Protecting Their Own: Courts simply ignore their own order to turn over damaging tapes
This article is part of our Pro Se Litigant series, case: Torres v. Torres – Courts Above the Law?
On December 27, 2011, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Robert C. Rufo ordered that the transcripts of three hearings, and the tapes from which the transcripts were made, be delivered to the Plaintiffs.
“Motion (P#33) ALLOWED as to court cassette recording and transcripts for motion hearings on July 26, July 30, and Nov 17, 2011 (Robert C. Rufo, Justice)”
While the transcripts were delivered, the tapes were not. As the Appeal of the Plaintiffs included charges of bias, they argued that the written words could not fully represent the contemptuous and condescending demeanor Judge Christopher J. Muse displayed against the Plaintiffs, who represented themselves Pro Se. Judge Christopher J. Muse has had well publicized complaints posted against him regarding his bias, arrogance and ignorance of the law. While the Plaintiffs’ Complaint is riddled with statements made by Judge Christopher J. Muse that clearly demonstrated bias, the written word, no matter how strong, cannot reflect Judge Muse’s demeanor in the same way the tapes would have. No matter how biased the following statement was, the Plaintiffs argument is simple, “You should have heard him”:
“My family life is irrelevant. My judge and law life is very important. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never heard of an addendum to a will that’s a contract. I’ve never heard of it.”
The simple fact that the Massachusetts Court of Appeals overturned his decision seems to demonstrate that Judge Muse was not familiar with “Contract Wills” as defined in the “Legal Dictionary”, nor the numerous cases upholding them around the country. The Plaintiffs went on to argue in their appeal that if Judge Muse considered his family irrelevant and his law life very important, how can any reasonable person not see how Pro Se litigants rated in comparison to “real” attorneys.
Coming soon: The Courts Simply Ignore their own Order for tapes, Part II. This article will cover an analysis of the correspondence between the stenographers and Courts that led up to the Appellants finally giving up their many attempts to get the tapes as ordered. It’s not smart to anger the Appeals Court. Instead, the Appellants made a plea for fairness in their Appellant Brief:
“Of Judicial Notice: January 9, 2012 the Plaintiffs’ motions were granted by the Honorable Robert C. Rufo to a) accept our affidavit of indigency, and b) “Motion (P#33) ALLOWED as to court cassette recording and transcripts for motion hearings on July 26, July 30, and Nov 17, 2011” [App. A70]. We have repeatedly requested copies of the tapes of the hearings as they would clearly express the demeanor of the Judge presiding in a way that reflects the bias demonstrated, far beyond that which can be expressed in written words. We received copies of the Transcripts of the Hearings but did not receive the tapes as ordered, and the order accompanied all of our requests for the tapes. We know the tapes exist, as we did receive a copy of the “audio assessment forms” from the stenographer who transcribed the tapes, Cindy J. Crowley, of the August 30, 2011 Hearing [Trans B] and the November 17, 2011 Hearing [Trans C]. As this can adversely affect the Appellants’ Appeal, we have provided a sworn affidavit specific to this matter, with copies of our requests for the tapes/recordings and the responses we received in our “Appellants’ Affidavit Concerning the Requests for Trial Court Hearing Tapes”.
Stay tuned for the shocking story on how this vital part of their case was kept from the Appellants.