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The Farce of Judicial Boards & Review Committees

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  • jail4judges
    J.A.I.L. News Journal ____________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California April 30,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2002
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      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles, California                                                April 30, 2002
      The Farce of Judicial Boards
      & Review Committees
      by David Donley
      The situation is the same in every state. The Boards dismiss complaints against judges claiming they do not have the funding to investigate yet it is the State's Supreme Courts that have repeatedly failed to allocate sufficient funding for investigations even while they allocate themselves pay increases, increased pensions, benefits,.... 
      Another popular excuse is "lack of guiding case law," which doesn't stop them from looking to other jurisdictions or creating new case law when it serves their purpose. The boards policing (protecting) the legal profession are designed to protect the image of the profession not the "public".
      The failure to discipline errant judges goes beyond negligence to malfeasance and by rights should be considered a RICO action for all the collusion involved from the Governors office to the legislatures.  
      Not too long ago I submitted Miss Sassower's article, "Argument Without Merit: The Empty promise of Judicial Discipline" in a court pleading accompanied by an affidavit swearing under pain of perjury to the veracity of my pleadings. I had downloaded the article from her web site (copies have the web address on them).  The article is no longer available on the net. A few of us have enquired if this was the result of a court injunction or Elena's free choice? If you read this Elena maybe you could respond. I happen to like the "... Empty Promise Of Judicial Discipline" article as it documents how efforts to create accountability are frustrated by the courts and legislators alike.
      The first Amendment was intended to protect speech critical of government and keep the people informed of the character and conduct of their government officials yet the legal profession has totally subverted that major check against government abuse of authority by keeping complaints secret.
      If you consider the many groups forming around this country in direct response to the many abuses perpetrated on the populace by an "unaccountable judiciary" it becomes obvious the only ones they have deceived is themselves.  A key word search of the NET, "Legal Reform" will bring you to the top 5% most frequented sites on the Net, many of them blue ribbon decorated. The sheer volume of related sites and numbers viewing them indicates there is a growing swell of the population that is concerned with the way our legal system is operating.  We the People want the Republic our founding Fathers envisioned, "of, by, and for the People". The only way to accomplish this is to create accountability within the judiciary and make our courts a public domain not the personal money mills for the Bench and BAR that they are.  Force judges to abide by the "Supreme Law of the Land" our Constitution and many of the other social problems and injustices perpetrated on the public by corrupt officials will disappear. 
      When corrupt government officials realize Accountability is for everyone not just the common masses they will act accordingly.  
      Sincere Regards,
      David A. Donley, JIC,
      VT J.A.I.L.4judges  

