(UPDATED) Freshwater Mandamus request filed

| 19 Comments

Update Freshwater’s request fir the writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court is here (pdf). The notification of the affected parties by the Supreme Court is here. The 21-day clock for their response began running when they received service of that notification, which would have been today or perhaps next Monday. Then the Court has to consider what it will do. I doubt that the hearing will resume on September 10.

The Mt. Vernon News is reporting that John Freshwater’s attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton, has filed a request for a writ of mandamus from the Ohio Supreme Court to compel the Mt. Vernon Board of Education to issue subpoenas to (at least) two of its members to testify in the administrative hearing on Freshwater’s termination as an 8th grade science teacher. I cannot find the request yet on the Ohio Supreme Court site. The Court has been on summer recess, but is resuming oral arguments on August 11. Freshwater’s request is not (yet?) on the Court’s oral arguments schedule. I have no idea whether the Court hears oral arguments on such requests. Is there an Ohio lawyer in the house?

This request for a write of mandamus is the next step following the Knox County Court of Common Pleas refusal to enforce subpoenas which had been quashed by the Board of Education.

Once again, the hearing is on hiatus until at least September 10 due to Freshwater’s attorney having invoked a legal provision to recess such hearings during periods when school is not in session.

19 Comments

IANAL - I take it a “mandamus” is not a tropical fruit or nut…?

Paul Burnett said:

IANAL - I take it a “mandamus” is not a tropical fruit or nut…?

Erm, no, it’s a request for the Supreme Court to order the Board of Education to do (what Freshwater’s attorney claims is) its statutory duty, namely issue the subpoenas to its members.

I believe you’re thinking of the mantango, which is a cross between a mango and a tango and is to be avoided during the tango’s breeding season.

Interesting.

My new hypothesis: Hamilton is trying to drag this out long enough so that Freshwater can collect teacher’s retirement benefits before he’s actually terminated.

I’m kidding (slightly) but this is a really impressive series of foot-dragging maneuvers. IANAL, so maybe I’m more impressed by just how long this whole thing is taking due to my inexperience with legal matters.

I think the agenda here is even simpler, with each of these delays the cost to the school board goes up, they are already receiving criticism from Freshwater supporters at public meetings regarding the costs accrued to date. This latest move would seem to be a case in point, requesting a writ of mandamus in an oral hearing means that the school board lawyer(s) will have to be present, which will accrue further costs to the board, regardless of the outcome Freshwater supporters can whine about the $x cost to the board, criticise the board for “persecuting” a “good, honest” man for expressing his Christian beliefs, blah, blah, yadda, yadda.… Who knows if they hang in long enough to get to election time they might get a reverse Dover where their people get on board and drop the dismissal.

Who knows if they hang in long enough to get to election time they might get a reverse Dover where their people get on board and drop the dismissal.

I think it is their hope/plan. They betting they could win the next election.

Does the board have the power to end this fiasco? Can they just claim that Freshwater is not acting in good faith and make a decision? Is there any way for them to avoid further costs that might cripple the entire school district? Is there any way for them to force Freshwater to pay for the entire thing if he loses?

How can this guy claim that he is for science education if he acts like this? Certainly no one can say at this point that he was denied due process. Maybe Obama could step in and just sentence him to life without teaching. Seems like it must be getting pretty hard to claim the moral high road while you’re hurling feces from the gutter. If there was any question as to who was right in this case, it should be obvious by now.

DS said: How can this guy claim that he is for science education if he acts like this?

Remember this is the guy who snuck ID handouts into class, then collected them at the end of the day lest any adult find out. And taught his kids to give coded responses to questions about evolution, presumably so that other science teachers could not object to his lessons.

By “for science education” he means he is for getting creationism and creationist teachers back in the classroom.

I am not sure about this, but aren’t two of the school board members up for reelection this November? I think one of them is Ian Watson, the board president. Does he have any supporters running this November?

DS said: How can this guy claim that he is for science education if he acts like this?

Once the creationists put on their “we are persecuted for our beliefs” blinders, they are in an entirely different frame of mind. They have convinced themselves that it is war, and their enemy is evil and they are doing good work. So whatever they do is for the good so it is justified.

