Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DUI Checkpoints, Reminder


With various holidays approaching [and now holidays are not even the deciding factor anymore], people need to prepare themselves for those pesky DUI checkpoints, because those liberty infringement devices are increasingly the rage in local law enforcement.  They are not popular with police agencies because they are effective, because statistically they are not.  They are popular because they are funded by grant funds from Sacramento, that come from Washington, DC, that had been taken from us back here; it is a big, costly circle that your and my money has traveled to then screw over you with.

The grant system is one of the greatest evils in policing, because grants are essentially a political bounty for pressing certain types of cases; the merit of the case does not matter; the filthy lucre funding its processing drives the affair.  And nowhere is the evil more manifest than in drunk driving, DUI, DWI, or whatever label.

MADD, the lineal descendants of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of old, which gave us Prohibition and the 18th Amendment, are furious that the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition, but their neo-Prohibitionism is even more dangerous than its ancestor oppression.  They have, with phony statistics and threats of placard-laced demonstrations, conned or intimidated legislators, judges, DAs, and cops into increasing harshness regarding drunk driving, and so they all lose their soul in the evil bargain.

Of course, if the Framers’ will be done, civilian jurors would be protecting accusees from governmental overreaching, but jurors have increasingly lost their independence and have come to believe that their government is good, reliable, trustworthy, and to be heeded.  Yeah, idiotic as it sounds, people on juries cannot seem to see, or do not want to believe, the corruption in their very presence.  Perhaps their own sense of security would be lessened if they came to understand how corrupt their government is in these things, but their lack of institutional skepticism has dangerously undermined the very foundation of our jury trial system.

The truth of the matter is that government makes a bundle from drunk driving, between the block grant moneys from DC, to the penalty assessments on the fines [now about 400% of the base fine, if not more], to the various fees, to the costs of the rehabilitation programs, to the need for more DAs and judges to try the matters and more cops to initiate them.  The fiscal corruption underlying DUI investigation and enforcement would make Bernie Madoff look like Mother Teresa in comparison.

“But what of the dangers of drunk driving?”  Garbage!  The system, at the insistence of the pushy harpies from MADD, have created the category of “alcohol-related [accidents, deaths, incidents, etc.]” in place of drunk-driver-caused [same],” because the incidence of things being actually caused by drunk drivers is miniscule, and that truth would undermine their political agenda.  But something gets into the stats as being “alcohol-related” if a sober driver hits a drunk pedestrian; if a sober driver’s drunk uncle in the back seat is thrown out when the car flips over because its tire fell off; if a drunk driver is sitting lawfully at a light and a sober driver negligently runs into him; etc.; that category has nothing to do with who caused what.  Yet those “alcohol-related” stats are the ones that supply the pneumatic numbers that make everyone go nuts about drunk driving.

Drunk driver caused accidents are in single digit %-ages, which would not help the MADD harpies, nor the block grant ghouls, nor the legions of government employees who profit from DUI enforcement and prosecution and conviction.

So, what of checkpoints – they are legal, are they not?  Well, it all depends on what you mean by legal.  The Framers would not have tolerated such a suspicionless invasion of privacy.  As Justice Clarence Thomas, a student of the Constitution whose scholarship on the subject is almost as faithful and pure as mine, has opined, “I rather doubt that the Framers of the Fourth Amendment would have considered ‘reasonable’ a program of indiscriminate stops of individuals not suspected of wrongdoing.”  But, you see, most judges, even up to the U.S. Supreme Court, are politicians; few are scholars, and even fewer are faithful to the Founding principles.

And those politician judges have decreed that a properly erected and run[!] checkpoint is “legal,” just as other politicians have found it beneficial to set up the scheme in the first place.  But they do have to be properly erected and run, and very few are so, even for the watered down constitutional standards of the neo-Prohibitionist judges.

But beware, if you go through them.  First off, watch, look, and listen, and if you see one ahead, turn off; that is legal, if you make a lawful turning maneuver.  Don’t give the constabularial ghouls the opportunity to tell you to stop, tell you to wait, tell you to go, tell you to blow into their hands, command you to answer questions, etc.  See, that is part of what is going on here.  Cops like the checkpoints, whether they get any arrests out of them or not, because they then have the chance to play “we’re the Man; we’re in charge of your freedom” to the citizens thus stopped and inconvenienced.  This is an incident of police statism, not public safety.  This is power, not protection.

The fact of the matter is that communities that do not receive these grant funds do not do checkpoints on their own dime, because checkpoints return miniscule results for the efforts expended.  There might be 500-800 citizens stopped while going about their business, and from that will come only 1-3 DUI arrests, if that many; one in Yucca Valley just stopped over 1,100 motorists, and found not one drunk driver!  Every police chief worth his stars [and some wear five, like General of the Army Douglas MacArthur!] will confess that saturation patrols are far, far more effective in apprehending drunk drivers than are checkpoints.

So, first try to avoid it by turning off.  If you are in one and get approached, hand your license and registration and proof of insurance and say you do not want to talk, period.  You don’t have to talk; you don’t have to say where you are coming from or going to or whether you have had anything to drink.  Decline to say anything.

If they then shunt you over to the investigation line, be polite, but answer no questions, say nothing, and do not perform any objective symptoms [field sobriety] tests – you have a right to refuse, and politely do so, on advice of counsel, this counsel!  If you are arrested, of course, you have to submit to a breath or blood test.  Ask for breath, and then ask for a back-up urine test, which is your right.  When they say you cannot have a back-up urine test, politely request that the officer record that you have requested it.  Then say nothing else.  Anything you say to the police can and will be used against you, either in the order you said it, or in any order than helps their case.  The cops are not there to help you.  They are there to put DUI cases together.  They make money by putting cases together; they make nothing by being nice to you and letting you go, so they will not, so don’t demean yourself by asking.  Ever.

Checkpoints are tyranny, DUI arrests and convictions are the product of evil maneuvers by purposeful people, then “supported” by voodoo science that would not be admissible in any other sort of case, and all aspects of both the stop and of the prosecution are fightable.  Do not cave in, or else evil people will thereby be emboldened to harass others.

