Posts Tagged ‘motion for rehearing’

Eleventh Circuit Disses The U.S. Supreme Court Chooses To Protect Judge Graham

April 28, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham, The “Teflon Don”

Point of This Post

The U.S. Supreme Court once said: “But unless we wish anarchy to prevail within the federal judicial system, a precedent of this Court must be followed by the lower federal courts no matter how misguided the judges of those courts may think it to be.” Hutto v. Davis, 454 U.S. 370 (1982). This post is a yet another perfect example of how the “unpublished” Opinion is used to defy the authority of the United States Supreme Court. What is clear from this post is that if the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court Of Appeal, does not like the facts or the law involved in a case, it will simply make a terse one sentence “opinion” ignoring both the facts and the law. “The “petition for writ of mandamus and petition for writ of prohibition” is DENIED.” See “Opinion“, Case No. 01-15754. In this matter, Case No. 01-15754, the Eleventh Circuit declined to honor a petition for mandamus as a notice of appeal and perform meaningful appellate review as required by the U.S. Supreme Court. The petition attacks a sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction that was rendered on September 20, 2001 and excoriates Judge Graham for his misconduct and mismanagement. It is no wonder that Judge Graham feels that he is above the law and that he is the “Teflon Don”.

In addition, on a parallel track, a direct appeal, Case No. 01-13664, is already pending when Judge Graham renders the sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction of September 20, 2001. The handling of this matter yields even more dishonest and evasive measures.

  • The Eleventh Circuit struck Mason’s appellate brief for arguing against the sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction of September 20, 2001 because they claimed it was “beyond the scope of appeal”. However, when the Eleventh Circuit rendered its opinion affirming Judge Graham it then used the same sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction to affirm Judge Graham. See full story of this despicable act at this site, post entitled, “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal
  • The Eleventh Circuit refused to test the allegations of misconduct leveled at Judge Graham for veracity, even though admittedly fully briefed, it declines to review the issue of whether or not Judge Graham abused his discretion by failing to disqualify. See full story, this site, post entitled, “Are Allegations of Misconduct Reviewable on Appeal?

The Eleventh Circuit had to make a choice. It could save Judge Graham from his record, or it could follow binding precedent as set forth by the United States Supreme Court. It chose to save Judge Graham from the consequences of his own misbehavior and hubris. Is the Eleventh Circuit free to ignore the edicts of the United States Supreme Court?

A US Circuit Judge On the Potential Dangers of Unpublished Opinions

“If, for example, a precedent is cited, and the other side then offers a distinction, and the judges on the panel cannot think of a good answer to the distinction, but nevertheless, for some extraneous reason, wish to reject it, they can easily do so through the device of an abbreviated, unpublished opinion, and no one will ever be the wiser. (I don’t say that judges are actually doing this–only that the temptation exists.) Or if, after hearing argument, a judge in conference thinks that a certain decision should be reached, but also believes that the decision is hard to justify under the law, he or she can achieve the result, assuming agreement by the other members of the panel, by deciding the case in an unpublished opinion and sweeping the difficulties under the rug. Again, I’m not saying that this has ever occurred in any particular case, but a system that encourages this sort of behavior, or is at least open to it, has to be subject to question in any world in which judges are human beings.” 1 J. App. Prac. & Process 219 (1999). UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS: A COMMENT, Richard S. Arnold, Copyright © 1999 University of Arkansas – Little Rock School of Law ; Richard S. Arnold

United States Supreme Court

A document intended to serve as an appellate brief may qualify as the notice of appeal required by Rule 3. So long as such a document is filed within the time allowed by Rule 4 for a notice of appeal and satisfies Rule 3(c)’s requirements as to the content of such a notice, it may be treated as the “functional equivalent” of the formal notice demanded by Rule 3.” SMITH v. BARRY ET AL. 502 U.S. 244 (1992) (Syllabus). See also Eleventh Circuit’s Finch v. Vernon, 845 F. 2d 256, 259-260 (11th Cir. 1988) (citing United States v. Rogers, 788 F.2d 1472, 1475 (11th Cir.1986) (notice of appeal requirement is satisfied by any statement clearly evincing the party’s intent to appeal); Yates v. Mobile County Personnel Board, 658 F.2d 298, 299 (5th Cir. Unit B Oct. 1981) (“A petition for mandamus filed in this court, however, may also satisfy the notice of appeal requirement, especially when the appellant is proceeding pro se … and is thus generally ignorant of procedural rules.”).”).

The Eleventh Circuit received a mandamus petition that was docketed as being received on October 2, 2001. See Receipt. This is a 25 page petition plus exhibits. Microsoft Word Format, html format, and pdf format. According to the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit’s own binding precedents, this mandamus petition should have been treated as a notice of appeal.

