J.A.I.L. News Journal ______________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California (Revised) May 3, 2007Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2007View SourceJ.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California (Revised) May 3, 2007
The Battle Lines are Drawn: J.A.I.L. versus The Foreign Power
A Power Foreign to Our Constitution
A Self-Indictment of the Judicial System
Below are excerpts from the official report on the State of the New York courts. This report is not made up or biased from an opponent's view-point! Read it, believe it. Can they be wrong? After you have read this report, you justifiably may wonder if New York really has a judicial system at all. While this report fails to reveal the failing judicial system nationwide, you can reasonably surmise that our entire judicial system is totally screwed up from top to bottom in every state in the nation. This is why we must have J.A.I.L. passed in all fifty states throughout this country, and without it, America is done for.
- Ron Branson
A COURT SYSTEM FOR THE FUTURE:
THE PROMISE OF COURT RESTRUCTURING IN NEW YORK STATE
A Report by the Special Commission on the
Future of the New York State CourtsFebruary 2007 ....
On July 17, 2006, New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye appointed the Special Commission on the Future of the New York State Courts to assess the effectiveness of the state’s current court structure and to propose appropriate reforms. The thirty member Commission was comprised of judges and court administrators; academics; representatives from the business community, bar organizations and good government groups; and some of our state’s leading legal practitioners.
During the ensuing seven months, the Commission conducted an intensive study of the New York State court system. As part of this effort, the Commission and its staff reviewed the voluminous body of literature that exists on the subject of court structure and past reform efforts, and compiled various statistics and other data to assess the functioning of our court system.
The Commission also met with dozens of judges, government officials, leaders of the business community, bar groups, Family Court practitioners, victims of domestic violence, court administrators, and a variety of others with experience in our courts. The Commission met, not only with those who have been supportive of court restructuring, but also with those who have in the past opposed such reforms. ....
New York State has the most archaic and bizarrely convoluted court structure in the country. Antiquated provisions in our state Constitution create a confusing amalgam of trial courts: an inefficient and wasteful system that causes harm and heartache to all manner of litigants, and costs businesses, municipalities and taxpayers in excess of half a billion dollars per year. ....
New York...continues to operate a blizzard of overlapping courts: Supreme Courts, County Courts, Family Courts, Surrogate’s Courts, a Court of Claims, New York City Criminal and Civil Courts, District Courts, City Courts, and Town and Village Justice Courts.
New York has eleven separate trial courts; by contrast, California, a state that has twice our population, has only one. This complex structure is not simply a matter of academic or historical interest. It imposes significant harm and costs on our state and its people. These include, for example:
• Injured individuals, large and small businesses, and state agencies that must litigate cases simultaneously in the Supreme Court and the Court of Claims whenever the state and a non-state actor are named as parties in a personal injury, medical malpractice, or commercial dispute.
• Families in crisis, which are forced to run from court to court when a single problem is fragmented among the Supreme Court, the Family Court and a criminal court for separate adjudication of matrimonial, custody and domestic violence matters.
• Children and others in guardianship cases, in which proceedings must be initiated simultaneously in the Surrogate’s and Family Courts to address related matters in the case of an orphaned child.
"The judicial article of the Constitution begins: ‘There shall be a unified court system for the state.’ The reality is otherwise. New York has no unified court system. It is a constitutional fiction. New York has an inheritance of a colorful but confused and sprawling mass of 11 trial courts." – Chief Judge Charles D. Breitel, February 1974
More fundamentally, the fragmented nature of our courts prohibits the judicial system from efficiently managing cases in a way that would be natural and obvious in any rational business organization. A backlog that develops in one court, for example, cannot be readily ameliorated by transferring cases from that court to an underused but perfectly capable court across the street. .... What this means is that, in the millions of cases that are handled in our state courts every year, people waste countless hours making redundant court appearances, filing unnecessary papers and briefs, and suffering through delays caused by courthouse backlogs and inefficiencies. In addition to confusion and anguish, the practical effect of this is lost wages, lost productivity, and higher costs and attorneys’ fees for individuals, businesses and government entities. Given the number of cases affected (3.7 million cases are resolved annually in the state courts) these hidden costs add up to $502 million per year.
