The Record Blog

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Restraining Order Redux

[ Patrick Tuohey ]

ShowMe Better Courts has refiled a motion requesting a temporary restraining order against former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Chip Robertson and his organization Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts.

Before we get into the details, let's correct some mistakes in recent blogging.  FiredUpMissouri made an error of fact that I am sure they are eager to have corrected.  In a post titled, Defending Freedom with Frivolous Lawsuits, they clearly err when they write, "Harris & Co. obtained a temporary restraining order Thursday, but it was dropped Friday because they had no evidence to back up their claims."  Actually, that is not at all the case.  Their own link quotes Robertson as saying, "The judge decided we didn’t have enough time to tell our side of the story."  It was dismissed because Robertson said he was not properly notified, not based on the merits of the claim.

In fact, in his testimony to get the restraining order quashed, Robertson had to testify that (1) yes, he spoke with ShowMe Better Court's filing attorney; (2) yes he discussed the matter of harassment with that same attorney; (3) yes he stated that the activities described were awful; and (4) yes he received a faxed copy of the motion seeking a restraining order.  But no, he was unaware of the substance of the filing.  Nice.

FiredUp also described the motion seeking a restraining order as frivolous.  Nevermind that several people signed sworn statements that they have been harassed, battered and called racial slurs.  FiredUp must think those things are frivolous because, well, because the victims are working for a political solution that FiredUp does not support.  This is the political equivalent of asking a rape victim what she was wearing.

Robertson goes on to suggest that Better Courts just wanted to grab a headline and would not file again.  But this is also wrong as Better Courts has refiled both a restraining order request and a lawsuit.  In addition, their filings add the signature gathering firm The Lincoln Strategy Group as a party to the lawsuit because they are being denied their ability to do business.  This addition is problematic for Robertson attorney Chuck Hatfield, because he is the attorney for another petition group that also retains the services of Lincoln Strategy.  This puts Hatfield in a conflict of interest.

If this is the level of political and legal savvy we can expect from the Missouri Bar, it is no wonder they oppose elections.

4/20/2010 3:04:30 PM

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