Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
This is a discussion on Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse within the Courts, Decisions, Appeals forum, part of the Civil Litigation category; Hi, I'm in Georgia and just went through the most humiliating and I'm very sure illegal court session ever! I ...
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|Nov 3rd, 2010, 05:12 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
I'm in Georgia and just went through the most humiliating and I'm very sure illegal court session ever! I don't know if there's a character limit here, because my post is quite lengthy. It needs to be to be completely understood. I don't have any money right now and I need an attorney more than I ever have in my life! Please someone help me! I swear this is verbatim and actually happened to me yesterday. Even if you think you can't help me, I know you'll at least find this entertaining! But I REALLY need help here! Please email me ASAP (email address in my profile). thank you. Here goes:
This morning at 11:30am, I went to the Douglas County courthouse Magistrate clerk's office and asked for an audio transcript of the proceedings yesterday on WHITESIDE ENTERPRISES, LLC vs. JAMES A. GANTT. The clerk said they don't make audio transcripts. I then asked for a text transcript and was told they don't make text transcripts. So I asked for the minutes of the proceedings that the judge is supposed to write and was told that the judge doesn't write minutes. Then I asked her "what do you have as far as records of the proceedings?" She said all they have is a copy of the judgment, which is the same copy I have. I read online that most Magistrate courts have at minimum a text transcript, but Douglas County has NO form of transcript per the court clerk. Since this is true, I'm going to do my best to recall all the events that happened in court yesterday so that there IS a record.
I arrived at the Douglas County courthouse around 9am for my scheduled hearing at 9:30am for the case of WHITESIDE ENTERPRISES, LLC vs. JAMES A. GANTT, Case# 10MV05249, held in the Magistrate courtroom of Chief Magistrate Judge, Susan S. Camp.
When I walked into the courtroom, there was already nowhere to sit because the room was filling up quickly. I found a spot and sat down. I saw a couple of attorneys walk in and go to the front of the room and speak with the clerk and the bailiff as if they knew each other. Then I saw the clerk talking to a man who wasn't dressed as an attorney as if she knew him very well. Everyone else was seated, so I thought maybe he was an attorney because he was hanging out with them in the front of the room.
Then the judge came in and started the lengthy calendar call. I heard Whiteside Enterprises, LLC mentioned as the plaintiff in numerous cases, including mine. The man I had seen speaking with the clerk turned out to be a Mr. Whiteside, the plaintiff in my case. The judge then asked that everyone have a "consent meeting" outside of the courtroom to see if they could come to a resolution in their various cases prior to having a hearing. Mr. Whiteside called me out of the room. He led me to an area where no one else was. I found this very strange because he was the last man I had any desire to talk to and we were sent out there with no one else around and no mediator, and I was very angry with this man who I had never met. This is the resulting conversation (I'll use "p" for Plaintiff and "d" for Defendant for simplicity):
p - What do you want to do?
d - I want you to drop this case.
p - Why should I do that?
d - Well, you made a lot of mistakes with this claim, starting with the fact that you filed in the wrong county. You're supposed to file in the county where I live, which is Cobb, not Douglas.
p - You signed a waiver of Change of Venue.
d - I did not! Show me.
p - (He produced a copy of the lease and went a few pages into it and showed me where in fact I had signed what he said. I didn't recall because that was almost 6 years ago.)
d - I want to know why you show my street address in Cobb County with "Douglasville, GA 30135" on the claim.
p - Oh, that's just a typo.
d - Well it seems to me that you filed it that way just so you could file it in Douglas County for your own convenience.
p - That was just a mistake.
d - Yah, one of many. Are you filing this claim as a "Suit on Account"? (that is what is indicated on the claim.)
p - Yes I am, suit on an open account.
d - Ok, then the statute of limitations has run out and you can't file the claim. (I read to him the text from Georgia Code O.C.G.A. 9-3-25 that says "All actions on open account shall be brought within four years after the right of action accrues."
p - This is a contract. I'm suing on the breaching of a contract, which has a 6 year statute of limitations!
d - That's not what you just told me and that's not what's on the claim. Did you file the proper dispossessory action in this court?
p - Yes I did. (He showed me a copy of the dispossessory he filed.)
d - Did you bring the original lease with my original signature on it? (He showed me again his copy of the lease, which was not the original.) That's not the original lease. I subpoenaed you to bring the original lease with my original signature on it.
p - You subpoenaed me? I didn't know you did that. I haven't been around my office much. Besides, the original lease with your signature on it has been entered into evidence. (I never saw the original lease or any other evidence during court for that matter, other than papers he had created himself itemizing various dollar amounts for various items. He never produced any actual receipts for anything during court.)
d - Yes, I did. I subpoenaed you to bring that as well as the rental records of that unit including and subsequent to my staying there.
p - You did? I didn't know that. (He pulled out his cell phone and made a phone call to someone and asked them to fax him a copy of the rental records.)
d - You're claiming "Cleaning fees: $250". You did not clean the unit because my ex-girlfriend was still living there and she cleaned the unit… in the dark… after you disconnected the utilities, which is against the law.
p - It's not against the law because I own my own power company and if you don't pay the bill, I cut you off. (The utilities were included in the weekly rent.) Are you going to make a payment arrangement?
d - No, I'm not paying you anything. We're done here. (I wish there had been a mediator present.)