If a document filed within the time specified by Rule 4 gives the notice required by Rule 3, it is effective as a notice of appeal.“); Rinaldo v. Corbett, 256 F.3d 1276, 1279-80 (11th Cir.2001)To perform its function a notice of appeal must specify the parties taking the appeal, designate the judgment or order being appealed, and name the court to which the appeal is being taken. Fed. R.App. P. 3(c)(1). That is all.Main Drug, Inc. v. Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 475 F.3d 1228 (11th Cir. 2007).

The Defendant, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, and U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham also received a copy of the mandamus petiton. Judge Graham did not file a brief in opposition to the petition. The Defendant did not file a responsive brief to the petition. The Eleventh Circuit did not require anyone to respond the petition.

Basis of Mandamus or Appeal

On September 20, 2001, Judge Graham rendered a pre-filing injunction, sua sponte, against Marcellus Mason. See Document No. 878. This type of order is also referred to as “Vexatious Litigant injunction“, “pre-screening injunction”, and “leave to file injunction”. This order specifically states: “THIS CAUSE came before the Court sua sponte.” See Document No. 878, pg. 3. There is a string of U.S. appellate courts and state courts, including Florida and Georgia that have declared sua sponte issued pre-filing injunctions issued without notice and opportunity to respond to be invalid. See Case Law On Pre-Filing Injunctions Section, Judge Graham Disagrees With The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, And DC Circuit Courts Of Appeal.

A mandamus petition was docketed as being received on October 2, 2001 by the Eleventh Circuit. See Receipt. This petition attacks the sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction of September 20, 2001. This petition also excoriates Judge Graham and takes him to task for the following:

  • Graham has usurped the power of law enforcement.
  • Graham has usurped the power of the “Legislature.”
  • Graham improperly interjected himself into matters under the Florida Public Records Act.
  • Grant has allowed significant and material pretrial motions to languish in the Court without making a decision. Petitioner will show that Graham has allowed motions and appeals to go for months without being addressed. Petitioner will show that Graham has granted summary judgments without addressing filings by this Petitioner, which attacks the summary judgment. Graham has repeated refused to rule on the Petitioner’s Motions For Summary Judgment.
  • Graham has had Petitioner’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to languish in his Court and die on the vine without a ruling on the merits, despite the fact that the motion has been pending since November 24, 1999.
  • Graham has failed to conduct proper “de novo” reviews when required. Graham has effectively undermined the will of Congress by allowing a Magistrate Judge to decide dispositive matters without the express authorization of all the parties. The Magistrate Judge has been granted “de facto” dispositive authority by Graham.
  • Graham has been dishonest in claiming that matters have been litigated when they have not been litigated.
  • On numerous occasions, Graham has exercised judicial authority without explaining the law and the facts that underlie his decisions. In this respect Graham has made a host of arbitrary and capricious decisions.
  • Graham has been guilty of gross mismanagement and malfeasance in every case to which this Petitioner has been a party to.

See Petition For Mandamus, pgs. 3,8-12,18-23.

Is The Eleventh Circuit An Advocate for Judge Graham?

In reply to the 25 page petition on December 5, 2001, the Eleventh Circuit rendered the following “Opinion”:

“The “petition for writ of mandamus and petition for writ of prohibition” is DENIED.” See “Opinion“, Case No. 01-15754.

Mason filed a motion for clarification seeking to know the basis upon which the decision was made or what the opinion stood for, however the Eleventh Circuit declined to discuss the matter.

Rehearing Denied

On January 25, 2002, the Eleventh Circuit denied a motion for clarification:

Petitioner’s “motion for reconsideration and clarification” of this Court’s December 5, 2001, Order, is DENIED as Petitioner has offered no reason sufficient to warrant either reconsideration or clarification of this Court’s Order.

Rehearing Denied

Personal Responsibility and Integrity of the Judges

On February 6, 2004, Judge Stanley Marcus, Judge Rosemary Barkett, and Judge Susan Black were sent a letter via U.S. certified mail informing them of the legal atrocities in this matter. See Letter. However, all declined to answer or take the appropriate legal action as required by the United States Supreme Court.


Advertisements

“Teflon Don” Avoids Reversal While Colleague Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages Suffers Reversal

April 22, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”

It is hard not to conclude that Judge Donald L. Graham is more valued than his colleagues at the Southern District of Florida when Judge Graham “teflon don” is affirmed on appeal while his colleagues at the S.D. Fla. are reversed. This is the second of two posting on this site where this has happened. Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley met a similar fate. See posting this site, “Eleventh Circuit Uses Same Set of Facts To Reverse One Florida Judge While Affirming Another Florida Judge“. It is difficult to see how such a system advances the notion of equal justice. It would seem that justice is a function not of the “rule of law”, but of whether or not the judge is favored by the appellate courts.

