In California state courts, New York state courts, and federal courts, judgeships are sold. A lawyer buys a judgeship.
A California lawyer pays a bribe and mails an application to become a judge. The application is a form which he fills out. The application goes to the governor's Appointments Secretary ("appointments" as in "Whom should I appoint?"). The Appointments Secretary checks to find out if the fix is in for that applicant. If the fix is in, the governor nominates that applicant to be a judge.
How much does a New York State judgeship cost? Find the annual salary, multiply by three, round down to the nearest fifty thousand dollars. An example follows. If a judgeship pays $111l,000 annually, multiply by three to get $3333,000, then round down to the nearest fifty thousand dollars to get $300,000. The lawyer will pay $300,000. Each party of the two-party cartel charges the identical price. After the lawyer pays, politicians do various things (for example, vote and sign docu,emts). Then, the chairman (of the county committee of the political party which was paid) calls the lawyer to give him the good news that he will soon become a judge.
In New York State, if a judge wants to buy a more expensive judgeship than he now holds, he may trade his current judgeship in toward the price of the new judgeship. That's because his current judgeship can be sold to someone else.
America's government is controlled by a cartel of two political parties. The cartel prevents other parties from becoming powerful.
How do the two parties decide how many judgeships each party may sell? In New York State, the governor's party sells three fourths of judgeships and the other party sells one fourth. If a party which does not hold the governorship gets the governorship, that party's income from the sale of judgeships triples (from selling one fourth of judgeships to selling three fourths).
Almost all judgeships are sold to lawyers in exchange for a bribe. How does a lawyer become a judge without paying a bribe? Occasionally, a judgeship is a bribe paid to a lawyer to get him to do something a powerful politician wants. For example, a lawyer who is a political candidate might be made a judge in exchange for the lawyer abandoning his campaign. In America, it usually is a crime to pay someone not to run for office, or to accept payment in exchange for not running for office.
Not every judge became a judge as the result of crime.
In California state courts, work is assigned to trial court judges based on each judge's seniority. The high-seniority judges get the kind of work they want. The least senior judges (in other words, the newest judges) get the work that the other judges don't wamt. The newest judges do divorce cases because that kind of work is least wanted by the other judges. The second-newest judges do criminal cases.
The two-party cartel does not say, for example, "We need a judge for divorce court because soon there will be a vacancy on that court. Find an outstanding divorce lawyer, then officer him a divorce court judgeship." The cartel says, "We soon will need an additional judge. Sell a judgeship." This is one reason why many cases, especially divorce and criminal cases, are ineptly judged.
Exactly how are the bribe-payers made into judges? If a bribe is paid to become a federal judge, the president nominates the bribe-payor and then the senate consents.
In New York State courts, most trial court judges are elected by the voters. In exchange for a bribe paid to the Democratic or Republican party, both parties endorse the bribe-payor. He is both the Democratic and Republican candidate for a judgeship. This bipartisan system is called "cross-endorsement." Cross-endorsement is used when the voters elect the judges.
In New York State, newspapers often endorse candidates. We are unaware of newspapers endorsing a candidate running against a cartel candidate.
New York State has a CoC (Court of Claims). As far as we know, CoC decides contract disputes in which a plaintiff sues the state government. As far as we know, there is never a jury in CoC. Juries are common in criminal cases but forbidden in CoC.
As far as we know, a typical CoC case might involve a seller delivering merchandise to the state government, the state government saying that the merchandise is less that what should have been delivered, the government paying less than the contract price, and the seller suing for the difference between the amount paid and the contract price. A judge appointed to this court should be expert in contract disputes involving the state government. CoC does not handle other kinds of case, as far as we know. For example, CoC does not handle divorce, criminal, or immigration cases.
The two-party cartel sells a huge number of CoC judgeships, far more than the CoC needs. CoC does not have enough work for ifs judges. As far as we know, most CoC judges work in other courts, courts that the CoC judges are lent to. For example, the lent CoC judges handle criminal cases. Few of the CoC judges doing criminal work were criminal specialists before they became judges. The result is mich, judicial incompetence.
