Wednesday, March 16

With Special Grand Jury, Citizens have power to fight Court corruption

Citizens have the power to fight court corruption

A little-known legal provision gives ordinary citizens immense power, although very few know about it and even less invoke it. That power is the ability to request a special grand jury -- with subpoena power -- to investigate misconduct by government officials and officers of the court.
First mentioned in England's Magna Carta, grand juries were intended to be independent of the Crown. English colonists brought the concept to the New World, where it was later enshrined in the Fifth Amendment as an important check on the judiciary that shields innocent citizens from overzealous prosecutors.
According to the Virginia Supreme Court's 2010 "Handbook for Grand Jurors," the special grand jury, "composed entirely of private citizens, is the one non-political body with legal authority" to investigate court corruption on behalf of citizens unfairly denied their due process rights. But having the right doesn't guarantee it will be easy to exercise.
On March 4, James Renwick Manship of Arlington (NOTE: Actually of Mount Vernon. In Arlington from1979 to 1982 and 2007)  filed a second petition for a special grand jury with the Circuit Court in Winchester after his first petition was denied. The former Navy cryptologist and volunteer court observer has been trying to reopen a 16-year-old death penalty case prosecuted by former Winchester Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Thomson, who was arrested in January on unrelated federal charges of drug possession and witness tampering.
While Thomson was prosecuting 21-year-old Army veteran Jeff Washington for the murder of a local drug dealer 16 years ago, Winchester police reported that an informant told them that "Paul Thomson is skimming money from drug dealers." However, the allegations against Thomson were never investigated. Washington was convicted and sent to prison.
(NOTE: Actually the police report was 4 years later on 02-17-99 while prosecution of Washington was 02-28-95, but there were indicators in 1995 well before the Police Report of 1999).
Washington's father painstakingly gathered evidence -- including altered court transcripts by a court reporter who was allegedly having an affair with Thomson -- pointing to possible conspiracy by Winchester judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and detectives that are the proper subject of a special grand jury investigation.
However, grand jurors declined to convene one on Feb. 15 after presiding Judge John Wetsel told them in his "Supplemental Grand Jury Instructions" that he had not seen any such requests in his 20 years on the bench.
However, Manship pointed out that Wetsel had become "actively involved" with a previous request for a special grand jury submitted by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund in a 1996 case involving a severed cow's head that was dumped on a car hood during a United Auto Workers strike.
Shucheng Huang, a Vietnamese mother of four, was targeted by union thugs for crossing a picket line; they even sent a photo of her face superimposed on the cow's to intimidate her family. Huang and other victimized workers eventually settled a lawsuit NRTW filed against UAW. Either Judge Wetsel "forgot" about the cow's head -- or he was deliberately misleading grand jurors.
Manship also maintains that grand jury foreman Michael Butler should have recused himself because the former Winchester vice mayor had been involved in closed-door "personnel" meetings regarding one of the detectives named in his petition.
On Tuesday, Manship's second attempt to get a special grand jury was unsuccessful, as were his efforts to get an expedited ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court. "The Winchester court is a bag of worms, and they don't want to touch it," Manship told The Washington Examiner.
Citizens must not be so squeamish. As the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist once said: 

"Justice is too important a matter to be left to the judges, or even the lawyers."
Barbara F. Hollingsworth is The Examiner's local opinion editor.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Saturday, January 9

"Thomas Jefferson" speaks with Virginia Delegates and Senators in Fairfax County "Taj Mahal" (=Tax More!) Auditorium

Speaker number 41 walked to the podium in the "Spirit of Thomas Jefferson" to talk for 3 minutes about the Dangers to the Republic caused by a near 70 per cent decline in Jury Trials in Virginia in the past 9 years which means a similar number increase in Judicial Tyranny in Virginia Courts in the same time frame.

The Founding Fathers considered the Jury as the lower house in a Bi-Cameral Judiciary to add balance to the natural autocratic or tyrannical tendency of Judges, in much the same way the House of Delegates is a balance to the natural aristocratic tendency of Senators.

Citizens in America today have LOST that fundamental understanding of how the Judicial Branch was designed to function... More below, along with a few bits of humor thrown in for levity to balance the gravity of the threat to Liberty by Judges.


I appear today as the Spirit of Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father & founder of the original REPUBLICAN Party (NOT as we are taught wrongly in school, the "Democratic-Republican Party"). Jefferson was wise to warn us about unjust Judges. You have heard of me say, "I can not live without my books." Today I can not live without my MacBook.

