By Sydney Sullivan
Have you ever felt that the judge in your case was not treating you or your attorney fairly, especially when the facts of bankster fraud were clear? Or when you have shown the judge a fabricated assignment of mortgage and an obviously fake endorsement on your so-called note? When you walk into the courtroom does your stomach sink and you imagine you hear a faint theme from the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz?
In a small Kentucky county, a homeowner just like you encountered the unthinkable – proof that his judge was prejudice and even worse – the judge was assisting the opposing counsel for the bank in a plot against him.
It is one thing for a judge to own stock in the company that you are opposing and fails to recuse himself from your case; but when a judge actually conspires with the opposition to your detriment and eventual loss – well, reprehensible doesn’t quite cover it.
What makes this impropriety so particularly heinous is the blatant stupidity of how the action occurred. In small towns across the country many times judges will sit on the bench in several counties. In this case, the judge was on the bench in a neighboring county when she had ex parte communication with the opposing counsel plotting against the homeowner and the conversation was caught on video tape still running in the court room!
The homeowner, Glenn Augenstein (one of the few pro ses to win on appeal) a Henry County, Kentucky resident by and through his attorney, Robert Frederick Smith of the law firm Smith and Cartwright, filed a MOTION and MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF DISQUALIFICATION FOR VIOLATION OF KRS 26A.015, LOCAL RULES OF THE TWELFTH(12TH) JUDICIAL CIRCUIT AND KENTUCKY CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT against Kentucky Circuit Judge Karen A. Conrad, as Mr. Augenstein “no longer trusts that the Court acts impartially, or that Defendant will receive due process of law, both substantive and procedural, and equal protection of the law, and a fair application of law, and fair application of the rules of evidence and procedure.” [Duh yeah, ya think?! DC Ed] Click HERE for the Memorandum.
“On April 13, 2012 Circuit Judge Conrad and Attorney Carole Schneider, an attorney with Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss, who represents the Plaintiff herein, engaged in ex parte communication in regard to Henry Circuit Case No. 07-CI-00368, and Kentucky Court of Appeals Case No. 2009-CA-000058-MR, cases in which Augenstein is Defendant, and Appellant, respectively.” states the Memorandum.
The conversation between the opposing counsel and the judge will make your skin crawl – especially if you are one of the good guys sitting on the bench. Here is an excerpt taken from the video transcript as it appeared in the Motion of Disqualification:
– Carole Schneider: I know … There’s nothing on Oldham County docket … But can you put on your Henry County hat?
– Judge Conrad: What? What’s going on in Henry?
– Carole Schneider: This is the infamous Augenstein case.
– Judge Conrad: And urn … Miss urn (muffled) This attorney was here on another case and he showed up actually. What’s going on in that case …?
– Carole Schneider: Well, well what what’s happened on this case is apparently, urn, we decided …
– Judge Conrad: ‘Cause I’m not getting copied on some of … if this is recent..no that’s not recent.
– Carole Schneider: It’s not too recent. We had moved for a new, ah, for a new hearing, and I think the latest decision was November. But they have determined that we are not the real party in interest and have remanded it back so I guess our question is what do we need to do to get it dismissed? (laughs) Do I need to copy you on something? (laughing)
– Judge Conrad: Who is the real party of interest?”
– Carole Schneider: (whispered) I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re gonna, if we’re refi-ing, or what we’re doing on this.
– Judge Conrad: But there was some issue about when they were assigned the note .. .I think it had I think maybe the issue was that they took it within about 3 days after they filed their lawsuit and … urn … Lerner Sampson cited a lot of Ohio Law and Federal Law on it.
– Carole Schneider: (laughing)
– Judge Conrad: and so I ruled in their favor.
– Carole Schneider: And they’ve remanded it back to you and we just want to get it dismissed. What do we need to do?”
At 02:01:29 Judge Conrad places a call to the Henry County Clerk to inquire regarding the status of the case. The inquiry lasts approximately 2.5 minutes.
– Judge Conrad: I’m gonna suggest that you just tell them to go ahead and file a …
– Carole Schneider: File motion.
– Judge Conrad: … motion to dismiss based upon the Court of Appeals decision and they set it for one of the motion hours …
– Carole Schneider: OK.
– Judge Conrad: … I got two of them a month up there.
– Carole Schneider: Alright, I’ll have them do that.
An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should maintain and enforce high standards of conduct and should personally observe those standards, so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.
Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges. The integrity and independence of judges depend in turn on their acting without fear or favor. Although judges should be independent, they must comply with the law and should comply with this Code. Adherence to this responsibility helps to maintain public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. Conversely, violation of this Code diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and injures our system of government under law.
- (A) Respect for Law. A judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
- (B) Outside Influence. A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge should neither lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
- (C) Nondiscriminatory Membership. A judge should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin.
Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.
Canon 2B. Testimony as a character witness injects the prestige of the judicial office into the proceeding in which the judge testifies and may be perceived as an official testimonial. A judge should discourage a party from requiring the judge to testify as a character witness except in unusual circumstances when the demands of justice require. This Canon does not create a privilege against testifying in response to an official summons.
A judge should avoid lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others. For example, a judge should not use the judge’s judicial position or title to gain advantage in litigation involving a friend or a member of the judge’s family. In contracts for publication of a judge’s writings, a judge should retain control over the advertising to avoid exploitation of the judge’s office.
A judge should be sensitive to possible abuse of the prestige of office. A judge should not initiate communications to a sentencing judge or a probation or corrections officer but may provide information to such persons in response to a formal request. Judges may participate in the process of judicial selection by cooperating with appointing authorities and screening committees seeking names for consideration and by responding to official inquiries concerning a person being considered for a judgeship.
And BTW, God Bless Robert Frederick Smith for having the integrity, bravery,
heart and honor to call for the judge’s disqualification.