Back inside the courtroom:
Several cases were heard while I waited. No defendants won their cases. Then at 11:45am the judge said (I'll use "j" for judge, "p" for plaintiff and "d" for defendant for simplicity.)
j - Mr. Whiteside, what is this about this Gantt person objecting to venue on his answer?
p - Mr. Gantt can't object to venue because he signed a waiver.
d - Your honor, I had originally objected to venue because the plaintiff filed his claim in the wrong county, but I decided not to ask for change of venue because of the facts of this case. And the claim is signed by an "Angie Whiteside".
j - Yeah, that's Mr. Whiteside's mother-in-law (I believe she said "mother-in-law", but I'm not certain because I immediately wondered how she knew that?) Whiteside Enterprises, LLC vs. James A. Gantt, come up here.
There were two large tables set end to end right in front of where everyone was seated. This is where both the plaintiffs and defendants had their cases heard by the judge up until this point. When my case was called, I went to the table where the previous defendants had went, but Mr. Whiteside went up and sat beside the judge without even being asked to. He sat there throughout the rest of the hearing. I thought this was very weird, but gave no indication of my thoughts.
The judge started talking to Mr. Whiteside about itemizations of monetary figures on the claim. She wanted to know how he had derived these figures, which he explained and she verified on her calculator. He was reciting from the sheet of paper he had created with his various figures on it. No actual receipts for anything were ever produced and I never saw any of the documents I had subpoenaed him to bring to court. This went on for about 10 minutes and I waited and listened to them. I had not said anything to the judge at all up until the point where she stopped in mid-conversation with him and said:
j - Mr. Gantt, aren't you going to say anything?
d - Your honor, I was just waiting for my turn to speak, but yes, I have a lot of things to say.
j - You say in your answer here that the statute of limitations has run on this case, please explain why you think this is true.
d - (I held up my copy of the claim and pointed to where the plaintiff had indicated "Suit on Account") The plaintiff filed his claim as "Suit on Account" and according to Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 9-3-25, "All actions on open account shall be brought within four years after the right of action accrues." The plaintiff filed his claim 5 years after the fact, therefore the statute of limitations has passed.
The plaintiff interrupted me on numerous occasions while the judge was addressing me. This was the first time.
p - This is a suit on a contract! I have 6 years on a contract suit! That was just a mistake!
j - (Speaking to me) This is a contract, not an account. That was just a little mistake on the claim. The statute of limitations has not run out. Anything else?
d - Just a little mistake? This is just one of many mistakes on this claim. So you're saying that anyone can file a lawsuit against someone else and have it full of "little mistakes" and that doesn't matter?
j - Yes, this is just Magistrate court. We don't have to pay attention to the little details and small mistakes that people make.
At this point, I became very confused very quickly because I always thought that the "little details" were always considered very carefully due to the fact that the outcomes of court cases have huge effects on peoples' lives. I then said something that maybe I shouldn't have, but I was beginning to get upset and didn't really think before I spoke. Even so, it wasn't meant the way the judge took it.
d - If you say so.
The judge became instantly irate with me.
j - Yes, I say so! I'm the judge! That's why I go to seminars to be able to sit up here! You're really a smart-alek!
I thought to myself "Seminars?! How does somebody get to be a judge by attending seminars?" I found that statement to be ridiculous as I became even more angry for being publicly chastised, but I kept quiet, regretting what I had just said. And why does she keep on calling me names? However, in hindsight, I'm very glad I said what I did, because it set the stage for even more things to be revealed to me that otherwise probably wouldn't have.
d - Your honor, I wasn't trying to imply anything and I didn't mean what I said the way you took it. All I'm trying to do here is defend myself.
j - Do you have anything else to say?
d - Yes, your honor. I would like to know why the plaintiff shows on his suit my Cobb county street address being in Douglasville, GA 30135?
p - That was just a typo! Just a mistake!
j - (Speaking to me) You're just being a smart-alek! I told you that the details on the claim don't matter! Let me tell you something. You have obviously talked to an attorney. Most people that come in here don't have attorneys. That's why I don't have to pay attention to mistakes!
Now I was really angry, but I held my tongue. She called the bailiff over to her. I heard her tell him to "go get her book". He headed towards a door on their end of the room, which I assumed to be the judge's chambers. Right then another very strange thing happened. Mr. Whiteside, the plaintiff in my case, got up and went AHEAD of the bailiff and opened the door for him! He knew where the bailiff was going and knew exactly where "her book" was! The realization hit me that Mr. Whiteside was VERY familiar with this courtroom and all the officials in it. The way they acted and spoke to each other was the way people talk to each other when they're good friends.
