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Local Corruption In The Courts
And Law Enforcement

By Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief  
Most conservative Americans have traditionally had a great deal of confidence in "states rights" and local law enforcement to protect them from the evils of the federal government. I think that confidence is misplaced and naive. Except for a brief time at the founding of the constitution, when some very principled country lawyers rose to the top of state governments, notably in Virginia, states have been just as corrupt as federal officials. State governments, in fact, were the first to be corrupted, and it reached a peak during the days of the old West in the 1840-60s when newly formed state governments in Nevada and California, for example, were literally bought and controlled by mining and railroad interests. Historically, the fact that states were not bound by the bill of rights produced egregious laws ranging from business and church-state monopolies to state sponsored segregation; and even the infamous extermination order against the persecuted Mormons by a Missouri governor. Political corruption was always rampant in the major cities of Boston, New York, and Chicago. Now, corruption, pay-offs and granting exceptions to the rule of law to friends and cronies is more sophisticated and hidden, but it's still there. This week I'll concentrate on court corruption in California and Oregon, and law enforcement corruption in South Carolina--they are symptomatic of cases that happen all the time in other states as well, so learn to see and recognize the pattern. No state is exempt.
In his blockbuster account of police and court corruption "Don't Get Arrested in South Carolina" author J. B. Simms writes, "In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 30, 2000, a beloved middle aged Jewish dentist was struck from behind and killed while riding his bicycle. The investigation into the death of Dr. Harry Sunshine would expose the corrupt underbelly of criminal prosecution in the heart of South Carolina, and the corrupt acts of the three largest police agencies in the state who assisted the prosecutor." Indeed, and it would read like a real-life Perry Mason thriller, except that Mason's ever-present private investigator Paul Drake would have to be the hero of the story because, tragically, not a single attorney of Mason's caliber could be found in Columbia that had the moral honesty to stand up to the pressure that would be brought to bear on anyone assisting investigator Jim Simms in his fight to save an innocent black man from being framed by the police.
Most citizens are unaware that all defense attorneys are technically "agents of the court" and can easily be threatened into submission by unscrupulous prosecutors and judges that have the power to see to it that they "never win another case" in the area if they fail to "play along." Of course, these all-powerful judges don't bend the rules all the time lest it become obvious to the public, but they do it with impunity when trying to protect anyone within their circle of "good old boys" who need protection. Actually, I don't want to imply that all judges are part of the corruption, but there is at least one in every jurisdiction and a host of them at the appellate level that can be counted on by the dark side of government.
Years ago, I covered the story of Rodney Stich, the author of "Defrauding America," perhaps the best compendium of stories about himself and other significant government whistleblowers who had the courage to fight against illegal acts of government. They all lost in court through federal intervention with their respective judges and were sent to prison to keep them silent. In Stich's legal battles he would document how, time after time, he would shop his case to successive attorneys who would accept his retainer with enthusiasm and then refuse to do anything, avoiding him like the plague. Someone had gotten to the attorney--each and every time.
In this South Carolina case, unbeknownst to Charles Outlaw--the intended victim of the police frame-up (with a last name brimming with irony), the real killer of Dr. Sunshine --Carlos Parsen, was the chauffeur of another African-American "mover and shaker" name John E. Brown who had business dealings with South Carolina politicians. The police were quickly given orders to protect the identity of Carlos. Setting up Charles Outlaw's car as the guilty vehicle was made convenient by the fact that the 1993 black Lexus that hit the doctor looked nearly identical to Charles' 1994 black Lexus. In addition, incredibly and unbeknownst to Charles, the woman actually at the wheel of the guilty vehicle was Charles' unfaithful wife, Tshona, who was out cavorting with Carlos in the 1993 black Lexus of Carlos Parsen. How is that for a twist of fate?
Naturally, police couldn't prosecute Tshona without implicating Carlos, who actually caused the accident by grabbing the steering wheel during a fight with Tshona as they driving down the highway--that was the swerve that killed the good doctor). Ultimately, the police decided to prove that it was Charles' car that hit the doctor. That decision meant they had to start falsifying the evidence about the condition of Charles' car, which Police confiscated and had in their custody. The story from there on gets increasingly complicated and convoluted as investigator Simms finds the other culprit's car and starts to trace it back to the local blacks who work for powerful movers in the Columbia establishment.
The closer Simms gets to proof, the more the corrupt prosecutor and defense attorney try to keep Charles and Simms from going to trial where they can present their evidence and expose the police corruption under oath. Ultimately, the local Powers That Be (PTB) began a campaign to attack the private investigator himself. It's high drama worthy of a movie, which Simms has tried to pursue --but the PTB can thwart that too.
