An Act to update the bylaws of Chapter III: Judicial Branch and Chapter V: Association Election Laws
PURPOSE: To update the current bylaws to be consistent with how the Judicial Branch currently conducts business.
WHEREAS, The Operations Committee noticed some discrepancies between how the Judicial Branch currently conducts business and what was described in Chapter III & V of the bylaws,
WHEREAS, Drew Webber, the current Chief Justice, went over the current bylaws and made suggestions of changes,
WHEREAS, Formatting, grammar, other wording errors were also corrected,
WHEREAS, Drew Webber was present and in agreement to all the changes proposed to the current bylaws,
THEREFORE, Be it resolved by the Missouri Students Association Senate that the following changes to Chapters III & V of the Association’s bylaws be implemented immediately.
Chapter III: Judicial Branch
3.00 CHAPTER THREE DEFINED—All laws relating to the Judicial Branch, its duties, powers and organization shall be placed in Chapter Three of the MSA laws.
3.05 ORGANIZATION –The Judicial Branch shall be composed of the Student Court and the Board of Election Commissioners.
3.10 STUDENT COURT
(A) ORGANIZATION—The Student Court shall consist of eight (8) justices and one (1) chief justice appointed by the President after a period of petitioning and interviews, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate
(B) TERMS OF OFFICE—All justices shall serve during good behavior for as long as they are continually enrolled as members of the Association.
(C) QUORUM—A quorum of the Court shall be six (6) justices and shall be necessary to transact business. Unless otherwise specified, six (6) justices shall be necessary to decide all cases before the MSA Student Court.
(D) ASSOCIATE CHIEF JUSTICE—The Chief Justice shall appoint one (1) of the eight (8) justices as the Associate Chief Justice. The Associate Chief Justice shall aid the Chief Justice in the completion of his or her duties, fulfill the responsibilities of the Chief Justice when the Chief Justice cannot, and fulfill any other duties and responsibilities as directed by the Chief Justice or by law.
(A) ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
(1) The Student Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases petitioned by a member of the Association alleging violation of the Constitution or bylaws.
(2) The Student Court may have original jurisdiction in cases forwarded from other University departments. The Court must comply with the referring departments’ guidelines when investigating and conducting such hearing.
3.30 COURT ORDERS
(A) AUTHORITY—The Student Court shall have the authority to issue the following types of orders to enforce the decisions of the Court:
(1) WRITS OF ELECTION—The Student Court shall hear appeals from the decisions of the Board of Election Commissioners and shall have the authority to judge all cases of law and fact concerning alleged violation of Association election laws and upon decision, revoke or affirm Writs of Election issued by the Board.
(2) WRITS OF INJUNCTION—A Writ of Injunction shall issue from the Student Court to prevent violation of the Association Constitution or laws. Temporary restraining orders shall be issued by the Chief Justice and shall have the full force and effect of a permanent injunction until the Court at its next regular meeting shall revoke such order or issue a permanent injunction. No temporary restraining order shall issue unless there is reason to believe that such order is the only practical method of preventing violation of the Association Constitution or laws between regular meetings of the Court.
(3) WRITS OF MANDAMUS—The Student Court shall cause to issue such Writs of Mandamus as are necessary to force compliance with the Association Constitution or laws by any officer of the Association.
(B) VIOLATION OF A COURT ORDER—Any Association member who shall violate a court order issued by any decision making body of the Judicial Branch shall be tried before the Student Court and upon conviction lose Association voting rights for a period not to exceed two (2) years. Finally, such person will be subject to punitive measures prescribed by the Court and authorized by the University.
3.40 MAXIMUM PENALTY CLAUSE—The maximum penalty which the Association may sentence any individual or group for any given offense shall not include the suspension of Association rights or privileges for a period which exceeds two (2) years.
3.50 REGULAR MEETINGS
(A) SCHEDULE—The Student Court shall meet at least one (1) time per month during the time when UMC is in session during the fall and winter semesters and shall hold such adjourned meetings as may be necessary to clear the docket. Special meetings of the Court shall be held upon the call of four (4) justices or upon the call of the Chief Justice alone to consider cases of an emergency nature.
(B) JUDICIAL ACTION
(1) The Court shall hear and deliberate on all cases of alleged violation of Section 3.30 of this law within ten (1) academic days after a petition is filed. It shall issue its decision in writing no later than five (5) academic days after the hearing.
3.60 RULES OF PROCEDURE
(A) AUTHORIZATION—The decision rendering bodies in joint session shall have the power to establish rules of procedure for the entire Judicial Branch. These rules shall be set forth in writing and be available for inspection as public records. These rules of procedure shall have the force of law and shall not be violated by any part of the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch may depart from precedents set in non-student courts in order to adjust to any special problems in the operation of student run judicial bodies.
(B) ANNOUNCEMENTS OF OUTCOME—Any decision rendering body of the Judicial Branch must announce decisions to the litigants in each respective case. These decisions must describe the reasoning behind the verdicts rendered. The Judicial Branch shall maintain a record of its decisions and reasoning.
(C) FAIR AND SPEEDY TRIAL—The Judicial Branch shall make every effort to provide litigants with a fair and speedy trial.
