GAO looks into Coast Guard

Full story: Baltimore Sun 81
The Government Accountability Office is investigating the U.S. Coast Guard's administrative law system, as members of Congress move forward with plans to dismantle the system and hand its responsibilities to ... Full Story
Dismantle the turkey

Wakefield, RI

#21 Nov 21, 2007
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Many turkeys will get "diamantled". Hopefully by the end of the year Elijah Cummings will "dismantle" the current Coast Guard ALJ judicial system. I pray for Elijah Cummings and Jeffie Massey every day. God Bless you both and God Speed.
sloan

AOL

#22 Nov 21, 2007
What is the cut off age to join the coast guard?
Joe

Staten Island, NY

#23 Nov 22, 2007
To Exeter...I stand by what I wrote. All of the whining from commercial mariners regarding supposed "corruption" and "malfeasance" is a bunch of baloney. Period. Coast Guard Marine Investigators are not lawyers and can't compete in a courtroom against mariners who immediately lawyer up in the wake of a serious marine incident, so again, the only cases brought forward to the ALJ consist of slam dunks that'll win (and we're talking either outright alcohol intoxication or a mariner who pops positive on a urinalysis for drug use). Trust me, nobody in the Coast Guard could give a hoot in hell about being called a "hero." It all comes down to doing a job, which our Marine Investigators do very well. Cummings is proving himself little more than a stooge for lawyers and their civilian maritime friends who are more than willing to line his pockets with cold, hard cash. All in the interest of evading responsibility for their own screw-ups while purportedly "working" on the water.
Stooges

Wakefield, RI

#24 Nov 22, 2007
You are right Joe. In this controvery there are stooges and there are heroes just like in any controversey. Let me ask you something Joe. Have you ever been in front of a presiding judge in the current Coast Guard ALJ judicial system? Until you have, you are ignorant of how the system really works. I have been there. I know how the system works. Due process and rights of discovery are truncated to the respondent. Let me tell you something else Joe... not all the people who get in front of the judge are guilty. I was offered a "plea bargain" in my case if I admited wrongdoing and my fine would be reduced to 50%. Want to know why I refused the plea bargain???? The reason is I didn't do anything wrong thats why. I thought I would have a chance to have my case heard in front of an independent finder of fact. I had my case heard by ALJ Walter J Brudzinski. I got a decision from this man of guilty.I always thought something was "wrong" with this system of justice. I went in front of ALJ Brudzinski in the year 2004. With the sworn statement of ALJ Jeffie Massey I learned that Walter J Brudzinski was not an independent fact finder. He was an individual that according to Jeffie Massey was afraid to rule in favor of the evidence in fear of losing his job. In the case of Christopher Dresser, Brudzinski ignored the evidence and ruled in favor of the Coast Guard just like he had been told. He is the stooge. Ingolia in also a stooge for pressuring other judges on how to rule. Thad Allen is a stooge for ignoring the evidence and intentions of Congress and proclaiming that the current corrupt system of Coast Guard ALJ we not be dismantled. Unfortunately Joe, you too are a stooge for believing that the all the respondents who stand before a US Coast Guard ALJ are guilty individuals in a slam dunk case. The only part you are correct about is the "slam dunk" part. If you meant "predetermined verdict of guilt", then indeed it was a slam dunk. I do not know about anybody's case but my own. I've been to the ALJ judicial system. I have seen how it works. If I was guilty I would have signed a "plea bargain" and saved a lot of time and money. I am not an idiot.I just appear to be one because I thought the judicial system was supposed to be fair and impartial with the presumption of innocense and the right to a fair trial. Yes, I admit I am an iddiot for thinking they system was working properly. It obviously wasn't working properly in 2004 nor is is working properly in 2007. It needs to be dismantled. The heroes in this case are Congressman Cummings, ALJ Massey, Richard Block from GCMA, Sean McKeon from NCFA and anyone else who saw this corruption and took a stand against it. Let me name the stooges. The stooges are Joe(for believing the current Coast Guard Judicial system is fair), CALJ ingolia for pressuring judges and giving instructions to presiding judges on how to determine the outcome of cases cases, ALJ Brudzinski for ignoring evidence and ruling on cases with a "predetermined verdict of guilt" because he was afraid of losing his job, Thad Allen for vowing to keep the Current Coast Guard ALJ system in tact. Which category to I fit into Joe? I am certainly not a hero nor a stooge. I fall into the category of the many innocent victims of this corrupt judicial system. It is the worse category of all to be in. Believe me! I have had my life destroyed by this corrupt system. If I din't have a morsel of pride left I'd swap with you joe. It is easier being a stooge than a victim. But my friend, my pride prevents me from doing that so you will reamain a "stooge" until you see and understand all the true facts in this case. When that day comes Joe, you will truely believe in your heart that the Coast Guard ALJ Judicial system needs to be dismantled. The day you take action on your new convictions is the same day I will take you off the "stooge" list and place you on the "hero" list.
Stooges continued

