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  1. #1
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    Default I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: Oregon

    Each town in Oregon is allowed to have its own traffic court. It establishes it by getting permission of the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. Then it can hire any lawyer to be the judge. That lawyer must first be "appointed" the judge by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. All of this is simply done by application.

    If anyone ever is summoned into a municipal court in Oregon, high on the list of priorities is to check with the office of the state supreme court and verify that both the court and the "judge" have current approval to operate as judge and court.

    I just busted an attorney and therefore a municipal court because the attorney had not been approved. He was approved to serve as judge in two other towns, but not in this one. I have no idea what will happen with people who were found guilty and paid fines and had their insurance damaged by this "judge," nor do I have any idea what might happen to the city or the "judge."

    All I know is that I got a routine traffic ticket dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction (dismissed by the office of the Chief Justice) and I'm finished with it. I suppose I could drum up some charges; maybe some serious ones. For instance, was summoning me into court unlawfully but supposedly under the color of law and against my will a felony? When the city (employee) officer stopped me and held me against my will while he wrote an illegal summons a crime?

    For the moment I'm finished with it - just happy to have won, and to have shut down an illegal court.

    Just FYI....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    Not seeing how you would have an action against anybody. You said the lawyer acting as judge had not been approved, not the court itself. If the court was a valid court, there is nothing improper about writing a ticket and demanding you report to that court. The only thing that would be affected is what the court without a judge could do to you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Not seeing how you would have an action against anybody. You said the lawyer acting as judge had not been approved, not the court itself. If the court was a valid court, there is nothing improper about writing a ticket and demanding you report to that court. The only thing that would be affected is what the court without a judge could do to you.
    You may be right, but if it's possible that the court was acting outside of the law (which it was) then its actions might be void? Surely the judge's actions were void.

    At my first appearance, I made a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction because the judge hadn't been approved. The judge was a jerk and rather than dismiss, rescheduled the hearing. Right there I suspect that perhaps he violated my rights. I was afraid to not show up for the second hearing for a variety of reasons including that the SC office was wrong.

    I showed up for that second hearing which at which I made the same motion, and it was again rescheduled. By the time the third hearing would have occurred, it was dismissed by the Chief Justice. In every instance, I wonder if I was illegally required to be somewhere and stay somewhere I didn't want to be under the false color of law.

    Hey, I'm not saying I'm right except about the nature of a municipal court's and judge's state approval. After that, I'm just soliciting ideas.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    =cmre3456;622041]You may be right, but if it's possible that the court was acting outside of the law (which it was) then its actions might be void? Surely the judge's actions were void.
    How was the court acting outside of its legal control? If the court is a legal court, then everybody that works in the court with the exception of the faux judge has a right to act in their capacity. The only issue you have is with the judge himself.

    At my first appearance, I made a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction because the judge hadn't been approved. The judge was a jerk and rather than dismiss, rescheduled the hearing. Right there I suspect that perhaps he violated my rights. I was afraid to not show up for the second hearing for a variety of reasons including that the SC office was wrong.
    The judge may have violated your rights. You acted wisely in your actions though. In civilian life it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Courts are kind of the opposite. Better safe than sorry.

    I showed up for that second hearing which at which I made the same motion, and it was again rescheduled. By the time the third hearing would have occurred, it was dismissed by the Chief Justice. In every instance, I wonder if I was illegally required to be somewhere and stay somewhere I didn't want to be under the false color of law.
    possibly and if you want to spend a lot of time and effort researching this, you might have a viable case. Want to guess what you might win if you win? $1. The injury was extremely minor and may be considered to not be a willful act due to a mistake. I would think the lawyer simply was ignorant of the error and believed he had the right to act in the capacity of judge.

    Hey, I'm not saying I'm right except about the nature of a municipal court's and judge's state approval. After that, I'm just soliciting ideas.
    it would be an interesting story to see what happens from here. I would hope the lawyer/faux judge has since been removed from the bench or the situation corrected. If it hasn't, I would be more likely to push the issue. If he has, consider your civil duty fulfilled and move on with life...at least that is what I would do.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    Quote Quoting jk
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    How was the court acting outside of its legal control? If the court is a legal court, then everybody that works in the court with the exception of the faux judge has a right to act in their capacity. The only issue you have is with the judge himself.

    The judge may have violated your rights. You acted wisely in your actions though. In civilian life it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Courts are kind of the opposite. Better safe than sorry.

    possibly and if you want to spend a lot of time and effort researching this, you might have a viable case. Want to guess what you might win if you win? $1. The injury was extremely minor and may be considered to not be a willful act due to a mistake. I would think the lawyer simply was ignorant of the error and believed he had the right to act in the capacity of judge.

    it would be an interesting story to see what happens from here. I would hope the lawyer/faux judge has since been removed from the bench or the situation corrected. If it hasn't, I would be more likely to push the issue. If he has, consider your civil duty fulfilled and move on with life...at least that is what I would do.
    I don't believe it was a legal court because it didn't meet one of the elements - have an appointed judge.

    The attorney has since been appointed as judge.

    As I said, I don't plan to push it. The attorney was sanctioned (fined) by the Chief Justice. I don't know how much, that's just what I was told in a final letter from the Chief Justice's office which also said my case was dismissed.

    Hey, it didn't cost me anything, I learned a lot, I got my infraction dismissed, and now I know in any state, to find out how municipal courts are established, and to find out if any I might be summoned into are therefore legally established.

    This is a very small town. None of the police officers, clerks at the counter or even the mayor knew they were in violation. I suspect that the attorney might have because he had gone through the processes to get appointments for two other towns.

    I'm finished with it. I mostly thought that the folks who regularly post here might find it interesting and even perhaps helpful some day.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    cmre3456;622056]I don't believe it was a legal court because it didn't meet one of the elements - have an appointed judge.
    so, you are saying an application for a court and an appointment of a judge must be simultaneous? What if the lawyer/judge resigns or dies? Does that mean the court now ceases to exist and a new application must be filed along with an application for the judge? I cannot imagine a courts existence being contingent upon a judge setting on the bench. There are too many contingent situations that would be affected if that were the case.



    As I said, I don't plan to push it. The attorney was sanctioned (fined) by the Chief Justice. I don't know how much, that's just what I was told in a final letter from the Chief Justice's office which also said my case was dismissed.
    then I would see that as justice prevails.

    .

    I'm finished with it. I mostly thought that the folks who regularly post here might find it interesting and even perhaps helpful some day.
    and that it is. Thanks for the post.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I Just Learned Something About Oregon Municipal Traffic Courts

    Quote Quoting jk
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    so, you are saying an application for a court and an appointment of a judge must be simultaneous? What if the lawyer/judge resigns or dies? Does that mean the court now ceases to exist and a new application must be filed along with an application for the judge? I cannot imagine a courts existence being contingent upon a judge setting on the bench. There are too many contingent situations that would be affected if that were the case.
    No, they don't have to be simultaneous, but at any time the court has no approved judge, it also has no authority. How do I explain this? If an approved judge resigns, his prior orders are still valid. If there is no approved judge, no orders can be given and the court is in limbo - it can take no new jurisdiction of either kind.

    It must have both to be a lawful court. Most municipalities have more than one judge for that reason. The clerk at the Chief Justice's office told me they have had instances where towns have completely failed to get anything approved.

    then I would see that as justice prevails.
    Agreed.

    and that it is. Thanks for the post.
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