From the April 2000 Idaho Observer:
J.A.I.L. is the Answer
by Hari Heath
Our criminal court system is all too often just that -- criminal. Routinely, people who do no harm to another get sent to jail and fined. Their property may be taken under some cloak of authority. Their children sometimes are confiscated “to protect them.” The “crimes” they are convicted of, may be manufactured to protect someone “in the system,” or to “enforce” a political prosecution. And who's gonna stop a judge from committing criminal acts from the bench? Another judge?
“Absolute Immunity” they claim. Or so the judges have legislated for themselves by “doctrine.” They can do whatever they want, with impunity. And often they do. By cleverly short circuiting constitutional protections, they have become a law unto themselves. Keeping enforcement of their transgressions “in house,” with mandatory membership for all in the bar associations, our judiciary is often more criminal than the people paraded before them in handcuffs.
When a judicial misconduct complaint is filed against a judge, who is going to hear and decide the remedy for the misconduct? A fellow judge and bar association member?
Idaho's Chief Federal District Judge Edward J. Lodge is a stellar example of a corrupt judicial officer and the failure of our present remedies to have any useful effect. Over 400 judicial misconduct complaints (28 USC 372c) have been filed against Lodge with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, yet Lodge is still on the bench and no action has been taken to remedy those complaints from the citizens he has maligned.
If you try to complain to a grand jury about criminal misconduct of a judicial officer, who will control your access? A prosecutor holds the gate key to the grand jury. Idaho Code 19-4101 provides a method for removing officials for willful, corrupt misconduct of office. It requires accessing the grand jury. Can you get past the bar association members who control the access to the grand jury?
Can you complain to the attorney general about criminal misconduct and get relief? More than likely you will be opposed, rather than assisted by the attorney general. When our rights or property have been plundered away by corrupt judicial officers and civil process fails to provide any remedy, what's the people's solution?
J. A. I. L. -- the Judicial Accountability and Integrity Law
Begun in California as an effort by Ron Branson to put an initiative on the ballot creating a special citizen friendly remedy to the now rampant judicial corruption, the “Jail4Judges” movement is now spreading like a fire in dry brush. In a campaign using e-mail and the internet, Jail4Judges is promoting a sound, well thought out method to return control of the third branch of the government to the people.
The basic principle of the J.A.I.L. initiative is to create special grand juries to investigate the corrupt acts of judicial officers. These grand juries would provide citizens a direct access to an effective remedy for judicial corruption. These grand juries would have the power to indict, and provide for the trial, conviction and sentencing of judicial officers when it can be proven that the judicial officers committed acts of willful corruption. This takes the control of these types of proceedings away from the brethren of the bench, and places it in special citizen juries. Several other states including Washington, Montana and Georgia are beginning their own J.A.I.L. initiatives or legislation. There is an effort by Representative John Duncan to introduce federal J.A.I.L. legislation in Congress. Representative Duncan has forwarded the J.A.I.L. Accountability Bill to Congressman Henry Hyde, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. If passed, it will create a unique new remedy to effectively deal with those members of the federal judiciary who think they are the law -- the Constitution and people's rights be damned.
Nobody's immunity should be absolute
The J.A.I.L. legislation would also eliminate the “absolute immunity” that our modern day judiciary has manufactured for itself by “judicial legislation” known as doctrines. Under this cloak of “absolute immunity,” willful judicial corruption has flourished to epidemic proportions. Judges, of course, need a certain amount of immunity from litigation so that they may properly perform their job. The proposed federal J.A.I.L. legislation recognizes the need for a limited immunity and provides for it by stating that the intent is, “preserving the purpose of protecting judges from frivolous and harassing actions, no immunity shielding a federal judge shall be construed to extend to any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitution of these United States, all violations of which shall constitute bad behavior.”
The Federal Constitution at Article III provides that “...judges...shall hold their office during good behavior...”. The J.A.I.L. legislation defines the conduct which constitutes bad behavior, and therefore defines the behavior that will insure a judge's conviction and removal from office.