I am J.R. "States" Manship, Historian and "Journalist for Justice", appointed in 1998 by Governor Gilmore to the Mount Vernon Board of Visitors. In 2001, I testified to a Joint Task Force exposing gross injustice in Virginia's Divorce Courts.

In this same building in May 2003, I testified to 4 Chief Judges of the Virginia Judicial Reform Commission.

I quoted Amos 5:15 - "Hate evil and love the Good. Remodel your Courts into True Halls of Justice." The judges were Google-eyed and dumb-founded, that I would boldly quote God's Word to them, little gods, showing how Bible Wisdom applies to Judges...

I also spoke of the need to DIGITALLY record EVERY Court hearing to FORCE ACCOUNTABILITY on judges and lawyers. Maryland does so with audio. 98 per cent of Kentucky Courts already do so with Jefferson Audio & Video Systems as do Chesapeake, Chesterfield, Roanoke, and Wise Courts in Virginia.

Why not be WISE all across Virginia?

Jefferson wisely stated:
"Judges whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution should be removed from the bench. It may, indeed, injure them in fame or fortune, but it saves the Republic." Amen & Amen!

From the Chief Justice Report of 2008, we learn of a Dire Threat to the Life and Liberty of every Virginian, due to a near 70 per cent DECLINE in use of Jury Trials in the past 9 years of Judicial Tyranny.

In 1979 were two comedy movies, one was "The Villain" with Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, and the "Handsome Stranger" Arnold the Governator. The other movie was "The JERK", with Steve Martin, not the famous Virginia Senator, that other guy.


Judges judged by a JIRC, the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, naturally "inquiring minds want to know" if they EVER remove villainous judges.

Under our Constitution, it is NOT the job of Judges to judge Judges who have been jerks or "Villains". That is YOUR JOB, the DUTY of the LEGISLATURE.

Past Virginia General Assemblies have abrogated this Duty and added Costs to the Taxpayers with the useless JIRC -- judges judging judges.

Last February, I spoke before a Joint meeting of the Senate and House Courts of Justice Committees to "torpedo" Judge Wetsel of Winchester because "the GOOD judge" compared Washington to ADOLF HITLER.

That innocent black Army Veteran, Jeff Washington, sits in jail for 15 years while a JERK judge sits on the Bench and sucks in taxpayer dollars for 15 years.

That makes my blood boil!

For Virginia Voters, Write the new Governor praying he Pardon Jeff Washington.

Also YOU, our Elected Servants, need to REMOVE the Adolf Hitler judge, and ZERO the budget for the useless JIRC Judge Commission.

Thank you.
May you and all
Americans Bless God
by doing GW - God's Will.

Attorney Isidore Rodriguez speaks to Fairfax elected servants to the General Assembly of Virginia.

Attorney Isidore Rodriguez speaks to Fairfax elected servants to the General Assembly of Virginia. (portions of his four page, 3 minute speech)

Friday, January 8

Jury manipulation by BAR-barian lawyers and JUDGES

In Virginia, the Report of the Chief Justice shows a 70 per cent decline in JURY Trial use from 1999 to 2008.

Why? For a number of reasons, one likely related to the "bifurcated trial", one trial to determine NOT Guilty or Guilty, and a second to determine the sentence if Guilty.

That means more work for the lawyers, and they discourage their clients by telling of the huge additional legal costs, and frighten them with stories of "fickle", "excessive", or "harsh" sentences given by Jurors.

CLICK on the Image below to enlarge for ease of reading, and seeing the near 70 per cent DECLINE in LIBERTY in Virginia during the "RULE" of Chief Justice Hassell.

Then even if the Client demands a Jury Trial, the JURY Trial System is all too often manipulated by lawyers and judges with tricky or even un-Constitutional "Jury Instructions" that a lazy lawyer or complicit "sell-out my client" "go-along, get-along" lawyer may not make, on the record in Court, an Objection to the poor Jury Instructions.

And far more than any Juror, one judge on a case can be far more easily "bribed" by influential lawyers with promises of income with a "Distinguised Professorship" at a law school or boondoggle payments for a "Continuing Legal Education" conference in a posh Resort. So no cash on the barrel head is able to be easily tracked, and there is "plausible deniability", but the reality is bribes are offered to judges and taken.

