found out about the judicial movement against pro-se litigants and the CLC movement by reading Kravarick's President Message in the Fall, 1996 issue of Court Review. I called Judge Kravarick for more information anf what the CLC movement was all about. He gave me some additional contact information. I called Mike Reynolds of SPLC and he told me there were four conference proceedings and that the conference was taped. I waited for over three months to get a copy of the tape, Impact of the Common Law Movement on the Courts. This tape is available through an inter-library loan with NCSC along with the training manuals mentioned above.
Each state has an SJI repository for all publications put out by organizations they have funded. For example, the repository in Nevada is at NJC in Reno. In New Jersey, the SJI repository is at the New Jersey State Library in Trenton. You can check out these training manuals with a New Jersey library card. You can find out where your SJI repository is by looking it up on the internet at http://www.statejustice.org, calling SJI at 703-684-6100, or write them at SJI, 1650 King street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
SJI is funded by Congress with your tax dollars. If you don't like the courses and materials they are funding, you can write to your senator or congressman, or SJI directly and ask them to stop funding these materials. SJI gets very few letters from the public. I'm sure they would love to hear from you. When you get to their website, read and download newsletters. Most of their new grants are in their newsletters.
The National Center for State Courts is an umbrella organization for several judges' organizations such as the National College of Probate judges (NCPJ), AJA, CCJ, COSCA, ICM and others. I have been a member of NCPJ since 1996 and have attended four judges' conferences. The most controversial and harmful material against the public is coming from NJC and NCSC materials, two organizations that compete with each other for SJI and federal government funding.
In the two training manuals mentioned above there are two sections in each book where the writers advise judges, court personnel such as court clerks and guards, how to handle pro-se litigants on a step-by-step basis. The perception of the court and writers of these manuals is a biased and dangerous viewpoint on how to get justice and equal access in the court system.
Note: This article is part of a soon to be published book, Unequal Justice - The Inside Story of the National Judicial College (copyrighted). Please contact me before you quote anything from this article. I have written other articles and am currently doing research on probate issues, judicial ethics and corruption, public access to records, and media constraints. I will need your help in a campaign to stop the funding to these organizations by writing letters, making phone calls, email or any other means. You may contact me at:
1375 Mill Street #313C
Reno, Nevada 89502
Ms. Wisniewski is a legal researcher, journalist and AMA member from Reno.