U.S. Dist. Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages was reversed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit for failing to make Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)’s requisite finding that “lesser sanctions would not suffice” while her colleague U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”, failed to make the same finding but was affirmed on appeal. In addition to the omission of the requisite finding under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b), the Eleventh Circuit had to take the following extreme measures to keep from reversing “Teflon Don”:

  • The Eleventh Circuit, though admittedly briefed, failed to review for validity the very orders that were used by Judge Graham to justify dismissal of the case under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). See Documents Nos. 201 and 246. The Eleventh Circuit was quite willing to discuss violations of these orders, but not their validity.
  • The Eleventh Circuit explicitly accepted Judge Graham’s thesis that the government, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners had a right not to be communicated with and further that Highlands County Board of Commissioners were prejudiced by lawful communication with it by Mason.
  • The Eleventh Circuit, though admittedly briefed, failed to review the issue as to whether or not Judge Graham should have disqualified or not.
  • The Eleventh Circuit used two documents that were beyond the scope of appeal to affirm Judge Graham.
  • The Eleventh Circuit struck Mason the Appellant/Plaintiff’s brief for arguing an order that it deemed beyond the scope of appeal and then turned around used the very same order to affirm Judge Graham. “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal”
    For support of these assertions, see “Additional Issues Faced by Judge“, below.

    A US Circuit Judge On the Potential Dangers of Unpublished Opinions

    “If, for example, a precedent is cited, and the other side then offers a distinction, and the judges on the panel cannot think of a good answer to the distinction, but nevertheless, for some extraneous reason, wish to reject it, they can easily do so through the device of an abbreviated, unpublished opinion, and no one will ever be the wiser. (I don’t say that judges are actually doing this–only that the temptation exists.) Or if, after hearing argument, a judge in conference thinks that a certain decision should be reached, but also believes that the decision is hard to justify under the law, he or she can achieve the result, assuming agreement by the other members of the panel, by deciding the case in an unpublished opinion and sweeping the difficulties under the rug. Again, I’m not saying that this has ever occurred in any particular case, but a system that encourages this sort of behavior, or is at least open to it, has to be subject to question in any world in which judges are human beings.” 1 J. App. Prac. & Process 219 (1999). UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS: A COMMENT, Richard S. Arnold, Copyright © 1999 University of Arkansas – Little Rock School of Law ; Richard S. Arnold

    Publication

    The Eleventh Circuit used a published opinion to reverse Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages, World Thrust Films v. International Family Entertainment, 41 F. 3d 1454 (11th Cir. 1995) , Phyllis A. Kravitch,Judge Hatchett, Senior Cir. Judge Clark, while it used a unpublished or non-published opinion to affirm Judge Graham, Mason v. Heartland Library Cooperative, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, et.al., Case No. 01-13664, (11th Circuit 2002) , Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr., Judge Stanley Marcus, and Judge Susan H. Black.

    The Law on Rule 41(b) Dismissals

    The Eleventh Circuit rigidly requires district courts to make findings explaining why lesser sanctions would not suffice. Rhini Cellular, Inc. v. Greenberg, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 14266, *15 (11th Cir. 2006). The Eleventh Circuit has consistently vacated and reversed Rule 41(b) dismissals where the district court failed to explicitly make the finding that lesser sanctions would not suffice. See e.g., Turner v. United States, 2006 Fed. Appx. 952 (11th Cir. 2006); Rex v. Monaco Coach, 155 Fed Appx. 485 (11th Cir. 2005); Betty K Agencies, LTD v. M/V Monada, 432 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2006); Ford v. Fogarty Van Lines, 780 F. 2d 1582, 1583 (11th Cir.1986);Tweed v. Florida, 151 Fed. Appx. 856, 857 (11th Cir. 2005).

    The Eleventh Circuit “has clearly stated that because dismissal is considered a drastic sanction, a district court may only implement it, as a last resort, when: (1) a party engages in a clear pattern of delay or willful contempt (contumacious conduct); and (2) the district court specifically finds that lesser sanctions would not suffice.” World Thrust Films v. International Family Entertainment, 41 F. 3d 1454 (11th Cir. 1995). “A district court has authority under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 41(b) to dismiss actions for failure to comply with local rules.” id..

    Although we occasionally have found implicit in an order the conclusion that “lesser sanctions would not suffice’, we have never suggested that the district court need not make that finding, which is essential before a party can be penalized for his attorney’s misconduct.” Mingo v. Sugar Cane Growers Co-op of Florida, 864 F.2d 101, 102 (11th Cir.1989) (citations omitted). This court has only inferred such a finding “where lesser sanctions would have “greatly prejudiced’ defendants.

