CORRUPTION WATCH-Vicious, predatory and unaccountable are three words that describe the environment for starlets near Harvey Weinstein, for children coached by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, and for Olympic gymnasts who had Larry Nassar for their doctor at Michigan State University. These three words also describe the California judiciary.
Institutions that have an isolated predator in their ranks differ from institutions whose very culture is vicious, predatory and unaccountable. The distinguishing feature is how the institution reacts to the abuse. Does it protect the victim or the abuser? Hint: Systems that use secrecyand terrorto perpetuate their abusive behavior are corrupt.
Predators Use Secrecy and Terror Against their Victims
The Olympic Committee used secrecy when it told parents that the molestations had to remain undisclosed because publicity would interfere with official investigations. The reality is that parents’ disclosing what happened to their teenaged girls would have blown the cover-up. The terror was the threat that their children would be excluded from the only programs that could enable them to achieve their gymnastic dreams.
These techniques were also Harvey Weinstein’s modus operandi. His victims had to keep his molestations and rapes secret or else “they’d never work in this town again.” With Penn State, there was secrecy and terror. The few who knew about Sandusky’s molestations had to remain silent in terror of their careers being destroyed. The 2015 movie Spotlight, showed how the Catholic Church used secrecy and terror against its victims to perpetuate sexual abuse.
The California judicial system is adept at both secrecy and terror to guarantee that there is no accountability for its vicious predatory behavior.
Secrecy: The First Level of Judicial Protectionism
In California all public meetings are subject to the Brown Act, Government Code, §§ 54950-54963 -- except the courts. Under the Brown Act any member of the public can record any public meeting as long as the recording does not interfere with the meeting. Recording court proceedings, however, is tightly controlled.
As Anatole France observed, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges . . .” In Los Angeles, both the rich and poor may record court proceedings.
The rich may hire expensive court reporters to record hearings and then use them however they wish, but under Court Rule 1.150(d) the poor must obtain advance special permission from a judge to use their own audio recorders, and “the recordings must not be used for any purpose other than as personal notes.” In other words, recordings made by poor people may not be made public or used to highlight judicial corruption.
Terror: The Second Level of Judicial Protectionism
Predators terrorize their victims. The Golden State Killer would telephone his victims and threaten to kill them. Child molesters will threaten children that they will kill their entire families, movie producers and judges threaten people’s careers. This reign of terror is the main tool in the judicial arsenal to prevent interference in their victimization of thousands of Californians each year.
In Family Court, children are basically held hostage to the money-making scam of judges.The California State Bar is an effective instrument of terror against attorneys who complain about judicial corruption. As the case of Richard I. Fine shows, when an attorney uncovers judicial corruption, he can end up disbarred and thrown in jail. Attorney Fine showed that Los Angeles County judges were receiving millions of dollars in illegal payments from the County of Los Angeles. Although called “Los Angeles County judges,” they are all state employees and the law forbids them from receiving addition compensation. Los Angeles County is frequently in court. The District Attorney is a county agency; Child Protective Services is also a county agency, as are the probation department and the Board of Supervisors, etc. And guess what? The county has almost never lost a case before a Los Angeles County judge.
One only needs to listen to this video to understand how serious the viciously predatory behavior of Los Angeles County judges is for everyone, especially for the poor and powerless.
As Richard I. Fine learned, the California courts are essentially fact-free zones. Whatever the judge wants to be the facts become the facts. Thus, Judge Yaffe dreamed up a basis to order Richard Fine to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when he could not comply, Judge Yaffe threw Attorney Fine into jail. Also, the State Bar disbarred him. Attorneys who object to judicial misconduct face similarly fabricated charges, huge fines and disbarment.
Facts are Not Evidence
People operate under the misapprehension that facts may be used in court to prove their innocence. Facts, however, are not evidence and only evidence may be considered by the court. “Evidence” is whatever the judge allows the jury to consider, and the truth or falsity of the information is not relevant.
The most important aspect of any information is whether it advances or impedes the judge’s personal objectives. Facts that rebut the judge’s desired outcome will be omitted, while falsehoods will be sanctified as evidence. Some judges go as far as to christen their falsifications as “Undisputed Facts.”
One may not stroll into court and offer to bribe a judge. It’s not as simple as gaining access to a speakeasy where one only needs to know the secret password. The courts operate like the mafia with its Omerta and made men. Wikipedia explains: “To become ‘made,’ an associate first has to be sponsored by another made man. An inductee will be required to take the oath of Omertà, the mafia code of silence. After the induction ceremony, the associate becomes a ‘made man.’"
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.