Lawyers Threaten to ‘Boycott Courts’ over ‘Disobedience’ by Lawmakers

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The embattled Associate Justice, Kabineh Ja’neh

About 200 lawyers have threatened to begin a week-long boycott of the courts, from next month (September), in protest against what they claim is disobedience by lawmakers from the Lower House to honor the Supreme Court’s stay order hearing over impeachment proceedings against Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh.

The August 18 stay order was imposed by Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, current Chamber Justice against some members of the House of Representatives, including Speaker Bhofal Chambers, to desist from any impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, pending final determination, by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court. of the Justice’s complaint of constitutional violation by the House of Representatives

Members of the House were cited to a hearing on the matter at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 22, but refused to appear. Instead, in a written message, they told the High Court to “vacate the purported stay order and avoid embarrassment.”

Disclosing their planned protest on yesterday to journalists, Cllr. Arthur Johnson said, the lawmakers’ decision to disregard the Court’s order is an act that is not only inimical to the rule of law but also completely at odds with the Constitution.

Johnson, who is one of the lawyers of the embattled Ja’neh, said yesterday that the protest was not about the political interest of anyone, rather about justice, “It is in the defense of the rule of law.”

Johnson disclosed that during the protest every lawyer will be required to sit home and avoid every court activity as of September.

“It should always be the lawmakers that demonstrate to the citizens, by their example and conduct, the importance of strictly adhering to and respecting the law,” Johnson emphasized.

“When a government shows contempt for the law it becomes impossible for it to require citizens to respect the law,” Johnson said, defending the planned protest.

According to Johnson, to disobey court orders as in the case of the lawmakers was “inimical to the rule of law.”

He reminded members of the House of Representatives that they took an oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution, “so disobeying it will have serious consequences to the peace and stability of the country and our young democracy.”

To disobey a Court order, Johnson believes, was not only a violation of the Constitution but also negligence of public duty. He meanwhile called on the lawmakers to see reason, in the interest of the country and to protect the rule of law, to attend the next scheduled court’s hearing.

A source in the hierarchy of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) who preferred not to be named, told the Daily Observer that the Bar “is not aware of any protest by lawyers” and therefore will not be a part of said protest. “Lawyers are mediators, not protestors,” the Bar official said in a phone interview.

However, a mobile text message (SMS) calling for the protest went viral among lawyers on Monday, August 27. Yet, many who received the message remained mute over whether they would participate or not.

And although the LNBA has yet to officially speak on the entire Ja’neh impeachment saga, official said the Bar is preparing a statement to be issued soon.

Despite the lawmakers’ refusal to attend the August 22 hearing, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and his colleagues, excluding the embattled Justice Ja’neh, who had openly announced his recusal from the Bench for that case, proceeded with the matter, with his representation by a team of lawyers.

Surprisingly, Justice Korkpor postponed the matter, after Ja’neh’s lead lawyer, Cllr. James E. Pierre asked for an additional week to prepare for the hearing into the writ because, according to him, the issue raised by the lawmakers contained serious study and they need enough time to file a well-researched defense for Justice Ja’neh.

It can be recalled that on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, the Bill of Impeachment Petition, together with a motion proffered by Grand Kru County District #1 Representative Nathaniel Barway, received a favorable vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, Speaker Chambers set up an 8-man Ad-Hoc Committee to review and investigate the Impeachment Bill as well as the write-up of the proceedings.

That committee was given three weeks as of July 17, 2018, to begin work and report to Plenary.

The committee is chaired by Gbarpolu County District#2 Representative Kannie Wesso and co-chaired by Bong County District #5 Representative Edward Karfiah.

Others were Representatives Dickson Seboe of District 16, Montserrado County; Jeremiah Koung of District #1, Nimba County; Dr. Isaac Roland of District 3, Maryland County; Clarence Gahr of District #5, Margibi County, and Rustonlyn S. Dennis of District#4, Montserrado County.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. But let them boycott. It is they who live on people going to court. Why in September and not now? Bunch of corrupt crooks claiming to be lawyers.

  2. Oh you mean “Lawyers have Threatened to ‘Boycott Courts’ over” CHASTISEMENT OF THOSE CORRUPT JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT BY LAWMAKERS!!!

  3. Oh my God, even the Lawyers too?
    So, everything in Liberia these days, is about protest and/or demonstrations including those who are supposed to be the legal minds?
    God help Liberia.

  4. That’s how corrupt the country is? Bunch of crooks calling themselves lawyer? What about when the LNBA protest Ja’neh appointment on grounds that he was not a practicing lawyer at that time?

    Toothless and corrupt legal club called LNBA – a mafia style organisation!!!

  5. “It should always be the lawmakers that demonstrate to the citizens, by their example and conduct, the importance of strictly adhering to and respecting the law,”

    Mr. Johnson – Lawyers should also demonstrate a good code of conduct and not steal from the poor people while the Courts should uphold justice and not get into ‘Pay for Play’. Listen to hh A fair court system encourages investors!

  6. Mr. Johnson – Lawyers should also demonstrate a good code of conduct and not steal from the poor people and the Courts should uphold justice and not get into ‘Pay for Play’. Listen to victims of the ‘Pay for Play’ lawsuits. The Courts need an overhaul as well as the Legislature. A fair court system encourages investors!

  7. The Legislature is just fine. The people to whom, all power is inherent, elected them. Take for example this excellent constitutional obligation now been carried out by them. You need to “buy their beer.”

  8. I am trying to understand exactly the form of the boycott. Are they going to not appear before the Supreme Court on cases they are Attorneys? Are they choosing to not represent their clients before the High Court? I’m not sure I am clear on what exactly they will be doing. What I do believe is this. If they are boycotting the Supreme Court, how is that a protest against the Legislature? Furthermore, if they take actions against that impact the Court carrying out its deliberations as a means of indirectly interfering and obstructing the Legislative proceedings in the Legislature, they should be held in Contempt of the Legislature under Article 44 of the Constitution.

