Libertarian Judge Swears in Libertarians

A libertarian elected in 2003 as a local town court judge was responsible for swearing in a pair of newly elected Libertarians this week.

From the Muncie Free Press...

It’s been said that “when dog bites man, that’s not news, but when man bites dog, that’s news!” While it doesn’t appear there was any biting going on, there was an unusual occurrence in Hagerstown on January 1st, when Susan Bell, judge of the Hagerstown Town Court, administered the oath of office to Conley Tillson and Steve Coffman.

“What makes this so very special is that this is the first time this has ever happened to my knowledge in the United States. Never before has a judge elected as a Libertarian given the oath of office to any newly elected officials elected as a Libertarian” said Mark Rutherford, State Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

“Despite the election law hurdles placed against the Libertarian Party by the Republicans and Democrats, the Libertarian Party has grown in Indiana to the point where an elected Libertarian judge is now giving the oath of office to two Libertarian elected officials today.”

Susan Bell was elected to the Town Court in 2003. Tillson was elected to the Clay Township Advisory Board, and Coffman was elected to the Liberty Township Advisory Board in last November’s election.

Both Tillson and Coffman expressed appreciation for the confidence voters have placed in them, and vowed to keep a watchful eye on the taxpayers money.

Township Board members are elected for four year terms, and have responsibilities in the township similar to those exercised by the County Council, dealing mostly with township budgets.

Rex Bell, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Wayne County, says all three wins were quite welcome. “We organized the local LP in 2002, and since that time we have ran some competitive races with some respectable vote totals in the 25-30% range, but a win definitely feels better.”

Bell also hopes the wins will instill confidence in the local voters. “We hear a lot of comments from people who like what Libertarians stand for, especially at the state and local level, but they fear voting for us amounts to wasting their vote. Putting a few in the `win column’ will go a long way in alleviating those fears.”

According to Bell, the LP is focusing its attention on the 2007 elections.

“Obviously, the town and city elections that will be held this year are more within reach of the LP and its limited resources. We can’t come close to spending as much as the two major parties, but in the smaller races we can do the ground work meet the voters. That is where we shine. That is what we can build on.”

18 Responses to “Libertarian Judge Swears in Libertarians”

  1. Mike N. Says:

    Excellent! The LP must build a local foundation before it attempts to run candidates at the Gubernatorial and National levels…

  2. Trent Hill Says:

    This is FANTASTIC news.

  3. Nigel Watt Says:

    That’s pretty cool.

  4. matt Says:

    That is cool! Muncie is a college town, if I’m not mistaken. My guess is the Ball State University Libertarians played a big role in this.

  5. George Whitfield Says:

    The Indiana Libertarian Party is building and focusing on local races, an approach that brings electoral success and synergy. Impressive.

  6. torah Says:

    Charges Against Phil Smart Dropped
    This really shouldn’t suprise anyone, but charges against Phil Smart, pictured below, were dropped this morning in Judge Gene Calvert’s court (I and six other observers were there). Smart, a 2004 Republican candidate for Pct. 1 county commissioner and recently, a Libertarian candidate for state Senate (District 22), was arrested late last year by Red Oak PD officer David Rogers for passing over a white line at a stop sign; though those weren’t the official charges listed on a warrant (possession of a controlled & dangerous drug were) that was signed by Municipal Judge Scott Kurth three days after Smart was arrested (says so on the warrant). I should scratch out “arrested” and put “detained,” to sound more lawyerly. Smart was detained for 20 days. He said he was told to go pay an $80 fine to the City of Red Oak, but the county wouldn’t let him out to go do it. Then he was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Curtis Polk, D-Waxahachie.

    Phil Smart released a statement to The Ellis County Observer after the hearing:

    “Today I appeared in Gene Calvert’s Court at Law No. 2 on two charges, one on possession of a dangerous drug, and another civil charge of possession of a controlled substance. Sometime ago I provided evidence that these were actually my own personal prescriptions. The charges were dismissed. I had already spent 20 days in county jail to was never charged with anything more than allegedly failing to stop at a designated point at a stop sign in Red Oak by David Rogers. Rogers correctly dated the 7th of the month [October 2006]. Since this was the weekend, [Municipal Judge] Scott Kurth did not see it [warrant until the following Monday morning which was three days later and swore to it.

    “I do believe by living here for as long as I have, there’s definitely no coincidence that every time I ran for office, I get arrested on some [phony] charge.”

    When asked if Smart will run for office in the future: “You can bet on it.”

    Smart, who refused a search of his vehicle and was then put in cuffs (and then once in cuffs, Smart said, Rogers searched his vehicle—is this not unconstitutional?), was asked by Rogers if the CPA from Palmer would fix his motorcycle. A conversation between Rogers and Smart went on for, Smart said, an estimated 45 minutes before Rogers put him under arrest. Smart also said Rogers failed to read him his Miranda rights (Strike 2). The good thing is, the charges for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a dangerous drug (Smart’s prescription drug pills were in a different bottle that was not marked) were dismissed. The bad thing is, Ellis County has a history—in 2004, Smart was arrested for allegedly waving a knife in the Waxahachie Wells Fargo—of harassing political candidates, or political activists altogether.

