- An earlier article explains his judicial lynching, accessed
through the following link:
- A longtime distinguished lawyer, detailed information
about him, his career, and lawless disbarment and imprisonment can be found
through the following link:
- From the early 1990s until his 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.
- Yet, for his many years of crime fighting, he was charged
with "contempt of court" and "moral turpitude," disbarred
by California's Supreme Court, and jailed by Superior Court Judge David
Yaffe (retiring November 1) "in retaliation for bringing the cases
and exposing the unconstitutional payments," ones later held to be
- Last spring, Fine appealed to the US Supreme Court for
release. The California Bar waived its right to respond, meaning his appeal
was unopposed. Nonetheless, on May 24, 2010, Fine's Petition for Writ of
Certiorari (an order to a lower court) was denied without explanation or
comment. As a result, he remained a political prisoner, one of many hundreds
in America, a topic an earlier article addressed, accessed through the
- At the time, his daughter Victoria Fine, a Huffington
Post journalist and editor, said:
- "We are deeply disappointed in the outcome of this.
It's scary to me that the justice system at all levels doesn't see the
inherent flaws in the system and is choosing not to correct them."
- Richard Fine Released
- With few details available, and little media coverage
outside Los Angeles, the following accounts announced the news:
- On September 18, Los Angeles Times writer Scott Glover
headlined, "Lawyer abruptly freed from jail," saying:
- After a year and a half in jail on contempt charges,
"Richard Fine was released from Los Angeles County Jail in downtown
Los Angeles shortly after 9 p.m. but did not wish to speak to a Times reporter."
- On LA Observed, Kevin Roderick wrote:
- "Fine, the 70-year old lawyer and self-styled taxpayer
advocate sent to jail 'indefinitely' by a ticked-off Superior Court judge
(was) released abruptly last night."
- On Examiner.com Los Angeles, Laura Lynn said:
- "Attorney Richard Fine was released from jail Friday,
according to an LA Times article and children's rights advocate Janette
- Isaacs suggested that Yaffe may have released him on
Yom Kippur (a day of atonement for Jews) as "a symbolic act."
- Los Angeles Daily News writer Troy Anderson said Fine
told the paper, in a phone interview, that his release showed "right
will win over might. This is really a great day for Los Angeles and for
- He'd written Yaffe recently, requesting a new judge because
of his retirement. He then speculated that Yaffe may not have wanted to
hand someone else his "complicated case....I guess Friday it all came
to a head and Yaffe suddenly decided he wanted out of all this and decided
to release me."
- Perhaps he also wished to close it ahead of his retirement,
or even had second thoughts about his outrageous sentencing of a man deserving
praise, not indefinite punishment for serving the people of Los Angeles
County heroically and selflessly.
- Until September 17, he'd spent 563 days in solitary confinement,
the longest ever for an attorney (or perhaps anyone) for contempt of court.
Emerging, however, his spirit was as high as last May after the Supreme
Court denied his petition, saying then:
- "I'm in fighting condition. They haven't broken
me down, and they won't break me down."
- On September 18, he said:
- "We can now look at cleaning up the judiciary and
stopping (23 years of) illegal payments....that have cost taxpayers $300
- While imprisoned, Fine filed dozens of motions, including
a complaint several days before his release, charging local, state and
federal prosecutors with a massive "judicial corruption and bribery
scheme" in California courts.
- Writing District Attorney Steve Cooley, state Attorney
General Jerry Brown, and US Attorney Andre Birotte, he requested local,
state, and federal investigations of LA County judges and supervisors for
alleged corruption, a longstanding problem Fine challenged from the early
1990s until his illegal disbarment and March 4, 2009 jailing.
- Now free, he may continue his work and advocacy to cleanse
LA County of corruption, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,
the same problem throughout America, especially in Washington, as well
as from Wall Street and other corporate predators, notorious for ripping
off unsuspecting customers and clients.
- A Final Comment
- Those challenging entrenched power risk grave harm to
themselves. Besides many others, Fine and two other courageous lawyers
- Paul Bergrin is one, an earlier article addressing his
case, accessed through the following link:
- A "top prosecutor" and one of New Jersey's
"most prominent (and effective) defense lawyers," according to
The New York Times, he ran afoul of the system by defending one of US soldiers
charged with killing four Iraqis near Samarra during Operation Iron Triangle
in May 2006, a case that made international headlines.
- Yet as Professor Stjepan Mestrovic explained in his book
titled, "The 'Good Soldier' on Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct
by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq," four
charged soldiers followed their commander's (Col. Michael Steele) Rules
of Engagement (ROE) to "kill all military age males." They had
to obey or face Court Martial and imprisonment, their fate as it turned
out anyway to absolve their commander of responsibility.
- Bergrin wanted him and the entire chain of command, including
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Dick Cheney held culpable,
and therein lay his undoing.
- Arrested and imprisoned since May 2009, he was accused
of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy,
the murder of a federal witness, and conspiracy to commit murder plus other
charges in a 14-count indictment. One or more of the charges were later
dropped, but if convicted of those remaining, he faces a potential life
sentence - not for any crime, but for doing his job honorably and courageously.
- Six earlier articles discussed another longtime heroic
lawyer, Lynne Stewart, access through the following link, the most recent
article includes links to the others:
- The opening paragraph said the following:
- She worked selflessly, tirelessly, and heroically for
30 years as a human rights champion, defending America's poor, underprivileged,
and unwanted - people never afforded due process and judicial fairness
without an advocate like her.
- She knew the risks, yet took them courageously until
bogusly indicted on April 9, 2002 on four counts, then convicted by outrageous
government-orchestrated antics inside and outside the court. Initially
sentenced to 28 months, she was re-sentenced to 10 years after losing her
- Another is planned. If turned down, perhaps followed
by one to the Supreme Court for justice she's been so far denied. Age 71
in October, she's been ill with cancer, now in remission, a recent biopsy
confirming it. Since imprisonment, she's also had surgery, successfully
done with no complications, but not by doctors or in a hospital of her
- West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
called her "a brilliant and dedicated fighter sacrificed on the alter
of an intolerant class-biased system of repression and war."
- So is Paul Bergrin for confronting US barbarism and Richard
I. Fine for challenging LA County corruption.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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