July 1, 2001
Judicial Watch on mission
May 27, 2001
By Howard Breuer
SAN MARINO -- Two years after setting up shop in a Huntington
Drive office building, Judicial Watch's West Coast operation is raising
Suing Gov. Gray Davis in Pasadena Superior Court seeking records on
the state energy crisis and on contributions from the Chinese
Shuttling monitors to the courtrooms of judges in response to
judicial abuse; and, Tracking countywide implementation of the
state's "Three Strikes, You're Out" law.
Soon, "the San Marino office
will be the equivalent of the Washington office -- they will be equal and will
be the hubs of the operation," says Larry Klayman, chairman and founder of the
in-your-face advocacy group, who thinks too many Los Angeles-area judges are
irresponsible and need to be reined in. "We very much relish the opportunity to
say good things about judges," Klayman said. "But they're few and far
He rattled off such egregious recent examples as former Pomona
Superior Court Judge George W. Trammell, sentenced to 27 months in prison for
mail fraud after extorting sex from a defendant; Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge Arnold Gold, who retired Tuesday following months of complaints ... and
former Citrus Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy of Alhambra, tossed off the bench
for collecting his $133,000 salary while attending medical school in the
"What other business would tolerate that?" asked Sterling
"Ernie" Norris. The ex-Marine and 32-year county prosecutor retired from the
District Attorney's Office last year to direct Judicial Watch's Judicial
Monitoring Project. He said the monitors have therefore become a big part of the
local operation, sitting in the courtrooms of unpopular judges and tallying the
days they're absent. "This will be forthcoming in a critique," Norris said. "We
need to know: why are these doors closed and why are there no judges on the
bench? That will be forthcoming."
Judicial Watch's expansion will help
keep judges accountable, he added.
"There is a great amount of people out
there who believe they are being
abused by the judicial system and they have
no recourse," said Norris. "They feel the judges all support one another and if
you appeal, you still lose -- it's all part of the
Judging the judges
officials say they encourage the scrutiny -- but most judges don't need it. "In
my experience, most of the judges do a very good, conscientious job," said Rep.
Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, a former U.S. prosecutor who served on the state
Senate's Public Safety Committee. "There are always exceptions in every
profession," he added. "I think each institution bears close examination."
Taxpayers already pay for independent oversight of judges via the state
Commission on Judicial Performance, said Victoria Henley, the commission's
director and chief counsel.
The 41-year-old commission's board consists
of six citizens, three judges and two lawyers, and was the first agency of its
kind in the country, said
Henley,adding her staff members also sometimes sit
in courtrooms to monitor judges.
She added that the number of problems
with Los Angeles-area judges isn't
disproportionately high, given that they
comprise almost a quarter of the
state's courts. She disagrees that too few
judges do a good job. "That's very unfair to the judiciary in the state of
California, who are working pretty tirelessly at their jobs during difficult
times," she said. Judicial Watch says a state-run commission or agency can't
objectively investigate and criticize powerful judges, politicians and
presidents. "The whole idea is that there be some means that is not influenced
by politics and politicians that objectively looks at government actions and
judicial actions," Norris said.
Howard Breuer can be reached at (626) 578-6300,
Ext. 4444, or by e-mail at howard.breuer@....
Connie Ruffley, Attorney Mike
Pendleton or Attorney Sterling Norris may be reached at judwatch@....
Michael Pendleton and Sterling Norris will be
our guests Thursday, August 24th at The Republic/Granada Forum, 5657
Lindley Avenue, Tarzana, CA. starting at 7:30 p.m. For instructions on how to
get there, please call (818) 385-4003. Admission is $5. For other
information on this event, call Kyle Hammans at (818) 988-0277.
J.A.I.L. is the new means of a peaceful revolution in
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for Judicial
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does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority
keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams
are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is
striking at the
-- Henry David Thoreau <><