Critiques of the Judiciary
Dr. Les Sachs sought asylum in Holland after a vindictive American court banned him from writing about Patricia Cornwell, a political ally and major contributor to the Bush Administration, whom he accused of plagiarism and other misdeeds. Sach's complaint over the abuse of judicial power for political purposes is based on his personal experience as a targeted victim.* His essay is a call to action for the defense of traditional constitutional principles of American justice from those who would usurp them for their own narrow purposes. Americans Murdering Their Judges, and the American Crisis of Judicial Corruption
LES SACHS, JCDAmsterdam, The Netherlands, March 17, 2005
In the headlines are the appalling news stories of Americans carrying out murderous attacks on judges and their families. In a matter of days, one judge was shot and killed in his own courtroom, while another judge had family members brutally murdered in their home. These news stories are, however, related to another news story, which is the most taboo subject of the American media the expanding crisis of corruption among American judges and lawyers. At question is whether the deepening despair of Americans about their own legal system, is fueling some of these violent attacks on judges. Much is written now about how America's economy is resembling that of a banana republic, given how America is sunk in preposterous debt, and how the U.S. dollar currency is sinking toward a possible collapse down the road. But there is another way that America is also like a banana republic, in that its legal system contrary to its Hollywood image has become a sinkwell of secret proceedings, the jailing of the innocent, and political misconduct; it has been sullied by documented corruption, fake trials and court fraud. These facts are not generally understood because judicial corruption is the most unreported news story in the American landscape. It is the category of news story which America's newspapers and media are most afraid to report, even when clear proof is in their hands. In America right now, judges and lawyers who are protected by judges can commit felony crimes in broad daylight, leave the proof lying around, and yet avoid being prosecuted or even having their crimes reported by the media. The people who work in the media see a lot of material on court misconduct, and yet they know this is the story of which they dare not speak. The lack of media coverage, in turn, encourages more judicial corruption, leaving millions of Americans in anger and despair. Confronting America's secrets of judicial corruption, is a key to understanding America's whole social crisis and its role in the world right now. Here are some elements of this situation that you won't see in run-of-the-mill news reports: The innocent in USA courts: imprisoned, sentenced to death, losing all they have The key statistic to understanding America is that it has over 2 million prisoners (!) out of 300 million people. This is 25 percent of all the prisoners, anywhere, in the entire world. By comparison, the most populous nation, China, with about 1.3 billion people, only has about 300,000 prisoners, despite being denounced by the USA as a "repressive" country. If China had prisoners like the USA, it would have 25 times as many. With 1 out of every 150 Americans in jail right now, and many more having been to jail or on the way, the USA is now the world's big gulag. It is a giant machine for jailing people and making them afraid. With 2 million prisoners, America can be very casual about whom it throws into prison. Estimates are that at least 5 percent, or 100,000 of these prisoners, are completely innocent. This is well shown by the fact that over 100 of the smaller group of prisoners who have recently been on death row in America actually sentenced to be executed have recently been freed, innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. As it is so easy to railroad innocent people in America on capital murder charges, which have mandatory appeals, it is even easier to railroad people on lesser criminal charges, or in malicious lawsuits where victims lose all their money and property. With judges and lawyers making so many mistakes, sending so many innocent people to prison and wrecking so many lives with lawsuits, the drive to cover-up for judicial mistakes becomes obsessive. The system cannot function without a cover-up. But the cover-up of judicial misconduct becomes an invitation for corruption and bribery and more misconduct, and this vicious cycle keeps escalating. In America's unique political landscape, the lawyers and judges have supreme power, both over themselves and over the political process. With the American theory of the "supreme" judiciary that is supposedly "independent" of politics, the recipe is there for a kind of "Praetorian Guard" mentality like in ancient Rome. In imperial Rome, the small army of the Praetorian Guard theoretically protected the emperor. But as the Praetorian Guard realized its power, they were able to become a law unto themselves, controlling the empire, even dictating to the emperor, and covering up for any of their own misdeeds. This is the role of the judges in America right now. America needs its judges to keep order over its own far-flung empire. America fears to expose the misconduct of judges lest the empire start unraveling. America needs the myth of the "rule of law," the power of the judges, to keep control of the political situation. But the trade-off is that the judges have become a law unto themselves, and the judges and lawyers in America have built a machine that cannot be reversed by any power on the horizon. The one power that the judges in America do worry about is that of news media and publicity. Recently, the American Supreme Court judges decided in a close vote to stop putting children to death, admitting they were influenced by world public opinion and international condemnation of this practice. The news media in America mostly owned by large corporations has a guilty conscience about all the evidence of judicial misconduct that flows regularly through their offices. They do not report or investigate most of these stories, even when conclusive proof is plopped in their lap. This is partly out