Sunday, February 01, 2009

Judges Sentenced

Kids for cash

The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it's a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Judge Michael T. ConahanThe judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.

They're alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators.

When a federal judge reviews their plea, though, the question ought to be whether the punishment is adequate -- along with the judges being bounced from the bench, disbarred, and losing their pensions.

If the allegations are true, Ciavarella and Conahan were involved in a disgraceful cabal far worse than one that merely lined their pockets.

First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.

Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.

In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.

One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated, and traumatized," center lawyers said.

"Very few people would stand up" to the Luzerne judges, according to the law center's executive director, Robert G. Schwartz.

Fortunately, Juvenile Law Center was willing to do so, along with backing from state Attorney General Tom Corbett's office and the state Department of Public Welfare.

The blind justices on the state's high court, though, took a pass. Only last month, they offered no explanation in declining to take up the law center's request that the court step up.

Now, the state Supreme Court should revisit the issue, since the scope of corruption alleged at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre could further undermine confidence in the courts statewide.

Authorities need to redress running roughshod over juveniles' rights -- a process also likely to bring damage suits. While the local district attorney pledges to "do our best to right the situation," this calls for an independent, outside review.

The two judges' downfall may have rooted out the worst perpetrators of this evil scheme, but the abuse of power alleged in Luzerne County is so startling that it should send shock waves for reform around the state court system.

Source

Gallery

Monday, June 11, 2007

A state full of unlawful judges

Florida's judges and other government officials have failed to file their loyalty oaths, as required by law. These are the oaths that state that the judges swear to uphold the law. How would you like to stand in their court rooms and put your life in their hands? [Full story]

Update 03/10/08: Florida's judicial meltdown continues
The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court, along with certain of their personnel, are at the center of a criminal conspiracy to violate the federal civil rights of a number of Florida attorneys in violation of Title 18, USC, Section 241 and Section 242. These state governmental entities, along with certain private sector entities and their respective agents, are also violating the federal RICO Act. [Read more]

Update 03/26/08: Lawsuit filed to remove judge for illegal acts
Miami attorney and anti-violent-video-game activist Jack Thompson has today filed what is called a "petition for writ of quo warranto" to remove from the bench Dava J. Tunis who is presiding over his Bar "disciplinary" proceedings brought by the video game industry to shut him up because of his successes against it.

Miami-Dade Chief Judge Joseph Farina, because of information provided him earlier by Thompson, has commissioned a criminal investigation of the fact, not the surmise, that Tunis had filed on her behalf a forged loyalty oath when she became a county court judge, or should we say pretended to become a judge. Subsequently, Tunis filed two loyalty oaths that do not comply with state law and are not even notarized, as required by statute. Jeb Bush appointed Tunis to the circuit court bench and probably now regrets it.

Florida has a State Loyalty Oath law, which is Florida Statute 876.05, because the United States Constitution requires in Article 6 that all state judges execute such loyalty oaths. Tunis has never done so. There may be other judges in the state as well who have not complied with this crucial law, so this may be a scandal that engulfs Florida's bench.

The United States Supreme Court and the Attorney General of Florida have ruled that Florida's loyalty oath is a) constitutional, and b) must be complied with strictly.

The consequence of Tunis' failure to comply with this law is a) removal from office, b) vacating all of her orders since she went on the bench, since they were entered without any legal authority, c) return by her of all salary payments made by the state, and d) possible criminal charges.

Thompson has today alerted the criminal defense bar in South Florida that all of Tunis' orders while on the criminal bench could be challenged and vacated on behalf of their clients. This is what happens when a judge, who applies the law to others, chooses to ignore and violate the law as it applies to her.

This thumbing of their noses by judges at the law and the Constitution is what we are increasingly seeing from judges at all levels, state and federal. Poll after poll of Americans indicates they are fed up with it and want something done about judicial arrogance and tyranny.

Contact Jack Thompson for more information and/or a copy of the lawsuit at 305-666-4366 and amendmentone@comcast.net.