Recall the Al Queda attack on the WTC (World Trade Center) on 11 September 2001. That attack began with a jet hitting a WTC building after 9:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. In Manhattan, CoC did not have its own courthouse. In Manhattan, CoC was a tenant in the WTC. CoC had a suite in a WTB office building. A CoC employee was killed that day because he was on the job in an attacked building. None of the CoC judges were killed or injured. Recall that the attack was after nine o'clock on a Tuesday morning. We think that this was because very few of the CoC judges were in the attacked building. Most of them were in non-CoC courthouses ineptly doing non-CoC work (for example, criminal cases).
Judges do not like being sneered at for their inept handling of jury trials in criminal cases. Also, judges are ashamed when a criminal defendant, after losing a trial, wins an appeal because the judge did something wrong that a competent judge probably wouldn't have done. Therefore, American judges feloniously coerce prosecutors to offer plea bargains to criminal defendants (people who are being prosecuted because they are accused of having done crimes). In a plea bargain, the defendant is paid to say that he is guilty. The payment to him is a bargain punishment, a much lighter punishment than he would get if he lost a trial. The prosecutor offers a mild punishment, a bargain punishment, to the defendant to induce him to say that he is guilty. If the defendant says he is guilty (in other words, pleads guilty), the judge evades presiding over a jury trial in that case.
Judges want a light punishment offered to the defendant to induce the defendant to say that he is guilty. The judge wants to evade a jury trial in a criminal case. Almost every plea bargain is the fruit of a felony by a judge. As far as we know, judges are never punished for feloniously coercing prosecutors to offer plea bargains. It is rare that a prosecutor voluntarily offers a plea bargain.
It is common to hear Americans say that criminals should not be coddled. The chief coddlers are inept judges trying to evade jury trials in criminal cases.
Consider defendant Aaron, who is prosecuted for stealing something. If there were a jury trial, he would lose, then go to jail. He is offered a plea bargain which he accepts. He pleads guilty (in other words, he says in court to a judge that he is guilty). In exchange, he gets out of jail much earlier than he otherwise would have. Let's assume that he gets out of jail six months earlier than he would have, had there been no plea bargain. Early in that six-month period, he steals a car. If he were still in jail, he woud not have stolen that car. That theft is the result of the judge's felony of coercing a plea bargain. The judge, out of his own pocket, should compensate the victim for the car theft because the car theft resulted from the judge's felony of coercing a plea bargain.
In America, there is a felony murder rule. If a felony causes a death, the felon is guilty of murder. Let us imagine that Brad gets out of jail two months early because of a plea bargain. While Brad drives a car during that two-month period, he hits a pedestrian, causing the pedestrian's death. If Brad were still in jail, he would not have killed that pedestrian. The judge feloniously caused a plea bargain which resulted in the pedestrian's death. Because of the felony murder rule, the judge is guilty of murder. His felonious coercion caused a pedestrian's death.
In the above examples of results of plea bargains, the punishments were reduced by months. Plea bargains often result in big reductions in punishment.
Carrot and stick means reward and punishment. Above on this page, we explain how criminal defendants are rewarded for saying that they are guilty.
Occasionally, a defendant is punished for not accepting a plea bargain which was offered to him. Judges do this to punish a defendant who loses a trial after having refused a plea bargain offer. The judge punishes the defendant chiefly for having refused the plea bargain offer, not for the crime. This punishment is for defendants who knew that the plea bargain had been offered at the judge's instigation, to help the judge evade handling a criminal, jury trial.
Courts vary much in how blatantly they encourage plea bargaining. In some California trial courts, there are plea bargain conferences in the courthouse. The court schedules the conference and notifies the lawyers in advance of the conference. Notice is in writing, sent by mail by the court.
The prosecutor is there. . Public defenders are there. Private defenders are there if they want to be there. A special, plea bargain judge is there (not the judge who will preside over the trial and sentence the defendant if he loses).
The plea bargain judge tells the lawyers his prediction of the sentence if the defendant loses the trial. The judge wants the prosecutor to offer a punishment which is milder than the prediction. If the defender thinks that he knows better than the judge what the likely sentence will be, he may not care what the judge predicts. Many defenders appreciate the judge's prediction.