For them it is a win-win strategy. Sneak in creationism, teach it under the radar. As long as they don’t get caught they got what they wanted.

If the teacher gets caught, they create so much of expense to the school district that all other school districts learn the lesson and turn a blind eye. This school district was actively looking the other way for all the creationism he snuck in. Their hand was forced only when he burned crosses on students’ forearms.

It is a difficult case for us science supporters to make. We need to educate the voters the problems of providing sub standard education. What are the persuasive arguments we can make for the science side I wonder.

Ravilyn Sanders said:

It is a difficult case for us science supporters to make. We need to educate the voters the problems of providing sub standard education. What are the persuasive arguments we can make for the science side I wonder.

In the similar case with which I am familiar, the idiot is still “teaching” (drawing a paycheck). The administration could not bring itself to fire the jerk, and now they, and the other teachers, are stuck with him.

Subsequently, he has been essentially ostracized by the other faculty, but it means the rest of the faculty must pick up the load that the idiot refuses and is unable to carry. He is a very noticeable drag on the program; practically a dead weight. It makes the job of the other teachers much harder to have to deal with the scheduling problems he creates when students refuse to take his class.

Nobody interacts with him at school or at social gatherings (to which he invites himself), and the students openly mock him. He looks like a very unhappy person, but unfortunately he doesn’t go away (I don’t know who would hire him anyway).

But putting up with the extra inconvenience and work load is the only recourse the other teachers have. The administration has been completely stymied and is afraid of a lawsuit that would be extremely expensive in a budget that is inadequate to begin with.

There is little doubt that these tactics are being used by fundamentalists in more places than we may know.

Mike Elzinga said: In the similar case with which I am familiar, the idiot is still “teaching” (drawing a paycheck). The administration could not bring itself to fire the jerk, and now they, and the other teachers, are stuck with him.

Are you talking about the infamous intelligent design creationist Micheal Behe? http://www.lehigh.edu/bio/news/evolution.htm

Kevin said:

I am not sure about this, but aren’t two of the school board members up for reelection this November? I think one of them is Ian Watson, the board president. Does he have any supporters running this November?

Watson and Steve Hughes are both filing petitions to run for re-election. I don’t know Hughes and know little about him except that he voted for the original termination resolution (it passed unanimously).

Paul Burnett said:

Are you talking about the infamous intelligent design creationist Micheal Behe? http://www.lehigh.edu/bio/news/evolution.htm

I hadn’t been thinking about that case, but that has to be an interesting set of internal dynamics also. I wonder how many students avoid Behe’s classes.

Mike Elzinga said: I wonder how many students avoid Behe’s classes.

Well, if registrations to the courses he offers falls, he will run to his religious cohorts crying foul, “these damned atheists are avoiding my classes, we need to show them our strength, please register to my course (guaranteed A to first 15 registrants)”. And students from philosophy and theology courses will register out of pity. Especially if his tenure contract has clauses about minimum required teaching load.

Who’s paying for his lawyers?

The school provides an insurance lawyer for the Federal Case. For the hearing and his Federal Case- He does.

Ravilyn Sanders said:

Mike Elzinga said: I wonder how many students avoid Behe’s classes.

Well, if registrations to the courses he offers falls, he will run to his religious cohorts crying foul, “these damned atheists are avoiding my classes, we need to show them our strength, please register to my course (guaranteed A to first 15 registrants)”. And students from philosophy and theology courses will register out of pity. Especially if his tenure contract has clauses about minimum required teaching load.

I thought that, at least around the time of the Dover trial, the DI was paying Behe grant money so he could get out of his teaching obligations and write books instead.

Which may in fact be money well spent.

They’re like reverse-Pakleds. They use a lot of big words but don’t have the smarts to back it up.

Argh, comment went in the wrong tab. That was supposed to be for the Star Trek conversation in the Huffington Post thread. I meant to ask:

Besides stalling for time, what does Freshwater’s attorney hope to gain by putting things off while school’s out?

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on August 6, 2009 8:26 PM.

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