Russell Pearce Scores Lame Summary Judgment Against Sal Reza in Federal Court (w/Update)
Nor was Pearce so concerned with security that he had metal detectors installed at the senate doors. Though the general public is not supposed to be armed in the state Senate and House, nothing's in place to stop them from carrying concealed in that building, if they so desire.
Pearce's action against Reza had zip to do with maintaining order and decorum. Instead, it was all about retaliation against Reza, whom Pearce saw as the leader of the legions who had descended on the legislature in opposition to Pearce's continued jihad against Latinos.
Martone subtly signals that he knows Pearce's act was retaliation, but he's okay with that.
Take this passage from Martone's order, about an announcement Pearce made following Reza's banishment:
"Three weeks later, on March 14, 2011, Pearce notified the Senate of new rules concerning disruptions to Senate business. He explained that the first incident of disruption would result in a two-week exclusion from the Senate building. A second disruption would result in a 60 day exclusion, and finally a `pattern of disorderly or disruptive conduct' would result in an indefinite exclusion. There is no claim that plaintiff was denied access to the Senate building on any day other than February 24, 2011."
That last sentence is bewildering. Why would Reza return to the Senate building to be arrested again? Is Martone daft, or is he just some authoritarian tool who believes that politicians should have carte blanche to make up the rules as they go along, even if they trample on the rights of other?
Likely, it's the latter. By noting that Pearce announced a new set of rules regarding his unconstitutional blacklist three weeks after Reza's arrest, Martone indicates that he's aware Pearce had targeted Reza and only after the fact created the "rules" that Reza supposedly broke.
When I called him for a comment, Reza would only say that he and his attorney Stephen Montoya are considering an appeal, and that he believes the judge was wrong.
I'll second that last bit. In his order, Martone is saying that those in authority can act capriciously and with ill-intent against ordinary citizens without fear of accountability.
I'm sure Pearce will agree with the good judge.
Fortunately, the voters of the old Legislative District 18 were not of the same mind. One of the many reasons Pearce lost by double digits in 2011 to one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, Jerry Lewis, is that voters saw Pearce as a mean, vindictive bully.
Which he is. As this incident and so many others Pearce's been involved in over the years have revealed.
In other words, Martone sided with the bully, but a more important judge rendered an entirely different verdict: the electorate.
Hell, the electorate did it all over again in 2012, denying Pearce a return to the state Senate in the GOP primary.
Thankfully, Martone has no say in those rulings. They both stand.
UPDATE 12/28/2012 10:23 P.M.:
I spoke with Reza's lawyer Stephen Montoya shortly after publishing this blog item. Montoya told me that he and Reza had just made the decision to go to the Ninth Circuit with the case, where Montoya says they have a "good chance" of overturning Martone's ruling.
"To Mr. Pearce, I offer congratulations on his win in district court," Montoya said. "And we'll see him in the appellate court."
Montoya, obviously, disagreed with Martone's order. He said this was a "textbook case" of violating someone's First Amendment rights, and that he was "eager" to appeal the summary judgement.