It's a must read for any citizen interested in understanding how people within the law enforcement establishment get corrupted by pressure from those in authority above them, trying to protect friends or business associates who commit crimes. There is evidence it happens in all large American cities, but in this case, there's detailed proof. It's no longer supposition. Simms documents everything meticulously, and the reader yearns for justice with every attempt of the police, Highway Patrol, judges, and even prison wardens, to keep him from uncovering the connections between officials obstructing justice and the real perpetrators.
More importantly, Simms documents how the local PTB can get to any defense attorney and most witnesses and threaten them into silence and non-action, thus, denying justice to the accused---especially when a controlled "public defender" is provided. Even the local media is complicit in this conspiracy to cover-up. They spike the story whenever they get that proverbial "phone call in the night," warning them not to give this story any press. Americans tend to trust the justice system, but this book will make them see things in a different light. This story needs to be told. Highly recommended. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097957661X/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img
Leslie Dutton of the Full Disclosure Network interviewed attorney Richard Fine, currently being held in contempt of court by one of the very judges he accused of corruption. Fine recounts, "It started back in 1999, and in 1999, I brought a lawsuit called John Silva vs. Garcetti -- Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles District Attorney. And that lawsuit was based upon the fact that John Silva had paid money as part of his divorce -- child support money. And child support money was being paid into the County of Los Angeles because the County of Los Angeles, as you know, collects child support money. Now, what we found out is that he had paid his child support money in, but the child support money wasn't going to his wife. The County was not distributing it. And the County wasn't distributing about $14 million of child support money. What the County was doing was taking this money in and holding it [and profiting from the interest paid].
"Now, there's a law that says that the County must distribute the child support money within six months or give it back to the father. And they will only give it back to the father if they can't find the wife or the children. Now, in John's case, he knew where his wife was, and he knew where the children were, because his wife was friendly [and the State knew as well]. His wife knew that the money was going in, so she was cooperating with us, and we found out that all these other women and children were not getting their money. So I sued the County to have this money distributed.
"The County answered and told me how much money was there, where the accounts were. All they had to do was distribute it. They were refusing to do so. I went into court, and we got to the end of the trial. The County moved to dismiss, and the judge dismissed the case. And I was astounded. And I went up into the appeal, and after the trial was over and before I filed my first brief, I found out that the judge, Judge James C. Chalfant, had received money from the County of Los Angeles. That's how it started."
"[T]he way that the money comes from the County to the judges is that every year, the County, as part of its budget, known as Trial Court Funding... you will see money going to the judges, and that money in this particular year is approximately $20 million, or $46,370-some-odd per judge. It started was, back in 1988, the County of Los Angeles, decided, through its Board of Supervisors, that they wanted to pay judges -- and these are their exact words, 'to attract and retain qualified judges and qualified candidates to sit as judges in this county (LA)'. They knew at that point in time that they couldn't do this. They knew that to do this was illegal because under the California Constitution, under what is known as Article 6, Section 19 of the California Constitution, only the State legislature could prescribe the compensation of the judges.... It turns out that at that point in time they were giving them about 27 percent of their salary."
There is more to this story, including corruption of the California State Bar and members of the California Supreme court. Here's the link: http://www.jail4judges.org/JNJ_Library/2009/2009-06-03A.html The jail4judges website is a massive repository of this and many other stories of local judicial corruption. Spend some time there.
Oregon is my home state, so I know a lot about it. Like its neighbors to the north and south, Washington and California, Oregon is politically conservative in its rural areas, but dominated by liberal and Leftist politicians, journalists and educators in its major metropolitan areas (Portland, Salem and Eugene). Also like California and Washington, Oregon has a ballot initiative system that allows citizens to attempt to override the constant barrage of bad laws passed by a Leftist Democratic controlled legislature. Initiative petitions by conservatives are only rarely successful because of the dominance of the liberal main newspaper (The Oregonian) which skews opinions and distorts the truth. Even when they win, Left-liberal court judges usually find a way to overturn the results. But even when they lose, the arch-liberal organizations like the powerful teachers union and the state employees union spend millions to fight these good initiatives.
Bill Sizemore is the granddaddy of the conservative initiative petition movement and thus the target of the liberal Oregon establishment. After fighting him for years, they finally were able to shut him down through control of the courts. This is his story.
As Sizemore wrote this week in NewsWithView.com, "I have fewer rights than a convicted felon. Let me make something clear right up front. Misleading press reports notwithstanding, I have never been convicted of a crime in my life. In fact, I have never been so much as charged with a crime. And I have never even got off on a technicality... Even though I have never been charged or convicted of any crime, here is a list of the restrictions two Multnomah County Circuit Court judges (Portland, Oregon) have placed on me, my family, and on my business and political activities.
