Blackwood Rules

In the long-awaited trial of Stuart v. Layton & the Election Commission, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has again ruled to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.  Even though acknowledging that hundreds of voters took longer than the state-allowed maximum of ten minutes, as well as acknowledging that the election commission’s procedures for voter identification was inconsistent between various precincts, Blackwood found that since these votes were not cast with fraudulent intent, the election stands.

What Blackwood seemed to be saying is, the laws don’t matter unless they’re intentionally violated with fraudulent intent.  Nevermind that the time limits were intentionally disregarded by election officials — because there was no finding of fraudulent intent, it doesn’t matter.

So if you happen to pick up a speeding ticket in your holiday travels, here’s your defense:  "Your honor, I didn’t mean to violate the law by not observing the posted limit.  I was just trying to reach my destination on time, which I did, so my incidental infraction is justified." 

(If this works for you, be sure and let me know.  I suspect it would only work in Blackwood’s court, and maybe then only if you cite Stuart v. Layton et al.)

The other thing that bothered me is his acceptance of the election commission’s premise that comparing signatures is an acceptable substitute for voter identification.  When you write a check, does the business accept your signature alone as verification that you are who you say you are?  Fat chance.

It’s not over, though; there will be an(other) appeal.  It’s my understanding that the Court of Appeals’ ruling was that the lower court (Blackwood) should rule on the facts — HOW MANY voters took more than 10 minutes (644, after adjusting for those who required assistance and are allowed extra time), and was that number greater than the margin of the election (119)?  The facts were found and proven.

The judge ruled though, on his interpretation, rather than the facts as requested by the Court of Appeals.   The next phase could be interesting.

2 Responses to “Blackwood Rules”

  1. on 14 Dec 2007 at 6:39 am voter person

    I would find this law very difficult to enforce BUT that is not a decision of the courts. It is a law. There are many laws not easy to enforce. If you don’t like the law, change it. Call your legislatures and do something about it. The courts are not a place to make laws, it is a place to enforce laws.

  2. on 15 Dec 2007 at 9:07 pm Jacket

    “I was just trying to reach my destination on time, which I did, so my incidental infraction is justified.”

    Not really. This statement is an admission of guilt for the speeding charge, that shows intent. The reason will not matter unless maybe you were protecting life and limb of yourself or others.

    On the criminal side of this the Government must show intent. Most indictments say something to the effect of “John Doe did intentionally, knowingly, and willfully Burglarize Netmom’s house with the intent to commit a felony to wit: Theft against the peace and dignity of the State of Tennessee.”

    The government is the prosecution on the criminal side, on a civil side the plaintiff is the prosecution and the burden to prove their case is on them. There are always winners and losers in court. It sounds a little like complaining after losing a football game by blaming it on the Ref’s (there is no appeal thers)

    Please don’t get too caught up in the “ruling was wrong argument too much.” There is an appeal process that will be used.

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