3.70 COURT SUMMONS
(A) AUTHORITY—Any member of the Association shall be required to appear before the MSA Student Court during investigative hearings which require the testimony of that member. Members of the Association shall be subject to the rules and penalties that follow if summoned to appear before the MSA Student Court.
(B) SUMMONS PROCEDURE—The Public Prosecutor/Plaintiff and/or the Public Defender/Defendant shall provide a written statement to the Chief Justice, or a quorum of the Court, outlining the reason(s) for summoning an individual before the Court. The Court shall then issue a summons for the individual to appear before the Court.
(C) THE SUMMONS—The summons shall be a written document clearly outlining the reason for the hearing, the time, date, location, and expected length of the hearing. The names, addresses and phone numbers of the Chief Justice and the Clerk of the Court shall also be printed on the summons. The summons shall also list Sections D and E of this law for the information of the summoned individual. The summons shall be delivered in person or by registered mail no less than four (4) academic days before the scheduled hearing.
(D) RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SUMMONED—Those receiving a summons are required to appear before the Court at the time and date appearing on said summons. If this time cannot be met, the summoned must contact the Clerk of the Court or the Chief Justice. This is the burden of the summoned. Failure to contact the appropriate office will result in a penalty imposed upon the person, as prescribed in Section E. Notification of unavailability must occur no less than three (3) academic days before the hearing. If the summoned is unavailable for the prescribed hearing, an acceptable date for rescheduling the hearing must be determined. The acceptable date may be no later than one (1) academic week after the original hearing date appearing on the summons, unless approved by the Chief Justice. If the Court must reschedule the hearing, it shall notify all summoned individuals no later than three (3) academic days before the originally scheduled hearing.
(E) PENALTIES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE—A summoned person shall not fail to appear in accordance with the issued summons without fulfilling the appropriate steps for postponement outlined in Section D. Any person violating a call to appear shall be subject to the following penalties. If the summoned holds a stipend position in MSA, a monetary fine may be levied against the individual’s personal stipend. The fine shall be determined by the justices of the Court. If the individual is a general member of the Association, the Court may revoke the individual’s MSA privileges for a period not to exceed two (2) years. If the individual is a defendant in a case, the Court may consider the fail to appear as an admission of guilt upon such a motion by the Public Prosecutor/Plaintiff. Upon acceptance of such a motion by a majority of the justices present, the Court may directly proceed to deliberate on a penalty for the offense.
3.80 DISRUPTION AND CONTEMPT OF COURT
(1) Disruption of the Court shall be defined as creating a disturbance of sufficient nature as to interfere with the orderly transaction of business in accordance with MSA Constitution, laws, or Court rules of procedure.
(2) Contempt of the Court shall be defined as blocking of the entrances or exits of the Court Chamber, assaulting any justice or officer of the Court in the building in which the Court is then sitting, acting disrespectfully toward a justice while the court is in session, or interfering with official court business.
(B) Disruption or contempt of the Court as defined by this law is hereby prohibited.
(C) PERJURY—No person shall willfully utter a false statement while under oath or affirmation before the Student Court, Senate, or any other body of the Judicial or Legislative Branches. Any person convicted of the above shall be subject to penalty as stated in law 3.40.
Chapter V: Association Election Laws
5.50 PROTESTS AND VIOLATIONS
i. Any protests or alleged violations of the election laws by any slate of candidates, group, or individual must be filed in written form with the BEC, or the MSA Student Court if the allegation is against the BEC not later than three (3) academic days after the election during which the alleged violations occurred.
ii. The BEC chair shall deliver a copy of any complaint or protest filed to the slate of candidates, group, or individual named in the complaint or protest, and notify the MSA Student Court.
iii. The BEC members, after review of the complaint or protest, shall petition the MSA Student Court to hear the complaint or protest only if a majority of the BEC members vote to prosecute the alleged offending slate of candidates, group, or individuals.
iv. At any hearing held by the Court, the slate of candidates, group, or individual, shall be afforded the opportunity to present evidence pursuant to the guidelines established by the Court.
v. The MSA Student Court shall have original jurisdiction for protests or alleged violations of the election laws by any slate of candidates, group, or individual. The Court must hear all petitions within a reasonable time. A decision must be issued in writing within three (3) academic days after such hearing.
vi. Under this section the BEC shall serve in the role of prosecutor with the accused slate as the defendant. Both sides may call witnesses as necessary.
viii. The decision made by the MSA Student Court shall be final. No appeals will be considered.
ix. Either party reserves the right to request the recusal of a Student Court Justice as per the process determined by the MSA Student Court.
i. The MSA Student Court shall have the power to levy fines on any MSA member for violations as set forth herein.
ii. All monetary penalties levied against a slate shall come from the slate’s campaign contributions.
iii. Penalties may include limiting a slate’s campaign expenditures, or imposing financial or other penalties deemed necessary by the MSA Student Court.
iv. Any MSA member found guilty of violating MSA law on election procedures shall be punished as the Student Court shall determine, providing that such penalties shall not include denial of any Association rights or privileges for a period which exceeds two (2) years.
v. The disqualification of any candidate due to violation of the law shall result in the disqualification of the entire slate