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  • jail4judges
    IMPORTANT - IMMEDIATE ATTENTION! ... From: A Voice For Children To: jail4judges Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 9:55 PM Subject: INPUT???? - Certifying Ballot
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 21, 2000
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 9:55 PM
      Subject: INPUT???? - Certifying Ballot Title for Initiative #5, JAIL in Oregon - gets filed Tuesday.....

      Dear Ron and other JAIL Chapter Heads:

          We are  in the process of certification of Ballot Title and Summary for Initiative #5, the Judicial Accountability Initiative for the 2002 election in Oregon.
          The Secretary of State wrote these titles - we are objecting to the whole process that they write the titles, but this is the process in place at this time.
          Short notice, but any who want to comment on these titles and summary, please respond - we have to  file the response on Tuesday.   The Secretary of State usually writes really deceptive ballot titles, and this is one of the least deceptive I have seen.  Your input and comments appreciated.
          We will find out tomorrow if any other submissions have been filed regarding the titles, and share the process as we go.   (We respond,  the Attorney General and the Secretary of State  respond, if that still is not workable, then we go to the Supreme Court, as we did last week on Ballot Measure #1, and make our case).
          (I do not like their characterization of "restricts judges criminal defense rights" - it sound misleading - this is a mild example of how they word things to sound biased  in favor of the judges)

      Draft Ballot Title -


      RESULT OF "YES" VOTE:  "Yes" vote limits judicial immunity,  judges' criminal defense rights, adds grounds for removing judges from office;  new "special grand juries" determine judicial immunity, indict judges.

      RESULT OF "NO" VOTE:  "No" vote rejects:  limiting judicial immunity, judges' criminal defense rights;  adding grounds for removing judges from office;  creating "special grand juries" determining judicial immunity, indictments.

      SUMMARY:  Amends Constitution.  Eliminates certain grounds on which judges currently have judicial immunity from civil lawsuits.  Creates  two "special grand juries"  to determine whether a judge  has immunity from civil lawsuit;  sets "special grand jury" qualifications and selection process; excludes  government officials, judges, lawyers, police, some convicted felons, and others from service.  Funds "special grand juries" with 2.9% reduction in current judicial salaries;  imposes surcharge on certain civil filings if needed  to cover any budgetary shortfall.  Requires removal from office and partial forteiture of pensions of judges receiving three adverse immunity findings.  Allows "special grand jury" to indict judges, appoint
      jury to decide case, and impose sentence;  eliminates criminally accused judges,  appoint jury to decide case, and impose sentence;  eliminates criminally accused judges' right to waive jury in criminal prosecutions. Other provisions.

      Pamela Gaston

      Wolfgram to Oregon Jail:
          There are a couple of changes that the Secretary might accept.  One is on the "Limits Judicial Immunity".  Change this to "Disallows immunity for deliberate violations of law ... ".  Either use the same words as the California initiative on that issue, or shorten it to "deliberate violations of law, fraud, conspiracy, due process or deliberate disregard of material facts or unreasonable delay of proceedings."
            The Words "Restricts Judges Criminal Defense Rights" is misleading. The only "restriction" is on the "right to waive a jury" and that is not a right of the accused. Jury waiver must be reached by agreement, and the initiative only prevents the state from agreeing.  The proper words therefore are: "requires trial by jury of all criminally accused judges".
            Instead of "eliminates criminally accused Judges Right to waive Trial by Jury" put "Requires Criminally accused Judges to be tried by Jury."
          The Reason is because the former is misleading.  No one has, by himself, the right to "waive" a jury trial.  Rather, usually, the prosecution also waives the state's right to demand a jury, and only when both sides so waive, is a criminal case tried to a judge.  In this case, JAIL is saying to the Prosecutor that he shall not waive the state's right to a jury trial on the state's behalf.  The result is a jury trial.

      Ron Branson's Imput:
          I agree with John Wolfgram imput, but wish to expand upon the point of trial by jury. The Secretary of State has a misunderstanding of Constitutional rights. Yes, there is a Constitutional right to a trial by jury. This right involves both parties to the action, that is, both the prosecution as well as the defense. This has always been true in this country. To say one has a right to unilaterally "waive" his right to a jury trial infringes upon the right of the other side to a jury trial. As authority of such position, I cite to the California Constitution, Article I, Sec. 16, "Trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured to all, but in a civil cause three-fourths of the jury may render a verdict. A jury may be waived in a criminal cause by the consent of both parties expressed in open court by the defendant and the defendant's counsel. In a civil cause a jury may be waived by the consent of the parties expressed as prescribed by statute."  Here it it clear that both sides to an action, whether civil or criminal, have a right to a jury trial.
          While this is cited from the California Constitution, this fact is true universally throughout the fifty states. One has no Constitutional right to waive his right to a jury trial without consent and agreement of both sides. The right to a jury trial cannot be translated into the right to a judge trial. The prosecution also has a right to a jury trial to which they may not be deprived. Such "judge" trial, if it were to take place, would be mandatorily reversible on appeal on the Constitutional grounds of deprivation of an inviolate right to a jury trial. Furthermore, any appellate panel of judges who would violate such right would themselves be subjected to review by the Special Grand Jury.
          No judge may be heard to argue that under JAIL their "right" to waive a jury trial was denied.
          Conclusion: The Secretary of State should consult Constitutional scholars to become informed on this issue.
      -Ronald Branson, author of JAIL
      PS - I strongly urge others respond immediately to this, as time is of the essence, directly to Pamela Gaston at avoice@..., with a copy to me at jail4judges@....
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