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What is the Peoples Legal Front?
The People's Legal Front is a not for profit organization organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation for the following purposes.
To open up government by making government operations as public as possible by use of the sunshine laws and freedom of information laws to get public documents and put them on the internet. By making the activities of government public, we ensure that our officials elected to serve us do their jobs correctly and ethically and out in the open. Open records allows the citizens to participate in and to watch over government operations, and provide the government the opportunity to keep the public informed and to get feedback from the public as to the best way for the government to serve the public needs. Sunshine Laws help bring the government and the people closer together and prevent misunderstandings between the government and the citizens they serve. Although there are laws that give the public access to information, there are those in government that don't fully understand these laws and how they apply to them.
Additionally, many governmental bodies are not fully up to speed on converting public documents to make the accessible through the World Wide Web. By putting public information on the Internet, it make it available to everyone and reduces or eliminates the costs and time of making photocopies of information that can be kept more efficiently in electronic form.
The People's Legal Front obtains documents and publishes them on it's own web site. We currently have almost 30,000 web pages of public documentation online with the capacity to publish millions more. Additionally, our members have brought and won lawsuits in court to force public records to be opened up and made available. We are ensuring that the Sunshine Laws are enforced and that government officials fully appreciate their responsibilities to the public under the law.
Ethical Standards in our Courts
Our laws and the Missouri Rules of Court outline standards of professional responsibility, which apply to lawyers and judges who practice law in Missouri. These standards require the highest level of ethics and honesty from our courts, lawyers, and judges. These high ethical standards are necessary to ensure that our courts our fair and impartial and that the independence of the judiciary is maintained.
Justice can not be maintained unless these Rules are actually enforced. The People's Legal Front has observed that these high ethical standards often exist only on paper and are not practiced or ignored by the courts. Lawyers are allowed to lie in court and are not disciplined for doing so. Judges routinely ignore the law and act in a manner that is above the law, and since they control the courts, can get away with it. Disciplinary counsels who are charged with ethical enforcement act to cover up and conceal mis-conduct on the part of lawyers and judges. Because ethical standards are not enforced in our courts, the public is being short changed on it's constitutional right to justice.
The People's Legal Front has taken a strong position that the courts, judges, and lawyers should be required to follow their own rules. We believe that this requirement is good for society in general and that it is a necessary and worthwhile task. In order to achieve this goal, the People's Legal Front has brought a number of lawsuits and published these suits on the internet in hopes that exposing misconduct will eventually lead to judicial reform and that the courts will eventually start following their own rules. We believe that the ethical standards in our courts are so bad that America is facing a constitutional crisis, and that restoring the integrity of our courts is a very serious and important matter.
Access to the courts
The People's Legal Front knows that all citizens of the State of Missouri are guaranteed access to the court. This includes, prisoners, the accused, indigent, and all others no matter how disadvantaged. To have this access to the courts is more than the clerk accepting filings is. It consists of the knowledge of the rules regulations, codes, ordinances, and the rules and guidelines of the public bodies that regulate our life. It is much better for a litigant to know what they are talking about, rather, than to assume knowledge of what governs our lives by hearsay, innuendo, and word of mouth. These are not the trade secrets of attorneys; they are the laws we all must live by.
The Courts of the state of Missouri has already acknowledged the fact that to maintain control of the records that enable a court to continue to be a court of record, that the state of Missouri will have computerize the judiciary. The resulting Electronic Courts 2004 project was began in 1994 to do just that. The price for this computerization is 350 million dollars. This is a lot of money that could be money well spent if it allows the public access to the public information used to run the judiciary today.
The PEOPLE'S LEGAL FRONT, Inc. believes that now is the time for the citizens to create a body to watch over the records of our government before agencies that have shown the propensity to disregard the statutes that govern their office is allowed to further hide and destroy vital public information. We believe that the expense incurred by our state in the production of computerized courts should provide access for the entire public. It would not be 350 million dollars well spent if the only access to the computerized public governmental records is for attorneys and the so-called honorable members of the court.
The Courts of the State of Missouri have already shown a tendency to deny access to law libraries that are maintained by the public funds. One local example is the Law Library maintained in the Court of Appeals Southern Division for the State of Missouri Located on John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield Missouri. This facility maintains public documents that the public can not see. Attorneys, however, are allowed access to this library.
We believe that public monies should go to provide for the public good. The public good is best served through the open record policy of the State of Missouri.
