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Comment Archives: Stories: Politics

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Geri is correct.
People like a winner. The people who conduct these polls know all about the "bandwagon effect": When a candidate is shown to be winning, that in itself generates votes.

That is why there are so many PHONY polls and surveys. They aren't all showing you how Americans are thinking or voting. They are actually swaying your vote and subtly influencing your thinking. They show you what the majority thinks (true or false) so that you will remember, and you DO remember, and act accordingly.
That's why Romney was favored to win (because he wasn't).

Not saying there aren't any REAL polls left, but Jesus wept, why would you believe a bunch of lawyers? I will never take a poll seriously again.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by poots on 07/02/2014 at 2:00 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Mr. Baker, Did you intend in your article to demean the endorsements heretofore offered by either, or both, the Democratic and Republican parties of Shelby County? Surely.those endorsements are "credible" and worthy of consideration in your view.


R.Parks

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by lawparks on 07/02/2014 at 12:26 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

My comments/criticisms relative to the MBA poll are offered in good faith and with all due respect to the Honorable Members and Non-Members of the Memphis Bar Association who did or did not take part in the poll.

Sincerely,
Richard Parks

6 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by lawparks on 07/01/2014 at 11:53 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

My apologies. Number 7 in my earlier comment should read as follows:

7) By far, most of those who RESPONDED to the poll were dues-paying MBA members.

Thanks,
BE the change for the better; VOTE.

Richard Parks

6 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by lawparks on 07/01/2014 at 10:25 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

I find no value in this poll in terms of choosing how to cast my vote. I learned nothing about any candidate; it seems predictable to me that lawyers would endorse an incumbent simply because it gives them the advantage of trying cases before judges whom they know and understand. I reject the idea that a limited survey of a limited number of lawyers is the poll that counts. I rather think that the purpose of the publication us to sway rather than to inform. If "all is fair in love and politics" lets at least be fair enough to say that this piece is a campaign of endorsement, not information to assist an informed vote.

8 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Geri Mumm on 07/01/2014 at 9:27 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Jackson, surely you jest with your headline, the “poll that counts"? Give us all a break. I didn’t know you were an attorney, much less a member of the MBA bar club. Surely, you are not that naïve. However, you have unnecessarily put yourself in the position of an “apologist”; defending and promoting the dubious MBA poll. Not a preferred nor appropriate roll for a journalist I would submit. The truth is that the MBA poll is tantamount to asking major environmental polluters to choose the people to be entrusted to regulate their industry/profession. If you believe the MBA poll, you believe that there is nothing wrong with our present legal system; public access, low costs, accountability and the fruits of justice abound. How else can you explain the virtually unanimous MBA support for incumbents and MBA members? Just as every golfer is not a member of an elitist country club; not every Shelby County lawyer is a member of a voluntary, dues paying, and self-serving club called the MBA. The MBA poll is not as advertised at best and cynically misleading at its worst. The people in general and the voters in particular are being deceived by the MBA poll but hopefully they will not be misled from voting for anything other than positive change.

Unfortunately for many incumbents, change means the system must be more accountable and responsive to the needs of the people and therefore they must go so that the system can be refreshed, renewed, reinvigorated and rededicated to better serve the people, the real intended beneficiaries of our legal system, going forward.

The Mayors, city councilmen and county commissioners are limited to only eight years. Why shouldn’t a Judge be likewise limited to one, 8 year term, or punch a clock or be annually scrutinized, graded and held accountable for his or service like a public school teacher? The MBA poll failed to inquire about and measure a Judge’s performance or justice index. For example, what is the Judge’s record of being upheld or overruled on appeal? And, if a judicial candidate accepts generous campaign contributions from big law firms, insurance companies, financial institutions, and other vested special interests, is he or she more likely to be independent, fair, impartial and dedicated to the best interests of all or less so? The answer is obvious to anyone with common sense.

Memphis has been my home for 61 years; during which time I went to school here, played here, raised a family here and have worked in and around the Shelby County Courthouses for at least 35 years; 26 of those years as a practicing attorney with a clean disciplinary record; and I have NEVER heard anyone other than an MBA member ever praise one of its polls as valid, reliable or even in the public’s best interest. There is simply NO RATIONAL BASIS for one to conclude anything other than the fact that the MBA poll is primarily self-serving and dominated by large, specially interested law firms which employ hundreds, and hundreds of lawyers voting in “blocks”, as well as other self-serving special interests voting to maintain the present virtually unaccountable status quo. With respect to the current MBA poll, the good of the voting public is secondary at best.

