Has Judge Neufeld Fallen Prey to a Bloated Ego?
John Taft Investigative Reporter Op/Ed
GRANTS PASS, Oregon (2-28-03). StrobeZone asks if Judge Neufeld is displaying pompous arrogance towards the media and citizens. Neufeld didnít have the common courtesy to respond to a letter and two subsequent phone calls requesting a meeting with him. The judge ignored the letter and a voice mail message. A court secretary did answer the second phone call, explaining the judge wasnít talking. This is the same judge that says: "The courts must be more involved in the community, and people donít understand what we do here." He further complains the courts have a bad image. After reading this article, it will be much easier for the judge to understand why the courts have a bad public image. Could it be that bad judges give the courts a bad public image? Is Neufeld innocent or guilty of pompous arrogance, and violating the code of judicial conduct? The reader is now the judge.
Judge Hanging Around Courthouse 23 Years
Bearded, bespectacled, and thin-faced Judge Gerald C. Neufeld (57) was appointed a judge in 1981 by former governor Victor Atiyeh. He has been reelected every 6-years for the past 23-years which has noting to do with his public popularity, Most judges have no challenger on the ballot. The result is the public has no judicial choice but to accept the judge whoís placed on the menu. Neufeld is now a presiding judge and is one of four circuit court judges in Josephine County. There are also protem judges and judges brought in from other counties as needed.
Outside Judges Brought in on Hot Issues
Josephine County judges sometimes chose to avoid or skirt the publicity hot political cases can generate by bringing in a judge from out of the county. The Oregon Judicial Rules of Conduct state: "JR 2-108 A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism." In a recent example of this type of action, Judge Dan Harris of Jackson County was used to preside over a high profile suit brought by Commissioner Candidate Heidi Iverson. Iverson desperately wanted to replace her husband Frank Iverson as Commissioner when his four-year term expired. The position pays a cushy $5,000 a month, with health care and retirement benefits. Mrs. Iverson claimed county real estate agent David Lommel derailed her plans and was responsible for her loss to Jim Riddle, and she wanted damages. A trial took place in December 2002 with Medford Judge Harris presiding. StrobeZone was ready to ask Judge Gerald C. Neufeld some hard ball questions involving this case and get some straight talk on other issues in line with Neufeldís complaint that people donít understand whatís going on in the courts. It appears that Neufeld doesnít want the public to know what dark secrets lurk behind his closed doors. Neufeld employed whatís commonly known in judicial circles as the modified ostrich cover. The ostrich sticks its head in the sand while Neufeld keeps his behind a closed door. However, when the Daily Courier comes a knockin, Neufeld opens his door and scurries out to be interviewed, mouthing platitudes of mush while pompously posing behind a courtroom bench with the American flag and Oregon seal behind him for credibility.
Judge Neufeld Quoted From Daily Newspaper.
On February 21, 1994, an article in the Grants Pass Daily Courier cited Judge Neufeld as saying, "Itís coming through loud and clear that the courts must be more involved in their community."
Taft: "Neufeld appears to believe that if he gets his name and photo in the Daily Courier he has become involved."
Neufeld: "One of the things we suffer from right now as a court, image wise, is I donít think people really understand what we do up here very well,"
Taft: "Neufeld makes this comment for public consumption, but in reality his actions show he has no intention of communicating with the people. He forgets he is a public servant."
Neufeld: "I think if weíre going to take responsibility for our image, we need to take responsibility for it, not leave that to others," Neufeld says.
Taft: "These words are only banalities, bromides, and clichés that are unsubstantiated drivel with no substance. I challenge Neufeld to state how he has taken responsibility for the courtís admitted bad public image. In the past several years he has done nothing noteworthy. When the opportunity presented itself he wasnít man enough to meet with StrobeZone reporters. He must have cringed in his silence. The judge should remember as Rush Limbaugh says, ĎWords mean things.í Donít say it unless you mean it, Judge."
Whatís in it for Me
Neufeld sits in judgment of fraud cases yet his own words regarding educating the public about the courts show fraud and deception. It appears deception, fraud, hanky-panky, and subterfuge are all practiced on the second floor of the county courthouse at one time or another. It can now be seen that Judge Neufeld appears in the Daily Courier on occasion to promote his election and a particular agenda. His words are of the feel good and sound good kind of rhetoric but quite insubstantial. In 1991 Neufeld was elected to be head of Oregonís Circuit Courts Judges Association. The Daily Courier cites Neufeld as saying, "The association is taking positions on legislation that affect the courts generally and affects judges personally - salaries and retirement." Judging by his own words and actions, Neufeld appears to be your typical politician in a black robe promoting his own self-serving agenda "salaries and retirement," meaning more taxes and bureaucracy for the public. The Oregon code of judicial conduct states: "JR 1-101 (A) A judge shall observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity, impartiality and independence of the judiciary are preserved and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary and the judicial system."
