J.A.I.L. News Journal
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Los Angeles, California                                               January 26, 2005


SHOULD JUDGES PAY FOR THEIR BAD DECISIONS? PART I

(By Dale Nathan -Minnesota, dale@daleforag.com)
What happens if a person hurts or damages someone either intentionally or as a result of gross negligence? For example, what can you do to a person who: (1) hurts one of your children; (2) fails to perform a contract he made with you that you paid him for; (3) causes you to lose your money, or wrongfully takes your money; or (4) publishes a lie about you and ruins your reputation? In each of these examples, you can take action against the wrongdoer to recover your damages.

In many instances, a criminal prosecution can be brought against the wrongdoer if he intentionally or dishonestly hurt you. That is true of almost all wrongdoers. But there is an exception. In fact, a glaring and very important exception: judges. Unlike every other member of our society, a judge can intentionally and wrongfully hurt or damage a person, and not be liable for a cent in damages. Under current law, there is nothing you can do. The judge is protected against any liability for damages, or any legal liability at all, under the rule of "judicial immunity." This is a rule the judges made up themselves. It was never passed by Congress or the Minnesota legislature, or any state legislature. Thus, a judge can take your children away from you, put you in jail, lie about you, give your money away, take all your property intentionally and for the purpose of destroying you, and get away with it as long as it is part of a legitimate legal proceeding before the judge.

This rule is stated most clearly in a federal case known as Ashelman v. Pope,1 where the court wrote: "Judges and those performing judge-like functions are absolutely immune from damage liability for acts performed in their official capacities. . . . Judicial immunity applies 'however erroneous the act may have been, and however injurious in its consequences it may have proved to the plaintiff. . . . Such immunity applies even if it leaves 'the genuinely wronged defendant without civil redress against a prosecutor whose malicious or dishonest action deprives him of liberty.'" Even "a conspiracy between judge and prosecutor to predetermine the outcome of a judicial proceeding, while clearly improper, nevertheless does not pierce the immunity extended to judges and prosecutors."

In one famous case, Stump v. Sparkman,2 a judge wrongfully ordered that a fifteen year old girl be secretly sterilized (she was told her appendix was being removed) and the U. S. Supreme Court decided he could not be held liable. According to the Ashelman case the reason judges must have total absolute immunity regardless of what they do is: "to ensure independent and disinterested judicial ... decisionmaking."

In reality, judges have made themselves dictators who can do what they please without fear of paying for the damage or hurt they cause. Is this good for society? Should any person have such power? Do some judges abuse the power we have given them? Is it really necessary for judges to have absolute complete immunity even if they intentionally and wrongfully damage or hurt people in order to get "independent and disinterested" decisions? ....

(Footnotes: 1 793 F.2d 1072 (9th Cir. 1986); 2 435 U.S. 349 (1978))

Text from http://daleforag.com/baddecone.html



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