The Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly, but Grind Exceedingly Fine

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Now that everything is done but the deciding, let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of what the Maryland Court of Appeals has on its plate in the case of Schmalfeldt v. Hoge.

On Friday, Sept. 20, the clerk told me that the Court already has their hands on my motion to reconsider their decision to deny my motion to stay the peace order pending appeal, as well as my supplement to the petition for a writ of certiorari (asking them to consider my case).

It seems likely that we’ll get a quick ruling on that, so let’s review the issues presented in that motion.

In my initial motion to stay the PO, filed Aug. 27, I argued that I am a journalist, although officially retired with advanced Parkinson’s disease. But I still take on the occasional freelance assignment. I argued that up until the peace order, my sole contact with Hoge was via Twitter, and that since the peace order was issued, Hoge continues to write about me, to taunt me, in my opinion, to goad me into violating the very broad terms of the PO that he believes to be in effect. I argued that Hoge had filed 8 new charges against me since the granting of his PO, all of which were eventually dismissed by the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s office. I argued that the PO has a chilling effect on my first amendment rights to write stories about Mr. Hoge’s involvement with a right wing hate group, since the code of journalistic ethics requires that I attempt to make contact with the subject of my story to get his side, his comment, and now I was legally — albeit in my opinion, unconstitutionally — forbidden to contact him.  The peace order ignores the part of the state’s harassment statute that says it does not apply to “peaceable conduct” done with the purpose of “expressing a political view or providing information to others. I brought up the Federal District Court‘s decision in US v. Cassidy which stated that “Tweets and blogs” can not be considered harassing conduct.

In her motion to dismiss my motion, Zoa Barnes of Westminster, Md., a family law attorney Hoge — for some reason — chose to represent him in this case, she makes several material misstatements of fact. Out of the box, she claims that I had filed an appeal with the Carroll County Circuit Court to modify the peace order. She even notes that the appeal was transferred to the Court of Appeals on August 9.  She notes that my motion to the CCCC was filed on July 11, a month before the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals.  Then she says that the CCCC would need to hear my request to modify the PO before the CofA could act on my motion to stay. She said that, instead of filing a motion to stay with the CofA, which she admits the appeal had been transferred to as of Aug. 9, that I would have to ask the CCCC for a motion to stay first. Of course, I did ask the CCCC for a modification of the PO on July 11, so she steps on her own argument.  She outright lies (in an artful, legal fashion) by saying the CCCC was “already considering” my motion — not true since the CCCC isn’t scheduled to even hear the motion until Oct. 16.

The CofA received her motion the same day I got my copy, and denied my motion believing that the case was “already being considered.”

Now, at this point I figure, well, that’s that. Let’s see what the CofA does with my petition for a writ of certiorari. But on Sept. 9, I received a very nice letter from the Clerk of the Court of Appeals saying that if I wanted to ask the court to reconsider their denial of the motion, they would entertain that reconsideration. She also suggested that the court may wish to expedite my petition for a writ of certiorari if I got my supplement to them sooner rather than later.

So, I filed a motion for the CofA to reconsider their denial.  In the motion, the first thing I mentioned is that the CCCC is NOT “already considering” my motion to modify since they don’t even hear the case until Oct. 16.  During that time between now and then, I remain under daily threat of criminal prosecution. Hoge had stopped waiting for actual accidental slipups and had started CREATING reasons why I had violated his precious PO.  I reminded the CofA that 8 charges had been filed and dismissed since the PO, but the threat for more remained, including a note from the Carroll County SA telling me to mind my P’s and Q’s if I didn’t want to end up in the dock!  This “sword of Damocles” would dangle by the merest thread for as long as the PO remained intact.  I explained again how Twitter works, and how Hoge could block me any time he wants to and how he attempted to FOLLOW my Twitter timeline after getting his PO. I explained how Hoge was already threatening more criminal charges once all the dust had settled from the appeals. I explained how this was detrimental to my Parkinson’s disease symptoms, not only the physical having to be dragged to and from Carroll County, but the emotional stress of having a constant threat of prosecution dangling over my head and how stress causes PD to worsen at a more rapid rate. I reminded the CofA that since it had taken charge of the appeal, that it was silly to expect that I would file a similar appeal with the CCCC.

Zoa Barnes’ answer was brief, succinct, and full of misstatments.

1. She denied that Twitter works the way that Twitter says it works.

2. She denied that attempting to contact Hoge via Twitter was “peaceable” and “for a legal purpose.”

3. She ADMITTED that, oh yeah! Hoge is gonna bust my chops any time he feels like it once these matters are settled.

4. SHE DENIED THAT I SUFFER FROM ADVANCED PARKINSON’S DISEASE, which will come as quite a shock to my neurologist, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management and my wife.

5. SHE DENIED THE MEDICAL SCIENCE THAT SAYS STRESS INCREASES THE RATE OF NEURAL DEGENERATION IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE!!!

6. And, again, she said that even though the case had been transferred to the CofA, I needed to file an appeal, which I already had, to the CCCC before the CofA could entertain my appeal.

