COURTS IGNORE THE EQUITIES TO BENEFIT CREDITOR

This is a redo of my last blog.  The reason I am re-writing it is because the link at the bottom is an order from the United States Bankruptcy Court or the District Of Maryland (Baltimore Division) approving SPS purchase of the servicing rights I flew to Salt Lake City to take the deposition of the only witness Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS) intends to call at trial in an upcoming judicial foreclosure case in King County, Washington.  The witness did not seem to know much about the facts.  For example, the SPS witness (a lawyer) did not know SPS had purchased the “servicing rights” for my clients alleged “home loan” from a bankruptcy trustee for .077 of the unpaid principal plus all accounts receivable owe the note holder.  That’s right the witness did not know SPS bought the servicing rights for less than a penny on the dollar or the terms regarding that purchase agreement.  I have attached a link to the document below.  Pay particular attention to paragraph 3.01 at page 5 of the agreement. If SPS, allegedly suing on behalf of the trust  and its certificate holders, wins the case against this borrower the trust and the certificate holders likely will get little, if anything, out of the lawsuit.  SPS will have paid less than $15,000 in order to go after a once middle class American to collect a $1,500,000 + “judicial jackpot”.  SPS’ low cost stake in pursuing this once middle class citizen, and others like him, … Continue Reading

JUDICIAL REVIEW – A SLIPPERY SLOPE

This article is taken from one I blogged on July 15, 2012 when I was running for the Supreme Court of Washington.  My platform at the time was the court’s weren’t working and there was a need for change.  I think the need for change has grown even stronger since then. Now the whole country knows a majority of our land records are falsified, except for the courts.  Something is wrong, when the courts can simply ignore the truth. Anyway, this is an article i wrote a couple years ago challenging the basis of judicial review.  Courts should not be given such power unless they make more right decisions than wrong ones.  Our’s don’t any more.                    *                                       *                                       * We are taught that our nation’s Constitution sets forth a government based on checks and balances. But the United States Supreme Court decided in Marbury v Madison that the judicial department gets the final say over what the Constitution means. Chief Justice Marshall wrote: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”  But is it? The Constitution does not specifically say this.  Marbury only decided this as precedent.  Precedent can and should be overruled when it becomes harmful. My … Continue Reading

MATERIALISM MUST END

Life evolves.  That is the order of things. There are individual changes.  And there are societal changes. Monumental changes are not fully appreciated until they have occurred or are in their final stages. For example, smoking has been around since 5000 B.C.  Indeed, smoking was pretty much an accepted social activity for much of my life. An old family picture I found demonstrates the magnitude of the change in our culture regarding smoking in the 65 years of my existence. This is my Dad and me.  See the cigarette?  This doesn’t happen as much in twenty-first century America. I remember that in the nineteen-seventies and eighties I would consume a pack or two of cigarettes while I took a deposition.  That certainly does not happen now (both because I quit smoking in 1984 and because such conduct would no longer be tolerated.) Smoking is older than coinage and perhaps as old, or older than money itself.  If people can come to a consensus that smoking should be deterred, can we not come to similar conclusions about our monetary systems and materialism generally? The peoples of the world can and should decide that the monetary system and materialism which it promotes has become more harmful to the whole of humanity than is warranted by the benefits it provides to a few. It is time to reflect with regard to whether money and materialism gets in the way of achieving those goals which are necessary for our planet’s survival and evolutionary growth. As we battle to … Continue Reading

AN UNEXPECTED REWARD

It is Tuesday evening; almost midnight.  Already passed my “I need to get to sleep” time.  I finished watering the garden, have finished the start of a “fire and brimstone” brief (they always get watered down some)  And now I’m finishing the blog I started last night. So a lot of cool things happened last week.  But the most touching occurred the Monday morning before yesterday.  I drove down the mountain, parked my car, and entered the thrift shop next door to the ST office.  I often say hi the owners of the neighboring thrift store on Mondays while I check out some of the treasures they have found over the weekend. That morning, Jeff says “Hey, Scott.  I want you to look at something.”  When Jeff or his wife, Becky, tell me they want me to see something, this immediately gets my attention.  I smile and ask “what you got?” Jeff reaches behind the counter and shows me a piece of art he’s drawn.  “I wanted you to have this”. As my eyes focus on the image it is clear that the picture was designed to tell a story. I am drawn into the etching.  There is a short silence.  Then Jeff begins to speak.  He tells me the drawing began with the cross.  And at that point I felt shivers.  I remember him showing me the empty teller, the gavel banging into a toilet, and the money shooting into the air.  I heard what he said, but was dumbstruck, … Continue Reading

PASSION FOR JUSTICE

Perhaps a lot of my views in my sixties come from the fact that I was told I was going to die in my forties and didn’t.  It allowed me an early retirement and caused me to reflect about what mattered in my life while I expected to pass on. When I returned to working full time thereafter, I regained an appreciation for my profession, the practice of law, which grows stronger each day. I am acutely aware of the problems which our present day justice system causes for most Americans.  In Washington State, for example, as far back as 2003 most people (approximately 85%) could not afford an attorney to help them with legal matters.  “This is true even though legal problems often involve housing conditions, access to or conditions of employment or other basic human needs, and are almost always characterized as ‘important’   by the households themselves.”  And 2003 was well before the foreclosure crisis started the evil of hundreds of thousands of Americans being forced from their homes. So what does the fact that access to lawyers for most people is almost non-existent mean in today’s world?  Banks pay attorneys to have courts evict homeowners.  Homeowners often don’t have the money to fight the banks so they represent themselves pro se.  Most of the time the bank win, the pro se loses. Adding a lawyer to the equation really does not change much if it is the amount of money that determines the attorneys efforts with regards to … Continue Reading

COURTS IGNORE THE EQUITIES

I flew to Salt Lake City to take the deposition of the only witness Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS) intends to call at trial in an upcoming judicial foreclosure case in King County, Washington.  The witness did not seem to know much about the facts.  For example, the SPS witness (a lawyer) did not know SPS had purchased the “servicing rights” for my clients alleged “home loan” from a bankruptcy trustee for $0 .0077 on the dollar.  That’s right the witness did not know SPS bought the servicing rights for less than a penny on the dollar or the terms regarding that purchase. And SPS’ lawyer would not let the witness testify about who would get to keep the money from the foreclosure sale and any deficiency judgment SPS obtained on behalf of a purported trustee for certificate holders against my client. But everyone knows what really happens.  If SPS, allegedly suing on behalf of the trust  and its certificate holders, wins the case the trust and the certificate holders likely will get little, if anything, out of the lawsuit.  SPS will have paid less than $10,000 in order to go after a once middle class American to collect over a $1,000,000 “judicial jackpot”.  SPS’ low cost stake in pursuing this once middle class citizen, and others like him, is the process which is slowly destroying the fabric of America and causing many to appropriately question the fairness of our courts. Does SPS pursuit of this man’s home seem equitable to you? … Continue Reading

