Last week, I called the Justice Department to inquire about an unusual decision they made to dismiss default judgements in a voter intimidation lawsuit the government filed under the Bush administration against the New Black Panther Party.
You remember the case of the menacing NBPP thugs who threatened voters at a Philly precinct. I blogged about it many times since the fall.
The Bush DOJ filed suit against Malik Shabazz and two of the local NBPP radicals who were on site — one with a billy club. None of them filed an answer to the lawsuit, putting them all into default. I am told this is the easiest way to win a lawsuit. But instead of taking the default judgment that DOJ is entitled to against all of the defendants, the department last week dismissed the lawsuit against two out of the three defendants. As Election Journal (which broke the story with exclusive video of the intimidation) notes, one of the individual defendants who was dismissed, Jerry Jackson, “is an elected member of the Philadelphia Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher.”
According to a legal source familiar with DOJ procedures, dismissing a lawsuit won by default is unheard of.
I contacted one of the DOJ lawyers, Spencer Fisher, who signed his name to the voluntary dismissal order. He referred me to Public Affairs. Spokesman Alejandro Miyar told me that the DOJ dropped the cases against Jackson nutball Malik Shabazz “after careful review.” I asked what new evidence caused the Obama DOJ to make such an unprecedented move. He said he “wasn’t a lawyer” and would try and find out. Good luck with that.
Meantime, the DOJ is apparently bracing for closer scrutiny of the case. Miyar said he was preparing to release a statement to “national media outlets.” Watch how they spin.
Here’s the text of the order:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, )
v. ) Civil Action No. 2:09-cv-0065
NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY )
FOR SELF-DEFENSE, an )
unincorporated association, MALIK ZULU )
SHABAZZ, MINISTER KING SAMIR )
SHABAZZ aka MAURICE HEATH, and )
JERRY JACKSON, )
RULE 41(a)(1)(A) NOTICE OF DISMISSAL
NOW COMES the Plaintiff, the United States, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A) and files this Notice of Dismissal of the above action and states as follows:
1. The Defendants New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson have not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment. These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United State has the right under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A) to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants: New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson.
2. The United States dismisses the claims against these Defendants without prejudice.
3. This dismissal does not extend to Defendant Minister King Samir Shabazz.
Case 2:09-cv-00065-SD Document 17 Filed 05/15/2009 Page 1 of 2
WHEREFORE, the United States, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A), files this voluntary dismissal and hereby dismisses the instant action against the Defendants New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson, without prejudice.
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Voting Section
ROBERT D. POPPER
s/ Spencer R. Fisher
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS
SPENCER R. FISHER
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division, Voting Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
NWB – Room 7146
Washington, D.C. 20006
– 2 –
Case 2:09-cv-00065-SD Document 17 Filed 05/15/2009 Page 2 of 2
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