10 Questions with.... Bill Stegmeier

As I had noted a week ago, I offered the South Dakota Judicial Accountability people the opportunity to respond directly to some of the issues, concerns, criticisms, etc. that people, including myself have been raising about South Dakota's Amendment E.

While I don't think this is going to change my mind on the measure, I'll give Bill a couple of points for responding. From the short bio I requested of him:
Bill Stegmeier is a long time South Dakota businessman and father of three. While he has not experienced judicial misconduct in a personal way, he has witnessed it in court against others. Stegmeier's best answer to why he is spearheading the Amendment E effort is: For the sake of my children, I consider this my civic contribution to society.
And with that said, on to 10 questions with...... Bill Stegmeier
1. Bill, your refusal to testify to the State Legislature seemed to many South Dakotans as somewhat odd, considering that you are the person responsible for placing the measure on the ballot here. Why did the questions have to be in writing, since you’re the South Dakota authority on the act?

Answer: Call me naive. Being the first hearing I had ever attended, I was completely unaware of how hearings are conducted. I was aware that the Committee had planned the hearing for the purpose of accepting testimony, which I prepared and delivered. I honestly didn’t know that hearings also involve being prepared to answer questions, and therefore didn’t even bring along a copy of the Amendment for reference. Now I know.

Now, to answer your question: The questions didn’t absolutely have to be in writing. If either the legislators or myself would have thought about it, perhaps another hearing would have been suggested where I would have been prepared for oral questions. In fact, I will be speaking and taking questions at the many town hall/debates we are planning, the first one scheduled for May 6 at the Gregory high school gym. I hope you will plan to attend.

2. There have been some views connected with JAIL in the recent past that seem out of the mainstream from that of many South Dakotans. Why do you think that a significant number of the people vocally supporting JAIL seem to also believe that the New World Order is trying to take control, the federal income tax is unconstitutional, that 9-11 was a government plot, etc.?

Answer: I would like to say my answer to that would be that many people who think we have a problem with the lack of judicial accountability also tend to be people who are concerned about not only the items you mentioned but possibly a lot more “out of the mainstream” concerns such the questions over the safety of vaccines, fluoridation, CIA involvement in drug running, who really wacked JFK, what really brought down Flight 800, etc.

My real answer to the question is this: I think the JAIL supporters who are also “conspiracy nuts”, as I would imagine you refer to them as being, are a small minority of the people who will vote for Amendment E, and are therefore no more worth talking about than say the JAIL supporters who are avowed socialists. I would guess they're out there too, but just the same not worth talking about.

3. It’s been our contention that much of this effort is being driven by out of state interests. So far, the voters have been provided with only three or four state residents who are involved in this. Recently, we’re hearing that there are 80 South Dakotans on your letterhead as supporters. Can you tell us who these South Dakotans are?

Answer: Yes I can. The 80 or so supporters who are on our letterhead are South Dakotans who either collected signatures or made a donation. For many we only have the mailing addresses, as they were signature gathering volunteers who mailed in their completed petitions.

The following list should suffice for purposes of verifying that the list of South Dakotans involved is far greater than the three or four that you or “the voters” may be aware of. Should you choose to contact them, please be respectful. I did not have the time to inform them all that I was sharing their contact info in order to answer the question..