HOW THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CORRUPTED – PART FIVE (Focus on the courts)

The Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines the verb “corrupt” to mean: : to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc. : to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable : to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form It is a basic principle of Constitutional law that the legislative branch passes bills, which when approved by the Governor become statutes if consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and Washington.  When private disputes arise to which a statute applied courts must apply the law to the facts before them. In many cases this will require a court to determine the meaning of a statute in order to apply the facts to the the private dispute they have been asked to resolve.  Such was the situation when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to apply the following provisions of the DTA to Travis and Danielle Mickelsons’ case against Chase Home Mortgage.  The statute in question stated: (3) The trustee or successor trustee shall have no fiduciary duty or fiduciary obligation to the grantor or other persons having an interest in the property subject to the deed of trust. (4) The trustee or successor trustee has a duty of good faith to the borrower, beneficiary, and grantor. Although there is nothing ambiguous about the language “the successor trustee shall have no fiduciary duty or obligation … to persons having an interest in the property subject to the deed of trust”, three … Continue Reading

JULY 3, 2014

Like a sling shot, my mind has returned to reality after completing the two briefs which had to be filed today.  I spent about three hours after Matt and Brian left Arlington to shuttle one of the briefs to the Court of Appeals in Seattle and Ashley e-filed the other in King County Superior Court alone in my office “recovering”.  Yes, recovering is the right word to use upon completion of such a week long ordeal. As I stared blankly at my three computer screens and a long list of emails not yet read,  I felt grateful to be part of the lawyers and staff who daily come to work to fight our David and Goliath battle against the banks, servicers, and government sponsored entities.  I realized again how lucky we were to have found one another…  Or, at least, how lucky I was to have found them.  Together, we are learning and growing and becoming better at what we do, which is fighting those who have all the money and still want more. I spent some time watering the garden tonight.  It has grown from five or six years ago when Jan started growing a few vegetables.  Now there are several beds and a berm which runs along the driveway approaching the house.  It has become an unusually beautiful place and I sense that it is a part of what I am meant to do. My sixties have turned out better than expected. I’ve spent this last part of my … Continue Reading

THE STAFNE DEFECT

While I was in law school I visited a friend who was going to medical school.  I was thumbing through one of his textbooks and noticed in the index the term “Stafne Defect”.  Well, of course, I immediately turned to the pages which described said defect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stafne_defect My great uncle, Edward Stafne, was a renowned oral surgeon.  He gave both memorial addresses for each of the Mayo brothers, who founded Minnesota’s famed Mayo clinic. When I was 27, after I first to moved to Seattle, a group of relatives got together.  Uncle Edward was there.  I remember he was talking about what it was like to get old.  He was in his eighties then.  What bothered him most was the lost of his memory.  He complained that throughout his life he had an exceptional memory, which was now failing him. Days later, I wrote the following poem:

HOW THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CORRUPTED – PART ONE

  HOW THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CORRUPTED Part One.  Republic or Democracy?   The Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines the verb “corrupt” to mean: : to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc. : to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable : to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form   In twenty-first century America our leaders consistently tout the United States as a “democracy”.  For example, in McCutcheon v. FEC, 134 S. Ct. 1434 (2014) a five to four majority of the Supreme Court, relying on the notion that the United States was a democracy, invalidated restrictions on the elite’s ability to spend money to elect a legislature of similarly minded people.  In like fashion, our most recent presidents (of both parties, Bush and Obama) have extolled to the world, all nations and and their leaders, the benefit of “democracies”; where “the people” can govern themselves. Have our government officials forgotten?  The United States is not and was never intended by its framers to be a democracy.

Matt Taibbi and Hawaii Five 0

I am reading Matt Taibbi’s book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.  It makes some hard hitting points about changes in our nation’s law enforcement system and policing agencies resulting from the Obama administration’s determination that some banking institutions are too big to fail and therefore too big to police. I think Taibbi accurately makes the point that the acceptance of criminal or quasi-criminal behavior by banks has freed up policing agencies to watch over the rest of us, i.e. the 99%, more.  And they are. In the book’s introduction Taibbi identifies three aspects of 21st century America.  They are: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. Prison population doubles.

The empire we live in is not just. Let’s take our country back.

I hate the empire, but love my country…   There truly is a difference in the empire the United States of America has become and those individual states which came together to create a republic.  I have watched as my beloved country has been turned into an unholy empire by those who seek wealth and power at any cost. The empire supports the whims of the 1%; utilizes the greedy to secure its power; and both watch as people are taken from their homes and left in the streets. I read the other day that Supreme Court Justice Scalia stated that the rich should revolt if taxes become too high.  If that statement is true, then the rest of us should have already revolted. The empire should be informed our homes are off limits.  We should wring the money and blood out of the empire by massive civil disobedience or whatever else is necessary to regain the dream of our founders.

Why ST publishes materials submitted to the judge and the judge’s ruling…

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By Scott E. Stafne People sometimes ask why Stafne Trumbull, LLC publishes so many of our legal writings on behalf of our clients.  We do so because we believe truth is bright and becomes clearer the more it is seen.  The clearer the truth, the more difficult it is to obfuscate.  Justice is a type of historical “truth,” which can be best evaluated when it is observed.  Stafne Trumbull, LLC publishes the arguments of all parties provided to the courts and the decisions of the courts, so that people can evaluate them.  In doing so we invite the public to consider the reasoning of the judges deciding those issues based on the facts and arguments.  We do this so the public can evaluate the “administration of justice” and the judge’s analysis of the issues.

September 9, 2011 – How do we change the Court of Appeals’ practices?

