A recent appeals court ruling allowing citizens with evidence of wrongdoing
to bypass the prosecutor's office and ask a grand jury to investigate was put on
hold yesterday by the state Supreme Court.
Without comment, the high court granted a request by the Attorney General's
Office to stay the June 29 ruling until it decides whether to review it.
"The effect of the Supreme Court order is that citizens cannot appear before
a grand jury at this point," John Hagerty, spokesman for the state Division of
Criminal Justice, said.
Hagerty said allowing citizens "to arbitrarily appear before a grand jury,
perhaps having already been rejected by a prosecutor" could create needless work
and expense for grand juries and the assignment judges who supervise them.
Larry Loigman, an activist lawyer who had won the right to have a letter
detailing his allegations of official wrongdoing read to a Monmouth County grand
jury, said, "Obviously I'm disappointed, because it does thwart the public's
right to have matters investigated without the interference of the Attorney
General's Office or the county prosecutor."
Loigman said he has not heard what, if anything, the grand jury did in
response to his allegations.
Although the appeals court said citizens have a well-established (though
seldom used) right to bring their suspicions of wrongdoing directly to a grand
jury, Loigman said he has heard from several persons who were turned down when
they tried to invoke it. He said some assignment judges are waiting to see what
the state Supreme Court has to say on the matter.
"It very clearly is an important issue the Supreme Court should address,"
July 3, 2004
Why Grand Juries Do Not
(By Ron Branson - J.A.I.L. Founder & CIC)
The other day, while sitting in a restaurant, Barbie said to me, "Look, someone left a newspaper," and she handed me the Sunday Los Angeles Times. As I took it, out fell a center section entitled, "Civil Grand Jury - Los Angeles County 2003-2004. Final Report - June 24, 2004." Ironically, this "Final Report" is only published once a year, and here it was in my hand as if the Lord wanted me to see it. I left the entire paper at the restaurant and took only this report. I already knew I had in my hands the makin's for a very good J.A.I.L. News Journal.
I should give a little background about myself. Going back to the early 80's I have had a keen interest in the Los Angeles County Grand Jury. Due to certain connections I had within the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, I was invited before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury by the Jury Foreman. I brought educational books and materials that I deemed knowledgeable for them to read. Armed with person knowledge, I can speak about the Los Angeles County Grand Jury independent of this Report.
My intent of writing here is to address Grand Jury operations across the country, as their operations are generally the same nationwide. I realize that while here speaking about the Los Angeles County Grand, some may say that this is not the way our Grand Jury works. I have no problem with that, but I can tell you that most all Grand Juries are more similar than most people will ever care to admit.
This Report opens with a words from the current past Grand Jury Foreman addressing all the residents of the County of Los Angeles. I here cite to only a few words.
"The 2003-2004 Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury is pleased to present its Final Report for your review.... My thanks to the other members of the jury for making my job as foreperson easier by virtue of their willingness to overcome personal desires and work for the common good. The Civil Grand Jury would like to thank Judge David Wesley, Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, for his guidance in our endeavors and Judge Terry Green, the Assistant Supervising Judge, who acted in Judge Wesley's stead when necessary."
This Report then goes on to praise various other political figures within government, "Our thanks to the Board of Supervisors, County officers, and departments and representatives of all government agencies ..."
This Report is signed by the out-going foreperson, William A. Sullivan.
Following the foreperson's comments is a "Message From The Court, by Judge David Wesley." I quote from Judge Wesley, "The Civil Grand Jury is the only truly independent investigative body in Los Angeles County." But what follows shows this Civil Grand Jury is anything but independent. Judge Wesley tells us, "The Superior Court Judges will review the applications of [Grand Jury] candidates and select potential grand jurors." He also tells us, "Of the 23 grand jurors selected, one person with leadership and organizational skills is designated as foreperson by the presiding judge..." Within the Report we are told, "The Supervising Judge also oversees the activities of the Civil Grand Jury..." and, "Each year prior to March 1st every Superior Court Judge may nominate two persons deemed qualified to serve as Civil Grand Jurors. .... These individuals are investigated by the Sheriff's Department."
Ah, we now have learned that the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury is hand-picked by the judges, their foreperson is selected by the presiding judge, and the Supervising Judge oversees the Grand Jury. Yes, folks, it is judges both coming and going when it comes to the Grand Jury. It is virtually a hand-picked committee by the judges, for the judges, and of the judges, and they even oversee it. But hang on to your hats, there is more shocking news forthcoming about these judges before I lower the boom in this Report.) I'm saving the best for last.