    I had expressed my amazement of how there I no discussion in the public square (e.g., print media, television, ratio, Law School professors and the lawyers for the accused) that demonstrate their legal opinions, including citing case laws, precedents and constitutional history on which the nation’s laws are based. When they cite “disobedience” by the House of the Supreme Court, what legal theory, case laws, precedents and code of conduct are they relying on, and what Articles of the Constitution are they relying on as justification and/or right to boycott? What laws are they relying on to protest the Supreme Court? It appears the whole system is falling apart.

    The President should start looking at good Jurist with incredible credentials to potentially fill the various openings that will occur on the high court. Because we may end up with the entire court being impeached and replaced.

    These lawyers have an opportunity to do just that, instead of boycotting the Supreme Court, on a Legislative proceedings that may be a violation of Article 44, Contempt of the Legislature.

  9. Is the Attorney Arthur Johnson who is spearheading the boycott in this story the same Attorney Arthur Johnson who is an Attorney on the legal Team for the accused Justice? I went back to read the related story published August 23, titled, “Vacate the Purported Writ and Avoid Embarrassment”. In that story, he prayed the court in the original petition for a Stay Order. In the subsequent hearings on the adjourned date before the full bench, his Team of lawyers representing the accused Judge showed a lack of preparation for the case they are persecuting before the Highest Court of the land when they asked for another week to conduct enough research into what the House had raised. My question is, if the Attorney in the case had asked the Court to postpone a case because he and his Team did not have the answers to constitutional questions raised by the House response, how does he legally justify his push for a boycott of the Supreme Court on the basis that the House had breached the law? On what facts is he relying on? If he has facts that justify his boycott, why aren’t those facts admissible in the Court of his petition?

    If these Lawyers proceed with the boycott, the House should start looking at a contempt of the legislature charge against them. The very Supreme Court should also start looking at these lawyers potential breach of service to their clients.

  10. Are there any interest in passing laws to develop our country,alleviate poverty, stabalize the economy? What a distraction!!
    Impeachment for corruption when the legislature claims to have “clean hands”? What a joke!

  11. Was Speaker impeached for corruption or the legislator who raped and impregnated his niece? Senator Sherman (under criminal investigation) Senator Prince Johnson (former warlord) and others with dubious past will now be jurors in the Associate Justice case for corruption and high crime!!

  12. I was speaking on Speaker Tyler. Why wasn’t he impeached? Why is Senator Sherman heading the judiciary committee when he is going through a criminal probe? Why was it acceptable for the former (non-impeached) Speaker Tyler to bring a bag of money to pass out to fellow legislators (as described by the newspapers ) when he was trying to keep his position then. Was this corrupt practice,business as usual? Why did a legislator get away with taping & impregnating his niece? Why during elections, legislators pay and transport “truck loads of people” to counties to vote for them? Fellow citizens, the charges of corruption and abuse of powers (regularly done by the legislature) will open up “a rat trap” that will easily “catch them” as well as the obviously corrupted executive branch. Corruption, unfortunately, is a problem Liberia has had for generations. In this “fragile peace”, please ,please maintain the stability of our sweet country!! Why not focus on the economy! Legalize dual citizenship so we can have our fellow citizen “with money,skills & talents” contributing like what President Weah has Express his visionary statement on. He has traveled and lived abroad for many years and realizes that development can be achieved by people who have experience its merits as well as those desiring it

  13. I was speaking on Speaker Tyler. The speaker who was corrupt by his punishment was losing re-election as speaker. Why wasn’t he impeached or disgraced such as what the ? Why is Senator Sherman heading the judiciary committee when he is going through a criminal probe? Why was it acceptable for the former (non-impeached) Speaker Tyler to bring a bag of money to pass out to fellow legislators (as described by the newspapers ) when he was trying to keep his position then. Was this corrupt practice,business as usual? Why did a legislator get away with taping & impregnating his niece? Why during elections, legislators pay and transport “truck loads of people” to counties to vote for them? Fellow citizens, the charges of corruption and abuse of powers (regularly done by the legislature) will open up “a rat trap” that will easily “catch them” as well as the obviously corrupted executive branch. Corruption, unfortunately, is a problem Liberia has had for generations. In this “fragile peace”, please ,please maintain the stability of our sweet country!! Why not focus on the economy! Legalize dual citizenship so we can have our fellow citizen “with money,skills & talents” contributing like what President Weah has Express his visionary statement on. He has traveled and lived abroad for many years and realizes that development can be achieved by people who have experience its merits as well as those desiring it

  14. The gates has ” been flung wide open “now. Corruption trials after this will be taken seriously and those who are setting the trap now will be “caught in it”. Rat trap is NOT just for rat ALONE!!!
    Now EVERYONE of the Government official can be tried for their frequent abuse of office and daily corrupted practices. Everyone knows this is a vendetta against the Associate Justice but by elevating his wrongful behavior to the extraordinary levels to that of an impeachable crime; they,the legislature, are setting the groundwork for other misdoings not to be ignored. Example Senator Sherman trial, Speaker Tyler trial, Senator Johndon war tribunal crimes Senator Cooper was crimes. Fanancial exposures of the legislators on their accumulation of wealth,shady deals of business concessions that rob the Liberian people and benefits the look legislators, questions of why these officials salaries and “perks of office make up nearly 25% of the budget and the country e economic health is deteriorating. No jobs,no or poor health care, poor access to education. This translates into “poor job performance ” but high salaries almost 1,000 times the average Liberian. Why???

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