Janet C. Phelan
Judicial reform mover and shaker Bill Windsor was declared a “vexatious litigant” last week by a federal judge who is named as a defendant in a case where Windsor is a plaintiff.
Windsor, who is something of an “urban legend” in the legal reform community, was knocked out of the court in a hearing on July 15 in the United States District Court for Northern District of Georgia. According to the order issued by Judge Thomas Thrash, Windsor may not file suit in any court within the U.S. without federal judicial permission and must first put up a $50,000 bond if he names judges or other federal employees as defendants.
Windsor has stated that he can no longer afford a bond and is thus effectively being denied access to the courts.
Windsor’s saga begins with a single lawsuit filed against him six years ago, Maid of the Mist v. Alcatraz and William M. Windsor. Concerned that a failure of justice had taken place, he then began to research the mechanisms by which he could hold the judges accountable for their decisions. Along the way, he has filed actions against judges in Fulton County Superior Court, only to find the cases repeatedly remanded to federal court. Windsor has not been shy about voicing his concerns that federal judges are steeped in a culture of corruption.
He has also appealed three times to the U.S. Supreme court, filing writs of mandamus asking the justices to tell federal judges that they must honor the Constitution. These have been denied.
Windsor has stated that the RICO case in which he was declared vexatious belongs in state court and that the complaint only refers to violations of state laws. He is concerned that his suits keep being remanded to federal court in defiance of the law and to facilitate their being dismissed.
Windsor has also attempted to exercise his remedy through the Fulton County Grand Jury and was blocked from this recourse. He has argued that the Grand Jury is posited with the rights of both presentment and of indictment and that the Grand Jury is ignoring their inherent duty to pursue the former, which would necessitate their review of his matter.
At the July 15 hearing, Judge Thrash only had affidavits filed by Bill Windsor in evidence and made his ruling in the absence of evidence from the other side. According to Jeff Goolsby, who was in the courtroom during the hearing, Judge Thrash had his decision written out prior to hearing oral arguments and apparently had made his decision prior to hearing the matter.
The use of the vexatious litigant determination has been applied quite liberally of late. Casey and Marilyn Peters were deemed vexatious on the weight of filing only one suit in Los Angeles Superior court, a decision which impacted their ability to recoup monies allegedly stolen from them through decisions by Judge Aviva K. Bobb in probate court. They have also alleged misconduct by Bobb as pivotal in causing the death of Casey’s mother, Lee Peters, who was a conservatee. The law explicitly does not allow an individual to be termed “vexatious” for filing one suit.
Windsor remains resolute. “I will continue fighting this,” he states. Windsor has since restarted his Sunday internet television program, which airs on shovio. His website, www.lawlessamerica.com, contains information about his pursuit of justice and also features other articles on the legal system.
Windsor responded to being termed a vexatious litigant by sending letters to court employees inviting them to come forward concerning corruption in the court. On July 22, Judge Thrash then issued another order, stating that all Windsor’s letters to court employees are instead to be delivered to the clerk of the court, who will make a determination as how to proceed with the letters. This order raises first amendment issues, as it appears that Windsor may now be experiencing a violation of his right to free speech.
James Hatten, who is clerk of the court in the Northern District Court of Georgia, declined to respond to press inquiries. Hatten is named as a defendant in the RICO suit.
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Oui Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet specializes in issues pertaining to legal corruption and addresses the heated subject of adult conservatorship, revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants. She also covers issues relating to international bioweapons treaties. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides abroad. You may browse through her articles (and poetry) at janetphelan.com