The prosecutor makes an offer to the defender if the defender is there. The defendant is not at this conference as far as we know. Lawyers in other cases are at the conference. No court reporter is present. Members of the public, if they dress like lawyers and are silent, may watch.
The predictions don't seem to be competent. They don't seem to result from mathematical studies of sentences in that courthouse or anywhere else. They seem to be guesses. The predictions seem to be reckless, not merely negligent. Judicial immunity does not protect a judge from liability for his reckless conduct.
In light of the purpose of the conferences (namely, to help inept judges avoid having to preside over jury, criminal trials), we don't know if the conferences are legal. We don't know if judicial immunity attaches to the judge's participation in the conferences. Is this prediction criminal (in other words, Is it a crome to makr the prediction?), intentionally tortious, or reckless? What if the judge negligently predicts, with the result that a defendant accepts an offer he shouldn't have accepted? May the victim-defendant sue the judge? What if a member of the public is harmed by the plea bargain, as described elsewhere on this page? If the victim may sue the sentencing judge, may he also sue the plea bargain judge?
In any event, the defender tells the defendant what the offer is and the defender's opinion of whether the defendant should accept the offer. Some defenders always recommend accepting the plea bargain offer. Most of those defenders think of themselves as incompetent to defend and therefore zealously avoid trials regardless of the facts of the case.
The defendant decides whether to accept the plea bargain offer. Defendants sometimes refuse to accept the offer.
If the offer is accepted, the reason for the plea bargain must be stated on the record during a court hearing. A prosecutor makes the statement. With extremely few exceptions, the statement is a lie. The true reason is that the judges coerce the district attorney to offer plea bargains, and therefore the district attorney orders his prosecutors to offer plea bargains. The prosecutor stands in court and makes a false, boilerplate statement which conceals the true reason for the plea bargain: judicial coercion.
There are a huge number of kinds of crime. There are subtle distinctions among the kinds of crime, distinctions known by few people except criminal lawyers and some other people in crime-related occupations. When a defendant is asked by a judge how the defendant pleads, the question is highly precise. The question is not whether the defendant did a crime or whether he stole a car, for example. The question might be whether the defendant, at a specified time and place, violated Penal Code section 1234(b)iii (to use a hypothetical example). If the section is read aloud to the defendant, the section usually has legal jargon which the defendant probably does not understand. If a description of the supposed crime is read aloud to the defendant, the description usually has legal jargon which he probably does not understand. Lawyers, if they don't specialize in criminal work, may not know if the defendant violated Penal Code section 1234(b)iii. Sometimes, criminal lawyers don't know. Sometimes, one criminal lawyer talks with another about whether the facts that occurred are a violation of Penal Code section 1234(b)iii. Usually, the defendant is much too ignorant of law to know if he did the crime he is accused of having done. He may know that he stole a car or severely beat someone, for example, but he rarely knows if he did the specific crime of which he is accused. Incompetent judges benefit from pleading because, if the defendant says that he is guilty, there is no need for a jury trial.
There should not be pleading. The defendant should not be asked how he pleads.
Many, powerful judges (for example: many, appeal judges) are provided with a law school graduate called "clerk" although the clerks do much, non-clerical work. The clerk usually got out of law school recently. Some of them are not yet allowed to be lawyers. They have little or no practical experience representing clients in courtrooms. Most have never won a trial or even lost one.
The clerks write summaries of legal documents (for example, appellate briefs) mailed to the court. Each summary is typed. Most appellate judges, and many other judges, make decisions based solely on the summaries. What's important goes into the summary. What's unimportant doesn't. The clerk decides what's important based on what he learned in school. Many clerks do not read all of the documents that they summarize. They sometimes write summaries based on merely skimming, not reading.
Writing the summaries requires legal expertise, which is why the clerks are at least law school graduates and sometimes new lawyers. We have not read the definition of "practicing law." Perhaps writing the summaries is practicing law. If the clerk is not yet a lawyer, he is practicing law without a license, perhaps. Practicing law without a license may be a misdemeanor (a small crime).
