Criminal charges dismissed after Judge Joseph M. Buckner increases bond in violation of due process clause

On July 13, 2010, the Honorable Allen Baddour, 15-B Superior Court Judge, dismissed all criminal charges against a defendant after 15-B Chief District Court Judge, Joseph M. Buckner, increased the defendant's bond from $1,000 to $25,000, after the defendant gave notice in open court of his intent to appeal Judge Buckner's judgment and sentence.

According to Judge Baddour, the defendant's constitutional right to due process required a dismissal of the charges when Judge Buckner increased the defendant's bond without making any findings of fact, contrary to the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, established law and local rules of court.

While Judge Baddour declined to find that Judge Buckner's conduct was "actually" vindictive or retaliatory, he did find that his conduct had the effect of deterring the defendant from exercising his constitutional right to a jury trial.

Judge Baddour's ruling highlights the difficulty facing civil litigants in Judge Buckner's courtroom. For one, civil litigants are not provided court appointed counsel who can fight costly legal battles on their behalf and then bill the State of North Carolina. Secondly, civil cases are not appealed to superior court but to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, where the average appeal costs between $10,000 and $15,000. Third, civil cases, such as child custody cases, often drag on for years, giving a vindictive judge plenty of opportunity to enter tenditious or even malicious rulings.

After Emily McManaway filed her notice of appeal, Judge Buckner held an ex parte hearing with Attorney Leigh Peek in an effort to keep out of the appellate record all the court documents that were unfavorable to Peek's clients. Their plan did not work when Ms. McManaway appealed from that order as well.

Until it is determined whether Judge Buckner abuses his power by retaliating against civil litigants who desire to appeal his decisions to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Buckner should not be hearing civil cases in 15-B District Court.

Comments

That's some due process for you!

"Until it is determined whether Judge Buckner abuses his power by retaliating against civil litigants who desire to appeal his decisions to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Buckner should not be hearing civil cases in 15-B District Court."

Are you serious? Isn't this the same as saying Judge Buckner is "guilty until proven innocent?" Due process for some but not all? Is there even a pending complaint regarding this allegation with Judicial Standards?

Still waiting to see the psychological report that declares you "not mentally ill" and which is apparently the basis for your defamation claim against the Bar. By the way, have you ever heard about the immunity to defame in the course of litigation? I suspect you have by now.

Single-issue commenters

This is not an effort to silence you Squib, but I'm beginning to wonder if your singular interest in Betsy's posts (to the exclusion of others) reveals some sort of connection between you and the judge (or system) with which Betsy finds herself at odds.

I'm not asking you to surrender your anonymity. But if you do have a horse (or a pony) in this race, I would consider it a courtesy if you admitted such.

Call me crazy , but....

If absolutely nothing Ms. Wolfenden alleges about the State Bar is true, your comments are evidence that she should be given redress based upon a state agency (the bar) demanding that she obtain a mental evaluation. This pre-trial tactic is rampent and usually done to marginalize and defame the litigant and thereby casting a cloud on their claims. This practice should be immediately halted and if it is not, then the agency that demanded the evaluation should have to pay for it and issue a public apology to the person after the evaluation comes back clean. As for Baddour... Technically, he cannot overrule another judge and his ruling, though fair is not really legal. Baddour is, in MY opinion, one of the most biased judges on the bench. In a recent case, he commented in open court that he had been made aware that a defendant had made comments on youtube calling for a campaign to remove him from the bench. The defendant, then objected to him hearing the criminal case. The [Honorable] judge Baddour heard the case anyway. Clear violation of the judical cannons. So I guess now Squib, you'll call ME crazy.

You might be crazy (how would I know)

"If absolutely nothing Ms. Wolfenden alleges about the State Bar is true, your comments are evidence that she should be given redress based upon a state agency (the bar) demanding that she obtain a mental evaluation." Huh? My comments aren't "evidence" of anything, except possibly that not everyone following this blog wears a tin foil hat.

Rampant practice to demand a mental evaluation? Really? I don't suppose you have any evidence to support this allegation? Wait -- silly me, evidence is not actually required when discussing Ms. Wolfenden's case, particularly on this blog.

