Appeals court defuses showdown between federal and state judges

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  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 4, 2011 12:41 a.m.

    The governance of trusts is a matter of state law.

  • slr38 Fruit Heights, UT
    April 18, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    Judges are supposed to be dispassionate, but they not always are. Ultimately, I think Judge Lindberg's sua sponte decision to order a third-party to disregard the valid and subsisting order of federal court simply because she didn't like it was an emotional/prideful decision made with flagrant knowledge of its unlawfulness -- one that will ultimately, and perhaps appropriately, be called "contempt of court." Perhaps her knowledge of the law is even an aggravating factor in any sanctions imposed. I'm afraid this will, at best, tarnish Judge Lindberg's career, but it will be up to Tenth Circuit, Benson, and ultimately the Bar to reach (or not reach) those conclusions. I do not have all the evidence; but, to quote the wisdom of old: you live the sword, you die by the sword.

  • earl the pearl West Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    Dixie Independent- The federal courts are well within their power to take jurisdiction over this matter. They ruled that the state taking property violated the constitution. Once it is ruled that the taking was unjust based upon the constitution, the federal courts jurisdiction kicks in. At the point State Courts have an obligation to step out of the way. Lindberg ignored a court order and should go to jail, and be disbarred.

  • Dixie Independent St George, UT
    April 16, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    Judges are appointed with the supposition that they possess superior knowledge and ability to handle difficult situations. The most famous ruling by a judge was Solomon who decreed that the two mothers claiming the same baby should split the baby. That showed an uncanny ability to deal with the difficult people and the problem.

    Judge Benson, instead of rendering a patient and thoughtful decision chose instead to be the bully and show that he had greater power.

    Thankfully the 10th Circuit stepped in and slapped Benson's hands. They should take the next step and remove him from this case as he has shown intemperance.

    Judge Benson, on the other hand, should be a man, own up to his impertinent behavior and recuse himself from this case. He then should apologize to the public and to the Judiciary whom he has shamed by his bad behavior.

    Judge Benson doesn't show the mettle necessary for a person of his position.

    Too bad Benson didn't go through with his threats and have the state judge arrested at the funeral. It would have made the 10 o'clock news very interesting.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    April 16, 2011 4:05 p.m.

    Judge Benson:

    As we have learned by sad experience, as soon a some men get a little authority as the suppose, they immediately bein to exercise unrighteous dominion . . .

  • Dixie Independent St George, UT
    April 16, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    slr38--Did you ever hear of the 10th amendment? It's in the Constitution: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    Perhaps you can quote the part of the Constitution that involves church trusts. Otherwise the Feds should mind their own business, although they seldom do. Too many, like Benson assume powers not granted to them.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 16, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    So, the State Judge thinks that the 1st Amendment is obsolete? What does "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" mean? Is the State Judge unable to read and comprehend the Supreme Law of the Land?

    No Judge has the right to legislate; so, if Congress has no right to make a law respecting an establishment of religion, then no law exists respecting an establishment of religion. If no law exists, then no judge can rule on a non-existent law.

    Judge Benson is correct. He is upholding the Constitution.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    April 16, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    at slr38:

    "It is a basic rule of US jurisprudence that state judges are subordinate to federal judges. Judge Lindberg is in contempt. This is basic stuff."

    I think you paint with too broad a brush here. If the state has violated the First Amendment rights of the FLDS membership, I agree that Federal law will likely take precedence. But without knowing more of the facts than have been reported in the newspaper, I don't think it's a slam dunk to say Judge Lindberg is in contempt.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    April 16, 2011 4:07 a.m.

    What it looks like is that the state judge Lindberg must be caught with her hands in the cookie jar along with the state department of confiscation and rights violators. The judge for the last 6 years has been defrauding the FLDS church and pilfering the trust rather than helping those who this trust belongs to.

    Those that have come to depend on her guidance has been the state and herself who are each earning profit as trust account administrators who get a handsome profit as self imposed trustees.

    Judge Benson's intervention and decision for the state to immediately release all the confiscated property and funds back to this church has created an enormous financial strain on the graft and theft this Utah team has been benefiting from. With millions of dollars at stake who can blame the state for fighting off a federal judges decision that the state has been wrong for the last 6 years. The State by this decision has been called thieves and may also be accountable for the money they stole from the trust is another good reason to fight it. A comedy of political and judicial graft over an enormous trust.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    April 15, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    Since there is some question as to who actually is in charge of the FLDS, they need to be careful how this is handled or we will have a bigger mess than we got.If justice and fair play is our desired result, the judges need to get together face to face and explore the issue between themselves and come to a unified postion and how best to proceed instead of firing salvos and accusations from afar.They need to swallow their pride and do their duty which is to to do Justice to those invoived and render a decesion based on the facts of the case and the rule of law and stop making rulings and accusations against each other and get to the work at hand.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    April 15, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Looks like Lindberg's troubles are just beginning. Ultimately, this ruling will only give Benson the legal leverage he needs to turn Lindberg into a judge with no judicial future. My educated guess is that with Benson's findings, Lindberg's future as a judge will be questionable. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come...

