Los Angeles, CA August 29, 2009
A House Divided
"And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:24, 25.
There is a profound principle set forth within the Scriptures that is as sound as is the law of gravity, namely that no kingdom or house divided against itself can long exist. This principle is true whether we are talking about a marriage bond, or a judicial empire. Therefore, it is fair to state, "And if a [court] house be divided against itself, that [court] house cannot stand."
It is often quoted the statement, "What begins in California will spread throughout the nation!" So let us consider what is germinating in California regarding the judiciary. I have heretofore proclaimed that it is only but a matter of time before an ignorant and gainsaying People will recognize that the center of their hopes and all their frustrations lie within the judiciary as the People become more and more frustrated with the direction our nation is going, and as they discover the judiciary is the "man behind the curtain."
All the national marches, and "Heads on a Stick" demonstrations, along with the "I am Mad as Hell, and I am Not Going to Take it Anymore" averments, shall soon be evident that they are not accomplishing their desired goal. As the founder of J.A.I.L. I have been patiently over the years for the Sheeple to wake up and start to listen to an effective program for recovering our nation to the Constitution by focusing on the judiciary and judicial immunity!
Until such time, frustration and confusion shall continue to grow as People express no other "remedy" but to lock and load, not paying attention to the admonition, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matthew 26:52. Sure, I believe we should keep our powder dry, but the use of powder in the absence of an available peaceful resolution is senseless. People tell me that my proposal of a peaceful resolution is very costly. To them I say, "Consider the cost of the alternative!" Instead of millions to bring about a peaceful resolution, we are then talking about trillions in not only financial costs, but also in the lives of our children and our offspring. But even presuming we could win such an affront, we would still need to establish the very same peaceful means I am proposing, namely judicial accountability directly to the People through an independent autonomous Grand Jury over the issue of judicial immunity. I attest to you that there is no way of escape other than those principles advocated to you through JAILJudges.
Now, what is going on in the judiciary here in California that is upsetting even the judges? We are shelling out tax dollars to build several new courthouses while we are cutting back on the use of the courthouses currently in existence. We are giving the judges bountiful pay raises and off-the-record bonuses while, due to financial shortfalls, judges are having to take days off to keep our courts in existence. Behold, our local judges here in Los Angeles are now "earning" more than even the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Have we not come to the point that the tail is waging the dog, and the servant is hiring the master?
"And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
J.A.I.L. has not been tried and found wanting.
Rather it has been found difficult and left untried!
Critics target California's courts bureaucracy
Posted: 08/28/2009 05:45:08 PM PDT
Updated: 08/28/2009 05:45:10 PM PDT
Across California, courthouses are closing for the first time in history, court employees are being furloughed and fired, and judges known for complaining about their salaries are agreeing to forgo their pay one day a month.
Yet the little-known but powerful bureaucracy behind the state's sprawling court system is bigger and more expensive than ever, doubling in size over the past five years, establishing a staff roster replete with six-figure salaries and still willing to splurge on an occasional lavish conference in the midst of the worst budget crisis in decades.
To its supporters, the state's Administrative Office of the Courts is the engine that runs California's gigantic court system, the largest in the nation. But to its critics, the AOC, as it is known throughout the legal system, has become the golden goose of the state judiciary.
The agency has ballooned in size, cost, power and stature in recent years, reaching its peak at a time when the rest of California government is struggling with budget deficits and cutbacks in everything from education to programs for the poor and elderly. From 2004 through last year, the AOC's budget nearly doubled to more than $220 million per year, and it has gone from a relatively unknown bureaucracy of 490 employees to 901 employees, a third of whom make at least $100,000 per year.
To be sure, the AOC's role has had to expand dramatically over the past decade, as a result of sweeping legislation shifting the cost and control of the state's 58 trial courts from the counties to the state, as well as the operation and construction of more than 450 courthouses around California.