Update 11/06/08: Instructions to the Chief Justice Re: Trust Funds

John B. Thompson
Community Organizer
5721 Riviera Dr
Coral Gables FL 33146
305-666-4366
amendmentone@comcast.net

November 6, 2008

The Honorable Peggy Quince
Chief Justice, Florida Supreme Court
500 S Duval St
Tallahassee FL 32399
Via Mail Fax to 850-487-4696
larryg@flcourts.org

Re: "Costs"

Dear Chief Justice Quince:

Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $42,525.27 to be held in trust by the Supreme Court in light of the problem, as related below, caused by The Florida Bar not by me:

Months ago, The Florida Bar's Orlando prosecutor Sheila Tuma swore, in a Cost Affidavit, that I owe The Bar $43,675.35 in "costs" incurred for the pleasure of being disbarred. I formally moved the Referee for an itemized Costs Affidavit and proof thereof in the form of receipts and other authenticating documents, and I was illegally denied that proof, as the Referee denied me, illegally, any opportunity to take discovery of and from the affiant. Based upon this latest denial of due process by The Bar, the Florida Supreme Court issued its September 25, 2008, Disbarment Order reciting the $43,675.35 figure.

Then, lo and behold, Sheila Tuma on October 27, two days after the Disbarment Order was to be effective, executed the enclosed documents which unilaterally change, without explanation, the $43,675.35 figure to $42,525.27. They have been filed with the Supreme Court, as your docket proves. I have days ago sent you this docket information, with no response from the Court and of course no response from the incommunicado signer of the false affidavit. There are a number of problems with this, which should be obvious even to the Board of Governors and other officials at The Bar:

1. We all now have a Florida Supreme Court Disbarment Order that recites a dollar figure that is different from what The Bar now says is owed. This renders the Disbarment Order void. There has to be a new Order reflecting the new amount, which you and the Justices, for some reason, have decided not to issue. The practical problem is that you have ordered me to pay an amount that The Bar itself now says is wrong.

2. Another problem, which The Bar and apparently your Court wish to ignore, is that this changing of affidavits underscores the unfairness of commanding me to pay an amount that has now proven to be false. This suggests the obvious question: In what other ways may the "Costs" amount be flawed or even phonied up? There are two line items on the Affidavit that cry out for itemization: Nearly eight thousand dollars for non-itemized "travel costs" and more than eight thousand dollars in "miscellaneous costs" including "witness fees." I'm sorry to point this out, but such a non-itemized "Final Affidavit of Costs" violates our own Bar Rules and would not pass the giggle test in any court in this state.

So, Chief Justice, with all respect for the Rule of Law, and in fact because of my adherence to it, even in the face of your Bar's utter disregard of it, I am enclosing a check in the lesser of the two amounts, and I am indeed instructing you that this check must be held in trust, only to be disbursed to The Florida Bar if and when it provides valid and validated documentation as to what the "costs" really are.

As you know, a Request for Production has been served, days ago, upon The Florida Bar in my federal civil rights lawsuit, Case No. 08-22603, U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. The Bar could have produced this documentation by now, and this need to place these funds in trust could have been avoided.

As you know, I don't even need to send you a check in the lesser of the two amounts, because of the patent disharmony between The Bar's latest sworn statement and this Court's order. The former renders the latter void. However, the last thing I am going to do is rely upon The Bar and this Supreme Court to do the right thing, in that or any other regard. I would have to be an idiot to trust this Court to acknowledge that I have the right not to send even the lesser of the two amounts pending the entry of a new order.

Further, I am not going to be held accountable for the accrual of any interest allegedly owed on this lesser or any other amount. The check was and is due on November 10, per Mr. Marvin's kind letter informing me that interest does not begin to accrue unless the check is not received by November 10. Fine, you now have it, and as the overseer of the very Bar that refuses to prove the basis for the amount, you are charged with holding it in trust because of this latest screw-up by your Bar .

Any disbursement of these enclosed trust funds to The Bar or to anyone else prior to documented proof as what the "costs" really are and should be will be treated as a serious breach of your and the Justices duties under our state's Judicial Canons.

One more thing: Know further that The Bar's abject refusal, for months now, to prove up the basis for these "costs," followed now by their admission that their sworn affidavit was false and the result of a "scrivener's error," only serves to further confirm how out of control and lawless this Bar has been toward me and others. By way of my federal lawsuit I intend to prove just this, get all of my money back, plus interest, and get back my right to practice law in this state.

Please confirm in writing into what trust account these funds have been placed. Rules and laws are for everyone, including this Court.

GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.

Regards,

Jack Thompson

Enclosures: Check and The Bar's latest "costs" documents

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More blatant lies from judges

Chief Justice Michael A. Wolff"These are challenging times for courts around the country . . . . For instance, on the South Dakota ballot this year is an initiative called 'Jail for Judges.' The proposal would amend the state Constitution to allow special juries to indict, convict and sentence judges for making unpopular decisions." - Missouri Chief Justice Michael A. Wolff (Liar!)

Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy"The voters in South Dakota, Oregon and Colorado wisely recognized the dangers in the proposals and rejected them. They voted to protect their courts, as they should. They clearly wanted their courts to remain accountable—but to their constitutions and the rule of law, not to special interests. In those elections, the voters were well-informed and democracy worked." - Ralph J. Cappy, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Liar!)

[Now, you can clearly see why so many South Dakota citizens readily endorsed the proposed J.A.I.L. amendment when signatures were being collected to put the initiative on the ballot. - Mark Yannone, Arizona JAILer]

Saturday, September 30, 2006

No Threat to Judicial Independence

by Mark Yannone

Add another impartial judge to the pile of hyperventilating, judicially immune members of the bar whose fear of prosecution for their misdeeds may be interfering with their ability to read. This time it's no less than the retired associate justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sandra Day O'ConnorIn a September 27, 2006, article in the Wall Street Journal titled "The Threat to Judicial Independence," Judge O'Connor writes of Amendment E being used to "censure judges for their official legal determinations." (Liar!)

It's this kind of dishonesty that gave rise to Amendment E in the first place, your honor. Contrary to your wild claims of sinister intimidation, venomous anti-judge angst, anger, antagonism, scorn, rage, and the use of judges as punching bags or scapegoats, Americans have embraced Amendment E to make sure that the law is enforced as written, to be implemented according to law only after every other avenue of law enforcement has failed. Amendment E is not a shortcut to mob rule or street justice, and you know it. Amendment E is a last resort, proven necessary after a long history of judicial abuse that has its roots in judicial immunity.

Law-breaking judges have always feared for their lives. Some have even taken their own lives rather than live with their guilt and shame. But law-abiding judges have nothing to fear--before or after South Dakota's adoption of Amendment E. You should know that.

Update 10/04/06:

Samuel A. Alito Jr.Not to be outdone, Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., made a speech on judicial independence on Thursday evening at the Mineola, New York, headquarters of the Nassau County Bar Association.
"I think this is one of the times in our history when there are some real threats to the federal and state judiciary, and I don't think I'm being too much of an alarmist to say that we could be not too far from the tipping point when an accumulation of things does real damage to these vital institutions."

The judge acknowledged that people who commit genuine ethical violations should be exposed and disciplined. But he added that "to use unfounded ethical charges, which a member of the judiciary is in a poor position to answer, as a weapon to defeat a nominee or to denigrate a sitting judge, is a tactic that ought to be condemned."

"This is extremely damaging," Alito said. "People who go into public service, people who go into a judicial career, cherish their reputations as ethical people."

Alito said a second threat to judicial independence comes from some members of the news media who undermine public confidence in the judiciary by criticizing judges without just cause.

"The media should be held responsible for the way in which they criticize judges" he said.

Alito said members of the media who air and publish stories critical of decisions often do so without fully grasping the complexity of the rulings. [Source]
Oh? Do tell. The media and others should be held responsible for wrongdoing, but judges should keep their judicial immunity? As it stands now, your honor, judges are exposed and disciplined by their good-old-boy networks of peers and associates the way Congressman Mark Foley was exposed and disciplined for years of sexual misconduct with minors: too little, too late.

Those in public service may cherish their reputations as ethical people, but cherishing alone is insufficient. To maintain their good reputations they also have to behave ethically and lawfully. Would you like to have a chat with District Judge Kent Dawson in Las Vegas, who refused to allow Irwin Schiff to bring the law into his courtroom? Maybe you'd like to straighten out District Judge McBryde in Fort Worth and District Judge Michael M. Baylson in Philadelphia, the two government stooges who heard the pitiful cases of Larken Rose and Richard Simkanin. Those judges and many others have been running roughshod over American citizens for years, ignoring the law they are sworn to uphold.

While you worry about blemishes on your cherished reputation, Mr. Alito, innocent American are rotting in prison. Enough is enough. It's time for us to fix the problem.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Because no one is above the law

Tom Fitton
Judicial Watch, Inc.

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.

The motto of Judicial Watch is "because no one is above the law." To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities. Through its Open Records Project, Judicial Watch also provides training and legal services to other conservatives on how to effectively use the Freedom of Information Act and other open records laws to achieve conservative goals of accountability and openness in government.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ex-Judge Gets Four Years for Indecent Exposure

Judge Donald Thompson

by Murray Evans, AP

BRISTOW, Okla. (Aug. 8) - Former Oklahoma judge Donald Thompson was sent to prison for four years Friday for exposing himself by using a sexual device while presiding over jury trials.

Special Judge C. Allen McCall also ordered that Thompson, 59, pay a $40,000 fine. Thompson was convicted on June 29 on four felony courts of indecent exposure for incidents that took place in his court room in Creek County.

McCall denied motions by Thompson's attorneys to either suspend the sentence or to let Thompson serve prison time on the four counts concurrently, which would have meant Thompson would serve only one year of prison time.

"This is not just a one-time incident, this is a continuing series of offenses," McCall said during the sentencing hearing.

McCall, who usually sits on the bench in Comanche County, said he did not believe the accusations against Thompson were fabricated, as Thompson had claimed.

"People who are out to get a judge find an opponent. They don't concoct a story, especially one this bizarre," McCall said.

Thompson showed no reaction when he was sentenced. McCall denied a defense motion that Thompson be allowed to remain free pending an appeal, despite assurances from Thompson's wife, Paula, and older brother, Jim Thompson of Bristow, that Donald Thompson was not a flight threat. Jim Thompson said his brother was "someone you're proud to walk down the street with."

Donald Thompson was allowed a brief visit with family members before being placed in handcuffs and taken to the state Correction Department's Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.

Thompson served as a state legislator and spent almost 23 years on the bench before he retired in 2004. His former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified at his trial that she saw Thompson expose himself during trials at least 15 times between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he used a device known as a penis pump during four trials between 2002 and 2003.

Thompson, a married father of three grown children, testified that the penis pump was given to him as a joke by a longtime hunting and fishing buddy.

"It wasn't something I was hiding," he said.

He said he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump's handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate.

Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. A whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial. When jurors asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn't heard it but would listen for it.

Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson's robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.

Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson's robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.

Prosecutor Richard Smothermon said McCall handed down a proper sentence.

"I thought the judge did the right thing," Smothermon said. "He treated this defendant the same as every other defendant in Oklahoma.

"Any sex crime is a serious crime. People with sexual deviances are a danger to society."

Defense attorney Clark Brewster said there were grounds for appeal. "There was repeated, persistent error throughout the trial," he said.

He said Thompson should have been freed pending appeal.

"If this guy is denied bail, then who ever gets bail?" he asked.

Brewster said he'll ask the state Court of Criminal Appeals early next week to overturn McCall's decision not to allow Thompson to remain free during the appeals process. Thompson's attorneys have 10 days to file notice of an appeal of the verdict with that court and 30 days to file the actual appeal.

The office of state Attorney General Drew Edmondson would handle any appeal, said Smothermon, the district attorney for Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties, who was specially appointed to prosecute the case.

A presentencing report prepared by Carmelia Brossett, a senior probation officer for the state Department of Corrections, said Thompson refused to undergo psychosexual testing and that "Thompson's denial of the offense would likely present difficulty, if not inability for treatment providers to provide meaningful and beneficial sex-offender treatment."

Brossett recommended Thompson serve a prison term of an unspecified length. The jury that convicted Thompson recommended that he sentenced to a year in jail for each of the four felonies.

In the presentencing report, Foster said that in her 15 years of working with Thompson, she could not recall him ever changing a jury's verdict.

"He voiced to me on more than one occasion that 12 people's opinions were better than one," she said in the report. "He always sentenced in accordance with the jury's verdict. I believe he should be held to his own standard. I believe that this jury wanted Don Thompson to serve four years in the state penitentiary, and I agree."

[Source]

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How to impeach a judge

How-to video: [not available at the moment]

Documents: [When these are available again, they will be posted.]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh, the judges we have arrested so far!

