Saturday, November 28, 2009

County To Stop Payments For New Judges.....L A Supervisor Michael Antonovich (Video 3 min)

L A County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich
November 23, 2009
Lincoln Club of Los Angeles County

Los Angeles, CA Full Disclosure Network® presents a 3 min video report on the November 23, 2009 remarks made by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Lincoln Club in North Hollywood. The Supervisor provided an update regarding the controversy over long-time practice of the County making payments to Los Angeles Superior Court Judges. Civic leader David R. Hernandez provides his account of the presentation in the video.

A Fourth District CA Court of Appeals decision in November of 2008 ruled the county's payments were illegal in the Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles lawsuit that found Judges, who are all elected officials, had not been disclosing the extra payments they received from the County to litigants in the courtroom, in cases involving the county, nor on the Form 700 Economic Interest statements as required by the California Fair Pactices Act.

In response a question about the continuing public concern that county payments created a “conflict” for judges and if this conflict was going to be resolved?

Here are some of the points made by Supervisor Antonovich:
  • All new judges (elected or appointed) will not be receiving payments from the county.
  • Most other California counties have been paying (illegal) benefits to the judges
  • This was not just a Los Angeles County practice
  • Recent legislation, Senate Bill SBX2 11 has now made the payments legal.
  • L A Judges have not always ruled in favor of the County
  • Several rulings have been in favor of illegal aliens (which the county opposed)

Featured in the video: are two prominent critics of the illegal payments made to Judges by the County and below are comments from Richard I Fine from his L.A. County Jail cell.

David R. Hernandez, Civic Leader (by telephone)
Sterling Norris, Judicial Watch Attorney (Sturgeon v County of Los Angeles)

From his L. A. County Central Men's Jail cell, Richard I Fine: Anti-Trust Attorney who remains in solitary “coercive confinement” following his attempt to disqualify Judge Yaffe for not disclosing to litigants in his courtroom, receipt of payments from County . Fine had this to say regarding the disclosure by Supervisor Antonovich:

“This is long overdue. This is a great victory for those of us that have been fighting the illegal payments. The County has spent approximately $300 million since 1988 on these illegal and criminal payments to the Judges. I and others have filed complaints with the U S Dept. of Justice knowing that these payments violate the tangible rights to honest services and I have filed a complaint with a the California Attorney general showing that these payments are a misappropriation of funds, and obstruction of justice and bribery."

"Senate Bill
SBX2 11 which was enacted on Feb. 20, 2009 confirmed that the payments are criminal by the judges and those who make the payments now have retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution, civil liability and disciplinary action. The action of the Supervisors to stop the payments appears to be a clear response to rid themselves of this criminal activity."

In response to comments made by Sterling Norris (in the video) Fine said, "The 2010 budget bill resolution of the County left the decision regarding these payments to the Executive Officer and Auditor-Controller that is the reason you do not see second resolution to these payments. With respect to the Judges, this only deals with the payments in Los Angeles County, 429 judges, will continue to receive their payments however, those payments will stop as each judge comes up for re-election . The longest period of time is if that judge is reelected, he would get payments for six years until there is another election. Then he would be come a new judge.”

Sterling Norris, Judicial Watch Attorney:
Full Disclosure received the following response that is quoted in the video from Sterling Norris, Judicial Watch attorney who won the Fourth District California Court of Appeal decision ruling the county payments to judges were illegal.

“I have not seen anything in the press regarding a resolution by the Board of Supervisors has been passed that would impact the newly hired judges. Even if they did pass such a resolution, it would not impact the majority, about 95 percent of the judges, nor would it impact or our litigation, even if such a resolution would be approve by the by Board of Supervisors. It is estimated that from 1500 to 2000 California Judges will be impacted by the Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles case that is still in litigation.”

Link to a complete listing and video links to the Series "Judicial Benefits & Court Corruption{

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