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IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF DEKALB COUNTY

STATE OF GEORGIA

JAMES B. STEGEMAN, CIVIL ACTION


APPELLANT/PETITIONER FILE NO.: 05-CV-13909-09

vs. APPEAL FROM PROBATE


COURT OF DEKALB COUNTY
FRANK J. LILLIG, III, as STATE OF GEORGIA
EXECUTOR\ADMINISTRATOR/
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE of and
ESTATE OF GENEVA S. CAFFREY,
ESTATE No. 2002-1161 VOID JUDGMENT AT LAW

BRIEF IN SUPPORT APPELLANT/PETITIONER’S


MOTION FOR RULING IN FAVOR OF APPELLANT/PETITIONER

COMES NOW, James B. Stegeman Appellant/Petitioner and files his


Motion For Ruling In Favor Of Appellant/Petitioner.
Mr. Stegeman filed an Appeal and a Void Judgment over three years ago. To
date, he has received neither a responsive pleading, nor a Ruling. February 22,
2006, Mr. Stegeman filed Notice of Intent to Appeal to Supreme Court and Notice
of Intent to Appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals. March 24, 2006, Mr.
Stegeman filed Motion For Order on the pending Appeal and Motion for Order on
the pending Void Judgment. To date Mr. Stegeman has received nothing from this
Court, neither a Notice of hearing, nor a Ruling.
Mr. Stegeman has recently learned, as ludicrous as the fact is, that the
Appeal and Void Judgment is set for Civil Jury Trial this month on January 26,
2009, see the calendar and docket report attached as “Exhibit 1”.
Apparently this Court has planned to allow an Appeal and a Void Judgment
to sit for over three years, then Dismiss for failing to appear at a peremptory
hearing. One such hearing was held November 20, 20081 which Mr. Stegeman
learned about in time to attend.
At the hearing, when only one party appeared, the Court addressed them,
and they were allowed to “be heard”. If the appearing party was Plaintiff the Court
granted them whatever relief they requested in their pleading; if the party attending
was defendant the case against them was dismissed.
Mr. Stegeman’s case was called twice, both times he was told they would
“get back” to him. After all parties present had been addressed, Mr. Stegeman was
called again, told there is no file, advised to wait and they would “get back” to him,
then the Judge, Clerks and Court Reporter left the Courtroom.
After waiting in the Courtroom 30 minutes or so, the bailiff told Mr.
Stegeman that he and Ms. McDonald needed to leave the Courtroom, they waited
outside the Courtroom another 20-30 minutes until the Clerk appeared, he was
informed that she would mail everything in the file to Mr. Stegeman. To date, Mr.
Stegeman has received nothing from this Court.
As the only party to appear for the hearing, Mr. Stegeman had a right to have
his case addressed by the Court, the Right “to be heard”, the Right to be treated the
same as everyone else at the hearing (to be treated equally), and the Right for his
Appeal and his Void Judgment be Ruled on in his favor. Mr. Stegeman was denied
these Rights.
Now, Mr. Stegeman has found that this Court has set on the January 26,
2009 Civil Jury Trial Calendar an Appeal and a Void Judgment, neither of which
are Jury issues. As procedure for this Court, Mr. Stegeman has received no Notice
of this Court’s proceedings. Obviously, this Court decided since it didn’t get to
Dismiss for failure to attend the peremptory hearing, that the Court would continue
it’s policy of failing to Notice Mr. Stegeman of proceedings and this Court would
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See Docket Report in “Exhibit 1” under “Scheduled Events

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get to Dismiss for failure to attend a Civil Jury Trial Calendar. This Court’s actions
result in Civil and Constitutional Rights violations under Color of Law.

I. CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Mr. Stegeman is 100% disabled, thereby a protected class of person, see


attached “Exhibit 2”.2 This Court has continually violated state and federal
statute, as well as Mr. Stegeman’s Civil and Constitutional Rights as guaranteed by
both The State of Georgia and The United States Constitutions.

Barrett et., al., v. Hamby, (235 Ga. 262) (219 SE2d 399) (1975)
Our Georgia Constitution provides: "No person shall be deprived of life,
liberty, or property, except by due process of law." Code Ann. 2-103. The
equivalent of this is also contained in the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Federal Constitution. Our Georgia Constitution
also provides: "Legislative acts in violation of this Constitution, or the
Constitution of the United States, are void, and the Judiciary shall so
declare them." Code Ann. 2-402.”

