In the ongoing battle with the City of Fairview Heights, Patrolman Joshua Alemond and Patrolman Aaron Nyman, I had a hearing on Nov. 8, 2010 in courtroom 401 in St. Clair County, Illinois. The purpose for the hearing was to determine if the Defendant’s were to enjoy further protection under the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act. The Defendant’s received a 90 day stay in the proceedings on August 5, 2010 when the presiding judge, Robert LeChien, ruled that the motion for stay met the requirements of the SCRA. I argued that the evidence and exhibits submitted by the defense did not meet the requirements of the act. I lost, and the Defendant’s were entitled to an initial 90 day stay with a hearing to determine if the stay should be extended to cover the duration of Alemond’s deployment. Nov. 8, 2010 was that date.
I will not dwell on the particulars. I am bringing this action against the City of Fairview Heights and Patrolmen Alemond and Nyman, pro se. Most of the attorneys I spoke with would only take the case if I pursued a Title 42 action for violation of Civil Rights, which do not apply to me since I am not a US citizen. So, my last recourse was to pursue an action in tort in state court.
What was particularly interesting in the hearing of Nov. 8, 2010 was the blatant bias exhibited by judge LeChien. I believe the man knows the law, but uses his position to either ignore it or use it as his personal tool and weapon against those who he feels is not worthy of his magnanimity.
The point raised in my objection was that the defense, after already enjoying a 90 day stay on an insufficient pleading, lacking the information specified by the Act, brought nothing more to the table in correcting the defective pleading. The Act clearly set fort the requirements for receiving a stay:
(2) Conditions for stay
An application for a stay under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
(A) A letter or other communication setting forth facts stating the manner in which current military duty requirements materially affect the servicemember’s ability to appear and stating a date when the servicemember will be available to appear.
(B) A letter or other communication from the servicemember’s commanding officer stating that the servicemember’s current military duty prevents appearance and that military leave is not authorized for the servicemember at the time of the letter.
The Defense did provide a letter – Alemond Deployment, but that letter does not conform with (B) of the Act. LeChien felt it would not be fair to have Alemond deal with his legal obligations should he be home on leave, especially during the holidays. However, commentators on the Act, as well as courts, have held that if leave is permitted, the servicemember must use that leave to tend to his obligations. I guess LeChien knows better than those who deal with this law on a regular basis.
I tried to argue that point and Judge LeChien, after reflecting on my objection to the Exhibit, said that I was dwelling on a “punctilios” reading of the statute and that the evidence did satisfy the “intent” of the Act. For those who do not know what “punctilios” means: