My name is Jessamyn West. I was elected Justice of the Peace in Randolph Vermont on November 6, 2012. My term started February 1st, 2013 and lasts for three years. Do you need a Vermont JP?
More information on what a VT Justice of the Peace does (pdf)
Certificates of Freedom
One of the historical jobs Justices of the Peace would sometimes do in the course of their duties was to issue certificates of freedom. These were papers that black people would have to carry on them in many states to ensure that they would not be harassed as runaway slaves. Since this was pre-photography in many cases, there would be descriptions of the people carrying the papers to make sure that they were not using someone else’s certificate of freedom. Here is some more description of the process.
quirky little not-justice stuff
So some days people send me things for this blog and other times I just do some idle Googling while things are slow at MetaFilter. So I look for things like the phrase “Justice of the peace” juxtaposed with words like crazy, funny, weird, interesting, etc.
I’m not even sure what I was looking for the other day when I found this Wikipedia page about Conservators of the Peace. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, this is a similar office to JPs but with a few miscellaneous other bits to it. I had never heard of this before and was surprised. After doing some more digging—check the citations at the end of the Wikipedia articles, folks!—it seems that the article is based almost entirely on one guy’s “research" (pdf, but it’s basically the same as the Wikipedia article) a guy whose job just happens to be running training classes for Virginia CPsand who this guy has a sort of checkered past with the whole CP thing but appears to be an attorney who defends gun cases. Huh. Here’s more on the odd Virginia Conservator of the Peace designation which the Washington Post calls “archaic.”
So, even though the research document is legit and has real citations and all the rest, the fact that there’s a Wikipedia article which basically cribs from it is not at all cool from a Wikipedia standpoint. And I was partway in to going down the path to formally objecting to all of this when I realized that I’d started out doing something else and that I would rather be doing that something else, but I’m leaving a note here for later about it. Neat, huh?
In Queensland Australia there are two main types of Justices of the Peace. The one kind is called Justice of the Peace (Qualified) which sort of calls into question what the other kind is called…. which is C.decs (commissioner of declarations). The second type are just for getting your document signatures witnessed. The other sort have a small amount of training, or qualifications. when you buy your JP merch, you have to tell them what sort of JP you are. More details about this from the JP FAQ.
a solstice message from another Vermont JP
[T]hat is what this season is meant to remind us of.
Forgiveness is not a behavior, but an expansion of awareness beyond the duality of guilt and blame, right and wrong. It is not an excuse for inaction during times of crisis or wrongdoing, but a request for compassion and tolerance to guide one’s response. It is the ability to embrace a more expanded consciousness in which the context of a situation is seen as being part of a larger whole, all of which are seated within a love and intelligence beyond our comprehension.