“Every person in Georgia has a constitutional right of unfettered access


to the courts” Ga. Constitution 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Par. I, (“No person
shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of
law.); Par. XII (“No person shall be deprived of the right to prosecute or
defend, either in person or by an attorney, that person’s own cause in any
of the courts of this state.”)” Rice v. Lightmas, 259 Ga. App. 380, 577
S.E.2d (Ga.App. 2003)

The Due Process Clause guarantees the Right of Notice and Right to be
heard before an unbiased, impartial tribunal.
In RE: Law Suits of Anthony J. Carter (two cases).
235 Ga. App. 551, 510 S.E.2d 91, 1998. GA.0042498
“As stated in paragraph 12 of the Georgia Bill of Rights, a person has a
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Order Granting Forma Pauperis recently signed by U. S. District Court Judge William S.
Duffey, Jr. in which he addresses that Mr. Stegeman is disabled and “his monthly debts exceed
his Social Security Disability Income” NOTE: Mr. Stegeman, due to lack of assets could not
obtain Certified copies of the documents used as Exhibits in this Brief.

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right to represent himself or herself in court. "This provision was
`primarily intended to guarantee the right of self-representation in the
courts of this State . . .' [Cit]… Secondly, the very first provision of the
Bill of Rights in "`[t]he constitution of this state guarantees to all persons
due process of law and unfettered access to the courts of this state.
(Cit.)’” These fundamental constitutional rights require that every party
to a lawsuit . . . be afforded the opportunity to be heard and to present his
claim or defense, i.e., to have his day in court. (Cits.)'"
“So it is that meaningful access to the courts must be scrupulously
guarded, as it is a constitutional right universally respected where the
rule of law governs. "Those regulations and restrictions which bar
adequate, effective and meaningful access to the courts are
unconstitutional. (Cits.)"”

A. “Under Color of Law or Color of Authority”


Mr. Stegeman has consistently had his Right violated by those acting “under
color of law” or “under color of authority”.
“Judges who would willfully discriminate…would willfully deprive the
citizen of his constitutional rights, as this complaint alleges, must take
account of 18 U.S.C. §242. See Greenwood v. Peacock, supra, at 384
U.S. 830; United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787, 383 U.S. 793-794
(1966); United States v. Guest, 383 U.S. 745, 383 U.S. 753-754 (1966);
Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 325 U.S. 101-106 (1945); United
States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941).”

“Cf. Monroe v. Pape, 365 u.s. 167, 365 u.s. 187 (1961). That section
provides: ‘Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance,
regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any inhabitant of any State…to
the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secure or
protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different
punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an
alien, or…imprisoned…’”

B. Peremptory Calendar Hearing


A peremptory calendar hearing is a means to Clear the case from the Court,
i.e.: to close the case. The hearing is one in which the Court, when both parties
fail to appear, dismisses for failure to prosecute; or where the parties appear and

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inform the Court an agreement will be reached by the parties or that they are ready
for trial; or when only one party appears relief is granted to the part appearing.
Although Mr. Stegeman was not provided with Notice of Hearing, he
appeared for the November 20, 2008 peremptory calendar hearing, opposing party
failed to appear. In every case at the peremptory hearing which one of the parties
or their attorney(s) failed to appear, the case was found in favor of the party that
did appear. Pleadings can and should be dismissed for failure to attend the
peremptory calendar hearing as shown in the following Uniform Superior Court
Rules and caselaw.
U.S.C.R. Rule 20. Peremptory calendar
Periodically …published a list of pending civil actions in which the
discovery period has expired …upon reasonable notice requiring the
parties … to announce whether ….cases … are ready for trial …Failure
to appear at the calendar sounding … may result in the following
disposition:
(A) In civil actions, the dismissal…of…defendant's answer, …
U.S.C.R. Rule 14. Dismissal.
…the court may dismiss … any pleading filed on behalf of any party
upon the failure to properly respond to the call … In civil actions … the
court may adjudge any attorney in contempt for failure to appear…

By this Court refusing to Rule on the Appeal and on the Void Judgment
during the three years it has been in front of this Court, and the recent refusal to
grant Mr. Stegeman what this Court granted to all others appearing at the
peremptory hearing, this Court has further treated Mr. Stegeman with
discrimination/bias/prejudice There can be no other explanation as failure to
appear for peremptory calendars is grounds for dismissing pleadings and upon
review is not an abuse of discretion:
Hammonds v. Sherman, 627 S.E.2d 110, 277 Ga.App. 498 (Ga.App.
02/06/2006): at [11]: “A trial court may dismiss … for failure to appear
at a peremptory calendar call, *fn2” at [16]: “*fn2 See Unif. Super. Ct.

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R. 20 (A); Unif. Super. Ct. R. 14; OCGA § 9-11-41 (b).”