The Founding Fathers, far more wise than modern day Americans, well knew the power and importance of the Juror.

Indeed, in the Legislative Branch there was the Senate (Upper Chamber) and the House (Lower Chamber) to provide balance and ACCOUNTABILITY in a Bi-Cameral legislature, the Founding Fathers considered the Jurors as the lower chamber and the Judges as the upper chamber in a Bi-Cameral Judiciary, so to force balance and ACCOUNTABILITY.

Yet, again, I call to Virginia Voter's attention for ACTION, in Virginia, the Report of the Chief Justice shows a 70 per cent decline in JURY Trial use from 1999 to 2008.

Friday, January 1

Rule of Law vs. Rules of Law, What shall We have ~ God's Rule of Law OR Lawyers' Rules of Law

Click on the image below to enlarge for ease of reading.
Lots of powerful and profound, little known insight to how
We the People can control our Public Servants!

Wednesday, September 23

With JURY Pro Se Litigant BEE-lief in RIGHTS, he WINS against Police and Prosecutor

Due to the wise ways of Jurors in a Jury in Roanoke County, Virginia, Pro Se party James Renwick Manship, Sr., won a NOT GUILTY verdict on a "RADAR GUN" Speeding Charge.

The reality is that Manship was not that day, 4 March 2009, speeding, but the Policeman did not like a big orange sign in the back of his "Bee-Mobile" pickup truck that said, "HALT Bell Execution Gov. Kaine",

so pulled Manship over to give him a false, harassment traffic ticket, kind of like a part time job for the Policeman who gets paid time and a half or double time beyond 4 hours or so per pay period in Court.

Bell was a mentally retarded black man framed by a Democrat Prosecutor who Police notes stated was reported by a trusted informant as "skimming money from drug dealers".

Bell was accused, and "convicted" by planted evidence and prosecutor misconduct, of shooting Policeman Ricky Timbrook. A careful reading of the Court records of evidence shows the unbiased reader that Bell was NOT the Guilty party.

The Police came up at the stop with a surly attitude, but ask why if it was JUST a so called Speeding stop?

But Manship a "Journalist for Justice" had his handy-dandy HD video camera setting on the dashboard. The Policeman REALLY DID NOT LIKE THAT, and ORDERED Journalist Manship to take it down and cut it off.

Well, Journalist Manship, fearful of abuse of authority by the surly policeman, even though it was an UN-Constitutional order by the police, did take the camera down, but did NOT cut it off, so it was STILL able to record audio, and a skewed partial image of the cab of the truck from the satchel where the camera was placed.

A bunch of other "stuff" went down on that first meeting, with Manship assuring the First Amendment Rights Violating Policeman that he would NOT send in a payment as the Policeman stated could be done, but would demand a JURY TRIAL.

Well the first trial was in front of a corrupt judge in the General District Court, so Manship was found Guilty, sadly as expected from a judge who is part of the traffic court extortion system of money from citizens by false tickets.

Manship immediately in Court Appealed to a JURY TRIAL. Manship was given notice of the Circuit Court date, appeared, and immediately OBJECTED to the proceedings. The judge said, "How can you object, nothing has been said yet?"

Manship stated, "I object because I appealed for JUSTICE by a JURY trial, and there is NO JURY present here today."

The judge said, "If you lose you have to pay the cost of a Jury."

Manship responded, "I am willing to pay the cost of Freedom and Justice."

The trial was rescheduled to 23 September 2009.

Again, at the start of the trial the judge said "Mr. Manship, the Clerk sent notices to 24 people for Jury Duty, and all 24 responded. So even though this trial will only have 7 Jurors, if you lose, you will have to pay the Per Diem Costs of all 24."

Manship quickly calculated in his head that meant $720 beyond the Court Costs and fees, and any fines or penalties directly associated with the Policeman's false charge.

Had Manship "just paid the ticket", it would likely have been not more than $150, a maximum of $200 plus Court Costs.

And the cost of gasolene for THREE ROUND TRIPS from Alexandria to Roanoke was several hundred dollars.

And the cost of TIME, even at minimum wage, for THREE ROUND TRIPS, and THREE TIMES in COURT and waiting for your CASE in COURT, is several hundred dollars.

The Traffic Court system knows those Economic Factors mentioned above, and sets the fines at a level to maximize the County Revenue by people just giving up and saying "It is not worth it to fight this unfair ticket."

