Ja’neh Resists Nagbe

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Associate Justice Ja'neh says he's prepared to go to the full length of the law over his impeachment.

What should have been deliberations to establish whether the other four Justices of the Supreme Court should reject the decision by  majority members of the Lower House to impeach one of their colleagues, Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh turned sour yesterday when Ja’neh’s lawyers challenged the competence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe to serve on the panel of Justices to hear the case.

Prior to his accession to the Supreme Court Bench, Nagbe was serving as Senator from Sinoe County when the then Chambers Justice, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, on August 18, imposed a stay order on the impeachment proceedings of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.

It was against this backdrop that Ja’neh’s lawyers on Thursday, October 18, while arguing their request for the Justices to lift the stay order and, in return, place a permanent Writ of Prohibition to prevent the lawmakers from proceeding  with their planned impeachment, called on Justice Nagbe to recuse (step aside) himself from the proceedings.

No member of the House of Representatives was present at yesterday’s deliberations. The drama took place in the Joint Chambers of the Supreme Court where four of the five justices, excluding Ja’neh who had earlier recused himself, were seated in readiness to listen to legal arguments when one of Ja’neh’s lawyers, Arthur Johnson, challenged the legal competence of Nagbe to sit on the case because of possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Justice Nagbe challenged his colleague’s (Ja’neh) call for his recusal on grounds that he had done nothing wrong to warrant his recusal. “For any recusal, based on conflict of interest concerns, a judge may have earlier participated in the matter, but Ja’neh’s request was based on perception and assumption,” Nagbe insisted.

“I thought that Ja’neh brought evidence of my role as a senator on record or on the radio that I had provided consultation on his impeachment. Since there was no proof about that, I will not recuse myself,” Nagbe maintained.

According to Justice Nagbe, the legislature has two houses, Senate and Representative and each of them has the right to formulate its own rules in consonance with the Constitution.

“The House of Representatives begins the formulation of the bill of impeachment but there should be evidence before they can start the process to the exclusion of the House of Senate,” Justice Nagbe said.

Nagbe said further that the House of Senate by law should try the impeachment proceedings. ”We did not start the hearing of Ja’neh’s impeachment when I left my post as a Senator of Sinoe County. I did not play any part directly or indirectly, so I find it very difficult and reject the request for my recusal from further hearing of the matter.”

Nagbe contended “I have done nothing to warrant my recusal and so I will not step-down from Ja’neh’s impeachment hearing at the Supreme Court as one of the justices.” Prior to that, Ja’neh’s lawyer Johnson argued that since Nagbe was a member of the legislature at the time Ja’neh’s impeachment proceedings began, he had daily interaction with some of the lawmakers who had called for Ja’neh’s impeachment.

“Justice Nagbe held discussions with the lawmakers about Ja’neh’s impeachment and so he should recuse himself from hearing the matter,” Cllr. Johnson contended.

Shortly afterward, Cllr. Daku Mulbah, the Solicitor General, who represented the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) at the argument, rejected Ja’neh’s call for Nagbe’s recusal.

The ministry is not a party to the Ja’neh and lawmakers saga, but it was invited by the Supreme Court in the interest of the law since the lawmakers refused to attend the hearing.

“Ja’neh did not produce any legal fact to substantiate his accusation that Justice Nagbe participated in any discussions about Ja’neh’s impeachment. This is just a mere assumption and perception and the court should not give it credence,” Mulbah contended.

Justifying his statement, Cllr. Mulbah said the temporary prohibition was filed by the Chambers Justice against the House of Representatives and not the entire legislature. “Nagbe was not a member of the House of Representatives, but he was at the Senate so, how would they say he was a party to the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh,” he wondered.

“It was the House of Representatives that prepared the bill of impeachment in keeping with the law and the Senate to which Nagbe was a member should have conducted the trial which did not happen when Nagbe was appointed and subsequently confirmed as Associate Justice, so he has done nothing wrong for his recusal,” Mulbah maintained.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday reserved the ruling for Monday, October 22, as to whether Nagbe should recuse himself from the Ja’neh hearing.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Nagbe must be highly intelligent in the art and knowledge of understanding and interpreting recusal and impeachment!

    Hence, any such legal mind as Justice Nagbe´s would of course, vehemently reject any such call for recusal!

    Added to Cllr.Daku Mulbah´s counter argument,Cllr. Arthur Johnson should know that given the circumstance, his Johnson´s argument may have had some weight were it to be a situation where Cllr. Nagbe, prior to serving in the Senate and or been appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, is a lawyer who worked on one or more of the cases against Janeh, for which Janeh´s intergrity has been called into question by The Honorable House.

    Also, Johnson should realize that besides the fact a recusal is voluntary, it should be prompted by personal reasons, or as a matter of conflict of interest.

    Accordingly, Cllr. Johnson´s argument is as dead as Justice Sie Nyene Yuoh´s prejudicail, contemptuous, laughable, and unconstitutional stay order – an act on her part which rendes her been the one to recuse herself from the impeachment procedings whenever it hits the Senate´s floor!