Today Report · 8:41am Good morning Scott. So is it correct to say that attorneys can not cite unpublished opinions? I read your post to facebook this morning and think you might consider tayloring your comments to the untrained eye. Most people who lack a law degree are not really going to understand what you are saying….dumb it down a bit. I think  the purpose of your post/blogs are to educate, raise awarness and build influence so in that effort I think simplifying you message is prudent. You offer great insights and ?i dont want them to go over peoples heads. 🙂 Report · 8:43am Yes, it is true that attorneys get sanctioned for citing unpublished decisions.  Although federal courts do so with impugnity. I agree I need to explain better.  But I have been talking about this topic for a long time. Here again are the basics of what I am saying. The legislature passes a law when it feels the need to do so.  The decision to pass a statute is purely a matter of legislative discretion. On the other hand, courts have a duty to decide the cases parties bring before them.  Judicial decisions establish common law. By determining that most of its decisions are not a part of the common law, the Court of Appeals is acting as if courts have absolute discretion to declare what the common law is.  They don’t. Corts have a constitutional duty under the seperation of powers to declare how the law applies … Continue Reading

September 8, 2012 – And the beat goes on…

The Court of Appeals continues to ignore the principles of common law.  Last week that Court published 11 opinions, but failed to publish twenty-nine opinions, including one involving unexplored foreclosure issues. The problem here is the Court of Appeals is assuming a discretion to make law that is more akin to legislative grace, than a court’s duty to declare what the law is.  As our Supreme Court more consistently employs Marbury’s “province” analysis to declare what the law is, it turns a blind eye to the Court of Appeal’s abdication of its duty to declare what the law is. http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/index.cfm?fa=opinions.recent

AUGUST 26, 2012 – BANKS ARE EVIL

I’m sitting at an airport in Dallas.  I have thirty minutes to kill before boarding begins.  I want to get back to writing my blog.  I hope to finish up at least one installment of my blog on my flight back to Seattle. I’m in the air now.  I just finished watching the Avengers.  Dottie is at my feet.  Her soft travel crate is open.  She could step out if she wanted to. This is the first time we have travelled together in a bulkhead seat.  The crew told me to take her out of the crate for take-off since there was no seat in front of me to put her crate under.   She liked being out of the crate, standing on my lap, taking everything in.   I saw the flight attendants pointing at her during takeoff. “What breed is she” one of the flight attendant asked as she brought me a bottle of water.  “I think she is a Jack Russell rat terrier mix.  But her papers say Jack Russell”.  We smile.  People seem to fall in love with Dottie.  And it is my impression Dottie makes people friendlier toward me.  (I probably should have dragged her along to all those judicial candidate forums.   I probably could have gotten a few thousand more votes.  Maybe not.)

AUGUST 14, 2012: “RUMORS OF CHALLENGES TO JUDICIAL ELECTION SYSTEM”

He reached into his black briefcase.  He pulled out a 2007 decision of the United States Supreme Court  upholding Washington’s primary system for partisan offices.  He said “here” and handed it to me. Then he pulled out a county voters pamphlet guide.  (One of the few which had been printed.)  He pointed out where the Voters’ Guide stated in bold type that the “top two candidates move onto the general election”.   There was nothing in the pamphlet which stated that this rule did not also apply to the judicial candidates included in the pamphlet. I smiled.  Maybe he was right.  Perhaps the law which provides that judges with 50.1% of the vote are automatically elected is unconstitutional as applied to this primary election. Washington’s Constitution states in Art. I, § 19: “All Elections shall be free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.” 

August 13, 2012: Ask legislative candidates to restore the common law.

On August 6, 2012 I discussed how one federal judge, The Honorable William G. Young, viewed the change in the process of “judging” which has been going on in federal courts since the seventies.  See http://scottstafne.com/?p=221 As Judge Young explained: Many [Judges] no longer perceived their primary tasks as deciding motions after oral argument and presiding as neutral referees at trials.  They were encouraged to consider themselves managers whose job was to dispose of cases expeditiously.  From that perspective a trial seemed wasteful. Judge Young is correct; our judicial system has been changed.  The goal of the judicial department is no longer to have judges carefully applying precedent to the facts of disputes through issuance of careful opinions stating the judges’ reasoning.  Now the goal of the judicial department is simply to have judges dispose of cases as quickly as possible.  This goal can be and is being reached in Washington by the Washington Court of Appeals deliberately deciding most cases as non-precedential decisions, which are not incorporated onto the common law as either binding or persuasive precedent.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2012 – “THY ROD AND THY STAFF COMFORT ME”

Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV) 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   I struggle sometimes in knowing where the Lord is sheparding us.  By “us” I mean the world, and everything about it. I struggle less in knowing what God’s will is for me.  This is because I have the temple (body, mind, and soul) God has given me to ascertain and carry out what His will is for me. I pray only that I know what it is that God wants me to do and that I have the courage to do that.

August 10 and 11, 2012 – Fall is coming

Countdown to General Election: 86 days; 21 hours; 27 minutes I came home after work on Friday, August 10 and fell deeply asleep.  I slept from 6:00 until 10:00 PM, jerking about the bed, engrossed in vivid dreams, which I no longer remember. (I am beginning to wonder whether, I dream more often than I think I do.  Or maybe the dreams are just a result of the campaign?  I do not know.) When I woke at 10:00 PM on August 10 the light was gone, but the day was not over. I turned on my laptop which rests on my bedside table.  I had moved up to 12.61% of the vote (not that this matters), which was a little more than 114,000 votes. I was hungry.  I went downstairs to get something to eat. Dottie followed me, apparently hungry too.  I fed us both and we returned to bed.  I turned off my light intending to return to my dream filled slumber when I heard the noise my phone makes when someone texts me. “Are you up?” I texted back:  “Yes”. “Can I call you?”  I answered:  “Sure”. The phone vibrated, and then started to ring.  I answered:  “Hello”. As those who have followed this blog know, neither my Dad nor I have practiced domestic relations law since his convincing a couple to stay together had disastrous consequences.  The problem was a separated Dad was trying to use his four year son in a game of emotional chess with … Continue Reading

AUGUST 10, 2012 – VOTE TOTALS

Yes, I’m also having trouble understanding the voting process as it is being documented by the Secretary of State’s office.  Let me explain what appears to be going based on my several observations of it. The link to the Secretary of State’s election returns can be found at http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/ The “voter turnout” tab can be seen by pressing that tab or by clicking http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Turnout.html The voter turnout information is broken down into following data information: County Registered Voters Total Ballots Counted to Date Voter Turnout % Last Updated Date/Time Next Ballot Count Date/Time Estimated Ballots on Hand to be Processed At the top of an alphabetized list of Washington counties is total voter turn out information for all counties.  I have reproduced below that list as I copied it sometime around 11:00 PM Total 3,731,655 1,168,649 31.32% 08/09/2012     7:12 PM 08/09/2012 4:00 PM 220,500   I assume the “estimated ballots to be counted” means the number of ballots which remained to be counted.  The last time I saw this number today it was about 330,000.  So I assume this means approximately a 100,000 or so votes were counted today. The voting information is also shown for each county. The time and date remaining to count the “estimated ballots on hand to be processed” by each County is shown under the “Next Ballot Count Date/Time” heading.  Interestingly, the number of ballots estimated to be processed for King County has grown larger over time and is now a little over 100,000. Several … Continue Reading

AUGUST 8, 2012 – l AM GRATEFUL.

