Mr. Patin and Mr. Kolwe, you have been proven ineffective, weak leaders. Judging by the 87% defeat at the polls, you have lost the public confidence and the public trust. Any concocted Plan B by the Kolwe and Patin team will be summarily rejected by the distrusting public. Gentlemen, you need to voluntarily terminate your services or have your services terminated by the board.
I was just enjoying the routine of my morning, when I read the Judge’s remarks:
The Honorable Judge Lemelle stated proudly: “You do not want this 190 pound gorilla imposing into your school system to run it”. I looked further in the article for my School System leaders’ response. There was none. How could my school board leaders tolerate a Federal Judge threatening the citizenry they had vowed to serve? That remark was the final encouragement I needed to attend the school board meeting in November, 2010.
After the meeting, I was directed to pose my questions to Mr. Charles Patin, the attorney representing the school board in this most important matter. The question I posed to Mr. Patin was if either he or the school board had ordered the transcript of the most recent hearing. He answered that he had not but would if the school board requested same and they hadn’t.
Now, admittedly, I ‘m kind of a slow thinker, so let me see if I understand this correctly. As taxpayers, we are paying this attorney a very handsome fee to represent us. And he doesn’t believe that in a case where hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are at stake; and more importantly, if you consider generations of children, hundred’s of thousands of children’s successful educational endeavors are at risk, and no one thinks to order the transcript of every court hearing. The cost varies, but for the hearing in November the cost would have been approximately $180 to $300. Transcripts are very important to this case – they are your indisputable evidence for any appeal or request. I asked no more of Mr. Patin at that time – I think I may have been suffering from mental shock – some sort of personal disbelief that caused a “brain freeze”.
I’m trying to understand why highly educated individuals such as Mr. Patin and Mr. Kolwe who are costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, salary, expenses, benefits and perks per year would not have the transcript for every court hearing. No way am I as smart, legally savvy or as highly educated as Mr. Patin or Mr. Kolwe – so imagine my dilemma. So there I am, a poor old dumb fella’ like me left in absolute wonder. Wondering if Mr. Patin and Mr. Kolwe are simply going along to get along with the Judge? Are they in the Judge’s pocket or do they operate in so much fear that they’re afraid to truly represent us and not challenge the Judge, as if he were a God? Do they have an ulterior motive, personal goals or financial considerations for associates, family members? You know – if you follow the money – it usually answers a lot of questions.
Why is this particular court transcript so important?
The transcript, unlike the newspaper account, is the Official Record of the proceedings. I’m forced, like you, to rely on the Daily Stars’ reporting which I have no reason to doubt. If that reporting is accurate, the Judge made the following statements:
- “I’ll do it in a heartbeat. You do not want this 190 pound gorilla imposing into your school system to run it.”
- “When local authorities fail to act, the court can require officials to levy taxes. I will take drastic remedies if you don’t.”
- “Will I order busing to carry out Brown v. Board of Education? Yes I will, if there is no other reasonable alternative.”
And I’ll bet these are just a very few of the ill-tempered remarks made by this Judge in that hearing. Judge Lemelle, with his intemperate remarks, coupled with the lack of any semblance of leadership from the Kolwe & Patin team, were probably key contributing factors for the defeat of the proposals by such an overwhelming majority. You can speak to the 87% of the people who voted against the tax package and most will tell you that the Judge’s threatening, incendiary, intemperate remarks was one of the leading contributors to the failure of the ballot proposals. It is my firm belief that Judge Lemelle, Mr. Kolwe and Mr. Patin more than anyone else are responsible for the historically overwhelming defeat of the proposals.
Judge Lemelle’s remarks were intimidating, incendiary, threatening and intemperate.
Mr. Patin and Mr. Kolwe’s silence was deafening.
In fact, Judge Lemelle, fully aware of the presence of the press, used intimidation and threats in an attempt to affect the outcome of an election. By his knowledge of the presence of the press, Judge Lemelle wasn’t just speaking to the board members present in the chamber but to all of us. On the eve of the election, I spoke to two couples who had decided to vote FOR the proposals. The reason they gave was because they were afraid of what Judge Lemelle was going to do if it didn’t pass. They were afraid that his solution would be worse than the election proposals
It is highly probable that these statements alone (not knowing any other comments contained in the official transcript) violated the Judicial Canon, the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.
First and Foremost, those codes would be:
CANON 5 A. (1) which states: “A judge should not make speeches for a political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office”.
