BLACK ROBED JUSTICE:
GUILTY WITHOUT A TRIAL
November 2, 2004
I won’t be able to own anything for the next twenty years. I won’t be able to make more than minimum wage without those wages being garnished. I won’t be able to have a savings or checking account. Financially, it’s going to be pretty tough for me and for my wife and four young ones.
You see, I have been found personally liable for a multi-million dollar judgment owed to two Oregon teachers unions. The incredible thing about it all is that I have not even had a trial. I have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. I have just been ordered to pay millions of dollars that I don’t have.
One would just assume that not even an activist judge in liberal Portland, Oregon would dare impose a multi-million judgment against an American citizen without so much as a constitutionally guaranteed trial by jury. One would assume that even a conservative activist like me would at least get a trial, even if it was rigged, before they took everything one owns.
If one assumed such a thing, one would be mistaken.
Earlier this month, a pro-tem Multnomah County judge ordered that I personally pay two teachers unions, the Oregon Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, what will amount to about $3.4 million in alleged damages without any legal finding that I personally did anything wrong.
To be frank, I am still in shock about the whole thing.
I am not worried so much about the money. I don’t have that kind of money, and see little chance that I ever will, so there is no reason to believe the unions will ever collect it. Sure, the financial pressures will be real and substantial, but what bothers me most is the principle of the thing.
Here is how this all unfolded: Two years ago, two teachers unions sued Oregon Taxpayers United, an organization for which I once worked as executive director, saying that the organization had placed two “anti-union” measures on the ballot in 2000 by means of forgery and by using money that legally we should not have been able to raise. A liberal judge turned the trial into a mockery by steering things the unions’ way at every turn. His blatant bias made it all but impossible for us to get a fair trial, even though the claims against us were from the beginning rather absurd.
During the course of that trial, the union attorneys told the jury over and over that this trial was not about Bill Sizemore, that Bill Sizemore was not on trial; that Bill Sizemore was not being sued and was not even a defendant in the case. I am sure the jury believed them.
Then, after the unions obtained their judgment against the organization in what could best be described as a kangaroo court, the union attorneys went to another Multnomah County judge and asked that the multi-million dollar judgment in the original case be entered against me personally.
Mind you, the jury verdict that resulted in the original judgment said nothing about me being personally guilty of any wrongdoing. In fact, there was no mention of me at all in the jury’s verdict. Why should there have been? I wasn’t on trial.
Later, when the union lawyers asked the court in a separate lawsuit to enter a summary judgment against me personally based on the decision in the previous case, my attorney reminded the judge that I was not a party to that lawsuit and that I have a constitutional right to a trial by jury and a right to due process of law before being found personally liable for millions of dollars in damages.
How did Portland Judge Ann Fisher respond to my attorney having the audacity of invoking the U.S. Constitution in my defense? The judge dismissed such technicalities out of hand and ordered that I personally pay the unions millions of dollars in damages without the formality of a trial. Why have a trial? I’m conservative Bill Sizemore and this was liberal Multnomah County? No trial was necessary.
I have written before about the corrupt state of the judiciary in this country. I have opined about their arrogance and reckless disregard for the law. However, even I am amazed by this one. I thought they would at least take the time to railroad me in court.
This is the way I see the entire affair: Bill Sizemore is a conservative, tax activist, who has in addition to sponsoring measures, which have lowered taxes by billions of dollars, has tried to weaken the political power of the public employee unions, the biggest donors to liberal candidates. The teachers unions and other public employee unions hate Bill Sizemore. The Oregonian newspaper that reports on such matters hates Bill Sizemore. Therefore, Multnomah County judges can do anything they want to Bill Sizemore with impunity. The press will give them a pass, and the public employee unions will give them all the campaign funds they need to stay in office come next election.
What other explanation is there? Liberal judges make up the law as they go along. Instead of following the law, they use their official positions to “do good,” as they personally see good, which obviously includes ridding the world of conservative activists like me.
Of course, I will appeal the decision, but in the meanwhile, the teachers unions have a judgment and can garnish my wages and levy my checking account, etc, etc.
The editor of the Albany Democrat Herald made the following statement in an editorial regarding this decision in my case and the chilling effect it will have on the First Amendment:
“Given Sizemore’s experience, who would risk incurring the wrath of big special interests with deep pockets and lots of lawyers? Who would dare go against such targets if the outcome is that you might be dragged into court as a racketeer and eventually lose everything you have?”
However, that is exactly the message the liberal judges and public employee unions are trying to send to conservative activists like me. They care nothing about the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with them. They are using my case to make it crystal clear to everyone, who would even consider taking them on, that they have the judges, the money, and the lawyers to bury any activist who messes with them.
Nonetheless, if I had the money to put another measure on the ballot, I would be back in their faces tomorrow. Sure, the deck may be stacked against me, but what do I have to lose? Compared to what the Founding Father risked and endured 200 years ago, while birthing this nation, a guy like me hasn’t suffered anything yet.
© 2004 Bill Sizemore - All Rights Reserved
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Bill Sizemore is a registered Independent who
works as executive director of the Oregon Taxpayers Union, a statewide
taxpayer organization. Bill was the Republican candidate for governor
in 1998. He and his wife Cindy have four children, ages eight to thirteen,
and live on 36 acres in Beavercreek, just southeast of Oregon City, Oregon.