I apologize for not blogging sooner. For those of you who have texted me with questions about the results, I do not know how the Secretary of State web site works or when the final returns will be in. However, it certainly looks like I lost. This loss is not necessarily anything which needs to be grieved about. Certainly, I am not doing so. I congratulate each of my opponents and am grateful to have met each of them. In the time since the votes started to be counted my most overwhelming feeling has been gratitude. I am grateful to have had this experience. I am grateful to every single person who voted for me or thought about voting for me. I am grateful to anyone who voted for my opponents. My hope is we will continue observing and speaking about how our judicial system is working for the people it was intended to serve. I hope more lawyers will focus on how the process of judging impacts on the quality of justice received by their clients. I encourage other lawyers to run for appellate judgeship in the future. Congratulations to Justice Owens.  The election results show you have great support among the electorate.

AUGUST 6, 2012 – “ARE LAWYERS QUALIFIED TO BE JUDGES?”

Call me a little weird, but I like reading case law.  Sometimes when I can’t sleep I will study cases in areas of the law in which I have an interest.  One of the more interesting cases I have read relating to the subject of this blog is an opinion by a Massachusetts federal judge, the Honorable William G. Young,  in Culhane v Aurora Loan Servs., 826 F. Supp. 2d 352 (2011). The opinion starts: “What does a judge do?” asked my three year old granddaughter Mia. Without half thinking, I answered, “A judge teaches law to people who come to court.” Upon reflection, that answer is about as good as any. 1 Trial judges teach the law to lawyers through evidentiary rulings; they teach the law to juries through plain, easy to understand instructions; they teach the law to offenders and the public alike at sentencing hearings; 2 and they teach the law to litigants through careful opinions that explicate judicial choice as “reasoned choice, candidly explained.” Robert E. Keeton, Judging 1 (1990). Yet, as I explained to Mia, they teach the law only “to people who come to court.” Trial judges have no roving commission to teach the law generally. Their teaching is limited only to “cases and controversies,” U.S. Const. art. III, and then only when the standards of ripeness, standing, and redressability are met. Footnote 1 states: At least it was when I joined the district court bench over a quarter of a century ago.  Yet … Continue Reading

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012 – “RENDER UNTO CAESAR…”

About 11:30 am I was driving south on I-5 to Seattle following a Milky Way truck.   It was one of those double tank trucks pulled by a cab.  If “Milky Way” had not been prominently displayed on the tanks I would have thought I was following a petroleum rig.   From a symbolic perspective I was happy to be following the Milky Way tanks until I decided the driver was not going fast enough.  As I pushed my throttle and drove past the Milky Way tanks, I thought about the day ahead. Virginia said to dress “snappy” for the African American festival at 1:00 pm.   Gary and I were going to meet Virginia and her daughter,  AO, at the festival after they got out of church.  Maybe “snappy” isn’t the exact word she used.  But it was something like that.  (It is an open question as to whether Virginia and I agree on a definition of “snappy” as it turned out we never got together today.)  After the festival the plan was to go to a barbecue sponsored by “Our Washington”.  The last part of the day’s plan was to meet up with Michelle and Karen and drive to I-5 overpasses to wave signs in hopes of getting votes on Monday and Tuesday.  This also did not happen. So what did happen was this.  Gary and I went to 23rd and Union and discovered the festival was not there.   There was an empty lot with a sign on a fence which … Continue Reading

AUGUST 4, 2012 – “A DIFFERENT SIDE OF CAMPAIGNING”

I did not pay particular attention to the time I got up.   I did notice the day.  It was beautiful. I put on khaki shorts and noticed a sleeveless muscle shirt I hadn’t worn in years.  I put it on.  It sorta fit.  So I decided to wear it.  I decided to claim the day as my own. Downstairs there were “Stafne for Justice” signs and the 99 cent metal frames which held them up.  I didn’t want them to go to waste and realized that I hadn’t put any of my own signs up.  So I grabbed about thirty of each (the sign and metal mount) and left the basement.  Dottie was right behind me.  I loaded them in the car and drove down the mountain. If you turn left as you exit Twin Falls Estates, you head toward Granite Falls and that is where I decided to go. I was surprised how many grassy spots have rocks that interfere with sticking campaign signs into the planet.  I got better putting up signs as the day wore on. So I put a bunch of signs on Jordan Road and then proceeded into down town Granite Falls.  I stopped to eat at Ike’s.  I asked how the restaurant’s owners would feel if I left a “Stafne for Justice” in a window.  They weren’t thrilled about this opportunity, but said I could put a sign outside.  That worked for me and that grass hardly had any hidden rocks. Then I went … Continue Reading

August 3, 2012 – ORDINARY PEOPLE, LEGENDS, AND ONE HISTORICAL FIGURE, Part 2.

Incredibly, the Supreme Court knows how to make things happen fast when a Chief Justice wants something done. Rehnquist decided my clients’ position had merit, but indicated he was not sure we had properly filed an appeal.  Therefore, he indicated that he would allow the Ninth Circuit to consider the issue.  However, he telegraphed how he thought the Ninth Circuit should rule by stating that if the court did not decide in my clients favor then the Ninth Circuit’s ruling could be immediately returned to him. As a young attorney, I was dizzy.  It appeared as if the legal system was really working. The Ninth Circuit ordered immediate oral argument by phone.  As the hearing began, I remember Tim Weaver (another legend now deceased) describing me as a “paper mill”.  I don’t remember how the judges responded to this, but I always considered the jab a compliment.  I admired both Tim and Mason Morrisset (another legend), who represented the Tribes in these disputes. The Court faxed out its ruling.  Of course, the 2 to 1 ruling favored my clients.  However, the majority opinion was pretty much gibberish.  The facts were unclear and no ratio decedendi could be discerned.  The dissent, which I recall was written by Judge Sneed, was eloquent.  I assumed this was judicial politics. I told my clients we had won.  There were celebrations.  But then skies darkened. Hours later the Commerce Department, which did have the authority to change the fishing season did so.  So the exhilarating and … Continue Reading

AUGUST 2, 2012: ORDINARY PEOPLE, LEGENDS, AND ONE HISTORICAL FIGURE

This blog is about regular people, legends, and one historical figure. Legends include people who are well known during a portion of their lives and a generation or so after. My Dad was a legend in Iowa. The judges and law professors I mention in this blog are also legends.   The law professor, Alan Vestal, a former primary editor of Moore’s Manual, is probably better known nationally than the judges I discuss, who are most familiar to people on the West Coast. Historical figures are different than legends.  The historical figure discussed in this blog is William H. Rehnquist, a deceased Justice, who also served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. And then there are regular folk, like myself and fishermen clients. So our story begins back in the late seventies. Sara Hemphill was a fellow student in the University of Washington’s Law and Marine Affairs program in 1976.  We became fast friends and partners in a law firm we named Stafne and Hemphill.  It was one of the first law firms to specialize in Fisheries and Conservation Management Act law. We represented longliners, trollers, and the first Soviet-US Joint venture vessel processing company.  For years foreign countries and domestic fishermen had been able to fish outside the U.S. three mile territorial limit without restrictions.  Creation of the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between 3 to 200 miles from our coastline caused havoc for many notwithstanding the promise of better utilization marine resources. Not everyone was … Continue Reading