    How can you obtain a search and arrest warrant on someone three days after arresting him or her? Another thing worth noting is that the court sent him a notice to appear at the wrong address. Instead of 222 Americana, it was sent to 221. Had his mail carrier not recognized the mistake, Smart might not have gotten the notice to appear, and thus, a warrant would have probably been issued for his arrest, circulating the problem. (this is a theory floated by Smart and others) Still kinda fishy though. Then a guy I graduated high school with was sitting in the court room and asked me if he should get a lawyer for his criminal mischief charge. His name wasn’t James, even though the court paperwork listed him as that. I said, in my opinion, I would move to dismiss over that mistake alone, but a “public defender” lawyer said, “well the lawyers are allowed to make those mistakes.” Hahaha. (just for good measure, I gave him Dan Altman’s phone number) If city attorneys can pick apart a lawsuit for not having the word “resident” in it and get a case dismissed, never listen to someone say you can’t get a case dismissed on another mistake in paperwork.

    Then a woman who was sitting across from me, having already been out of jail, bonded, etc., was told to appear before Calvert this morning but Calvert and one of the prosecutors asked why she was there if she was already bonded; she said she had a notice to appear sent to her anyway.

    What in the world is going on here (the prosecutor later said she couldn’t speak for other departments sending out paperwork—typical bureaucracy).

  7. Timothy West Says:

    a real american hero, refusing to follow the illegal orders of the MIC.

  8. trannguyent Says:

    Wow. It’s really amazing what a group can do when they run for accessible offices. Of course, that idiot that Badnarik hired will probably claim that his stupid efforts “laid the groundwork” for electing local officials in Muncie. Riiiiiiiiight.

  9. matt Says:

    And someone else might claim they cancommunicate with Elvis via tea leaves. What matters is the candidates and the volunteers.

  10. Bill Wood Says:

    This is posted over at Reason’s Hit & Run blog.

    Mclaughlin’s quote from Sunday’s TV show

    “Erosions of civil liberties, religious fundamentalism also, have created a backlash. Personal freedom will now be in demand. Our culture and our politics will be modified by an attitude of favor toward libertarian thinking. This translates into political support for moderates and liberals. Authoritarianism is on its way out. The shackles are off, Pat. The mirth revolution is underway, along with the libertarians….”

  11. Joseph Knight Says:

    Muncie IS a college town - I worked Ball State in the early 90s and was pretty impressed by the College Libertarian group they had then. This is a great morale boost!

  12. Eric Dondero Says:

    This should have gotten national media attention. There’s a great human interest angle here. Libertaian Judge swears in Libertarians to local office and all.

    If this had been the Green Party or the Black Muslim Party or some other leftwing entity you would have seen this splashed all over the front page of USA Today, Newsweek, Time, Washington Post, and reported by CNN and MSNBC.

    There’d be headlines: “3rd Party gains major ground: New trend to sweep the Nation.”

    But as it is it’s just a bunch of “Right-wing” libertarian white folks in rural Indiana, so the leftist politically correct media has completely ignored this story on a national level.

    The Liberal media only pays attention to libertarians when they’re useful tools in bashing Republicans. I wish my fellow Libertarians would wake up and smell the coffee on this. How much more proof do you all need.

    Think about this for one second. Imagine if you will if this was the Green Party? A Green Party Judge swearing in two locally-elected Greens to public office: an historic first.

    Now tell me with a straight face that you don’t think that would have gotten splashed all over the front page of USA Today?

  13. Chris Moore Says:

    They would not have “gotten splashed all over the front page of USA Today.”

    My face is as straight as it can be.

  14. matt Says:

    Hyperbole aside, it might have gotten a little more attention than this has.

  15. Eric Dondero Says:

    Chris, elaborate please.

    From what I’ve seen in the past, when the Green Party sneezes they got front page coverage in USA Today, Time, Newsweek and every liberal newspaper in the country.

    Example: The liberal media is ALWAYS talking about how the Green Party has elected legislators and town councilmen in Maine, Vermont and other New England states.

    You NEVER hear about elected Libertarian Party officials in the liberal media. And the LP has at least twice as many as the Green Party.

  16. matt Says:

    It might be because legislators are deemed more newsworthy than town councilmen or judges. I wish the LP were covered differently DURING the campaigns. The way they’re covered after the campaigns isn’t so bothersome.

  17. Chris Moore Says:

    How can I elaborate. You made an assertion. You have to back it up.

    Point to a single article that made the front page of USA Today concerning the election of a Green Party candidate at the local level.

  18. Third Party Watch » Blog Archive » ATF Arrests Libertarian Says:

    [...] Remember, this is the same county south of Dallas that arrested LP state Senate candidate Phil Smart twice - during two separate elections. [...]

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