After the report from Attorney General Eric Holder, Fred McGary with the Landlord Legal Defense Fund and the CanmoreGroup has written this letter.
Dear Attorney General, Mr. Eric Holder, and Staff:
Thank you for your investigation, and your thoughtful and truthful report expressed on March 4th 2015, regarding the allegations in Ferguson Mo.
I am so glad to hear your investigation addressed the heart and root of the problem, which built the community tensions to the point of boiling over, not only in Ferguson, Mo., but across this great nation.
I know you are correct in your assessment, as you reported, that the police are intentional seeking out citizens, going on the attack, to fee, fine, the citizens in Ferguson, because it is happening here in my city too. These fines are increased, interest is attached, and collection through intimidation such as jail, and loss of home and/or family, is now common place in many cities using the police and Municipal court system. And as you so eloquently pointed out, not limited to just Ferguson, Mo., but in Ferguson Mo. your investigation showed this abuse was also discriminately disproportioned by race.
This ideology, now a reality, of many cities generating revenue through fines, fees, and interest, no matter the citizens constitutional rights, is the primary goal, the primary objective, being adopted by many city councils, across the nation. The city council staff (normally lifers) writes, and recommends these ordinances, knowingly, to be a primary source of the department’s revenue, and of course their attitude is to increase this revenue in due time. Thereby, circumventing the vote of the people for new taxes.
I did hear some of your blind and isolated colleagues try to dismiss your report as isolated to Ferguson, or just occasional incidents across this country. However, the powder keg is built, and the fuse has been lit, well said sir. Anyone so blindly in doubt about the municipal court system being used in an unconstitutional manner by the city, I would argue has never taken one day to go down to any municipal court, in any major city, with very few exceptions, and after setting through that one day in the city municipal courtroom, they would be awaken to find the entire city court system, has many constitutional violations, from the ambiguous ordinances, through the collections of the fees. It is not only widespread, but now common place.
I personally have been in a KCMO municipal court, where one municipal judge stated the defense must present their case first. These were pro se cases, on red light cams. These abuses are so common, that anyone that states they are not happening wide scale, is just speaking from pure blindness of the facts, as they are occurring right underneath their noses.
However, I hope you know, this is not only in the police department procedures, but the police are also being used as a gestapo style agency by their cities, to enforce these unconstitutional ordinances throughout many of the city departments, under many names like Neighborhood Preservation, Danger Buildings, Animal Control and even city water depts, are now charging fees, called a water readiness fee. A fee placed on all citizens connect to the water line, even if there is no water, or meter, a water readiness fee is a tax on the citizens and are raised without a vote of the people and in direct violation of our Missouri Handcock Amendment. In fact, in KCMO, the city Water Department is allowed to implement rules and regulations against the citizens, that no other private utility company is allowed to implement in the entire state of Missouri. Rules that if the private utility companies implemented would be in direct violation of state law. ex: such as transferring billing into the property owners name without property owners permission for an order of service, and like charging “a water readiness fee.”
Why would the city ever need the peoples vote for a tax, if this mentality is not stopped by those directly responsible for the law?
We here in Kansas City, Missouri, through the Landlord Legal Defense Fund, have been fighting these unpatriotic, monetary first style of government, at great expense to us and our members. We have cases with many different city departments, like Neighborhood Preservation. Where Landlords were being ticketed and charged up to $1000.00 for a tenants car parked on the tenants leased lawn/property, also where city through either Neighborhood Preservation or Dangerous Building, are illegal entering into citizens property, and where the city would intentionally damage the property, to close the building down, and thereby no owner was allowed to enter, to also, city stealing or removing pets from the home owners property, and selling the pet at the shelters, if the fines are not paid in as little as 10 days, which is long before the citizens court date of innocence. And as you pointed out the city is on the attack against these citizens with complete disregard to their rights, which is a true powder keg through-out our system!
We would be happy to provide you with case numbers, providing the evidence that this problem is wide spread in Kansas and Missouri and we can show cases in many other states like Minnesota, and Indiana.
Sir, I have narrowed the judicial causes, some of which perhaps no one can do anything about, and of course this need to be address on the legislation side also but as to judicial responsibility:
1. City Council being able to write and pass unconstitutional, ambiguous, ordinances because it is allowed by the judicial system rulings.
The judicial rulings favors the city position before court begins in the writing of these (unconstitutional) ordinances. The courts are requiring proof that the city implementation of the ordinances was unconstitutionally implemented. So the citizens must prove the city acts, thus placing great burden on the citizens, both financially and mentally. Or should they just pay the fine of $1400.00? Therefore, the city and municipal courts are rewarded by the assumptions of the higher courts which favor the city position. So now this system of city writing unconstitutional ordinances is growing, and boiling over to the point of police shooting unarmed citizens in the streets. And still we sit idly by?
2. The judicial ruling that US Constitutional Rights violations must be brought up, first, at the earliest possible moment or lost forever, is the also the reason many inhuman cases are not pursued and the reason these illegal practices continue today.
The fact is many district court attorneys never have, and never will argue constitutional issues, nor think to raise them in their cases (acceptance, and negotiations with city, is there way).
In fact, most all attorney and municipal judges will tell you constitutional issues cannot be argued in municipal court, they are emphatic about that…. which to me seems to be in direct violation of the supreme court’s ruling that constitutional issues must be raised first, at the earliest possible moment. So what’s municipal court, a kangaroo court? A court that does not allow one to defend themselves with the US Constitution but can use police powers on its citizens? And these type of cases are rarely heard in any appellate court, for many different reasons, mostly money but also including no final judgment given in the district court. The appellate courts would never allow these orders, that municipal judges hand out if they had jurisdiction. And as you pointed out, it is now to the point of boiling over into the streets like Ferguson Mo. and NY.3. Municipal court judges call lawyer cases first, and all attorneys are out of the courtroom for the pro se cases, thereby allowing the rules to be changed by the judge, to things like the defense will present their case first. So once again, its the judicial rulings that assist in these unconstitutional attacks, on the uneducated and poor.And while its true I will never pay such a fine or perhaps you wont either, once the gov’t controls the masses, the minority of the elite, will be conquered too.
While these are huge national problems, mostly being implemented at the city level, municipal level, it is affecting people by the millions, and that number is growing. As now we are seeing this ideology advance to state level, in mostly non-policing agencies, dealing with licenses to do business, and the revocation of such license, which shuts down the citizen lively-hood, or pay the state fine, fee and interest. So this needs to be stop now, for all citizens.
I wanted to personally thank you and your department Mr. Holder, for bring this issue to the national stage, which we can only hope brings an end to these type of political tactics before someone else gets killed.
Please let us know what we can do to help you protect the citizens from greedy government agencies which are creating and growing this powder keg.