For decades, commissions, scholars, legislative panels and others have decried the inefficient and wasteful structure of the New York courts, and have advanced myriad proposals for reform. Time after time, these efforts have stalled, not for lack of popular support, but for lack of political will. In this arena, generations of good ideas have been undone by the inertia of the status quo.
In the last ten years, New York State’s Office of Court Administration ("OCA"), the administrative arm of the state court system, has developed a number of initiatives that have attempted to ameliorate the structural inefficiencies of the court system by way of administrative fiat. These include the introduction of the Commercial Division, a specialized unit within the Supreme Court that focuses on resolving complex business disputes; the Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, which attempt to bring together the separate cases that can arise out of a single family in crisis; and Community Courts, which look more holistically at the related criminal, housing, and family problems that can face litigants in a particular community. These innovations and others have met with
"The state’s courts are a mess, impossibly complicated and inefficient. . . . If [court restructuring does not occur,] [c]itizens will continue to struggle with the most complicated court system in the nation."
– Still Time to Overhaul the Courts, New York Times, June 17, 1998
tremendous success, and have garnered widespread attention inside and outside of the state. These administrative initiatives, however, do not diminish the need for more fundamental change. Such successes have been achieved, not in lieu of, but in the absence of, structural reform. Indeed, if anything, they have demonstrated how much more productive the entire system could be if these types of efficiencies were instituted on a statewide scale. In other words, the administrative achievements of the past decade have made even more compelling the case for statutory and constitutional reform. ....
This is our Report.
"We have an organizational flow chart no business executive would be caught dead with - and no state judiciary should either. . . . We say we want the public to trust and respect our system of justice, but then we hand them this jurisdictional maze that requires a roadmap and compass to navigate."
– Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, October 1997
"The words ‘court system’ are probably a misnomer for it is difficult to recognize any system in the conglomeration of courts throughout the State. A mere enumeration of the courts is sufficiently bewildering to justify the conclusion that some simplification, some system, is necessary."
– Tweed Commission, Subcommittee on Modernization and Simplification of the Court Structure (1955)
In recent months, the groundswell of support for court reform has grown stronger, with Governor Eliot Spitzer announcing in his first State of the State Address his intention to introduce a constitutional amendment "to consolidate and integrate our balkanized courts."
.... "New York has the most complex and costly court system in the country, a system that too often fails to provide justice while imposing an undue burden on taxpayers." – Gov. Eliot Spitzer, January 2007
* * * *
We believe that our court system is at a tipping point. Over time, virtually all constituencies with a stake in our courts have called for the system to be restructured. The consensus in favor of reform has grown stronger in recent years, as our system has become increasingly unworkable and complex. Our recommendations have been endorsed by a number of influential organizations, and we expect many more groups to follow suit as our Report is released. Recently, Governor Eliot Spitzer has expressed a keen interest in court restructuring and has announced his intent to submit a constitutional amendment to the Legislature. ....
Below are the comments on the above by Ron Branson - National J.A.I.L. CIC:
The Scripture in II Timothy 3:7 describes those "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." They realize that "something" must be done, but "what" that something is they know not. And when truth stares them in the face, they say, "Oh no, we couldn't go for that." Hence they go on time after time, year after year seeking for a remedy which they know not. Though they amass throngs of professionals and great men, they always come up with something that will serve their own political purposes and desires. They are unwilling to acknowledge that they are the problem, and that until they get out of their own way in trying to figure things out, they will continue as the blind leading the blind.
The answer is quite simple, and it is all done for them, which remedy has been presented to them, but to date they have failed to even acknowledge its existence. Allow me to take this time to thank them for their great report in acknowledging that they have a very deep and fundamental problem with their judicial system in New York. May all the other forty-nine states do likewise. Knowing and acknowledging one has a problem is the first step towards solutions. But like Governor George Pataki said in April 2000, "It’s critical that we pass a constitutional amendment [relating to court reform] this year, so that we don’t lose another four years." That was in 2000, and here it is 2007, seven years later and they still have not arrived at placing into effect whatever they believe that "something" is, which they still do not know. You can count on that "something" being more government solutions to problems they created, and dealing with the question, "What's in it for me?" Can a leopard change its spots?
