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* * * Judges' Nightmare * * *

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  • JAIL4Judges
    JAILers4Justice (J4J) ____________________________________________________________ Los Angeles, CA June 3, 2009 A Public Service Announcement to America (To be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2009


      JAILers4Justice (J4J)
      Los Angeles, CA                                                        June 3, 2009

      A Public Service Announcement to America

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      Judges’ Nightmare



      There is a saying, “Be careful what you ask for – you might get it. The Los Angeles Judges went into a panick when it was decided that all their super-bonus bribes above their current fat paychecks was unconstitutional in that they were faced with the possibility of having to cough up all that money and returning it to the taxpayers in addition to facing possible criminal charges for knowingly taking money they knew did not belong to them.


      This caused the judges to swing into high gear and rush in a lobbist with an emergency to “authorize” and ex post facto Bill (after the fact) to not only okay the stealing of the money, but also to give themselves immunity from criminal prosecution. Further, this “emergency” bill “allowed” them to keep the money they stole, and to continue to accept further bribes from the County of Los Angeles . As a result, the man who exposed this whole debachal, Attorney Richard Fine, was thrown in jail indefinitely for his stand on principles and for exposing them.


      Now, the whole County of Los Angeles is crumbling under financial dispair with layoffs, cutbacks, hiring freezes, while these judges are reveling in their bribes and getting an extra day off from work.


      I have already suggested we give the judges not one day off per month, but 31 days off per month. Then we should just send the judges all the money the taxpayers are shelling out to keep the courtrooms open, and we just settle our differences in the streets where we will receive a more resemblance of justice.


      Also, I have stated that we could greatly improve our justice system by just flipping a coin and settling our difference with heads or tails. In this mannor we would at least have a fifty-percent chance of receiving justice.


      But now we come to the reality of the matter. These judges have gotten what they wanted. The problem they have is this event has created a total media nightmare and a complete disaster for themselves. No one even pretends that justice has been served here. The fact is, nothing in this matter makes common sense. Remember the old saying from your parents, “You made your bed, now sleep in it.” The judges ship is going down publically with all that gold they have amassed for themselves on board.


      Below is the latest publicity nightmare sponsored by the highly reputable Sacramento Bee. The question in the media has been presented, “Are their any honest judges in California ?”


      - Ron Branson




      Judges' extra pay undermines austerity plea

      Published online on Tuesday, Jun. 02, 2009

      By Dan Walters / The Sacramento Bee


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      California's state and local governments are, as everyone knows, wrestling with immense budget deficits, thanks to years of irresponsible budgeting and a severe recession, and a major aspect of that struggle is how to pare public payrolls.

      All of the approaches -- furloughs, layoffs, salary reductions, trimming fringe benefits -- generate no end of controversy, especially since union contracts are often involved and there are often tradeoffs between keeping more bodies on the payroll by reducing their incomes vs. maintaining pay rates for fewer workers.

      One offbeat example of the conflict is occurring in Los Angeles County 's immense court system with its 600 courtrooms and more than 400 Superior Court judges. Last month, Los Angeles court officials announced a one-day-a-month court shutdown, with employees losing their pay for the day, to narrow an estimated $90 million deficit in its finances, which are largely provided by the state. This year, the state cut about $180 million from judicial operating funds and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed an additional $191 million cut for 2009-10.

      The L.A. court furloughs would save approximately $18 million a year, and Chief Justice Ron George and local judges may make them statewide.

      "The justice system provides public safety," Charles McCoy, Los Angeles ' presiding judge, said as he announced the shutdowns. "That system needs to be operating five days a week."

      But there's more to the story. As the Legislature was passing a budget in February that included the bite on court funds, it also slipped through another measure packaged as a "budget trailer bill" that legalized the practice in Los Angeles and other counties of supplementing state-paid judges' salaries with extra payments from county treasuries.

      A state appellate court ruled in October that the supplemental payments were illegal in a case that stemmed from Los Angeles County 's practice of giving judges more than $47,000 a year in extra pay and benefits on top of their $178,789 salaries, the state's most generous bonus package. A lawyer who complained that the extra payments made it impossible for judges to be objective in cases involving county government was slapped in jail for contempt of court despite the ruling.

      The L.A. judges and other elements of the judicial community hired lobbyists and pushed for the legalization measure, which was placed into a massive slate of budget-related bills with no public airing.

      As it happens, the judges' bonuses cost Los Angeles County more than $20 million a year, just about what the one-day-a-month furlough plan would save and roughly 10% of the county government's budget deficit.

      Wouldn't it make much more sense for Los Angeles County to spend that money to keep the courts open and maintain the pay of court clerks and other ancillary staff rather than continue to fatten the judges' paychecks under dubious legal and political circumstances?

      Dan Walters writes for The Bee’s Capitol bureau. E-mail: dwalters@...; mail: P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento , CA 95852.


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