Judge Sues Police For Excessive Force
Judge Sues Police For Excessive ForceBy Ron Branson
National JAIL4Judges Commander-In-Chief
It is no secret that wrongful police action is generally covered up by judges. But what makes the below story so unusual is the shoe is on the other foot. Here a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge himself is suing the police officers for excessive force.
In theory, not fastening a seat belt is considered a non-jailable victimless "infraction." But such is in theory only. In an action entitled "Branson v. Kevil Martin," 56 Cal.App.4th, 300" this author brought an action against Commissioner Kevil Martin of Pasadena when he was arrested and thrown in jail for the infraction of allegedly running a red light. The net result was all charges against Mr. Branson were ultimately dropped with no charges. Branson's lawsuit went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Presented in the case was the argument for a Probable Cause Determination by a magistrate under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is not afforded infraction cases in California. The Branson Case raised the question of "What is the definition of a Magistrate" under California Law.
The confusion lied with the wording of Penal Code Sect. 808 which defines a Magistrate with spelled out offices. Despite clear wording of California law, the 2nd Appellate District Court redefined the definition of Penal Code definition of "Magistrates." While the Court acknowledged thatJudges Pro-Tem and Commissioners are not identified in California law as "Magistrates" by the California Legislature, they stated that they were hereby adding "Commissioners" to list of defined Magistrates in Penal Code Sec. 808. This totally upset the applecart of California Law regarding Magistrates, and is now misquoted as law when it is nothing more that a judicial edict by the court writing new law to fit their desired end, which was to cover for Commissioner Martin in the lawsuit against him. As a result, there developed a California Law Review on the Subject. To date, Penal Code Section 808 does not redefine commissioners as "Magistrates," even though the courts now define Commissioners as Magistrates because of the decision in "Branson v. Martin" in 1997.
In fact, this new judge-made law passed by the California Appellate Court was applied ex post facto in violation of Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids States from passing ex post facto laws, to wit; "Not state shall ... pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility." Of course, the courts can argue that the State of California did not pass an ex post facto law, the courts did.
This author suspected that the time would come in which the judges themselves would find themselves also the victim of police abuse just like citizens pursuant to the Scriptural principle, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveth the whole lump," 1Co 5:6. Toleration of police abuse will ultimately result in everything becoming police abuse against all!
Judge Files Complaint Against UCLA Police for Excessive Force
The Superior Court Judge claims he was pushed against a police car and handcuffed for not wearing a seat belt
By Patrick Healy and Andrew Lopez
Sunday, Nov 24, 2013Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III claims excessive force was used against him when he was stopped for not wearing a seat belt. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013.
A prominent Los Angeles Superior Court Judge claims UCLA police used excessive force Saturday morning when he was pushed against a patrol car, handcuffed and told he was under arrest for what ultimately amounted to a seatbelt violation citation, his attorney told NBC News Investigates.
David Cunningham III said he was leaving the LA Fitness parking lot and was in the process of buckling his seatbelt when a UCLA patrol car pulled him over, his attorney Carl Douglas told NBC News.
Two officers exited the vehicle when Cunningham was pulled over and asked for his license, Douglas said. After Cunningham provided the officer with his wallet and had it returned, he then was asked for proof of insurance and registration.
Cunningham claims as he was reaching for the documents in his glove compartment an officer began yelling at him “not to move,” according to a letter of complaint he filed with the police department.
Douglas said when a prescription pill bottle rolled out of the compartment, one of the officers asked Cunningham if he was running drugs.
Cunningham said in the letter that he became irritated and told the officer he needed to look for the paperwork. As he got out of his Mercedes to check the trunk for the documents, he was thrown against the car and handcuffed so tight that he bled, Douglas said.
Douglas acknowledged that Cunningham was told to stay in his car, but said the use of force was unnecessary.
“For what,” Douglas said. “For not having his seatbelt fastened.”
About 10 minutes later a police Sergeant arrived and Cunningham was released.
“This says to me he understood the officers were wrong,” Douglas said.
The university’s police department issued a response Sunday confirming Cunningham was stopped and temporarily handcuffed before being released with a citation for failing to wear a seatbelt.
“Due to the pending investigation, additional information is not available at this time,” the statement said.
Cunningham was the former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD, and was a strong proponent of community policing and outspoken in cases of excessive force. He was appointed to the Los Angeles County bench in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
NBC News' Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.