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Palin Supporters Encourage Harassment of Alaska Judges? The Palin v. Johnston Custody Case Takes an Ugly Turn

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Just when you thought things couldn't sink any lower, they drain the pool and start digging.

There are new developments in the recently disclosed Bristol Palin v. Levi Johnston custody case. The Palin half of Palin v. Johnston wanted to keep the identities of the parties pseudonymous -- Jane and John Doe. Of course, a custody hearing in Wasilla, Alaska between Jane Doe represented by Palin's high-profile lawyer, and John Doe represented by Johnston's equally high-profile lawyer couldn't have stayed off the radar for long.

Palin's argument was that the case would be traumatic for their 12-month old son Tripp. Johnston claimed that the trial, if kept secret, would allow the Palins to operate under the radar, allowing potential bad behavior from Sarah Palin in particular to occur out of the sunlight.

"I know that public scrutiny will simplify this matter and act as a check against anyone's need to be overly vindictive, aggressive or malicious, not that Bristol would ever be that way, nor that I would. But her mother is powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive," Johnston said in his affidavit. "So, I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin's instinct to attack."

His attorney, Rex Butler notes:

Embarrasing facts sometimes present themselves in cases involving custody. If the legislature chose to make any trial involving embarrasing facts subject to closure, nearly all the domestic violence hearings in this state would be sealed and private. This case presents a custody case with similar facts that attend open cases every day in the Alaska Court System. The plaintiff has failed to meet the test for either closure or the use of pseudonyms or a protective order and has not identified an evidentiary basis upon which to find closure necessary under a privilege rationale or for any other reason.

The judge ruled for open proceedings.

Sarah Palin's group of supporters, including controversial conservative radio shock jock Eddie Burke, and (you can't make this stuff up) Palin's Wasilla hairdresser, have decided to take action and help promote a campaign seemingly designed to harass the judges involved in Tripp's custody case.

beehiveburke KBYR Radio Host Eddie Burke at a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly, 2009

Sarah Palin's Wasilla Hairdresser Jessica Steele, aka "Jessica Beehive"

Others outside of Alaska have created a Facebook Group with a posting as follows:

"Tripp is not a Political Football"

We want to thank everyone for their time and attention to this matter. Over the Holidays; Superior Court Judge Kari C. Kristiansen issued a ruling under the authority of Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason. The ruling was a denial to keep the Custody dispute Between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston over 1 year old Tripp closed.

Judge Kristiansen sited there was no reason to keep this matter private. The Palin's trying to keep the proceedings focused on Tripp, fought for the closing of the proceedings. Levi Johnston argued for an open proceeding. The Decision raises many concerns of Political Hanky Panky; but even more, cannot be justified to be in the best interest of a 1 year old child.

Both of the Judges are appointees of Former Governor Tony Knowles--(Democrat). Both of the Judges are up for retention. Fancy for Re-Appointment in 2010. [<---Editor's pick for best sentence in Facebook post] Both have been accused of activist liberal rulings prior.

The Law in Alaska without doubt provides for the closing of a proceeding. The best interest of the child, or other mitigating circumstances is the guide. There is no question both elements are in play here.

We here believe this decision is either one of the worst in Alaskan History; or is in fact: a Politically motivated attempt to harm or perhaps payback Sarah Palin. Perhaps elements of both could also be correct. Barracuda Brigade for Our American Girl! 2012 has decided, since the Judges want a public proceeding; to give them one.

This the address for both Judges. [removed] 2004--Attn: Judge Sharon Gleason/Attn: Judge Kari C. Kristiansen

Judge Gleason's phone: 907-***-****
Judge Kristiansen's phone: 907-***-****

The Judicial Review Commission of Alaska is set-up in a way, that any protest to them would be handled in this situation by: Judge Sharon Gleason---yep--that is why she had Judge Kristiansen hand down the decision.

The next level up is the Governor, Sean Parnell. His phone is--907-465-3500, fax--907-465-3532. See link below; under contact: will take you to his e-mail.

The "Tripp is not a Political Football" protest will formally begin on Thursday Jan. 7th at 12pm. cst. We ask all concerned to call, fax and e-mail Governor Parnell: also to call and write both Judges and let them know: Patriots across America find your actions a disgrace to the Judicial system. That our concerns are being directed to the Governor's Office.

The actual Court record will be available shortly, along with the list of retention.
We thank you for your time and concern----Dave & Alicia

A formal protest of a custody case, including apparent telephone harassment and the identification of the physical location of judges by "patriots across America?" Whipping up a political frenzy while claiming the best interest of the child you're trying to protect from a political frenzy?

Local political watchdog Linda Kellen Biegel at the blog Blue Oasis, who has frequently been on the receiving end of the wrath of Palin supporters was concerned enough to craft the following letter to a number of law enforcement agencies in the state:

"I was not sure who has jurisdiction over this issue, but I wanted folks to be aware that there is a push across the Internet involving Facebook and Twitter (and now posted on Sarah Palin's Facebook page) to contact/harass the two Judges in the Palin v. Johnston custody case: Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen in Palmer and Presiding Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage.

They have their office phone numbers and the Anchorage office address published on a Facebook Fan Page and are encouraging everyone to start contacting them on January 7th through a Facebook "protest" page.

(Inclusion of text)

As someone who still receives regular (almost daily) harassment from these folks, I know that it isn't a question of "if" but "when" someone actually makes a threat against one or both of these judges.

Three of the people pushing this within the State of Alaska are:

--Wasilla hairdresser Jessica Steele from Beehive Hair Salon. From her @JessicaBeehive Twitter page:

RT @ArcticFox2012: upcoming campaign: We R organizing event 2 show our disdain & utter disgust for this judges lack... http://bit.ly/5mgb6k

RT @ArcticFox2012: Patriots: Provided here R Names--Address's---Phone Numbers of the 2 Judges in the Bristol Palin... http://bit.ly/6nwRH3

--another is KBYR talk show host Eddie Burke--from his @TalkRadioHost Twitter page:

@JessicaBeehive lets keep these ph num going!! its important to keep pressure on judges

I wanted to give a "head's up" to whatever agency is in charge because, quite frankly, I know how extreme these folks can be.

Linda Kellen Biegel"

Biegel notes the recent report discussed on CNN and the AP regarding the spike in threats against judges and prosecutors.

The report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded there are still major gaps in reporting and responding to threats. Concerns about security for judges intensified five years ago after the husband and mother of a federal judge in Chicago were killed by a man angry over a court ruling.

Between 2003 and 2008, the number of threats and inappropriate communications jumped from 592 to 1,278, the report found. The government defines "inappropriate communications" as messages that aren't explicitly threatening but worrisome enough to require further investigation.

What will actually happen on January 7th at noon Central Standard Time remains to be seen, but one thing in certain. Sarah Palin's divisive influence and ability to fan the flames of anger and vitriol among her supporters continues, and enters uncharted territory. Let's hope we see a Facebook post from her condemning this national campaign against Alaskan judges.