UPDATE – 11/25/14 at 6:20 p.m.
No punitive action for Gloster
Three hearings took place on Monday, Nov. 24 regarding three separate judicial complaints. The first two were against Senate Pro-tempore Shomari Gloster by Senate President Kaitlin Ramirez. The third was against Ramirez by Gloster.
Ramirez v. Gloster
Ramirez filed a noncompliance charge against Gloster for failing to update the Constitution and Statutes, as is his duty. She was recently found in violation of failing to make sure he did complete that job. Gloster pleaded “in violation.” No testimony was given by either side. He issued a short statement explaining that he had not received regular notice of the update, hence the failure to update it by the deadline.
A punitive action hearing is scheduled for 4:20 p.m. on Nov. 25.
Ramirez v. Gloster II
The second noncompliance charge against Gloster was for the improper adjournment of the senate meeting on Nov. 10.
Attorney General Matthew Harris found the judicial complaint to be “contingent merit,” meaning it was up to the court to decide merit.
The court dismissed the case and said the issue should be handled internally.
Gloster v. Ramirez
Gloster’s noncompliance charge against Ramirez was for the misuse of property. He said she improperly used her key, which has access to his office, in order to remove a personal item without his knowledge.
Ramirez said she entered Gloster’s office for government business. An interview was being held for the senate parliamentarian position. Ramirez said she left her padfolio at home and used Gloster’s to hold the sheet of questions and answers that she wrote on. Each of the other attendees, Senate Secretary Leah Tolisano and Government Oversight Chair Amanda Wollam, used their padfolios for a similar purpose.
According to Ramirez, Gloster was supposed to be at the interview. She said she handed the padfolio to him as soon as he arrived, which was after the interview had started, and when she did he said, “No problem.”
Gloster said there were personal documents in the padfolio, such as bank statements, passwords and resumes. He said he did not notice the padfolio was missing until after Ramirez handed it to him.
“The intent was clean and proper. I was not aware of sensitive material,” Ramirez said.
Harris argued that there was no prior authorization to enter the office and remove the personal property. He said it is improper to use a key to enter an office and take personal effects and use them without prior consent.
Ramirez called Tolisano to the stand and asked specific questions about the day of the interviews, to which the majority of the secretary’s responses were “I don’t remember.”
Associate Justice John Solar asked Harris what the intended purpose of a key was, to which Harris stated that branch heads have keys to all offices in their branch for cases of emergency.
Associate Justice Ben Jaeger asked Ramirez why she took that specific padfolio. Ramirez said she left hers at home.
“I thought we had a rapport,” she said of the relationship between her and her pro-tempore, which established why she thought it was justified to “borrow” the padfolio.
She reiterated that permission was granted after the fact.
In deliberation, the court established that there was no prior consent permitting Ramirez to retrieve the padfolio.
Solar said the intent was not to take Gloster’s personal item, and it was simply to use a padfolio to cover the questions used during the interview.
The other justices disagreed, saying that the intent to unlock the door was to retrieve the padfolio. Solar later agreed with them.
They ruled that Ramirez was indeed in violation of misusing her key to enter the office.
Her punitive action hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 26.
Email Cody Quattlebaum at [email protected]