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Judicial Misconduct And Civil Rights Violations Committed By Judge Michael Higgins In Rhode Island Courts

Judge Michael Higgins?
Is Judge Michael Higgins the Judge Judy of Rhode Island?  If you have experienced one of his "bad days" you might think so!

Recuse this Judge using a Motion To Recuse if you have good reason to believe that  this Judge will not be fair and impartial.  Also see the page on How To Deal With A Bad Judge.


UPDATE:  It was reported to Caught in 11-2006 and again in 8-2007 that Judge Higgins  has continued his practices of ignoring the law, conducting biased hearings, treating the poor or unrepresented with contempt and exhibiting a difficult demeanor during proceedings.

Complaint One

Imagine you are a Citizen falsely accused of a crime.  You are brought before Judge Michael Higgins to plead innocent.  At the hearing, Judge Higgins goes on a verbal tirade regarding his personal opinion of the alleged crime and those who commit the alleged crime.  This is exactly what happened to this Rhode Island Citizen

Complaint Two

Following is a copy of the complaint of judicial misconduct filed by Richard Garganta, a Pro Se litigant. 

This Case Proves The Commission On Judicial Tenure And Discipline Doesn't View Willful Violations Of Law As Judicial Misconduct

STATEMENT OF FACTS
THE FOLLOWING COMPLAINTS ARE NOT AN APPELLATE PROCEDURE. THESE COMPLAINTS DEAL WITH JUDGE MICHAEL HIGGINS CONDUCT RELATED TO THE JUDICIAL CANONS.

1. In a eviction hearing in the matter of Mobile Village Inc. v. Richard Garganta [Case 97-772] on or about 8-27-97 Judge Michael Higgins refused to follow RIGL Law 31-44-5(a)(b)(c) and RIGL 34-18-46(b) involving violations of Canons 1, 2A, 3B5(iii) and 3B6.

2. In a eviction hearing in the matter of Mobile Village Inc. v. Richard Garganta [Case 97-772] on or about 8-27-97 Judge Michael Higgins refused to recognize and follow RIGL Law 31-44-7(1)(vi)(vii) and RIGL 31-44-7(1)(viii) involving violations of Canons 1, 2A, 3B5(iii) and 3B6.

3. Also in said hearing Judge Michael Higgins effectively blocked all questioning regarding wrong doing of the Plaintiff in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8 and the statutes in #1 and #2 above.

4. Also in said hearing Judge Michael Higgins' comments were peppered with several "sit downs" causing confusion in violation of Canons 1, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8.

5. Judge Michael Higgins willfully ignored the rebuttable presumption the Court was to follow according to the statutes mentioned in #1 and #2 above in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8.  This was not judicial "oversight" - the law was clearly stated to Judge Higgins and it was scorned, dismissed and ignored.

6. Judge Michael Higgins refused to allow Defendant to raise any question of the court in violation of Canons 1, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8.

7. Judge Michael Higgins refused to take call from Defendant regarding scheduling relaying through clerk he only takes calls from Lawyers, not Pro Se's in violation of Canon 1 and showing bias and prejudice.

8. Judge Michael Higgins told Defendant the RI statutes forbid granting Defendant an extension of time. In the next breath Judge Michael Higgins granted an extension for another eviction in the same mobile home park stating, "This will take it beyond the RI statute" in violation of Canon 1 showing bias, prejudice and selective enforcement of RI law.

9. Judge Michael Higgins ignored the District Court forms used in eviction cases by not allowing any defense of the Defendant to be part of his consideration in violation of Canons 1, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8.

10. Judge Michael Higgins stated to the Defendant, "I am only concerned about one thing. Did you pay the landlord the rent or not. If you did not, I am prepared to rule against you." Judge Michael Higgins also stated to the Defendant, "We are not here to discuss these other issues you are raising." This shows a willful ignoring of Defendant's lawful defense in violation of Canons 1, 3B4, 3B5i, 3B5iii, 3B6 and 3B8 and the statutes in #1 and #2.

11. Judge Michael Higgins willfully ignored the danger to Defendant's life and property showing bias, prejudice, reckless disregard and in violation of Canons 1 and 2A.

12. After Judge Michael Higgins willfully created the need for the Defendant to appeal by ignoring his lawful defense, Judge Michael Higgins ignored illness in considering Defendant's late appeal. This shows bias, prejudice and a violation of Canons 1 and 2A.

13. After willfully ignoring Defendant's lawful defense, Judge Michael Higgins willfully pushed Defendant into an appeal procedure not mentioning there was a $150 dollar fee or asking whether the fee was a problem for the Defendant. This shows a reckless disregard for the poor, bias, prejudice and a violation of Canons 1 and 2A.

14. Judge Michael Higgins committed the above knowing the consequences for the Defendant was the loss of his home and virtually everything in it. This shows reckless disregard for the poor and of property rights in violation of his oath of office and Canons 1 and 2A and the statutes in #1 and #2.

15. Judge Michael Higgins attitude appears to be, "This is a kangaroo court. If you want the issues discussed, take it upstairs."

I, Richard Garganta, do swear that all the statements in this entire document are true and accurate. Sincerely, Richard Garganta . END OF COMPLAINT.  

The response from the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline Chairperson Alice B. Gibney came on 12-9-97 stating, "[File # 97114] Please be advised that the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline considered your complaint filed against Judge Michael Higgins at its last meeting.  After careful review of the complaint, the Commission found no evidence of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct or Canons of Judicial Ethics and has therefore closed its file in this matter."  Note: A Writ of Certiorari on same issues denied.

Complaint Three

Imagine that you have been unjustly arrested and locked up.  The court knows it.  Despite this, Judge Michael Higgins makes the unjustly accused and incarcerated wait until they are the last case heard and the courtroom is empty before releasing them.  This is the "courtesy" showed Citizen Ernest LeBeau by Judge Michael Higgins.

Other Comments About Judge Michael Higgins

Judge Michael Higgins has a tendency to act like Judge Judy in pants. He is highly intelligent, yet quick to a fault. At times he appears bored, irritated and impatient when dealing with the Citizens before him. In my case:

  • Judge Higgins had no problem ignoring Rhode Island law, and he has steadfastly refused to address his error and
  • Judge Higgins showed nothing but contempt and callous disregard for basic civil rights and the poor.
  • Judge Higgins apparently feels it is acceptable for him to "punish" a litigant if he is rubbed the wrong way, even if that means forcing the litigant to appeal by knowingly and willfully making a ruling which is NOT according to law or the facts.
  • Apparently, Judge Higgins rules according to which lawyer he favors.  If one wants an example of the term "judicial arrogance", watch or appear before Judge Higgins a few times, especially if your poor or Pro Se.
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