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On killing dogs

 

I’m still waiting to see if the County Commissioners will write into law that Ravalli County will enable a Justice of the Peace to execute any dog he pleases. The first county in Montana to try it.

The last I heard of the process was in the local media, including the Bitterroot Star on February 20, 2013, ‘Justices respond to proposed county vicious dog ordinance.’

Justice Bailey, after personally noting the existing ordinance, did remove the authority for a judge to have a dog euthanized and urged the commissioners to put that authority back into the ordinance.”

I was unable to find that authority in any ordinance ever drafted in Ravalli County. The Commissioners agreed that no such authority has ever been enacted.

And yet, in October 2010, Justice Bailey assumed he had the authority under the law to imprison a dog, severely injured during capture, for a year in solitary confinement while delaying litigation to free her from his Death Sentence.

The charge? “Dog At Large” (ref: Montana Twenty-First Judicial District, Ravalli County, cause DC 2011-60/14)

He was overturned on appeal as was reported in the Bitterroot Star on November 15, 2011. http://www.bitterrootstar.com/2011/11/15/dog-survives-stint-on-death-row/

It seems like a local journalist or perhaps the Montana Attorney General should ask this question of Justice Bailey: “How did you know that Justice Court authority to euthanize a dog was removed from an ordinance and when did you know it? When did you first know that you had no authority to order a dog euthanized?”

The answers will lead to questions of judicial ethics galore as this case merits from start to finish.

Such as from:

Montana Canons of Judicial Ethics

“#20. Influence of Decisions Upon the Development of the Law – A judge should be mindful that his duty is the application of general law to particular instances, that ours is a government of law and not of men and that he violates his duty as a minister of justice under such a system if he seeks to do what he may personally consider substantial justice in a particular case and disregards the general law as he knows it to be binding on him. Such action may become a precedent unsettling accepted principles and may have detriment at a sequences beyond the immediate controversy. He should administer his office with a due regard to the integrity of the system of the law it self, remembering that he is not a depositary of arbitrary power, but a judge under the sanction of law.”

And many other questionable ethics in this matter.

Like:

“#21. Idiosyncrasies and Inconsistencies – Justice should not be molded by the individual idiosyncrasies of those who administer it. A judge should adopt the usual and expected method of doing justice, and not seek to be extreme or peculiar in his judgments, or spectacular or sensational in the conduct of the court. Though vested with discretion in the imposition of mild or severe sentences he should not compel persons brought before him to submit to some humiliating act or discipline of his own devising, without authority of law, because he thinks it will have a beneficial corrective influence.

“In imposing sentence he should endeavor to conform to a reasonable standard of punishment and should not seek popularity or publicity either by exceptional severity or undue leniency.”

Not to mention that a quick check by Justice Bailey with his court administrator, Jennifer Ray, who has publicly told the commission that “justices are not allowed to order that a vicious dog be euthanized under the current law…”

She knew!

That would have settled my case, saved me $10,000 and a lot of grief, long ago.

Laws and justice in Ravalli County are not to be trusted.

“Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.”

Paul Printz

Hamilton

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