We at the PEOPLE'S LEGAL FRONT, Inc. have endeavored with minimal funds to provide access to public documents that until now were unavailable. We have continued to expose the unethical behavior of the civil servants that our tax dollars employ. We have tried to empower the citizenry of the State of Missouri by educating all citizens of their rights to have access to public governmental records. We have spent our own funds to procure legal material that is of need to any litigant. We have provided links through our web page to make other public information accessible. Yet, we have not but scratched the surface of the problem. The amount of records that are created by government is staggering and granted most is of no interest to the citizen. However, we must be ever vigilant to provide access to these records. For these records entail the workings of our government, and when these records provide enforcement provisions they become laws governing our lives. Thomas Jefferson said, "ignorance of the law is no excuse," therefore, we all must avail ourselves to these public governmental records. To do otherwise is to turn democracy into totaltarianism. We need your help; after all we do it for the good of all.
What has the PEOPLE'S LEGAL FRONT, Inc. accomplished?
PROBLEM: The problem is that the County Jails are not making adequate legal information available to the inmates who are awaiting trial while incarcerated in the County Jail. In some instances there are not even complete copies of the statutes, and rarely is there Missouri Supreme Court Rules available. There is no case law and the Code of State Regulations is not provided.
LIABLITY: The local governments should make available to the inmate population legal material. The liability for the local government is that by failing to comply with the statutes of the State of Missouri and the Constitutions for the State of Missouri and the United States of America creates a violation of civil rights that may be proceeded on by a Title 42 section 1983 action in Federal Court. Access to the Courts is a corner stone of our society.
SOLUTION: The People's Legal Front does intend to provide access to the Rules of Court and the statutes of the State of Missouri via the Internet. The People's Legal Front has access to the Rules of Court for the State of Missouri, provided by a Jackson County Judge. We have access to the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri via the Mo. Government homepage, as well as the People's Law Library, an Internet publication created and maintained by the PLF. We have access to the Missouri Approved Instructions Criminal 3rd via the Peopleís Law Library. We have access to the Case Law via Versus Law. The Code of State Regulation is being provided by the Secretary of State's Office and can also be provided. The Publication costs of this information would come to thousands of dollars for each county jail. The proposal of the PLF would supply this information to all jails via a computer thus only incurring the cost once, and thereby saving the public funds.
PLAN: The plan would entail the maintenance of a web page with limited access to the Internet. The web page would provide links to the public information concerning the laws of the land. It would take a computer equipped with a Pentium processor and 2 gigabytes of hard drive.
EQUIPMENT: Every County jail that is part of the People's Legal Front Network would have a computer adequate to provide the service that would remain available to the inmates 24 hrs a day. There may be occasion when the system would be down for servicing, but the down time should be minimal. There would have to be a telephone line that would, depending on usage, be dedicated to the institutionís law library. A printer for the production of documents should be provided and a Word Processing program for the creation of legal documents is necessary. E-mail links for the filing of documents should be provided with the links maintained in a dedicated address book. It is foreseeable that the inmates would need some technical instruction, which the PLF is planning on supplying if the jail staff is unable to provide.
PROBLEM: The problem is that the public governmental bodies are not complying with the sunshine law, Chapter 610 of the RSMo. The public governmental bodies of the state of Missouri are not maintaining public governmental records in a manner of openness so as to allow public inspection of these bodies. In the computer age we can reasonably expect the records created and maintained by government should be more readily availability for the public. It is a duty of every citizen to know what the governmental body does, and how it does it. The citizen should be capable of access to all public records.
LIABLITY: The public governmental bodies should make available to the population public records. The liability for the local government is that by failing to comply with the statutes of the State of Missouri and the Constitutions for the State of Missouri and the United States of America creates a violation of civil rights that may be proceeded on by a Title 42 section 1983 action in Federal Court.
SOLUTION: The People's Legal Front does intend to provide access to the public governmental records via the Internet. The People's Legal Front has access to the Rules of Court for the State of Missouri, provided by a Jackson County Judge. We have access to the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri via the Mo. Government homepage, as well as the People's Law Library, an Internet publication created and maintained by the PLF. We have access to the Missouri Approved Instructions Criminal 3rd via the Peopleís Law Library. We have access to the Case Law via Versus Law. The Code of State Regulation is being provided by the Secretary of State's Office and can also be provided. The proposal of the PLF would supply this information to all via a computer thus only incurring the cost once, and thereby saving the public funds.
PLAN: The plan would entail the maintenance of a web page with access to the Internet. The web page would provide links to the public information. The People's Legal Front has the capabilities to provide this service to the public.
EQUIPMENT: The People's Legal Front maintains the computers to store and provide access to the public governmental records in question. We must maintain an office. We are involved in continuing litigation.