The Story of JP Elizabeth Rogers in 4 posts

The Story in four posts:

(1) Once Upon A Time There Was A Judge Elizabeth Rogers (Overview of Events)

(2) Report of Misconduct by Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Rogers as submitted to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct

(3) Violations of Judicial Code of Conduct by JP Rogers

(4) Summary

Sunday, March 6, 2011

(1) Once Upon A Time there Was a Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Rogers


“I, Elizabeth Rogers, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of Justice of the Peace according to the best of my ability, so help me God (or so I do affirm).”

Judges are charged with adjudicating the law, and courts have established procedures for enabling them to do their job. Litigants bring cases to court, citing the event(s) and the law(s) they believe have been violated, and the judge is to decide whether or not the law has been violated and if so, implement the legally-prescribed enforcement procedures and/or punishments.

That’s what judges are SUPPOSED to do. But Kyrene District Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Rogers went awry. When she realized that she couldn’t decide in favor of her Constable and his friends (Anthony Miller and Plaintiff Sophia Johnson) because the Defendant (Sandra Miller) was too knowledgeable on the cited law and would probably appeal (which I would have), JP Rogers just couldn’t let it go at that.
She couldn’t issue the Injunction Against Harassment that Plaintiff Sophia Johnson wanted because Sophia Johnson couldn’t prove she was ever harassed (indeed, what Plaintiff Sophia Johnson presented as “evidence” was pathetic and wasted the court’s time). So JP Rogers made up 2 new “pseudo-laws” and publicly berated Defendant Sandra Miller for “violating” her 2 new laws:
  • “use language that would abuse or otherwise harm another person “
  • and
  • “chilling the other person’s ability to participate in the political process.”  
JP Rogers couldn’t include the Arizona Revised Statute numbers for these “laws” because they don’t exist… except in her own mind. But a judge's personal opinion doesn't make it a law.
By “harm” or “abuse,” she doesn’t mean physical harm because there was ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE of that in Sophia Johnson v. Sandra Miller. The context of JP Rogers’ pseudo-law is “language that would hurt the feelings of another person,” and there is no such law—JP Rogers made it up on the spot and hoped no one would notice.
By “chilling,” she doesn’t mean interference—there was none. JP Rogers has decided that reminding a potential candidate for elected office of their past track record might make them hesitant to run for office, or “chill their ability to participate in the political process.” That’s what most voters call “being accountable for past performance.”

Those are the 2 pseudo-laws that JP Rogers tried to apply in Sophia Johnson v. Sandra Miller. JP Rogers couldn’t use existing laws like ARS 12-1809-R (anti-harassment legislation) because Plaintiff Sophia Johnson failed miserably to meet the conditions required.

In applying her new pseudo-laws, JP Rogers violated a number of court principles and provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct. But she seemed so determined to accommodate friends of her constable that she didn’t care.

I believe the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct holds a different opinion; that’s the reason for my complaint.

*                  *                     *                       *                       *                            *
On Friday, January 14, Sophia Johnson filed a request (A) with the Kyrene Court for an Injunction against Harassment based on what she vaguely told the court was “a threatening e-mail.”(L-1) She didn’t include a copy of the “threatening e-mail” with the request, nor did the form she completed (A) provide specifics of just what made the e-mail “threatening.”

Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Rogers apparently reviewed the report and decided that she “wanted to hear both sides” before making a decision. There is no indication that JP Rogers reviewed the “threatening e-mail” or asked Plaintiff Sophia Johnson to substantiate her claim of “threatening.”

But there was no case to “hear both sides” of! The “threatening e-mail” (L-1) that Plaintiff Sophia Johnson reported didn’t even meet the ARS 12-1809-R requirement of harassment, and definitely wasn’t “threatening.” That JP Rogers didn’t require Plaintiff Sophia Johnson to substantiate her “threatening” claim to insure compliance with ARS 12-1809-R( C ) before scheduling a hearing was either sheer incompetence or malfeasance by the judge. Or perhaps a combination of both.

Rather than dismissal at that time, JP Rogers could have allowed Plaintiff Sophia Johnson to amend her Petition for Protection to meet the requirements of ARS 12-1809-R( C ) if indeed Plaintiff Sophia Johnson had sufficient evidence and if JP Rogers could have done it without offering legal advice or assistance to Plaintiff Sophia Johnson.

But JP Rogers didn’t do that. Despite Sophia Johnson’s report not meeting requirements for an Injunction Against Harassment, JP Rogers issued and signed a “Notice of Hearing”(B) for January 25 that was served to me that night (although without the required Petition for Protection (D) completed and submitted by Plaintiff Sophia Johnson and recorded by court staff).