of fear of revenge by the government and the judges, and partly out of a sense of patriotic duty, thinking that it is better to hide the dirty linen of the judges and courts. Most big corporations find themselves using American courts extensively. If such a corporation were to "go after" some corrupt judges, the fear is that it might well find itself being destroyed by the judges, as billions of dollars-worth of lawsuits suddenly went against that corporation. Such terrors also lurk in back of the minds of independent and progressive journalists. In America, you never know whether you might find yourself arrested or sued on some trumped-up charge or accusation. Exposing a dishonest judge in America can put you on a "black list" where no lawyer will protect you, even if you have lots of money to spend. The people who try to fight judicial corruption simply cannot find lawyers, even if they have money, and even though many lawyers are desperately unemployed and eager for money. It is accepted in the USA that journalists will criticize the President and the administrative branches of government, or complain about legislators. In American culture, however, it has become extremely taboo to say much about dishonest judges, even in the face of ice-cold proof that judges are committing crimes. That is the reality of American life. Even though the news media in the USA are not owned by the government, the power of the judges extends to both direct and indirect control of media criticism. Beyond the fear, there is also the feeling among USA media and lawyers and the government, that drastic and terrible calamities would occur if judicial corruption were really investigated and exposed. As one U.S. lawyer told me, "If the American people found out how crooked the judges really are, the whole house of cards will start to crumble." Some people feel that faith in the courts is what is holding the USA together. The fear is that, if the American people start thinking that the courts are rigged and that huge numbers of people in jail are innocent, then social chaos will be on the horizon and America will unravel. So the media feels it is doing a kind of civic duty to limit coverage of judicial corruption to those few cases where the government itself has already decided to prosecute some wayward judge or lawyer. America's FBI and Department of Justice collect files on judicial corruption like they collect files on everything else but hold back from acting, even in cases where they clearly have enough evidence to bring an indictment before lunchtime. The law enforcement agencies in America blow with the political winds, and in the absence of media attention they will tend to cover up for judges whose help they require when they need to win convictions on flimsy evidence. The mutual back-scratching of cops and judges is routine. In the meantime, the anguish of millions of Americans is increasing: The 2 million prisoners and their families and loved ones; all those whose rights have been diminished, or their fortunes ruined; the increasing number of people forced to flee the USA to live in freedom and peace; all those living in fear in America, worried that they might be the next victim of the unfair American legal system. The frustration of many people with American courts is building a huge but hidden story in American life. Secrecy, gag orders, and the court files you will never see America is increasingly a closed society, with much of its legal activity carried on in secret. And I'm not only talking about the secret detention of so many hundreds of detainees at overseas locations. Even in America's domestic legal system, much of the important legal activity is secret and hidden. The illusion is that America is an "open" society because there are 24-hour-a-day"news" channels on television and because there are dozens of reporters and cameras outside the courthouses that are holding public-circus trials of a Martha Stewart or Michael Jackson. But the gritty day-to-day reality of life in American courts is that much of what goes on is secret, hidden, un-published, under gag order or a judge's ban on freedom of speech, or simply un-reported by the news media, even though the media knows it has something important that the American people would love to hear. Much more than people realize, news of American court proceedings is blocked by gag orders, embargoed documents, and outright blatant and illegal bans on freedom of speech. Though there are always some supposed higher purposes in these gag orders, a basic function of such gag orders is to hide the whole dirty process of how judges and lawyers do their work. As judges and lawyers run the show, they are eager to use their powers to make sure that a lot of what they do is known only to themselves. The biggest category of judicial secrecy is the nationwide American curtain that hides complaints of misconduct about judges and lawyers. Across America, tens of thousands of complaints have been filed about misconduct by lawyers and judges. While some of these complaints are frivolous, and many of them are certainly emotional, a lot of these complaints are well-documented or have conclusive proof attached. But nearly all of these tens of thousands of complaints are non-published and secret, and almost nothing is done to act on these complaints, regardless of how valid or how well proven. America's secret files of judicial and lawyer misconduct, are a gold mine of information on the real dirty workings of the American legal system. But alas, complaints about judges and lawyers are filed with you guessed it other judges and lawyers. These complaints are read and passed around very eagerly as I have found by calling up judges' secretaries. I have tracked complaints all the way up to the Supreme Court building and the judicial ethics panel that was appointed in 2004 by USA Chief Justice Rehnquist. The judges read the complaints about their fellow judges, perhaps laugh and joke with each other, perhaps quietly advise each other to behave less like lunatics in the future. But what they almost never do is respond in any way to the complaint. They don't answer, and they don't remedy the situation. They merely make some mental notes in case there is some publicity down the road. If there's no