Unlike most modern legislation, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation won't become another socialistic burden on the taxpayers, and create another tax-funded program. A unique and most appropriate funding source is provided:
“Congress hereby deducts two and nine-tenths percent from the gross judicial salaries of all federal judges, which amount shall be deposited regularly into the exclusive trust account created by this statute...for its operational expenses, together with filing fees..., surcharges..., and fines imposed...”
Judicial integrity insurance
Think of it as judicial integrity insurance. We are forced by judges to pay insurance before we are permitted to travel on our highways. There are many other forms of work-related insurance obligations in today's world. Wouldn't our judges be willing to pay less than three percent of their already abundant salary to insure the integrity of their profession? As scandal after scandal of court corruption continues to degrade the public esteem of their offices, is less than three percent too much to ask? Instead of the token payment most jurors receive today for their service, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation provides ample compensation for their service: “Each juror shall receive a salary commensurate to fifty percent of a federal district judge prorated according to the number of days actually served.”
As proposed, jurors would serve a one-year term. Jury membership shall “not include elected and appointed officials, members of the Bar, judges (active or retired) judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment or parole from a conviction of a felonious crime against persons.”
A majority 13 jurors shall determine any matter. Special federal grand jury files shall always remain public record following their final determination. The Special Federal Grand Jury may determine “on an objective standard, whether a civil suit against a federal judge would be frivolous and harassing, or fall within the exclusions of immunity set forth herein.”
The Special Federal Grand Jury may also find probable cause and indict a federal judge except where double jeopardy applies. To prevent the usual protection federal judges receive by the assistance of an army of U.S. Attorneys who normally defend them at public expense, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation would require that: “No federal judge complained of, or sued civilly by a complainant pursuant to this statute, shall be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed counsel, nor shall any federal judge be reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained under this statute.”
The Special Federal Grand Jury, as proposed, could also impanel special trial jurors who would have “power to judge both law and fact” and select a “non-governmental” special prosecutor and a federal judge to try a criminal case of criminal conduct on the part of any federal judge once a finding of probable cause has been made.
J.A.I.L.s across America
The J.A.I.L. movement is taking off across the nation. The Constitution Party of Montana is the host for J.A.I.L. in Montana. Michael Heit is their Chairman and has sent the Montana version of J.A.I.L. to two constitutional scholars who are reviewing it for its constitutionality, so it will pass any legal challenges once it is enacted. Mr. Heit is running for a seat in the Legislature and plans to introduce the J.A.I.L. Bill in the next session.
The Constitution Party of Montana can be reached at: http://www.ahpom.org
The Georgia J.A.I.L. Chapter has recently formed to promote successful J.A.I.L. legislation. Elder Hale of the Georgia Chapter, through his friend and Georgia State Representative Brian Joyce, plans to introduce J.A.I.L. legislation in Georgia. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Ron Branson, the originator of the J.A.I.L. concept, can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He operates an e-mail network which regularly diseminates tales of tyranny -- why we need Jail4Judges -- as well as updates on the progress of the J.A.I.L. movement. You may subscribe/unsubscribe to his network at that email address or visit the Jail4Judges web site at: http://www.jail4judges.org
Are you tired of judges who refuse assent to law, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good? Do you want to end the closed-circuit protection racket of the Idaho Bar Association and its control over the third branch of government? It's time for Idaho to implement a solution to judicial corruption. Anyone interested in forming an Idaho J.A.I.L. Chapter may contact me at: email@example.com or the address in the BRUSHFIRE banner above.
Let's create the remedy for criminal courts. J.A.I.L. is the answer!
March 26, 2013
To The Constitution Club:
(a) Preamble. The House of Representatives and Senate Assembled find that an inordinate and ever-growing number of complaints of willful misconduct have been lodged with Congress involving federal judges across this nation; that the current Title 28 U.S.C. §372(c) (Judicial Misconduct and Disability Act) is in many cases inadequate because of conflicts of interest in judges judging themselves; that judicial integrity is of major importance and affects all areas of our American society. Be it therefore resolved that the House of Representatives and Senate Assembled hereby enact the following legislation which shall be known as the"Judicial Accountability and Integrity Legislation."
