Missouri Judge Accused Of Allowing Clerks To Dismiss Cases and Issue Orders While She Vacationed In China

Associate Circuit Judge Barbara T. Peebles is under investigation for allegedly allowing her clerks to handle litigation matters as she vacationed in China last year. To make matters worse, there is a criminal investigation into the disappearance of a document related to the vacation. In the meantime, another judge, Margaret J. Walsh resigned after allegations that she ordered the handcuffing of an assistant city counselor and used inappropriate or abusive language as well as allegedly attempting to influence city officials when her son was rejected for a job.

The Missouri Supreme Court’s Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline is looking into Peebles vacation and the claim that she allowed clerks to carry out her functions. Her clerks reportedly handled a number of her cases while she was in China on vacation for 10 days in October, including issuing orders to dismiss five cases and issuing as many as 18 bench warrants and continuing more than 300. Some individuals were held in jail due to their actions.

What is interesting is that court officials say that there really was no change due to the vacation and that Peebles routinely allows clerks to do her job even when she is present. One clerk is known as “Judge Whitney” because she regularly dismissed cases and issued arrest warrants and continuances. One brave public defender finally objected in a motion that noted “The court clerk denied this motion without a judge present and without allowing defense counsel an opportunity to argue the motion.”

It would be a curious defense that I always use clerks as substitute judges so this had nothing to do with my vacation. Peebles could be removed on the basis of these allegations.

In the meantime, I assume inmates will get tee shirts reading “My Judge Went On Vacation and All I Got Was This T-shirt And A Bench Warrant.”

Source: STL Today and ABA Journal

36 thoughts on “Missouri Judge Accused Of Allowing Clerks To Dismiss Cases and Issue Orders While She Vacationed In China”

  1. Malisha,

    I submitted a petition for rehearing to to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Didn’t do any good. Denied. Denied at the Supreme Court too.

    Send me your fax number and email address and I will forward it. Some is paper only, some is electronic. My email address is mattjohnson@wi.rr.com.

    Best wishes.

  2. Hey Matt Johnson, here’s one for you. I filed a federal habeas corpus in 1989. A federal judge pretended he didn’t know what to do with it so he wrote an opinion saying I had to prove I had exhausted state court remedies. I wrote it. He then became even more confused and didn’t know how to proceed. He ran around and around in circles and finally handed it down to a magistrate. That bozo’s real job was to hold onto it long enough to make it seem like it had gone “moot” so 17 months after I filed, he issued an opinion that it was moot and therefore did not have to be heard, BUT I was a bad person, just in case there was any doubt. He called that part “supplemental reason for mootness.” So I stormed into the clerk’s office and demanded that, because the proceeding in the Eastern District of Virginia was a SHAM PROCEEDING (I used those words), I should get my $5.00 back, because $5.00 was the fee for the habeas corpus, and I did not get a habeas corpus, I got what I called was a “Habeas Big-Fakus” and I demanded a refund. The clerk said I had to put it in writing. I said, “Give me a piece of paper” and she did. I wrote: “This was a fraud and I demand my Five Dollars back.”

    Two weeks later I got a check for $5.00 from the US Treasury. No memo on the check. Rather than depositing it, I framed it.

    OK, then I took an appeal and won the appeal and a remand. After the remand the judge (James C. Cacheris, US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, who otherwise had an actual reputation for integrity!) decided that $750 equals zero and I could never have any negative consequences from the thing anyway so it had to stay moot. The Fourth Circuit said “the appeal is without merit” and that was the end of it except for the fact that Cacheris occasionally gets riled that I talk about him like a — well, not very nicely — on-line. But hey, public figure, what can I say?

    They’re still enforcing that order Cacheris called moot. And you can bet your tuchas those clerks spoke with the judge. Many TIMES!

    I met Cacheris’s clerk about a year after this had happened; the clerk had since moved on to a job in the private sector (and has since busily defended torturors for a big law firm) and he admitted to me that the judge asked him to find a way out of the habeas and all he could do was to suggest that it should lie around until it could be “moot.”

    He also said that if I ever told anyone that, he would deny it and call me a liar. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

  3. Martial law? The police are trained to be “Peace Officers.” That doesn’t mean they don’t get out control once in a while, but that’s rare. Military personnel are trained to kill you. Do you know what the Uniform Code Of Military Justice is? Uncle Sam owns your ass.

  4. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-military-rolls-tanks-st-louis-streetsbut-why

    I have to say that this event, which is being labeled a “training exercise”, makes very little sense to me. U.S. Army troops all the way from Maryland running open exercises in armored personnel carriers on the busy streets of St. Louis? I know Maryland is a small state, but is there really not enough room at Ft. Detrick to accommodate a tank column and some troops? Are there not entire fake neighborhood and town complexes built with taxpayer dollars on military bases across the country meant to facilitate a realistic urban environment for troops to train in? And why travel hundreds of miles to Missouri? At the very least, this is a massive waste of funds.

    On the other hand, such an action on the part of the Department of Defense makes perfect sense if the goal is to acclimate citizens to the idea of seeing tanks and armed military acting in a policing capacity. Just check out the two random idiots the local news affiliate picked to interview in St. Louis on the subject. Both state that they think the exercise is a “great idea”, because having the military on the streets would help to “reduce crime”:


    I suspect that the news affiliate did not go out of its way to get any counter-opinions, even though they admitted to being contacted by those voicing concerns over martial law.