    Facts Supporting Rule 41(b) Dismissal

    Judge Graham

    On June 20, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:
    [I]t is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED…Plaintiff shall be prohibited from contacting any of the Defendants, including their supervisory employees and/or the individual Defendants, regarding any matter related to this case.” See Docket Entry No. 201

    On July 25, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:

    ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED… Plaintiff shall correspond only with Defendants’ counsel including any requests for public records.” See Docket Entry No. 246.

    Highlands County asked and got Judge Graham to dismiss a lawsuit because of alleged violations of these orders, which Mason contended on appeal, were illegal. Highlands County filed two motions for sanctions in the form of dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit. Docket Entry Nos. 511 and 646. These motions depicted out of court communications between Highlands County and the Plaintiff, Marcellus Mason. Judge Graham and his Magistrate granted these motions and dismissed the case on June 20, 2001. See Docket Entry Nos. 766 an and 791.
    The following alleged out of court lawful communications were used to dismiss the lawsuit.

    • “They claimed that, during the week of 5 February 2001, Mason had demanded to view his personnel file from Highlands County’s Human Resource Director Fred Carino, a named defendant in the case.” See Opinion, pg. 4.
    • They stated that, on 13 and 14 February 2001, Mason also appeared at Carino’s office and demanded to view the billing records for Highlands County’s attorney and Highlands County’s liability insurance documents. See Opinion, pgs. 4-5.
    • They attached a copy of an e-mail apparently sent by Mason in which he explained that he would file a criminal complaint against Carino if he was denied any requested documents and expressed his belief that the county had “waived” its rights under the Orders as a result of Carino’s conversations with Mason and letter. See Opinion, pg. 5.
    • On 6 April 2001, Heartland again moved for sanctions in the form of dismissal because Mason had “repeatedly personally contacted [by e-mail] supervisory employees and/or individual Defendants” in the case since the magistrate judge’s 27 March order. See Opinion, pg. 6.

    In this case, the Eleventh Circuit stated:

    “Although the district court did not make an explicit finding that a sanction less than dismissal with prejudice would have sufficed, it is unclear what lesser sanction would have been more appropriate in this situation.”

    There is no mention as to how Highlands County was “greatly prejudiced”, a necessary finding, by lawful out of court communications with it by the Plaintiff Mason. Such a notion would be absurd on its face. In order to make the “implicit finding”, the Eleventh Circuit, used two documents that were beyond the scope of appeal and that Mason did not have a chance to oppose. Moreover these documents should not have been a part of the record as both were produced subsequent to the closing of the case on June 20 2001. The Case was closed on June 20, 2001 and the notice of appeal filed on June 25, 2001. The Eleventh Circuit used two documents that were beyond the scope of appeal to affirm Judge Graham. Docket No. 878, a prefiling injunction, was issued sua sponte, on September 20, 2001. Pgs. 13-14 of the Opinion states:

    Moreover, despite the closure of the case by the district court, Mason’s continual filing of motions with the court addressing matters previously settled prompted the district court to prohibit Mason from further filings without explicit permission and initiate criminal contempt proceedings. Therefore, the record supports the district court’s implicit finding that a sanction less than dismissal of the action with prejudice would have had no effect.

    Additionally, Docket Entry No. 900, dtd March 22, 2002, is directly referenced “R19-900-7” and used for justification at pg. 12. “R19-900-7” stands for record volume 19, Document no. 900.
    The Eleventh Circuit admitted that the following were at issue on the appeal:

    Mason also raises issues that relate to non-sanction matters,..the denial of his motions to disqualify the district court and magistrate judges, and the merits of his complaint.

    See Opinion, pg. 10.

    On appeal, Mason argues that the magistrate’s discovery orders enjoined him without legal authority and violated his First Amendment and Florida state-law rights to petition Florida government officials and to request public records.

    See Opinion, pg. 9.

    Judge Ungaro-Benages

    The case was dismissed because of the following:

    • Plaintiffs violated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 16.1 by failing to timely file a scheduling report.
    • Plaintiffs failed to effect service of process, and file proof thereof

    In this case, the court declined to evaluate the first prong as to whether or not engaged World Thrust in a clear pattern of delay or willful contempt. The court concluded it need not analyze that prong because the district court, Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages failed to make a finding that lesser sanctions would not suffice. The Court stated:

    We need not decide, however, whether the conduct of World Thrust’s lawyers was contumacious because the district court failed to make the necessary finding that lesser sanctions would not suffice in this instance, as required in the second prong of the inquiry.

