Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Heard it before: Battani boots another Fieger bias claim against MSC

Geoff Fieger's federal-court crusade -- that he can't get a fair shake in front of the Michigan Supreme Court because Chief Justice Clifford Taylor, and Justices Maura Corrigan, Robert Young and Stephen Markman are biased against him and won't step aside when his cases come up -- received another setback last Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Marianne O. Battani ruled that Fieger's allegations in Fieger v. Taylor, et al., sounded suspiciously, no, make that exactly, like the ones advanced (and rejected) in Fieger v. Ferry, et al., and dismissed the suit after a hornbook application of res judicata principles.

From Battani's opinion: "Plaintiff's complaint in Ferry was wide-ranging. It stated, in relevant part, that Plaintiff had the constitutional right 'to have his cases ... decided by a fair, independent and impartial tribunal, following a fair hearing, as guaranteed by the Due Process Clause ... [and] the Defendants ... have deprived, and continue to deprive, the Plaintiff Fieger's civil rights by the expression of public, personal, political, and professional animus.' ...

"The current complaint states that '[h]aving publicly expressed their personal and professional animus toward Mr. Fieger while continuing to sit in judgment of his cases, Defendants ... are denying to Mr. Fieger ... a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal' and are thus violating Plaintiff's due process rights. ... The access to courts claim states that '[b]y failing to provide [Plaintiff] a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal, Defendants ... are depriving [Plaintiff] adequate, effective, and meaningful access to the courts.' ... The issues presented for litigation - the alleged ongoing constitutional violations caused by the absence of a fair hearing for recusal - are identical in both cases ...."

Although Fieger hasn't had much luck with his claims that Taylor, et al., shouldn't review his cases, the topic of formulating recusal standards for the MSC has been getting some legislative attention because it's fairly clear that this is a project the court won't take up on its own.

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