Wakefield, RI

#25 Nov 22, 2007
Look on the bright side Joe. You have a chance to be taken off the stooge list. The only thing you are guilt of is believing the lies of these "unscrupulous individuals" that make up the Coast Guard ALJ Judicial system. On the bright side, if you do a little factual investigation you can be taken off the stooge list because your feelinf will change dranatically. The three other individuals on the list have proved themselves at forever being on the "STOOGE LIST" and will remain there forever in my book!
Joe

Staten Island, NY

#26 Nov 22, 2007
Exeter...cry me a river pal. Trust me, I'm very familiar with the workings of the ALJ. And, yep, I know for a fact that the folks we've dragged before the ALJ have all been guilty as charged based on irrefutable evidence. Whine all you want. You seem to be good at that. The Coast Guard doesn't have the sort of cash to maintain a large staff of lawyers ready to jump into court at a drop of a hat, so eliminating the ALJ as a recourse is a nifty idea for guys such as yourself. Think of all of the stoned civilian mariners who'll never have to worry about accountability and potentially losing their jobs after running their tugs aground. Simply awesome. Anyway, with friends like Cummings in your corner, trust me, you'll eventually get your wish, a Coast Guard with absolutely no regulatory and/or oversight authority whatsoever. Yet we'll get the blame when numbnut civilian mariners allide with a bridge. What a deal.
Terry

Wakefield, RI

#27 Nov 23, 2007
My take is that Joe has some personal knowledge of how this corrupt system works. He probably spent the holiday with his best friends Brudzinski, Ingolia and Thad Allen. Sounds to me like he will be Stooge Forever
Joe

Staten Island, NY

#28 Nov 23, 2007
Keep on ranting Terry. Sounds to me as if you've got a rapt ("naive" actually, but that's beside the point) audience in the Baltimore Sun who are more than willing to believe that the Coast Guard is eeeeevil. Yeah, the real "heroes" are your trial lawyers. Pffft. Whatever.
Greg

United States

#29 Nov 23, 2007
To Joe, Where are you getting your info RE CG Lawyers ? You are so wrong the CG is staffing up with lawyers chances are you will be facing a CG lawyer when you are in an ALJ hearing Your INFO is Full of Mistruths and BS
Now Joe Tell us how many marine accidents are caused by drugs and alcohol each year My friend you can count them on 1 hand for each year they CG have been keeping stats.Drugs and alcohol are not a problem as you insinuate also tell me about my case explain that my friend. More smoke from a costie who knows the investigative division of the CG is in shambles.
Terry

Wakefield, RI

#30 Nov 23, 2007
Exactly right Greg,
I bet if Joe found himself in front of a Coast Guard ALJ he would expoect more than a "predetermined verdict of guilt" by some nutless bastard who was afraid to rule on the weight of the evidence because he "was afraid of losing his job". I am sure it would be a differnt story then. I believe it is everyones right to have a fair trial (even Joe). ALJ massey has told the truth. Her sworn statement just reinforces what anyone who has been in front of a Coast Guard ALJ already knew. This is the fact the the real criminals are the ones with the gavils in their hands. Things will change. It will benefit everyone including the JOE's of the world. Violations of federal judicial laws, predertemined a verdicts of guilt and the truncation of due process and discovery is an insult to every AMERICAN!
Joe