(b) Definitions. For purposes of this legislation:
(c) Immunity. Notwithstanding common law or any other provision to the contrary, no immunity shall be extended to any federal judge except as is specifically set forth in this statute. Preserving the purpose of protecting judges from frivolous and harassing actions, no immunity shielding a federal judge shall be construed to extend to any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitution of these United States, all violations of which shall constitute bad behavior.
(d) Special Federal Grand Jury. There is hereby created within the District of Columbia a twenty-five member Special Federal Grand Jury with full federal geographical jurisdiction, having power to judge on both law and fact. Their responsibility shall be limited to determining, on an objective standard, whether a civil suit against a federal judge would be frivolous and harassing or fall within the exclusions of immunity as set forth herein, and whether there is probable cause of criminal conduct by the federal judge complained of.
(e) Professional Counsel. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall have exclusive power to retain non-governmental advisors, special prosecutors, and investigators, as needed, who shall serve no longer than two years, after which term said officers shall be ineligible. However, with permission of the Special Federal Grand Jury, a special prosecutor may prosecute their current cases through all appeals and any applicable complaints to the Special Federal Grand Jury.
(f) Establishment of Special Federal Grand Jury Seat. A Special Federal Grand Jury seat is hereby created, which seat shall be located in excess of one mile of any federal judicial body.
(g) Filing Fees. Attorneys representing a client filing a civil complaint or answer before the Special Federal Grand Jury, shall at the time of filing pay a fee equal to the filing fee due in a civil appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Individuals filing a civil complaint or answer before the Special Federal Grand Jury in their own behalf as a matter of right, shall, at the time of filing, post a fee of one hundred dollars, or file a declaration, which shall remain confidential, stating they are impoverished and unable to pay and/or object to such fee.
(h) Annual Funding. Should this statute lack sufficient funding through its filing fees under paragraph (g) and fines imposed under paragraph (q), which amount shall be deposited regularly into the exclusive trust account created by this statute in paragraph (j) for its operational expenses, Congress may impose appropriate surcharges upon the civil court filing fees of corporate litigants as necessary to make this statute self-supporting, or they may appropriate any and all necessary funds for the full implementation of this statute by legislation.
(i) Compensation of Jurors. Each Juror shall receive a salary commensurate to fifty percent of a federal district judge prorated according to the number of days actually served.
(j) Annual Budget. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall have an annual operating budget commensurate to twenty times the combined salaries of the twenty-five Jurors serving full time, which sum shall be initially deposited by Congress into an exclusive trust account to be annually administered by the Controller. Should the trust balance within any budget year drop to less than an amount equivalent to the annual gross salaries of fifty federal district judges, the Controller shall so notify Congress, which shall replenish the account, prorated based on actual average expenditures during the budget year. Should the trust balance in any subsequent year exceed the annual operational budget at the beginning of a new budget year, the Controller shall return such excess to the United States Treasury.
(k) Jurisdiction. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall have exclusive power to establish rules assuring their attendance, to provide internal discipline, and to remove any of its members on grounds of misconduct. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall immediately assign a docket number to each complaint brought before it. Except as provided in paragraph (r), no complaint of judicial misconduct shall be considered by the Special Federal Grand Jury unless the complainant shall have first attempted to exhaust all judicial remedies available in the federal courts within the immediately preceding six-month period. Such six-month period, however, shall not commence in complaints of prior fraud or blocking of a lawful conclusion until after the date the Special Federal Grand Jury becomes functional. This provision is intended to apply remedially and retroactively.
(l) Qualifications of Jurors. A Juror shall have attained to the age of thirty years, and have been nine years a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant of Washington, D.C. Those not eligible for Special Federal Grand Jury service shall include elected and appointed officials, members of the Bar, judges (active or retired), judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment, or parole from a conviction of a felonious crime against persons.
(m) Selection of Jurors. The Jurors shall serve without compulsion and shall be drawn by public lot by the Secretary of State from names on voters' rolls and any citizen submitting his/her name to the Secretary of State for such drawing.
(n) Service of Jurors. Excluding the establishment of the initial Special Federal Grand Jury, each Juror shall serve one year. No Juror shall serve more than once. On the first day of each month, two persons shall be rotated off the Special Federal Grand Jury and new citizens seated, except in January it shall be three. Vacancies shall be filled on the first of the following month in addition to the Jurors regularly rotated, and the Juror chosen to fill a vacancy shall complete only the remainder of the term of the Juror replaced.