Ms. Wolfenden deserves "redress" because the mental fitness claim was ultimately withdrawn? I suppose everyone who is charged with a crime should get redress from the State if such charge is ultimately withdrawn?

And Judge Baddour committed a "clear" violation of the judicial cannons because he indicated he heard that a criminal defendant criticized him and then heard the case anyway? That alone indicates a "clear" prejudice against the defendant? If that is the law, please keep it to yourself. If word gets out about it, every criminal defendant will simply yell out to the presiding judge that they think they are unfit to sit on the bench and in the face of such criticism, each judge will then be required to recuse his or herself. After a while of this, the defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial will be violated and the charge will have to be dismissed.

Overruling Judge Buckner

Calling someone crazy because he or she has the guts to challenge a corrupt system is as old as the hills but still practiced frequently in 15-B District Court and apparently in Raleigh as well.

I have spoken to numerous civil litigants who have told me they were ordered to obtain psychological evaluations after they challenged the judicial misconduct in 15-B. If they refused, they lost custody of their children, their businesses, and their homes. That's why no attorneys want to challenge what's going on in 15-B District Court. It's not just "put up or shut up," it's "put up or we will run you out of town because this is the way we have been doing things for a very long time."

Because the criminal defendant had already appealed, Judge Baddour did have jurisdiction to enter his order. In fact, he was required by constitutional law to dismiss the criminal charges against the defendant, so his ruling was correct. The rub is that because Judge Buckner consistently fails to follow the law, the other judges are called upon to clean up his mess. The end result in this case was that the safety of a domestic violence victim was compromised for no good reason.

I have not observed Judge Baddour much on the bench but I do know one thing: he is not part of the entrenched good ol' boy network that exists in 15-B District Court. And when I refer to the good ol' boy network, I am including anyone, male or female, judge or attorney, who abuses their power and/or who gains financially from disregarding the law and screwing the public.

I have characterized 15-B District Court as "pigs feeding at a trough." Everyone is scratching everyone else's back to make a buck, and when the money runs out, some judges start throwing civil litigants in jail for not paying the other side's attorney's fees. Who benefits? The attorneys, first, and then the judges at election time.

Progress may come slowly to 15-B District Court, but it will come, and if my courage to speak out against the corruption and misconduct in 15-B District Court emboldens just one other person to do the same, my actions were not in vain.

As for Grizzly and Squib, I know who they are. They are like all the others who are terrified of the rule of law because they are not smart enough to understand it or to argue it, which is why they make personal attacks.

Betsy J. Wolfenden

Just amazing

I wish I could say I'm surprised to see Ms. Wolfenden once again attempt to shift the focus from her own professional misconduct to the vast 15-B conspiracy. The conspiracy also obviously includes the State Bar, the Court of Appeals and will soon include the North Carolina Supreme Court. Even though you decided to not show up for it, the Rule of Law has spoken, Ms. Wolfenden, and you do not like the result. So, in order to be able to sleep at night, you declare it the result of a conspiracy.

"I have spoken to numerous civil litigants who have told me they were ordered to obtain psychological evaluations after they challenged the judicial misconduct in 15-B. If they refused, they lost custody of their children, their businesses, and their homes." Baloney.

Ad hominem indeed

"They are like all the others who are terrified of the rule of law because they are not smart enough to understand it or to argue it, which is why they make personal attacks."

Do you realize that in the very same sentence you accuse me of making personal attacks, you do the same by calling me dumb?

Still waiting to see that psych report....

and I'm still waiting for...

....answers from the Doctor to the simple questions I posted a while ago. Well, answers without a long story about how a judge's alleged sex life somehow has infiltrated every single ruling ever to come out of Orange County since....like....forever.

Here are two simple questions that I asked, but you haven't answered. I hope you will answer them today, please:
1.) Did you write a letter (or letters) in which you and/or client offered to (you choose whichever verb you feel is appropriate: sell, consent to a custody order, consent to an adoption) a child for $50,000-$75,000?
2.) Is there a law which forbids the act described in #1?

Here are the Bonus questions: If someone had committed the act described in #1, which was forbidden by #2, should that person face criminal or civil sanction? Would a Judge's alleged personal life somehow mean that the person should get a pass if the judge did not write the letter(s) or make the offer? IF a judge improperly entered a custody order, would that make act #1 ok?