Staten Island, NY

#31 Nov 23, 2007
Greg, well, wrong answer there. You'll find some lawyers at the District level (usually no more than 3 to 4 on any given staff), but not so at the Sectors (MSO's have been folded into the Sector model). Once in a while, there may be one attorney assigned to help out with investigations. Other than that, it's all junior officers and some CWO's, none of whom have been to law school. It's these same folks who have to confront the high-powered lawyers that commercial mariners will drag along in the event they want to plead their case before the ALJ. And, yes, you had better believe that quite a few marine casualties may be attributed to drug and/or alcohol use (the 2692B is there for a reason pal). If the Coast Guard is willing to go to the mat and bring a case before the ALJ (which is rare), it isn't because the ALJ in question is "bought" or afraid of losing his/her job. No, it's because of the fact that the Coasties have simply done their homework, conducted a thorough investigation and will get another incompetent mariner off the water. And, Terry, no sense in going around in circles with you. You've got your pat arguments, but I tire of consistently proving you wrong. It's sort of like beating up on a kindergartner after a while.
Brudzinski vs Massey

Wakefield, RI

#32 Nov 23, 2007
Your perception of the Coast Guard Judicial system goes against the sworn testimony of retired ALJ Jeffie Massey. What does she possibly have to gain by making all this up? One other question Joe, "How would you feel if your name was Christopher Dresser and you were given a "predetermined verdict of guilt" before any evidence was put on the table? I am not saying that there was not a guilty respondent in any case. I am saying that there is something wrong with a judicial system that ignores evidence and something equally wrong where presiding judges are pressured by the chief judge on how cases should be ruled. If there is factual evidence that this is taking place this is wrong. With you agree with that? I am not arguing the fact that those cases involved with drugs and alchol that cause a serious accident need to be ignored. I agree with you 100%. These cases can not be ignored. They must be dealt with to keep the waterways safe for everyone. That is not the issue I am arguing. Do we have any common ground here? or are we just in a "deadlock"? This is a a "she said, he said" situation. Someone is not telling the truth. Either Brudzinski or Massey is lying? I wthink the safe bet is believing Jeffie Massey. She has nothing to gain from her testimony? I take it you feel exactly the opposite right Joe. You are going to bet on Brudzinski I assume?
Sick of gestapo

AOL

#33 Nov 23, 2007
Well it's obvious that "Joe", is either a coast guard pin-head,or some mindless soul who has absolutely nothing else to do but stir up the maritime community by writing such brainless drivel. I suspect it's the latter,however if not, then for the record jose, the coast guard would not know what a "thorough and complete investigation" was if it jumped out and slapped them. They ARE NOT interested in facts,just promotions. I've yet to meet ONE, just ONE, with ANY , and I mean ANY ship handling experience. This includes his highness,the commandant himself. I've forgotten more about ship handling than they will EVER know, yet they are given the opportunity to ask questions about one's livelihood,and not have a clue as to whether it is right or wrong.
Put me in front of a board of my peers ANYDAY, and I'll accept whatever decision is handed down. If this guy "joe or jose", truly believes what he writes, then I say once more THANK GOD FOR BOB LITTLE, JUDGE MASSEY,ELIJAH CUMMINGS, and of course Capt. Block. Also, for the record there jose, those "junior officers" you so woefully describe never have to worry about those big time lawyers.It's pretty obvious the deck has been stacked for years. It's just a shame that O J never went before a coast guard alj. And if you even think about suggesting that coast guard cutters should be considered "ship handling", then you're dumber than I think you are.I have a golden retriever who could operate the largest "cutter" the coast guard (or we the taxpayers)own.
two headed coin

Wakefield, RI

#34 Nov 23, 2007
I think we should bring Joe up on some trumpped up false charges. Lets decide his fate on a coin toss. Same rules apply. Joe gets "tails" and the judicial system get "heads". I said the same rules apply so make sure a two headed coin is used in the toss. Like apples Joe??? How you like them apples???
Joe

