* * Courts Not Responsible
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California May 25, 2002If they don't protect and serve,what do courts do?Question by Terri Lynn Day, California AJIC, angelrescue@...Associated Press/article dated 5/23/02
GOVERNMENT NOT LIABLE FOR COURT VIOLENCECalif-Victims of violence inside courthouses can't sue counties and sheriff's departments charged with overseeing the buildings, the state Supreme Court ruled.
Public entities in general are not liable for failing to protect individuals against crime, the court ruled in unanimously overturning an appeals court decision. Allowing such lawsuits could expose government agencies to liability on many of their properties, Chief Justice Ronald M.George wrote. The case stemmed from a 1995 slaying of a woman inside the downtown Los Angeles County courthouse.
Eileen Zelig, 40, who said she lived in mortal terror of her ex-husband, was killed when Harry Zelig shot her in the chest after a divorce proceeding in which he said she was trying to seize his car. The couple's 6 y/o daughter was seen shrieking in distress after the shooting as bystanders raced for cover. The husband was later convicted and sentenced to 29 years to life.
Local governments anxiously awaited Monday's court decision, fearing the Supreme Court could open a Pandora's box of liability if it sided with the appeals court. "The implications were very scary from the point of view of what potentially could be the scope of liability for municipalities," said attorney Steven J. Renick, who argued the case on behalf of Los Angeles County.Feminist groups criticized the ruling, saying women who use the courtsfor family law matters --such as divorce, child custody and restrainingorders-- are in danger. "These women are required to go to the courthouse, and this is the only time they'll see their abuser," said LeAnna Gutierrez, an attorney with the Calif. Women's Law Center. "They're required to face the abuser and the state has no actual duty to protect them while they're there."
The appeals court said counties have "a duty to take reasonable steps to provide safe courthouses to those who enter." But George wrote that the danger faced by Zelig that her husband would shoot her "was the same inside the courthouse as outside."That's a good question, Terri, and one the people should ask themselves. We must continue to refer back to the Declaration of Independence to remind ourselves of the purpose of government which states "That to secure these rights [unalienable rights of the people], governments are instituted among men...." Among those rights are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."Yet, the headline states GOVERNMENT NOT LIABLE FOR COURT VIOLENCE. California Chief Justice states that public entities in general are not liable for failing to protect individuals against crime. "Allowing such lawsuits could expose government agencies to liability on many of their properties." The next question should be "Why shouldn't government agencies be exposed to liability when they don't serve the purpose for which they are created?" Again, the Declaration states "...that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government...".The California Constitution, Article II, Sec.1, states: "All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require."Final question: "Does the decision above by the California Supreme Court reflect the 'protection, security, and benefit' of the people by California government?" It appears that the California Chief Justice and his associates have committed treason against the State Constitution and the people of California.The impetus for J.A.I.L. was based upon the above portion of the California Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence. With J.A.I.L., the above decision wouldn't "fly." This is a case that could be presented to the Special Grand Jury when J.A.I.L. becomes effective.Thank you Terri for sending this article to J.A.I.L. "What do the courts do?" They certainly do NOT serve the protection, security, and benefit of the people in California.-Barbie-
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