Again, the Clerk told me that the CofA would receive her answers to my motion and to my petition on Monday.  I expect a very quick turnaround on the motion to stay the PO pending appeal.  No official predictions, but I like my chances. I would expect that by this time next week we’ll know whether or not the Court of Appeals agrees that the Peace Order is an unjust infringement on my rights, or if it’s OK that Hoge is using the courts like his own personal spanking paddle.

But the CofA moves on its own schedule regarding petitions for writs of certiorari, which I will discuss in my next entry.

 

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Zoa Barnes Invokes ‘Because I Said So’ Doctrine in Her Answer to My Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Maryland Court of Appeals

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Well, she cured my Parkinson’s disease, so I guess she has that kind of power.

Let’s allow the documents and my embedded comments to speak for themselves.

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The Court of Appeals now has everything they need to make their decision.  If they decide to grant cert on Monday, they can overturn the Peace Order right then and there. If they decide they want to mull this over a bit, they could grant my motion to reconsider their denial of my motion to stay the peace order pending their decision. But honest to God. If the court BUYS this pack of bullshit baloney, I officially have no faith in Maryland’s system of juris prudence.

I did some research on Ms. Barnes’ history as a practitioner of the judicial arts. She is a Family Law and Education attorney. She has argued once, that I can find, in front of the intermediary Court of SPECIAL Appeals and came away with a split decision.  I can only imagine how much she is charging Hoge for this… Hogewash.

Your thoughts?

Not Being Given to Hubris, I Will Defer to the Court and Await Their Decision

Mr. William John Joseph Hoge III of Westminster, MD, has been very careful not to discuss the case between us, except in cases where he does.

This morning for example.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 7.43.04 AMNow. Here’s a little bit of backstory for my readers.  When I filed my original motion for the Court of Appeals (Maryland’s version of the Supreme Court) to stay Hoge’s unconstitutionally-awarded peace order pending the court’s decision on whether or not to grant my petition for a writ of certoriari (meaning a decision to hear my case), Mr. Hoge’s very expensive lawyer, Zoa Barnes, also of Westminster, Maryland, filed a fanciful bit of fiction in “answer” to my motion, in which she said that the Court could not hear my motion because I hadn’t filed the proper motion for appeal in the Circuit Court which granted the unconstitutionally-awarded peace order in the first place, but that I had filed a motion with the Circuit Court which they were already considering even though the case isn’t going to be heard until Oct. 16.

The Court of Appeals received her answer to my motion and ruled against me on Sept. 4 — the same day I filed my answer to Ms. Barnes’ bit of fiction.

Oh well, thought I. Bit of bad luck. Timing is everything. Now I’ll just wait until the court decides whether or not to take my case.

Then, on Sept. 10, I received this letter from Ms. Bessie M. Decker, Clerk of the Court of Appeals.  I have highlighted the parts of particular interest.  (Ms. Barnes also received a copy of this letter — shocking, isn’t it, that Mr. Hoge hasn’t mentioned it?)

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 7.50.14 AMNow, what does this tell us?  This tells us that the court received my response to Ms. Barnes’ colorful bit of fiction after they ruled against me. Frankly, this seems like a referee coming over to a coach who has been victim of a botched call on the field and reminding him that he has a red flag in his pocket that he can throw for a review of the official’s decision — if he wants to.

Well, I filed a motion to reconsider the next day. Then on Tuesday, I called Ms. Decker who told me the motion to reconsider had already been distributed to the Judges and that Thursdays were typically the day when they rendered decisions on cases like this. So, if Mrs. Barnes got her motion to deny my motion to reconsider into the court before they ruled, if they ruled, let’s hope for Mr. Hoge’s sake that she did a better bit of storytelling than she did last time.

If the Court has already ruled against me again, it really doesn’t matter either way. If the Court has ruled in my favor, then I think that’s the end of the matter as far as the motion to stay the peace order goes.  It seems unlikely they’re going to deny, grant, then deny my motion again.  I hope to hear something today or tomorrow.  In fact, I may call down there today and see if there’s been a decision yet.

I was also intrigued by the part underlined in blue.  Is it just me? Or does it seem like the Court is rarin’ to make a decision in this case?  The circumstances under which they took it, my former lawyer Mr. Tae Kim tells me, is almost unheard of — snatching it away from the Court of Special Appeals so they could hear it themselves.  And now this letter from the delightful Ms. Decker.

You never know what a Court is going to do until a Court does it.  But from the outside looking in, am I wrong for thinking these are favorable developments?

We shall see!

Now, below you will find some excellent examples of Mr. Hoge NOT discussing the case.

WJJ Hoge is Either a Liar, or Senile, or just… Not Smart.

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I hate to have to keep correcting someone when they make mistakes, especially when they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, and when they are corrected they double down “just to show me” that they are above correction.  But Mr. WJJ Hoge III of Westminster, Md., requires such a correction today.  Let’s review his latest burbling, “Give it a Rest” on his aptly named “Hogewash” blog.

We’ll just run his article, stopping for corrections as necessary,

Bill Schmalfledt (sp) has experienced a great deal of pushback from the victims of his bullying this past year.

Now hold on thar, Baba Boy! “Victims of my bullying?” Either he is talking about people who refused to answer simple questions, or attacked me and I responded. Funny how he keeps forgetting to mention that I never attack unless attacked first. But that would spoil the narrative.

Although he’s managed to beat the rap in each of the criminal charges filed thus far…

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