But the AOC's rapid growth nevertheless has fueled a backlash from judges and court employees across the state upset with this summer's unprecedented decision by the powerful Judicial Council, the policymaking arm of the courts, to shutter courthouses one day per month to save money, a move judicial leaders didn't make even during the Great Depression. The 21-member council, headed by Chief Justice Ronald George, voted to close courts the third Wednesday of each month starting in September to save about $85 million to help fill a $410 million gap in statewide court budgets.
The discontent over AOC spending is scattered but widespread and more vocal than ever. A group of San Diego judges have called for an audit of the AOC. Court employee unions, including Santa Clara County's, are openly questioning AOC costs. Some Sacramento judges urged the Judicial Council to avoid courthouse closings, asking members to look at the AOC's budget and other places for spending cuts. And Nevada County's judges delivered a similar letter to the AOC.
All of them have questioned AOC spending habits, including an $86,000 three-day judicial conference in June at San Francisco's Hilton Hotel that included a catered dinner at the California Academy of Sciences and "facilitators" flown in to speak to Judicial Council members.
Judges want reform
"There is a bad appearance to it, why we have to have so many high-paid administrators,'' said San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino, who has been urging judges around the state to organize to reform and audit the AOC and Judicial Council. "Yeah, we're wondering."
Added one former Judicial Council member: "They are just unbelievably overstaffed."
The AOC vigorously defends its budget, stressing its expanding role in managing a court system with more than 1,700 judges, 58 court budgets and 16 million square feet of courthouse space, all functions handled by counties not so long ago that now require a trained staff of lawyers, accountants and other administrators. And the agency has many supporters, ranging from the chief justice to judges around the state who laud the AOC for a host of nationally recognized innovations in legal programs.
For his part, George calls the criticism "unwarranted" and a predictable reaction in tough budget times.
"The AOC is by and large very efficiently run and provides services for the courts," George said. "Growth by itself without knowing why the growth occurred isn't a valid criticism."
A review of the AOC's budget shows that it has expanded dramatically as a bureaucracy. The agency's central administrative budget went from about $101 million in 2004-05 to $142 million last year; it is expected to be cut about $6 million in the next year, but that would still leave the AOC with a budget that exceeds every other year in its existence.
A 2002 law also created a separate, equally expensive part of the AOC devoted solely to running, and building, courthouses, shifting those costs from county government to the state. That part of the AOC budget has gone from $14.7 million five years ago to a projected $170 million next year, as money kicks in to build new courthouses.
Ronald Overholt, the AOC's deputy director, notes that the AOC had to hire scores of staff to handle the task, which includes fielding 6,000 phone calls a month from courts around the state needing help with everything from leaky roofs to broken plumbing. And with courthouse bond money already approved to build new courthouses in many counties, including a new family court in Santa Clara County, many judges say they are grateful the AOC is doing the work.
"They are the ones carrying the laboring oar,'' said Jamie Jacobs-May, Santa Clara County's presiding judge.
Why new courthouses?
Critics, however, say this is no time to be building new courthouses or allowing the AOC to maintain its current staffing level.
"As nice as it seems to get new courthouses, it seems foolish to build new courthouses when we can't keep the ones we have open,'' said Kim Palmer, chief union steward for Santa Clara County's court workers, who are quarreling with the judges over the one-day-per-month furlough program.
The AOC's Overholt concedes the agency could do a better job on how some of its spending appears, such as the June conference, but denies that the AOC is bloated.
"I just don't buy into the notion that there is fat," he said.
Maino's group now has about 100 judges around the state who believe there should be a state audit to find out. And with courthouses slated to start closing in September, that push could grow stronger.
Californa Chief Justice Ronald George has said that I, Ron Branson, am out to destroy this wonderful judicial system we have here in California. I respond tounge-in-cheek, God forbid that Ron Branson should upset the judicial system of California, and ultimately the entire judicial system throughout this country, and restore justice and tranquility to this nation. "For the transgression of a land many are the princes [bureaucrats] thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. Proverbs 28:2.
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He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to
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their acts of pretended legislation. - Declaration of Independence
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