  • slr38 Fruit Heights, UT
    April 15, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    It is a basic rule of US jurisprudence that state judges are subordinate to federal judges. Judge Lindberg is in contempt. This is basic stuff.

  • The Judge Kaysville, UT
    April 15, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    Unbelievable. One more example of a federal judiciary run amok. Be interesting to say what the 10th Circuit has to say. And Vanka, if you have any faith left in the federal judiciary, you haven't been paying much attention to things for the last 20 years.

  • boatersteve Fruit Heights, Utah
    April 15, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    Maybe judge Lindberg should hold Judge Benson in contempt and send the sheriff down and arrest him. Someone once told me that when God wants to have real power he pretends to be a Federal Court judge--maybe there is more to that story than I thought.

  • Dixie Independent St George, UT
    April 15, 2011 2:38 p.m.

    Although Judge Lindberg's ruling may be out of line and could call into question her judgment, the arrogance of Judge Benson screams from the mountaintop!

    "Defendent Lindberg" shows that Benson has assumed an elevation that is untouchable. Methinks he is too haughty!

    Federal judge or King Dee?

  • Gruffi Gummi Lehi, UT
    April 15, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    "A more interesting question is do we as citizens want that much power concentrated in the Federal Government? "

    Maybe because the state government chooses to violate our fundamental rights?

  • Still Blue after all these years Kaysville, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    Chaos in government has already begun due to governmental overreach. Federal and state levels (Ohio and WI). Now it's beginning to hit the judiciary. Another example is the stupidity of the judge in Provo turning the sex molester free. More of this will continue.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    This would be comical if it weren't such a sad story about our judiciary.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:17 p.m.


    The simple answer: Yes.

    When we abandon our faith in and support of the Federal Judiciary, we are on a fast track to lawlessness and anarchy.

    This country is founded upon the rule of law. Without the Judiciary, we have no country.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    A more interesting question is do we as citizens want that much power concentrated in the Federal Government? This case clearly illustrates why arguments that the states have all authority not specifically delegated to the federal government are false. There is no question that states are subservient to the feds when the federal court judge can hold a state court judge in contempt for performing her official duties as a Utah District Court Judge. The federal judge could jail the governor, the legislature or anyone else found to be out of line with the federal judge's orders.

  • gonefishin67 Kaysville, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    I hope Judge Benson succeeds, maybe it would open up the door for others, like us mere mortals, to sue judges when they let say...a suspected child molester out of the state hospital without facing justice, or know so little that they can't decide if a shotgun is a hand gun and needs a jury trial to make up their mind. Not being a lawyer, this is the first case I've heard of where a judge might actually be held accountable for their actions instead of hiding behind their dresses -- I mean robes and their judicial immunity.

    If your going to write and tell me how important judicial immunity is, save it. If i need any more fertilizer in my life I will turn on cable new.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    Very interesting.

    I agree with Benson's ruling that favors religious liberty. And you will recall how the State court's incompetence almost allowed Brian David Mitchel to avoid prosecution for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart. So I don't have too much confidence in the state court system.

    But a federal court judge holding a state court judge in contempt seems a little too much. State Court decisions are not subject to review by federal district Courts and generally Federal Courts seem to hold off until the state court has completed its work. But as we learned from segregation, state actors are subject to federal judges decisions. Basically, the State Courts are there to help alleviate the federal judges' case loads. Honorable Judge Lindberg had better hire a good lawyer or she could go to jail or be forced to pay a fine.

  • gramma b Orem, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    IMO, if there is one judge on the state bench who is arrogant enough to defy an order of the federal court, issued on a matter over which the federal court has superior jurisdiction, such as a violation of the United States Constitution, it is Judge Lindberg. This makes me laugh. Judge Benson is not the one who is full of himself.

  • lib1 Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    I have a lot of respect for Judge Benson. He has always struck me as fair and impartial. Judge Lindberg is out of line here.

    From time to time I hear people say our judiciary is corrupt. But having lived in a country where the legal system really is corrupt, I personally am grateful we have people like Judge Benson, Judge Kimball, and Judge Waddoups on the bench here in Utah. Our system is not perfect, but it is by far better than the systems that the majority of the world lives under.

  • Justin.D. provo, ut
    April 15, 2011 12:13 p.m.

    Jasonlivy, you are 100% correct. It is difficult to have respect for a judge when they act like this, and I've witnessed it first hand over and over. I understand the need to have authority over the process but their attitudes towards everyone else is plain disgusting. I've only met one decent judge in my whole life and that is sad.

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    April 15, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Judge Benson is obviously put out because another judge, a state judge for that matter, does not agree with his ruling. Because of this, Judge Benson's pride has been hurt, pride which when given judge hood, inflates way beyond normal relevance. Apparently, to save face, he almost followed through with forcing the state judge home from a family funeral. I think that goes beyond what is prudent, don't you think?

    We have a pride issue in our court systems. Once they take on the robe, some (apparently Judge Benson) immediately elevate themselves to lofty heights of grandeur. What they don't realize is that they are as human as the rest of us.

    I would ask all parties involved to use 'wise' judgement in dealing with these and other serious issues and let your pride go. Don't let it obscure your responsibility in creating a more civilized society. We rely on you for judgements that effect our lives directly! These kind of acts don't give us much confidence in judges...