April 1, 2002
The following account arises out of
the early days of J.A.I.L. when it was known as the Judicial Reform Act of 1996
(JRA) and before J.A.I.L. was on the internet. I know nearly every player in the
below article and they know me. Our relationship will be reflected within the
article by a bracketed comment in maroon color. In short, J.A.I.L. was an actor
in the fruition of this matter.
Author/Founder of JAIL4Judges.
Monday, April 1, 2002
Front Page Headline - Lead Story
Judges' Party Time
Audit: Money from 'slush fund' should have gone
to court's account
By Troy Anderson
Party time for Los Angeles judges --golf
tournaments, dinner cruises, horse races, baseball games and theater events--
partially funded by fees that should have gone to the court system has finally
For decades, Los Angeles County's judges have treated
themselves to the lifestyles of the rich and famous with money in an obscure
fund created in 1960....
... the independent audit, ordered by [Los Angeles]
Presiding Judge James Bascue in February 2001, found there was no practical way
to determine how much money was deposited to the fund... [Ron Branson subpoenaed Jim Bascue to the witness stand when Mr.
Bascue was the Chief Deputy of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office in
1983 in the matter of the dismissal of Barbara Branson from the D.A.'s office
without a hearing, cross-examining Mr. Bascue regarding the truthfulness of a
document submitted and relied upon by him. This cross-examination regarding the
contents of this document became so embarrassing that the hearing officer
short-circuited the cross-examination and finally said, "Let's just say the
document was submitted for its existence, and not for its content."]
It also found the judges were not improperly
influenced in legal cases by the money from lawyers. (And why, pray tell, were the lawyers giving money to the
judges before whom they stood, deciding their cases? -RB)
The association's board of directors voted 3-0 in
December to turn the nearly $60,000 left in the fund over to the court and end
the practice of accepting contributions from lawyers and others....
"My gut reaction is very simple," said taxpayer
advocate and Beverly Hills attorney Richard I. Fine, "this is a typical misuse
of funds case. Should the taxpayers pay for judges to go on (ocean) dinner
cruises? Should the taxpayers pay for judges to have golf tournaments?
"Should the taxpayers pay for retirement parties?
Should the taxpayers pay for wine and cheese get-togethers?" ....
[Deputy County Counsel Frederick] Bennett said the
court made the right decision in December  to ensure the proper separation
between the court and the judges' association accounts, but it did not want the
money repaid because of the difficulty separating funds commingled for
[Frederick Bennett is the sweetheart of all of the
judges of the County of Los Angeles. He has "faithfully" defended every Los
Angeles County judge sued by Mr. Branson, and boasts that never in his entire
tenure has he ever lost a defense case against a judge.]
In August, state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los
Angeles, called for a state audit into whether judges operated the special
account partially supported by child custody and support cases as a slush fund
for their own benefit. [Both Attorney Gary Zerman (the
National J.A.I.L. Lt. Commander-In-Chief) and Mr. Branson testified at the
inquiry on the conduct of these Los Angeles judges prior to the senator calling
for this audit.]
The state auditor questioned whether she had
authority to conduct the audit of a private judges association. On March 19,
Kuehl wrote a letter to Bascue asking for a copy of the independent audit he
ordered. The Daily News obtained the audit last week.
Among its findings was that judges' fund records showed
a large number of checks from judges were made out to "Cash." ....
The National Organization for Women had asked Kuehl to
call for the inquiry because of concerns that funds from attorneys and clients
involved in child custody and child support cases were improperly influencing
cases before the judges.
The fund, which the audit by the Los Angeles accounting
firm of Simpson & Simpson showed... operated under the County's tax
identification number without filing tax returns until the association
incorporated in 1997. (In other words, these
judges didn't file tax returns on this money from 1960 to 1996
--36 years-- and started filing only after the heat
was on them. RB)
Details of the fund, supported by lawyer
contributions, court monitors and legal seminar fees put on by judges, emerged
out of a legal battle between the judges association and a group of parents who
claimed they were victimized by the family court system because of the financial
interests of the judges.
La Crescenta resident Marvin Brier, a 63-year-old
retired bank computer analyst who spent several years and $100,000 investigating
the fund while helping his daughter regain custody of her 13-year-old son, said
the audit shows collusion between lawyers and judges in family court
cases. [Marve Brier in 1996 called Mr. Branson and
told him he had photocopies of checks that proved judges were getting money
under the table, and that he was going to go to the District Attorney's Office
with his evidence. Mr. Branson advised him not to turn lose of his original
evidence because he is sure to find that the District Attorney is in on this
scam and will seek to cover it up. Since that time, Marve Brier has taken
his evidence to every government agency and to the media, all shunning or
covering up the matter. Marvin has spoken on his experiences on various
occasions at the invitation of Mr. Branson.]
"I'm stunned," Brier said. "Basically, the lawyers
bought this stuff for the judges and then they got favorable judgments. The
judicial canons and state bar ethics strictly prohibit this.
"I think all the people who lost children in the family
court system have a right to go back and look at who gave money to the
association in their cases. My daughter lost local custody of her son and we
attribute this to the money. We regained custody by using this evidence in
various court cases."
Irene Jensen, 47, who maintains residences in the San
Fernando Valley and Salt Lake City, said she hasn't seen her daughter in 19
months. [Irene was one of the first members of
JRA (JAIL's predecessor) in 1996-- before the members became known as
"We are paying for these judges to have a good
time on our misery," she said. "Where is my money going? In the last nine years,
I've spent well over $100,000 fighting for my daughter's life. Does this mean my
money helps these judges go on cruises?" ....
Fund expense records for 2000 showed money was used for
golf tournaments at El Caballero Country Club, Brookside Country Club, and
Braemar Country Club, Fantasea Charters & Event Production ocean dinner
cruises out of Marina del Rey, Los Angeles Turf Club Inc., horse races and
tickets for L.A. Dodgers games and the Lion King theater production....
We are proud that J.A.I.L. has played a part
in the history of the development of this judicial scam of Los Angeles County.
Our special thanks to the Daily News for boldly publishing the above article,
and to Marve Brier, Irene Jensen, Attorney Gary Zerman and others not
specifically named who also contributed in exposing this
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for Judicial Accountability Initiative
JAIL's very informative website is found at www.jail4judges.org
JAIL proposes a
unique new addition to our form of government.
JAIL is powerful! JAIL is
dynamic! JAIL is America's ONLY hope!
JAIL is spreading across America like a
fast moving wildfire!
JAIL is making inroads into Congress for federal
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