BLOG – AUGUST 1, 2012 (PART TWO): THE DEBATE AT SEATTLE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

I was invited to participate in a candidate forum at Seattle University School of Law.  I got there early. I like law schools.  I like law schools because they teach the fundamentals of our legal system, including how the Judicial Department relates to the Executive and Legislative branches of our government.  I was happy to be attending the debate at the Seattle University Law School. I was the first candidate at the event.  Sheryl Gordan McCloud was the next candidate to get there. I met Dean Mark Niles, who served as the forum’s moderator.  I told Dean Miles the Stafne Law Firm had hired three graduates from Seattle University Law School.  He asked who they were.  Unfortunately, each had graduated before Niles had been appointed Dean.  But he seemed to recognize each of their names. I have been pleased by these SU lawyers’ legal work.  Because of their legal acumen I knew the students and academics would appreciate the huge disconnect between how the common law is supposed to work and our Court of Appeal issuing six precedential decisions and 41 unpublished, non prdecedetial decisions this week. It is obvious the Court of Appeals has left us with a threadbare rug, from which the law must be guessed at by lawyers and potential parties alike. Keeping the law secret is inimical to any concept of open access to justice.  It obviously is the most glaring example of a secret, unequal system of justice we have in Washington courts.  My opponent’s … Continue Reading

AUGUST 1, 2012 – STAFNE’S ENDORSEMENTS FOR SUPREME COURT

The debate begins at 5:30 pm today.  It will be worth watching. I used this morning to finish up my judicial endorsements.  Unlike our Washington newspapers, I thought long and hard about them. As you know every sitting judge and justice has endorsed one another.  This group hug seems strange because most judges are running unopposed.  This practice appears designed to keep competition out.  A lawyer has to become an outsider among his peers to run against a sitting judge. One candidate elections … Sounds like what we have heard occurs in China. Doesn’t it?  But this is happening here in the State of Washington.  If you are not happy with the way the courts are operating, show it!!!  Vote for me as I am the only candidate who claims our courts are failing. Let’s shake the system up!!! Let’s win the primary for position 2 of the Supreme Court by obtaining more than 51% of the vote for Stafne by August 7, 2012, which is the date when the ballots must be mailed. ENDORSEMENTS FOR POSITION 9 My endorsements are based upon my views as to 1.) How much concern each candidate has evidenced for the integrity of the “nuts and bolts” workings of the judicial process; and 2.) How much each candidate will appreciate the people’s interests Vis a Vis the interests one per cent after the November elections. My endorsements take into account my observations of each candidate on the campaign trail, as well as my independent … Continue Reading

JULY 31, 2012 – I APPLAUD LAWYERS ROLE AS OFFICERS OF THE COURT AND URGE WE NOT LET JUDGES ATTEMPT TO MARGINALIZE US

Lawyers, you are smart enough to know when the system wants to marginalize someone. Before you let them succeed at marginalizing me, you might want to read this letter I prepared  to send to the Washington Bar Association and/or Washington State Association for Justice back in April asking lawyers to consider running to be judges. I never finished the letter, because I decided to jump into the race when none of those lawyers I believed were qualified showed any inclination to do so. I submit this letter to you now, months later,  so you can evaluate the concerns which have caused me to run for Supreme Court, position 2: April 3, 2012  DRAFT Gentlepersons: Several years ago I went to a CLE [Continuing Legal Education class] where Judge Pechman, Judge Lau, and a state district court judge spoke.  The only thing I remember about the CLE is the audience of attorneys was told by the judges that judges “talk about attorneys” and “attorneys should fear judges saying bad things to one another about an attorney.” At first I could not believe what I was hearing. The judges were telling attorneys that they thought the judges’ collective opinion of the lawyer was more important than the merits of a client’s cause.  Last week the Supreme Court decided a case, which tacitly accepted the notion that information shared by judges about their experience with lawyers was a legitimate consideration to take into account when deciding a client’s case.[1] Now I don’t know which judge or … Continue Reading

JULY 30, 2012 – JUDICIAL ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE COURT OF APPEALS: THROW THE BUMS OUT!

Last week there were 6 published decisions by the Court of Appeals.  These were dwarfed by the 41 unpublished, non-precedential decisions released by the Court of Appeals during this same time period. The public should look closely at what the Court of Appeals has done.  In light of ongoing criticism that unpublished decisions violate the exercise of judicial power under Art. IV § 1 of the Washington Constitution, the Court of Appeals by issuing this avalanche of unpublished decisions is telling us it can do anything it wants; when it wants.  It is as if the judges on the Court of Appeal are raising their arms (robes falling away) and slowly, collectively, extending their middle fingers to the public and lawyers who must appear before them. Although not stated, the Court of Appeals is telling the public it can and will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, with regard to those who come before it seeking justice. We ought to throw the bums out and let each Court of Appeals’ judge fight for his/her home against bankers as pro se litigants. We also ought to get rid of all those Supreme Court justices that indulge this judicial abuse by the Court of Appeals. Our Supreme Court knows this is wrong and once overruled it, only to reverse later.  The federal courts did away with unpublished decisions years ago.  So why does the Court of Appeals flaunt the practice now when it is a major campaign issue?  To show us … Continue Reading

SUNDAY JULY 29, 2012 – JUDGING

I remember snippets from college. When I was in college I learned whole text books of histories, philosophies, religions, and languages. (I was not much good at languages, however.) While I don’t remember everything crammed into my young brain back then, there is a core of knowledge that I access in synopsis now.  These snippets of knowledge serve me. Today is Sunday. I remember when I was a sophomore at DePauw I took a theology class.  Some snippets that I recall are the Roman Centurion who wanted to believe praying for faith and being blessed.  I remember Christ’s command to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and unto God that which belongs to God. Dad had talked about this command.  He said that in comparison, very little is owed to Caesar. I am still a neophyte when it comes to understanding the Bible and turning that part of my life, which does not belong to Caesar, over to Christ. I am studying how the Bible talks about judges.  I am also learning about how other religions and societies bestow those privileges and duties which come with judging. Here is some interesting reading regarding this topic: http://www.openbible.info/topics/only_god_can_judge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_judges Please do not misunderstand my spiritual search for guidance in the performance of the job of judging.  It does not mean that I will waiver in applying existing law to existing fact as I was taught to do in school and my career. I have promised to perform this very task – … Continue Reading

JULY 28, 2012 – THE GATHERING

The Gathering was about the music, Gary’s (different Gary than my campaign photographer) toning, and celebrating the majesty of the mountain’s beauty. I am in debt to the musicians and my friend Lillie, who sounded like Janis Joplin, as she sang a song she prepared for me. I am grateful to those who brought and cooked food.   Thanks Todd, Noah, Jose, Mayumi, Fujiko, Lynn, Peter, etc. I was humbled and blown away by the whole event. I was blessed to be among friends. We will posting videos and pictures from the Gathering on Facebook during the next few days.  