The Traffic Courts are basically a "Legal Extortion Racket". The County gets Revenue, and the Policemen get an easy job, waiting, drinking coffee, getting paid overtime.

Again, Manship replied, "I am willing to pay the cost of Freedom." The Court system was being manipulated to minimize any real claim to Justice, trying to intimidate a Citizen from exercising the RIGHT to DEMAND a TRIAL BY JURY.

Well Manship began discussing MOTIVATION, the policeman was being PAID to write tickets and be in Court, so it was a part time job. Everyone else in the Courtroom, the Prosecutor, the Judge, the Clerk, the Bailiffs, everyone including the Jurors, though WAY TOO LOW at $30 per day were being PAID, EXCEPT the Defendant. So the Defendant had NO MOTIVATION to tell a Falsehood, because it would have been FAR LESS COSTLY to just pay the "Damn" ticket and be done with it without all the "hassle".

But the Policeman's corrupt motivation is basically a "He Said, She Said" argument, not able to be proven. Still useful to expose the dishonest motives of the Policeman.

Then Manship asked where in the Court room was the Radar Gun? Where is a Radar Gun serial number? In a Police Log or Journal? Where is evidence of WHERE the Radar Gun was activated and where was the truck Manship was driving at the alleged time of the "Crime"? What was the distance? What are the specification of accuracy? How many degrees is the "Beam", so what is the width of the beam at 100 feet and what at 500 feet? Where is the record of the Policeman's training in proper use of the Radar Gun? Where is the record of the Radar Gun being in calibration? Where is a Radar Gun expert?

Then Manship requested documents, that the Prosecution had NOT provided previously. Manship looked at the "Prosecution Evidence" and saw MANY inconsistencies in "serial numbers" or "registration numbers" between the two documents, supposedly from the start and end of the Policeman's watch.

And also noticed that the Radar Gun showed it needed a new calibration TWO DAYS BEFORE the gun was used to SHOOT Manship.

Manship stated to the Jury, if the Police could not even do timely maintenance, and could not get their serial numbers on their two documents consistent, WHY WOULD WE believe they might not also "Fabricate" or "Falsify" a Radar Gun Speeding Charge.

Manship read each point of the Jury Instructions that each said "Reasonable Doubt" and said, Clearly there is Reasonable Doubt, as to Motive, maybe, but as to accurate paperwork, absolutely.

The Jury agreed with Manship and rendered a NOT GUILTY verdict, despite the perception of most citizens that if you are "Caught on Radar, you are Guilty." The TRUTH is the Police may give you a ticket and never "shoot you" with a Radar Gun. Traffic Tickets are a "Profit Sector" of the "Business of Government" of putting its hands in the pockets of Taxpayers.

The only place most Government Bureaucrats want to drill is in YOUR WALLET!

And a final tally of costs is TO DEFEND and WIN (Pro Se) Cost about $700 or more. If a Citizen had an attorney who did not sell out his client as far too many do, it would have cost THOUSANDS for this fraudulent ticket. If the Citizen had a typical attorney, the defense would have been lackadaisical, the Citizen would have lost, and had to pay Jury Costs, Defense Lawyer Costs, and Court Costs.

To submit to Police Corruption and Judicial Tyranny would have only cost about $200. Extortion, thy name is Traffic Court!

Sometimes the individual Citizen MUST BE WILLING TO PAY THE COSTS OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE, so that hopefully fewer of his fellow Citizens will fall VICTIM of the same sort of TYRANNY and EXTORTION.

Thank God and the Founding Fathers for giving us the RIGHT of a JURY TRIAL to Control the "OUT OF CONTROL" Police and Prosecutors of modern America.

NOW as a "Reward" for your BEE-lief that YOU TOO can WIN against the BARbarians, enjoy this "Bee Bee Doll" with the Bee-Mobile...

On All Hallow's Eve, would those be BOO-BEES?
(Hey, you got to smile and enjoy life too!)

Friday, April 17

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury.

Thank you for being here, truly thank you very much.

With your presence in this courtroom, we have the simple, essential element of Justice.

I am NOT a lawyer, I am an Historian.

Benjamin Franklin in his Poor Richard’s Almanac modified an old folk saying:
“For want of a nail a shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe a horse was lost.

For want of a horse a rider was lost.
For want of a rider a battle was lost.”

