|The following is a commentary originally posted
on the PLANS "Waldorf Critics" (WC) mailing list, reprinted here with the
permission of author Linda Clemens.
ON PLANS' EVIDENCE THAT ANTHROPOSOPHY IS A RELIGION
"This is so far fetched, I don't know
why we're spending so much time, but I wanted to give you every opportunity.
THE HONORABLE FRANK C. DAMRELL, JR., JUDGE - remarks
to counsel for the Plaintiff about his proffered evidence, court
transcript, PLANS vs Sacramento Unified School District, et al. The
entire trial lasted 30 minutes.
Dan Dugan story 9/15/05: [quoted from the PLANS
"We have plenty of witnesses and evidence."
Dan Dugan story 7/1/05: [PLANS WC list]
"We have plenty of good evidence without
the expense of experts"
PLANS story 9/14/05: [PLANS
"...during the opening of its September
12 trial, People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools (PLANS) refused to
present its case without key witnesses and evidence that had been excluded"
The TRUE Story: The judge issued the order
excluding 11 witnesses and over 100 pieces of evidence in APRIL, not during
ON JUDGE DAMRELL'S COMPETENCE
Dan Dugan characterizes the judge's
exclusions 7/1/05: [WC list]
"It's the lawyers' job to attempt to include
as much evidence as they can throw in, and it's the judge's job to winnow
Dan Dugan characterizes the judge 8/23/05: [WC list]
"I'm again impressed by the work of this
judge. We've got a smart one."
PLANS characterizes the judge and the exclusions 9/14/05:
"...we believe the judge erred and treated
us unfairly when he ruled out some of the witnesses and evidence."
The TRUE Story: PLANS has simply put a new
spin on an old ruling because they failed so badly when they showed up
in court. It became obvious from the first 5 minutes of the case, PLANS
had no credible evidence to present on the key threshold issue: Is Anthroposophy
a religion? Unless they could present such evidence, the entire case was
over. PLANS had witnesses and evidence lined up. But it soon admitted,
PLANS had no witnesses available to testify to the issue whether anthroposophy
is a religion. This was PLANS' own admission at trial. PLANS failed to
make its case on the threshold question. And thus, there can be no part
two phase to address the other issues in the trial. Thus PLANS' other witnesses
don't matter. The Case Is Over.
PLANS came to court with all kinds of witnesses
and exhibits. The judge asks PLANS to explain how they pertained to the
key threshold issue. PLANS admitted their witnesses and exhibits did NOT
sufficiently address the question of whether Anthroposophy was a religion.
PLANS also admitted
"It's obviously an issue we've been working
on ourselves very diligently since you've made your evidentiary rulings."
And PLANS further stated in court that their entire
case depended on the testimony of two witnesses the judge excluded 6 months
earlier, (witnesses that PLANS never found valuable enough to even INCLUDE
on their witness list until a good 6 years AFTER the witnesses had given
full testimony in deposition, and about a FULL YEAR after it became too
late to introduce them as witnesses legally). And to further illustrate
how flimsy PLANS' claim is, even these two were grabbed from the DEFENSE
"WE OPTED OUT"
Dan's claim 9/15/05: [WC list]
"We chose to abort because we won't participate
in a prejudiced trial."
The TRUE story: PLANS admitted in court, several
times, that they HAD nothing to present to the question "Is Anthroposophy
a religion?" without those witnesses. And clearly, PLANS did NOT "abort".
The judge asked, Do You Have Evidence to present on the threshold issue?,
and PLANS showed the court that their pockets were empty.
Further TRUE story: the judge was so anxious
at this point to help resuscitate PLANS' drowning case, he began to coax
them where else they might look for some evidence.
Judge speaking to PLANS: "Anything you
would add, be it aside your views on my rulings, but I'm talking about
right now as we stand on the brink of trial that can salvage your case
under these circumstances? "
And it's clear PLANS didn't even abort at this point.
They didn't "refuse to participate". Their attorney forged ahead. He was
prepared to offer a book into evidence, optimistic that at least then the
Defense would have to present a rebuttal, and there would be SOMETHING
for the judge to assess on the key threshold question. Not much, but something.
The judge expressed reservations that this type
of evidence would be strong enough to keep the case alive much longer,
"I'll be fairly liberal in light of these
circumstances because I want to see this matter resolved once and for all."