If you do get snagged, though, there are things to be done, if you have the right lawyer.  Call me, if it’s the Inland Empire [Palm Springs, Indio, Coachella Valley, Banning, Joshua Tree, Victorville, Needles, Blythe, Riverside, San Bernardino, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga, etc.].

http://kennedyforlaw.com

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Does God Take Sides in War?

With all of the discussions by various sides that God is on their side in War, I think it appropriate to publish, as I occasionally do, Mark Twain's War Prayer, which says it all, but which, of course, some do not, or choose not to, understand; will you be the preacher, or the stranger?:
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The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fulttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory with stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came — next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams — visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!

Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:
God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest,
Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!
Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory —

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, “Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord and God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside — which the startled minister did — and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

“I come from the Throne — bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import — that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of — except he pause and think. “God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer.

Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two — one uttered, and the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this — keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon your neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain on your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse on some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

“You have heard your servant’s prayer — the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it — that part which the pastor — and also you in your hearts — fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard the words ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —
For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(After a pause.) “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers, or rather that special subset now known as “the Framers,” signed the most influential document in American history, the United States Constitution. This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that “We the People” enjoy today. This will be the 225 anniversary of that founding and fundamental charter of rights and duties and structure and power, but how many people really care, or even know what it is all about?
Many people, in and out of government, blab with often faux reverence about the Constitution, and trumpet about constitutional rights, but how many have bothered to read or understand the Constitution?  I have found that a far higher percentage of people from foreign lands [students, immigrants, naturalized citizens] know the Constitution than do citizens born here.  Too many take the Constitution for granted, which is why absurd things can happen and be said on the political and judicial plane without shrieks of outrage and demands for change and correction.
The Republic was established “by the people,” introducing for the first time in recorded history the notion of popular sovereignty – the doctrine wherein all governmental power derives from the people, not from an anointed, divinely installed monarch: the people are the masters, and the government the servant.  But one would not know that from observing some of the things government does to its people – or that the people’s government does to its masters.
Government gets away with indignities toward the masters because the masters have remained happily ignorant of the founding premises of this Republic.
The upcoming election, or the rhetoric surrounding the campaigns, is emblematic some of the more critical, or pivotal, concerns facing the founding generation.  There are two basic models for the relationship of people to their government.  Government can operate as the perpetual nanny, making fundamental choices for the people, taking care of the people, deciding how much of the fruits of their labor the people can keep while taking an enormous percentage for the “service” of that nannyism, deciding what that labor should be, practicing costly paternalism so that all are safe, even if also individually repressed.  That was the view of King George III and of the Obama-ites, and of the Democrat Party: they know better than you what you should do about fundamental matters, and they will seize as much power as necessary to have their will be done, because the role of government is to make choices for you that serves their view of the public interest.  That is the big government, small liberty model.
The other model is one of small government and big liberty, with choices being made by individuals, with the fruits of their labor being largely kept by those who produced it, with the nature of the labor being a product of free choice acting on a free market-determined economy, with individuals rising or falling based on their own choices and efforts, with power limited to specific and enumerated areas, and with boundless and growing individual liberty.  That was the view of the Framers and of the founding generation, and of certain elements in the Republican and Libertarian Parties, and of originalists like me, and of [to varying extents] the challengers to the Obama-ites: they do not know better than you what you should do with the fruits of your own efforts, and even if some of them think they do, they concede they do not have the power to decide such – the making of those choices is not a government function.  That is the small, limited government, big liberty model.
Between now and September 17, we will have more discussions here about the Constitution, so that when the big day comes, people can finally realize that it is a big day and celebrate it accordingly.  We would not have some of the idiotic comments I hear daily about what the government is doing and should do, and what the two sides of the presidential contest claim they will do if elected, if the people were really educated about what their government was, and was not, empowered to do.
It is interesting that in 2004, federal legislation was passed that requires all schools receiving federal benefits [which means virtually all schools, and all public schools] have an educational celebration about the Constitution on September 17.  How many of you or of your kids are exposed to that event every year?  I have rarely found a school that honors that federal command.
In her retirement speech, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female supreme court justice [appointed by Reagan], warned that we will lose the Republic unless the people educate themselves about what their Republic is all about – or supposed to be.  I shall try to correct part of what is lacking.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Conservative Attorneys Protect Liberty; Liberals Serve Power


When I point out that fellow constitutional defense attorney John Adams was, like me, a conservative, indeed he was an originator of the American conservative movement, it causes confusion in the minds of some, who think conservatism and rights-protection are dipolar concepts; na├»ve people think individual rights are protected by liberals and power is advanced by conservatives.  Nothing could be further from the truth, the concepts properly understood.

It is actually the “liberal,” under the modern usage of the misunderstood term, who sides with police power and away from individual liberty, because, as we see from their standard bearer Barack Obama, they are more into collectivization of decision-making than into individual liberty.  What does that have to do with the question?

As Obama let slip recently, to the horror of some liberals who do not like too, too much truth coming out, the liberal view is that individuals are not responsible for what appears to be their achievements; it is the collective that is to be given credit for individual's only apparent successes; indeed, Obama was almost insulting in his declamations against those who would have the temerity to propose that they were responsible for their own successes.  And that attitude translates to the discussion of liberty, and to the nature of defense of those accused of crimes by the collective police power of the state.

You see, if the collective power of the state decides you are a disruption to the peace or security or safety of the community, liberals, who are agents of that collective idea, are far less likely to aggressively attack that collective to save the individual, because individual liberty to liberals is not the ascendant value.

But for conservatives [true conservatives, not police power extremists, who can be of the left or of the right], individual liberty is the intended default position in this Republic.  Therefore, government action which invades precincts of individual liberty is anathema to those devoted to the founding premise that liberty must always trump power, individualism must always trump collectivism.

Indeed, one of the classic examples that modern liberalism is anti-individual liberty can be found in the line-up of justices in the odious Korematsu opinion, which held that the collective interests of the state, even when based on fraudulent paranoia,  was more important than individual liberty.  The Justice Douglases of the world unrepentantly sided with the collective values and against liberty and authorized the incarceration of American citizens, and the government theft of their property, based solely on race, against the conservatives who were aghast at the notion, while we were fighting a war where people were singled out and savaged by another government solely on account of race.  That is, we fought against race-based butchery in Germany and practiced its second cousin right here ourselves, because liberals were in power here.