J. Aamot 605-695-2919
S. Adams
S. Alfson
B. Antoine
A. Arbeiter alvinorsharon@santel.net
E. Bailey
B. Bakken 605-940-2587
S.Bartlett 605-361-3094
J. Beyer
B. Brewer
R. Brown-1 605-728-1249
R. Brown-2
S. Brown
E. Brueser
S. Byrd
R. Campbell
J. Egger
R. Elgersma
L. Ginsaber
D. Godin
J. Hanes 605-201-3960
K. Hammond
S. Harvey harvey@santel.net
C. Harvey harvey@santel.net
A. Heine 605-260-0922
R. Hollenbeck buzzie1219@frii.com
D. Horsley
N. Hudelson
D. Huff
J. Ingalls 605-628-2327
D. Johnson 605-731-5106
D. Kapping
G. Kaiser 605-201-6622
T. Kelly 605-530-4209
A. Lambrechts
L. Laurie
L. Nedved, MD 605-996-1050
G. Lodermeier 605-261-3459
N. Long 605-637-5584
W. Mayer
B. Meister
C. Menkens
P. McDowell
J. MacRunnels 605-940-7469
K. Mielke
A. Nasman
B. Newland 605-255-4032
T. Norris
M. Olwell
R. Osterkamp 605-274-0627
E. Paulson 701-866-0321 (Rosholt, SD)
A. Pearson 605-941-1901
B. Pearson
S. Peterson
C. Pistulka 605-941-2268
S. Plath
B. Pody
L. Prokop
G. Rayman
D. Reed
M. Robinson
C. Roest
L. Schroeder 605-334-5473
S. Sehr
T. Stanga
B. Stegmeier
M. Steichen
R. Stulken
S. Schwarting
M. Taggart 605-835-8089
J. Taylor
S. von dem Hagen
M. Wagner mwagner@iw.net
J. Walker
L. Warinner
S. Warinner
M. Whiting
D. Willoughby
J. Wolff
B. Wuestewald

4. It’s not clear from the text of the South Dakota Judicial Accountability measure exactly how the Special Grand Jury fits within the basic structure of government. Article two of the state constitution sets forth that “The powers of the government of the state are divided into three distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial.” However, this measure is amending the South Dakota Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Is the Special Grand Jury intended to be part of the Judicial Branch of Government, or will it be part of the Executive Branch?

Answer: It is not intended to be part of either the Judicial or the Executive Branch of government. One might call the "Special Grand Jury" the "citizen's branch" of government, as it is comprised not of government officials but of citizens who are empowered by the Amendment to "check" the judicial branch.

And even though question 4. does not ask, you may be interested in why we believe this "check" on the judiciary is needed now but was not deemed necessary at the time of our founding fathers.

The framers of our Constitution did a fair job of providing for "checks and balances" between the three branches of government. This worked well up until 1872, when the US Supreme Court created the doctrine of judicial immunity. In the case of Bradley v Fisher, the Supreme Court, out of thin air, and with no Constitutional basis or authority, announced that judges would not be liable even for malicious and corrupt acts. This pivotal case, that of judges giving judges immunity, all but destroyed the "checks and balances" by elevating the judiciary above the other two branches and even above the people themselves.

So, that explained, who will "judge the judges"? We say the people.

And before anyone takes issue with the notion that the citizens should not be entrusted with such oversight, consider our state motto: "UNDER GOD THE PEOPLE RULE".

5. Article 5, Section 2 of the State Constitution (which is not amended by your measure) expressly states that the South Dakota Supreme Court is the highest Court of the State. The pre-eminence portion of your measure attempts to give the Special Grand Jury preference in the case of a conflict. In looking at both courts, which one should voters consider will be the higher court – the State Supreme Court or the Special Grand Jury?

Answer: To begin with, the "voters" will not be "considering" much of anything once the Amendment passes, short of altering or repealing the Amendment in a subsequent election.

Section 23, titled "Preeminence", refers to the Amendment on whole, including all its parts, not just the Special Grand Jury.

But in the end, the functions of the two courts are different and cannot be compared. The Supreme Court's function is to adjudicate, the Special Grand Jury's function is to hear complaints of judicial misconduct alleged to have been committed during the process of adjudication.

6. In the case of misconduct of the judge sitting in judgment of a misconduct challenge, who would hear that case? Section 20 of the measure appears to grant them an immunity to civil and criminal actions in conjunction with enforcement of the findings of the Special Grand Jury.

