April 16, 2002
The Ripple-Down Effect of
The JAIL4Judges proposal does not address collateral problems directly. But
the effect of JAIL4Judges Special Grand Juries is poison to misconduct and
shackles on malfeasance in every office, judicial or otherwise.
JAIL4Judges addresses only the unlawful, unethical and inept acts of
judicial officers, holding them personally accountable where our existing
In a Special Grand Jury action, accused judges are presumed to have
absolute immunity so long as they act fully within the constraints of the
Constitution, the laws and ethics. When judges are called before a Special
Grand Jury, that immunity is in question.
If a complainant can document the misconduct to the satisfaction
of the Special Grand Jury, the individual judge is now personally
accountable to the Citizens, without the benefit of the state's
resources, without the benefit of a friendly county counsel, Attorney
General, or district attorney, and without the benefit of his robe and personal
bailiff. He stands before the Special Grand Jury AS A CITIZEN BEFORE HIS
PEERS! At the pleasure of the Special Grand Jury, the individual who has
been accused of abandoning his immunity as a public officer may face civil or
criminal trial in the ordinary way. He has been stripped of his former
"good ol' boy" assembly of veiled protections.
Now, ...regardless of the outcome of this particular encounter between a
sitting judge, a complainant and a Special Grand Jury, consider the personal
revelations of the remaining sitting judges, commissioners, magistrates, acting
judges and judge pro-tems, ad nauseum.
What do you suppose their reaction will now be? What will be
on their (now personally accountable) judicial minds when a former
co-deputy District Attorney approaches in chambers or in the restroom and
suggests that a particular defendant is a real problem and should be given the
short-shrift at the next session, or at court when a prosecutor falsely claims a
civil citation to be a "verified criminal misdemeanor complaint" (or it's
Will they consider the ramifications of being held to personal account
for their acts before the Special Grand Jury? They know we won't be
rehearing the case or second-guessing any particular opinion, that is for
the existing institution to deal with. They know that what will be judged,
is their conduct in obedience to the law, not their
discretion; it will be their compliance with the canons of judicial ethics,
not mere singular indiscretions.
The judges will know their traditional institutional friends
cannot help or protect them or shield them when personally appearing
before the Citizens review. In their minds and the minds of their judicial and
prosecutorial peers, they now wear the aegis of suspicion of disgrace, the
robeless exposure of the defrocked and the accused, just as those who have come
before their bench in the past... damaged goods, regardless of the
validity of the charges or the purity of the prosecution.
I do not think most judges will seek to test their ability to challenge a
Special Grand Jury investigation or invite a possible prosecution for misconduct
or corruption, alone, without their institutional companions. Under J.A.I.L. a
judge cannot be defended at public expense. This indicates that the judiciary
will become more cognizant of the Constitution, the law, and ethical
All other government actors will understand that they no longer can
presume the protection of their institutional allies when their personal acts
are challenged by a Citizen and the issue taken to court... where all of a
sudden, the judges seem to be turning an unkindly eye to marginal arguments and
implausible presumptions for fear of later facing personal accountability for
acting outside their authority or beyond the law. The rational fear of the
opinion of the Citizens is now a contending force, and no longer a chimera to be
faced only at the ballot box in odd years.
Then, the ripple-through upsets the BAR association, and the police
commission's internal investigations because these issues too will be
ultimately taken to a court. There the good ol' boys protective
associations and glee clubs will find still friendly, but now selfishly
unsympathetic, ears of the prosecutors and the judges.
The magic stone is the return of the personal and direct touch of the
opinion of the Citizens' panel which excludes elected and appointed state
officials, members of the Bar, prosecutorial, judicial and law
enforcement, and their employees. The final decisions of judicial conduct
are exercised by the true sovereigns, the Citizens. Judicial good conduct then
regulates the conduct of executive and legislative conduct and ensures the good
operation of the bureaucracies. The circle, finally, is closed. The Citizens
create their terms for governing, select and instruct their representatives,
and, in the closing of the control loop, judge the judges who judge the rest. It
is in this manner that everyone's life, limb, and property are made secure,
hence providing "new guards for their future security."
It is enough to understand that the circle of Citizen self-government
must be closed. If it remains broken as it is, at the judicial link, we will
find that we are condemned to eternal consumerism and taxation.
Representation by election, but unrestrained between elections, is an
invitation for rebellion by representatives against their constituents'
instructions. The exercise of judicial power without personal accountability
encourages collaborations of executive and legislative pretense, at the sole
expense of the constituents.
The bureaucracies ebb and flow with the times, knowing that elected and
appointed officials come and go like foreign marks at a cathouse... but with
JAIL4Judges at work, who knows? Could it be that unlawful policies and
bureaucracies can be challenged and... well, I didn't write this
essay to frighten my friends down at the county center with concern for their
careers and mortgages... but, maybe there is something to think about there. How
far do ripples go, anyhow?