-Rep Tarponweh Reacts
Margibi County District One Representative, Tibelrosa Tarponweh, said he did nothing wrong to impede the Court from exercising her responsibility; but acted within the confines of his oversight as a lawmaker of his people.
The Margibi County lawmaker made the statement Tuesday, September 18, 2018, when he left the Courtroom of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court for Margibi County, sitting in its August Term, on the order Assigned Judge, Her Honor: Ceainah D. Clinton-Johnson, who had issued a Writ of Summon against him for Contempt of Court.
According to the Writ of Summon dated September 12, 2018, the Court commanded Representative Tarponweh to appear before Judge Clinton-Johnson on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 to show cause, why he cannot be attached with Contempt of Court for obstructing the service of a Writ of Re-possession issued out of the Court on the 8th day of September, 2018 against Marie Johnson, Thomas Yaya Nimely and James Gibson, defendants, all of Duarzon, Lower Margibi County, in an Action of Ejectment out which the Writ of Re-possession grew.
According to him, he sees his action as no way obstructing the Court’s from performing her judicial role; rather, he had gone on the scene to avert any act of violence as members of the community were angry to see yet another bulldozers destroying homes worth thousands of United States dollars under questionable circumstances.
Addressing journalists shortly after he left the Court, Representative Tarponweh said on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at approximately 10:45am, he received a call from a resident of Dauzon Community in District One, Margibi County informing him that a Court ordered demolition was about to be effected in the community and his intervention was necessary to prevent the destruction of valuable properties and the potential of violence among the disputants and residents.
Upon his arrival, he saw a contingent of police officers and a yellow machine (caterpillar) operator getting ready to demolish the property in question, and when he asked for copy of the Court order and was presented to him; he read the Court order, but did not see anything like demolition; except for the word “use force if necessary.”
Tarponweh noted that when he quizzed further about who authorized the use of a caterpillar, the police and court officers denied knowing how the earth moving equipment was brought on the scene; at which point he then politely told the officers to hold on the demolition to see if they could make any last minutes effort to prevent the destruction of the valuable properties. At which time he then called the Deputy Police Director (102) and the Judge to ascertain as to what exactly their concerns or motivations were.
Accordingly, the Margibi lawmaker maintained that after listening to the Judge and the Deputy Police Director, he felt that there might still be a reasoning room of opportunity to amicably and peacefully resolve the arguments between the police, Court officers and the complainant, and members of the enrage community.
Hence, he asked all parties to exercise restraint while they try to devise an alternative means of resolving the problem without destruction of properties. Fortunately for him and the commander of the Scheflin Police Depot, Representative Tarponweh said: “after nearly three hours of painful negotiation, both the complainant and the police agreed to halt the demolition exercise.”
“Unfortunately, while we were in the process of engaging both parties in my district to see if we could come up with some reasonable alternative solution(s) to the problem based on the principle of win-win concept, I received a letter from the court summoning me to appear before the honourable Justice to answer to the charge of “contempt and obstruction of justice,” Tarponweh explained.
He continued: “Therefore, I would like to set the record straight and to make it unambiguously clear that my intervention was in no way intended to undermine the court or obstruct justice. I am a firmed believer in the rule of law and also an ardent advocate for social justice, but considering the long term potential economic and social consequences of carrying out the demolition exercise coupled with my genuine believe that we could still resolve the dispute without resulting to destruction of properties, I was motivated to intervene.”
According to him, his intervention was in no way violent or forceful. Rather, he politely engaged all stakeholders on the scene and those outside the scene by phone to plead for restraint and allow him make one last minute effort to address the concerns of both parties since they are all residents of his district.
Hence, the 13th Judicial Circuit Court for Margibi County has deemed the lawmaker’s action as an obstruction of Court order and has therefore ordered the Margibi County Representative to appear along with his lawyer to answer to a contempt of Court.
According to a Writ of Ejectment issued July 19, 2013, under the authority of then Assigned Judge, Her Honor: Mardea T. Chenoweth, commanded the Court to summon Marie Johnson, Thomas Yaya Nimely and James Gibson to appear before the Court on August 12, 2013 to answer the complaint of the above mentioned case.
The Writ of Returns from the Sherriff of the Court, M. Sarh Konah, indicated that on July 22, 2013, at the hour of 11:30am the Writ was duly served one of the defendants in person of James Gibson and he (Sherriff) received the Court’s copy.
However, the Sherriff noted that defendant Marie Johnson and Thomas Yaya Nimely allegedly told their caretakers not to receive their copies.
Meanwhile, Judge Clinton-Johnson has reserved ruling on the matter.