Here is the real solution for New York's problems. Will you receive it?
Judicial Accountability & Integrity Legislation (J.A.I.L.)
(New York Legislation - Version 2-7-07)
Preamble. We, the Legislature of the State of New York, find that the doctrine of judicial immunity has been greatly abused; that when judges abuse their power, the People are obliged - it is their duty - to correct that injury, for the benefit of themselves and their posterity. In order to ensure judicial accountability and domestic tranquility, we hereby amend our Constitution by adding the following provisions as [Section #] to [Article #], which shall be known as "The J.A.I.L. Amendment."
1. Definitions. To avoid absurd results, words shall be given their plain, ordinary and literal meanings; and where appropriate, the singular shall include the plural and vice-versa. For purposes of this Amendment, the following terms shall mean:
a. Judge: A judicial officer hearing and adjudicating legal actions and proceedings within the judicial branch of government (to include arbitrator, mediator, or a private judge, any of whom is assigned by a court to hear involuntary proceedings). This definition shall not be construed to mean trial juror, prosecutor, or any administrative official.
b. Material allegations: Statements essential to the claim or defense presented in a pleading filed in court.
c. Blocking: Any unlawful act that impedes the lawful conclusion of a case, to include unreasonable delay and willful rendering of an unlawful or void judgment or order.
d. Corporate litigant: A party holding a corporate charter, as distinguished from a business license.
e. Juror: A Special Grand Juror.
f. Strike: An adverse immunity decision or a criminal conviction against a judge.
2. Exclusions of immunity. Notwithstanding common law or any other provision to the contrary, no immunities shielding a judge from frivolous and harassing actions shall be construed to extend to any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material allegations, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitutions of
New York or the United States. The foregoing judicial misconduct shall not be construed to mean court decisions made within the authorized capacity of a judge.
3. Special Grand Juries. For the purpose of returning power to the People and ensuring the integrity of the judiciary, there are hereby created within this State three twenty-five member Special Grand Juries with statewide jurisdiction having inherent power to judge both law and fact. This body shall exist independent of statutes governing county Grand Juries . Their responsibility shall be limited to determining, based on the evidence shown on the record, whether any civil lawsuit against a judge would be frivolous or harassing, or fall within the exclusions of immunity as set forth in paragraph 2, or whether there is probable cause of criminal conduct by the judge against whom a petition/complaint is brought before the Special Grand Jury.
4. Professional Counsel. Each Special Grand Jury shall have exclusive power to retain non-governmental advisors, special prosecutors, and investigators, as needed, who shall serve no longer than one year, and thereafter shall be ineligible to serve; except a special prosecutor may be retained to prosecute to conclusion ongoing cases through all appeals and any complaints to the Special Grand Jury. Each Special Grand Jury may hire clerical staff, as needed, without time limitation.
5. Establishment of Special Grand Jury Facilities. Within ninety days following the passage of this Amendment, the Legislature shall provide a suitable facility for each Special Grand Jury. Each facility shall be reasonably placed proportionately according to population throughout the State, but no facility shall be located within a mile of any judicial body.
6. Annual Funding. The Legislature shall cause to be deducted two and nine-tenths percent from the gross judicial salaries of all judges, which amount shall be deposited regularly into an exclusive trust account created by this Amendment in paragraph 10 for its operational expenses, together with filing fees under paragraph 7, surcharges under paragraph 8, forfeited benefits of disciplined judges under paragraph 18, and fines, if any, imposed by sentencing under paragraph 16.
7. Filing Fees. Attorneys representing a party filing a civil petition or response before the Special Grand Jury shall, at the time of filing, pay a fee equal to the filing fee due in a civil appeal to the State Supreme Court. Individuals filing a civil petition or response on their own behalf before the Special Grand Jury as a matter of right shall, at the time of filing, post a fee of fifty dollars, or file a declaration, which shall remain confidential, stating that they are impoverished and unable to pay and/or object to such fee, pursuant to First Amendment right of redress.