    • @ Dortu-Siboe Doe:

      I came across this interesting rebuttal found on the internet posted by Counselor Charles K. Sunwabe Jr. on Jan. 2013 questioning your so called legal debate or “legal position” you wrote to Attorney Alvin Teage-Jalloh in his infamous lawsuit @ the Supreme Court of Liberia challenging the 1973 “automatic loss” of Liberian citizenship which was dismissed.

      However, Mr. Intellectual, so-called legal scholar, Dortu-Siboe Doe, cowardly avoided a legal response to Counselor Sunwabe’s challenging your legal qualification? See his letter posted below to refresh your memory!!!

      Re: Sunwabe Replies Dortu-Siboe-Doe

      Dear Mr. Dortu-Siboe-Doe:
      Happy New Year, my dear brother! It has been quite a while since I became familiar with your virulent response to my question. I sent out an email to interested readers on the Every- Liberian listerv on December 5, 2012, asking if you were absolutely certain about a particular “legal position” that you had advocated in your debate with Attorney Alvin Teage-Jalloh. My question was asked in good faith and out of curiosity. I had no prior malicious or suspicious intent, when I asked you.

      Candidly I anticipated an educated response, since you had previously professed to be an“attorney” and a “scholar.” Along these lines, I expected actual case-law from the Liberian Supreme Court or a reasonable legal analysis that tended to remotely supports and offers credence to your position. I wanted to become educated, as far as the foundation of your assertion. Regrettably, you offered little, if anything, in this direction.

      Surprisingly, you responded to my honest and innocent question in “the typical Liberian fashion”:You became insulting, dismissive, and unnecessarily demeaning. In the process, you not only failed to answer my question, but engaged in a behavior that was questionable and raised question about your professed scholarship.

      Please allow me to address your response to my communication. According to you, my question regarding the certainty of your advocated legal position was an “illogical” undertaking. In fact, you wanted me to jump in and state a position rather than asking you “illogical question”. Mr. Legal Scholar, this position of yours is murky and acutely disconcerting.

      Let me point out that lawyers and judges routinely asked questions—mainly to unearth the truth, adopt or change legal positions, and to advocate their clients’ particular position. In fact, asking questions is a vital legal tool—lawyers who ask good questions are highly effective in and out of the courtroom. Additionally, they tend to write effective legal briefs and motions. Thus, I argue the questioning skills of lawyers are essential, cardinal, and central to the practice of law.

      It is stunning, if not totally unheard of, for a professed attorney to begrudgingly dismiss a pertinent and pointed question as being illogical. In the ongoing debate between you and Attorney Jalloh, my question was pointed directly at your advocated legal position. From a lawyer’s perspective, a sufficient or minimally acceptable legal response was anticipated.

      Your response in this capacity, in concert with the sum total of your writings regarding Mr. Jalloh’s pending lawsuit challenging the 1973 “automatic loss” of citizenship law, leaves one with the impression that you are not a licensed or practicing attorney. No serious attorney, irrespective of his or her jurisdiction of practice or place of legal education, would respond to a well-intentioned question as you have done here.

      You did not answer my question and I am still inclined to ask you even more pointed questions: What case law (from the Republic of Liberia) are you relying on to support your assertion? Where are your legal analysis? Where are the Liberian constitutional provisions that you believe support your position regarding the automatic loss of citizenship question?

      How are you applying those provisions? For some of us who have followed the debate between you and Mr. Jalloh, it is a foregone conclusion that you have offered nothing remotely substantive or legally coherent. You have offered a number of poorly researched Google’s legal terms and opinions. These Google’s legal terms have not been analyzed and applied with the unique skills of a lawyer. In fact, they are starting to appear like a display of infantile legal preoccupation—they lack serious legal intuition and scrutiny.

      Lastly, in responding to my question, you intentionally omitted the original list-serve that was used to communicate my question to you. I had no means of knowing that you had in fact responded to my questions, since I am not subscribed to the host of other Liberian list-serves on which you posted your response. By not including the original medium of communication, you directly created the impression that I was somehow incapable of responding to your “legal” opinion.

      This, however is not the case, I simply did not know that you had written back. It is unacceptable for a professed scholar to behave in this erroneous manner. Please include me on the original list-serves of communications, in all future engagements.

      As for the other issue you raised, know that we, the friends of Attorney Alvin Teage Jalloh, will make gifts to support his lawsuit against the Liberian government.

      Thanks,
      Charles Kwalonue Sunwabe, Jr., Esq.
      Arlington, Virginia
      703-402-8589

      Re-posted from: mnyenpan18.blogspot.com/2013/01/sunwabe-replies-dortu-siboe-doe

  2. The best thing for Justice Jan’eh to do is resign. I don’t see how he could be an effective Justice when is reputation has been so besmirched.

  3. Phil, where have you seen that. African leaders are either butchered or overthrown but never to leave in peace, rather to leave in pieces. Don’t waste your time, Ja’neh is no different, my friend.

  4. The plot to impeach:Ja’neh will never land on a furtile soil. Can you imagine a CDCIAN sitting on the branch of Ja’neh’s impeachment hearing!! We are all aware of that luciferous plot against this well seasoned justice Ja’neh.

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