December 13, 2002
Retired Judges Program
Two Retired Judges Censured
by State for Unethical
Los Angeles Times, 12-10-2002
by Jean Guccione
Times Staff Writer
Two retired Superior Court judges were censured Monday and barred from
future judicial assignments for unethical conduct on the bench.
The State Commission on Judicial Performance found that James R. Simpson of
Los Angeles County improperly "presided over matters involving friends, gave
favorable treatment to friends and tried to influence other judicial officers
and police in their handling of matters concerning the judge's friends."
In the other matter, the 11-member commission found that Arthur S. Block of
Riverside County "engaged in a pattern of inappropriate sexual conduct [and]
attempted to intimidate potential witnesses during the investigation of the
alleged sexual conduct."
He also was said to have improperly attempted to use his judicial office to
help an acquaintance resolve a traffic matter in Los Angeles County.
Simpson and Block admitted they had engaged in willful misconduct....
As a sitting judge in September 1995, Simpson improperly recalled an arrest
warrant for his former campaign manager, Allan E. Brandstater, over
Brandstater's failure to pay a $270 fine for improper registration tags on his
vehicle, according to the commission. ....
Simpson also admitted trying to influence two court commissioners -- Dona
Bracke and Steven K. Lubell -- and a Glendale police officer on their handling
of minor traffic cases involving the judge's friends.
A former deputy district attorney, Simpson was elected to the Glendale
Municipal Court in 1994 and elevated to the Superior Court in January 2000, when
the courts were unified. ....
In the other discipline case, Block admitted having called Deputy County
Counsel Tanya Galvan into his chambers during a May 8, 2001 dependency court
hearing, asking her to close the door and kissing her on the mouth. He contends
the act was consensual.
Commentary by Attorney Gary
National J.A.I.L. Lt. Commander-In-Chief
question from the above article is -- Why were no criminal
proceedings brought against these two retired judges?
--Attempted to influence police officers and other
--A sexual assault
Sounds like probable criminal conduct to me.
Furthermore, the article states "admitted they engaged in willful
misconduct." As the saying goes, "A leopard cannot change his spots."
Obviously, these "now retired" judges were likely conducting themselves in
the same manner while they were on the bench. Thus, this matter should call
for further investigation, but none will come --yet another example of a
judicial scandal swept under the rug.
The fact is, little is ever
done to any active judge who commits misconduct or criminal activity. And
even less is done to a retired judge. What can the system
say to a retired judge -- we are going to now REALLY retire
you? Unclear from the above article is whether Block and Simpson will
be "banned" from now going into private judging. In fact, when
active judges get into significant trouble, they usually take an early
retirement to avoid public exposure, and then slide stealthily into "assignment"
or private judging, all with no penalty.
We must terminate the use of these retired judges, because under
the present system they are not
held accountable. This situation provides a ripe
opportunity to have dirty illicit matters assigned to these retired
judges for adjudication, and then to make corrupt rulings. (This same
process also occurs with state court commissioners and federal magistrates, all
appointed by sitting judges.) As the above shows, Block and Simpson did much
injustice before anything was done. And they were brought to task because of
embarrassment to the system, rather than for the loss of
integrity in the system.
The problem of retired (i.e., "assigned") judges
was the subject of a recent article in the September 7, 2001 Los Angeles Times,
p.B2, "Courting Retirees to Return to Judicial Duties - Experienced
jurists who want to work part time are in demand to help fill vacancies and
heavy caseloads." This article reported: "The use of retired judges
has drawn some criticism from lawyers, who point out that such jurists do not
have to face election as do full-time judges. ... In February, 2000, Chief
Justice George [Cal. Supreme Court] created the eligibility requirements for
assigned judges and developed a formal complaint process. 'Frankly, I had a
real concern... that I was assigning judges who were not measuring up to certain
standards,' he said. 'Now they are up to the same standard, but they are
certainly not accountable to the electorate.' "
Chief George was correct
to be concerned - however, these retired judges (as evidenced
by "banned" and retired judges Simpson and Block)
demonstrate that retired judges are in fact NOT measuring
up. Maybe Chief George was in fact correct, where he
stated that the retired judges ARE up to the same standards of sitting
judges -- regarding the matter of illicit conduct.
One thing indisputable that Chief George stated is that these retired
judges simply are NOT ACCOUNTABLE to the electorate, i.e., the people. That
is in fact the case with all judges. Federal judges have
life-time appointment, are impeached less frequently than Haley's Comet
comes around (once every 64 years), and give themselves [and all their
brethren state judges] ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY. (See: Bradley v. Fisher
(1972) 80 U.S. 335; Pierson v. Ray (1967) 386 U.S. 547; and, Stump v. Sparkman
(1978) 435 U.S. 349.) JAIL4judges will change that situation and
will make all judges accountable to "We the People."
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for Judicial Accountability
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
JAIL is making inroads into Congress for federal
JAIL may be supported at P.O. Box 207, N. Hollywood, CA
To subscribe or be removed: AddRemove@...
E-Groups, sign on at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jail4judges/join
forum to make your voice heard JAIL-SoundOff@egroups.com
what J.A.I.L. can do for me, but ask what I can do for
"..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather
an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." -
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
to one who is
striking at the
-- Henry David Thoreau