Did you think judges couldn't or wouldn't be arrested? Think again. Look at this list of arrested judges.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Judges who need to be arrested

Do you know a judge who should be arrested for blatantly violating the law? Add your nomination(s) in a comment here.

I'll get the ball rolling by nominating US District Court Judge John McBryde.

Resigned judges

Sometimes bad judges do the right thing: They resign.

Murdered judges

What was called "frontier justice" was administered by the aggrieved party outside the courtroom. Even today judges are not immune from those who take the law into their own hands to seek justice or revenge.

Some of the worst judges

Here's one list of some of the country's worst judges.

Here's another list of judges--good, bad, and unrated. On this site, you can judge the judges.

Where, why, and how to file a complaint against a federal judge

Complaints against federal judges are filed under the Judicial Improvements Act of 2002 (28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364). Under this Act, any person may file a written complaint alleging that a judge has engaged in "conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts" or "is unable to discharge all duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability."

Details: http://www.ajs.org/ethics/eth_fed-jud-conduct.asp

Where to file a complaint against a judge in your state

Here is a list of the organizations from each state established to investigate allegations of misconduct by state court judges:
http://www.ajs.org/ethics/eth_conduct-orgs.asp

Helpful links

American Judicature Society
The American Judicature Society works to maintain the independence and integrity of the courts and increase public understanding of the justice system. We are a nonpartisan organization with a national membership of judges, lawyers and other citizens interested in the administration of justice.

American Jury Institute/Fully Informed Jury Association
The mission of the American Jury Institute/Fully Informed Jury Association is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers, and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. Jurors must know that they have the option and the responsibility to render a verdict based on their conscience and on their sense of justice as well as on the merits of the law.

Center for Judicial Accountability, Inc.
This national, nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens' organization documents how judges break the law and get away with it. Their mission is to improve the quality of our judiciary by removing political considerations from the judicial selection process and by ensuring that the process of disciplining and removing judges is effective and meaningful.

FAQ on American Judicial and Legal Corruption
Dr. Les Sachs provides a comprehensive FAQ, or Frequently Asked Questions with Answers, on American judicial and legal corruption--the most hidden and ugly secret about life inside the modern United States.

Judicial Accountability Initiative Law
J.A.I.L. is a single-issue national grassroots movement designed to end the rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system of the United States.

National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.
Almost 25 years ago, Congress enacted the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act, Title 28 U.S.C. §372, by which anyone can file a complaint against a federal judge, charging him or her with misconduct or a disability impeding the judge's job performance. The statute is merely one component in a general self-policing scheme for local, state, and federal judges that apparent consensus deems ineffective. National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc., was accordingly created to help regulate America's judiciary by duly increasing its exposure to professional discipline, civil damages awards, and criminal prosecution for the willful abuse of the American legal system by judges.

The Council to Restore the Rule of Law
The Council to Restore the Rule of Law is a civil action group dedicated to facilitating judicial accountability and restoring the Rule of Law within the American court system.

Victims of Law
This website hopes to publish documented proof of many of the deliberate violations of the rule of law, the doctrine upon which our Constitutional Republic is based.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Americans murdering their judges, and the American crisis of judicial corruption

In the headlines are the appalling news stories of Americans carrying out murderous attacks on judges and their families. In a matter of days, one judge was shot and killed in his own courtroom, while another judge had family members brutally murdered in their home. These news stories are, however, related to another news story, which is the most taboo subject of the American media--the expanding crisis of corruption among American judges and lawyers. At question is whether the deepening despair of Americans about their own legal system is fueling some of these violent attacks on judges.

Continued . . .

How does the appearance of judicial impropriety contribute to consumer distrust of the civil justice system?

• According to a study conducted by Justice at Stake, when asked “How would you rate the job being done by judges in your state,” more than one-third (37%) of people surveyed answered “fair” or “poor.”

• That same study found that, when asked how well the word “independent” described judges, more than one-third (35%) of people surveyed answered “not too well” or “not well at all.”

• That same study found that, when asked how well the word “impartial” described judges, more than one-third (34%) of people surveyed answered “not too well” or “not well at all.”

Source: Justice at Stake Campaign, Justice at Stake Frequency Questionnaire (2001).