We all know that Grand Jurors are autonomous, that is, they can think for themselves, act for themselves, and they can follow corruption no matter where it goes - right? There is no one within their territorial jurisdiction that is beyond their reach. At least that is what we have thought. But wait a minute. We are told in this report, "The Civil Grand Jury cannot investigate the Judiciary." What's that? Judges are the only branch of government within its territorial jurisdiction that is off-limits to them. Let me quote that again, "The Civil Grand Jury cannot investigate the Judiciary." Notwithstanding anything these judges do, this Grand Jury cannot investigate them, for they have no jurisdiction, and these judges enjoy immunity regardless of how corrupt they become.
Now this brings me to one of my occasions years ago in which I filed an affidavit with the Los Angeles County Grand Jury supporting probable cause for violations of the California Penal Code. I received a letter back from the County Grand Jury stating that they did not have jurisdiction to investigate judges. They advised me to take the matter to the Commission on Judicial Performance. (This was back in the early nineties when the County Grand Jury, as has been for the last 100 years, handled both civil and criminal matters. It was split between Civil and Criminal in the year 2000-01.)
Over the years, I have had many experiences in dealing with the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP). It is a total sham and a front organization to cover for miscreant judges. I have even had the CJP tell me that they do not deal with criminal matters when I brought acts of criminal conduct to them. I have taken matters from the Commission, who told me they had no jurisdiction, directly to the State Attorney General's Office, only to have then agree that I had a sound criminal act by the judge complained of, but then later they closed me out and even refused to talk to me. One AG Deputy told me in the elevator, "Mr. Branson, you want us to go after these judges. We cannot do that. We are their attorneys. We want to keep in their good graces with these judges because we bring actions on behalf of the state into their courts, and we want them to rule in our favor. And here you are asking us to prosecute them."
Now let's recap what we have just learned. The Los Angeles County Grand Jury has no jurisdiction over judges, we must take complaints against judges to the CJP. The CJP tells us they do not have jurisdiction over criminal acts of judges, we must go to the State Attorney General. The Attorney General tells us they have a conflict of interest, and will not prosecute. But wait a minute, haven't we all heard, "No one is above the law!" I am sorry to have to disappoint you, but I am here to tell you by personal experience, judges are indeed free to violated the law with impunity.
Yes, folks, we do actually have a government; "Of the Judges, By the Judges, and For the Judges" from top to bottom, and in every area. I've been everywhere within the government to call judges to account, including Congress multiple times. And even if you go after them civilly, which I have done numerous times, they will always be dismissed on "judicial immunity." You just cannot sue them, and that is so even if what they did was in complete absence of all jurisdiction. I know, I know, some are going to write me and say, "Ron, here is what the law says, and it says they have no immunity if what they did was outside and beyond their jurisdiction. Yes, so it does say. But just try to get another judge to enforce it. And why should he? He enjoys full and complete immunity himself, and he likes it, and wants to keep it that way. If he rules against his fellow judge, then he will be ruled against when he is sued. Judges protect their Club jealously. "I'll cover your assets, and you cover mine." I have gone through the gamut many times, folks. Please don't tell me what the law says. I stand by my statement that judges are absolutely above the law both criminally and civilly by practice. (I emphasize "by practice.")
And now, for the exciting conclusion of this Report. I said that I was saving the best part until last. Here we go. Let's see how many of you are sharp enough to figure out where I are going with this. I will even give you a clue. We have already established that judges are entirely immune from investigation by this Grand Jury, so now lets turn to the complaints that have been submitted to the Grand Jury over the past year of 2003-2004. Besides "Miscellaneous," guess who gets the grand prize for the most number of complaints generated. If you have not already guessed, yes, it is the judiciary. Most complaints filed before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury are about Judges. 13% of the complaints to this Grand Jury is asking for an investigation of the judges, and that is more than cops, than jails, than politicians, than the medical industry, more than anything else. That tells us something is wrong with this picture.
But is it not the Judges who hand-pick the Grand Jury, who select their foreperson, who oversees them, and who are immune from investigation. Based upon these statistics, it is the judges who are the most in need of investigation, who are the most in need of accountable, who are the most secretive, and who are the most likely to be corrupt.
So, back to my title, "Why Grand Juries Do Not Work." It is so easy to see why J.A.I.L., with its safeguards that are just the opposite of most all the concepts that operate County Grand Juries, will totally upset the apple cart of the entire system when passed, for it will create a shining example of what a Grand Jury aught to be doing, and it will surely influence all Grand Juries throughout this nation, dictating that changes must be forthcoming. And when that happens, all governments everywhere will flea for cover or take early retirement, for they will see the dark storm-clouds rolling with its threatening bolts of lightening. As we have said many times, "J.A.I.L. is the only answer!"
J.A.I.L.- Judicial Accountability Initiative Law - href="../../index.html">www.jail4judges.org
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