    Additional Issues Faced by Judge

    Judge Graham faced additional issues on appeal which, anyone of which would have required reversal. However, the Eleventh Circuit simply chose to ignore the following issues on appeal:

    • Judge Graham should have disqualified or recused.
    • Judge Graham issued injunctions that were invalid. Violations of these same orders formed the basis of the Fed.R.Civ.R. 41(b) dismissal. These orders prohibited direct communication by the Plaintiff , Mason with the Highlands County Government. For discussion of these orders, see posting “A Federal Magistrate May Issue An Injunction So Long As He Does Not Call it An Injunction
    • Judge Graham failed to rule on a motion for a preliminary that was pending from November 24, 1999 until the case was closed on June 20, 2001. The opinion does not discuss this issue.
    • Judge Graham mismanaged the case by allowing scores of filings to go undecided.
    • Judge Graham intentionally misrepresented the law. The opinion does not discuss this issue.
    • The Eleventh Circuit used two documents that were beyond the scope of appeal to affirm Judge Graham. The Case was closed on June 20, 2001 and the notice of appeal filed on June 25, 2001. The Eleventh Circuit used two documents that were beyond the scope of appeal to affirm Judge Graham. Docket No. 878, a prefiling injunction, was issued sua sponte, on September 20, 2001. Pgs. 13-14 of the Opinion states:

      Moreover, despite the closure of the case by the district court, Mason’s continual filing of motions with the court addressing matters previously settled prompted the district court to prohibit Mason from further filings without explicit permission and initiate criminal contempt proceedings. Therefore, the record supports the district court’s implicit finding that a sanction less than dismissal of the action with prejudice would have had no effect.

      Additionally, Docket Entry No. 900, dtd March 22, 2002, is directly referenced “R19-900-7” and used for justification at pg. 12. “R19-900-7” stands for record volume 19, document no. 900.
      The Eleventh Circuit admitted that the following were at issue on the appeal:

      Mason also raises issues that relate to non-sanction matters,..the denial of his motions to disqualify the district court and magistrate judges, and the merits of his complaint.

      See Opinion, pg. 10.

      On appeal, Mason argues that the magistrate’s discovery orders enjoined him without legal authority and violated his First Amendment and Florida state-law rights to petition Florida government officials and to request public records.

      See Opinion, pg. 9.

A Federal Magistrate May Issue An Injunction So Long As He Does Not Call it An Injunction

April 21, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham

Who Are the Defendants?

The Defendants in this matter is the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and its employees. The Highlands County Board of County Commissioners is a local government and political subdivision within the state of Florida located in Sebring, FL. The king, “teflon don”, Judge Donald L. Graham is located in Miami, FL about 158 miles from Sebring, FL.

Federal Magistrate May Not Issue an Injunction, 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(a)

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary—
(A) a judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, except a motion for injunctive relief,..
.” 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(a).

On June 20, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:
[I]t is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED…Plaintiff shall be prohibited from contacting any of the Defendants, including their supervisory employees and/or the individual Defendants, regarding any matter related to this case.” See Docket Entry No. 201

On July 25, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED… Plaintiff shall correspond only with Defendants’ counsel including any requests for public records.” See Docket Entry No. 246.

Communications Judge Graham Deemed Unlawful

Judge Graham dismissed a lawsuit because out of court communications. See Report and Recommendation, “R&R”,(DE #766); Order Adopting R&R, (DE #791). Highlands County filed motions for sanctions in the form of dismissal for the following conversations.

During the week of February 5, 2001, Plaintiff knowingly violated this Court’s Orders of June 19, 200 and July 25, 2000. Plaintiff appeared at the office of Fred Carino, Human Resource Director of Highlands County and a supervisory employee of a named defendant in this action, and demanded to view his personnel file. This request was made directly to Mr. Carino’s office and not through Defendant Highlands County’s counsel.

D.E. 511, ¶6, PG.3).

Plaintiff sent e-mail communications directly to supervisory employees of the Defendants, which discussed the “no trespass warnings” that were issued against Plaintiff,...

D.E. 646, ¶10, PG.3). Judge Graham was adamant that Mason not talk to the Highlands County Government. As a matter of fact, three months after the case was closed, Judge Graham said:

[I]ncluding continual attempts to directly communicate with the Defendants rather their attorneys, the Court enjoined Mason from any further contact with the Defendants or Defendants” employees. Mason, however, ignored the Court’s order and continued to contact the Defendants…On June 20, 2001, in view of Mason’s repeated refusal to comply with the Court’s rules and orders, the Court dismissed case number 99-14027.

See Docket No. 878, pgs. 4-5. God damn it, I told you not to talk to the government!