      Ron Loeber
      NY Lt.JIC 
      reports the following news article:
      METROLAND ~ 4/26/02
      Appeal for Justice
      Lawsuit alleges corruption at the state Commission on Judicial Conduct-and seeks to disqualify all members of the Court of Appeals from hearing it May 1 is a fitting day for Elena Ruth Sassower to serve her papers with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. May 1, after all, is Law Day-a day established by congressional resolution in 1961 to celebrate liberty, equality and justice under the law.
      Likewise, the point of Sassower's public-interest suit, a proceeding against the Commission on Judicial Conduct alleging that it is corrupt and has failed to fulfill its mandate to investigate civilians' complaints against judges, is to draw attention to people's rights to "justice under law." Or, in some instances, the lack thereof.
      As coordinator for the Center for Judicial Accountability Inc., a nonprofit citizens' organization that for more than a decade has been dedicated to revealing the secretive and insular nature of the commission, Sassower is filing a motion with the Court of Appeals to compel the organization to investigate all complaints against judges, as required by state law. As it stands now, the commission investigates complaints at its own discretion, and critics say that all too often, complaints against politically connected, higher-level judges are dismissed; when a complaint against a powerful judge is heard, the resulting punishment often is little more than a slap on the wrist.
      The charges and evidence in Sassower's petition are intensely critical of the commission, its administrators and members, and of Spitzer, whom Sassower says has helped insulate the commission from public accountability and judges from receiving complete investigations. In essence, she has assembled an exhaustive set of legal papers that implicates officials as high up as Gov. George Pataki in what she calls "willful misconduct," and an attempt to subvert oversight of the judiciary-especially members of the judiciary who have friends in high places.
      So far, Sassower's case has been dismissed out of hand by lower courts; she points out, however, that her case was steered before judges who had a vested interest in seeing its demise, although the assistant solicitor general Carol Fischer, acting on behalf of the attorney general's office, argued in 2000 that "any question of judicial bias is meritless." Practically no one in state government or the court system is willing comment on it. 
      This time around, Sassower's case is going to be particularly difficult for the courts to contend with because she is asking that none of the judges sitting on the Court of Appeals be allowed to preside over it.
      "What is most dramatic [about this case] is not the fact that I'm going to be serving my notice of appeal on the commission and its attorney, the state attorney general," Sassower commented. "But that I am also accompanying that with an unusual motion to disqualify the judges of the Court of Appeals."
      According to Sassower, all save one of the Appeals Court judges have "personal and pecuniary" interests in her case. 
      Take, for instance, Associate Judge Albert Rosenblatt. In 1998, Sassower made a judicial misconduct complaint against him, charging that he committed perjury when he was being interviewed for his position by the commission in charge of appointing Appeals Court judges, the Commission on Judicial Nomination. Sassower believes that Rosenblatt was not forthcoming with the commission when it asked him whether he had ever been a subject of misconduct complaints. The Commission on Judicial Conduct dismissed Sassower's complaint without investigation in December 1998. It was after failing to receive satisfactory answers to her repeated questions about the dismissal of her complaint-and subsequent related complaints-that Sassower began her legal proceedings against the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
      "It's the complaint against him based upon his perjury in his application to the court of appeals which was dismissed by the commission, so he has direct interest," Sassower said. She said that both Judge George Bundy Smith and Judge Victoria Graffeo were involved in the events that gave rise to the initial suit-the "ramming through" of the approval of Rosenblatt despite complaints against his appointment-and should also be disqualified from the case. 
      As for Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Sassower said that over the past two years, she has provided her with full copies of her complaints and lawsuit against the commission: "I said, 'You need to appoint a special inspector general [to investigate].' . . . But what does she do? She says she has no authority. I say she sure does have the authority to undertake an official investigation. So I filed a misconduct complaint [against her] with the commission based on the ethical rules that a judge must take appropriate action when faced with evidence of violative conduct taking place in front of him."
      Judge Carmen Ciparik ought to be disqualified, Sassower contended, because she served on the commission from 1985 through 1993.
      Judge Howard Levine should be disqualified, she said, because he sat on a panel hearing a case brought by Sassower's mother, Doris Sassower, which alleged corruption in election laws as it pertains to judges. The case resulted in the abrupt and unconditional suspension of Doris Sassower's law license without a hearing or notice of charges. 
      The only Appeals Court judge who is not somehow directly involved with the case is Richard Wesley. But Sassower says that he should also be disqualified because of the "appearance that he cannot be fair and impartial" if his colleagues are all implicated in the suit. 
      "Because virtually every judge in the state is under the commission's disciplinary jurisdiction and because the criminal ramifications of this lawsuit reach this state's most powerful leaders upon whom judges are directly and immediately dependent and with whom they have personal and professional relationships," Sassower's court papers state, "I raised legitimate issues of judicial disqualification and disclosure in the courts . . . Their disqualifying interest is based on participation in the events giving rise to this lawsuit or in the systematic governmental corruption it exposes-as to which they bear disciplinary and criminal liability."
      Sassower acknowledged that her suit has already been denied by both the Supreme and Appellate courts in the past, but she said she's not going to be dissuaded, even if Appeals Court refuses her again: "I did not bring this case with the idea that the public's rights would be vindicated in the court," she said. "I brought this case because, if the courts are corrupt from bottom to top, I was going to put it all together in a neat package where it could be presented to the public in a neat form. . . . The public needs to know what is going on with judiciary discipline and judicial nomination."  
      -Erin Sullivan

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