(o) Procedures. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall serve a copy of the filed complaint upon the subject judge and notice to the complainant of such service. The judge shall have thirty days to serve and file an answer. The complainant shall have twenty days to reply to the judge's answer. (Upon timely request, the Special Federal Grand Jury may provide for extensions for good cause.) The Special Federal Grand Jury shall have power to subpoena witnesses, documents, and other tangible evidence, and to examine witnesses under oath. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall determine the causes properly before it with their reasoned findings in writing within one hundred twenty (120) calendar days, serving on all parties their decision on whether immunity shall be barred as a defense to any civil action that may thereafter be pursued against the federal judge. A rehearing may be requested of the Special Federal Grand Jury within twenty days with service upon the opposition. Twenty days shall be allowed to reply thereto. Thereafter, the Special Federal Grand Jury shall render final determination within thirty days. All allegations of the complaint shall be liberally construed in favor of the complainant. The Jurors shall keep in mind, in making their decisions, that they are entrusted by the people of these United States with the duty of restoring a perception of justice and accountability of the federal judiciary, and are not to be swayed by artful presentation by the federal judge. They shall avoid all influence by judicial and government entities. The statute of limitations on any civil suit brought pursuant to this statute against a federal judge shall not commence until the rendering of a final decision by the Special Federal Grand Jury. Special Federal Grand Jury files shall always remain public record following their final determination. A majority of thirteen shall determine any matter.
(p) Removal. Whenever any federal judge shall have received more than three strikes, the federal judge shall automatically be brought up on charges before Congress for Articles of Impeachment by the Special Federal Grand Jury through its special prosecutor for bad behavior and willful misconduct. Congress thereafter shall commence to a vote on such Articles of Impeachment. Upon a conviction, the federal judge shall be permanently removed from office. He may also be held liable under any other appropriate criminal or civil proceeding.
(q) Indictment. Should the Special Federal Grand Jury also find probable cause of criminal conduct on the part of any federal judge against whom a complaint is docketed, it shall have the power to indict such federal judge except where double jeopardy attaches. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall, without voir direbeyond personal relationship, cause to be impaneled special trial jurors, plus alternates, which trial jurors shall be instructed that they have power to judge both law and fact. The Special Federal Grand Jury shall also select a non-governmental special prosecutor and a federal judge with no more than four years on the bench from a state other than that of the defendant judge (or outside of the District of Columbia, if the case so be). The trial jury shall be selected from the same pool of jury candidates as any regular federal jury. The special prosecutor shall thereafter prosecute the cause to a conclusion, having all the powers of any other prosecutor within these United States. Upon conviction, the special trial jury shall have exclusive power of sentencing (limited to incarceration, fines and/or community service), which shall be derived by an average of the sentences of the trial jurors.
(r) Criminal Procedures. In addition to any other provisions of this statute, a complaint for criminal conduct of a federal judge may be brought directly to the Special Federal Grand Jury upon all the following prerequisites: (1) an affidavit of criminal conduct has been lodged with the appropriate prosecutorial entity within ninety (90) days of the commission of the alleged conduct; (2) the prosecutor declines to prosecute, or one hundred twenty (120) days has passed following the lodging of such affidavit and prosecution has not commenced; (3) an indictment, if sought, has not been specifically declined on the merits by a Grand Jury; and (4) the criminal statute of limitations has not run. Any criminal conviction (including a plea bargain) under any judicial process shall constitute a strike.
(s) Public Indemnification. No federal judge complained of, or sued civilly by a complainant pursuant to this statute, shall be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed public counsel, nor shall any federal judge be reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained under this statute.
(t) Redress. The provisions of this statute are in addition to other redress that may exist and are not mutually exclusive.
(u) Preeminence. Preeminence shall be given to this statute in any case of conflict with any other federal statute, case law, or common law to the contrary. The foreperson of the Special Federal Grand Jury shall read, or cause to be read, this statute to the respective Jurors semi-annually during the first week of business in January and July.