The bailiff returned with "her book" and handed it to her and resumed his post. She then looked at me and then down to "her book" and started reading something about the "civil code" and how she only has to come to a "reasonable decision".
j - Do you understand, Mr. Gantt? This is just Magistrate court and all I have to do is go by the civil code. This is not like Superior or some other higher level court where they do pay attention to details and little mistakes.
Then she said out loud to Mr. Whiteside sitting next to her:
j - You're gonna have to tell Angie to stop saying suit on account!
By this point I knew I was going to lose this case. I was being railroaded here right in front of a packed courtroom! I was the first case heard in the series of Whiteside Enterprises, LLC cases. The thought came to me of how all the defendants behind me must have felt because their cases hadn't even been called yet! I turned my head and looked at them all sitting behind me and they looked as I expected they would, already defeated. Some were even shaking their heads.
The "Angie" that the judge was referring to was the one that had signed the claim against me, and Mr. Whiteside's mother-in-law. Angie Whiteside was not ever present in the courtroom that day. It became blatantly obvious to me that I was in the plaintiff's own town, in a court where not only was he best of friends with the court officials, but they even knew his family on a first-name basis, and even their relations to each other! I knew I had no chance of winning my case, but I was determined to have the law on my side.
j - Do you have anything else to say?
d - Yes I do. He is claiming "Cleaning fee: $250". He did not clean the unit after I left. My ex-girlfriend was there and she cleaned the unit in the dark because he turned off the utilities while she was still living there, which is against the law. I want to point out that Whiteside Enterprises runs several mobile home parks in Georgia and they make this a routine practice when tenants are just a day late on their rent, which is in violation of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) 2.104.a1 and 2.104.a3 which states "A landlord shall comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety and keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition." and also in violation of Georgia law O.C.G.A. 44-7-14.1 which states, "It shall be unlawful for any landlord knowingly and willfully to suspend the furnishing of utilities to a tenant until after the final disposition of any dispossessory proceeding by the landlord against such tenant. Any person who violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall, upon conviction, be assessed a fine not to exceed $500.00." The dispossessory filed by the plaintiff was after the unit was vacated by myself and subsequently my ex-girlfriend. She stayed there a week after I left cleaning the unit in the dark with no utilities because they had been turned off by the plaintiff.
Again I was a "smart-alek". Both the judge and the plaintiff became visibly irate.
p - I own my own power company so and I can cut off the electricity when they don't pay the bill! (Again I'll point out that all of the utilities were included in the rent.)
j - He can do that.
d - Let's just suppose he does own his own power company. Does the power company shut off your power if you're one day late on the power bill?
j - Yes they do.
p - (Speaking to me) All landlords do that! That's a common practice of all landlords when their tenants are late!
d - No it's not! You've broken the law and you do it all the time!
j - If he owns a power company, he can do that!
d - So now you're telling me that this man can file a lawsuit against me in the capacity of a landlord, but he does not have to comply with the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act or even Georgia law?
j - It doesn't apply in this case! It doesn't apply to him!
I thought to myself "Oh my god, this is just not happening!"
d - I will file an appeal.
j - (irate) You can file all the appeals you want! You can file in this Magistrate court…
d - Trust me, the appeal won't ever be held in THIS court! I have one more question…
Now in my mind it had come down to how much money was I going to lose?
d - The claim states that the claim amount is "$4,230 Principal plus $2,117 Interest plus $103 Costs to date" in the upper section, however the lower portion of the claim states "You are hereby notified that Whiteside Enterprises, LLC has made and filed a claim and is asking for a judgment against you in the sum of $4,230 as shown by the foregoing statement." therefore, the total sum of the amount of the claim has to be $4,230 and not the $6,500 that those figures actually add up to.
The judge started adding up several figures on her calculator, many more than just the 3 figures I had pointed out. So, I reiterated to her that I was just referring to the 3 figures noted on the claim.
j - What are you talking about?! Are you really that stupid that you can't understand when you're being sued for less than what you're talking about?! $4,230 is the amount of the claim!
d - $4,230 is listed as the principal. So you're saying all that he can sue me for is the principal and not the indicated $2,117 interest and the $103 costs?
j - No, you owe him for 5 years' worth of interest, too at 12%, which is $2,117.
Now I know I'm not stupid and I know I can read, but my head is spinning at this point. I could find absolutely zero logic in anything I was hearing. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone! I decided to drop the monetary issue to save myself any more confusion.
The judge started writing up the judgment. This is when the judge and the plaintiff both became even more condescending towards me.
p - (Speaking to me) Where do you work?!
d - That's none of your business!
j - It is his business! He has a judgment against you!
d - I work on computers.
p - For who?!
d - For myself. I'm self-employed.
p - Who pays you?!
d - Whoever wants to pay me. Let's just put it this way, I'm unemployed!
I felt like telling him and the judge to ask what a deposition was at their next seminar!
d - I've never heard of a court where the law doesn't apply!
I walked out.
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|Nov 4th, 2010, 10:33 AM||#2|
Re: Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
Those courts do operate much more informally--for better or for worse. And they indeed are allowed to do so.
This unfortunately is not a rare story.