JULY 27, 2012 – COME TO SATURDAY’S GATHERING

I am being energized by this campaign.  I don’t feel 63.  In fact, I don’t feel age at all.  I am on a mission and my mission has become my focus.  Age doesn’t matter when spirit leads.     I am aware that some may think me crazy.  Crazy to believe that people can determine what is in their own best interest.  There is not much evidence that we can do so.  Just look at the presidential candidates we, the people, have decided to pick from. Any sane person must appreciate that everything s/he experiences occurs within his/her own perceptual reality. I don’t see through your eyes. I see through mine. I have no assurance that the “green” I see is the green you see.  All I know is that we agree that certain things are green; like grass, leaves, and money. They say “money talks”.  But I have yet to hear money say a word.  I observe that people with lots of money assume they are entitled to the most say.  I don’t believe they are.  But everyone admits that when it comes to justice in Washington it is mostly available to the rich.  That is because the Courts of Appeal systematically limit access to precedent and the full vitality of the common law to only a few people in Washington. Imagine, more than 50% of their decisions go unpublished.  Let’s base these judges salaries on the amount of common law they produce.  If people want to pay teachers … Continue Reading

JULY 26, 2012 – ROBES

There are similarities between the Catholic Church and U.S. Courts.  One of them is robes.  The Pope wears robes. So do our Supreme Court Justices.   Justices’ robes use to be more colorful.  http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/traditions.aspx   Now United States Supreme Court Justices wear only black robes. Washington State Judges and Supreme Court Justices also wear black robes.     Tradition is important for institutions like the Catholic Church and U.S. Courts.  The robes suggest continuity between the past and the present.  The legitimacy and authority accumulated in the past by these institutions is intended to be transferred to those who presently wear the robes. I wish there were magic robes that men could put on to divine the word of God and make the correct decisions about the rule of law. Today I got up late.  I was sleeping in my office pod.  My cell phone kept ringing.  I thought it was my alarm letting me know that it was 8:00 AM.  Instead, it was Andrew , one of our lawyers, calling to wake me up for an 11:00 AM conference call. Gary drove up from Seattle to go with me to the National Lawyers Guild judicial forum in Bellingham, Washington.   We got to our location an hour early and looked for a place to eat.  Bellingham is a cool city.  It would be a great place to go college. I had a double cheese burger with grilled onions at a burger place.  Gary was not as hungry.  He ate a burger. Gary … Continue Reading

July 25, 2012 – DOTTIE WAS GONE

  I came back to my office about midnight to pick up Dottie.  She was gone.  I called one of the attorneys who was at the office when I left to go to the Columbia Tower Club.  I woke her up.  She grumbled one of the ladies at the Fogdog Gallery had taken Dottie. I knew it had to be Ellen.  I was happy Dottie had not been lost.  Dottie doesn’t take to everyone, but she definitely likes Ellen.  So now that I know where Dottie is, I will tell you about my day going backwards. Its now 3 minutes to midnight.  July 25 is ending.  Before I left Seattle for Arlington I was with my brother Todd, Mayumi, Jerry, and a Japanese friend of Mayumi, who is visiting from Tokyo and has a Japanese name I don’t presently recall. Mayumi is one of my favorite people in the world.  I think we all know someone like her.  As soon as I see her, my mood brightens.  We hug, moving side to side and laughing. Mayumi cooked a King (Chinook) Salmon, which is the species of salmon I like the most. The conversation at dinner was so good, I stayed much longer than I intended. Jerry is a business man who works in the high tech industry.  We discussed many topics, but one of the most interesting involved the amount of data which could be electronically stored about every individual in the United States. Of course, this can be very beneficial.  One application we discussed was a chip which stored … Continue Reading

JULY 24, 2012 – MORNING FOG

  Fog enveloped the mountain.  Or maybe the clouds were low.  You can’t really tell. Sometimes my house is above the clouds and everything is clear, distinct, and sunny above them.  But the clouds hide my view of the world below. Just as the clouds can hide sunny skies from the people in the cities… Today was not about the campaign. It was about the practice and business of law. Today the business side of law required the firm to turn away potential clients for various reasons. Some were turned away because they waited too long to seek legal advice as to how they could protect their homes at already scheduled court hearings.  Foreclosure cases can be complicated and lawyers need time to evaluate facts and defend rights. Most lawyers are already working on other cases so in order to take a new one, their first consideration will often be:  “Do I have time to take a new case and adequately represent my current clients and this new client?” We referred these potential clients to Property Defense Network.  The Network refers clients to attorneys who have been vetted in foreclosure defense work.  The Network can also perform factual analysis related to the securitization of deeds of trusts.  Its website is http://propertydefensenetwork.com . I fired another potential client, who was a friend of mine; because we had differences about the way his/her case should be handled.  He wanted to pursue his case in a much more aggressive way than I thought … Continue Reading

JULY 23, 2012 – STAFNE IS A BONA FIDE “OUTSIDER”

JULY 23, 2012 – STAFNE IS A BONA FIDE OUTSIDER When I decided to run for the Supreme Court I did not expect to be labeled an “outsider” and branded “unqualified” for the Supreme Court.  This is because I have been practicing law since 1976 in Washington and have appeared in actions before all levels of Washington courts, as well as the Ninth Circuit and United States Supreme Court. I am a member of the Washington Association of Justice and previously was an EAGLE member of WSTLA.  I was a member of the King County Bar when I practiced in King County.  I now practice in Snohomish County and am a member of that bar association.  I have always been a member of the Washington Bar Association. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to http://www.votingforjudges.org/12pri/supreme/2ss.html  and saw that every rating organization determined that I was unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice.  Further, that all Washington newspapers endorsed my incumbent opponent without even considering the substance of my challenges regarding the failings of the judicial system.  The newspapers apparently believe all is well in America and Washington. The newspapers chose not to listen to those who have been disenfranchised by the elites, of which they are a part. Is this what the newspapers and media did in Germany as people were taken from their homes, their possessions stolen, and they were carted off like animals to ovens?  (Oh, and just to be clear, I have no doubts … Continue Reading

