164Comments Re Improving JAIL
- Aug 14, 2000Dear Jon:Thank you for your comments. First, the focus of the JAIL initiative is Judicial Accountability. As you may know, anyone submitting an initiative has to be careful not to cover multiple subjects or issues. Your suggestions either go beyond the scope of JAIL, or else they are already covered by the terms of our initiative.JAIL is not about trial jury reform, per se. However, the fact that JAIL will bring in a statewide Special Grand Jury system that will have power to judge both law and fact, will influence the current blocking of autonomous power of the County Grand Juries by the District Attorney, their "advisor". I'm sure you know that for any Grand Jury to be effective, it must be allowed to exercise its autonomous powers. After all, the Grand Jury is the body that is supposed to speak and act For the People, and be the watchdog over government. Under our current system, it is an arm of the government (the prosecutor's office).Also, we need statewide Grand Juries, which JAIL establishes within its scope of reviewing complaints on judicial misconduct. That too should have an influence on the Grand Jury system generally. It will certainly bring attention to the shortcomings and flaws in the current system.Under JAIL, the number of jurors on the SGJ is 25, with a simple majority of 13 deciding the issue. Also, under JAIL, the jurors are rotated two seats every month (three in January) to bring in "fresh blood" throughout the year.JAIL does have an effect on the trial juries too, as it relates to the criminal prosecution of judges. These petit jurors are not allowed to be "voir dired" beyond personal relationship (paragraph (r)) and they must be informed that they, too, must rule on both the law and the facts. Once the judges are recognized as having this right under JAIL, then arguably, equal protection under the laws will allow the same right to everyone.JAIL's focus on judicial accountability zeroes in on breaking through the "doctrine of judicial immunity" which is generally abused by the judiciary, and used as a shield behind which they hide from accountability for their unlawful and tyrannical actions on the bench. That judge-made doctrine (it's not even law)-- gets in the way of Constitutional principles, and the way it is abused, it violates the judicial oath of office.JAIL is very basic, and must remain so. The basic rudiments of JAIL will have a dramatic effect on many, if not all, of the points you raise. It will certainly affect the way lawyers practice before the courts, because the judges will no longer be able to cover up for them. The same goes for all other government agencies that ultimately appear in court for final determinations.If judges are forced to comply with the Constitution and laws in pursuance thereof (including court rules regarding due process requirements), the rest of government will have to fall in line. It will also have a dramatic affect on the corporate influence over the courts. Once JAIL is passed, it'll be the LAW that governs, not money or politics.Thank you very much for your interest. Let me know if you have further questions or comments.-Ron Branson------ Original Message -----From: Jon RolandTo: jail4judgesSent: Monday, August 14, 2000 6:40 PMSubject: Re: *** Atty. Responds to "Speak Up For Your Judiciary"You need to go to these pages on our site for our proposals most closely related to yours:
Your proposals aren't bad so far as they go, but there are several points that need to be covered in any reform effort that one can hope will not be easily evaded:
- Revival of private prosecutions, especially in public corruption cases.
- Getting legal issues argued before juries.
- Ending juror oath to follow law as given by judge.
- Limiting jury instructions from the judge to minimal procedural matters.
- Requiring that any disablement of rights be made explicit in a final court order.
- Making it more difficult to stack juries, by such measures as limiting questions to them.
- Ending the licensing of lawyers.
- Not limiting public defenders to a pool of a few tame ones.
- Ending plea bargaining.
- Allowing pro per in appeals cases.
- Expanding role of grand juries.
- Ending "vexatious litigant" denials of petition right.
- Ending "sovereign immunity".
- Ending asset forfeiture abuses.
- Ending "no knock" warrant abuses.
- Making it easier to convene special grand juries by petition.
- Allowing minimum time for each case before grand jury.
- Allowing public access to grand jury.
Note that a standard grand jury must decide by a vote of 12, so for it to decide by a bare majority, and to prevent ties, the number needs to be 23.
Constitution Society, 1731 Howe Av #370, Sacramento, CA 95825
916/568-1022, 916/450-7941VM Date: 08/14/00 Time: 17:40:51