Should Voters Remove "Activist" Judges?

For Publication 638 Words
One-time North American Serial Rights
Copyright 1998 Alan Korwin and Ken Rineer
Oct. 26, 1998

Contact: Alan Korwin BLOOMFIELD PRESS
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by Alan Korwin and Ken Rineer

Two Arizona judges are under the gun in the upcoming election: Cindy Jorgenson of the Pima County Superior Court, and John Pelander, Presiding Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The judges are being characterized as "activists," for handing down rulings that ignore existing law and violate Arizona's Constitution, in a misguided personal effort to enact gun controls that have not been passed by the legislature.

It began on Oct. 24, 1996, when Ken Rineer, a rights activist, was arrested by Tucson Police in a carefully arranged event at Himmel Park. The charge, possession of a legally owned firearm, violated a city ordinance. But the city ordinance itself violated state law and the Arizona Constitution. Rineer sought to have the illegal "law" nullified.

Sure enough, trial court dismissed the charges. It said the ordinance violated the clear state preemption statute, and was unconstitutional as well. Tucson vowed to enforce it anyway.

Tucson appealed to Pima County Superior Court, where a sympathetic Judge Jorgenson, violating the plain language of state law, and ignoring the state Constitution and years of historical record, reversed the city magistrate's ruling. Jorgenson says Tucson's ordinance is neither unconstitutional nor preempted by state law. You decide.

This judge says the city can ban firearms where it decides it wants to. Our Constitution says, "The right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired..."

State law says, "Ordinances of any political subdivision of this state relating to the transportation, possession, carrying, sale and use of firearms in this state shall not be in conflict with this chapter." State law does not prohibit you from carrying in parks. Tucson made this up on its own. Jorgenson improperly backed this up by inventing law that doesn't exist.

This is exactly what's meant by legislating from the bench. Jorgenson's actions disqualify her from a place on the bench. Activist judges who take it upon themselves to rewrite our laws deserve only contempt for defiling the rule of law.

Rineer appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals, where Judge Pelander, acting on his personal notions of 'a good thing,' instead of the words of our laws, said, "It requires no leap of logic to deduce that keeping dangerous weapons out of a public park directly reduces the possibility of armed conflict as well as accidents therein and substantially advances the safety of all who go there."

It's certainly not clear how disarming honest people makes you safer. This is his opinion, not our law. Tucson has no power to set such policy and enact such law. The activist judge is simply legislating from the bench. By rewriting the laws our legislators have passed, he has earned his place in the unemployment line.

Parks--which you know can be dangerous--are now, by judicial edict, "Defenseless Victim Zones," created by an illegal city ordinance, backed up by judge-legislators. Judges with their own agendas, who change our laws, must be removed.

Never forget that it's already completely illegal for crooks to go armed anywhere, or to use a gun for any criminal purpose. A criminal with a gun is subject to immediate arrest.

Pelander had the arrogance (or ignorance) to say that Rineer can preserve his right to self-defense, "by simply walking around the park with his firearm, instead of through it."

We should not have judges rendering decisions based on political or philosophical beliefs instead of the law. If they are so willing to set aside a person's right to self defense, guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution, what will they set aside next?

The judges-panel-for-reviewing-judges recommends keeping 29 and dropping none from the current lineup on election day. It appears they made at least two mistakes. Judges Jorgenson and Pelander have earned removal.


Alan Korwin is the author of The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide (19th edition)

Ken Rineer is a test case for whether your laws still mean what they say.

Contact: Alan Korwin

Fight for freedom. Buy a book. (At least look.) 

4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
602-996-4020 Phone 602-494-0679 FAX
1-800-707-4020 Book orders
Order Online

Alan Korwin is the author of
"Gun Laws of America--Every Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain English Summaries,"
and state gun guides for AZ, CA, FL, TX, VA.

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If you knew all your rights you might demand them.
Steve Maniscalco

When you disarm your subjects you offend them by showing that either from cowardliness or lack of faith, you distrust them; and either conclusion will induce them to hate you.
Niccolo Machiavelli "The Prince"

Only the rulers should be armed.
U.N. agenda

The Committee to Arrest Criminals and Leave Decent People Alone.

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