8. Surcharges. Should this Amendment lack sufficient funding through its fines, fees, and forfeitures (including deductions in paragraph 6), the Legislature shall impose appropriate surcharges upon the civil court filing fees of corporate litigants as necessary to supplement the funding of this Amendment so as not to be chargeable to the public.
9. Compensation of Jurors. Each Juror shall receive a salary commensurate to that of a New York Supreme Court judge, prorated according to the number of days actually served by the Juror.
10. Annual Budget. The Special Grand Juries shall have an annual operational budget commensurate to double the combined salaries of the seventy-five Jurors serving full time, which sum shall be initially deposited by the Legislature into an exclusive trust account to be annually administered by the State Treasurer. Should the trust balance, within any budget year, drop to less than an amount equivalent to the annual gross salaries of fifty New York Supreme Court judges, the State Treasurer shall so notify the Legislature which shall replenish the account, prorated based on the actual average expenditures during the budget year. Should the trust balance in any subsequent year exceed the annual operational budget at the beginning of a new budget year, the State Treasurer shall transfer such excess to the state treasury. Except for the initial year, no expenses in paragraphs 6, 7, 9 and 10 of this Amendment shall be chargeable to the public.
11. Jurisdiction. Each Special Grand Jury shall have exclusive power to appoint a foreperson, establish rules assuring their attendance, to provide internal discipline, and to remove any of its members on grounds of misconduct. The Special Grand Jury shall immediately assign a docket number to each petition/complaint brought before it, unless such case is transferred to another Special Grand Jury to achieve caseload balance. A transfer shall not prejudice a docketing deadline. The Special Grand Jury first docketing a complaint shall have sole jurisdiction of the case. Except as provided in paragraphs 17 and 22, no petition of misconduct shall be considered by any Special Grand Jury unless the petitioner shall have first attempted to exhaust all judicial remedies available in this State within the immediately preceding six-month period. (Such six-month period, however, shall not commence in petitions of prior fraud or blocking of a lawful conclusion until after the date the Special Grand Juries become functional. This provision applies remedially and retroactively.) Should the petitioner opt to proceed to the United States Supreme Court, such six-month period shall commence upon the disposition by that Court.
12. Qualifications of Jurors. A Juror shall have attained to the age of thirty years, and have been nine years a citizen of the United States, and have been an inhabitant of New York for two years immediately prior to having his/her name drawn. Those not eligible for Special Grand Jury service shall include elected and appointed officials, members of the State Bar, judges (active or retired), judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment, or parole from a conviction of a felonious act.
13. Selection of Jurors. The Jurors shall serve without compulsion and their names shall be publicly drawn at random by the Secretary of State from the list of registered voters and any citizen submitting his/her name to the Secretary of State for such drawing. The initial Special Grand Juries shall be established within thirty days after the fulfillment of the requirements of paragraph 5.
14. Service of Jurors. Excluding the establishment of the initial Special Grand Juries, each Juror shall serve one year. No Juror shall serve more than once. On the first day of each month, two Jurors shall be rotated off each Special Grand Jury and two new Jurors seated, except in January it shall be three. Vacancies shall be filled on the first of the following month in addition to the Jurors regularly rotated, and the Juror drawn to fill a vacancy shall complete only the remainder of the term of the Juror replaced.