JULY 22, 2012 – ALEX AND ST. FRANCIS

Writing my blog is like writing “morning pages”.  Those who have read The Artist’s Way will be familiar with term. Basically, when I wrote “morning pages I would, generally shortly after waking up each day, hand write three pages about what was going on in my life at that time.  This helped me to see how my life was progressing.  To appreciate my growth and be aware of failings  which had become habits. Every now and then I run across some of my morning pages and get to reflect regarding what was going on then and what is going now.  Generally, reading my morning pages suggests I am more content now.  I am grateful for the personal peace which comes from experience. This blog is different than my morning pages, of course.   Morning pages are mostly personal and private.  I am writing this blog for both you (whoever you are) and me.  At some point, I will be able to go back to this blog and read it from start to end to see what, if anything I learned…  How this campaign changed me, if it does. Today is Sunday. One of the best things about this campaign is how it has re-united me with friends.  One of them is Alex.  Alex is now 72.  I am 63.  Alex is born again and studies the Word. I am a neophyte in this, having turned my campaign over to Christ.  Alex explains:  “Anyone can say they turn their life over to God.  That … Continue Reading

JULY 21, 2012 — “PRESS RELEASE AND TALK SHOW”

Jose and several of his friends came from Yakima to help make trails for the Party on the Mountain July 28, 2012.  I returned home as they were finishing up.  Jose gave me an envelope with small donations totalling a little less than $300.00.  I was moved by these contributions because this money was likely harder for them to give than were the much larger donations  my opponent has received.  I showed Jose my home and garden.  When he left he took back some “stafne for Justice” signs to the Yakima Valley.  I only had 12 signs left at home.  I also told Jose he should run for public office because he cares.  Martin Adelson said the same thing about me.  People who care about others should run our government; not persons without empathy. I went back to my office and read the press release for the phone show at 5:50 pm.  Here is part of what it said: !!!!!!PRESS RELEASE!!!!!! Saturday, 07-21-2012, evenings show!!     I’ve got Scott Stafne joining me on this Saturday’s call. This should be a wild show!! Scott has decided to run for the position of Supreme Court Justice, in the state of Washington. Here’s what I know about him so far and I will also say, he comes to me with very HIGH recommendations from someone who knows all to well how I feel about judges and cops! That alone should add or say something about his character!!! I will go on to say, I felt very comfortable talking to him about his positions, and the way he … Continue Reading

JULY 20, 2012 — THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND

When I woke up I was still tired.  So was Dottie, my dog.  She did not even move as I jumped out of bed.  Normally when I move, she follows.  I wondered why Dottie was so tired.  I knew why I was tired. I got back into bed and thought about the King County Bar Association “Meet and Greet” scheduled for 11:00 am.  I didn’t want to go.  It had nothing to do with their judicial committee’s rating, but that reinforced my decision to blow off the event.  The real reason I didn’t go is because I don’t like “Meet and Greets”. Most often I meet other candidates, who are looking for voters, who happen upon a space close to where I am standing.  We shake hands.  Then each moves on.  I think these events are great for extroverts, like my friend Peter.  They are also okay for introvert candidates coupled with extrovert friends; like when Peter got to the GSBA Meet and Greet and introduced me to everyone.  But “Meet and Greets” are not very much fun for an introvert who lives on a mountain with his dog and does not like traffic. So I stayed on the mountain in my bed with Dottie for an extra hour.  Then I got up and went into the office. This other world I lived in before I started campaigning was continuing on.  I was told the Supremes had denied Hapaianu’s motion to modify the Commissioner’s Ruling in Hapaianu v ICC.   That is one … Continue Reading

JULY 19, 2012 — ANNE AMERSON: WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF “TRUTHINESS”

My only interview of the day was a Judicial Evaluation by an Asian law group.  It was to start at 7:00 pm.  Because of a mix-up it started later. There were four interviewers:  Three men and a woman.  All looked young.   Each had attentive eyes.  They made me feel comfortable. I probably made some on my best points about unpublished decisions with them.  As I was about to conclude on this subject, the young lawyer left of me asked:  “So what if they did away with unpublished decisions.  Would you still want to be a judge?” From that question I marched into a discussion of the Briggs appeal. The interviewers listened patiently until we all appeared to arrive at the same conclusion.  I could speak more, but I had talked enough.  They thanked me for coming. I walked out and down the hall with Chris, who appeared to be the chair person of the group. I looked at him and asked if I talked too long.  He responded:  “Well, you could have been a little more concise.   But you were passionate.  That was a good thing.” We said good bye and I took the elevators down to parking. As I drove I-5 home, I wondered if passion was a good quality for a judge.  I know passion is a great quality in an advocate.  But what about in a judge? When I got home I checked my Facebook account.  (Just a few weeks ago I had thought I would never … Continue Reading

JULY 18, 2012 – MY CAMPAIGN MANAGER THINKS THIS SHOULD BE TITLED “GOOD DAYS/BAD DAYS”

My cell phone alarms had been set for 6:00 am.  But they did didn’t wake me. I was sleeping in the pod when all three of my phones (two cell and a land line) began ringing and continued ringing one at a time until they broke my sleep like a sword.  I wandered out into my office and saw that it was 7:15 am. I answered the phone.  “I have to go.”  I picked out a tie and threw on a suit. Then I ransacked my closets to find a pair of brown socks.  I couldn’t find any. There were only white sweat socks.  What was I going to do? I wore the white sweat socks and hurried out of the office in Arlington to meet with King County Council Chair Larry Gossett.  Virginia, my campaign manager, had told me our meeting with Councilman Gossett was at 9:00 am.    I found out later she told me the meeting started earlier so I would not be late.   I was grateful. I had met Councilman Gossett on a couple of other occasions.  First, at the Ranier Beach High School Tour of Champion Event honoring Coach Michael Bethea.  He was there to represent King County at this event designed to show off Ranier Beach High School to potential new students and honor Coach Bathea.  Betty Patu, a school board member was  also there.  Mayor McGinn also attended on behalf of the City of Seattle.  Representative Tomiko Santos was there on behalf of the state legislature. Meeting with … Continue Reading

JULY 17, 2012 — “DID SHE SAY YOU GET BETTER JUSTICE IF YOU HAVE MORE MONEY?”

