ONE MAN’S OPINION-It took a long time for our country to devolve to such a low level that we have become one of the world’s most corrupt and poorly run nations.
When I was young, angry people might shake their fists, shouting, “I’ll sue you.” But they had no intention of going to court because a neighbor refused to give back their son’s softball which had gone into their yard. The invective “I’ll sue” had cultural significance. We believed that in America fairness reigned and injustice, no matter how small, would be rectified. Today, most people know that the powerful have made the courts into their stomping grounds where the little guys get trampled.
It is not only minorities who are railroaded off to prison or old people who have their property stolen by judges and conservators. Because judges have no accountability, they can do whatever they please. Judges are the only public officials with no accountability, and they want to keep it that way. The fact that we allow judges to indulge their whims is our collective shame.
The Rule of Law vs Whim of Crooks
The rule of law requires intelligent fair-minded judges who set aside their personal biases and make certain that the facts of a situation are correctly applied to the legal principles. It’s not an easy job. Legal thinking requires a high IQ, which many judges lack, and it requires extensive education. One cannot determine whether “a fact is being introduced for the truth of the matter stated” without both a formal legal education and considerable experience making the right call in a couple seconds.
A Decent Society Requires the Rule of Law
“The rule of law signifies the constraint of arbitrariness in the exercise of [judicial] power. . .It means that the agencies of official coercion should, to the extent feasible, be guided by rules -- that is, by openly acknowledged, relatively stable, and generally applicable statements. . .The evils to be retarded are caprice and whim, the misuse of government power for private ends, and the unacknowledged reliance on illegitimate criteria of selection. The goals to be advanced are regularity and evenhandedness in the administration of justice and accountability in the use of government." -- John Calvin Jeffries, Jr., Legality, Vaugueness and the Construction of Penal Statutes, 71 Va. L. Rev. 189, 212 (1985).
With a judge’s control over a courtroom comes great power and dishonest judges have perverted the system to their own personal benefit. The last thing a judge wants is any accountability. We can assess the depravity of our current legal system by its lack of judicial accountability. No honest judicial system would allow its judges to viciously abuse the populace.
The Appeal Process Has Become Worthless
When the judicial system itself has become a corrupt institution, the appeal process is worthless. The purpose of the judicial system has become the care and feeding of judges. If the facts are against what the judge wants, he simply alters the facts. If the facts and law are not to the judge’s liking, he’ll go find his own lawyer and impose him on the plaintiff as Justice Scalia did in Great West v Knudson, 534 U.S. 204 (2002). If the judge dislikes the fact that the Widow M is not insolvent so as to justify the court’s theft of her property, Judge Lippitt simply denies that the widow’s attorney is her attorney. There is no fact so significant and no law so relevant that judges will not ignore them to do whatever it is that the judges desire. The only constraint of judicial abuse is a more powerful judge who can benefit from a different outcome.
The Commission on Judicial Performance’s Role Is to Prevent Judicial Accountability
Due to the doctrine of judicial immunity, a person who has had his/her life destroyed by a judge’s criminal conduct will find that a complaint to the CJP is a fool’s choice. Its function is to protect the judges -- not to safeguard the system from corruption. All a judge has to do in order to cloak herself with judicial immunity is write her crime into a court order. Simply put, the role of the CJP is to protect corrupt judges.
A Corrupt Judiciary Dooms a Republic
The purpose of a Republic is to secure the individual inalienable rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But a judiciary in which the whim and passions of judges are controlling has no respect for inalienable rights. Visit Los Angeles court rooms and peak behind the curtains. You’ll find no kindly Wizard of Oz. Rather, you’ll find avaricious predators stuffing their pockets full of gelt and letting the rich and power run rough shod over everyone else. Those who are not active thieves stand silently by. Those who are not criminals are too cowardly to stop the criminals.
How Long Can a Society Exist Without Judicial Accountability?
The Third Reich lasted twelve years and four months. The Soviet Union lasted 69 years from 1922 to 1991, The Confederacy lasted four years, while North Korea has lasted since 1948. How long do we have?
A Corrupt Judicial System Reflects the General Society
The most effective restraint on an institution is public sentiment. Americans revere and bow low before predators. As Matt Damon said about Harvey Weinstein, “within five minutes you knew he was a asshole.” Donald Trump is admired by millions because he brags about grabbing women by the pussy and he calls cheaters “smart businessmen.” Judge Judy is a vicious predator who shows no more respect for her victims than Weinstein did for ingenues. The Soviet Union crumbled when Boris Yeltsin stood on the tank and the military did not shoot him on the spot. The Russian people had had enough of predatory thieves. Donald Trump, on the other hand, could stand on top of a tank and declare his Thousand Year Reich and he would receive cheers. In the final analysis, a society gets the corruption and oppression it wants. We have no judicial accountability because Americans want no limits to be placed on predators. And Americans no longer recognize the name of Martin Niemöller.
(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.) Image: ProPublica Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.