"By order of the court: I can never be a director, manager, or key employee of a nonprofit charity for the rest of my life. That includes churches, homeless shelters, and charities that do such things as feed the poor or fund missionary projects in the Congo. I also cannot be a chief petitioner for a ballot measure unless a Portland judge, who by the way opposes everything I believe in, gives me permission to do so. Assuming it is possible to obtain the judge's permission, to do so I must demonstrate a number of almost impossible things that no other ballot measure sponsor, including my political opponents, is required to prove or demonstrate. I cannot run for public office without the judge's consent and in order to win her approval I must again prove or demonstrate things no other candidate is required to prove or demonstrate.
"Believe it or not, it gets worse. If I am involved with a political committee or PAC, that committee or PAC cannot spend any of the money it raises. Not for any reason. All of the organization's funds are immediately frozen, if I am working with it. Even though under Oregon law you can't put a measure on the ballot or run a campaign without forming a PAC, if I am involved, a PAC cannot pay rent on an office or pay its employees' wages. It cannot spend money paying utilities or phone bills. It cannot pay to print or mail fundraising letters or brochures. It cannot spend money printing petitions or buying radio or television ads. Forget about the First Amendment.
"One might get the impression that these restrictions are designed for just one purpose: Stopping Bill Sizemore from putting measures on the ballot. In addition to all these restrictions on my political activities, I also cannot spend more than a 'reasonable' amount each month providing for my family. What 'reasonable' means is not defined in the court's order. Nonetheless, each month I must present to the teachers unions, the attorney general, and the court all of the bank statements for my personal and business accounts, all of my credit card receipts, copies of my grocery receipts and receipts for movie rentals.
"They can do this because I'm Bill Sizemore and this is Oregon. There are two sets of laws in this state: One set for me and one for everyone else. I have even had liberal attorneys approach me on the streets of Portland and tell me that they have never supported any of my ballot measures and yet are embarrassed and confounded by the way the Oregon courts are treating me.
"The public employee unions and the extreme environmentalist groups have spent more than $50 million running campaigns against my measures. That's a lot of money by Oregon standards. My measures have saved Oregon taxpayers in the neighborhood of $10 billion so far. That may sound like a good thing to you, but those who live off tax dollars, i.e. government employees and their unions, don't like it and they are using the courts to insure that I stop putting tax cutting measures in front of Oregon voters... One of my measures sought to rein in Oregon's ridiculously extravagant public employee retirement system. Voters approved the measure, but after the election the courts threw it out. In the end, the public unions won, but they have never forgiven me for bringing their largess to the public's attention. (By the way, that system is now tens of billions of dollars in the hole, a deficit that would not exist today had four of the seven justices on the Oregon Supreme Court, all of whom were participants in the retirement system, not overruled the voters and nullified my measure.)
"Another of my measures sought to rein in the obscene political power of the public employee unions by prohibiting the use of the public payroll system to collect their coerced political donations. That was the last straw. Seeing that I had my sights set on the left's Achilles heel, i.e. their money supply, the unions went nuclear and asked a judge to make it all but impossible for me to put measures on the ballot. So, here I stand with fewer rights than a convicted felon and the ACLU and all the newspapers and television stations in Oregon, all of which live and die by the First Amendment, are turning their heads and ignoring the blatantly unconstitutional way the left is shutting me down."
To be fair, there is more to the story, and it is this aspect that provided the judges an "opportunity," misused as it was, to sanction Sizemore in the way they did. I'll have to summarize because it is also complex. In one of Sizemore's ballot initiatives, a less than honest employee of Oregon Taxpayers United (OTU), his tax exempt organization that gets the petition work done, forged a few signatures--though not enough to disqualify the initiative, which had thousands more signatures than the minimum required. The Teacher's Union sued and won a judgment of $4.5 million against OTU and Sizemore personally. Eventually, Sizemore got an appeals court to throw out the judgment, but only against him personally.
However, before that appeal was granted, Sizemore, according to the courts, had done some financial maneuvering to hide income through various means, including a foundation, in order to avoid paying the egregious and unfair judgment against him. When Sizemore did not produce the required financial disclosures demanded by the court, they put him in jail for contempt, and eventually released him but enjoined him from further participation in tax-exempt organizations when they reached an impasse on the documents. Sizemore is rightfully claiming his 5thamendment rights against self-incrimination, which is not grounds for contempt.
This is clearly a politicization of the judicial process, and so was the jury trial that led to the huge judgment. Those details also deserve to be told because they demonstrate how common it is for cases before a jury to be improperly determined because of a judge's prejudice and the dictating of restrictive instructions to the jury.
"The Oregonian's editorial stated, '...a jury found that Sizemore and his crew engaged in a 'calculated course of criminal conduct' and 'cynical, criminal manipulation of the democratic process'. That statement is patently false. The jury did not find that or make any such statement. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Jerome LaBarre made that statement after the trial was over. Remember, however, that the jury, not Judge LaBarre, was the fact finder in our case. Moreover, of all people involved in our case, Judge Jerome LaBarre has no right to claim any moral high ground.