Mere Technicalities

Assuming a federal magistrate may issue an injunction, a mere technical obstacle exists called the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

These orders are classical prior restraints on pure speech. “Prior restraint has traditionally been defined as a “predetermined judicial prohibition restraining specified expression … A prior restraint is generally judicial rather than legislative in origin” Bernard v. Gulf Oil Co., 619 F.2d 459,467 (C.A.5 (Tex.), 1980). “Pure speech is “[t]he communication of ideas through spoken or written words or through conduct limited in form to that necessary to convey the idea… Pure speech is accorded the highest degree of protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” Based on Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law ©2001. The U.S. Supreme Court has said: “Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.” Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58, 71 (1963). “[T]the Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint, even faced with the competing interest of national security or the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.” Procter & Gamble Co. v. Bankers Trust Co., 78 F.3d 219, 227 (C.A.6 (Ohio), 1996). “In its nearly two centuries of existence, the Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint on pure speech.” Providence Journal Co., Matter of, 820 F.2d 1342, 1348 (C.A.1 (R.I.), 1986)

Judge Graham’s Opinion

Judge Graham has backed his Magistrate to the hilt and said that these orders are not “clearly erroneous nor contrary to law”.

June 19, 2000, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch entered an Order granting Defendants a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants in this action…On July 25, 2000, Magistrate Judge Lynch entered an Order granting Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction, once again prohibiting Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants in this action or their supervisory employees. After careful review of the file and the pertinent portions of the record, the Court finds that Magistrate Judge Lynch’s ruling is not clearly erroneous nor is it contrary to law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; see also Cooper-Houston v. Southern Railway Company, 37 F.3d 603 (11th Cir. 1994).

See Docket Entry 407.

Definition of Injunction

“A prohibitive or preventive injunction commands a person to refrain from doing an act and necessarily operates on unperformed acts and prevents a threatened but nonexistent existent injury.” State of Ala. v. U.S., 304 F.2d 583, 597 (C.A.5 (Ala.), 1962). According to Black’s Law Dictionary, an injunction is a “court order commanding or preventing an action.” Black’s Law Dictionary, pg. 800, 8th Edition, Bryan A. Garner, Editor in Chief, @ 2004 West Publishing Company. The Magistrate’s orders, among other things, commands that “Plaintiff shall correspond only with Defendants’ counsel including any requests for public records.” The Magistrate’s orders prohibits or prevents “contacting any of the government Defendants, including their supervisory employees and/or the individual Defendants…”. Even more compelling support that these orders are really injunctions comes from the Highlands County’s attorneys themselves who specifically entitled their motion as Defendants Motion For Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 199). Moreover, in their prayer for relief the Defendants requested “an injunction prohibiting Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants…” (Doc. 199, pg. 4). “An injunction is a coercive order by a court directing a party to do or refrain from doing something, and applies to future actions.” Ulstein Maritime, Ltd. v. United States, 833 F. 2d 1052, 1055 (1st Cir. 1987). “When a decree commands or prohibits conduct, it is called an injunction.” Gates v. Shinn, 98 F. 3d 463, 468 (9th Cir. 1995); Zetrouer v. Zetrouer, 89 Fla 253 (Fla. 1925)(“A prohibitory, sometimes called preventive, injunction is one that operates to restrain the commission or continuance of an act and to prevent a threatened injury). “The term ‘injunction’ in Rule 65(d) is not to be read narrowly but includes all equitable decrees compelling obedience under the threat of contempt.” Consumers Gas & Oil v. Farmland Indus., 84 F.3d 367, 370 (10th Cir. 1996). See United States v. Santtini, 963 F. 2d 585, 590 (3rd Cir. 1992)(court of appeals not constrained by district courts characterization of its order). “Ordinarily, since an injunction is defined not by its title but by its effect on the litigants, …, it would be assumed that an order that has the practical effect of an injunction is an injunction for the purposes of Sec. 1292(a)(1).” Abernathy v. Southern California Edison, 885 F.2d 525, 529 n.14(C.A.9 (Nev.), 1989). Some well-known cliches might be appropriate at this junction. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Appellate Oddessy and Gauntlet

These orders have run an incredible odyssey and gauntlet of appellate attacks, however, the Eleventh Circuit has managed to avoid reviewing these orders for validity. See posting this site,”Eleventh Circuit Repeatedly Refuses To Review Orders For Validity“. The Eleventh Circuit has made some incredible rulings and done some amazing things with these orders or injunctions without reviewing them for validity.