Answer: Question 6 appears to be a trick question. Section 20 is designed to protect the complainant as he proceeds with civil suit against a judge stripped of immunity after being ruled against by the Special Grand Jury.

But humoring your trick question (who, me? -pp) , I suppose the process would just start over, ultimately resulting in the filing of a second and then third and then forth etc. complaint with the Special Grand Jury, until we have the courtroom packed with miscreant judges waiting for their hearings.

Say, you're not suggesting we may have that magnitude of a judicial misconduct problem?

7. As derived from the due process clause in the US Constitution’s bill of rights, the American system of justice has always held out the principle that an accused is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet the Judicial Accountability act expressly states that “all allegations in the complaint are to be liberally construed in favor of the complainant.” Why does the Judicial Accountability Act presume guilt?

Answer: It doesn't presume guilt. It just levels the playing field. This clause of the Amendment addresses the inevitability that the complainant, or the "little guy", will be up against one of you silver tongued professionals, and therefore, like a Pro Se litigant, should not be held to the same standard as the pros.

8. The measure talks in Section 17 about the three strikes concept with judges. It states “Any criminal conviction (including a plea bargain) under any judicial process shall be considered a strike.” From the plain reading of that language, that would appear to go down to the level of traffic offenses. Are you saying that if a judge got three speeding tickets over a ten year period, they would be forcibly retired?

Answer: Not at all. In the case of speeding tickets, there is no injured party to complain to the Special Grand Jury! Second, even if there was an injured party, the judge would have to make the ridiculous assertion that he is protected by "judicial immunity" for the Special Grand Jury to have jurisdiction. Probably won't happen!.

9. Under the act, if a Judge believed that they had been improperly convicted, or contested a “strike” against them, do they have the ability to appeal the decision, and what court or group would they appeal to?

Answer: In this case, it doesn't appear the convicted judge would be able to appeal. But, considering the Special Grand Jury is chosen at random from the voter pool and not "stacked", and considering that the member makeup of the Special Grand Jury constantly changes, one member each month thereby eliminating any possibility that any special interest could ever gain a foothold, and considering the members of the Special Grand Jury are "entrusted by the People of this State with the duty of restoring judicial accountability and a perception of justice", and considering the judge would have just received a higher standard of justice than any citizen is presently afforded, why should the convicted judge even want to appeal? Unless it's the judge's third strike, why wouldn't he just take his well deserved butt kicking like a man (or woman), knock off the judicial misconduct and lawlessness he was convicted for, and get on with it? Now it's a different story if it’s the judge's third strike he's dealing with. But here again, with three strikes against "his incorrigible honor", why should anyone feel sorry that he can't appeal?

That little rant said, I suppose the judge could appeal on the federal level.

10. Can you point or direct me to any specific case(s) or incident(s) involving the South Dakota judiciary in which J.A.I.L. would have applied?

Answer: We're in discussions with several attorneys who have come forward with first hand accounts of judicial misconduct which injured their clients. We will bring them forward at the appropriate time.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. Should you need additional clarification of my answers, or if you would care to ask additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself.

Bill Stegmeier, Sponsor, Amendment E
As I said, I don't think anything here is going to change my mind, but I do thank Bill for taking the time to answer the questions I have on the Judicial Accountability Act.

Until next time..... Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
Stegmeier gives a list of "80 or so supporters who are on our letterhead are South Dakotans who either collected signatures or made a donation".

This is an interesting list. Interesting indeed. For you see, it is A BOGUS ARGUMENT.

Compare the SD list he just gave you PP to the list at http://www.southdakotajudicialaccountability.com/contribute.htm

80 SD residents + Stegmeier "either collected signatures or made a donation" according to what Stegmeier gave you tonight.

BUT at least 49 non-SD residents gave as well.