And you see what I am talking about in this by the nature of my own criminal law practice.  In my true defense of those accused of crimes, I advance a no-holds-barred attack on government when it invades people’s individual liberty, while some of my “liberal” colleagues approach their supposed defense of those accused of crimes by trying to get the best deal or the most comfortable punishment or rehabilitation in lieu of punishment.  That is, I command the Hun to back down; they consort with the Hun to not be so harsh, but with sympathy to the Hun’s “need” to preserve order.

Conservatives work to protect liberty; liberals work to make one’s lack of liberty as comfortable as possible, within the framework of the collective powers’ interests.  Conservatives rebuff power and elevate liberty; liberals genuflect to power and sneer at liberty.  Do you want a rebuffer or a genuflecter?  You are free to choose: that is an attribute of Liberty, but not of Power.  http://www.kennedyforlaw.com

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Both Suspects and Attorneys Should Sometimes Shut Up

In law, as in so many other endeavors, sometimes the most difficult thing for people to do is to keep their mouths shut. Suspects want to "explain," as if the grant-driven government is going to have pity and drop its investigation. And attorneys want to unnecessarily find out things or prematurely argue things, reminding the government that they have forgotten to investigate, or to file, or to seek a warrant, or whatever. Sometimes the attorneys are the biggest problem, because the craft focuses, inordinately, on talk, and writing, and blabbing.

Far more cases are put together at the investigation stage because suspects can't shut up, and then proceed to government success at the filing and prosecution stage because lawyers can't shut up, than would otherwise occur in the normal course.

One thing suspects [or people who are not suspects until they open their mouths!] cannot fathom, because it is counter-intuitive to a generation that might have been brought up on the naive notion that government is your friend and is only there to look out for you[!], is that government is not your friend. You might be the sovereigns; you might be the electors; you might be the taxpayers funding their living and thereby your own undoing, but government has only one friend, and that is itself. If government suspects you, or your friends or loved ones, or whomever, politely decline to say anything. Politely. Decline.

Very often a response to that advice sounds in "but I am an honest person." Uh, Hello! I didn't say to lie to the cops; I said to shut up. And you might be an honest person, but government is not - they are allowed by the courts to lie to you to get what they want, even though if you lie to them, it will be deemed consciousness of guilt and possibly a separate and distinct new crime. There is a different standard as between what we [the masters] and our government [the sevants] can do, and the servants are allowed to get away with far, for more than the masters.

The same "shut-up" advice goes for attorneys - yeah, I know you concentrated all through law school of how to verbalize winning [and sometimes scholarly sounding] points, but often now the best argument is none, if it is your clients' liberty and not your vainglory which is of uppermost importance. And if that priority is not what animates you, get out of the profession.

We fought and won a Revolution partially to keep government out of our houses and out of our mouths, and we sully the memory of those blood-soaked heroes [when "hero" had a real, and not merely propaganda, meaning] every time we talk too much or consent too much and thereby shift the balance toward power and away from liberty.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jury Nullification

Jury nullification was recognized by the Founding Fathers as a legitimate exercise of sovereign power by the true sovereigns here, the people, as represented case by case by the jury. The hostility toward the doctrine comes from government [of which the judiciary is a part], because the government wants to be in charge and does not want the people to have a role in their own governance [neither at the ballot box nor in the jury room]. But the fact that judges tell jurors that they cannot nullify merely reinforces the need for the jurors to do so, because that fundamental power is to protect individuals from all of government, including judges.

The power exists everywhere in this Republic; unfortunately, in some benighted jurisdictions, like California, we cannot inform the jury of that power, but the power exists nontheless.

Here is an interesting item about the nullification law just passed in New Hampshire, reminding all about the power of juries to protect us from overweening government. That power exists here, and is revealed in the shadows of the instructions given, in that you will note that the judges tell jurors that the defendant is "entitled" to an acquittal if there is not enough evidence, but the judges never [and cannot constitutionally!] instruct that if there is enough evidence, the government is "entitled" to a conviction. But one has to have a very savvy jury to understand the expansive meaning from that subtle matter, so I hope we some day start honoring the true sovereigns of the Republic here by passing legislation announcing the existence of jury nullification, which exists, and always has existed, as one of the inalienable rights recognized in the Declaration. "Inalienable" but which the government wants you not to know about!

http://www.policemisconduct.net/jury-nullification-law-signed-new-hampshire-governor/

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Snitch Henry Hill Died of Natural Causes, Proving My Point

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/henry-hill-dead-goodfellas-dies_n_1592758.html


As his girlfriend told TMZ, Henry Hill's "heart gave out."
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He was the model for the "Goodfellas" character played by Ray Liotta.
 
Hearts giving out are the well-deserved wages of being a stool-pigeon. Those who profit from violating confidences are karmaically doomed, because there is nothing lower than a professional rat, and ratting out people who trusted you has a corrosive effect on one's psyche and organism.
 
The interesting thing here, though, is that it proves my oft-repeated assertion that stoolies whose identities are known or get discovered generally do not get whacked, which undermines the need for government to preserve the identities of confidential informants in warrant settings. Of course, far more often than not, those "confidential informants" are permitted by compliant judges to be and to stay "confidential" because they do not even exist!
 
Most of the "confidential, reliable informant told me" stuff that ends up in warrant affidavits, resulting in kicking down residential doors and violating people's liberties, are merely the fantasies of a creative affiant, which they then attribute to a phantom informant, and the judges keep dutifully falling for it. Or at least they keep allowing it, whether or not they believe it!
 