Some judges occasionally read everything mailed in, in a case or two, to evaluate the quality of summaries written by a clerk. Some judge merely skims the summaries. Almost all judges conceal from lawyers that judges do not read what the lawyers mail to the court.
Some summaries have errors. Because summaries are concealed from lawyers, lawyers do not learn the errors and therefore cannot point them out to the judge.
The more complicated a legal document that is mailed to a court, the more likely that the summary will fatally distort the document.
The purpose of summaries is to reduce the amount of reading done by judges.
In this paragraph, we describe a common kind of court hearing in America. Before the hearing, both lawyers mail documents to the court. A clerk summarizes. The judge reads or skims the summaroes. At the hearing, the judge asks a lawyer if he wants to say anything. The lawyer says that he has nothing to add to what he mailed. The judge asks the same question to the second lawyer and gets the same answer. The judge decides. At least one of the lawyer doesn't know that the judge did not read what the lawyers mailed.
We have not read law review articles or appellate court opinions about whether the summaries are legal. We think that the summaries are hearsay not within an exception; are illegal, ex parte communications to the judge; and violate the litigants' right to be represented by counsel. Many cases, especially appeals, are decided solely by documents mailed to the court, not by anything said in a courthouse. Even when there is a hearing, the hearing often is a formality in which the judge decides based on what he read before the hearing. The right to be represented by counsel is a hollow, meaningless right if the judge decides without listening to a lawyer and withut reading what the lawyer mailed to the court.
Litigants are denied due process when a judge decides a case based on summaries which are concealed from the litigants' lawyers.
Sometimes a lawyer cannot find out which clerk writes the summaries in a case that the lawyer has. This prevents conflict-of-interent research related to the clerk.
A summary-writing clerk is liable for intentional, reckless, and negligent torts. A judge is liable for intentional and reckless torts.
Is the judges' use of summaries, or the judges' concealment of summaries from litigants, criminal?
What if there were a business which wrote summaries? A court could fax to that business copies of everything a clerk uses to write a summary. The business's employees could write summaries, then fax the summaries to the court. For some courts, the summaries might be better, and arrive sooner, than clerks' summaries. Because of judges' desire to conceal summaries, we think that such a business would fail.
In New York City's probate court, judges do not assign work to lawyers who have not made political payments. The Democratic and Republican parties often do serious crimes; for example, selling judgeships and ambassadorships. Assuming that political payments by a lawyer should be considered when deciding whether to assign mim legal work, payments to those parties should disqualify a lawyer because lawyers should not help organizations (such as political parties) which frequently do felonies (for example, sell judgeships and ambassadorships). It is evil to assign work only to lawyers who pay frequently felonious parties.
This lesson concerns appeals from a California trial court, Superior Court, to a California state government appeal court. One type of appeal is what we call a TTA (type two appeal). It is sometimes called petitioning for a writ.
Often, an appellant appeals after a trial court case ends. A TTA is used to appeal an order before the end of the case. Often, an appellant appeals based solely on the trial court's records. A TTA is used to appeal if the appeal is based on evidence other than the trial court's records. These are the chief, not the only, reasons for TTAs.
In California state courts, TTAs are decided by an employee who is a lawyer. He does everything important. He reads the papers and then decides the outcome of the appeal. Often, there is no explanation of the decision in a TTA. He explains his decision when he considers it appropriate to do so. He is the de facto judge of TTAs. The nominal judges sign where they are supposed to.
Both the appellant and the respondent have a right to have the TTA decided by real judges, not by a mere employee of an appellate court.
The definition of "judicial immunity" varies. For example, different jurisdictions may define it differently. Often, a judge is immune from negligence liability only. He is liable for his intentional torts and for his reckless torts, as far as we know. Many judges act with blatant contempt for law, truth, and evidence. Often, it is not difficult to show that a judge intentionally, or at least recklessly, broke the law with a result that harmed someone. There may be a question of fact about whether that happened, and a jury can decide that fact.
It is an intentional tort for a non-judge to decide an appeal, as is done with California's TTAs, as described above. It is an intentional tort, or at least a reckless tort, for a judge to decide an issue or an entire case based solely on the papers mailed to the court, when he does not read those papers, as described above.
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