You can appeal if you wish.
|May 8th, 2012, 05:58 PM||#3|
Join Date: May 2012
Re: Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
I had a similar experience in this court with Judge Susan Camp who should be removed as a Judge. She either does not know or respect the law. Her courtroom is a zoo to say the least see below:
Ms. Susan Sarratt Camp, Chief Magistrate
Douglas County Courthouse
PO Box 99 Douglasville,
Phone: (770) 920-7215; Fax: (770) 920-7547
Admitted to the Georgia State Bar: 06/20/1985; graduate of University of Georgia Law School
Georgia State Bar
104 Marietta St. NW, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-527-8700 / 800-334-6865
State Ethics Commission Executive Secretary: Rick Thompson
Plaintiff – Jordan; Defendant – Adventura
Ms. Jordan frequently made the sign of the cross and stated she had an OCD condition (0bessive Compulsive Condition) and could not tolerate the court hearings. However, this bizarre behavior was only performed when she thought Judge Camp could observe it. Her facial expression and demeanor when her back was to the Judge and facing us was very different, condescending and “smirking” as if to say watch me; I know how to work this woman & her system. A study done by the University of Southern California documented that it is difficult for pathological liars to distinguish truth from falsehood, and many pathological liars become so adept at their lies facial expressions don’t betray them.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors the individual feels compelled to perform. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational but the individual is unable to resist. Ms. Jordan’s real condition appears to be her “Entitlement” attitude, compounded by a total lack of moral grounding as to what is right and wrong, which in turn drives her “Pathological lies,” and self-serving Machiavellian behavior.
Ms. Jordan’s behavior was more aligned to someone who is bi-polar with not respect for right or wrong, only wanting to be right. Bi-Polar individuals lie easily and often have no respect for the rights of others including children which makes me wonder how the state of Georgia can allow her to be a foster parent. Proof of her insanity is the way she kept talking about her children from New York and how she is certified by New York. This woman lives in Georgia, but Judge Camp seemed to be more than willing to accept her lies and in many ways encourage Ms. Jordan’s nonsense.
Ms. Jordan even claimed that the pictures Aventura took of the home during and after remodeling before she moved in were in fact pictures taken when she moved out, after signing the exit inspection interview/tour that documented the damages to Aventura’s home. Also note the inconsistency of her testimony as earlier she selectively pointed out the picture of the toilet/tub sewage back up from a later group of pictures as part of the pictures taken when she moved out. The facts are, she signed a document confirming that the house was filthy.
Entitlement: is at the heart of this problem. It is obvious that Ms. Jordan from her testimony believes that extreme exercising of welfare, and foster care funding programs is ok and justified, aimply because she deserves it. However, the way she trashed my home, and the behavior exhibited in the courtroom leaves me to wonder how she qualifies as a foster parent for special needs children. Unfortunately too many foster care review agencies do far less than a stellar job of adequately monitoring foster homes.
Even more disturbing than the Plaintiffs lies, and manipulations, is the bizarre unprofessional behavior of Judge Camp and her court staff. To call her court a Kangaroo court would be kind. It is difficult to believe that Judge Camp actually attended law school, as she does not seem to know or have much respect for truth and the law.
Judge Camp is not capable of managing her courtroom, including her staff, and has failed to document the proceedings most likely because she does not want a judicial review panel to see what she does in Douglas County. I am actually more upset with Judge Camps behavior than I am with the Plaintiff. I expect more from a Judge, and feel let down, that such poor behavior is tolerated on the bench. Where is her management, her training, and oversight? Are Georgia Judges coming from an old southern culture where they can do anything without impunity?
I value our legal system, and therefore, expect more honest integrity exhibited by our courts and the Judges who manage them. Ms. Susan Camp is a disgrace to the legal profession and should never be allowed to sit on the bench, and serious questions about her ability to represent the Georgia Bar and legal profession should be carefully considered.
Jury trial in Magistrates' Courts? You are legally entitled to a jury trial. If you wish to make such a request the judge will arrange for a trial date, and a six-member jury will be selected for this purpose.
I wish to file a complaint. Judge Camp is totally incompetent, obviously does not know or care about the law, and should be removed from the bench. It would seem to me that there must be State and/or Federal oversight of these courts. To call yesterday's experience (Aventura vs Jordan) a Kangaroo Court would be kind. It was very unprofessional at best.
Judge Camp never allowed Aventura, as out of state defendants to present our case. From the start of the hearing it was clear she wanted us to give Jordon a settlement. At least 3 times including the beginning of the hearing Judge Camp tried to force a settlement. Even before hearing Aventura’s fact based case vs. Jordon's fictional case that lacked a single bit of evidence, other than her live-in girlfriend who was not qualified to testify as an expert, unbiased witness.
Ms. Jordan’s live-in girlfriend’s claimed to have former military experience, Union membership, and experience Calibrating Equipment at Coca Cola. She tried making her equipment calibration job appear to be a highly skilled, top-secret part of the Coke process, which it is not. Calibration is a quality control requirement that requires working with electrical devices, and calibrating equipment but has very little to do with being an actual journeyman level electrician. Her job and military experience give her some knowledge but does not make her an expert, like the Senior Georgia State Licensed electrician who worked on this house. Her work experience obviously did not remove her bias and motivation to lie for her girlfriend.