Secrecy in government, and the increasing institutionalization of stool-pigeonry, and the frequent falsification of stool-pigeonry, are corrosive elements in the land of the Free/Home of the Brave.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bail Setting Corruption; Lawlessness in Rule of Law

Here is a troublesome article about the Monterey judges playing games with bail-setting standards, which bespeaks a bigger issue than just Monterey County:

http://www.montereyherald.com/ci_20873864/monterey-county-judges-raise-bail-rates-already-among?IADID=Search-www.montereyherald.com-www.montereyherald.com

Judges in this state are increasingly out of control when it comes to bail setting, and it is not clear whether their malfeasance in that regard is due to ignorance or purposefulness.  But it is clear that the commission on judicial performance and the judicial council need to get involved to protect the public from these systemic abuses, lest our promise of being governed by the rule of law becomes increasingly fraudulent.

The law of the issue is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of well-established constitutional doctrine.  Without presenting an exegesis of the development of the relevant standards, a brief summary is in order.  State judges are sworn to uphold the United States Constitution, and when there is inconsistency between the federal constitutional standard and any other standard, they must follow the federal rule.  For a bailable offense, bail set in an amount greater than that necessary to guarantee appearance in court is unreasonable under the 8th Amendment to the federal Constitution.  On the politics of bail settings, one hears much about state and local concerns for public safety, and about presuming the truth of the charges, and about bail schedules, and about all sorts of fiddle-faddle to accommodate various political interests, but all of those political concerns must yield in the face of the constitutional standard of individualized assessment of flight risk, period.

But judges, or too many of them, just can’t seem to get their heads around the clear and simple and controlling rule. My paralegal can read the Constitution, why can’t they?  They keep tinkering with schedules and blathering about public safety, with rare invitations to the government to supply proof of flight risk.  Bails get set so high in this state, and in various counties of the state, in comparison to other states and the federal prosecution standard, that one starts to suspect that the judges must be getting re-election campaign fund kickbacks from the insurance companies that own bond companies.

There is no way an accused person in Monterey County is a greater flight risk than an accused person in any other county – these judges are playing politics with constitutional standards, all the while embracing the artifice that the judiciary is not a political branch.  No politician is more political than the one who haughtily claims to be above the political fray.

Every judge who voted for this non-particularizing scheme, and every one of them who sets any bail without an evidence-based flight risk assessment, should be reported to the commission on judicial performance.  My clients are scolded [or worse] by the system for not following the law; more than mere scolding should issue against judges flouting constitutional law in a way impacting individual liberties.

www.kennedyroelaw.com

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thoughts and Observations about Judicial Election, Rapidly Approaching

June 5 is approaching rapidly, and who knows what the outcome will be in the judicial races, but there are some very revealing things which mandate improvement, reflection, consideration, and apologies.

The state Constitution commands that trial court judges sit for election every 6 years. Like it or not, that is the law. Those who do not like the law should work to have it changed, but they should not flout it, nor should they try to con people into not fully enjoying the rights the law gives. [Yes, yes, I know that "rights" are not given by government but inhere in the human condition, but those are the inalienable rights spoken of in the Declaration, not the social compact rights that have to do with non-fundamental, non-reserved things.]

Given that citizens of this state have a constitutional right to subject those who are to serve as their trial court judges to a full, and fully contested election, any affirmative effort to get the voters not to enjoy that right is improper. Moreover, given that voters have a First Amendment right to hear from candidates seeking their vote, and given that the candidates have a First Amendment right to speak to those electors, any effort [especially by people in government] to deny either side the opportunity for that exchange of information is grievous misconduct of a constitutional scope.

There were two judges, and their chum from the local Bar, who trotted around to various organizations, including the local newspaper, arrogantly condemning those who would dare to run against their pals on the bench, and insipidly suggesting that the voters are not smart enough to know who should be their judges - only the sitting judges are smart enough to know, is their self-serving story. But topping off that outrage was pressure they put on the leadership of one local citizens organization to withdraw an invitation already made to me to speak to their membership, 10 minutes before I was to speak. That leadership temporarily caved in and asked me to leave, but they then thought better of it [because of pressure from members who do read and understand the Constitution], and they invited me back the following month. But the damage to our Constitution and to unstated standards of our republican form of government was already inflicted, and it will have to be addressed in the most aggressive terms after the election, regardless of which way the levers are pulled. And from that a new rule of judicial conduct must be promulgated making it per se bench-removal time if any sitting judges put pressure on groups or individuals to not fully enjoy their electoral rights, or to silence candidates, or to invite or disinvite anyone running for office from making a presentation to citizens. The cheeky arrogance involved there merits an apology from the errant judges, both to the citizens and to me. People who do not understand that judges are simply public servants like other politicians tend to give more heed to judges when they make requests and demands, and that must and will stop after this election.

Well, what about judges standing together; doesn't it mean something? Here is an item about the corrupt Orange County Judge, Richard Stanford, and the 62 judges who stood with him, extoling his "virtues"; so much for the merits and validity of support from fellow judges:
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/commission-335139-judge-stanford.html


The electorate needs to understand that they have the full power to decide who is to exercise the public's judicial power, and that power belongs to the people, not to the government nor to the judges. As part of that understanding, they need to realize that the "vetting" we heard so much about regarding the haughty "how dare you vote against judges the governor appoints" message blasted to the electorate by sitting judges and their supporters is a hoax. Indeed, I heard "vetting" and "vetted" more times in the 2 months I have worked on my campaign than during the rest of my life. It is as when an illiterate hears a big, new word, and he then repeats it over and over and over in every conversation for the next year to sound erudite, somewhat making a fool of himself. [Glenn Beck did that with "shift in the paradigm," without comprehending the meaning!]

The only "vetting" that is important in any election, judicial or otherwise, is that done by the voters! The fact that the governor received sifted and selective information about potential appointees and decided from that whom to appoint [mostly Democrats for Democrat governors and mostly Republicans for Republican governors] proves nothing except that the sifting made the political decision easier. In this vaunted "vetting," questionnairs are sent to establishment types who can reliably be counted on not to make waves about who gets appointed - people like me and most aggressive criminal or constitutional lawyers who will be searchingly and fiercely honest about the credentials, or their absence, of people being considered generally do not receive questionnairs! And too, I personally know of one attorney whose assistance has been solicited by several prosepective appointees to edit and polish up the writing samples they were submitting to the governor, because they were functionally illiterate. He/she did help them, some of whom are on the bench! So much for "vetting"!