C. Denial of Right to Appeal


There is only one reason this Court would have refused to Rule on the
Appeal and on the Void Judgment, to prevent an Appeal of the Ruling; Mr.
Stegeman had filed Notice of Intent to Appeal, see “Exhibit 1” Docket Report.
This Court has had an Appeal and a Void Judgment for over three years,
repeated offenses of failing or refusing to Rule are shown in O.C.G.A. §15-6-21:
§O.C.G.A. §15-6-21(d)
“If any judge fails or refuses, …or if any judge repeatedly or persistently
fails or refuses to decide the various motions, demurrers, and
injunctions coming before him …such conduct shall be grounds for
impeachment and the penalty therefor shall be his removal from office.”

Rather than Rule against Mr. Stegeman and have him Appeal the Ruling, this
Court has refused to Rule. There is an obvious pattern (policy) of conspiracy
against Mr. Stegeman within the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit to deny him The
Right to Appeal, and this Court has joined that conspiracy. The Appeal and Void
Judgment at bar was filed for Probate Court’s refusal to allow a timely filed
Appeal.
O.C.G.A.§5-3-2(a):
“An appeal shall lie to the superior court from any decision made by the
probate court, except an order appointing a temporary administrator.”
See also:
In Re Estate of Clarence E. Thomas, Ga. App. LEXIS 603, (2007)
which held at n3: “An appeal shall lie to the superior court from any
decision made by the probate court, except an order appointing a
temporary administrator.”

This Court joined the conspiracy to deny Mr. Stegeman the Right afforded to
others. Suppressing, tampering with, hindering, and refusing to allow Appeals are

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further violating Mr. Stegemans Rights and protections:
Cochran v. Kansas, et., al., 62 S. Ct. 1068, 316 U.S. 255, 86 L. Ed.
1453, 1942 SCT. 40529 (U.S. 05/11/1942) at [17]: “The state properly
concedes that if …suppression of Chocran’s appeal “were disclosed as
being true…there would be no questions but there was a violation of the
equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” “…refused him
privileges of appeal which it afforded to others…”

Slavin v. Curry, 574 F.2d 1256 (5th Cir. 06/13/1978): “When he filed
his appeal, the trial judge ordered… to change the transcript …delete
testimony… tampering…” at [50]: “The final defendants who were
associated with the court …altered the transcript.” “In Rheuark v.
Shaw, 547 F.2d 1257, 1259 (5th Cir. 1977), this court held that an action
could be maintained under section 1983 against a state court clerk and
stenographer for failing to forward a transcript to the state appellate
court. See also Qualls v. Shaw, 535 F.2d 318 (5th Cir. 1976); McLallen
v. Henderson, 492 F.2d 1298, 1299 (8th Cir. 1974).”

D. Void Judgment
Mr. Stegeman held an Irrevocable Durable Power of Attorney with an
Interest (attached as “Exhibit 2”) which could not be set aside by a Court of such
limited jurisdiction as is the Probate Court, and acts of Probate Clerks are not
without limit.
O.C.G.A. §15-9-36.
(b) “The appointed clerks, including the chief clerk of the probate judge,
may do all acts the judges of the probate courts could do which are not
judicial …” (c)(1) “In addition … the jurisdiction…concerning
uncontested matters in the probate court….”

In Re Estate of Ernest Lamar Adamson, Jr., 215 Ga. App. 613, 451
S.E.2d 501 (1994): “The Probate Court cannot make determination of
property real or personal. In Georgia, it is well-settled that probate
courts do not have jurisdiction to adjudicate conflicting claims of
title to real or personal property. Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. III,
Par. I; OCGA 15-9-30 et seq.; Dix v. Dix, 199 Ga. App. 549 (1) (405
SE2d 544) (1991).”; “As the probate court is without jurisdiction to
determine matters respecting title to personal property, this issue must
be decided in the proper forum”; “Where the pleadings show on their
face that the court is without jurisdiction of the subject-matter . . . any

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preliminary order or final judgment rendered therein is void;..." John
Hancock & c. Ins. Co. v. Baskin, 227 Ga. 593 (4) (182 SE2d 114)
(1971).”

Probate Court Clerk Jeryl Rosh knowingly, willingly, wantonly Ruled Mr.
Stegeman guilty of criminal acts even though she knew she lacked authority, and
Probate Court as a whole lacked personal and subject matter jurisdiction for
Rulings made. An Order signed by Judge Rosh November 13, 2008 on page 3 she
addressed the issue of lacking jurisdiction concerning real and personal property
determination; see attached “Exhibit 3”.
Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 351, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1871);
Rhodes v. Houston, D.C., 202 F.Supp. 624 (1962) held that when “a
judge has acted in ‘clear absence of all jurisdiction over the subject-
matter’ he may be sued for damages.”
Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. 335, 352 (1872) Over 130 years ago,
Supreme Court offered a classic example and held:
“if a probate court, invested only with authority over wills…estates…,
should proceed to try parties for [criminal] offenses, jurisdiction over
the subject of offenses being entirely wanting in the court,…his
commission would offer no protection to him in the exercise of usurped
authority.”
“…whereas a probate court judge would not be immune from liability if
he tried a criminal case because he clearly lacked all subject matter
jurisdiction. Id. (citing Bradley, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) at 352).

