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669The "Texas Judgeship Act"

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  • jail4judges
    Nov 30, 2002
      Dear Ray Dittmar raydit@... :
      Attorney Gary Zerman and I just had a conversation regarding your suggestion of supporting the "Texas Judgeship Act."
      Here is the problem with the "Texas Judgeship Act."  It is purely systematized, and the people will still have no voice. Citing from what you have sent us, please look at the below as an example:
      "SECTION l.O4 OVERSIGHT OF JUDGES: The State Commission On Judicial Conduct is a Legislative Branch Commission granted disciplinary powers to monitor the ethical, lawful, Constitutional, effective and efficient conduct of Judges, in conformance with this statute. (A) Composition of the Commission: The Speaker of the House shall appoint 7 members from the House and the Dean of the Senate shall appoint 3 members from the Senate, and the Lieutenant Governor shall appoint 11 members from the public."
      Ray, the judicial commissions throughout all 49 states started as a result of California. In 1960 the Commission on Judicial Qualifications was created by the legislature because of the accumulation of complaints about the judiciary. Every few years this Commission gets a face lift because complaints against the judiciary still come in unabated. The legislature even went so far as to change the name from the "Commission on Judicial Qualifications" to "Commission on Judicial Performance," but still complaints rolle in against the judiciary.
      The legislature then placed an initiative on the ballot (Prop 190 which passed), to change the balance of power more away from the judiciary, and over to the people. However, the "people" happen to be political hacks, appointed by the governor and the legislature, and the corruption continued along with a landslide of complaints against the judiciary. Then came Prop 140 which also passed, etc. But California still has the same problem of judicial unaccountability.
      The "Texas Judgeship Act" is but more of the same judicial "Reforms" we have here in California from time to time. All over this nation the legislators are having the same problems: New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida, etc., etc. Let's face it, politics will not bring about judicial accountability because they just will not touch "judicial immunity," and thus, direct accountability to the people. Only J.A.I.L. will accomplish this because J.A.I.L. is directly from the people, and only from the people, with all politics aside.
      Figure this. Congress has the power of impeachment over federal judges, but impeachment is but a theory. If the impeachment "remedy" did not exist, we would be none the worse off, because it is not available in practice. (I have approximately six federal judges up for impeachment, but Congress will not even respond to tell me the status. Follow ups avail nothing, and these federal judges are still in there destroying others' lives even after the passage of many years since I filed these complaints.) I have even offered to appear personally with my evidence and with several attorneys to testify before Congress, but Congress won't even decline my offer to tell me that they are not interested. My complaints may as well be dropped in the paper shredder.
      While complaints where mounting against federal judges, Congress passed a Section 372 of Title 28 for discipline of federal judges. But again, we would be none the worse off if we did not have this "remedy" because it just is not available in practice. Dare I say that 100% of the people's complaints against federal judges are ditched.
      All the legislatures of the fifty states have the authority to rein in the corrupt judges of their states. However, it will never happen because of politics. All they will ever do is shift around the same players in the field, give the game a new title, and seek to make the public believe they have created judicial reform. Such is "The Texas Judgeship Act." The various legislatures are totally helpless due to their political nature, to escape their own vices. They will always involve as players the Legislature, Executive, or the Judiciary as the oversight. They will boast that their appointees have years of experience in law as attorneys, judges, or as professors with impeccable degrees from law colleges, etc.
      J.A.I.L. is the only answer that escapes the circle of politics. It functions neither under the oversight of the Legislature, the Executive, or the Judiciary, but purely by the People.
      Hopefully this will help you understand why J.A.I.L. cannot support the "Texas Judgeship Act." I can certainly assure you that should the Texas Judgeship Act pass, Texas will still need J.A.I.L. Get behind Al Johnson's leadership in demanding J.A.I.L. be passed in Texas. He reports that by the end of the next thirty days, he will have pressed the passage of J.A.I.L. upon thirty-three of the Texas Legislators. God bless.
      Ron Branson

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 8:18 AM
      Subject: Texas Judgeship Act

      Ron: ....

      Texas has no I&R [Initiative & Referendum] law, and I can assure you none will be enacted in this state anytime soon. Some Texans have proposed a Texas Judgeship Act to (a) remove judges from membership in the State Bar to eliminate the "integrated Bar" concept, (b) to bring judges under the oversight of the legislature and executive to create a check and balance system, (c) decree judgeship as  a distinct professional calling not regulated totally by the State Supreme Court and not called "practice of law". Here are four pages of the 14 pages of the drafted proposed law. 

      You have in the past resisted all suggestions that there be other approaches to your I&R-based program which is totally inapplicable in Texas. Perhaps you should think about supporting something like this in states without I&R. This is something that can be initiated right now and that is based on constitutional principles and existing systems.