The vetting by thousands of voters is more valuable than that by one governor, and the qualifications one demonstrates at the time of appointment might be vastly different from what he/she is shown to possess or lack after years on the bench. One of the first questions on the application to the governor is what political party does one belong to and for how long! Is that a "merit" question?

We need to demand of those seeking election/re-election to the bench that they share how they feel about certain legal and constitutional doctrines, so the "vetting" by the electorate is competent. I heard several people who were seeking the voters' support respond to voters' questions with something like "Uh, the canons prevent me from telling you how I feel about such things." GARBAGE! The canons [rules controlling what judges and judicial candidates can/should say] prevent candidates from making "commitments," while expressly recognizing that people do not surrender their constitutional rights of expression to run for the judiciary and have the right to share that information.

The candidates who say they cannot answer voters' questions because of the canons either do not know what the canons say and are simply spouting something they heard someone else say, or they do not want the voters to know either (1) their beliefs, or (2) that they don't know enough about the subject to articulate their beliefs. Any candidate who says he/she cannot answer general questions of law, or any candidate whose representative says that, should automatically be rejected at the ballot box.

Another thing that needs to change is the cost of the candidates' statement in the ballot materials. The voters have a fundamental right to know something about the people on any ballot, and the candidates on the ballot have a fundamental right to share with voters who and what they are. Yet, it costs $17,000 to put the couple hundred word statement in the materails. That is just outrageous, and it guarantees only people who are well-heeled, or who have big money supporters, will be able to share that vital information. There should be no fee for that vital service, if an informed electorate has any value to this "democracy."

One troubling thing arose early on, in regards to this paper's endorsement policies. Knowing that there were 4 races in which the judicial seat was being put up for electoral contest, and knowing that the judges obviously did not want to have to run for election [the judges apparently believing their seats are entitlements sort of like welfare recpients' monthly dole], the paper nevertheless allowed two judges and their attorney pal to meet with the editors to lobby for the judges' position that the voters had no role in the election! I was not invited to present the counter-argument! And then later each judge was allowed to lobby that position too, in the individual interviews. So there was double lobbying by the judges, against which the challengers had to compete in their interviews, but by then the editors had their minds made up and they predictably endorsed the sitting judges because..., well, they are sitting judges! If there is going to be a round of endorsement interviews, the deck should not thus be stacked against the challengers. With it being thus stacked, the enterprise was really a charade.

It is often said that the voting public gets the government it deserves, but sometimes those of us who are concerned about wise and neutral and thoughtful government do not get the government we deserve, because the majority of voters is swayed by improper factors of the sorts suggested here, and otherwise. So, when June 5 gets here, first ask yourself if you like the way things are in this Republic, and in its courtrooms, right now, and then analyze what should be changed and why, and keep in mind that incumbency is not necessarily a virtue - sometimes it is merely a sign of sloth or inertia. If you read my endorsements, you will see that I am supported on the left and on the right, and you can read what individuals have said about me and why. If you want scholarship, neutrality, thoughfulness, respect for all who appear in court, and faithfulness to the Constitution, vote for me. If you are not interested in that, vote for my opponent. www.kennedyforjudge.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Who Says Judicial Candidates Can't Speak Out???

On the campaign trail, I keep hearing judges and judicial candidates claiming that those running for judicial office are not allowed to explain their understandings and views of the Constitution or of their roles in the Republic, etc. Hogwash!
Those saying that either don't want the public whose vote they are seeking to know exactly what they believe, or they don't know the law and the ethics of judicial service/candidacy. Either or both of those should invalidate their candidacy and should push all voters into another's corner on election day.

First off, it needs to be understood that the sovereigns of this Republic are the people, not the government, a notion that displeases some elitist Tories still hanging about, some of whom have been supporting my opponent. And the state Constitution mandates that trial judges run for contested election by those sovereigns every 6 years - a full, robust, contested election, not a flaccid retention matter that applies to appeals judges.

Secondly, the Canons of Judicial Ethics expressly recognize that "Judges [and judicial candidates] are entitled to entertain their personal views on political questions. They are not required to surrender their rights or opinions as citizens." Therefore, they are not allowed to "make statements ... that commit [themselves] with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that could come before the courts...," or engage in political activity "that may create the appearance of political bias or impropriety," but otherwise they can speak out and share. When you think about the hubub over U.S. Supreme Court nominees, who have the same canons, you realize there is little that judicial candidates cannot discuss - unless they want to hide their views from the electing public!

If any judge or candidate says he or she cannot share their thoughts with you, vote for someone else. Or vote for me anyway, for Office No. 2, Superior Court in Riverside County.
www.kennedyforjudge.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Judge Cox Won't Accept Debate Challenge!

I have sent, by post and by e-mail, the following debate challenge to Judge James A. Cox, and he has not accepted, nor even responded.  And for good reason - there is nothing he can make palatable about his conduct, and there is nothing that he can make acceptable about what his chums on the bench are trying to do for him by squelching debate, and he could never voice a, explanatory position that voters should tolerate. So, it seems as though he should retire now, because if he loses at the polls [as he should by refusing to debate me on fundamental points], he cannot sit as a retired/assigned judge; if he retires now, he can cash in on that cushy double-dipping that most judges eagerly seek. The real question is what kind of people, especially attorneys and judges, still support Judge Cox? And why? What is their quid pro quo?
The unanswered [and unanswerable] debate challenge:
------------------------------------------------------

April 27, 2012
Honorable James A. Cox
Superior Court
3255 East Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, California 92262

RE: Debate

Dear Judge Cox:

As you know, I am running against you for Seat 2 of the Superior Court for Riverside County.  There are things regarding the reason I am running, and now things surrounding communications being made to the public about people running for judicial offices, that deserve a full and complete airing in the public.  Because of that, I am challenging you to a public debate, to be hosted by some organization agreed to by our respective campaigns.

