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No Way to Win in This Town

TULSA, Okla. (CN) - A federal class action claims West Siloam Springs runs its city court by having the judge simultaneously serve as prosecutor. Six named plaintiffs say they were injured by the system - which, by the way, is unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs, all Oklahomans, sued the town, its mayor and City Council. They also object that the city judge, "whose salary is dependent upon the income generated by the Court," to negotiate defendants' fines and penalties.

They claim, "the conduct and operation of the Municipal Court of the Town of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma violates the separation of powers doctrine relating to fairness allowing the Municipal Judge to call and examine witnesses on behalf of both the Town of West Siloam Springs and the State and the Defendants, literally acting as both judge and prosecutor."

And that ain't all, the class claims: "Additionally, the defendant Town of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma further allows its Municipal Judge, whose salary is dependent upon the income generated by the Court, to resolve its pending cases with defendants who appear before its tribunal by negotiating fines and penalties, including cost collected by the Court, creating a union of investigative and judicial duties resulting in an unfair tribunal contrary to State and Federal constitutional due process requirements and in violation of the separation of powers doctrine."

The plaintiffs seek damages and injunction restraining the town from running its "constitutionally infirm" Municipal Court.

They are represented by William Mayo.

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