CANON 5 (C) reads: “Other Political Activity. A judge should not engage in any other political activity. This provision does not prevent a judge from engaging in activities in CANON 4.
For clarification, reference the Commentary under CANON 2 A. which explicitly states “Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code”. While CANON 5 (A) indicates a political candidate as described in CANON 5 A. (1), it is reasonable to presume that it applies to all elections including tax and bond issues.
CANON 2 A. which states:
“Respect for Law: A judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a matter that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. (Key words – “…promotes public confidence” and “impartiality”).
In the Commentary on CANON 2 .A, it is further explained that – “an appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the reasonable circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperance, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. (Key words- impartiality, temperance, fitness) A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen.”
CANON 3 C. (1) reads as follows:
“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances which :……( Key Words – “not limited to…”)
In the Commentary on Canon 3 A. (3) states: “The duty under CANON 2 to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary applies to all the judge’s activities, including the discharge of the judge’s adjudicative and administrative responsibilities. The duty to be respected includes the responsibility to avoid comment or behavior that could reasonably be interpreted as harassment, prejudice or bias. (Key Word – harassment)
My challenge to Judge Lemelle – show me the Supreme Court case that allows a Federal Judge to use threatening, intimidating, harassing, intemperate language in a shrewdly insidious attempt to influence the outcome of an election.
Produce one school district where the Federal Judiciary managed a school system and achieved educational excellence.
Produce one school system where busing elevated the educational levels of all children.
You can’t, Judge Lemelle.
And the Kansas City case that you cited produced lower scores and greater gaps in results for minorities. Lavish spending, forced busing and a rogue Federal Judge resulted in one of the most expensive failures in the history of public education. Kansas City results – that’s what you want for the minority kids in Tangipahoa?
Thought you wanted to improve the results. The end does not justify the means.
Your methods have never worked anywhere it has been tried – never. It has always caused abandonment of the Public system for the Private and an unwillingness to support the Public system until it crumbles. When supported by unwilling tax dollars and volunteer hours relocate to the private schools, what then?
What is the fate of those children whose parents can’t or won’t afford the private system?
You know that answer, Judge, utter ruin and hopeless lives.
The Federal Judiciary managing school systems produces abandonment rather than hope and a bleak educational future for those left behind. After twelve years of destroying children’s lives indiscriminately and the expenditure of billions of additional judicially forced tax dollars, the Supreme Court told Judge Clark to quit trying to solve social problems beyond his purview and return control to the local authorities.
Kansas City was a tremendous waste of children’s lives due to an overzealous, over-involved, ego-driven, biased Federal Judge – exactly like you. Then your Kansas City hero, Judge Clark, recused himself two years later and hastened in a cowardly retreat from the ruined system and ruined young lives that he had created with his god-like power.
My challenge to the school board is to seek a new attorney and Superintendent. Mr. Patin and Mr. Kolwe may certainly be fine, well-educated gentlemen, but they apparently are not up to the task at hand. They were leading us directly down the path of the failed Kansas City experiment. For an attorney, I would recommend a resume that includes both a former judicial career and one that handles only Appeals cases with an aptitude for and an able willingness to convincingly engage the Judge to reach a result that would encourage the willing support of the tax-paying public and improve the education of all children.
I would like to close by addressing Mrs. Lemelle’s son. Ivan.
Ivan, over the past few years except this one due to health, I have volunteered in the schools. I have read hundreds of books to thousands of kids as their classroom “Paw-Paw”. They were the colors of the rainbow and as I made the stories and characters come alive, my reward was to see every mouth with turned-up corners, wide pearly smiles or tooth-gapped grins. Some have grown and still come up to me in the stores and call me Paw-Paw. All of them are my kids, Ivan.
My bet is, Ivan, that you have never volunteered to consistently schedule time to read to any school kids – not even one class.
So, big fella’, you care about the kids? Then, heed Momma Lemelle’s words, put aside your ego, your status, and “….do the right thing.” If you have a truly ethical attitude and moral clarity, then surely you must know that it would be most proper to recuse yourself from this case. If you do not possess an ethical attitude and the moral clarity required to make the right decision, then I would encourage those elected to serve the children and the voting public of Tangipahoa to pursue your recusal.
Ivan, take your robed booted heel off my kids’ necks!!
In closing, I remain just a poor old stupid Cajun boy with an Irish license plate.
11190 Highway 22 West
Ponchatoula, LA. 70454