Sunday, February 14, 2010

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: PDF Of The Recent Lawsuit Against Dolan

Contributed photo, blog post by John Hoff

Word has been flying around the Minneapolis issues list of a lawsuit against Chief Dolan, who is expected to be reappointed soon by the City Council despite an unrealistic fantasy to the contrary by a small number of activists. The recent lawsuit is filed on behalf of activist Dave Bicking, who was recently asked to resign from his seat on the Civilian Review Authority for participating in an event which could be fairly characterized as an anti-Dolan pep rally thinly disguised as some kind of objective "forum." One issues list source says, however, Bicking was careful in his remarks at that forum. 

The lawsuit--click here to enjoy your very own PDF copy--seeks dramatic court intervention in what could be accurately described as a "political question," the kind of stuff courts usually take great care to avoid. Basically, the lawsuit says Dolan is not doing his job when he doesn't discipline officers the CRA thinks should be disciplined. Where did the lawsuit come from? Well, I'll leave readers to experience their own personal sense of joy and discovery by checking out the PDF.

I will add this: right before the City Council elections I spoke to Council Member Diane Hofstede, and recently I've spoken to Don Samuels, saying something needs to be done about the frivolous and politically-motived lawsuits which the city is forced to fight, at great expense to the tax payer. Where these lawsuits will next come from can be predicted with stunning accuracy. The city officials who are forced to deal with this garbage over and over should have a meeting and plot a unified strategy, which may involve countersuits, Rule 11 motions, complaints to the Board of Professional Responsibility or--and this is probably what will need to happen--all of that stuff at once.

(Do not click "Read More")


Hillside Chronicles said...

Not only does this lawsuit seem to be a political question, but if it is not hear by February 17, 2010, then its MOOT...

Let's see how fast the wheels of justice grind for this one.

Michael Spivak said...

Has anyone sought a writ of mandamus since Marbury v. Madison?

I can't recall any from law school nor is it coming up now while studying for the bar.

MeganG. said...

Hillside- can you explain??

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I believe I can explain for Hillside.

I'm only halfway through the pdf, but from what I gather, there are three steps to Dolan being confirmed (or not, if it goes that way).

1. The executive committee of the council takes up the matter on 2/17/10.

2. The Public Safety and Health Committee considers the confirmation/appointment on 1/3/10.

3. The full Council takes up the question on 3/12/10.

So if by some odd turn of events, a court document filed on a Friday doesn't get taken up on the very next business/government work day (2/15/10 is Presidents' Day, so 2/16 is pretty much the only shot) then the political proceedings already start.

Low End Leroy said...

A writ of mandamus is a judicial remedy by which a court compels a government official to act (or in some cases refrain from acting), when the action (or omission) is something the official has a nondiscretionary duty to do, by virtue of his/her office. Basically, it is the court telling the official to "Do your job!"

Here, it looks like the Petitioner is seeking a court order: directing Chief Dolan to discipline officers in accordance with Mpls Ordinance (which apparently the Petitioners believe he is not doing); and directing the Chair of the CRA to inform the City Council that Chief Dolan is not complying with the Ordinance.

The Marbury reference dates back to a significant US Sp Ct case from the early 19th century. The Petitioner in that case (Marbury) sought a writ of mandamus directing James Madison, the Secretary of State to ratify his (Marbury's) appoitment as a Justice of the Peace (I think).
If you like American History, and are curious about the early development of the US Sp Ct. and the tension between Federalism/Republicanism, the case history is an interesting read, and loaded with political drama.

Unrelated to the writ of mandamus discussion- Marbury is the case in which the US Sp Ct seized the power of judical review, and overturned an Act of Congress.

Writs of Mandamus are very rare.

Others feel free to add... it's been a while.


Low End Leroy said...

gee whiz, MG.
I'm sure that was way more info than you wanted, since your question related to something totally different.
I'm sorry.

Pond-dragon said...

You never cease to amaze me!

MeganG. said...

@LEL - that was great info - great input - never too much info can be shared.

Everyone, if you are on facebook - please find the group called "Minneapolis Residents in Support of Chief Dolan's Reappointment" - please join and please share it far and wide -

(there is an OPPOSITION group, so of course I want more support to be shown than opposition - even tho facebook is not a real measure - people from China and hawaii can join either group if they want - but still.. JOIN!)!/group.php?gid=321775908144&ref=nf

Hillside Chronicles said...

Looks like the court acted before it became moot: