Local man fined $125,770 for wanting a different judge
Retired judge makes
Retired judge makes finding
after nearly three
after nearly three year deliberation
South Van Zandt rancher and retired electrical engineer Udo Birnbaum says all he asked for was a hearing to get a different judge.
Retired judge Ron Chapman, who held the hearing on April 1, 2004 in the 294th District Court, instead finds that Birnbaum was guilty of "attempt to harass, intimidate, and inconvenience", "delusional belief held only inside the mind of Birnbaum", "bickering and quarreling with judges", "has been vindictive, unwarrented, mean-spirited, frivolous, and totally without substantiation", and that Birnbaum's "conduct … … was engaged in willfully and maliciously with the intent to harm", and that his fine is "an amount narrowly tailored to the amount of harm caused by the offensive conduct to be punished."
"I'm not a lawyer, but this whole thing sounds more like a criminal indictment, medical diagnosis, and sentence -- all rolled into one", says Birnbaum.
"If I had been guilty of all this stuff, why didn't the judge have the bailiff arrest me right there on the spot?"
The Order judge Chapman just signed this Oct. 24, 2006 states that the fine is "to serve as a deterrent to prevent Birnbaum from committing further similar acts again in the future", and to "stop Birnbaum and others like him".
"I always thought commit was criminal case language", says Birnbaum, "and this was a civil case".
"In a civil proceeding a judge cannot unconditionally punish, only "coerce" to make one comply with an order, even lock one up until one agrees to testify, for example. In civil punishment one always has to have what they call the "keys to one's release", to avoid punishment by complying with what the judge orders one to do".
" Unconditional punishment requires full criminal proceedings, including a finding of beyond a reasonable doubt -- by a jury".
"Even supreme court justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O'Connor know something is amiss, else why would they go on PBS with Charlie Rose for a full hour, pleading that America needs "fair and impartial judges", and that 40 percent of American believe that judges are nothing more than politicians in black robes.
America", states Birnbaum. "This not
"I was quietly living on my farm with my invalid 90 year old mother, and had only known the courthouse from getting license plates".
"And then I get sued because BEAVERS had built a dam on my farm".
"They can't sue me for what wild beavers may do! They should have called the game warden."
"But what this is really about is that I bucked the system by representing myself when I was sued in that stupid case, instead of shelling out $10,000 or more to feed the lawyers".