The cock crowed.  I don’t hear roosters on the mountain or in Arlington.  Then it crowed again.  And again.  Not in any particular rhythm.  Just singular calls into the dawn. My eyes opened.  I remembered where I was.  Yakima.  At Jose’s home. Jose was already up when I went down stairs. The candidate forum at the Herald was at 11:00 am.  Jose and I went out for breakfast.  We arrived at the café about 8:30 am. Jose knew the waitress and told me to give her a card.  I did.  Then I said: “Hi.  I am running for Supreme Court Justice, I hope you will consider voting for me.”  Then I pointed out my web site where she could obtain information about my candidacy. There was a dining room off to the side of the main room.  A group of about ten persons were in the room.  Jose led me in.  Jose said this is my friend Scott.  He is running for the Supreme Court.  I smiled and passed out cards.  Campaigning in Yakima seemed pretty easy. Joe and I then sat down for breakfast. I really like corned beef hash for breakfast.  The waitress assured me this restaurant had some of the best corned beef hash in Washington.  So I ordered the hash.  The waitress was right.  The hash was to die for…  I don’t remember what Jose ordered. When we left we drove around Sunnyside and Jose introduced me to his friends, including another attorney who was helping … Continue Reading

JULY 16, 2012 – “WARNING” – MAY BE CLERICAL ERRORS AND SUBSEQUENT ADDITIONS.

I am scheduled to speak at a judicial forum at Horizon House in Seattle tonight at 7:00 pm.  I am wondering whether my opponent, Susan Owens, will show up there.  I hope so.  If not, I wonder whether she will send another male justice to represent her. Then I have to get on a plane for Yakama.  I’m going to stay at Jose’s, a  client’s home (at least for now unless somne court decides otherwise).  I will have breakfast with some of Jose’s friends and ask them to vote for me.  Then I will go to the Yakima Herald at 11:00 AM for an interview.  The Jose and I will drive to the Tri Cities, for another campaign event, which starts at 2:00 PM. It will be interesting to see if Susan Owens attends either of these forums given she did not show up at the Panarama forum which is 20 minutes away from where she lives. As I scurry across the state I more and more resent the misstatements in the Seattle Time’s and Tacoma Tribune’s editorial that I am not campaigning as much as Susan Owens.  The truth it seems like I am the only one out here campaigning.  WHY DON”T THE NEWSPAPERS TELL THE PEOPLE THE TRUTH? I wonder if this is what it was like in Germany years ago before the war. Anyway, my friend Lynn has agreed to dog-sit Dottie.   Dottie loves Lynn and her three dogs.  Lynn was going to put some “Stafne for Justice” yard … Continue Reading

JULY 15 – “JUDICIAL REVIEW: IT IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE”

We are taught that our nation’s Constitution sets forth a government based on checks and balances. But the United States Supreme Court decided in Marbury v Madison that the judicial department gets the final say over what the Constitution means. Chief Justice Marshall wrote: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”  But is it? The Constitution does not specifically say this.  Marbury only decided this as precedent.  Precedent can and should be overruled when it becomes harmful. My judicial and bar association critics appear to believe that any thoughtful discussion of the present legitimacy of judicial review is heresy.  This dogmatic position suggests my critics are not scholars.   Just as the Court overruled its previous limitation on corporate spending in elections by its decision in Citizens United, the Supreme Court can and should overrule Marbury if the evidence shows the judicial department has become a part of the political branches of our government. My views in this regard are not particularly novel.  Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist Paper No. 78 (http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm , which is regarded as the central document supporting judicial review:   “I agree, that ‘there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers’.”  It is difficult to see how United States Supreme Court remained separate from the executive branch when it anointed George W. Bush president. In arguing that the judicial department should have the final say with regard to … Continue Reading

JULY 14, 2012 – HOUSE KEEPING

I am at my office today “house keeping” with regard to my campaign. Arlington is having a festival outside on North Olympic Avenue, just outside my office.  Arlington has lots of festivals.  It is an exemplary community.  It is a good place to grow up, to live, and to work. I wandered Olympic Avenue and found a great festival burger, which I devoured.  I then visited my good friends Claire and Ellen at Fogdog Gallery, 233 North Olympic Avenue, which is on the same block as my office. If you want to see some great local art you should visit Fogdog Gallery.  Fogdog also has poetry readings on Thursday nights. I had my own little “universe” installed by one of Fogdog’s local artists named Marvin Lilley on the roof of the Pod, where I seep when I stay at the office. I noticed that we are having trouble with Facebook.  Some how (it is a long story) I have three pages being run by different individuals.  I can easily access only one of them easily.  The other two are more problematic. This problem is compounded by the fact that I am new to Facebook.  (Remember before this campaign I was more introverted than even Steve Gonzales and had made a conscience choice to avoid social media.)  Well, when I decided to run I dived in and apparently hit some rocks.  I’m now conscious again and trying to figure out how to swim in these waters. Although Facebook indicates I have new … Continue Reading

JULY 13, 2012 – ABOUT THE WEATHER

The skies clapped and growled all day long.  It was like the tropics in the Northwest for a day.  There were lightning streaks and rain; but each was on its own schedule. I didn’t notice the weather until the afternoon.   I drove a client back to his home and discovered his oasis of gardens, English bulldogs, cats, llamas, and a horse.  His wife preaches on Comcast.  The trees were unique and well groomed.  That’s when I first noticed the guttural thunder. After staying up last night until 1:30 AM writing my blog, the morning came early as I got up five hours later to work on a petition for review.  I stayed overnight at my office in “the pod”, which is an old “walk in” closet in the back.  I had a single bed installed there because occasional snow falls had prevented return to my mountain home. Now I was using the Pod to stay at the office and work when necessary.  The upstairs portion of the Stafne Law Firm previously was used as an apartment; so it has a kitchen and full bathroom.  In the day four of us work there.  During the night, when I stay there, it is like a second home for Dottie and I.  Dottie is my rat terrier friend and companion, who does not like being left alone and whines. When I climb into bed there is no top sheet .  My mind is not turning off on command.  I pray.  Finally slumber takes … Continue Reading

JULY 12, 2012 — A LONG DAY

Where is Justice Owens?   This morning I got up and drove with Gary, one of my campaign assistants, to Lacey to speak at the candidate forum at the Panorama House.  It is a community of approximately 1,200 elder persons, like me. As luck would have it I was called upon to speak first.  (Actually, it wasn’t luck.  Doug McQuaid and Susan Owens, my opponents, would have had to speak first if they had attended.) Normally, I don’t like to go first.  But this seemed like a great opportunity this morning.  My opponents had not shown up.  Gary and I would be able to leave quickly after I spoke to drive to Port Ludlow for the Washington League of Women Voters’ forum.  But after I spoke and was on my way out I heard a spokesperson announce that Justice Gonzales would be speaking for my opponent, Justice Owens.  So I stopped my exit and waited to hear what he would say. I recall Justice Gonzales praised Susan Owen’s common sense and rural background.  I thought back to my Iowa roots and my Arlington, Washington home and business and wanted to let everyone know “I’m rural too”. When Justice Gonzales began speaking about himself he said “I’m an introvert, so I don’t like talking about myself …”.  I thought: “what a great way to put it” because I also feel like that.  I don’t know if he did talk about himself because Gary and I were out the door right after he said that. We stopped at Abblebys to get lunch.  … Continue Reading