All Rulings by Probate Court are not merely voidable, but must be found as
Void for having been based upon fraud upon the Court and matters beyond their
jurisdiction and must be found as Void. Probate Court’s November 2005 Summary
Judgment Ruling as well as any and every Ruling/Order not specifically listed
herein are all Void.
“A judgment is void if the rendering court acted in a manner inconsistent
with due process of law.” Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure §2862.

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“A judgment rendered in violation of due process is void in the rendering
State and is not entitled to full faith and credit elsewhere.” World-Wide
Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286 (1980).
“[T]he constitution, by prohibiting an act, renders it void, if done;
otherwise, the prohibition were nugatory. Thus, the warrant is a nullity.”
Anderson v. Dunn, 19 U.S. 204, 217 (1821)
“No judgment of a court is due process of law, if rendered without
jurisdiction in the court, or without notice to the party.” Old Wayne
Mut. Life Ass’n v. McDonough, 204 U.S. 8, 15 (1970).
“A court should be cautious in exerting its inherent power and ‘must
comply with the mandates of due process” First Bank of Marietta v.
Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS
21117, -25; 2002 FED App. 0356P (6th Cir. 2002); In Re Atlantic Pipe
Corp., 304 F.3d 136, 143 (1st Cir. 2002)

CONCLUSION

Mr. Stegeman, during the three years his Appeal and his Void Judgment has
been before this Court, has never received responsive pleadings, Notice of
Hearing, a Ruling or Judgment, or any other communication from this Court or it’s
Clerks. As far as Mr. Stegeman knows, there has been no activity since he filed the
Appeal and Void Judgment. He has been denied Notice of two peremptory
calendar hearings,3 as well as Notice of Jury Trial set for January 26, 2009.

Mr. Stegeman in a wheelchair, attended a Peremptory calendar hearing


November 20, 2008, the only party to appear, yet was denied his Right to be heard;
Mr. Stegeman was then denied what the Court Granted in every case in which only
one party appeared, judgment in favor of the attending party.

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Mr. Stegeman believes that this Court was using the peremptory hearing in order to dismiss his
case for want of prosecution..

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After sitting through every case on the calendar, being denied the Right to be
heard, the Judge and Clerks vacated the Courtroom without any consideration
given to Mr. Stegeman or his Rights whatsoever. Mr. Stegeman, his Civil Rights
and his Constitutional Rights have been violated by this Court resulting in manifest
injustice. Mr. Stegeman Demands Justice, Demands a Ruling that any and all
responsive pleadings by opposing party be Dismissed and stricken from the record
and Mr. Stegeman be GRANTED Judgment in his favor on both the Appeal and
the Void Judgment, and that he be GRANTED the relief requested in his Original
Pleadings filed in this Court, plus any other relief available to him according to the
laws of the State of Georgia.
Respectfully submitted, this 31st day of December, 2008

By: _____________________________
JAMES B. STEGEMAN, Pro Se
821 Sheppard Rd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
(770) 879-8737

State of Georgia,
County of DeKalb

Appeared before me this 2nd day of January, 2009, James B. Stegeman, known personally by me
to be competent and to be of legal age, who on Oath, and under penalty of perjury, stated that
this Brief is from first hand knowledge, that all statements are true and correct. I personally
examined and copied the Documents used as Exhibits, they all appear to be Original, unaltered
documents

Sworn to and Subscribed before me


this 2nd day of January, 2009

Seal

______________________________
Notary Public, State of Georgia

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby Certify that I have this 2nd day of January, 2009 filed upon Frank J. Lillig,
III Administrator of the Estate of Geneva S. Caffrey at his last known address, a true and
correct copy of the foregoing Motion For Ruling in Favor of Appellant/Petitioner and
Brief In Support of Appellant/Petitioner’s Motion For Ruling in Favor of
Appellant/Petitioner by causing same to be deposited with the United States Postal
Service, with proper postage affixed thereto as follows:
Frank J. Lillig, III
4831 Thornhill Dr NW
Acworth, GA 30101-4095

By: _____________________________
JAMES B. STEGEMAN, Pro Se
821 Sheppard Rd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
(770) 879-8737

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