Something must be done to stop the type of illegal unprofessional behavior exhibited by Judge Camp. See the complaint filed against Judge Camp below with World Law, which is very much aligned with the Aventura experience Friday May 4th, 2012 in Judge Camp’s so called courtroom.
Georgia’s Magistrate Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, hearing civil claims involving disputes of $15,000 and less. In the State and Superior Courts of Georgia, a corporation must by law be represented by an attorney. This is not true for Magistrate Court, where an employee or owner may represent a business.
• Lack of Discovery –
• Broad Appeal Rights – A much-criticized aspect of Georgia’s Magistrate Court system is that the loser has the right to appeal the judgment within 30 days. In other words, the losing party can try the case over again in State or Superior Court.
• That said, many unsuccessful litigants realize the implication of an initial defeat, and choose not to appeal. Alternatively, if you lose your case in Magistrate Court, you can try again in another court, perhaps with a lawyer, or at least an idea as to what went wrong the first time.
Exhibits - Evidence and exhibits such as contracts, repair estimates, photos, and receipts and copies must be provided to allow the defendant to see and read before the case is heard.
• This did not happen. We were provided hand written documents with no evidence of purchase, ownership, or alleged damage other than the Plaintiffs live in girlfriend at trial.
o As an example it does not make sense that the defendant would have 4 Flat Screen TV’s, 5 CD players, and had all of them plugged in and playing at the same time. It also makes no sense that the appliances owned by Aventura microwave, stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer were not damaged. More importantly the senior licensed electrician said he found that the house was grounded and that the surge described by the Plaintiff would therefore not have been possible. Aventura’s expert witness/licensed electrician also stated that he could not smell any ozone or see any evidence of sparking such as burn marks around sockets as he went through the house.
• Judge Camp also made him sit outside while the plaintiffs girlfriend testified, and them minutes into his testimony had the Plaintiffs live in girlfriend (who claimed to be a electrician – with no proof) return to the courtroom to hear the Defendant’s electrician’s opening statements and then replace him on the witness stand with the Plaintiffs unqualified live-in girlfriend.
• The Plaintiff or the Judge frequently interrupted the Defendant’s attorney so that a logical presentation of the facts could not be presented. The Judge allowed the Plaintiff several hours to present her theatrics on the witness stand, weeping, and carrying on about her poor children, and how she was OCD.
• Judge Camp started 15 minutes late and had allowed the Plaintiff approximately 2 hours of the court’s time, while the Defendant was only given approximately 15 minutes to present our case, which was full of interruptions.
• The claims about the sewer back-up are irrelevant with regards to Plaintiff damages. The sewage backup was most likely caused by the defendant in retaliation for being evicted and would not have caused the alleged electrical problem the Plaintiff alleges anyway.
As the Defendant, Aventura was not allowed on the witness stand after flying to Georgia from California as ordered by the court; which is especially unreasonable after Judge Camp’s leading, and coaching of the Plaintiff. When the Plaintiff’s 2 hours of drama were completed Judge Camp simply started going through her notes and writing up her decision rather than try to hear the true facts in the case, and for the most part ignored the defense, or as described earlier replaced the Defense expert with the Plaintiff’s live in girlfriend.
Like the attached case of Mr. Gantt we (Defendant) were not aware of the fact that we could have had a jury trial, and more importantly that the Douglas County Magistrate was not the appropriate Venue because:
• Aventura is from out of state, and Aventura’s counterclaim exceeded $15,000, which should have required that our case be moved to Superior Court in Clayton County where our rental home is located, not in Douglas County. Judge Camp totally ignored these facts, along with all other credible, factual evidence and instead accepted, and led the testimony and presentations of the Plaintiffs claim, which did not contain a single receipt, evidence of ownership or material damage if the items were actually owned. The Plaintiffs evidence did, document that their claim started after being evicted for non-payment of rent and escalated as she petitioned the original Clayton Court decision against her.
• The actual receipts, invoices and records from the Property Manager of our home, and the testimony of her state licensed experts were ignored in favor of the Judges biased decision to award to the Plaintiff before we even came to court.
• It is almost unimaginable that in this day that a Judge would have so little regard for, or understanding of the law. Judge Camp’s court is a circus at best. During the trial the clerk and one of the deputies giggled and carried on like school children whispering and sharing something from a small book in the possession of the deputy. The Plaintiff constantly interrupted, and demonstrated tearful theatrics that led to requests for Kleenex, and drama for Judge Camp’s enjoyment!
• Aventura was not given time to present it’s case as Judge Camp started late then wasted about 20 minutes while she reviewed the documents previously provided to her. In addition she accepted new hand written notes from the Plaintiff and photographs of appliances that showed no damage, and in no way provided evidence of ownership. The plaintiff never provided receipts or proof of damage of any kind, and the new evidence documents and pictures she brought to court where never shared with the Defendant in advance of the trial.