      *   *   *


      SECTION 1. ADOPTION OF THE JUDGESHIP PRACTICE ACT. The Judgeship Practice Act is adopted to read as follows: SECTION l.01- Short Title - The Act may be cited as theJudgeship Practice Act.

      SECTION l.02 OVERSIGHT OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS: The Texas Constitution constructed by division of government powers follows the concept of the doctrine of separation of powers mandated by the United States Constitution, which mandates a check and ballance system, whereby disciplinary powers over the Judicial Branch are granted to the Legislative Branch and Administrative Licensing powers are granted to the Executive Branch.

      SECTION 1.O3 LICENSING OF JUDGES: An Executive Branch Agency would be created by the Legislature to examine candidates for licensing for the practice of Judgeship ~ It will be called the Texas Board Of Judgeship Examiners.(A) Composition of Board: (1) The Board shall consist of two representatives from each of the law schools in Texas, a member of the Texas Supreme Court and 11 members from the public appointed by the Governor. (B) Duties of the Board (1) Set standards for interim examinations for all Judges sitting on the bench and candidates for a Judgeship License; (2) Set standards for the law school curriculum for post graduate programs leading to a degree in Judgeship. This degree shall be a threshold requirement for becoming a Federal or State Judge in the year ____.

      SECTION l.O4 OVERSIGHT OF JUDGES: The State Commission On Judicial Conduct is a Legislative Branch Commission granted disciplinary powers to monitor the ethical, lawful, Constitutional, effective and efficient conduct of Judges, in conformance with this statute. (A) Composition of the Commission: The Speaker of the House shall appoint 7 members from the House and the Dean of the Senate shall appoint 3 members from the Senate, and the Lieutenant Governor shall appoint 11 members from the public. (B) Judicial Sanctions: This Commission shall create a hierarchy of sanctions including suspension and termination of license or misconduct and judicial practice deficiencies. (C) Review Committee: A Review Committee shall be established by this Commission, which shall review the conduct of all Judges and their Court personnel and report their findings in writing to the Commission. (1) Judicial Data Base >From The Court: The Review Commit- ETC

      Judicial Misconduct: Acts that trigger automatic review for Judicial Misconduct: (a) A Review Committee report certifying that an Agreed Judgment was entered whereby a Constitutional Right was waived or was in conflict with the plain language of a statute.. (b) Any valid complaint of inexcusable procedural errors or willful due process violations (C) Any valid cormplaint of a dishonest act by any member of the Court (d) Any valid complaint regarding moral turpitude.

      SECTION l~05 FINDINGS AND PURPOSES: The Legislature makes the following declarations: (A) MINIMUM CRITERIA OF JUDGESHIP: The practice of Judgeship is a privilege of service to the citizens of the State of Texas to provide just and equal application of the law in a timely manner under equitable rules of procedure. The right to practice Judgeship grants extensive powers and authority and demands undivided dedication by the licensee to justice and the law.

      This dedication shall be grounded in knowledge, experience and scholarship. (1) Judgeship licenses shall be established in the following areas (a) Criminal Law (b) Civil Law (c) Family Law (d) Administrative Law (e) Probate Law (f) Bankruptcy Law (f) Federal Law (2) The minimum criteria for obtaining a license to practice Judgeship in a particular area of the law shall be: (a) Forty years of age (b) Professors of law with 10 years of teaching experience or attorneys with 15 years of practice experience. (c) 5 years of trial experience (d) They shall have successfully completed all post graduate training programs in conformance with Section l.O3 (A) (3) No person shall serve, even temporarily, as a State Judge in any Court, without having a Judgeship License (4) All candidates for appointments to Federal Judgeships shall have a Texas Judgeship License. (5) This Section excludes those Judges now in office. (B) LENGTH OF OFFICE AND FORMAL TRAINING AFTER APPOINTMENT OR ELECTION: (1) Election or appointment shall be for 11 years (2) A minimum of 3 months of Courtroom residence training prior to assuming the bench (3) Each Judge shall participate in intensive and ongoing educational programs established by the Board of Examiners (4) Judges shall resign as active members of State and County bar associations.

      SECTION l.06 ELIGIBILITY FOR REELECTION OR REAPPOINTMENT: The Texas State Commission on Judicial Accountability shall certify each candidate’s eligibility for reappointment consistent with the standards set by that Commission.

      SECTION 1.07 TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: Prior to oath of office, a full financial disclosure shall be submitted to the State Judicial Commission. (A) SALARIES AND BENEFITS FOR JUDGES: (1) Judges shall receive $l25,000 per year with 26 weeks vacation. Cost of living adjustments will be made every 2 ....  etc.

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