What pressed me to run against you surrounds an incident I observed, and which almost victimized me, when you were presiding over traffic court cases in the Banning court years ago.  I’ll present here an excerpt of what I have broadcast to the public about that event:

Years ago, when I was still working in the Victorville Public Defender’s office, I drove through Beaumont, and I had an eye-opener.  I saw a bevy of young local policemen all over the place, and they were stopping people right and left, for the most minor of offenses.  One even harassed a young kid gently wheeling his bike down the sidewalk.  They were out and out picking on people.  So I stopped to watch.  It became clear they were running some sort of traffic enforcement harassment scam.

I sat and watched for a half hour or so, and one of the youngsters with a badge came up to me and asked what I was doing.  I told him I was sitting there watching their little traffic scam and their harassment of citizens of the Republic.

He stutteringly said he was going to give me a ticket, and he had to reflect for a moment on what he could ticket me for, and he then came up with driving without a seatbelt.  I politely informed him I wasn’t driving and reminded him that he had seen me there watching their little gambit for over half an hour.  He said he was going to give me one anyway.  I said if he was, I wanted to be cited to the county seat.  He said he didn’t know what I meant.  I said I have a right to be cited to the county seat [given that my place of employment was closer to Riverside than to the Banning courthouse].  He again said he didn’t know what I meant, and I allowed how it didn’t surprise me – they probably did not want the downtown court to see what goes on out there.

He then called for backup, since people standing on their rights are obviously troublemakers.  The backup asked if I know what was involved in that request, and I told him I did but doubted that he did.  He said he would have to arrest me, take me into custody, tow my car, and drive me in handcuffs down to Riverside.  I smilingly told him that was incorrect – they just put the downtown courthouse address on the ticket.  He said he would do it the other way. [That is illegal, by the way!]

I said fine, cite me to the local court, since it is obvious no one wants the central court to see what goes on out in that area, so I would be interested in seeing what goes on there.

I showed up on my arraignment day, and I was appalled.  The judge told everyone if they pled not guilty on their ticket, they would have to post “bail” before they would get a trial!  Remember we fought a Revolution for the right to trial before liberties and property could be taken from us.  And “bail” can only be imposed under the federal Constitution if one is a flight risk.  But everyone who wanted to plead not guilty were told they had to post bail to get a trial, and they could not make payments.  But when they caved in and pled guilty to avoid having to pay that coerced bail, the fine was often less than the “bail” amount, and it could be made in payments.  Guess which direction virtually everyone went!/?  That is extortion!

When my case was called [I was in fatigue clothes, looking most unlawyerly!], I approached and announced that I was pleading “not guilty” and wanted a trial and I instructed the judge to not “play that Bail game with me.”  The judge was taken aback and asked what I meant.  I said “you know what I mean.”  I sternly pointed out that bail can only constitutionally be imposed on one who is a proven flight risk, I was there in court and hence not a flight risk, and I said that it was “clear to me what is going on here.”  The judge told me to sit down until the end of the calendar, because, I guess he thought,  I obviously was poisoning his trial court scam well.

I cooled my heels while “bails” were demanded and guilty pleas were thus coerced for another hour or so, until I was called up again for an explanation.

I said that I had come there to complain of the local police not knowing anything about citing one into the county seat, and then it became clear to me whey no one wanted anything from that area to go to the county seat!  The judge said “Well, you’re here now, why don’t we just take care of the matter now.”  I said I had a statutory right to go to the county seat in the first instance, but now that I see what is going on with these “bails,” I want a dismissal!  The judge looked me in the eyes, and then blinked, and then growled that my case was…. Dismissed.

People were ripped off right and left by that court, in service to that traffic infraction scam on the small town street.  That judge was James Cox, my opponent in this election.

I will never forget that horrid incident and the wholesale violations of citizens’ rights represented by it.  I hereby challenge you to a debate to discuss what you think is meant by reasonable bail under the 8th Amendment, and whether you think local standards and practices in such matters trump the United States Constitution.  In that debate, I want to discuss whether you are authorizing certain judges [plus a local attorney] to run around the county trying to convince people that the state Constitution’s decree that trial court judges “shall” run for election every 6 years really means that judges should only be voted against if they have committed misconduct, and otherwise the electorate should re-install them, as if the standard were a retention election instead of a contested one.  I want to discuss whether you authorized those judges to put pressure on a local group of citizens and voters that had specifically invited me to speak about the election to uninvited me just before my presentation, a patent invasion of my First Amendment rights.  I want to discuss whether you have put those judges up to presenting the notion, or whether you agree with the notion, that the canons of judicial ethics prevent judges from speaking out on issues of law in general terms so voters know how the judges/judicial candidates think about their service to the Republic; the canons, of course, only prevent one from making commitments, not from making informative, educational statements.  I want to discuss what your understanding is of popular sovereignty and whether you think judges in this Republic are public servants or public masters.  [And we can discuss any other topic pertaining to the Republic, the Constitution, and the duties of judges in this Republic that you desire.]

I do not make big deals out of people’s small, personal peccadilloes, nor would I even mention them, but I am utterly intolerant of people in government abusing people whom they are supposed to be serving.

Please feel free to have your people contact my campaign manager Bob Richmond at the number above.

Sincerely,


MICHAEL J. KENNEDY

cc:     Bob Richmond
         file

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is it Really Inappropriate for Judicial Candidates to Discuss Issues?

While on the campaign trail for my candidacy against Judge James Cox, I keep hearing judges claim to inquiring audiences that they cannot discuss any legal issues. Garbage! I don't know if they are saying that because they do not want to reveal to the voters how they feel about their service, or intended service, to the Republic, where the people are sovereign, or if they do not have the facility to comprehend their role and to coherently express it. Let's discuss the law of the matter, since that is what one would hope judges deal with!

First off, you all will recall the noisy, opinion and facts driven discussions in the senatorial grillings of U.S. Supreme Court nominees, which are televised, and written about, and reported widely. Those nominees discuss everything about their views of the Republic and of the law; they just do not discuss things currently or likely to come before the High Court. But you have little question about their views of the system and of legal issues when it is all over. And that applies to candidates for judicial election in this state: the same canons apply.

Everyone running for election for a judgeship are governed by the same canons, whether they be sitting judges or attorneys seeking the public's support to become a sitting judge.
So, the rules: "A candidate...shall not (1) make statements...that commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that could come before the courts, or (2) knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or any other fact concerning the candidate or his or her opponent."