For want of a nail a nation was lost.” (or words to that effect).

For want of a simple item, a cascade of calamity flows forth.

Our being here in this Civil Court room today with a Jury is illustrative of that truth.

Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, one of the “organic elements” of our law in America even today wrote:
“The history of the present...
is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,
all having in direct object
the establishment of an absolute Tyranny...

For depriving us in many cases of
the benefits of Trial by Jury.”

Our forefathers fought a Revolution to earn our Right, your Right, and my Right, to have a Trial by Jury, and other Rights of Due Process and Civil Procedure.

The Right of a Trial by Jury is enshrined in “this Constitution for the United States of America” in Article III, Section 2,
“The Trial of all Crimes,..., shall be by Jury;...”
yet that Right was extended by the Bill of Rights to Civil cases as well, Article or Amendment VI is for Criminal cases and Amendment VII is for Civil Cases where is proclaimed:
“In Suits at common law,...
the right to trial by jury
shall be preserved,...

In 2004, Virginia Court of Appeals Judge D. Arthur Kelsey wrote about the Framers’ legal philosophy in an issue of Virginia Lawyer magazine:
“To them, the jury was no procedural formality,
but a fundamental reservation of power in our constitutional structure.
Just as suffrage
(voting) ensures the people’s ultimate control
in the legislative and executive branches,

jury trial is meant
to ensure their control in the judiciary.”

In Virginia, the Bill of Rights is placed first as Article I of the Constitution of Virginia before the rest of the Constitution to establish its preeminence in importance, wherein Section 11 the second paragraph states:
“That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man,
trial by jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred."

In Williamsburg, Virginia at the National Center for State Courts with its Center for Jury Studies that has a branch office about two blocks up Wilson Boulevard here in Arlington, they quote Founding Father Thomas Jefferson yet again:
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor
ever yet imagined by man

by which government can be held to
the principles of its constitution...”

One could sum up the above wise words of wise men with:
“No Jury, no Justice.”

You have probably heard the saying,
“A man who represents himself has a fool as a client.”
Likely that saying came from a lawyer, or second hand from a lawyer.

The true saying is a bit different, ...
it too came from a lawyer,...
one who never went to law school,...
a man who was a repeated failure in life in one venture after another,...
until he finally turned his life around and succeeded.

Lincoln was that Man, that man was a lawyer.

However, as a man who is an Historian,
I researched that saying of Lincoln to learn that he said:
“A LAWYER who represents himself has a fool as a client.”
Not just any citizen, but a lawyer.

The question we should then ask, is “When?”
When did he become a fool?
When he became a client?
Or when he became a lawyer?

Saturday, January 10

"We all know that permanent judges acquire an esprit de corps; that, being known, they are liable to be tempted by bribery; that they are misled by favor, by relationship, by a spirit of party, by a devotion to the executive or legislative; that it is better to leave a cause to the decision of cross and pile than to that of a judge biased to one side; and that the opinion of twelve honest jurymen gives still a better hope of right than cross and pile does."

--Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux, 1789. ME 7:423, Papers 15:283

Jefferson's words, "...judges acquire an esprit de corps" is a graceful way of saying display an attitude of arrogance, that judges are "Masters", rather than SERVANTS, elected by the Legislature to SERVE the Citizens, who are the Masters, or Sovereigns in America, so "Sovereign Immunity", or its sub-set "Judicial Immunity", is an alien concept to Jefferson's Declaration of Independence from which derives the rest of the body of American Law.

Friday, April 18

NY Chief Justice Judith Kay sues State of NY (for more pay!) Ripe for JURY TRIAL?!?

Chief Justice Sues the State of New York

Why no request by the "Chief Justice" for a TRIAL BY JURY? Might she know the wise Citizens would not look kindly on the corrupt judges and justices receiving MORE pay, there is "justice" in poor pay for poor work?

The New York Times reported on April 11, 2008 that the Chief Justice Judith Kaye in the state of New York has sued the state on behalf of the state's 1,250 judges claiming that the state has violated their constitutional rights for failing to pay them an appropriate salary. New York judges have not received a pay raise since January of 1999 and their salaries are nearly the lowest nationally, based on a cost of living comparison. A copy of the complaint filed by Chief Justice Kaye is available online and is worth the time to read.

How about the national television story of the "pay under the table" of a New York judge. Are we to believe that judge was the only judge receiving "extra pay". And what about "pay" as law school professors, does the "Chief Justice" include that income?