  • Case No. 01-11305. The Eleventh Circuit denied a mandamus petition or interlocutory appeal to review these orders. For you legal types, a mandamus petition maybe construed as a direct appeal. In Re Bethesda Memorial Hospital Inc., 123 F.3d 1407, 1408 (11thCir. 1997)( ”[P]recedent permits us to treat the petition for the writ of mandamus as a direct appeal..”); Yates v. Mobile County Personnel Bd., 658 F.2d 298 (11th 1981)(“A petition for mandamus filed in this court, however, may also satisfy the notice of appeal requirement, especially when the appellant is proceeding pro se…”). An Interlocutory appeal of an injunction is permitted. See Delta Air Lines v. Air Line Pilots Assoc., 238 F.3d 1300, 1308 (11thCir. 2001)(“ We have jurisdiction to hear this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292, which permits appeals from interlocutory orders of district courts ‘granting, continuing, modifying, refusing or dissolving injunctions.’.”). However, the Eleventh Circuit declined to review these orders while stating: “With regard to his requests for relief from the order granting the defendants’ motions for preliminary injunction, which the court construed as preliminary discovery motion, Mason has alternative remedy. He may either comply with the district’s courts discovery order and challenge it on appeal from the final judgment, or refuse to comply with the order and challenge its validity if cited for contempt.” See Order Dated April 26, 2001. Judge Ed Carnes wrote this unpublished opinion. Judge Carnes’s opinion advances the absurd notion that a litigant should wait until the lawsuit is finished in order to get appellate review of orders that violate the First Amendment. However, absurd legal advice notwithstanding, Mason followed this advice and did just what Ed Carnes said. Hence, the direct appeal, Case No. 01-13664-A.

    Case No. 01-13664-A

    The panel that sat for this appeal included: Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr., Judge Stanley Marcus, and Judge Susan Black. The Eleventh Circuit pulled very some very dishonest acts of trickery and chicanery in this unpublished opinion and appeal. One of these acts was stating that Marcellus Mason violated these injunctions and that Judge Graham was justified in dismissing the lawsuit based upon these alleged violations, but the Eleventh Circuit absolutely refused to review these same orders for validity. The appellate review consisted solely of the following acknowledgment: “On appeal, Mason argues that the magistrate’s discovery orders enjoined him without legal authority and violated his First Amendment and Florida state-law rights to petition Florida government officials and to request public records…” See Case No. 01-13664 Opinion, Pg. 9. In this very verbose and prolix opinion, there is no other discussion about the validity of these orders. When told that they had “overlooked” or “forgot” to test the very validity of the orders they claimed that Mason had violated, Judge Stanley F. Birch and the Eleventh Circuit replied: “The petition(s) for rehearing filed by Appellant, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr., is DENIED“. See Order. Perhaps the most egregious act of dishonesty that the Eleventh Circuit pulled in this appeal was that they struck Mason’s brief for arguing against a sua sponte issued prefiling injunction because it was “beyond the scope of appeal”; and when the Eleventh Circuit rendered its opinion, it used the very same sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction or vexatious litigant injunction, that it claimed was “beyond the scope of appeal”to affirm “teflon don”. See “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal“.

Judge Graham Uses Act of Cowardice Hides Behind Dresstail of Court Reporter To Intimidate Litigant!

April 21, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham

What this Posting Will Prove

Judge Graham attempted to use intimidation in order to prevent Marcellus Mason from appealing arbitrary denials of Rule 60(b), Fed.R.Civ.P. motions. In order to accomplish this task Judge Graham scheduled a “Status/Motion Hearing” with AUSA Robert Waters and U.S. Probation required to be at a civil hearing. Mason was on probation at the time. However, Judge Graham did not think his hearing was important enough to reduce his ‘rants’ to writing, he opted instead to hide behind the dresstail of a court reporter and have her write some account of the hearing. See Document No. 934. Apparently, Judge Graham does not know, or more likely does not care that: “Even after a judgment has become final and even after an appeal has been lost, Civil Rule 60(b) gives losing parties additional, narrow grounds for vacating the judgment.” GenCorp, Inc. v. Olin Corporation, 477 F.3d 368;2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 3102 (6th Cir., 2007). Moreover, there is no time limit bringing a Rule 60(b)(4) motion. See HERTZ CORP. v. ALAMO RENT-A-CAR, INC., 16 F.3d 1126 (11th Cir. 1994).

Background

In District Case No. 99-14027-CIV-GRAHAM, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr. v. Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, Judge Graham rendered a “vexatious litigant order”, “pre-filing order”, “pre-filing injunction”, “filing injunction”, “leave to file” injunction, sua sponte on September 20, 2001. See Page 3, Docket Entry Number 878, (D.E. # 878) . This document boldly asserts: THIS CAUSE came before the Court sua sponte. Sua Sponte meaning on the courts’ own motion and without a request from any party. It is well settled and black letter law that sua sponte issued pre-filing injunctions rendered without notice and opportunity to respond, “due process”, are clearly void. See Case Law Authority. One of the terms of this clearly void sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction is:

3. Any request for permission to file additional pleadings in the above captioned cases already before the Court SHALL be in the form of an application filed with the Clerk of Court and addressed to United States District Judge Donald L. Graham. This application shall consist of a one paragraph explanation of the requested relief in the proposed pleading, and shall not exceed one page. The application shall not include the proposed pleading.