"Commitments" cannot be made; that is a far cry from the frequent claim that one cannot discuss, generally, legal or constitutional issues.

The problem with all of this is that there is a growing elitism among those on the bench and among some of those seeking positions on the bench, in a Republic from which governmental elitism was evicted in 1776. Those in government [and the judiciary is government!], while mouthing constitutional and founding pieties, sometimes with misty eyes, really have no interest in truly embracing popular sovereignty nor in recognizing the founding proposition that power resides in the people, and they despise the truism that those chosen to exercise the public's power are servants, not masters. That being the case, too many of them, especially judicial candidates, do not want to reveal to the voters the extent to which they are [or are NOT!] committed to the notion of popular sovereignty.

So, when an inquiring voter asks what a judge or candidate thinks, philosophically, about, say, jury nullification, or reasonable bail, or gun rights, etc., the candidate is fully entitled to answer in generalities that reveal how he or she view the Constitution; "commitments" cannot be made, but wide-ranging comments are proper and should be demanded by the voters. That is because another portion of the rules provides that "Judges are entitled to entertain their personal views on political questions. They are not required to surrender their rights or opinions as citizens."

Commitments, and association with obviously inappropriate political-viewpoint organizations [don't attend a KKK, or communist "overthrow the government," rally, for instance, even if not speaking!], are what is prohibited; temperately informing those whom you are asking to give you their power is not!

So, if you are faced with statements by one of the groups of judges running around the county to protect their chums from being voted out of office [and implicitly to protect themselves from future electoral attacks], or by a candidate or sitting judge, that they are prohibited from commenting on constitutional issues in general terms, you should recoil from their elitist claims and you should use that "I can't tell you what I think" as a confession that they do not deserve your support and vote.

Because of that contra-constitutional judicial elitism, among so many other things, I am runningfor Seat Number 2, against Judge James Cox, and I need your support. And I am neither too cowardly nor too fog-brained to inform you exactly who and what I am. We get the government that the voters give us, and our judiciary has fallen from being among the best in the country to becoming one of the worst due to unwise electoral and gubernatorial choices over the past 30 years. Let us reverse that degenerating trend; support me and you will see the difference. www.kennedyforjudge.com

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Police Should Support Me Too

Although it is generally understood that anyone who thinks about the matter with any depth at all would support me in my election against Judge James Cox [especially given that Cox's confederates are trying to con the electorate into forfeiting their vital franchise by suggesting, in an exercise of arrogant elitism, that voters should not vote against incumbents!], a question occasionally arises why, even though lovers of the Constitution obviously support me, would police support me?  Oh, that is clear.

Most police officers are lovers of the Constitution too.  They are sworn to uphold it as aggressively and sincerely as I am, and their friends and families have the same interest as anyone else in a neutral, unbiased, competent, courageous judiciary. To be sure, part of my professional function in the courts has been to counter the efforts of police when their conduct violates people's liberties. That was also part of the professional function of fellow constitutional defense attorney John Adams, the founder of the American conservative movement. That does not translate to a hostility between the properly functioning constitutional defense attorney and the police. Their job is to move fast and apprehend wrongdoers and to interdict wrongdoing; the role of the defense attorney is to make certain the fast movement comports with constitutional norms and is supported by sufficient proofs properly collected; and the role of the judge is to listen to the defense attorney's presentation about the lawfulness and sufficiency of that fast movement and to apply the law with neutrality, propriety, insight, scholarship, and courage.

That is, in a simplistic model for discussion purposes, the police enforces the statutory law; the defense attorney invokes constitutional law; the judge applies it all to serve the overarching meaning and substance of a rule of law.  Police know that without being slowed by the counterpoise of the defense attorney, we would have tyranny; the defense attorney knows that without the appropriate movement of the police in the community, we would have anarchy; and the judge knows that without properly regulating both ends of that dynamic, we would not have a rule of law but would instead have governmental lawlessness.  And no one is to be benefited by the latter, because the marvelous experiment in Philadelphia in 1787 could come loose at the seams if there were not the proper accommodation between power and license decreed by the Framers.

Police in many areas of my career have come to me for quiet, and sometimes less than quiet, assistance, because they know the risks to themselves and to their loved ones when the law that is intended to be enforced in their favor is not.  And they know that I will courageously and knowledgeably and discretely do so, and I have.

In one community, where I had developed certain, and unsurpassed, notoriety for my ability to enlist the assistance of the Constitution to benefit clients against overweening government, the issues of what we are all about came into stark relief.  Two police agencies were having spoiled brat feuds against each other.

The police of one arrested a member of the other for DUI.  Then the police of the other arrested a member of the first for DUI.  The officers victimized in both agencies by both agencies hired me.  I did my magic for both, employing my constitutional gifts to assist both, and I got both cases dismissed, and then I sat them both down and inquired if they now understood why I do what I do and what it is all about.

They did.

Until people get victimized by overbearing government, they cannot understand that (a) government can be childishly overbearing with non-Justice agendas, and (b) we need people with the guts and knowledge to right such wrongs.

That is what I am about as a constitutional defense attorney, and that is what I would be about as a judge.

So, the community can fall for the constitutionally obscene position taken by Judge Cox's self-serving confederates that whoever exercises the community's judicial power [and the power does belong to the community, not to elitist judges!] is none of the electorate's business.  Or the community can realize and embrace the notion of popular sovereignty, and its periodic direct exercise called "election," and take the measure of the man or woman asking for the opportunity to serve the public's interests, and then choose to award that service, temporarily, to the person they desire. We fought a Revolution partly to make sure we could select our leaders at the ballot box, rather than being stuck with leaders who occupy their positions merely because..., well, they, and their families always have.

Properly functioning police would support me just as surely as would anyone else who believes in a rule of law and in the Constitution.

Don't forget to vote on June 5, and vote for Kennedy for Riverside County Superior Court Judge, Seat No. 2.  And I need your help, so please get involved.  www.kennedyforjudge.com

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ask the Chief Justice.... [The Desert Sun would not publish; will they ask?]]