• Best Property Management has no financial interest or investment of any kind to not perform required maintenance. Best provided well-documented records of response to the Plaintiff and all repairs were made. Her records also showed that the Plaintiff agreed to the exit inspection that documented that the home was damaged and dirty. The Defendant on the other hand provided color photo’s of the home after extensive remodeling prior to Ms. Jordan’s tenancy, and photos after eviction of Ms. Jordan showing the extensive damage caused by her during her tenancy including what appears to be a purposeful and malicious blocking of the downstairs toilet which caused sewage to back up into the toilet and bathtub.
• The plaintiff tried to argue that the sewage caused the electrical surge that blew out all of her appliances, which is simply not true because there was no electrical surge, the house had been remodeled prior to her moving in and it was properly grounded.
• There has never been any evidence of ownership of the items in the Plaintiffs list of appliances, their value, and more importantly that they were in fact damaged. More importantly her list appears to document her lies and extent of her greed by showing that she owned 4 flat screen TVs, 2 microwave ovens, two refrigerators, a washer and dryer, 5 CD players, 3 Dishnet boxes (which are provided by Dishnet as part of their service – so there was no legitimate claim here, yet even with this information and no receipt Judge Camp allowed the claim.
• Aventura also pointed out that we installed to appliances including a microwave, refrigerator, washer and dryer so why would Ms. Jordan have these appliances, which supposedly were damaged. We can also verify that the appliances in the home after Ms. Jordan’s eviction work. So it begs 2 questions: 1) Where is the proof of ownership of the items supposedly owned and damaged on Ms. Jordan’s list, and their age, value etc.?? 2) Why would any reasonable person believe that even if the 4 TV’s and 5CD players, Toaster, etc. etc. existed; why were they all turned on at the same time giving the fictitious power surge the opportunity to damage the listed equipment Ms. Jordan and her live in girlfriend described.
Under the 1983 Constitution, justice of the peace courts and small claims courts became magistrate courts. Magistrate court jurisdiction includes civil claims of $15,000 or less, dispossessory writs, county ordinance violations, misdemeanor deposit account fraud (bad checks), preliminary hearings, issuance of summons, arrest warrants, and search warrants. No jury trials are held in magistrate court; civil cases are often argued by the parties themselves, rather than by attorneys.
The chief magistrate of each county assigns cases, schedules court sessions, and appoints other magistrates (with the consent of the superior court judges of the judicial circuit). To qualify as a magistrate, an individual must have resided in the county for at least one year preceding his or her term of office, be twenty-five years of age, and have a high school diploma. (Imagine that, a HS diploma, are you kidding??)
Trial Courts - Superior Courts
The superior court is Georgia's general jurisdiction trial court. It has exclusive jurisdiction over trials in felony cases, divorce, equity, and cases pertaining to land. Georgia counties are divided into forty-nine judicial circuits, each of which has at least one superior court judge. Superior court judges are elected on a nonpartisan basis in circuit wide elections for four-year terms. To qualify as a superior court judge, a candidate must have been at least thirty years old, be a citizen of Georgia for at least three years, and have practiced law for at least seven years.
Administering the Courts
The Judicial Council is the state-level judicial agency charged with developing policies for administering and improving the courts. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) staffs the Judicial Council.
Appendix B1: Uniform Rules of the Magistrate Court
VOLUME II, PART III. CIVIL RULES Rule 31. Designated agent for civil actions.
Lack of jurisdiction over counterclaim:
Where the defendant asserts a legally sufficient counterclaim in good faith, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrate court, but the entire case is within the jurisdiction of another Georgia court, the court shall transfer the case to a court with jurisdiction over the counterclaim. Where the parties agree on a transferee court with jurisdiction over the counterclaim, the court shall transfer the case to that court. Otherwise, the court shall select a proper court to which to transfer the case.
Transfer between magistrate courts. Upon a judicial determination that the court lacks venue, the court shall transfer the case by written order to a magistrate court of proper venue.
Last edited by miketnoble; May 8th, 2012 at 06:15 PM. Reason: grammar errors
|Feb 24th, 2013, 06:23 AM||#4|
Re: Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
I am not surprised to hear this. It is not isolated to Douglas County. It is not isolated to magistrate court. I have witnessed judicial atrocities in Cherokee County. Once I even got called for jury duty and the other panel kept being sent up for voir dire as if they were trying to get someone on or keep someone off a jury. Once the judge went into the jury room to answer a question the jury had without the defendant or his attorney present which is a big legal no no. So we don't know what question the jury had or how the judge answered which effected the defendant adversely. Every lawyer practicing in Cherokee County courts ought to be disbarred for not bringing these matters to judicial review board and instead opting to keep practicing in the crooked courts. Georgia courts vacuum. Law ought to be common sense and truth, not wrangling, strangling and dangling.
|Mar 28th, 2013, 12:09 AM||#5|
Re: Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
OK...I am an attorney, or rather was an attorney. I was a JAG officer for the Air Force but was medically retired a few years ago due to severe back injury. I held licenses in both Maryland and Georgia, though I have let them lapse since I can't stand or sit for more than a few minutes at a time and practicing law tends to be stressful on both the body and the mind. That said, I can address your issues while I'm lying down with my laptop.