15. Procedures. The Special Grand Jury shall serve a copy of the filed petition upon the subject judge and notice to the petitioner of such service. The judge shall have twenty days to serve and file a response. The petitioner shall have fifteen days to reply to the judge's response. (Upon timely request, the Special Grand Jury may provide for extensions of time upon the showing of good cause.) In criminal matters, the Special Grand Jury shall have power to subpoena witnesses, documents, and other tangible evidence, and to examine witnesses under oath. Each Special Grand Jury shall determine the causes properly before it with their reasoned findings in writing within one hundred twenty calendar days, serving on all parties their determination as to whether or not immunity shall apply as a defense to any civil action that may thereafter be pursued against the judge. A rehearing may be requested of the Special Grand Jury within fifteen days with service upon the opposition. Fifteen days shall be allowed to reply thereto. Thereafter, the Special Grand Jury shall render final determination in writing within thirty days. All allegations in the petition shall be liberally construed. The Jurors shall keep in mind, in making their determinations, that they are entrusted by the People of this State with the duty of restoring judicial accountability and the perception of justice. The standard of authority by which the Jurors shall be guided in making their determinations shall not be opinions of courts, but shall be the Constitutions of New York and of the United States and laws made in pursuance thereof. The Jurors shall avoid all influence by judicial and government entities. The statute of limitations on any civil suit brought pursuant to this Amendment against a judge shall not commence until a final determination by the Special Grand Jury. Special Grand Jury files shall always remain public record following their final determination. A majority of thirteen Jurors shall determine any matter.
16. Indictment. Should the Special Grand Jury also find probable cause of criminal conduct on the part of any judge against whom a petition is docketed, it shall have the power to indict such judge. The Special Grand Jury shall, without voir dire beyond personal impartiality, relationship, or lack of fluency in English, cause to be impaneled twelve special trial jurors, plus alternates, which trial jurors shall be instructed that they have power to judge both law and fact. The Special Grand Jury shall also select a non-governmental special prosecutor and a judge with no more than four years on the bench from a county other than that of the defendant judge, having jurisdiction solely to maintain a fair and orderly proceeding. The trial jury shall be selected from the same pool of jury candidates as any regular jury. The special prosecutor shall thereafter prosecute the cause to a conclusion, having all the powers of any other prosecutor within this State. Upon conviction, sentencing shall be the province of the special trial jury, and not that of the selected judge. Such term of sentence shall conform to statutory provisions.
17. Criminal Procedures. In addition to any other provisions of this Amendment, a complaint for criminal conduct against a judge may be brought directly to the Special Grand Jury, when all of the following conditions have been met: (1) an affidavit or declaration of criminal conduct has been lodged with the appropriate prosecutorial entity within ninety days of the commission of the alleged crime; (2) the prosecutor declines to prosecute, or one hundred twenty days have passed following the lodging of such affidavit or declaration, and prosecution has not commenced; (3) an indictment, if sought, has not been specifically declined on the merits by a county Grand Jury; and (4) the criminal statute of limitations has not run. Any criminal conviction (including a plea bargain) under any judicial process shall constitute a strike.
18. Removal. Whenever any judge has received three strikes, the judge shall be permanently removed from office, and thereafter shall not serve in any State judicial office. Judicial retirement for such removed judge shall not exceed one-half of the benefits to which such judge would have otherwise been entitled. Retirement shall not avert third-strike penalties.
19. Public Indemnification. No judge against whom a petition/complaint is brought, or sued civilly by a complainant pursuant to this Amendment, shall be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed public counsel, nor shall any judge be reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained under this Amendment.
20. Enforcement. No person exercising strict enforcement of the findings of a Special Grand Jury shall be held liable civilly, criminally, or in contempt.
21. Redress. The provisions of this Amendment are in addition to other redress that may exist and are not mutually exclusive.
22. Challenges. No judge under the jurisdiction of the Special Grand Jury, or potentially affected by the outcome of a challenge hereto, shall have any jurisdiction to sit in judgment of such challenge. Such pretended adjudication shall be null and void for all purposes and a complaint for such misconduct may be brought at any time, without charge, before the Special Grand Jury by class action, or by any adversely affected person.
23. Preeminence. Preeminence shall be given to this Amendment in any case of conflicts with statute, case law, common law, or constitutional provision. The foreperson of each Special Grand Jury shall read, or cause to be read, this Amendment to the respective Jurors semi-annually during the first week of business in January and July. Should any part of this Amendment be determined unconstitutional, the remainder shall remain in full force and effect as though no challenge thereto existed.
* * *
The above is my gift to you, the Legislature of New York in facing your crisis. A thank you is not necessary, but if you give one, I respond, "You are welcome."
- Ron Branson
J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law) www.jail4judges. org
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