What is wrong with the county payments to judges?
The counties are parties in cases before the judges. The judges are state elected officials whose compensation is set by the Legislature and paid by the state, not the counties. The counties also may reimburse the courts for the court’s payments to the judges. If the court is being reimbursed by the county, the court is illegally using county money to double pay the judge above the compensation set by the state legislature.
Payments from parties to judges caused judges to lose their jobs* and were held to be bribes and to violate the “intangible right to honest services”**.
In the 2008 case of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeal held that the payments from Los Angeles County to state elected Superior Court judges which were called “local judicial benefits” violated Article VI, Section 19 of the California Constitution.
In response to the Sturgeon case, a special law called SBX 2 11 jointly sponsored by the California Judicial Council and the California Judges Association was enacted on February 20, 2009. This gave the judges who received the illegal payments from the counties and the government officials who made the illegal payments retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution, civil liability and disciplinary action. It also required the counties making such payments to continue the payments made as of July 1, 2008, during the then current term of the judge. The last of those current terms expired in 2012.
SBX 2 11 passed each chamber of the California Legislature by over a 2/3 vote, effectively "impeaching" and "convicting" the judges who received the county payments of "Misconduct in Office" under California Constitution, Article 4, Section 18. "Impeachment" and "conviction" required the judge's removal from office. However, SBX 2 11 did not remove these judges from office. Every day California judges engage in "Misconduct in Office" by taking "criminal" payments from counties appearing before them and violating their oath to uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions and laws.
In enacting Section 5 of SBX 2 11, each California legislator and the California governor violated the federal criminal law of Misprision of Felony (18 U.S.C. Section 4) by concealing and not reporting the judges' violation of the federal criminal law of the intangible right to honest services (18 U.S.C. Section 1346). By violating federal criminal law, the California Legislators and Governor violated their oaths of office.
The U.S. Supreme Court held in Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1, 18 (1958): " No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it."
In the follow-up case of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, the court reaffirmed the illegality of the payments and held that the continuation of the payments was only an interim solution until the Legislature solved the problem.
California now has a judiciary with over 90 percent of the judges currently violating federal criminal law and receiving retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution for violating California criminal law.
Why should you care?
It hurts you every time you walk into a court room. You will not receive a fair trial whether it be a county traffic ticket, a divorce, child custody, child support, foster care, guardianship, conservatorship, a problem with a county, a criminal case where the county district attorney is the prosecutor, or any case where any amount of an award will go to the county. Because the judge has been paid by one of the parties to the case, an entity that will benefit from the judge’s decision, the judge is biased against you and under law cannot sit on your case.
Need more proof? The LA County Counsel Annual Litigation Reports for 2005-2012 show that only five cases were won against LA County when a state Superior Court judge made the decision. About 650-850 cases are filed against LA County each year.
*Adams v. Commission on Judicial Performance 10 Cal.4th 866, (July 20, 1995) Rehearing Denied Sept., 14, 1995, citing Adams v. Commission on Judicial Performance, 8 Cal.4th 630, (1994) (Adams I)
** 18 U.S.C. Section 1346, U.S. v. Frega, U.S. v. Malkus, U.S. v. Adams
179 F.3d 793 (1999).