- The Law Offices of Richard I. Fine & Associates (richardfinelaw.com)
web site says he established the firm in 1974. His credentials include
a Doctor of Law from the University of Chicago, a Ph.D in International
Law from the London School of Economics, a Certificate from the Hague Academy
of International Law, among his many other awards, including Lawyer of
the Decades 1976 - 2006.
- He's also been widely published in legal journals with
regard to antitrust, comparative and international law. Fine's resume is
long and impressive.
- Before entering private practice, he "founded and
was chief of the first municipal antitrust division in the United States,
for the City of Los Angeles." He was also Special Counsel to the Government
Efficiency Committee of the LA City Council, and a member of the US Department
of Justice Antitrust Division.
- In addition, he practiced law in London and with another
firm before establishing his own. He was also Norway's Southern California
- Background on Fine's Case
- Detailed information can be found on Home (Free Richard
fine)....(sites.google.com/site/freerichardfine/Home), established by his
friends and associates seeking justice in return for Fine's years of public
service as a taxpayer-advocate attorney.
- From the early 1990s until his illegal disbarment and
March 4, 2009 jailing, Fine challenged and corrected state corruption,
returning about "$350 million to California taxpayers which state,
county and municipal governments (unlawfully took from) 'special funds'
and 'trust funds' in a series of taxpayer cases filed in federal"
and state courts, specifically:
- -- $6 million returned to the Tidelands Trust Fund (TTF)
in Malibu Video, et al. v. Wilson, et al.;
- -- in other cases against California cities and ports,
another $350 million prevented from being unlawfully spent from TTF;
- -- the class action Lido v. State of California returned
funds not paid to small and minority businesses during California's budget
- -- in Shinkle, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, Fine got
the city to change its "sewer service charges" calculation method,
saving residents "tens of millions of dollars" annually;
- -- in Amjadi and LACAOEHS v. LA Board of Supervisors,
et al., LA County had to establish a special environmental inspection fee
fund from wrongfully deposited funds in its General Fund; also freeze its
environmental inspections fees until an initial $11 million deposit was
spent, as well as deposit about $40 million annually into a "special
fund" for environmental inspection fees; and
- -- many other legal victories against corrupt state officials
saving California taxpayers about "$1 billion," illegally "enrich(ing)
developers, and blatantly trampl(ing) the people's rights;" Fine calls
it "a true story....wrapped up in one man's personal nightmare."
- Overall, he stopped "Twenty-Six Years of California's
Annual Budget Crisis," and was the first lawyer to "Challenge,
In Court, The Unconstitutional Payments Given By Los Angeles County (Supervisors)
To The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges," over $300 million
since the late 1980s.
- Over the same period, these "judges decided cases
and made orders in favor of the County to the exclusion of the opposing
parties in cases before them." For example, from 2005 - 2007, no one
won a case against the county in courts presided over by LA Superior Court
judges. Over many years, as a result, Californians were swindled out of
hundreds of millions of dollars, and most troubling of all, county judges
knew "taking payments from LA County was unconstitutional," in
violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics and Political Reform Act for not
- The same practice was common around the state, but not
like in LA County, where state legislators exempted judges and county supervisors
- For his many years of crime fighting, Fine was charged
with "contempt of court" and "moral turpitude," disbarred
by California's Supreme Court and jailed by Superior Court Judge David
Yaffe "in retaliation for bringing the cases and exposing the unconstitutional
payments," ones later held to be unconstitutional.
- Fine's case is currently before the US Supreme Court.
The California Bar waived its right to respond, meaning his appeal is unopposed.
Also in his favor was a late 2009 decision in Sturgeon v. LA County (brought
by Judicial Watch) deciding that county payments to judges are illegal.
- Yet, with the help of California Supreme Court Chief
Justice Ronald M. George, state-paid lobbyists got legislators to pass
"a midnight bill" (SBX2-11) at the peak of last year's budget
crisis, changing the law to make the payments appear legally authorized
to continue, besides giving everyone involved retroactive immunity from
- Note: immunity is never given when no crime was committed.
- The latest on SBX2-11 immunity is that it's not in the
"official Code" like the rest of the bill, Fine's friends and
associates asking, "Why are they hiding this pardon of over Ten Million
Felonies from the public." They further say the bill "is an ex
post facto law. Its immunity provisions will ultimately be repealed,"
so complicit judges aren't off the hook.
- As of mid-April, 2010, Fine remains in LA County Men's
Central Jail, the "worst jail in the United States," according
to an ACLU investigation and report (aclu.org/prisoners-rights/aclu-releases-report)
calling it "nightmarish" because of severe overcrowding (with
over 20,000 detainees), violence, and overall conditions causing serious
- Fine is held in solitary confinement under horrendous
conditions to punish him - with no fresh air, bright all-night overhead
lighting, and no pen and paper to petition a higher court, a right ever
serial killers get. Also, reporters (at least until now) were denied permission
to interview him. He's not allowed to post bond or get a hearing, and is
ordered to stay in jail until he relents and withdraws his charges.
- In a Full Disclosure.net April 7, 2010 interview, Fine
- "This is the beginning of what happens when you
lose a democracy. There is absolutely no question I'm a political prisoner,"
held without bail, without trial, and with every state appeal denied. The
issue is "a straight out-an-out abuse of power, and I'm the person
who went in and called them on it....This is the biggest judicial scandal
and judicial bribery scheme in American history. My being in jail for (over
a year) should show you that no one is immune from this abuse of power."
- Fine's case exposes the dark underside of California
politics and appalling level of official malfeasance, involving greedy
developers, corrupt LA County Supervisors and judges, the state Supreme
Court, its Bar Association, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, co-conspiring
to protect ongoing criminality and punish anyone challenging it.
- On April 9, Contra Costa Times writer Troy Anderson headlined,
"Supreme Court to hear Fine case," quoting Brooklyn Law School
Professor Jayne Ressler, an expert in "coercive confinement"
- "The fact the Supreme Court is involved in any way
is a big deal. It certainly speaks volumes to the importance of this case,
and it's quite intriguing."
- At issue is Fine's "coercive confinement,"
but he also hopes California corruption will be addressed. The issue of
judges' pay is currently before the California Supreme Court, but given
how judges and legislators conspire, it'll likely go nowhere to let illegal
- The state Supreme Court disbarred Fine. Superior Court
Judge David Yaffe jailed him for allegedly practicing law while being inactive
and refusing to answer questions about his assets to pay court-ordered
attorney fees in connection with a Marina del Rey case.
- The US Supreme Court will hear his case on April 23.
It gets thousands of applications annually, but considers about 80 or 90
at most. His appeal cites the precedent of a Los Angeles newspaper reporter
jailed in 1972, in contempt, for refusing to divulge sources relating to
the Charles Manson case. After six weeks in confinement, the US Supreme
Court ordered him released while his case was considered by the 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals. "Lower courts later determined that lengthy confinements
for contempt" are to punish in violation of "legal limits on
punitive sentences for contempt."
- The US Supreme Court has the final say. Meanwhile, at
age 70 and in deteriorating health, Fine remains incarcerated, his freedom
very much in jeopardy.
- Also at issue is due process and judicial fairness, fast
disappearing in America and denied anyone challenging corrupt power and
privilege effectively. Fine did it courageously and expertly. He's now
paying the price.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
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