“Douglas Swenson Day” in Chisago County

Friday, February 6th, 2009 at 8:51 am

swensonjudgeOn February 4, 2009, the Chisago County Board of Commissioners approved Resolution No. 090204-2 Honoring the Public Service of District Court Judge Douglas Swenson and declared Friday, February 6, 2009 to be “Douglas Swenson Day” in Chisago County. Furthermore, the Board directed all flags be flown at half-staff at the Chisago County Government Center from sunrise, until sunset, on Friday, February 6, 2009, in honor and remembrance of him.

1 Comment

  1. Jonathan P. Glassel 02/7/09 at 6:09pm

    Judge’s Death Ends Jail Crisis
    Swenson’s Final Recusal a Big Break for Chisago County Taxpayers
    Opinion and Political Commentary by Jonathan P. Glassel

    In Cell Block B of the Chisago County Jail, no tears were shed upon hearing the news of the passing of Judge Swenson. Swenson will now be judged in a “Higher Court.”

    No doubt Swenson will be eulogized by his elitists friends and “Good Old Boy” Cronies as a great jurist. Those who have visited his Courtroom know better. Judge Swenson was clearly not the brightest bulb on the “Judicial Tree.” What he lacked in intelligence, however was offset by his vindictiveness.

    Swenson was a bitter man who waged unrelenting war against, and filled Chisago County Sheriff Todd Rivard’s jail with, underage drinkers. You see, Swenson’s son was killed by an underage drunk driver.

    Many years have passed since a “sitting” Judge in Washington County killed a young girl while driving in a drunken stupor. That Judge was so drunk; the little girl was barely recognizable after being dragged for nearly a mile, to her death.

    Yet Judge Swenson never waged a “Holy War” against drunken Judges. And if a drunken County Commissioner had killed his son, would Swenson have extracted personal vengeance from other “Good Old Boy” Politicians?

    Not likely. You see, Swenson’s path was that of least resistance, preying on the young, the weak, the sick and the poor. Though Swenson was in a position to help these people, he chose to victimize them, choosing instead to offset the pain in his own heart from the deep personal tragedy he had suffered from the loss of his son.

    And he did it with tax dollars! Vengeance on a stick, made possible by the blood, sweat and tears of local taxpayers. The trappings of power gone mad, as it were.

    Had he been a prudent Jurist, Chisago County Judge Douglass Swenson would have recused himself from each and every case involving alcohol, but that was not Swenson’s way. Judges have no Judges and sit well above the law. It was not that many years ago that Swenson would return to Court after a long lunch, chewing gum like a crazy person, presumably to mask his own problems with alcohol.

    Even with the knowledge that impartiality was an impossibility for Swenson, none of his colleagues attempted to reign him in.

    Swenson’s decisions have harmed many of Chisago County’s most vulnerable, its youth, opening a door to drug addiction first introduced to them in Swenson’s Prisons.

    But the prisons of Swenson’s mind were, perhaps most damaging to the taxpayers of Chisago County, who pay for Chisago County Todd Rivard’s “return customers” first indoctrinated into “the system” by Chisago County Judge Douglas Swenson.

    Swenson had a great opportunity to be a “Champion” of the less fortunate, yet he chose to exploit the very people he should have been defending.

    Judge Swenson chose poorly.

    History remembers only the “Great Reformers.” Many follow a new religion, because of the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln adorns the five dollar bill and Martin Luther King’s reformation defined a nation struggling with racism and bigotry.

    However, the world will little note, nor long remember Judge Swenson.

    In summation, there was little wit about Judge Swenson. Therefore, one can only surmise his conspiracy with Chisago County Sheriff and Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter to fill the the Chisago County jails with less than violent offenders, was an unwitting one.

    Take away Swenson’s avid incarceration of our children and Chisago County has no “Jail Crisis.” No need to build a $40,000,000 boondoggle paid for by the hard work and sweat of local taxpayers.

    As Judgeships are not handed out in boxes of Cheerios, we can only surmise Swenson bought his. Not with cash, but with a host of “Good Old Boy” favors to his cronies, as is required of the current selection process.

    It has long been the habit of Judges to resign shortly before the end of their final term. A tribute, as it were, to the very system that allowed them to “purchase” their Judgeship from the Governor in the first place. An extension of “Good Old Boy” Politics at its worst.

    Once appointed, it is nearly impossible to replace even the most incompetent of Jurists in the General Election. Most of these “Lawyers in a Robe” run unopposed as did Swenson, depriving the Electorate of Jurists even remotely concerned with taxpayer dollars.

    We, the Electorate cannot tolerate any more “Good Old Boy” Politicians disguising themselves as “Learned in the Law.”

    The Judicial Code of Chisago County is Justice by the Numbers. Judges Robert Rancourt and John H. McBride, Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter and Chisago County Sheriff Todd Rivard dispense justice by the numbers, i.e., full jails equal public safety and thereby assure their re-election.

    It should be noted for the record that Chisago County has not sent a felony drug dealer up the river in memorable history, preferring instead to fill our jails with Jaywalkers and minor offenders.

    Washington County has many prudent and competent Judges. We can too, if we simply take the time to lobby our elected officials from the Chisago County Board, to the Legislature and directly to Governor Pawlenty.

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