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AG Jerry Brown: Did Governor & Legislature Wipe Away The Penal Code for Judges & Government Officials? ………. SBX 2 11 The Culprit?

September 20, 2009No Comments

Jerry-and-Arnie
Attorney General Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
AG OPINION & IMMUNITY CLAUSE MISSING IN ACTION 
Los Angeles, CA The Full Disclosure Network has been investigating California Senate Bill SBX2 11 that was enacted into law on February 20, 2009 and became part of Government Code Sections 68220-222 on May 21, 2009. This controversial bill signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was intended to legalize “Double Benefits” for Judges by the county governments.
NO DEBATE BUT LOTS OF SECRECY
There was no debate or public scrutiny of the bill prior to the vote. These county payments to Judges were ruled illegal in an appellate court decision in a case brought by the Judicial Watch organization in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles that held the Judges who are State employees were not entitled to “double benefits” from the county due to a Constitutional Provision that Judges Salaries and benefits are to be set by the legislature and cannot be delegated.
WHY MISSING PARAGAPHS ON CRIMINAL IMMUNITY?
Most notably three important paragraphs in SBX2 11 were missing from Government Code Sections 68220, 68221,68222. These paragraphs included the most critical and controversial part of the bill, being that California Judges and county government officials were given retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for crimes committed prior to May 21, 2009. What the bill doesn’t say is what happens to the crimes committed after May 21st 2009? Is criminal behavior for government officials now legal? 

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR NOW LEGAL FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS? 
“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law. “ 

MISSING PARAGRAPHS = CONFUSION FOR COURT & COUNTY?
Why were these paragraphs missing? What impact does this have on conferring immunity for past crimes and future crimes? On September 9, 2009 Full Disclosurebegan to seek answers from the author of Senate SBX2 11 Senate Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg, the California Judicial Council who apparently wrote the bill, and California Attorney General Jerry Brown whose job it is to prosecute criminal acts of public officials.
ATTORNEY GENERAL & JUDICIAL COUNCIL MUM
So far we have received answers to our questions from Senator Steinberg’s spokesman, Jim Evans. We received a brief note from the Judicial Council Legislative staff basically concurring with Steinberg’s office and NO response from the Attorney General, the Department of Justice or their Press Office. We sent a copy of our request to the Attorney General’s “Opinion” supervisor Susan Lee, who wrote“we do not provide opinions to the public, only to elected officials”. 

ATTNY GENERAL OPINION SCUTTLED: Opinion Request Withdrawn May 31, 2009
09-401 (April 1, 2009)

Requested By: Commission on Judicial Performance
Assigned To: Deputy Attorney General Marc J. Nolan
Question(s):
  • 1) Does the legislature have the authority to enact legislation that purports to preclude the commission from disciplining California superior court judges for authorizing supplemental compensation to be paid to themselves from public funds and/or receiving that supplemental compensation, on the ground that such benefits were or are not authorized by law?
  • 2) Does section 2 of SB(x2) 11 (a) simply identify which judges are permitted as of the effective date of SB 11 to continue receiving supplemental compensation from the effective date forward, on the terms and conditions in effect on July 1, 2008, or (b) retroactively authorize all or some portion of supplemental compensation provided by counties to judges, or to judges by the judges themselves, so long as it was being provided as of July 1, 2008?
  • 3) Has the Legislature adequately prescribed the supplemental compensation purportedly authorized by SB(x2) 11?
    The above was posted on the DOJ website 4-1-09 and withdrawn 5-31-09
WHY NO ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION?
Full Disclosure Network asked Senator Pro-Tem Steinberg’s Spokesman Jim Evans to clarify some points regarding SBX2 11. Here are all the questions and answers (in a PDF file format) posed concerning SBX2 11. Basically, we were told the Senator (author) did not request an Attorney General opinion and when asked if they would seek one, the answer was “no” it is not necessary. Below is one of the manyquestions we asked about the retroactive criminal immunity.
  • QUESTION:
    Is there any immunity covering present payments(to Judges by counties) of supplemental benefits which occur under the first paragraph (Government Code Section 68220) commencing as of May 21, 2009, the effective date of SBX2 11? I have read that the immunity to be retroactive only and not applying to the present benefits because of the use of the words “prior to” the enactment date.
  • ANSWER:
    The immunity clause applies retroactively only. There’s no need to apply it prospectively because the statute makes lawful that which everyone in the world thought was already legal before the Sturgeon decision. (Jre)
BREAKING NEWS DEVELOPMENT
complaint was filed with California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office on September 14, 2009 by former Anti-Trust Attorney Richard I. Fine is seeking prosecution of Superior Court Judges and government officials who have participated in the receipt of illegal payments from public funds, which he estimates at approximately $300 million, without disclosure while sitting on cases involving County government. Mr. Fine, who has been sitting in solitary coercive confinement in the L. A . County Central Men’s Jail, prepared the complaint using the top of his bunk bed as a desk, citing the Penal Codes from memory. After 45 years as a practicing attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. and private practice, he holds a Ph.D. in International Law.
JAILED INDEFINITELY AFTER CHALLENGING THE JUDGE
Fine was sentenced indefinitely for Civil Contempt of Court by Judge David Yaffe, whom he alleges testified in court on December 22, 2008 that he had received the illegal “benefits” (payments) from the County and had failed to disclose to litigants in Court and on his Economic Disclosure Form 700. Mr. Fine had attempted to disqualify Judge Yaffee from the case before him (Marina Strand Colony II Homeowners Association v. County of Los Angeles.) Fine has appealed for release from jail, all the way up to the U S Ninth Circuit Court, where a hearing is expected to be scheduled; however, there is no indication it may be soon.

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