"Judge Jerome LaBarre presided over the OEA v. Oregon Taxpayers United case for three long years. The entire time, the judge concealed from everyone the fact that his own son was a member and activist in the same union that was suing us in his courtroom. Only when his son was elected president of his local and the secret could no longer be kept, did Judge LaBarre confess his three-year conflict of interest and resign from the case. That was after three years of manipulating our case so that his son's union won at every turn. Where was The Oregonian's editorial criticizing Judge LaBarre's reprehensible conduct? They knew about his conflict of interest, but instead of reporting it, told me the fact didn't seem newsworthy to them.
"During the trial, Judge LaBarre suppressed evidence that would have made it impossible for our jury of fourteen Democrats and one Green Party member to have found against us. Then, at the end of the trial, he and the unions formulated jury instructions that made it all but impossible for the jury not to find against us. The entire trial was orchestrated to reach a predetermined conclusion and the Portland media gave them all the cover they needed to pull it off.
"For example, the public has been led by news coverage of the trial to believe that I engaged in a pattern of forgeries to get measures on the ballot. Here's the fact: We submitted approximately 266,000 signatures on the two measures over which the unions sued us. The total number of forgeries that were presented to the jury was less than 30, less than one-thousandth of one percent of the whole. Two employees, Becky Miller and Kelli Highley, admitted that indeed they had forged a handful of signatures (12 to 14 each) on the two petitions, and both stated under oath that I neither knew of nor authorized their actions.
"Anyone with any knowledge of Oregon politics knows exactly what is going on in this case. The teachers union got tired of spending millions of dollars every election fighting my pro-taxpayer measures, which have saved Oregon taxpayers billions of dollars, and decided to sue me out of politics. They sued me in liberal Multnomah County, tossed all of the Republicans out of the jury pool, and got a judge whose son was an activist in their own union. Low and behold, with that stacked deck they won a multi-million judgment for which I personally was held liable, even though I was not a party to the case and never had a trial. Talk about a miscarriage of justice.
"Some months ago, the unions showed their hand when they offered to not pursue me for the $4.5 million I owed them, if I would simply agree to drop my appeal and stay out of politics for 15 years. I rejected their offer, which was nothing short of legal blackmail, and last week saw the judgment tossed by the court of appeals.
"Because the teachers unions were asking for all of their campaign money back, tripled, as damages, we needed to prove to the jury that one to two dozen forgeries simply could not have caused the unions harm or made them spend all that money. Our case was not hard to make. We had solid, tangible evidence that the unions were not damaged by that handful of forged signatures. Our problem, however, was not a lack of proof. Our problem was, the judge would not let the jury see the proof.
"You see, the same exact matter that was at issue in our case had surfaced regarding another measure in the same election. The same woman, who had forged the signatures on the measures over which the unions were suing us, also had forged about a dozen signatures on another measure. In that case, after consulting with the attorney general, the secretary of state had issued a statewide press release, stating that he would not keep a measure off the ballot because of a handful of forgeries, if the sponsors had collected enough good signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. He ordered that the other measure be placed on the ballot, in spite of the forgeries, because the sponsors had collected enough valid signatures.
"In our case, we also had collected hundreds of thousands of good signatures; far more than were necessary to qualify for the ballot. The handful of forgeries clearly could not have forced the unions to spend millions campaigning against the measure, because the secretary of state had already declared to the entire state that he would place such measures on the ballot anyway. To win, all we had to do was show the jury the secretary's of state press release, which had been quoted in every daily newspaper in the state and prominently featured on the nightly news, and the controversy would end.
"Alas, that was not to be. The union lawyers objected to the press release on grounds of hearsay. Fair enough. There was a better source for that information than the secretary's press release, i.e., the secretary himself. We would simply subpoena the secretary of state, or someone from the Elections Division... [However,] The secretary of state, a regular recipient of union political donations, claimed that because he had issued the press release based on the advice of the attorney general, the press release was protected by attorney client privilege, and thus inadmissible in court.
"How does one respond to such a self-interested dereliction of duty? How does one respond to a claim that a press release, which was published in newspapers across the state and shown on the nightly television news, was somehow confidentially protected by attorney client privilege? Nevertheless, that's the position our secretary of state took. In the end, the judge ruled that the jury would not be shown the press release and that the secretary of state would not be allowed to testify."
Well, folks, that's how it's done. There are hundreds of other technicalities that judges can use to make a jury think they have to rule in a certain way, or can't consider certain evidence. All of this because the courts themselves have written the rules governing their own procedures, and have purposefully denied the time-honored common law principle that the jury can judge both the facts and the law in each case and even disregard a judge's instructions. In short, whenever constitutional conservatives fall back on the precept that "The states and the courts will protect us," I'm not confident of that at all.
End Excerpt
World Affairs Brief - Commentary And Insights On A Troubled World
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.
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