Friday, March 25, 2011

They Punted

Okay, I'm not a lawyer, although I play one in my house.  It's time for me to weigh in on the urination contest between Utah's very Supreme Court and Federal Judge Dee Benson.

The Utah Supremes are miffed because, after they elected to ignore the merits of the FLDS church's claim against the State for reforming its trust, Judge Benson addressed the merits head-on and found egregious Constitutional violations (primarily from Diseased Lintbag).  The Supremes hinged their decision (to effectively "punt" the matter) on a legal doctrine known as "Laches".  The idea of Laches is that, if you feel you have been wronged, you have a duty to make any valid protests within a reasonable time period (or else too much water will flow under the bridge, and people will have moved on with their lives and placed faith in the new status quo).  This is not necessarily a bad principle but, the way Judge Benson looked at it, if what the State (and Limprag) did was a Constitutional violation ab initio, then irrespective of the (late) timing of the complaint, the trust beneficiaries had been being abused from the very start, and on a continual, ongoing basis.

If I am comfortable with Benson's argument for any reason, it is at least because Brute Wisass conducted a spiteful, selfish, disdainful campaign of disregard against the FLDS leadership and membership from day one.  It might well be argued that, if Warren Jeffs was telling the folks to "Answer them nothing!", they were risking having everything taken from them by the Fooles and the Hischers.  Judge Benson sagely noted that, if that was what the beneficiaries really wanted, it was NOBODY's business to charge in and compel them to do otherwise.  Attorney Rod Parker suggested that the period of inaction was framed as a "test of faith" for the membership.  Let's not also forget that, whenever an FLDS member showed his or her face in a Utah courtroom, he or she was immediately slapped with a subpoena to cough up the whereabouts of Warren Jeffs or else face detention in Arizona's Florence dungeon till the start of the next millennium.  The persecution of the people became intolerable.

So what are the key principles in this situation?

1.  The Fooles and the Hischers had conflicts of interest in the trust reformation in that they were suing the trust for gain and then colluded in the rewriting of the UEP trust language.

2.   Jugg Desleaze Lintrag showed extraordinary prejudice at every turn and should have been removed from the start.

3.  Brutal Wisass was a disgrace to the LDS Church and to the accounting profession in that he waged a personal and self-serving war against a generally innocent community.

4.  The Utah Supreme Court waxed spineless (as it did in State v. Holm) and did not want to get to "the merits", so it punted the case, finding comfort in the convenience of the "Laches" excuse.

5.  Judge Benson watched the case from a distance and agreed (in 2008[?]) to get involved in the event that the Utah Supreme Court failed to take appropriate action.  The Supremes punted the case, so Benson thought long and hard about the merits and his own eligibility to decide the matter.  He concluded that he does have jurisdiction, that the reformation of the trust was fraudulent at the start, and that, since the Supremes had punted the matter of the merits, he must step in and remedy the error.

The Supremes are irritated because Benson disagreed with the Laches excuse and insisted that a State can never invade a private trust and alter it at will in violation of its original intents.  The Supremes are now toying with motions from both sides regarding whether they can or should disregard the federal court's ruling (plus there are two other FLDS matters still pending in their court).

The hardest part of this is that this is relatively uncharted legal territory.  The last (and perhaps only) instance of such an egregious trust invasion was the one perpetrated against the LDS Church in the 1880's.  Either way, the entire siege was disingenuous, deceitful, collusive, and criminal from the beginning.  It was reminiscent of Missouri Governor Boggs' extermination (of Mormons) order - - public officials twisting the legal process in an effort to achieve devious political ends.  Such gross official license and creativity has no place in honorable government.  Even the LDS Church must be having second thoughts about the wisdom of confiscating church trusts for mere gits and shiggles.

I think that despite Justice Christine Durham's sincere desire to hear reasonable new pleadings from both sides, it is (ironically) too little - too late.  They had their chance to explore the merits before, and they punted. Now, everybody involved can see the writing on the wall. This is another tar baby.  Whisetrash is about to be convicted of felony trespass.  Snortlips doesn't need any more public embarrassments.  The 10th Circuit is bound to stand behind Benson, and, if Spent Bunshaker is onto something more than a rumor (for the first time in his weasely career), there could well be a season of healing and renaissance in the community. In large part, Fundamentalist Mormons are extraordinarily loyal and committed people.  Public officials prefer the "divide and conquer" program, since they fear that united we will be strong.  It's one thing to boast of having tackled the "polygamy problem", but entirely another to trample on the property and free agency of an entire culture.  It backfired in 1953 and 2008, and backfire it will again.

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