Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga says the petition for remonstrance in the general assembly — the first in generations — is sour grapes by a humiliated divorce case appellant in the court system, but that he is willing to act on any verified abuses by lawyers in the legislature.
By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7
“I read everything he put out,” he says of the 70-page analysis by CPA John Gentry of Goodlettsville, a former Marine. “The house, of course, will go first with this instead of the senate. I heard a long time ago from an attorney in town that, in a divorce case, if neither side is happy, it’s a pretty fair divorce case. If one side is happy and the other side is not happy, something’s wrong.”
The remonstrance amounts to a retrial of matters settled by the courts of appeal, says Sen. Gardenhire in an interview at NoogaRadio 92.7 FM.
“That is absolutely ridiculous,” Mr. Gentry says in an interview the next day. “Sen. Gardenhire is either deceived, incompetent — or he is a deceiver. As a member of the judiciary committee, he sits with Sen. John Stevens, and he knows that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of persons who have been grievously harmed by the state, and he doesn’t care.”
“Sen. Gardenhire falsely asserts that I am seeking a retrial of my state and federal cases, against judges and attorneys who’ve committed crimes. Those cases were never heard. They were dismissed fraudulently under false application of immunities that hold bad-actor judges and attorneys above the law. No person is above the law, and I refuse to accept that.”
Sen. Gardenhire deals sharply with Mr. Gentry’s accounting of the state of justice in Tennessee.
“If this man wants to come and have one of these hearings, it’s not going to be a one-sided deal where he gets up and presents his side. We’re going to have to hear everything. We’re going to have to hear his ex-wife, we’re going to have to bring all the evidence out in front of the public. If he wants us to try this over — because that’s basically what he wants us to do — then, OK. There’s depositions that have to be done, there’s discovery and everything else.”
Separation of powers violations seen
The remonstrance says bar members and judges have a chokehold on the government. “The bar and the Judiciary lobby congress in violation of separation of powers doctrine and infringe upon a right reserved to the people,” it says. “The statutes lobbied by the bar and judiciary are then enacted through non-quorum consensus of bar members that should disqualify due to conflict of interest but never do. To compound injury, attorneys and judges are the ones who draft and edit the final language of our statutes, to suit corrupted purpose.”
“I don’t care about the cases” thrown from court, Mr. Gentry says. “I care about not having judges who are in evidence of having committed crimes.” People should not be subjected to having cases heard by judges who have committed crimes, he says.
“I want them off the bench. Who wouldn’t want that?”
Mr. Gentry wants reforms so that people are advised of their rights to avoid “the same mock trials that I went through *** This garbage [from Sen. Gardenhire] is *** a regurgitation of lies by the judiciary and the bar. Will you consider the remonstrances I am seeking? Which is the safeguarding of due process and the safeguarding of justice for all Tennesseans.”
Says Sen. Gardenhire holds firm: “He’s got a decent idea. I know he’s researched it, and I can tell he’s very upset, but there’s a process. This is not a one-sided hearing where he can just get up and bitch and moan about what happened to him. *** He is asking us to pass judgment in the way he was treated in the court.”
‘Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers’
“We’ll look at those problems. He’s correct. Right now the court system is made up of lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, lawyers and lawyers. Is it fair? I don’t know.” Mr. Gentry’s problem is not lawyers in courts, but lawyers in the general assembly and their fruit.”
Mr. Gardenhire, retired from the financial services field, says he is “very quick to point out any kind of conflict somebody might have. That’s the people’s opinion. If they want to elect a lawyer, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine.”
Rare challenge to state
Mr. Gentry’s is the second petition for remonstrance since the time of the state’s third governor, William Carroll, in the 1850s.
“This is the first time I think this has ever come up in the legislature,” Sen. Gardenhire says. “And if he wants to come before us and just complain about he has been treated, we are going on with issues before we can pass judgment one way or another, and not just hear one side of the story.”
Sen. Gardenhire backtracks slightly. “If he is coming before us because of his experience that he had, it behooves us to know how he came about that experience and everything about it. **** I have no problems in correcting any abuse or favors that attorneys have. I’ve got no problems doing that at all, if they’ve acted inappropriate — and I know some that have — I usually call their hand on it.”
Sen. Gardenhire evinces “a continued desire to preserve the corrupted courts that destroy the lives of Tennesseans. And this isn’t just Tennessee. This is happening all across the country.”
Courts’ sole purpose in 2019 Tennessee is “to enrich the legal professionals” where cases dragged out as long as possible and forcing people to submit to tyranny of the state — unnecessary drug tests and mental evaluations, the seizure of poor families’ children to get Title 4 money from the federal government, judicial witness tampering, subpoena evasion, deprivation of due process, extortion proceedings with attorneys under color of law, use of force or threat under color of law (some of these crimes under federal law).
Are legislators forbidden from voting on matters in which they have financial or personal interest? No, Sen. Gardenhire says. Rule 13 says a legislator must declare an interest before any vote, but he can vote on a matter in which he has an interest.