Arkansas (1): C. Broomfield
Arizona (1): Aquarian Church
California (6): R. Branson, G. Zerman, R. Pegram, D. Robbins, H. Nicolle, J. Henderson
Colorado (2): C. Hurst, P. Hurst
Florida (3): C. Cihak, T. Cihak, Essential Oils Healthline
Georgia (2): C. Rubin, E. Strange
Illinois (1): F. Smart
Louisiana (2): C. Bernofsky, S. Bernofsky
Michigan (1): T. Johnson
Minnesota (2): J. Paulson, M. Fink
Missouri (1): A. Cella
New Jersey (2): J. Moser, E. Werline
New Mexico (1): M. Herman
Nevada (2): D. Stremcha, P. Stremcha
New York (2): R. Lober, K. Knudsen
Oregon (4): M. Kliewer, J. Bell, L. Parks, R. Herne
Texas (12): R. Halay, A. Smith, B. Smith, C. Smith, D. Smith, E. Smith, F. Smith, G. Smith, H. Smith, I. Smith, J. Smith, K. Smith,
Washington (2): D. Estes, D. Harden
Wisconsin (1): M. Kinney
West Virginia (1): R. Underwood, M. Underwood

49 out of state donators, PLUS the out of state signature gatherers.

And least we forget, this is still being run out of California by Bonnie Russell and Ron Branson.

At the end of the day, the best Stegmeier can say is that his out of state J.A.I.L. help is equal to or slightly less than the support he's getting from SD.

CALIFORNIANS Branson and Russell are still running the show. And the funding and support largely coming from out of SD.

Question #11 for Stegmeier (or Bonnie if you are reading): explain exactly how this is "South Dakota all the way" when Bonnie's in San Diego, Branson's in Hollywood and at least 50 of the 130 listed contributors are from outside the state?
K said…
Sylvia Plath is supporting J.A.I.L. from beyond the grave!
Wild Bill said…
Given the radical agenda of Stegmeier and his ilk, I find his answers to be those of a "useful idiot" at best, that is deceptive, disengenuous, and clearly contrary to the intent of the Amendment. For example, his explanation of why the cards get stacked against the accused (the good citizen public servants that will be under attack by these bozos) is to "level the playing field"! Hmmm, how level is the playing field when the accused is presumed to be guilty? He assumes every complainant will be a "little guy"...well, can a corporation or the State bring a complaint against a judge? I don't see any prohibition. Reread this guy's answers, then reread Amendment E...It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Stegmeier is a poor man's Goebels.
Wild Bill said…
I think that it is important to note that what Bonnie, Branson, Bill Stegmeier (BS from now on), and the other Amendment E bozos try to gloss over is that the uber grand jury is not bound by the rule of law. They get to just make it up. So these folks will complain to the grand jury that a judge went against the constitution by upholding the authority of the state to tax BS's business, or by tossing out BS's law suit to enjoin the state from assessing property taxes, or by finding against BS in his claim that he shouldn't have to follow zoning ordinances, or his suit to keep Tea from having flouride in the water...you get the picture. All of these types of things will be argued by the crazies as being contrary to their interpretation of the constitution and the uber grand jury can actually find in their favor notwithstanding black letter law and precedent. The end result will be the willful destruction of the rule of law that we good citizens live by, to promote their radical agenda. To get the intent of the Amendment it is imperative that the agenda of these dufusses continue to be exposed. Hey BS...which friend was it that didn't fare well in court...the guy in Texas that thinks the income tax is unconstitutional and who called for the assassination of judges?
Anonymous said…
And the idiots come out of the wood work!!
I think Mr. Stegmeier has shown his good faith by answering these q's that a lot of us had. And the special interest groups and the idiots have only the personal attacks against Bill and the rest of us whom WILL be voting yes on E. The merits of E can't be struck down so you attack the proponents...Wild Bil you Sad sad little man!!
Anonymous said…
A. Smith, B. Smith, C. Smith, D. Smith, E. Smith, F. Smith, G. Smith, H. Smith, I. Smith, J. Smith, K. Smith,

and the next one would be L. Smith followed by M. Smith

What the ___?

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