But despite concerted efforts from PLANS' attorney,
PLANS couldn't get this book past Defense counsel objections. I counted
objections to it in the transcript, including objections to its 'relevance'
to the religion issue currently before the court.
The judge then returned to PLANS:
"You have a real smorgasbord of objections.
Most sound good to me, but what is your response?"
And PLANS response is to urge the judge overrule the
objections and admit the book into evidence. Against one of the seven objections
raised by the defense, PLANS cited a precedent case, Malnak, to the question
of 'relevance'. Unfortunately for PLANS, the judge had made it clear over
a year and a half earlier that Malnak didn't apply in this case. PLANS
had forgotten. But this challenge over the applicability of Malnak was
largely beside the point anyway, because there were at least another
six objections to the same proposed piece of evidence, objections
addressing distinctly different problems with it.
This is the judge's reply to PLANSí attempt to
enter the book into evidence, evidence which was all PLANS had, PLANSí
very last hope they had to salvage their case:
"This is hearsay upon hearsay. The only
admission here is they [the library in one of the Waldorf methods schools
PLANS was suing] happened to have this book. This is so far fetched, I
don't know why we're spending so much time, but I wanted to give you every
"But I've heard enough to say that it would be
ludicrous to say this in any fashion establishes that anthroposophy is
a religion on the possession of a book without any further foundational
support for the admission of the book, plus the fact it contains the writings
of a person not called as a witness. I don't know how this would ever get
into court on this issue of magnitude and importance.
"Is this your only evidence, counsel?"
PLANS attorney-> "Yes, it is Your Honor."
The judge-> "Basically, that's your -- you rest
after this proposed exhibit?"
PLANS attorney-> "Yes, Your Honor. "
A WASTE OF TAXPAYER AND PUBLIC SCHOOL RESOURCES
Dan's story 9/15/05: [WC list]
"We opted out."
The TRUE story: PLANS rested its case.
PLANS has done nothing but waste the court's time
and wastefully drain resources away from the public schools. Throughout
the entire case, [PLANS] did nothing but obstruct. Filings were always
late. Disclosures weren't forthcoming. [PLANS] wasted the schools' time
filling [their] exhibit list with irrelevant nonsense like Melville's Moby
Dick and d'Aulaire's Greek Myths. Issued Court Orders were ignored.
Fines went unpaid.
Yes, Moby Dick. And if during trial, the
judge ruled to exclude it for lack of 'relevance', [PLANS would] be citing
Malnak and wailing about 'prejudice' and vowing to take the issue straight
to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
PLANS dropped Moby Dick from its [evidentiary]
list before trial. Actually, PLANS dropped it about the same time and probably
for the same reasons the Defendants dropped two of their witnesses. The
same two witnesses PLANS now pretends are the Only Witnesses there are
in the Entire World who can present testimony proving anthroposophy
is a religion. Logical consistency demands we also conclude, then, that
Dick is the Only Evidence in the Entire World that can prove
Anthroposophy isn't a religion, evidence so damaging, this would
to explain why PLANS withdrew it.
(Thank you for including garbage like this Moby
Dick in your exhibit list, Dan. I enjoy using the bounty YOU provide
to expose the buffoonery and bogus reasoning your whole case is built upon.)
PLANS doesn't engage in rational, logical, critical
OR legal reasoning to present their issues. They engage in prejudiced reasoning.
And see what it brought? It brought thirty minutes
of agonizing humiliation in a Court of Law.
PLANS LOST ITS CASE
"We opted out."
We've already established this is false.
PLANS can continue to pretend all they like, but
the fact is that there has been a trial. A full court trial. PLANS and
the schools are currently awaiting the final word, but by all appearances,
it's virtually assured the judge will be deciding this case soon. The defense
filed a Rule 52(c) motion, and the judge indicated "Obviously. I am going
to grant [this motion]."
And when he does, PLANS will have legally, and
officially, LOST the case. It's not even a dismissal. It's a verdict --
against the Plaintiff, PLANS.
The show is over, but it sounds like PLANS is reeling
it up to run it again. Or is it "again and again"?
Whoever is the last one to leave, be sure and turn
out the lights.
by L G Clemens, Sep 16, 2005 12:55 PDT