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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Filing challenges retirement law on judges

Posted By on Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 7:08 AM

DAUGHERTY: A new legal cause.
  • DAUGHERTY: A new legal cause.
Partne Daugherty, the Jacksonville woman who's made headlines this year for some free-lance investigating and legal cases of her own related to heavy-handed police tactics (Surgeon General Joe Thompson, congressional candidate Herb Rule) and the Freedom of Information Act, informs me that she has a new cause.

She wants to overturn the state law that makesArkansas judges give up retirement benefits if they don't retire at 70. I think she has a good point on the dubious constitutionality of a law effectively discriminating on basis of age. (And, I should add, it has no personal bearing on me. My wife, a judge who turned 64 in September, is retiring Dec. 31 after 26 years on the bench for reasons having nothing to do with that aspect of law.)

Daugherty is seeking a ruling through a request for declaratory judgment in a wholly unrelated case involving a protective order issued in a case concerning her stepdaughter. I have a hard time seeing this as an appropriate venue to raise the issue, but I'm no lawyer and real ones have been beaten by Daugherty before. So I'll just leave this with you as an FYI. She explains:

Personally, I believe this to be unconstitutional.

I do not want to remove all of the experienced justices in favor of a few younger one's, as I do not want to be a victim or a part of someone's judicial scientific experiment.

It would appear improper for a judge to challenge the statute in question (A.C.A. 24-8-215).

It also appears that no attorney in the State of Arkansas has the balls nor is willing to step forward to address this issue within the legal system. This regulation of judges does not belong in the legislature's hands as the judicial system is constitutionally required to stay separate and untouched by the politics of politicians.

Daughtery's action will be mooted if the state's judges win approval of their legislative package this year, which includes repeal of the retirement statute. The legislature hasn't been too warm toward judicial proposals in recent years, however.

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