King v Witmer Case No. 2:20-cv-13134 Case Updates

Your primer/background —I’ll keep saying this because “it is what it is” —in my industry understanding and respecting the Rules of Procedure is how our judicial system runs in an orderly manner.

Local District Rules vary from District to District. Hence why we say “know your local rules” —but this does bear repeating and I’ll explain in layman’s terms by the following rhetorical questions:

  • Have you ever wondered why there are Courtroom “artist” or expedited hearing transcripts?

  • Have you ever noticed that cable/regular broadcast news doesn’t broadcast video and/or audio of hearings from a Federal District Courtroom? 

The fact is yes occasionally they do, by way of a Court’s YouTube Channel and/or embedded audio link from the Court’s website. For Example various United States Court of Appeals, the following circuit courts have a YouTube channel —

United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

As a whole, unless you have a prerequisite Order from a Judge (assuming you’ve sought leave from the Court) you can not bring a smartphone, tablet, laptop and/or audio recorder into most Federal Courtrooms. In the age of COVID-19

What is The Judicial Conference

I get it that most do not know what The Judicial Conference is and/or why it was established by Congress in 1922. Most are unaware of the Conference Membership - see May 2021 (current) Members which are Chief Judges from the various Circuit Court of Appeals (yes including the USCA-Federal Circuit <—still makes me laugh that my stalkers didn’t even know there’s a USCA-Federal Circuit) and International Trade Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (USCA-FC) is unique to all other US Court of Appeals -the USCA-FC has nationwide jurisdiction in a variety of subject areas, including;

international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the United States government, federal personnel, veterans’ benefits, and public safety officers’ benefits claims. Appeals to the court come from all federal district courts, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The main purpose of the Judicial Conference is to have “principal policy making body concerned” with the administration of the U.S. Courts. There after in 1948, Congress codified the Judcial Conference, see section 331 of title 28, United States Code —The purpose of the Judicial Conference is to make policy with regard to the administration of the U.S. courts. Section 331 of title 28 specifically provides that the Judicial Conference shall: 

  1. Make a comprehensive survey of the conditions of business in the courts of the United States; 

  2. Prepare plans for the assignment of judges to or from courts of appeals or district courts, where necessary; 

  3. Submit suggestions to the various courts in the interest of promoting uniformity of management procedures and the expeditious conduct of court business; 

  4. Exercise authority provided in chapter 16 of title 28 United States Codes for the review of circuit council conduct and disability orders filed under that chapter; and 

  5. Carry on a continuous study of the operation and effect of the general rules of practice and procedure in use within the federal courts, as prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to law. 

The Judicial Conference also supervises the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in the performance of his duties as the administrative officer of the courts of the United States under 28 U.S.C.§604

On March 31, 2020 the Administrative Office of the United States Courts issued a press release titled (Judiciary Authorizes Video/Access During Covid-19 Pandemic).  The press release states, in part:

In order to address health and safety concerns in federal courthouses and courtrooms, the Judicial Conference of the United States has temporarily approved the use of video and teleconferencing for certain criminal proceedings and access via teleconferencing for civil proceedings during the COVID-19 national emergency.

With regard to criminal proceedings, the Judicial Conference, the administrative policy-making body for the federal courts, found on March 29, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), that "emergency conditions due to the national emergency declared by the President with respect to COVID-19 will materially affect the functioning  of the federal courts generally ...". Under Section 15002(b) of] the CARES Act(link is external), this finding allows chief district judges, under certain circumstances and with the consent of the defendant, to temporarily authorize the use of video or telephone conferencing for certain criminal proceedings during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Not to belabor my points but on July 14, 2021 I walked you through the recent filings in King v Whitmer —later that day the Court issued two rulings

Release of Video for July 12th hearing DENIED

As to counsel’s suggestion that the video is needed to prepare a supplement brief, attorneys routinely prepare such briefs following a hearing without video or audio recordings of the proceedings and often without a transcript.

For these reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the emergency motion (ECF No. 152) is DENIED

You can also view the Court’s July 14, 2021 Order via this Scribd link

Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 83.32(e)(2)

On a related matter filed July 13, 2021 Show Cause Motion Emergency MOTION for Order to Show Cause (see EDMI-ECFwhy Attorney Lin Wood Should Not be Held In Criminal Contempt for Violating LR 83.32(d)(3), (e)(2) by Robert Davis

Local Rule 83.32(e)(2) prohibits “the . . . broadcasting of Judicial Proceedings by radio or television or other means” Wood posted a video on Telegram. He subsequently deleted the post but you can’t delete your violation of local rules...accordingly on July 15, 2021 the Court Issued an Order (or see Scribd link). While the court declined pursuing criminal charges, it did order Wood to respond by July 22, 2021

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that L. Lin Wood shall show cause, in writing, by July 22, 2021, why he should not be disciplined in accordance with Local Rule 83.22(d) for “broadcasting” the proceeding on social media in violation of Local Rule 83.32(e)(2).

Previously filed NOTICE of Appearance on behalf of L. Lin Wood

  • June 30, 2021 - Donald D. Campbell on behalf of L. Lin Wood

  • June 30, 2021 - Patrick K. McGlinn on behalf of L. Lin Wood

  • July 16, 2021 - Paul J. Stablein on behalf of L. Lin Wood (ECF or Scribd)

Incidentally on July 15, 2021 there was also a Order stipulation/substitute for counsel on behalf of Emily Newman (see ECF link or see Scrubd link). Thomas M. Buchanan of Winston & Strawn LLP withdrew and Timothy E. Galligan.

So just to wrap this up - the Court DENIED the Emergency Request to make the July 12, 2021 Video Hearing available and Ordered that Lin Wood (in writing) explain to the Court why he didn’t violate local rules which prohibits the “broadcasting” of hearings absent a Court’s Order.

Again always know your local rules and just because some anonymous asshole on YouTube posted the nearly five hour long hearing doesn’t mean it was lawful. It’s not. I’m amazed at the can of deep stupid that was unleashed in the comments of that unauthorized and unlawful video. And lastly understand that you can’t argue with stupid. Period. Full Stop.