I read through your recollection of your court experience. It's interesting because I could visualize the environment very clearly and felt a stabbing pain in my spine (my last year in the Air Force I was serving as an Area Defense Counsel (a defense counsel assigned to a particular base) while my back deteriorated and have come to associate the practice of law with unbearable pain, something I suspect you might have felt yourself while in court).
First, it is great that you are able to recall the conversations you had without the aid of an actual transcript. However, after representing many, many clients (in courts-martial), I have learned that peoples' states of mind have a tendency to color their memories -- there is truth in recollections, but not necessarily accuracy. Many times my clients would give me their version of what happened, and they truly believed what they said (well, sometimes they did; I became very good at detecting lies). My point here is that I believe what you are saying, but I also believe that both Mr. Whiteside and the judge would have their own spin on the proceeding. It used to bug some of my clients that I did accept their account without question...until we got into court. Attorneys don't like being surprised and must frequently dig up all the unpleasant dirt involved in a case and its litigants.
If the judge said the things you recalled, she was correct but very clumsy in her explanations. I can completely understand your frustration. But here's the deal. Unlike Superior Court, which hears very "big" cases (in terms of civil suits, big money, and in terms of criminal cases, big crimes), Magistrate Court is set up so that people can represent themselves without involving an attorney. I'm sure there are many starving lawyers out there who would gladly take your money to represent you in Magistrate Court, but the amount of money you'd have to pay them would almost certainly exceed the amount cited in the complaint. Because it is set up for non-attorneys, the judge has the authority and discretion to make changes in the complaint,
Concerning the failure to produce the original document, under the rules of evidence, a copy is sufficient when the authenticity is not an issue. In other words, if Whiteside produced a copy with your signature - and you don't deny that the document is a faithful representation of the original - then it can be entered into evidence.
Regarding the "open account" vs. "contract" issue, again, this is something the judge has the authority and discretion to change. The key thing here is whether the complaint was stated sufficiently to put you, the defendant, on notice of the cause of action. Without having seen the complaint, I can't state as its substance. I will go out on a limb, though, and say that I suspect the complaint stated facts that were sufficient to put you on notice as to you alleged breach of contract.
Venue: okay...the question of venue can be tricky at times, but unfortunate for you, it appears that you did agree to a choice of venue (or apparently, a waiver of your right to challenge venue) when you signed the lease. This is the kind of thing that bites people in their posteriors all the time. When you sign pretty much any pre-printed contract of any kind (i.e., leases, cell phone contracts, etc), you can be assured that there will be things in those documents that the customers/tenants don't notice or don't understand or simply don't care but may cause them problems in the future. Choice of Venue clauses are very common, as are Arbitration agreements. If the cause of action relates to the defendant's responsibilities under the contract, these documents have worked their evil magic on your before the ink of your signature has dried. Boilerplate language is aggravating and frequently unfair but almost as frequently dispositive. It sucks because if you want to have a house or apartment, a phone/cellphone, insurance, etc., you pretty much have to sign a contract, and you will find yourself hindered by the boilerplate language of the contract.
You mentioned that you challenged the plaintiff regarding his termination of your utilities. This sounds interesting from a legal standpoint, but this is something that should be brought up as a counter-claim or a separate action altogether. It's not something you want to raise for the first time when responding to the plaintiff's complaint in court.
Let's change gears and talk about the court environment and the people involved. The first thing you need to know is that Magistrate Court (and the equivalent in other states) is very much a "revolving door" court. Put it this way: there are probably 100 cases in Magistrates Court to every 1 case in Superior Court (I don't know the actual ration, but you get the point.) The caseload in Magistrates Court lends itself to a much faster and casual environment. I used to represent battered women while I was in law school in DC (it was a legal clinic and under DC's court rules, a law student may represent indigent clients in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney -- I did 2 semesters for 8 credits and got high As each time, but I digress). That place was a circus. In those kinds of courts, the judges and bailiffs DO get to know the attorneys that appear before them often. And I suspect that Whiteside has been in that court more than once. He probably files all his cases at the same time to try to get them on the docket together, Appearing in court can be a scary, intimidating experience, even for experienced attorneys (one of my old professors who worked for the Federal Trade Commission said she threw up right before stepping into the courtroom, and she was a formidable attorney). Every time I appeared in court, I would sweat profusely for the first ten minutes before relaxing, and not to toot my own horn, but I was an extremely successful trial attorney. But when you have never been to court before, it can be extremely disconcerting to appear before a judge with little to no experience and then look at the smiling, back-slapping behavior of attorneys, judges, and bailiffs. Court is still a Good-Ol'-Boy network in a lot of places (though women are increasingly included in the network). In a perfect world, a judge will have never met the parties in every case that comes before him/her, but this is far from a perfect world. In theory, judges are supposed to be completely objective,impartial, and disinterested whenever they preside over a case. And I think that most judges try to do that very thing. However, judges are human beings, and if they come to know plaintiffs who appear before them frequently and have formed an opinion of them from those prior cases, it is no doubt difficult for them to completely detach from that opinion. In a way. that opinion becomes a kind of de facto evidence. However, this only becomes actionable when you can show that the judge and plaintiff have some sort of personal relationship that affects the judge's impartiality and creates bias in favor of the plaintiff. That's a tough sell. As far as the displays of familiarity between the plaintiff and the bailiff and judge, again, this is an example (in my humble opinion) of poor judgment on the part of the judge. Judges are not supposed to engage in ex parte communications with parties to a law suit. This is as true for Magistrates Court as it is for the Supreme Court. Even when the substance of the communication is unrelated to the case, ex parte communications between a jury and a plaintiff can create the impression of bias on the judge's part.