    Even so, it’s sad and simultaneously terrifying that there are plenty of mindless dupes out there who do not understand the dangers of the Army crossing the Rubicon and acting in a civil law enforcement capacity, never mind that they are completely ignorant of the fact that it violates the Posse Comitatus Act. One of the interviewees even points out that in some countries they don’t use police at all; only military. This is true. We call those countries “tyrannies”…

  5. Malisha,

    About getting things right sometimes — even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think we could do better by flipping a coin.
    I worked for a federal agency before. The assistant chief union steward told me the managers are above the law. I said, they’re not above the law. She said, yes they are. I said, then the law doesn’t exist. Does that mean the union shouldn’t exist? If the managers are above the law, the union has no reason for existence.

    What are the rules? Define the rules. And follow them. Nobody is above the law. Presumably.

    When the law doesn’t exist, Old West justice will eventually prevail. Life has its reality. Ask the Swedish wolves.

  6. For purposes of prevention of social chaos we pretend that we exist under a rule of law, where all are equal before it. The fact is, ours and most other judicial systems in this world are dysfunctional, except for the fact that at times they get things right. — Mike Spindell

    That’s it exactly. We have to pretend that we’re doing something proper. That gives us the cover we need to do anything we want that is improper. In fact, hollering that “something improper is happening” is punished for the actual reason that it is only proper to GO ALONG WITH the pretense, so that carrying on about the Emperor’s nakedness is defined as criminal and/or crazy.

    About getting things right sometimes — even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think we could do better by flipping a coin.

  7. I talked to two clerks at the Federal Circuit one time. They said we’re not allowed to talk to the judges. They were lying. Do you know what a legal error is?

  8. Are their any Photo`s of these Clerks? Let`s see some pic`s. Let`s also see some pic`s of the victims.I bet the pic`s will raise more questions.

  9. CLH, I wrote a petition called a “coram nobis” in front of a federal judge who is considered one of the best federal judges in Virginia (but hey, that’s just like saying he’s one of the best Bostonians in Kansas), and he declared, with a great deal of anger, that the court did not have jurisdiction to HEAR it, but just in case anybody wanted to know anything about it, it was wrong anyway. Paraphrase of course, because he’s pompous.

    And I realized that the game a judge plays when they know they cannot make a decision that would be so obviously wrong that everyone would puke is that they do the thing an angry four-year-old does when you tell her that she has to pick up the dirty dish she dropped: She puts her hands on her ears and yells at a high pitch: “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

    Yeah, the quality of the robe-wearing folks is about like that of the beanie-wearing folks. And in Sanford Florida, the uniform-wearing folks.

  10. And there is the argument why I should stick to my mind numbingly boring job of watching an assemply line do the same thing a billion times a night. Beats the crap out of submitting legal documents to a judge who isn’t actually there.

  11. Somebody tell me where that discussion is of the “best steak” and the “silver stake” and the werewolves and Warren Zevon — please!!

    I want to play those songs again and I can’t find the thread —

  12. Guess what? The clerks allegedly aren’t allowed to communicate with the judges and do their jobs for them. Do they anyway?

  13. Malisha,

    Thanks for the notation that half-corrupt systems do not exist. I was expressing the illusions that judges stand above all the circus going on to mislead, and makes the judgement based on law and proven facts.

    Just as I asked TonyC yesterday how an honest businessman can compete with the criminal ones, without becoming criminal.
    Ssle situation here. He claime he could, tho’ not always successfully.

    Tired of the systems stare and the lack of will to better it. By having an ethics review board which punishes no one, with the implied motive that why punish one for doing what all he other’s do, is acceptable reasoning. But deceiving the public.

    Which seems to be the chief PR job for government now.

  14. Bill M: Exactly. It also “makes examples” of some of those small insects. Then it looks like everything’s OK for a while and the web-weaving can continue with its own inevitable design.

    US Supreme Court case, Pulliam versus Allen, it was decided that a stae court judge who denied constitutional rights to a person “under color of state law” could be enjoined by that federal law and would have to pay attorneys’ fees to the claimant OUT OF HER OWN POCKET but it was a very small judge (Gladys Pulliam) who got nailed in that case. On the other hand, bigger judges who routinely do egregious acts of deprivation of constitutional rights under color of state law have been found time after time after time after time after time…time…time…to be immune.

    Judge Pulliam was jailing petty miscreants for nonjailable offenses, if they couldn’t afford bail. When you get a judge like those Los Angeles Superior Court judges who throw a lawyer in jail for contempt without a trial and deny all habeas rights for over a year (while he is in solitary and his health is being destroyed) the law can’t touch them.

    It’s about being too heavy for those little webs to hold you. The web was made for Gladys Pulliam — and probably for this Missouri judge who went on a stupid junket to China (and should have stayed there) — but it was not made for the likes of the heavies who do the most damage, most often, most openly, with the most hubris and the least reason.

    Again, I gotta go take anti-nausea medication — drunk with disgust.

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