End Black Robe Syndrome:
on Missouri’s Liberal Justice Patricia Breckinridge
Most reasonable people want just one thing from the judges who preside over our courts — be fair and follow the law. Unfortunately, Missouri is plagued with one justice on its state Supreme Court who is out of control and suffering from so-called black robe syndrome: Patricia Breckinridge.
This November, Missouri voters will have the opportunity to send a message to the court and other high-ranking judges who refuse to simply do their jobs by sending Justice Breckinridge packing.
The judge’s record is consistent: purely anti-law enforcement, anti-public safety, and anti-rule of law. Her many dubious accomplishments include:
- Ruled that Planned Parenthood, based on a technicality, could continue receiving state funding, going against the clear spirit of the law, which was duly put into place by the governor and state legislature.
- Sided with a killer who murdered a St. Louis attorney on a legal technicality.
- Signed on to an opinion that would have struck down an affidavit and photo ID requirement in order to guarantee election security and prevent illegal immigrants from voting.
- Sided with sex offenders and drug offenders on technicalities to help them get lighter punishments for their crimes.
- Prevented a serious juvenile offender from being tried as an adult in order to help him avoid appropriate punishment.
Off the bench, Breckinridge’s record is atrocious, reflecting arrogance and exceedingly poor judgment. For example, she commented publicly on the Michael Brown case, which stood a very good chance of coming before her. Any comment alone would have been unethical, but the fact that she took sides was beyond egregious.
Breckenridge also spearheaded the Missouri Supreme Court’s controversial new bail reform rules, which were handed down not by the legislature, but by edict of the court. This is highly problematic because the rules are essentially handing get-out-of-jail-free cards to hardened, repeat criminals in Missouri. They work against the will of the people by tying the hands of judges to perform the duties they were put there to do.
This is no minor complaint. Law enforcement officials from across Missouri stormed the State Capitol in an attempt to repeal the new rules, arguing that they turned the state into a catch-and-release criminal justice system. The Missouri Sheriffs Association expressed outrage regarding the results of Breckinridge’s efforts, saying, “What we’re seeing is what we believe is a real risk to public safety, there is horror story after horror story throughout the state of these offenders who are released.”
Meanwhile, Ralls County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ronald Haught said, “We will arrest somebody, in cases of the past where they would have a fairly significant bond or we would be able to put them in jail and hold them for the public safety aspect of it, now we bring them in, we fingerprint them, and we release them.”
Along with the state Supreme Court (ostensibly at her direction), Breckenridge ignored a letter sent by 80 Missouri legislators demanding that the rules be changed.
To any observer of the situation, it is obvious that Breckenridge has no regard for the people’s representatives, including the law enforcement officers who are charged with keeping the peace. To her, they simply don’t matter. This is why rioters, looters, and those who seek to upend our democracy are on her side because they can exercise the “free will” to destroy our state and face no consequences.
The awful truth of Breckenridge’s performance will never be heard from the lawyers who appear before her. The Missouri Bar Association survey that reviews the performance of judges is worthless. They always say that judges do a great job because ultimately lawyers get what they want under the present system — the ability to bypass what the legislature has intended and charge exorbitant fees. Most appalling of all, lawyers are complicit with the courts in making the rule of law whatever they want it to be. Survey results merely reflect the flagrant manner in which judges, like Breckenridge, are pampered in order to guarantee that the status quo of elitism continues.
Regarding the question of whether she follows the appropriate law, of the 265 lawyers who answered, barely half said she always follows the law.
Any business that had this failure rate would quickly be out of business. But apparently, the Missouri Bar Association thinks this is good enough for the state. The truth is that something is broken over at the Missouri Supreme Court, and Justice Breckenridge is one of the big problems.
Law enforcement in our big cities is stretched to the maximum, while respect for the rule of law, along with the men and women pledged to protect and serve, is at its lowest point in memory. Yet, Supreme Court Justice Breckenridge has made it clear that she supports criminals over law enforcement and chaos over the rule of law. She has demonstrated repeatedly that she will advocate for the free release of those charged with harming the police, burning down property, and rioting, and looting. And when they are convicted, she will argue for lesser sentences to be imposed.
Outraged citizens looking for a change must take to the ballot box on election day. The only way we can end black robe syndrome in Missouri is to tell the courts that they work for the people, not themselves or their own personal interests.
VOTE NO ON BRECKENRIDGE!