Schenkat: does Scottsdale Municipal Court offer fair justice?

With the recent recommendation by President Trump for the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the issue has become a political issue again.

Sandy Schenkat

Why should the government try to weight the court with conservative judges against liberal judges? Is this fair? Judges should not be political. They should be non partisan.

Doesn’t justice mean fairness in protection of rights and punishment of wrongs?

While justice is an ethical issue or should be, isn’t it the responsibility of judges to know the difference of what you have a right to do and what is right to do?

Justice is a complex concept.

How can a politically influenced judge be fair? This is true on all levels of justice even in the lower municipal courts. Scottsdale city court judges are hired and fired by city council and the mayor. Is this fair? The city council is influenced by a Charter officer who is the city attorney. The city attorney oversees the prosecutors office.

This becomes a very conflicted issue in city court. The prosecutor wants to win all cases and is ruled by the city attorney. How can there be fair justice in the city, when the mayor and council have the final say of who is hired and fired in city court? I have been an appointed member of the Scottsdale Judicial Appointments Advisory Board since 2013, but recently resigned, so I could speak about justice.

This board is supposed to make recommendations to the city council and mayor as to appointment and reappointment of the city judges. Most on the council have no idea of what justice is but they know that city court earns $10,000,000 per year to be added to the General Fund to operate the city. Does that seem fair and just?

Is justice about making money to run the city?

It appears there is undue influence on city judges to help earn money for the city. Can that be good for the reputation of Scottsdale as a fair and just city? When judges are repeatedly referred as pro-prosecution, is that fair justice? The Goldwater Institutes investigative reporter, Mark Flatten, addressed these issue in a 26-page publication in July 2017. He pointed out how undue influence by city councils throughout Arizona and especially in Scottsdale, create unjust city courts.

So how can the scales of justice be balanced?

Keeping politics out of justice would be a start. Even the Arizona Bar is an unfair and unjust operation. The good ole boy system works through that mandatory union of attorneys. What does filing a complaint against a bad attorney ever accomplish? An attorney has to be an axe murderer to get disbarred or be against their unfair system.

Our entire justice system needs a major overhaul from city court to Supreme court. All of the recent news about the proposed appointment of a Supreme Court justice makes one wonder, is it just all about money, greed and power?

Most all levels of government are corrupted because of money, power and greed. We will be experiencing this in our upcoming city council race in November. Watch out for those “dirty money” flyers that will be sent out attacking our citizens friendly candidates. The developer and bar owner sponsored candidates will have lots of extra money to go after those who want to represent the citizens with lies and attacks.

Remember 2014, the pro Light Rail folks attacked our citizens sponsored candidates through Scottsdale Strong and Scottsdale United. Interesting the same attorney involved with those dirty/dark money nonprofit corporations, recently went after Alyssa Robis, who wanted to run for a city council seat.

I remember that same attorney used to work for Mayor Lane. On the surface this appears to be more of the same bad politics.

The recent Supreme court issue has created a lot of discussion around what the U.S. citizens need and want. A Woman’s right to choose is at the top of this decision by Trump. Why should the federalist society be dictating to change Roe Vs. Wade? Why does the Heritage Foundation influence society about a woman’s right to choose?
Citizens United should never have been a Supreme court issue.

Hats off to Terry Goddard’s petition initiative to change the Citizens United decision in Arizona against dirty/dark money. Hats off to the Protect our Preserve and No DDC signature gathers. Maybe the people are starting to be heard.

It was a huge effort taken on by many dedicated citizens to speak up for what is fair. Now we need to speak up for what is fair in the justice system. Citizens can not rest on their laurels. We have a never-ending job to keep all forms of government fair and just.

Editor’s note: Ms. Schenkat, a Scottsdale resident, previously served on both the Scottsdale Judicial Appointments Advisory Board and Tourism Advisory Task Force.

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