publicity, they feel they are home free. The same goes for complaints about American lawyers to the local Bar which "regulates" lawyers, and which typically just covers up for lawyer misconduct. Unless a judge is already mad at the lawyer, the local Bar will usually whitewash your complaints about a lawyer, even if you have written proof of a lawyer committing a felony crime. People are surprised to learn that American judges often don't respond to some legal filings and complaints, and sometimes even to formal appeals. If you have expensive lawyers they will indeed probably answer. But otherwise, silence is common. Poor people in America have been strapped to a table and put to death while an appeal languished, unanswered by the judges. Fearful lawyers and fake trials A few celebrity trials do indeed dominate the American news, with all sorts of tiny details gaining the headlines, like Michael Jackson said to be coming to court in his pajamas. But hidden beyond the "detailed analysis" of the celebrity circus trials are highly significant and heartbreaking stories of real trials, whose details you never learn. You don't find out how someone's human rights were taken away, or how someone was railroaded on false charges, while media focused on the latest "scoop" of some public-circus legal proceeding. Americans who have not endured a court battle have an entirely misleading sense of the legal system from two sources: (a) the celebrity-circus trials, and (b) fictional television shows and Hollywood movies. Yet the reality for most Americans in court, especially the poor and minorities, is something sadly different, far more tawdry, and awful and sinister. A key factor in life in America now is the widespread moral collapse of the American legal profession. America has nearly a million law school graduates, the most enormous gang of lawyers in the world. Though a core group of lawyers are wealthy from the fees supplied by big corporations or from some lawsuits, many other lawyers are unemployed, desperate for work. American lawyers, as a whole, are in fear of rocking the boat or challenging the political system, lest they be cast out and put among the unemployed. American lawyers who challenge the government, or try to expose corruption, face losing their jobs and may get cited on trumped-up charges that can lead to the loss of their ability to practice law or even criminal indictments like the recent case of activist lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted on politically-motivated charges of "assisting terrorism." The net result is that there is only a small handful of American lawyers who are willing to politically challenge the American government. If you ask about lawyers who are willing to challenge corruption by other lawyers and judges, that handful of lawyers dwindles to nearly zero. Even unemployed and broke lawyers are afraid to confront judicial corruption for a paying client. The lawyer will privately explain that it is "career suicide" and just plain "dangerous" to try to confront dishonest judges and other lawyers. Even USA human rights and civil liberties groups stay away from this area. The betrayal of clients by lawyers in the USA is terrifyingly common. An example is the army of "public defenders" that "represent" poor people as they get convicted and sent to prison. Some of these public defenders are brave and good people. But many of them are lazy and incompetent, like the lawyers known to fall asleep and snooze in court while their assigned clients are convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Even worse are the public defenders who actually help the government stage fake trials against their own clients. These public defenders are often paid out of government money. If they do not help the government, these lawyers can be dropped from the register, lose their income, and be replaced by other lawyers more willing to be submissive. Though they pretend to be "helping" their clients, they often take another role, terrifying and intimidating their clients into accepting unfair plea bargains and prison terms, even when the clients are innocent. Sometimes the "public defenders" really deserve to be imprisoned themselves. I am currently working to help an innocent French citizen, Leonel Cazaco, who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder, even though someone else confessed to the crime. At his trial, Mr. Cazaco's "public defenders" knew that someone else had already confessed to the murder, but they hid that fact from the court record and from Mr. Cazaco himself to help the government win the conviction. The French government has become active for Mr. Cazaco, and his release is hoped for shortly. But American lawyers are highly prone to betraying clients, even when the clients are paying them. Lawyers are known to sell out and manipulate their clients to benefit either the government or the wealthier party that is paying them bribes. This is something lawyers call "playing the game." How America conducts a fake political trial Some of America's rogue judges, intoxicated with their sense of unlimited and unrestrained power, get quite cocky about committing felony crimes in broad daylight, leaving a trail of written evidence and even posting it on the Internet. It is remarkable what offenses they can commit and still remain in office, unchallenged by either news media or law enforcement. Here is one case of a somewhat hilarious judicial fraud, documented elsewhere on the web and in a forthcoming book, and conclusively proven by a mountain of court and FBI documents. Media people acknowledge this is "front page news," but they are shy of publishing the story until the new book is out and breaks the ice on the subject. It started a few years back when I criticized a goofy rich woman, not knowing that she had been a friend of the President Bush family since the early 1980s. I had already written a popular satiric book about sales scams in the auto sales industry, and this wealthy Bush contributor was worried that I would be writing more satire about her own questionable activities. Her lawyers set up a fake legal proceeding to ban my freedom of speech with a notorious judge in Virginia, the heart of America's corrupt South. This judge had been installed in office by the