I could go on and on, but I need to wrap this up. My final point is this: when you get pulled over by a cop, the best thing you can do is be respectful to him'her. The same is true of judges. There's an old joke: What do you call a lawyer who finished last in his/her class? Answer: "Your Honor". Just kidding -- I've known some very cool judges.The point here is that a judge who has a billion cases to get through in a day does not want to have a non-attorney come in and try to argue the law. I mean no offense here, but I get the impression that you were doing legal research to try to find a silver bullet to kill this suit, such as questions about venue, demand to have original documents, and challenges to the wording of the cause of action. I've seen this a million times with my defense clients (in the Air Force). People grasp for anything that can get them out of legal trouble and convince themselves that their arguments are stronger than their opponents. Then when they see the judge shoot them down one by one, it is so frustrating they often feel a physical response to what can best be described as a colossal let-down. I always tried to prepare my clients for the worst so that it won't crush them; if things went well, they were elated and complimented me on my skillful navigation of the legal rapids (I followed the George W. Bush philosophy: reduce peoples' expectations and surprise them when you outperform those expectations.) Again, I digress. Bottom line: silver bullets are rare.
Some Tips For Appearing In Court:
1. Always dress up, but dress conservatively. Appearance communicates a great deal. Lawyers are expected to dress professionally, and a failure to do so can result in the judge coming down on you. Think "My Cousin Vinny". That movie is great and one of my trial advocacy professors used it to demonstrate cross-examination techniques.
2. Be prepared and organized. If you have documents that you want admitted into evidence, have them marked ahead of time. Keep everything indexed. If you have any questions as to specifics, you can find them in the Georgia Code or the rules of the specific court in which you are appearing. Have marked copies of your exhibit for the court, for the opposing party, and for yourself. Expect the opposition to do the same.
3. Be respectful, calm, and patient. Like I said above, treat the judge and the opposition with respect. Instead of arguing passionately, it may be better to raise your issues tentatively...with uncertainty and timidity. Of course, if you are raising an invalid argument, the judge will still shoot it down, but at least you won't have made the judge angry or annoyed with you.
4. Read the rules of civil procedure AND the court's rules (courts often have their own rules of procedure; they have to comply with the rules of civil procedure, but often fill in the blanks left by the RCP,). And remember that any sections of the Georgia Code you read have probably been interpreted and refined by the courts, and these decisions are **LAW**. Judges are not always aware of such decisions, so be prepared to produce copies of any such case law.
I know that all the stuff above isn't what you wanted to hear. But take it for what it is -- I am not saying that you don't have any way to successfully challenge the suit against you, just that things you described aren't as sinister as they may have seemed to you. I wish you luck in your legal endeavors and hope that things turn out well for you. [Note: I'm wiped out, so I'm going to skip reviewing all the stuff I wrote; my apologies for any typos.]
|May 8th, 2013, 09:43 AM||#7|
Top Level Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Re: Conspiracy in Court! -- Douglas County Courthouse
Magistrates are NOT judges. Their rulings are recommendatory and must be adopted by a superior court judge in order to be effective. One always has a specified perior of time to challenge the adoption of a magistrate's decision.
Magistrate courts are not courts of record. Which is why they are not required to keep transcripts of other contemporaneous record. Superior courts are courts of record.
So if one get a ruling from a magistrate court, they have the right to appeal that ruling to a superior court judge before it gets adopted as a formal superior court order.
If one is aggrieved with the ruling of a judge, they have the right to appeal any final order. Usually 30 days. Appeals can be successful if there was clear error of error of law, the basis of 80% of all successful appeals. Or if no reasonable person in light of the evidence produced could have reached that decision, another basis of a successful appeal.
Once one files notice of appeal, the court is deprived of all jurisdiction to proceed further in the case. Filing notice of appeal effects an automatic stay in the lower court until there is a decision from the appellate court.
Magistrate courts do not have to comply with the civil rules of procedure. Those were written for superior courts. Always keep in mind where one is in court, at what level, the rules of procedure for that level of court, and abide by them. But the hierarchy of the courts and its officers is VERY important also to know so one knows the action that can be taken if one is aggrieved of a decision.
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