"There are only about 850 federal judges, but it is clear that they occupy an expanding role in today's society," Adrian G. Duplantier v. United States, 606 F.2d 654.
Gerald Bard Tjoflat is a Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is the court citizens in the states of Florida, Alabama and Georgia must look to for justice at the appellate level--whether or not they can afford to be represented by an attorney.
"Courts promote the rule of law by earning the respect of the people as the fair and dispassionate arbiters of society's disputes, both large and small. A court system cannot operate effectively without the respect of the people." United States v. Gunby, 112 F.3d 1493 (11th Circuit, 1997)
The opinion in United States v. Gunby was written by Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat. Judge Tjoflat has created a lack of respect for the Federal Judiciary in the Eleventh Circuit, by engaging in conduct that is clearly prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts. He did this by electing to ignore unquestionable evidence brought to his attention--the Felony of Tampering with Court Files (18 U.S.C. § 2071).
"If the people do not respect the judiciary, the people will disobey its edicts and flout its commands. The people will result to self-help." Gunby at 1502.
In the Clerk's office of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals a framed sign has been taken down from the wall and lays discarded on the corner of a desk. Evidence that at one time the integrity of the court files in the Eleventh Circuit was of great concern to someone:
"Federal Law Prohibits The Removal, Mutilation Or Obliteration Of any File In the Clerk's Office. 18 U.S.C. § 2071."
Judge Tjoflat wrote the opinion published in Gunby in May of 1997. Yet, in September of the same year, he denied a simple motion directed to him as the "Chief Judge [at that time] of the Eleventh Circuit"--asking him to issue an order requiring the Clerk in his own court to:
It would appear from his September denial of the motion in 96-5402--that Judge Tjoflat clearly does not believe that Federal Court Personnel should be held to the same standard as the State Court employees. In Gunby it was a Georgia State Court Magistrate who Judge Tjoflat "threw the book at"--even going so far as to affirm an upward departure of Sentencing Guidelines because the state court actor's actions had, in Judge Tjoflat's opinion: "caused significant disruption of governmental function."
Perhaps, in Gunby, Judge Tjoflat said it best, i.e., "Court personnel who cause people to question the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary . . . undermine the rule of law and disrupt the functioning of the courts."
It is incomprehensible that Judge Tjoflat would believe that the Appellate Court under his control can function--and not be disrupted--when unethical attorneys--and those who are assisting them--continue to freely remove documents from the court's files and alter the Master Docket record itself, in case number 96-5402 and other related cases: acts that are clearly felonious, federal crimes, under Title 18 U.S.C. § 2071.
Judge Tjoflat intentionally failed to control the Clerk of Court who works for him and who is refusing to demand that the Clerk of the Eleventh Circuit ensure the integrity of court files in his control.
The use of judicial authority to condone criminal activity of this type constitutes "conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts."
First, as the overwhelming evidence filed in case number 96-5402 demonstrates, the Master Docket for that case was altered to cover-up the fact that attorneys representing the County Government Defendants had failed to timely file their briefs.
Second, names of attorneys who had filed appearances on behalf of the County Government Defendants had been made unreadable to disguise the fact that initial papers had been filed not only too late--but by attorneys who were not admitted to practice in the Eleventh Circuit on the date of those filings.
Third, the Clerk's office and Judge Tjoflat consistently refused to mark the Court File that ORAL ARGUMENT IS REQUESTED in that Appeal. Judge Tjoflat is aware that without Oral Argument, the briefs of the appellants, especially because they are written by pro se litigants--are likely not to be considered at all.
As Judge Myron H. Bright wrote in the A.B.A. Journal, March of 1991, based on both a survey and his 22 years of experience as a federal judge: "while oral argument may not be important in every case, it can play a significant role in many cases."
The behavior of Judge Tjoflat in this affair consists of the following federal crimes:
(a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.
18 U.S.C. § 3. Accessory after the fact
Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.
18 U.S.C. § 4. Misprision of felony
Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
See also Levy v. Parker, 478 F.2d 772, 805, misprision of felony requires positive act of concealment. The positive act of concealment in this situation is Judge Tjoflat's own order.
Altering or fabricating documents used of to be used in a judicial proceeding would fall within the obstruction of justice statute if the intent is to deceive the court. United States v. Craft, 105 F.2d 772, 805 (6th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted) (discussion of 18 U.S.C. § 1503).
There has been much made of "public confidence in the judiciary." Following Watergate, Congress believed it sufficiently important to ensure public confidence in the judiciary to cause them to enact Title 28 U.S.C. Section 372, which enables anyone to file a 372 (c)(1) Complaint:
"The Act's goals of maintaining public confidence in the judiciary and promoting effective administration of justice require that investigations into alleged judicial misconduct be concluded as expeditiously as possible . . . and . . . gave effect to the need for speed by directing that each investigating committee file its report "expeditiously." Certain Complaints Under Investigation by an Investigating Committee of the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit v. Mercer, 783 F.2d 1488.
Federal judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat has brought discredit upon the entire Eleventh Circuit in particular and the federal judiciary in general.