Monday, August 20, 2007

* * * Judiciary: Going Down for the Third Time * * *

J.A.I.L. News Journal
Judicial  Accountability  Initiative  Law
Los Angeles, California                                   August 20, 2007


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Judiciary: Going Down
for the Third Time
Ron Branson, CIC, National J.A.I.L.
"We have a great judiciary. We just have to prove it
to the public, ... there is a call for help."
The truth is out-- the judiciary in Florida (and throughout the country, I might add), is in a publicity crisis. And just what they need: Lawyers to rush in to the rescue! It calls to mind the thousands of lawyer jokes floating around the country, such as "What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean wearing concrete galoshes?" Answer: "A good start!" Lawyers are widely known as "bottom-dwelling scum-sucking scavengers" who would sell out their own grandma for a profit.
Christ, Who was long on love and compassion, and slow to condemn, reprimanded lawyers carte blanche: "Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers." (Luke 11:46).
Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has publicly expressed concern about the attacks on the judiciary throughout the country. Taken from "The Judiciary Under Attack as Never Before"

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is propagating false and misleading charges against JAIL4Judges in seeking to undermine the obvious need for Judicial Accountability in this country. But people are gradually waking up. Yes, she is right about one thing: the judiciary is under attack as never before in her lifetime, nonetheless, we have but only begun. The subject of Judicial Accountability shall grow and grow and grow until it dominates every other political issue, and takes center stage. This is what frightens Sandra Day O'Connor and the judiciary of this country so much.

The Florida Bar has been instructed that they must work in the background and not let the public know that it is their hand in the puppet to fool the People. Taken from The Florida Bar News, January 15, 2007:
The public face of that campaign should not be judges and lawyers, but rather regular citizens .... Tom Barnett, executive director of the State Bar of South Dakota, gave that advice to the [Florida] Bar Board of Governors at its December meeting. ... "When we planned our campaign, we immediately decided that the worst people to talk about attacks on judges were judges and the second worst people were lawyers," Barnett said. "What we needed were people on the street."
See also "J.A.I.L. Has Exposed the Foreign Power Running South Dakota"
So now the plan of operation in Florida is for the lawyers to bail out the Florida judiciary from its dismal public image. Never mind the fact that judges are merely arrogant and arbitrary lawyers in black robes, who "have taken away the key of knowledge." (Luke 11:52).
Fla. Legal Elite Hope to Get Judges a Little Respect
Group wants to bring judges back in public's good graces
after embarrassing blunders and judicial abuse and misconduct
Prompted in part by Florida Supreme Court justices and the potential loss of a new courthouse, a group of high-powered lawyers is launching its own effort to restore public confidence in Broward County's fractured judiciary.

The project is spearheaded by former Democratic state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, prominent Republican lawyer Edward Pozzuoli and Eugene Pettis, a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

The group began organizing in the past few weeks and is attempting to set up an initial meeting.

The objective: Help bring respect back to a bench beset by criminal investigation, insensitive comments and inappropriate actions.

"We have a great judiciary. We just have to prove it to the public," Campbell said. "The group is starting because there is a call for help."

The group plans to discuss ways to bring the judges back into the public's good graces and wants to meet with incoming Chief Judge Victor Tobin.

The judge said Tuesday that he is receptive to the lawyers' involvement.

"Everybody's input is welcomed," Tobin said. He added that he discussed the issue with Campbell and with the Broward County Bar Association, which also plans to work with the judiciary.

Other members of the lawyer group include state Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach; Republican fundraiser William Scherer; Broward County Bar Association president Barbara Sunshine; and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney David Bogenschutz.

Campbell said he discussed the judge issue with Broward state attorney Michael Satz and public defender Howard Finkelstein, and both are on board.

"Everyone involved in Broward's criminal justice system -- the public defender, myself, the clerk of courts, all the judges, private counsel, court administration, BSO -- everyone is lumped together as 'the courthouse' in the eyes of the public," Satz wrote in an e-mail when asked about his involvement. "Skip's group seems like a good idea to help keep all of us on the same page and try to make an already good system even better."

Finkelstein said he had spoken with Campbell about the problems facing the judiciary but was unaware he was forming a group. When told of the plans by the Daily Business Review, Finkelstein said he'd be happy to be part of any effort dedicated to improving the Broward justice system.

He said a few judges have been engaged in rumor-mongering reminiscent of middle school, but on the whole the judges are stellar and the public needs to realize that.

"If I can be helpful, I'd be very proud to serve," Finkelstein said.

The lawyers also fear that political efforts to jump-start plans to build a new courthouse may become a casualty of months of questionable judicial conduct. With property taxes a top concern, county voters defeated a proposed $450 million courthouse bond last November.

Earlier this summer, elected officials raised doubts that taxpayers would support a county commission effort to build a new courthouse as long as judges remained the center of controversies.

Broward judges have spent much of the past year in the headlines for embarrassing blunders, insensitive comments and judicial abuse and misconduct.

Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin drew national ridicule for weeping while presiding over the court fight to decide where the body of the late tabloid icon Anna Nicole Smith should be buried. He also faces a criminal investigation for allegedly asking a lawyer for gifts and financially exploiting an elderly woman.

Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda resigned after being caught smoking pot in a Hollywood park. County Judge Robert Zack faces an investigation for allegedly taking a loan from an attorney. Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman faces ethics charges from the state Judicial Qualifications Commission for acting discourteously to defense attorneys.

Campbell said the combination of events motivated him and his peers to take action.

He said he also was approached at the Florida Bar convention in June by two Florida Supreme Court justices, who expressed frustration with the behavior of Broward judges and the taint it spread to the Florida bench as a whole.

Campbell declined to identify the justices.

"What can we do? We have to sit down with Judge Tobin to give encouragement that he has to be the parent of all these little kids," Campbell said this week. "And get the kids to grow up."

To supplement the effort, newly installed Broward County Bar Association president Barbara Sunshine said she assigned two committees to find solutions to the problems plaguing the bench.

She said the association's bench-bar and professional responsibility committees will start working after members meet with Tobin in September.

Seiler said the county's judiciary is one of the best in the state but is being dragged down by a handful of judges behaving badly. He said the group is needed to help promote a positive image of the bench.

"The media have been very tough on the judges lately, and we need to try to work hard to restore their image," he said. "This is not any secret society, just a bunch of us talking and [asking] why can't we all try to help out?"

Campbell and Pozzuoli of Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale said they plan to reach out to more attorneys to get involved and believe they are on the right track.

"The fact that a group of lawyers of this caliber has agreed to assist, I think that's a good start," Pozzuoli said. "Essentially, the idea is that we're simply here to help where we can."


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