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The Fear and Intimidation that Rules LA Superior Courts

ONE MAN’S OPINION-Shelly Hart makes an outrageously true statement in her September 30, 2019, CityWatch article, “How Self-Represented Litigants are Abused by LA Superior Court Judges:” 

“The reason why Judicial Reform is a movement only self-represented litigants and voters can start is because lawyers are too afraid to address the topic. They need to protect their careers.” [bold added] 

Lawyers Are Afraid? Really! Of Whom? 

A lawyer’s duty is to faithfully protect his or her client’s rights. Attorneys owe a duty of loyalty to their clients. A person’s attorney is certainly not allowed to help the adverse party. (Flatt v. Superior Court (Daniel) (1994) 9 Cal.4th 275.) Attorneys are not supposed to place their own interests before their client’s interests. The relationship between a lawyer and his client is a fiduciary one. (Neel v. Magana, Olney, Levy, Cathcart & Gelfand, (1971) 6 Cal.3d 176, 188.) Lawyers owe an undivided loyalty to his or her client’s interests. (Goodley v. Wank & Wank, Inc., (1976) 62 Cal. App. 3d 389, 395-396.) 

Furthermore, all attorneys have the duty to communicate to the client. . .all information related the case including behind the scenes help the attorney gives to an adverse party. (Wittenbrock v. Parker (1894) 102 Cal. 93, 101.) As one can understand, when an attorney stabs a client in the back by actual collusion with opposing counsel, that it not the type of information the dishonest attorney is likely to share. 

When the breaching of these duties by attorneys can result in disbarment, why is it that attorneys are afraid to address the issue of judicial corruption? The answer: the judges. But it’s not just one or two corrupt judges. The real intimidator is a criminogenic judiciary so perverted that even other judges are intimidated into silence. If a judge should be foolhardy enough to point out that the California state judiciary is infected by an epidemic of misconduct, he will be forced off the bench. I doubt the full story of the downfall of federal judge Alex Kozinski will never be known. 

Blessed or cursed with a personality as barbed as a porcupine in heat, Judge Kozinski was unrelenting in his criticism of the nearly ubiquitous prosecutorial misconduct he saw, including that of fading president hopeful Senator Kamala Harris. Of course, present in Judge K’s opposition to prosecutorial misconduct was the truth that such misconduct could not occur but for the acquiesce and support of the judges. When one of the most prominent federal judges can be removed, mere attorneys have good reason to be fearful of vindictive judges. 

Anyone who accepts at face value the assertions that Judge K was removed due to his inappropriate sexual behavior is quite naive. If one assumes that Judge K was sexist, the idea that he was the only federal judge who was a male chauvinist pig is ludicrous. This foreshadowed Trump’s current bogus claim that he seeks dirt on the Bidens from Ukraine and now China solely due to his love for honest government. Yet, Trump finds no other government official who merits any foreign investigation. Are we to believe that Judge K alone is the only federal judge who has engaged in sexually improper behavior and that is why Chief Justice Roberts had to force Judge K off the bench? How does that jibe with placing Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court? 

Yes, Shelly Hart is right that 99.9% of lawyers are afraid to speak out about judicial misconduct. Even other judges are fearful. We know that the Commission on Judicial Performance’s real-life function is to protect judges from the wronged members of the public -- not to protect the public from vicious judges. Attorneys who anger a judge will find themselves hauled before the State Bar. The judicial intimidation of attorneys goes much further as the situation of former U.S. Attorney Richard I Fine showed. Not only was he disbarred for exposing the judicial corruption of LA county judges’ accepting millions of dollars in illegal salary (bribes), but he was thrown in jail.

Los Angeles Superior Courts Are Run by Fear and Intimidation 

The rule of law is dead in Los Angeles. Rather, we are subjected to the whims of whichever judge is in control of our case. Maybe you get a decent judge, but more likely not. It has more to do with whether you have something the judge or one of her pet court-appointed attorneys wants than it has to do with facts or law. 

The problem is far worse than cowering attorneys. All the written rules of professional conduct have been turned upside down. Court-appointed attorneys [CAC] owe no duties to their clients. They take positions diametrically opposed to their clients’ wishes and best interests. They may collude with the attorneys of adverse parties and even admit in writing that they have conflicts of interest. CAC ADQ admitted that she was taking action that her client vehemently opposed because Ms. ADQ feared that she might be sued if she asserted her client’s rights. When her client asked, who would be suing Ms. ADQ, CAC ADQ refused to answer. 

When the client fired CAC ADQ, Ms. ADQ retorted, “You cannot fire me.” As was confidentially told the client, “Beware, Judge EL and the CAC are friends. Judge EL will simply declare (the client) is incompetent and take her property.” Put another way by an attorney familiar with LA Probate Court, “Ya gotta play the game,” which meant, “let the CAC take whatever property she wants.” As another person within the court hierarchy related, the Supreme Court case that a client has an absolute right to fire her attorney is not “how things are done in LA probate court.” 

The client’s response to this BS? She wrote CAC another note: “I thought I made myself clear the last time I called you. I am once again firing you and I will not be meeting with you anywhere or at any time. Also, return all my money without delay.”

 

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch) Photo: Shutterstock  Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.