Staten Island, NY

#35 Nov 23, 2007
Such intelligent rejoinders! The one from “Sick of Gestapo” was especially witty; nothing like just out and out denigrating the Coast Guard, which is really what this is all about (given the nuanced, highly intelligent and sophisticated tenor of your response, I suspect that your golden retriever could probably do a better job of driving a boat than you, but that’s another discussion). Well, had enough fun here. Enjoy your mutual whine-fest. As far as my friend from Exeter goes, too bad you had to go with that last post; we were almost on the verge of having a civil conversation. Coasties have been called plenty of bad things over time, but liars they are not. Coastguardsmen don’t specialize in “trumped up” charges. They specialize in enforcing existing maritime laws and regulations. This they do on a daily basis for not a whole lot of money or recognition. And, of course, for not much thanks either. Anyway, I guess guilty consciences scream the loudest and that’s why you’re spending so much time on here spewing out a bunch of bilious BS. It’s a shame because I’ve known and dealt with plenty of hard-working, decent and honorable commercial mariners. I’ve also known some real miscreants who’ll do anything possible to evade all responsibility for their own screw-ups (blaming the Coast Guard, blaming the “system,” blaming anybody and everybody under the sun, just making sure that they’re not held accountable). Ultimately, what this is all about is getting everybody off the hook, a universal get-out-of-jail free card. Eliminating Coast Guard recourse to the ALJ is the first step in doing that. And, you’ll eventually get your wish. Politicians never like to listen to the guys wearing the blue uniforms because they can’t cough up any donations come election time (unlike trial lawyers). So, don’t be bitter just ‘cuz I don’t agree with you! I’m sure that you’ll probably soon be able to go out there and play bumper cars out on the water and never have to worry about any ramifications; just fill out the 2692 and laugh it off.
Greg

United States

#36 Nov 23, 2007
Joe your so full of mistruths many of the sectors have civilian attorneys on staff and cg attorneys on staff as for the stats re accidents caused by drugs and alcohol of which the cg does not seperate the drugs or alcohol you can count them on 1 hand I have the stats from your friends at Headquarters more mistruths from a coastie and yes they lie I have written proof from the cg themselves documenting their mis truths now joe what do you have to say Hey no what is the No 1 cause of a 2692 Try fatigue my friend get your facts stright then we can visit
Greg

United States

#37 Nov 23, 2007
Hello Joe, Please do us a favor and post the accidents stats by year starting with 2000 thru 2006 that involve a 2692B
Sick of gestapo

AOL

#38 Nov 24, 2007
Liars they are Jose----------liars they are. I not only have the documents, I've witnessed them in person. Straight-faced,I might add.

Also, my golden retriever writes better than you, so I know he can handle coast guard "cutters'.
Curious

AOL

#39 Nov 24, 2007
Why do civilian mariners have to go before a military (coast guard) hearing and have their fates,livelihoods,careers,etc, etc.decided by them? I'm not in the military, but I'm curious as to why airline pilots don't have their fates decided by the air force. If I'm correct, the maritime industry seems to be the only profession to be subjected to this. How does this get justified?
CG Aviator Chief

Columbia, SC

#40 Nov 24, 2007
Curious wrote:
Why do civilian mariners have to go before a military (coast guard) hearing and have their fates,livelihoods,careers,etc, etc.decided by them? I'm not in the military, but I'm curious as to why airline pilots don't have their fates decided by the air force. If I'm correct, the maritime industry seems to be the only profession to be subjected to this. How does this get justified?
The CG is not Dept of Defense, true we are considered one of the branches of the military, we are under the Dept of Homeland security, during time of war we fall under the Navy and are considered part of the DOD. So we are not considered military while performing these duties, I know this seems like a double standard, being seperate from the the DOD also gives us the authority to enforce the High seas laws and treaties that we enforce as part of our job. FAA is civilian yes but it is still a federal agency.

We are the experts when it comes to maratime law. Who else would you suggest oversee these hearings? Also alot of these hearings are not to find fault and fine people but to prevent them from happening again, yes if there is negligence involved stiff fines or jail time will be handed out.

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