See Page 9, Docket Entry Number 878, (D.E. # 878). Incidentally, Mason has challenged this clearly void sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction on what has to be a world record number of times; however, the Eleventh Circuit has declined to reach the merits of this sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction by asserting all manner of procedural arguments. See Futile Appellate Review Attempts. As a matter of fact, the denials are not consistent and even contradict each other on each successive attempt at appellate review. Even an ardent supporter of the system would have a hard time arguing that there is not a certain amount of dishonesty involved in the matter. For a really egregious example of this dishonesty, see this site page, “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal“. Judge Graham is truly the “Teflon Don” because none of his misconduct sticks to him. See this site postings “Documented Acts of Misconduct by U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham” and “Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson Aggressively Defends Judge Donald L. Graham

Alleged violations of this clearly void sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction formed the basis of a criminal contempt information and conviction in this matter. Essentially, Judge Graham and AUSA Robert Waters concocted a crime and framed an innocent man using the enormous power of the U.S. Government. See Framed and Wrongful Conviction. Mason was sentenced to five years probation on this concocted charge and was sentenced to the following special terms in addition to the standard terms of probation:

  • Mental Health counseling.
  • Prohibited from using the Internet. The government and AUSA Robert Waters asked for this term to stop criticism of Judge Graham on the Internet. See this site’s posting, “Power of US Government Used To Suppress Criticism of U.S. Dist. Judge Graham” This term was particularly offensive because Mason made his living off the Internet, being a MCSE and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and CNE, Certified Novell Engineer.

    One Page Request to File Pleading

    On December 16, 2004, pursuant to the terms of the sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction, Mason filed a one page letter seeking permission to file a Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 60(b)(4) motion to disqualify Judge Graham. See Document No. 932. This one page letter stated that Judge Graham should have disqualified because he had, among other things, lied and intentionally misrepresented the law. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit had “forgot” or “overlooked” the issue of whether Judge Graham should have disqualified or not. See post this site, “Does A Mere Clause In a Sentence Represent Meaningful Appeal?” Incidentally, when the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr. and in particular, was told on a motion for rehearing that they “overlooked” the issue of whether or not Judge Graham should have disqualified, the Eleventh Circuit simply stated: “The petition(s) for rehearing filed by Appellant, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr., is DENIED“. See Order. On January 9, 2005, Judge Graham issued what he termed a “NOTICE OF HEARING”. See Document No. 933. Judge Graham claimed that it was supposed to be a “Status/Motion Hearing” set for January 14, 2005. Notwithstanding the fact that this was a civil case, Judge Graham ‘invited the following people: Frank Smith, U.S. Probation Office, Lynn Waxman, Appellate Attorney, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Waters. It is fair to say that in Judge Graham’s mind this “NOTICE OF HEARING” is important.

    The “Status/Motion Hearing”

    The “Status/Motion Hearing” was indeed held on January 14, 2005. There was no discussion of the merits of the impending motion or request to file a motion. Exactly what role would AUSA Robert Waters and Frank Smith, U.S. Probation, play in a civil matter? Judge Graham said the matter is over. Mason asked Judge Graham was he prohibiting the filing of a Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 60(b)(4)? Judge did not answer the question directly. He kept expressing his apparent personal opinion and desire for the matter to be over. Judge Graham exclaimed: “The Eleventh Circuit denied your appeal!” Judge Graham did not reduce any of his barking of commands to writing; instead he had his court reporter, C. Horenkamp, file an unsigned piece of paper called a ‘Civil Court Minutes’ on January 18, 2005. See Document No. 934. It appears that Judge Graham was attempting to “sua sponte” modify the sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction of September 20, 2001. Until now, Judge Graham has declined to put his “commands” in writing. However, an open letter to Judge Graham has been posted to this site explaining, with case law, to Judge Graham that orders and/order injunctions must be reduced to writing. See this site posting, “Open Letter to Judge Donald L. Graham Dated April 3, 2008“. Additionally, Judge Graham was sent a letter directly to chambers. It is clear that Judge Graham is attempting bully Mason into submission without reducing his “commands” to writing where they can be documented, archived, and appealed. Judge Graham is clearly trying to circumvent the appellate process. Judge Graham wants to have it both ways in that he wants deny access to the courts by Mason, but he is not man enough to put it in writing! Man up! Judge Graham has no compunction about violating the ‘rule of law’.