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Date: Monday, 16-Jul-2012 02:28:34
Judging the Judges
by Victoria Schlesinger | July 2012
This year as in past years, the state's Commission on Judicial Performance published a report chronicling the bad behavior of California's judges. And like previous surveys, what this year's report shows most dramatically is how rarely judges are disciplined.
As of 2011, there were 1,786 judges on the bench. But over the past half century, only 25 judges have been removed from office and just 48 were publicly censured. Some of those punished had accumulated a long laundry list of commission admonishments.
Others were caught in egregious behavior, like Judge Patrick Couwenberg of Los Angeles County Superior Court, who in 2002 was found to have lied about his judicial credentials and service in combat. And impairment sometimes contributes, as in 1977 when Supreme Court Justice Marshall F. McComb was found to be suffering from senile dementia.
Comments by Ron Branson
The above article of the California Lawyer Publication was brought to my attention by Attorney Gary Zerman. Here are some facts which I would like to emphasis from this article. It draws to our attention a reports on the California Commission on Judicial Performance over the last fifty years.
This report tells us that over the last fifty years only 25 judges have been removed from the bench. That is only one judge per every two years. What is interesting to note is that there are approximately one thousand complaints per year filed against California judges with the Commission on Judicial Performance. So to place this in perspective, there is only one judge removed from the bench on the average for every two thousand complaints that are filed against judges.
I have in the past stated that this is a very heavy financial burden upon the California taxpayers in that several million dollars budgeted annually to run the CJP. I have proposed, tongue in cheek, that the CJP be abolished, and allow death to take it natural course as the means of cleaning up the bench. When a judge falls off the bench dead, we just pick up the corpse and haul it off. In this manner, we reap a 100% effective measure of discipline for judges with no cost beyond hauling off the corpse.
As to censorship (chewing out disobedient judges), there is publically censored by the commission approximately one judge per year out of every thousand judges complained about to the CJP. That equals one tenth of one percent.
It is stated that judges are to be held to a higher standard of ethics than the average person, and that "no man is above the law." At this same ratio applied to us, our jails and prisons would be practically empty with only one person per thousand being incarcerated.
But with judges, we are not talking about jail time, but merely losing a judicial post. Nor are we considering the retirement benefits for rest of their lives for these judges after being removed from the bench. Imagine if we got paid for the rest of our lives after being fired from our jobs. Our Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that we all will receive "equal protection of the laws," but it is clear that there is a completely different standard for judges who are supposed to be held to a higher standard.
Throughout the largest court building in the United States, the Los Angeles Superior Court Building, there was posted on every floor of it nine-stories, a notice of free help for judges overtaken with drug and alcohol addiction. Remember, it is these very same judges who are sending away non-judge violators to their prison and jail cells for partaking in these same evil vices.