[The following is a blog entry that I have tried to post 6 times over several days in the Desert Sun.  Curiously, it will not post.  I know the Sun has allowed itself to be used by certain judges to suggest to unknowing audiences that there is something "different" about judicial elections from other political positions and it has allowed those judges to advance the political heresy that sitting judges should not be ousted by the electorate absent overwhelming misconduct being demonstrated. Of course, the state Constitution makes trial judge positions subject to contested elections every 6 years, so any suggestion otherwise is constitutional misconduct, if uttered by sitting judges. I regret that the Sun is allowing itself to be misused for others' political agenda.  However, if the Sun is truly interested in understanding the Constitution and what this Republic is all about, it will consult me: none other, regardless of station, is a better or more knowledgeable authority. But they really do not care.]
The Chief Justice of California, Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye, will be in our area April 19, to address the Desert Bar Association, and it would be a great service to the community if the Desert Sun covered the significant event and posed certain questions.
The chief justice wears many hats in this state, one of which is serving as the titular head of the entire judiciary [which itself has ultimate authority over those practicing law in this state], and another one being as the chair person of the Judicial Council, which establishes rules governing judges. She also has the unlimited power to assign retired judges to any court in the state, and they are beholden only to the chief justice.
The press should pose questions to the chief justice about matters involving the judiciary, especially since she has decried the quality of judges, and has decried the low esteem in which the public holds the judiciary, and she has charged the attorneys of the state with a duty to help improve the quality of the judiciary and to educate the public about it. Of course, the public cannot be inspired to respect the judiciary until the judiciary deserves it. Commanding one to address a person as “Your Honor” does not translate to a substantive reality that he or she conducts himself/herself with honor.
So, to help inform the debate, the following are among many questions the press should pose to the chief justice, and on which they should press her for an answer. These are not theoretical matters; they have all happened, or are in the process of happening, or are current realities.
Madam Chief Justice:
1. Given that the state Constitution expressly provides for contested elections of trial court judges, do you think sitting judges should try to convince the electorate that they should not vote for other than an incumbent? That is, should judicial elections really not be contested, notwithstanding the Constitution, and should the voters automatically re-elect sitting judges unless the judge has been in trouble with the regulatory system or the appellate system?
2. Do you have a personal view about whether trial court judges should be subjected to contested elections? Do you think sitting judges should impose their personal view of that constitutional question onto voters, who really do not have an understanding of the real politics behind judicial selection and service?
3. Do you think it proper for sitting judges to ban together with a local attorney and strong arm private organizations into not letting candidates against incumbent judges speak at their events? Do you think it proper for sitting judges and a local attorney to form a political cabal to strong arm social and political groups into revoking already-issued invitations to candidates to express their otherwise free speech views, if those candidates are running against incumbent judges? [If you think that does not happen, and right around here, think again! Your faith in the judiciary exceeds its substance.]
4. Do you think it proper for traffic court judges to demand that those who plead not guilty on traffic infraction accusations pay a “bail” before the judge will give them a traffic court trial, without any finding of flight risk required by the excessive bail clause of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for setting bail? If you think it is proper, do you think the 8th Amendment does not apply to traffic infraction matters? Do you know of any authority that has said that the 8th Amendment excessive bail clause does not apply to traffic court matters? If you think it is improper for the judges to demand bail for trial, do you think it is or is not a valid electoral issue that a trial court judge routinely demanded “bail” payments before he would afford the accused persons their constitutional right to trial?
5. Do you agree with the growing use of penalty assessments and fees on traffic and criminal fines, now approaching five times the base fine? Do you agree or disagree that penalty assessments and fees on those fines are a purposeful detour around Proposition 13’s intended limitations on the power of government to increase taxes? Do you agree that those assessments and fees are really taxes with a different label? Do you think the judiciary should be a party to detouring the voting public’s power to limit the ability of government to pass taxes? Do you think that using the judiciary as a glorified but pretentious internal revenue agency is consistent with the high purpose of and for the Third Branch?
6. There seems to be a dramatically increasing use of retired/assigned judges throughout the state. Those judges cannot be removed by the voters at the ballot box, nor do they fall under the jurisdiction of the commission on judicial performance for their misconduct, nor are they required to attend continuing legal education classes. It would appear that the sole criterion for a retired judge to sit on the bench for the rest of his life is whether or not the chief justice likes him. Do you think that sort of personal judiciary, owing allegiance only to the chief justice, is healthy in a republic where there are supposed to be checks and balances on all people exercising the public’s power? Do you think the framers of the state Constitution intended the chief justice to have the power to routinely assign retired judges anywhere for any reason for an unlimited period of time, instead of in specific places for a limited time for a specific and limited emergency? Does the existence of that unlimited sort of judiciary, now around 400 judges, which is solely accountable to the chief justice, smack of judicial despotism? Do you take any steps to make sure the retired judges you assign out to distant communities like ours are up to speed regarding developments in the law? What steps?
7. Do you believe in term limits for trial court judges? Why or why not? Are the tasks for judges more worthy or complex than those of other government functionaries who are subject to term limits? How?
8. You have expressed a desire for the Bar to get involved in improving the public’s perception of the judiciary of this state. Are you satisfied with the overall quality of the judiciary of this state? If the public is not treated with respect by the judges, is there a reason the judiciary should expect respect from the public?
9. Do you think the commission on judicial performance is doing an adequate job of policing the courts? Should it have direct authority over assigned/retired judges and commissioners, who can do as much damage to the system and to the public’s perception of it as can regular sitting judges? If not, why not?
The chief justice is a public servant, as are all judges, and the public has a right to know her thoughts about her execution of the public’s power. And the public’s power it is.
THE FOLLOWING I DID NOT TRY TO POST IN THE SUN BLOG, BECAUSE THEY WOULD HAVE USED THAT AS THE RATIONALIZATION FOR NOT PUBLISHING IT!!!!>>>>>>>>

Part of the horror stories giving rise to these questions is why
I am running for Seat number 2 of the Superior Court for Riverside County
in the June 5 primary election;
Vote for Kennedy for Superior Court Judge, Seat 2
An originalist, constitutional scholar who cannot be bought nor dissuaded.