VA ethics panel, in snap, stands by kangaroo court judge in reckless driving case

A****** T**** prepares for trial in her family house in Soddy-Daisy, a trial set in Smyth County, Va., where she worked to defeat a bogus charge of reckless driving. (Photo David Tulis)
This letter by the Virginia judicial ethics watchdog suggests how little interested that state is in the malfeasance and abuses of its judges.

Benjamin Katz, assistant counsel, Your commission’s quick rejection of my complaint and grievance against Judge Travis Lee overlooks my proper and substantive presentation of evidence of judicial misconduct. 

By A****** T****

In your answer you say that the commission has no jurisdiction to review a judge’s rulings and decision in a case. I understand that. The judicial inquiry and review commission of Virginia is not a court of appeal. I understand that. 

A complaint of this kind is not an appeal on the substance of the case. 

However, does not the commission believe that the judge’s violating the statute giving me a right to record the hearing is significant? 

Do you not think that his denial of my right to counsel is significant as an ethical lapse especially when proper motion is made? 

Do you believe that it is within his discretion to deny and evidentiary hearing — one to which I have a right? 

Does it not disturb you that I have a right to know the nature and cause of the prosecution and is it not a violation of judicial conduct to deny the obtaining of such knowledge prior to trial?  

The defendant has a right to develop her theory of the case: Does not it disturb your commission’s sense of order that she was denied the right to develop this defense, seemingly without reason, seemingly arbitrarily and capriciously? 

And what about trial by ambush? Is that proper in Virginia? The judge allowed testimony to come before him which I had every right to know about beforehand. He allowed ambush testimony — and you accept it? 

That testimony was perjured and incredible — and he denied me opportunity to defend against it.

What about his creating facts in the case to justify his ruling? Is not the publishing from his lips purported facts a breach of ethics in Virginia? 

My undisputed transcript indicates he said that driving 50 mph in a 70 mph zone was extremely dangerous because some people might be on the street doing 140 mph. These are speculations that he raised to the level of facts, and upon them he found me guilty. 

Testimony had established that the road was empty, and a danger to other travelers or motorists is an essential element of the charge of reckless driving. Without other travelers on the road, and that element missing in the case, there is no way Judge Lee could have found me guilty of any charge relating to use of the car; no way, because there were no other people proximate to whom I could have been a danger. Is not this creation of spectral evidence not remarkable thing to have in the record — and from the judge himself? He created fictional facts to justify a finding in a criminal court based on a preponderance of evidence standard. 

Is this not a breach?

And the whole business of finding the complainant guilty upon a charge upon which she had not been tried — introduced against the defendant after the state declared its case closed. Does not the commission not at least wince at such treatment, especially given the U.S. Supreme Court’s rebuke of such practice?

I would like information, Mr. Katz, on appealing my complaint past your office. 

Please outline for me the protocols for doing this, as your response is entirely inadequate and appears to justify predatory state action both by the Virginia state troopers and the district court in Smyth County.

Respectfully yours, etc.

The Tulis Report is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.

Reckless driving Virginia?

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