Doctor, you don't know me any more than I know you. I know (simply from your posts and document trail over the internet) that it appears you have a long-standing tendency not to like being confronted with questions, with requests for documents or facts that support your voluminous impassioned postings. And when you are asked questions, for documents, or confronted about posting stuff that isn't exactly accurate or is biased, you or your fan base attack. Speaking of which, if you're only posting information using your spin, aren't you being (assuming everyone else involved is biased) just as disingenuous/deceitful/biased as you argue they are being?

However, Ms. Wolfenden. You are correct about one thing. I am not nearly as smart, clever, or intelligent as you are. I guess that's why you are a lawyer; because you are smarter than everyone else. I certainly don't know the answers to the questions I asked you and that is why I asked you to answer them for me. Since you are so much smarter than me, will you do that? Please? I guess, you could just make me flounder in my perpetual ignorance, but I would hope you would be kind enough to grace me with your wisdom, just this once.

No horse

It's a fair question but no, I do not have a horse or any other animal in this race. I don't know any of the cast members in this saga at all, except for what I can find on the interwebs. It's just a fascinating story I learned about through media coverage of the case. I sincerely wish Ms. Wolfenden the best of luck in all of her endeavors; however, I am simply amazed at her unwillingness to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the situation in which she finds herself.

Re: Single-issue commenters

I agree with Scharrison. Squib seems to be too vested in this not to be involved.

Thanks for agreeing with me, but

you just joined like an hour ago and have posted 5 separate comments, all focusing on the (single issue) of questioning the motives of commenters who question Betsy.

The pendulum swings both ways...

Singled Out

Oh I agree, I definitely singled them out. By them I mean Grizzly and Squib. I've been reading all of this and after I read more today I decided to join up and log in my comments.

singling ME out? But obviously...

...not yourself? Another double standard, righteous indignation, are you Dr. Wolfenden herself posting so that you have some positive feedback or just one of Dr. Wolfenden's cronies/conspiracy-theorists?

The answer is "No," I don't have a horse in the fight. Avid reader and political-junkie. I just got tired of looking at some of the ridiculous medical diagnosing and outrageously inaccurate information being posted by the Doctor. I was sure this was about politics and not the practice of medicine by a disbarred attorney.

I don't know, it seems like

I don't know, it seems like you are the one diagnosing Wolfenden as being crazy. If you truly have no horse in this "race", then why would you so easily discount everything she says rather than state your opinion and acknowledge crazier things have happened. Isn't it possible that there is a corrupt system? Its happened before and it has been caught before. The world use to be "Flat", remember?

you do not...

..again seem to have anything to add, factually or otherwise. And 'no' I don't remember when the world was flat. Fill me in on what that was like.

It is fairly easy to discount a person when they can't produce a single fact witness, shred or evidence and (most importantly) when they post things that are purposely evasive, inaccurate and misleading.

So THAT is my opinion. She is a sore loser, angry, embarrassed and only smearing people because of her own personal (not professional) motives.

And it is certainly possible that there is corruption in any court system. My point is that there would have to be a conspiracy of thousands of people whose sole mission was to stop her election from happening for her story to be true. And since that is highly implausible, it just reads like a 'sore loser's rant' against the system.

You are the one proclaiming you aren't crazy. I mean the doctor. When is the eval going to be posted?

Calm Down Grizzly

Blogging on this site is actually the first time I have ever blogged. This is pretty fun. Again, you seem very accusatory and it seems like you are saying a lot of things that would deem you involved in this story. I am sorry that I have angered you so,I don't mean to do so.

However, I am glad you agreed it is possible that the system she is dealing in is corrupt. If they are corrupt, I hope they get caught.

there is the good....

....Doctor. Where have you been Dr. Wolfenden? And is there any chance you are going to address the questions that were presented in this and prior posts? With facts, I mean.

You got me all curious about these conspiracies, "unjust" cases and your own plight. Then after reading and researching it now looks to me like you are full of garbage, venom and a poor sport. And now, when confronted and asked about that, you disappear and the AFHB appears ready to attack the questioners.