JUDITH KAYE in her official capacity as
Chief Judge of the State of New York and


SHELDON SILVER in his official capacity as SUMMONS
Speaker of the New York State Assembly Index No
BRuNO in his official capacity as Temporary
President of the New York State Senate THE
PATERSON in his official capacity as Governor
of the State of New York and THE STATE OF

You are hereby summoned and required to serve upon plaintiffs attorneys an answer to the complaint in this action within 20 days of service of this summons on you exclusive of the
date of service or within 30 days after service is complete if this summons is not personally
delivered to you within the State of New York

In case of your failure to answer judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded in the complaint

The basis for the designated venue is the county in which plaintiff Chief Judge Judith Kaye resides
Dated New York New York
April 10 2008

Sunday, March 16

Thomas Jefferson on the Jury, letter to Arnoux, a.d. 1789 July 19

To the Abbé Arnoux
19 July 1789
Papers 15:282--83
Books on the subject of Juries.
Complete juryman, or a compendium of the laws relating to jurors.
12mo. 3/
Guide to English juries. 12mo. 1/. 1682.
Hawles's Englishman's right. 8vo. and 12mo. 1/
Jurors judges both of law and fact by Jones. 3/
[Volume 5, Page 364]Security of Englishmen's lives, or the duty of grand juries.
12mo. 1/
Walwin's juries justified. 4to. 1/
Paris July 19. 1789.
Dear Sir
The above is a catalogue of all the books I recollect on the subject of juries. With respect to the value of this institution I must make a general observation. We think in America that it is necessary to introduce the people into every department of government as far as they are capable of exercising it; and that this is the only way to ensure a long-continued and honest administration of it's powers.

1. They are not qualified to exercise themselves the EXECUTIVE department: but they are qualified to name the person who shall exercise it. With us therefore they chuse this officer every 4. years.

2. They are not qualified to LEGISLATE. With us therefore they only chuse the legislators.

3. They are not qualified to JUDGE questions of law; but they are very capable of judging questions of fact. In the form of JURIES therefore they determine all matters of fact, leaving to the permanent judges to decide the law resulting from those facts.

But we all know that permanent judges acquire an Esprit de corps, that being known they are liable to be tempted by bribery, that they are misled by favor, by relationship, by a spirit of party, by a devotion to the Executive or Legislative; that it is better to leave a cause to the decision of cross and pile, than to that of a judge biassed to one side; and that the opinion of 12 honest jurymen gives still a better hope of right, than cross and pile does. 

It is left therefore to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any biass whatever in any cause, to take upon themselves to judge the law as well as the fact.

They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges, and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty.

Were I called upon to decide whether the people had best be omitted in the Legislative or Judiciary department, I would say it is better to leave them out of the Legislative. 

The execution of the laws is more important than the making them. However it is best to have the people in all the three departments where that is possible
.The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Julian P. Boyd et al. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950--.

Wednesday, April 18

GW Will Ordered Arbitration NOT Litigation

George Washington's Will

A few days ago, your faithful lawblogger attended a seminar on arbitration. One of the interesting tidbits of the course was that George Washington had a provision in his will requiring all disputes be arbitrated rather than litigated. It would seem that the aim of the father of our country to foster means of alternate dispute resolution more than two hundred years ago clearly placed him ahead of his time!

Even though it may seem like a good idea to reach beyond the grave and require that disputes involving estates be arbitrated rather than litigated, this would be in clear conflict with the laws of New York which prohibit arbitration in such situations. Obviously, this might deny the Surrogate the power to review the conduct of fiduciaries acting in place of the decedent and to force them to account where necessary. If arbitration were to be allowed, it might compromise the rights of infants or of creditors of the decedent.

It is also important to keep in mind the fact that the driving philosophy adhered to in Surrogate's Court is to determine and achieve the true desires of the maker of a will. Therefore, while the intention of a testator to have disputes settled by arbitration could be achieved by enforcing such a clause, there is no guarantee that the arbitration process would operate successfully to determine and to achieve the overall intention of the testator insofar as distributing his or her assets would be concerned.

Courts have held , however, that where one has entered into an enforceable agreement during his or her lifetime, arbitration clauses in that agreement will be upheld. Therefore, the estate will be required to be involved in the arbitration of disputes arising under such a contract.