Is JP Rogers’ slipshod handling of all protective orders as consistently sloppy as with CC2011-008497? Or was it because Plaintiff Sophia Johnson is a friend of the judge’s Constable, Brandon Schmoll? Did JP Rogers in effect say to the Constable, “Your evidence is insufficient for a case, but we’ll try to slip it by since she’s a friend of yours.”? Neither possibility is appealing.

Yet when I submitted a Motion to Dismiss Without Hearing (H) the day prior to court because Plaintiff Sophia Johnson didn’t meet the criteria in ARS 12-1809-R, JP Rogers asked the consent of Plaintiff Sophia Johnson who predictably objected, and by her denial of my Motion (I) JP Rogers insisted on holding the following day’s hearing on a non-case.

JP Rogers’ justification for the previous day’s denial (I) when she opened court the next day was nothing more than legalese-sounding double-talk. (M)

Less than an hour later, JP Rogers dismissed the case for the same reason as my Motion for Dismissal (H) that she denied the day before and for the same reason the case should have been dismissed (or amended) on January 14: Plaintiff Sophia Johnson couldn’t produce credible evidence of harassment.

The primary outrage is that before she issued a verdict in my favor (K) to dismiss the request that should never have seen a courtroom, JP Rogers spent several minutes publicly berating me based solely on her opinion that I “chilled someone’s ability to participate in the political process” by using language “that was out-of-line.” Nothing was insulting or profane or threatening; JP Rogers just said it was “out-of-line.” JP Rogers then made every attempt to evade several requests that she define just what made the language “out of line.”

To the question “why file a complaint against the judge when she ruled in your favor in the end?”
• The case should never have wasted the time of the court and myself, nor taxpayers’ money. Even Plaintiff Sophia Johnson’s post-hearing comment to the news media acknowledged she knew she had no case, she just wanted to “put me on notice (J).” Translated: Plaintiff Sophia Johnson wanted news media attention that followed her announcement of her alleged need for an “order of protection.” Thanks to the aid and enablement of JP Rogers, Plaintiff Sophia Johnson got the media attention she wanted.

• JP Rogers’ appalling court behavior, publicly berating me (M) for not following “laws” she made up on the spot that conform to nothing in ARS or the Arizona or US Constitution.

I and three friends present that day recognized immediately JP Rogers’ resentment of my use of the dictionary to show how ridiculous was Plaintiff Sophia Johnson’s “threatening” interpretation of the word “remind,” my research and application of the law and my point-by-point replacement of Plaintiff Sophia Johnson’s exaggerated and unfounded claims with provable facts.

Viewing the audio and video CD of the January 25 hearing leaves no doubt why I won the verdict: JP Rogers observed my knowledge of the applicable law from research, as well as the concern by JP Rogers that I would appeal if she tried to rule in favor of Plaintiff Sophia Johnson and her ludicrous charade.

In that concern, JP Rogers was right, and that would have brought the nightmare of every judge: being overturned on appeal. Had JP Rogers believed she would get away with a verdict against me, she would have ruled for Plaintiff Sophia Johnson. And the rule of law be damned.

The judge clearly objected to my exposing how ludicrous the case was because of the obvious question that would follow: “Who allowed this case to waste the court’s time?”

• The “Case that Shouldn’t Have Been” diverted 11 days of my time and attention from an important health matter. In January, I’d sufficiently recovered from my December surgery and hospitalization to investigate and evaluate post-surgical treatment options. JP Rogers’ slipshod handling of the case from the beginning required me to temporarily abandon the medical matter in order to prepare a defense against the frivolous court action by Plaintiff Sophia Johnson that JP Rogers allowed and enabled.

In addition to attending the January 25 hearing and the hours of phone calls and research, JP Rogers’ bungling required 4 trips from my home to the courthouse to obtain documents or to deliver motions or notification letters to the court because her court staffer Annie Cox says “she doesn’t accept faxes.”

Perhaps JP Rogers thinks that rendering a verdict consistent with the law negates her bungling prior to court and her contemptible treatment of me in court.

It doesn’t. Adjudicating the law (and nothing but the law) is the job she was elected and swore an oath to do in every case. Judges giving preferential treatment in cases involving family, friends and staff destroy the integrity of the justice system. Further, she swore to uphold ARS and state and federal constitutions, not the law according to her personal opinion or whatever so-called “law” she makes up on the spot to cover her sloppy and/or biased handling of a case that that a competent judge would never have allowed to waste court time, resources and taxpayers’ money.

Her refusal to fulfill that obligation in Sophia Johnson v. Sandra Miller is the basis for this complaint.