More facts about the MBA poll:

1 MBA chose email as its primary, if not its exclusive, method to distribute the poll.
2 Not every lawyer received that email poll. I’m a candidate and I did not even get one until I personally requested one; even then I didn’t get it until the last day.
3 The responses to the MBA poll are not entirely anonymous; they are readily identifiable per the email address of the person being polled, ostensibly to ensure against multiple responses.
4 Those who received paper ballots by mail were asked to actually sign their response!
5 Not every lawyer who actually received a poll even responded.
6 By far most of those who received a poll were MBA members.
7 By far most of those who received a poll were dues paying MBA members.
8 Lawyers uncertain of anonymity, like any reasonable person in a similar situation, are fearful and reluctant to vote against an established incumbent for obvious reasons.
9 The candidates were permitted a mere 300 characters (not words) to provide background information and assistance as a basis for any objective decision. When I personally complained to the MBA, an MBA representative dismissed the notion that more information would be needed or even helpful because “most lawyers already know who they will vote for anyway”. Conveniently, the questionnaire and its responses provide “cover” for personal loyalty to a friend, colleague or benefactor, not a basis for an opinion.

The MBA poll is fundamentally flawed and farcical and, under the circumstances, totally unreliable to provide much-needed fairness and justice for everyone. Voter’s would be better served by ignoring altogether the MBA poll in favor of making their own decision based upon their own research and intuition; not the poll that the MBA and the status quo hopes will STEER citizens to vote to preserve their (MBA & special interests) influence and pecuniary “rice bowl”. In my opinion, the MBA and the other “usual” self-interested "suspects" are not necessarily that concerned with increasing public access to affordable justice or even justice itself.

Interestingly enough, at this writing, the MBA website is “unavailable” for public viewing and/or it's “coming soon”. However, interested voters may be able to view for themselves the candidates’ actual limited responses to the MBA Questionnaire by going to:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxkkHfVCCnGualp6SWcxcDd0UWc/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1

Voters Beware,
Richard Parks

14 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by lawparks on 07/01/2014 at 8:07 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

The public is asked to write letters and call to give their support for State Senator Brian Kelsey to resubmit Senate Bill 1484 in January 2015.

The judicial and legal system in Memphis and Shelby County is in need of reform. There is mismanagement and corruption at all levels. This upcoming August election is not going to address the legal and judicial failings that occur daily in the Shelby County Judicial system.

The system is especially broken in regards to Shelby County Circuit Court. There are several divisions and current judges that are not serving the public interest. There divisions should be phased out. There has been a recent public outcry for several Circuit Court judges to retire or step for ethical reasons. They are harming the public interest.

State Senator Brian Kelsey
301 6th Avenue North
Suite 7 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone (615) 741-3036

District Office
110 E. Mulberry St. Suite 200
Collierville, TN 38017

12 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by TNJUDICIALGROUP on 07/01/2014 at 6:34 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

The last person I want telling me who is the most qualified to be judge a group of lawyers. The poll is a waste of time and effort. Has no value. No way of knowing if the numbers were actually correct or manipulated to achieve certain results. Voters are sophisticated and educated enough to decide who to vote for themselvs without a group of lawyers and critics trying to influence their decision and advance their own personal agendas.

15 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by sophisticated voter on 07/01/2014 at 5:59 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

If the poll taken is 85% accurate, that's close enough to make an intelligent selection. I would also take advantage of all available resources before voting. Having been to several forums; they're conflicting as well. Unless you practice law, have been before a judicial candidate or have been personally judged unfairly, the average Joe won't have a clue. Candidates don't necessarily tell the whole truth at these forums either. They're trying to maintain a job and will say anything and do anything to hold on to that position. It's politics and very nasty.

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Cynthia Stovall on 07/01/2014 at 5:42 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

If the poll is inaccurate most of the time then why conduct it. It has very little value and does not do provide any meaningful service for the voters. A better service would be to have a candidate forum and let voter's decide for themselves.

9 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by waste of time on 07/01/2014 at 5:12 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

The ALL CAPS individual sounds like a judicial candidate who's numbers were very low. Typically, when judges are doing a great job everyone knows it. As a clerk, I've never heard anything negative about one particular General Sessions judge and her score was higher than most. So, to that extent, her numbers were pretty accurate.

12 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Cynthia Stovall on 07/01/2014 at 4:45 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

As a couple of the respondents here have pointed out, this MBA lawyers' poll is not, and does nor purport to be, any kind of tout sheet as to who is likely to win out in such and such a race. It is, and is meant to be, the collective judgment of legal practitioners as to which candidates, in their estimation, and based on their experience, are best prepared to be the judge of this or that division.

19 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Jackson Baker on 07/01/2014 at 1:44 PM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Vote them all out, They are not following the TN Constitution. Vote NO on the ballot to change the constitution as to how to ELECT them.

