"California is one state that has solved [its judicial]
(By Lyn Nofziger)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 1:03 PM
Subject: Musings: California "Solves" Activist Judge
Dear Mr. Nofziger,
Yes, I know who you are. Your name has been
familiar to me for many years.
July will mark the 45th anniversary of my arrival
in California---as an adult. Every vote I have ever cast has been in
California. I take issue with your Musings column in which you claim
California has "solved" the problem of accountability of judges by letting the
names of the justices of the state Supreme Court appear for confirmation on the
ballot every twelve years.
How many judges have been thrown off the bench by
this practice? Only ONCE in four and a half decades have I seen this
used--the famous (or infamous) Rose Bird court about two decades ago when the
People, in their collective wisdom, decided they wanted the death penalty
restored. Even that, however, was preceded by a huge spending campaign
against that particular court.
As a kid, history, government, and politics didn't
arouse much interest in me. That changed when a) I lost my first two
presidential votes due to "residence requirements" and b) I lived in Japan for
some years where I saw foreign policy in action. Having arrived in
California and been denied the right to vote in the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon contest
because I hadn't been here a year yet, I stormed the registrar's office in July
1961 demanding to register. They must have thought I was nuts to be so
insistent in an off year. I've been a fervent political activist ever
I've just retired from working the last 30 years or
so in various legal firms (no, I am not a member
of the bar---couldn't stand the company). I have many friends who have
seen major injustice in the courts. Our judicial system is a mess!
It's worse than a mess. It's a corrupt cesspool! Judges routinely do
not follow the law. They make up word definitions from the
bench. They tell jurors who ask for a specific law, "Trust me, it's in
there" (when in fact in this particular federal case, it is
not in there). They deny litigants/ defendants
the right to call witnesses or to present evidence. They take
bribes. They put their cronies in charge of affairs, such as appointing
them for psychological evaluations, as conservators, as referees, as real estate
agents to sell property of divorcing couples. There is simply no limit to
the amount of bias and corruption in the judicial system. They established
the Judges Miscellaneous Expense Fund in a Los Angeles bank (discovered by a
friend of mine and verified---I've seen the checks he acquired through
discovery) where they launder their bribes.
Does voting help at all? I say not one
whit. First of all, finding out any information about any judge is next to
impossible. Sure, the "Daily Journal" publishes its daily judicial
profile, which profiles are also mailed out to law firms reformatted to 8.5x11"
paper to be stashed in large binders and consulted by attorneys. But these
profiles are blatant puff pieces. They never say anything negative
about the profilee.
On a typical ballot, there will be anywhere from
one to twelve judicial offices up for grabs. In the accompanying ballot
information book, we are lucky if we see candidate statements for 10% of those
judicial offices. Why? Because each judicial candidate has to
pay for that ballot pamphlet write-up. And if a
candidate is paying for a write-up, what will you bet the write-up is going
to let it all hang out and tell the whole truth? Not on your life!
It will be totally biased in favor of the candidate.
No lesser personalities than George Putnam and
Dennis Prager have raised the issue in their radio talk shows about the
difficulty of voters finding out anything about the judges who may one day stand
in judgment of them. Sure, the California or American Bar Associations may
issue ratings of qualified or not qualified, but where do we see those
ratings? In endorsement editorials in the LA "Slime," which in itself has
departed from the standard of unbiased reporting and has a decidedly liberal
agenda. At least they have the decency to place these judicial
endorsements on their editorial pages.
Meanwhile, the average Joe Sixpack voter merely
checks yes next to all the incumbent judges when they are running unopposed and
probably closes his eyes and stabs for those with competition. Without any
meaningful way to critique the candidates, what's a voter to do? They have
no information to allow them to make an informed choice. So the same
corrupt judges get back in time and time again. Only some particularly
egregious conduct that makes the news---such as Ronald Kline's computer being
hacked and his collection of child pornography revealed or Patrick Murphy's 410
days of "calling in sick" and collecting his hefty superior court salary while
attending school in Mexico---will get the attention to misconduct all judges
need to be exposed to.
So what is the voter to do? Is there
answer? Yes there is, and it's not complaints to the Commission on
Judicial Performance! After all, that's merely the fox guarding the
hen-house, judges guarding their brothers and sisters in black. They have
no incentive to censure their colleagues for doing what they did.
We need a house-cleaning from top to bottom to make
judges accountable to the PEOPLE! And the answer, Mr. Nofziger, is a
California-hatched ballot initiative program called J.A.I.L.4Judges.
Written by a pro se litigant right here in the
greater LA area, this initiative idea has spread like wildfire to almost every
state! There's even a federal version ready to be introduced to Congress
at the appropriate time. Sufficient
signatures are expected to put it on the ballot in South Dakota in 2006.
There are two other states presently gathering signatures for the
What J.A.I.L.4Judges will do is establish Special
Grand Juries (SGJ)---separate and apart from the currently established grand
juries (most of which are nothing more than a consortium of cronies, picked by
the judges and rubber-stamping the desires of the local D.A.)---to hear
complaints about judges. The complainant will be required to exhaust all
available administrative remedies before coming to the SGJ. Then, in order
to have the errant judge disciplined, it will be necessary to prove that the
judge violated the law or the litigant/defendant's rights under the law.
It will not be a retrial of the facts of the case, nor will emotional issues be
allowed to hold sway.
Acronym notwithstanding, it is not the intent of
the program to actually put anyone in jail. J.A.I.L. stands for Judicial
Accountability Initiative Law.
For a detailed understanding of how J.A.I.L.4Judges
is set up to work, I commend you to href="../index.html">www.Jail4Judges.org.
If voting yea or nay on a slate of state Supreme
Court justices every 12 years were a workable proposition, we wouldn't see the
corruption and activism in California increasing every year. But this
isn't working, so the problem grows steadily worse.
It is time for the People to take the reins and
show judges what kind of judicial system we want!
Very truly yours,
AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME?
"(W)hat is needed
is a way to bring these superior beings (judges) back down to earth, remove the
halos from their heads and make them accountable in the long run to the
people. And the way to do that is take away their lifetime
appointments. This doesn't mean they should be term-limited nor does is
mean they should be forced to run for re-election. What it does mean is
that from time to time they should be subjected to a vote of their peers,
meaning you and me and the rest of the voters.
"California is one state
that has solved this problem. Members of its Supreme Court are
appointed by the governor. But once every 12 years justices must present
themselves for a vote of the people. Nobody runs against them; it's not a
political contest, but the people get to vote whether they want to keep them or
replace them. If the vote is 'yes' a justice goes back to the bench for
another 12 years. If it's 'no' the governor names someone to replace
"Once in a while, but not often, Californians throw a judge
out. I think it has a salubrious effect on the rest of the gang. And
if it works in California it could work for the country, not only for the
Supreme Court but also for the circuit and district courts."
Nofziger, Musings, 3/29/05