Neufeld Goes to Jerry Spenceís Thunder Ranch
Neufeld writes: "I am still amazed at how 30 strangers were thrown together and how quickly people were willing to share their innermost thoughts and strive to help others achieve an understanding of themselves. It tells me there is a real need for such a forum. Thank you again for the opportunity." Judge Neufeld suggests he may have been one of those sharing their innermost thoughts (whatever they may mean) with thirty other lawyers at Thunder Ranch. If he could do that with 30 lawyers, why couldnít he do that with two reporters? It seems Neufeld really didnít grasp what Spence is teaching at Thunder Ranch, which is for judges and lawyers to become human. Perhaps he has reached the state of nirvana and regards reporters, the public, and those appearing before him as fools and fodder.
Judge Tice Jr. reveals Judicial Arrogance
Judge Merton B. Tice, Jr. of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Rapid City, South Dakota, was more revealing than Neufeld regarding the true character of the men in black robes. He writes, "I like to watch the barriers slowly break down to where we (judges) become much more honest, with others and with ourselves."
Taft, "This statement indicates there is an official recognized degree of dishonesty in judges that needs to be addressed."
Judge Tice, "We started listening to others and suppressed, to a degree, our own egos."
Taft, "Judge Neufeld appears to have the haughty arrogance of a man with an out of control ego a fearful man hiding behind a beard from those who could shave him clean and expose his blemishes."
Judge Tice, "It was a process of awakening to the fact that we are not different from other judges, other lawyers, and other people."
Taft, "Judge Tice is saying that judgesí egos are so warped up with self glorification they have lost touch with reality. Some judges have reached such a lofty pinnacle from the bench that they see the public and even other attorneys as mere flyspecks on the wall and treat them accordingly. The judges are little Caesars who have become addicted to the judicial bench and have conquered the courtroom in the name of almighty ego."
Thunder Ranch Teaches Humility And True Justice
Gerry Spenceís (GS) Thunder Ranch obviously recognizes the serious problems facing the judicial system in the United States. Spence said in his book O.J. The Last Word, "A courtroom is a deadly place", and who should know this better than Spence? He also writes these chilling words
: "Ask trial lawyers who have been around the block even once, and they will tell you that many judges are mammal eating monsters that feed on lawyers and their cases, trample over justice, and spew their venom randomly over the courtroom because they do not possess the intelligence or judicial temperament to preside over a fair trial." In attempting to correct the horrendous conditions that exist in the criminal justice system in the United States, Spence established Thunder Ranch. A website introduction to Thunder Ranch states, "The trial lawyers who attend the Trial Lawyers College learn to fight for justice and help the people realize that in America the law can still deliver justice and free the people."
Taft, "Can the law still really deliver justice in America? When those who run the courts are corrupt, there is no justice. Under corruption only the shell of justice without a soul exists. If the people are to be freed then there must be slaves. The slaves are those who pass through the criminal justice system of the corrupt lawyers and judges. Spence is saying in forthright words that the American judicial system is corrupt, broken and is delivering something other than justice. Spenceís school was established to help educate judges and attorneys to become honest, decent human beings."
GS, "The trial Lawyers College trains a new breed of lawyer Ė a warrior who is a person first who passionately fights for and believes in justice and, who loves his or her clients."
Taft, "Spence leads one to believe the old breed of lawyer is corrupt, with whom profits take precedence over morality and justice, and self love is all possessing." Many local trial lawyers and judges appear to fit Spenceís unflattering description of those in the legal profession."
GS, "Over the course of the Trial Lawyers College, gradually, very gradually, they become human beings again."
Taft, "Spence again points a finely tuned finger at the American judicial system implying that many judges and lawyers are no longer human beings but a kind of zombie operating without compassionate human emotions."
StrobeZone Hunts Big Game
This article will be seen on a major search engine, in 30-60 days. For example, when the name Judge Gerald Neufeld is typed in the Google search engine, this article will appear. Neufeld was given a chance to discuss the issues, but chose to scurry for cover like a cockroach when the light of accountability is turned on. Now he has been tossed into the excess baggage of the questionable American judicial system.
To summarize, Neufeld didnít respond to a written letter Dec. 23rd, nor return two phone calls Jan. 6th, and Jan 13th, to his office. Other judges have shown common courtesy in returning calls. These judges include Judge Allen Coon and Judge Dan Harris from Jackson County. The Oregon code of judicial conducts states: "JR 1-101 (C) A judge shall not engage in conduct that reflects adversely on the judge's character, competence, temperament or fitness to serve as a judge." Judge J. Lloyd OíNeal didnít return a call and faced a humiliating recall attempt. Seven thousand people threw sand in his face when they refused to support judicial arrogance. Small town judges need the good will of the community to best serve the public; otherwise they serve themselves, not justice, and become the infamous "Mammal eating monster" residing in their lairs, the courtrooms, gorging on and digesting the flesh of the helpless.
It is not the intention of StrobeZone to give any honest public servant a bad time. However judges and others displaying inconsistencies with their own statements and showing contempt for the public, become fair game to be hunted and exposed as monsters living in a rotting jungle of self-importance.
John Taft can be reached at email@example.com This article will be posted on http://www.strobezone.homestead.com