Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Justice in LA: Today: The Court joined Defendant as Intervenor, and litigation records are concealed

Act I.
State of California judges' wages and benefits are paid by the State of California in Sacramento, pursuant to the California Constitution, In Sturgeon v LA County (BC351286), Sturgeon and Judicial Watch, Inc, attempted to stop additional payments by LA County to LA judges, over $45,000 per judge per year, which were prohibited by law, but have been going on for over a decade. The LA judges also failed to disclose such payments to parties in litigations before them, where LA County was party to the litigation, out of compliance with the California Code of Judicial Ethics. In October 2008, the California Court of Appeals,4th District, finally ruled that such payments were "not permitted" on California Constitutional grounds. Media called such payments "bribes", since the judges never adjudged against LA County during some of the years when such payments were made.

Act II.
In response to the Court of Appeals ruling, the LA County judges hired a lobbyist who affected, within a few days, the passage of a law to allow such payments, to pardon any criminality related to the past taking of "not permitted" payments, and to immunize the judges for the future taking of "not permitted" payments. Such law was and is unconstitutional on its face, since the California Court of Appeal already ruled on the matter. On February 20, 2009 the Governor of California signed it into a law nevertheless.

Act III.
In response to the renewed payments, in Sturgeon v LA County (BC351286), Sturgeon and Judicial Watch, Inc, again attempted to stop the additional payments to LA judges, by requesting an injunction. The litigation is heard these days at the LA Superior Court, although LA Superior Court joined LA County in this case, as an Intervenor. The case was assigned to a judge who is a justice from Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Yesterday, request was made in writing to the Clerk of the Court - to access the litigation records in Sturgeon v LA County "to inspect and to copy", a Common Law and First Amendment right per the U.S. Supreme Court in Nixon v Warner Communications (1978). The response came within hours, as a lengthy letter from the Counsel for the Court, and access was denied. A second request was made, response still pending.

Original Records:

1) California Court of Appeals, 4th District, ruling that payments by LA County to LA judge were "not permitted".

2) Bill SBX2-11 enacted without reference to committee or debate - allowing payments, which had been ruled by court unconstitutional by LA County to LA judges.

3) Request No 1 to access court records in Sturgeon v LA County BC351286 pursuant to Nixon v Warner Communications (1978):

4) The LA Superior Court's response:

5) Request No 2 to access court records in Sturgeon v LA County BC351286 pursuant to Nixon v Warner Communications (1978):