14 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by MickeyWhite on 07/01/2014 at 11:45 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Remember 2010: These polls aren't meant to be a prediction of the elections, but an indicator of what the legal community thinks and who they believe to be best qualified.

Voter: The poll was mailed to every attorney in Shelby County who did not list an email address with the BPR, according to the bar association. It sounds like every effort was made to include everyone, members or not.

17 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Thankful for Guidance on 07/01/2014 at 10:54 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

Most of the results I see here seem to be pretty accurate and I'm kind of glad to

7 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Daniel Dewitt on 07/01/2014 at 10:16 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

I'm not sure what you folks mean by "official poll", it's exactly what it says it is. A poll of the attorneys that practice in Shelby County where they give their opinion of the judges they practice before. I don't practice much in Shelby County, and don't live there, so I don't participate in their poll anymore. When I did vote in the poll I only voted in those divisions of court where I practiced or had some knowledge of the candidates, which is what most attorneys do. That explains the "no opinion" numbers. You both are correct, the MBA poll is not a very good predictor of election outcomes, but it's not intended to be. It's just a way for the attorneys to let the voters know what they think of the various judges. I'll go a step further and say having the endorsement of the bar association is of little political value. I can only assume that "Remember", and "Voter" are either judicial candidates or have friends that are, and they didn't get recommended by the attorneys. Having been at this probably longer than both of you put together, my advice is to take a deep breath and don't worry about this poll. And for God's sake, turn off the all caps button on your keyboard.

24 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Drift Boat on 07/01/2014 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

This poll is not official and is wrong the majority of the time. Just ask Bill Dries from the Memphis Daily New about the MBA poll from 2010 or read his old article. Four of the five candidates rated highest in the MBA Poll by lawyers lost big. 795 lawyers responded of the 3000 sent out. The contested races in 2010 were Circuit Court 4 and 5, Criminal Court 3 and General Sessions Criminal 7 and 10. Only one candidate the MBA Poll rated highest won and he only won by a very slim margin in a three person race.

18 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Remember 2010 on 07/01/2014 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

BEWARE!!!!! THIS POLL IS NOT AN OFFICIAL POLL. I AM A MEMBER OF THE MBA AND IT IS NOT A RELIABLE POLL AND SHOULD NOT BE USED BY VOTERS TO MAKE THEIR DECISION. THE MBA SHOULD HAVE A DISCLAIMER ON IT LETTING THE PUBLIC KNOW IT’S NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT AND NOT RELIABLE. MANY LAWYERS DID NOT PARTICIPATE AND APPROXIMATELY 1/3 OF THOSE WHO DID HAD NO OPINION IN MOST RACES. THE POLL WAS ONLY EMAILED AND MANY LAWYERS IN SHELBY COUNTY NEVER RECEIVED THE EMAIL. MOREOVER, HOW CAN CRIMINAL LAWYERS WHO NEVER PRACTICE IN CIVIL COURT WITH CIVIL LAWYERS OR CIVIL COURT JUDGES MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ABOUT OTHER CIVIL LAWYERS AND JUDGES; AND HOW CAN CIVIL LAWYERS WHO NEVER PRACTICE IN CRIMINAL COURT MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ABOUT OTHER CRIMINAL LAWYERS AND CRIMINAL COURT JUDGES? THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE: THEY CAN’T.

POLITICS AT WORK? THERE IS POLITICS IN EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE MBA WHICH IS LARGELY SUPPORTED BY LAWYERS FROM LARGE FIRMS WHO REPRESENT INSURANCE COMPANIES, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND BIG BUSINESSES, NOT EVERYDAY WORKING PEOPLE, RETIREES, VETERANS, DISABLED AND THEIR FAMILIES. THIS POLL IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO EDUCATE VOTERS ABOUT THE QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE OF THE CANDIDATES. VOTERS BEWARE. DON'T BE FOOLED.

CAVEAT: REMEMBER THE RECENT HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR POLL PREDICTING A LARGE WIN. HE LOST HIS RE-ELECTION BID BY A LANDSLIDE.

23 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Voter on 07/01/2014 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

I'm grateful to the Memphis Bar Association for conducting this survey. Without it, we'd all be voting without any information about these candidates or not voting at all in many of the judicial races.

22 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by jmcole on 07/01/2014 at 7:39 AM

Re: “Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association

JB to respond to your heading "Here's the Judicial Poll That Counts! from the Memphis Bar Association"....It is the Votes from the Voters That Counts!... Not a few Attorneys sitting around chatting about who they would like to see in those positions.

19 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by JustRight on 07/01/2014 at 7:06 AM

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