Thursday, October 19, 2006
The second lie
The ASUC Executives insisted that their hiring of a lawyer was necessary, because they wouldn't have won their Judicial Council case otherwise. Ali asked the obvious question: Are they saying their lawyers intimidated the Judicial Council into seeing things their way? The Executives said no, the lawyers helped write the brief which would succeed.
Two things. The first is that the respondents did not have professional legal help in writing the brief. I can confirm that this is true because I was one of the folks writing it. If the Executives were too incompetent and unfamliar with the ASUC's rules to write a brief on the same level, it says something very sad about the state of our ASUC leaders.
The second thing is that the brief, which was written in part by Oren's lawyers, did not sway the council. Again, I'm not going to ask you to "trust me" like supporters are asking, I'm going to go through each argument title (and summarize it in parenthesis) and point to the passage in the decision that rejects it (in blockquote). (I have the brief in .doc form, but I don't have a way to post it online. If someone wants to, let me know and I'll send it.)
I realize that most people won't bother to read this, but I recommend you do, and I want a record sitting around so I can wave the "I told you so" finger should it come up. Note that I'm not trying to convince people of the rightness of the Judicial Council's arguments, only that they rejected the lawyer-assembled brief, i.e. the lawyers weren't necessary.
A. The Judicial Council's Violation of Its Own Rules of Procedure Violated Mr. Vakil's Due Process Rights
1) Insufficient Evidence (The Daily Cal article used as evidence was insufficient)
It was uncontested at this hearing that Suken Vakil made this statement about the lifetime of chalk. Although the appellants claim that the DailyCal article and the witness testimony from the hearing Ratto v. Vakil do not accurately reflect Vakil's statement from the ASUC v. SAES hearing, no evidence to the contrary is presented and so the Council must rely on the factual conclusion from Ratto v. Vakil.2) Violation of Procedural Due Process (A transcript was not kept, as required by the JRPs)
Therefore, the Judicial Council finds that it did not violate the JRP by not creating official transcripts of hearings and that no due process rights were violated while establishing Vakil's statement without such a transcript.B. The Judicial Council Violated Mr. Vakil's Right Not to Be Compelled to be a Witness Against Himself (The Judicial Council did not suppress Vakil's affidavit until after the hearing)
Therefore, the Council must agree that no rights were violated by the initial failure to suppress Vakil's affidavit.C. Mr. Vakil's Alleged Violation is Not One Imputable to the Four Executives (because the case was brought against Suken Vakil, not the executives)
Therefore, as a result of Title IV Article 13 Section 8 and JRP 22.214.171.124, and due to the fact that the appellants were aware of their involvement in the charges prior to the hearing, the Judicial Council has determined that the four SAES candidates are liable for a violation of the rules for truthfulness, committed by their designated representative, as outlined in the Judicial Rules of Procedure.D. The Remedy Provided By the Judicial Council Is Not the One Charged (because he didn't seek contempt charges, and Vakil couldn't defend himself)
After the facts regarding the alleged perjury were established, the Judicial Council decided to issue the contempt of Council ruling and disregard the additional campaign violation charges that had become moot. Therefore, Mr. Vakil's right to defend himself against known charges was not violated.E. Mr. Vakil Was an Advocate, not a Witness (and thus couldn't have perjured himself. Also, he was found in contempt as a witness, but punished as a litigant)
As a result, we believe that we acted appropriately in following through with the remedies listed within the Judicial Rules of Procedure for a participant in a hearing who is declared in contempt of Council.II. The Judicial Council Had No Power to Disqualify the Four Executive Candidates
A. Disqualification As a Remedy Violates the Command that All Election Remedies Be Clearly Delineated in the ASUC By-Laws (because contempt isn't in the list of campaign violations)
And, in this case, the Judicial Rules of Procedure and ASUC By-Laws do not conflict.
B. The Judicial Council Has No Power to Overrule Its Final and Unappealable Decision Via a Collateral Attack in a Later Case
This is the point upon which they won, but it is important to note that the consitutional double jeopardy aspect is not raised in the brief, ('commonly accepted legal principles' is the justification used for this section) and the Judicial Council had to draw the connection after it was raised in oral arguments (i.e. not by Oren's lawyers, but by Oren and Vishal themselves).
C. Due to Their Delay In Certifying the Election After the Start of the Executives' Terms, the Executives Are Already Properly In Office
The matter of Ratto v. Vakil has not yet been resolved, the Student Action executive candidates have not yet been properly elected, and the incoming executive seats remain unconfirmed until certification occurs.D. The Judicial Council's Role in Certifying Elections Is Entirely Perfunctory
As it is a responsibility mandated by such a law, it is our responsibility to fulfill it, and the role of the Council is then not perfunctory – that is, it is not a cursory function, but one important to the elections process as outlined by ASUC law.E. The Judicial Council Did Not Have Quorum to Hear Ratto v. Vakil (because Carmel Levitan couldn't rule on it, and resignations were improper)
Therefore, Justice Levitan only had to be present for the hearing of Ratto v. Vakil to participate in its judgment, and the Judicial Council did meet the quorum requirement of four out of seven members.F. The Judicial Council Has No Power to Disqualify the Student Action Executives Because They Were Not Named Parties in Ratto v. Vakil
The argument about the Student Action Executive Slate not being party to the charges is revisited in Appellant Brief Subsection II.F. The earlier parts of this decision address this due process complaint in its entirety.III. Mr. Ratto Acted in Bad Faith
Therefore, the Council finds that Ratto did not file charges in bad faith.IV. The Decision Provides the Wrong Remedy
A. The Remedy is Inequitable
While we have determined that issuing a default judgment in Ratto v. Vakil was erroneous, had this case been an appeal, the Judicial Council already established in Ratto v. Vakil the severity of the offense for warranting such a punishment, and no evidence has been proffered in this appeal hearing to convince the Council that such a conclusion would have been inequitable or even that another legal alternative would have been available.B. The Decision Violates the Standard for a Default Judgment
1) Fair Hearing (The Judicial Council only speculated that Vakil's lies made the hearing unfair, as required by a certain default judgment definition)
The fact that the defendant potentially influenced the decision by misleading the Council shows that it affected the trial's fairness for the plaintiff.2) Consideration of Less Harsh Remedies (required by the same definition)
Even if the Judicial Council was bound to consider all other judicial remedies, it is discussed above that the appellants did not provide any legal alternatives for the Council to consider, and the content of the Council's closed deliberations is privy information.If you read this far, congratulations!
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