first President Bush. The lawyers planted a fake "interview" with me in the local Republican Party newspaper that is also tied to Bush, and they filed a lawsuit demanding the banning of my freedom of speech and the destruction of all my notes and writings about Bush's wealthy friend. About 90 minutes after I got the legal papers, before I could even read them, the judge and the lawyers called me on the phone and banned my freedom of speech, using the fake "interview" in the Republican newspaper as the main "evidence" against me. With my freedom of speech banned, and me unable to talk to the news media, and me having no lawyer and no money for lawyers, the judge supervised a brief and fake semi-secret "legal proceeding." The judge installed a couple of his friends to pose as "my lawyers" with the claim that these lawyers were part of a "First Amendment civil rights charity foundation," which didn't actually exist. (The First Amendment is that part of America's Constitution that supposedly guarantees freedom of speech.) The judge and the lawyers, enjoying themselves greatly, put the fake "civil rights foundation" into written documents, in court transcripts and even on the Internet, not even caring that they were leaving evidence of their own felony crimes. Even as I realized that the lawyers and the fake "charity foundation" were all fraudulent, I couldn't say anything because my freedom of speech was banned. I was told I would be jailed and likely killed in jail if I didn't stay quiet. After some weeks, and with no trial, the lawyers and the judge announced a great "victory" for Bush's wealthy friend. They said I had "agreed" to the banning of my freedom of speech and freedom of the press for the rest of my life, that I would never appeal the judge's orders, and that I would spend the years ahead paying $100,000 USD plus 18 percent interest to the judge's friends, the lawyers with the fake "charity foundation." They made it clear that, if I didn't stay quiet about Bush's family pal, or if I didn't pay the money to the judge's lawyer friends, I faced jail, and a likely violent death in jail. The judge's friends were even bold enough to document these threats to have me illegally jailed and killed in writing and in a written court transcript. The way I would be jailed, they explained, was that I would be jailed for violating the judge's illegal orders banning my freedom of speech. They could even just make up some evidence and claim I said something, even if I said nothing. I had thought, with so much written proof in my hands of judicial corruption, I would be able to find some brave lawyer to expose these blatant crimes. I thought I would win back my freedom and strike a blow for justice, just like in some Hollywood movie. And before I escaped from America, I briefly became wealthy, so I could afford to pay huge amounts of money to lawyers who would expose this court fraud scandal. I contacted thousands of lawyers, but no lawyer was willing to help me, even though I could pay them well. The lawyers agreed that I had total proof of judicial corruption and felony crime, and they lusted after my money. But, the lawyers explained, there was no way to "fight a crooked judge that's backed by the Bush government." The lawyers were too frightened for their own safety to risk trying to defend me against a malicious judge and his friends. Meanwhile, the judge's friends began to close in on me, demanding money and ready to carry out their threats. Thankfully, I escaped from America, the "land of freedom," and that's why you can read these words right now, written in my safe haven in Europe. Since I exposed the scandal, America's FBI does not deny that I've given them complete proof of felony crimes by the judge and his friends, and that they could start prosecuting these crimes "within minutes." But they're moving slowly, and probably are not going to do anything until after my book is out and there's more publicity. That's how "the game" is played in America. One of the most moving documents I collected in the USA was a heartfelt note from a gravely ill former Virginia judge in danger of dying. She wrote to me to confess that Virginia judges, both state and federal, were utterly sunk in corruption and bribery, and she correctly predicted that no lawyer would have the courage to help me, despite my proof of judicial corruption. She herself was scared to help me, thinking that the stress would kill her if she got up from her sickbed to try and fight for me. With the recent deplorable acts of murderous violence against judges and their families, I fear that the instinct of American judges will be to deepen the cover-up of judicial misconduct, as if quashing the news and truth about themselves will make them safer. But I believe that a better course would be to move toward a more transparent judicial process, with complaints out in the public, and posted on the Internet, and with the public impeachment and prosecution of the more notorious rogue judges. Americans today need some hope that there is justice at the end of the struggle, and not just a stone wall of corruption and despair.
Reprinted from the blog of Dr. Les Sachs. The statements and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. Bernofsky. Further information about Sachs is available from his Web site (http://cornwell-scandal.tripod.com) and blog site (http://bannedinamerica.blogspot.com), accessed 3/17/2005. Sach's forthcoming book is: "Patricia Cornwell, Her Life and Her Scandal: Bush's Friends, Political Courts, and Fake Trials in America." He can be reached by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sachs' insight into judicial and legal corruption in the U.S. can be seen at http://faqusajudicialcorruption.blogspot.com.
*Note: Public access to information concerning Patricia Cornwell's lawsuit against Sachs, alleging assault, libel and slander, has been largely withheld from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. See: Cornwell v. Sachs, Case
No. 3:2000cv00229, filed April 11, 2000 in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia at Richmond, Judge Robert E. Payne presiding, and Case No. 00-1688, filed May 31, 2000 in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
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