Saturday, November 28, 2009

09-11-18 Fine made it into wikipedia with miniminal editing....

Richard Isaac Fine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Isaac Fine (1940- ) was a Los Angeles, California anti-trust attorney, former U.S. prosecutor, who was assigned (year) to investigations of corruption in Los Angeles, later disbarred. On March 4, 2009 - Richard Fine was jailed and he is perceived a political dissident.

Fine was born and raised in in the American Mid-west, in Milwaukee to a middle-class family. He earned his baccalaureate degree from theUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, his law degree from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate from the London School of Economics. He was successful particularly as an anti-trust attorney - in pursuing his clients' cases against the County of Los Angeles and the State of California. [1]Ruling to disbar Atty Fine in October 2007 was the outcome of administrative procedure of the State Bar of California, where he was charged with "Moral Turpitude", albeit, moral turpitude in this case was construed to be the filing of complaints against Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles judges [2]. Fine claimed violation of his First Amendment rights in such ruling [3]. The ruling stated that his “remarkable academic and professional background” were no justification for his “improper and vindictive reactions” to unfavorable rulings by the bench. The ruling was upheld by the California Supreme Court. [4], [5]

Richard Fine exposed starting in the early 2000's the ongoing, then secret, payments by the County of Los Angeles to all (~450) Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, judges. Such payments, at about ~45,000 per judge per year had by then proceeded for over a decade [6]. Fine also compiled the initial data to show that it had become practically impossible to win a case against the County at the Superior Court during those years, whereas the County was one of the most common party to litigations. Such data were later expanded and confirmed through more complete compilation by others.

In litigation, which originated from the objection to such payments, and where plaintiff Harold Sturgeon was represented by Judicial WatchSturgeon v County of Los Angeles (BC351286), such payments were ruled in October 2008 as "not permitted" by the California Court of Appeals,4th District (San Diego),[7]. However, such litigation was still ongoing. Some media labeled the payments "bribes". To counter potential civil and criminal liabilities to all Los Angeles State of California judges, a bill was passed and signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger on February 20, 2009, providing pardons to all such judges. Both the passage of this bill and its incorporation into the California Government Code were fraught with irregularities in procedures. [8], [9], [10], [11]

Two weeks later, on March 4, 2009, Richard Fine was arrested by the Warrant Detail of the Sheriff's Department of the County of Los Angeles, at the end of a dramatic proceeding, in the presence of media, by Judge David Yaffe, whom Richard Fine was attempting to disqualify for accepting such payments from a party to the litigation then at bar - Marina County Home Owners Association v County of Los Angeles(BS109420). Strangely, the entire proceeding later failed to appear in the publicly available litigation chronology, published online by the court. Likewise, the March 4, 2009 Judgment and Sentencing, which were widely reported by media present in court, was later found to be invalid on its face,[12] and lacking authentication. [13]

Richard Fine has been held ever since at the Men's Central Jail facility in Los Angeles, California under unusual, possibly unprecedented conditions[citation needed]. He has been held under continuous solitary confinement, in a hospital room in the jail, albeit - no disease or disability were ever claimed by jail authorities. In the first few months of his jailing, he was denied access to pen and paper, and such conditions undermined his ability to file habeas corpus and related petitions. Jail authorities also explicitly attempted in the initial period to deprive him of the right to represent himself in pro se, and to coerce him to accept representation by counsel, which Fine declined. On June 7, 2009, the Los Angeles Times published report by female Journalist Victoria Kim, who managed to enter the Men's Jail, interview Fine, and emerge out of the jail unnoticed, at a time that the Sheriff's Department and the court banned interviews with Fine.[14] [15]

Fine's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Fine v Sheriff Department of the County of Los Angeles (2:09-cv-01914) [16] was dictated by phone to a friend, and was filed on behalf of Richard Fine at the U.S. Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles), but without his hand signature, and without review of the filed document by him. Key documents were later claimed missing from the docket [17]. The case was unusual in that the Sheriff, named as respondent refused to respond. Eventually, response was filed by the Los Angeles Superior Court and Judge David Yaffe. However, such response was filed by attorney Kevin McCormick, who failed to ever file any of the required certifications indicating that he was engaged as counsel of record for the case by his clients. In his response there was no indication that he ever communicated with his clients. The records he filed were all derived from the Sheriff, not from the Court, and were accompanied by a short declaration by counsel, not by Judge Yaffe or any officer of the court. A scheme, involving representation by counsel - albeit not counsel of record - was rebuked in an unrelated case in Texas, in March 2008, providing the details of the scheme [18]. The June 12, 2009 Report & Recommendations issued by Magistrate Carla Woehrle concluded by recommending denial with prejudice [19]. The 25 page review, carefully referenced, was distinguished as habeas corpus review by the fact that it failed to ever explicitly state the caption of the Los Angeles Superior Court case that was under review, or ever mention the word "warrant" [20]. A June 29, 2009 Judgment issued by Judge John Walter [21], who presided in the case after a number of recusals, accepted the recommendation [22]. However, both of these court papers, like all papers issued by the U.S. court in this case lacked authentication [23], and were therefore of dubious validity and effect - at best [24].

Likewise - a petition filed on Fine's behalf at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit - Fine v Sheriff (09-71692), was denied, but the June 30, 2009 Order denying the petition, bearing the names of Chief Judge Alex Kozinksi [25] and Circuit Judges Richard Paez [26] and Richard Tallman [27] was unsigned, unentered, and lacked authentication as well [28].

The circumstances surrounding these denials remain unclear, since Richard Fine has been held at the time of this writing (November 2009) for seven months with no warrant at all [29]. The information provided by the Sheriff's Department of Los Angeles County in this matter on it Inmate Information Center was incorrect [30], and possibly misleading. The arrest and booking were listed as if they had taken place at Municipal Division 86 at the San Pedro Courthouse. However, no such agency existed. In fact - no municipal courts existed in Los Angeles for almost a decade.

Fine's jailing was perceived by many as false imprisonment, and became the center point for demands for reform of the judiciary. Small rallies took place outside the Men's Central Jail, and fundraisers were organized to help sponsor his legal expenses [31]. Fine's jailing and the underlying secret payments to judges were also mentioned as diminishing the prospects of California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, one of the recipients, for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Embattled Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, never commented on the unsigned order issued in his name in this case, which appeared inconsistent with his usual liberal, civil rights oriented, judicially incisive image [32]. The fundamental judicial wrongdoing at the Los Angeles Superior Court, as alleged by those who consider the case False Imprisonment, should be seen in perspective of the widespread False Imprisonments affected by that court, which had been documented already a decade ago, as part of the Rampart scandal investigation, and estimated by PBS at many thousands [33] , but which the LA Superior Court judges have resisted undoing over the past decade, as reviewed in official report commissioned by the LAPD - the Blue Ribbon Review Panel Report (2006), which recommended "external review" of the Los Angeles justice system, which was never instituted, and which singled out the Los Angeles Superior Court as requiring review. [34], [35],[36]

It remained to be seen what role Richard Fine would play in the future of Los Angeles justice system upon his release, but if past experience is any predictor - it was not likely that he would stay out of public life.


  1. ^,0,206146.story
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ In several copies, separately stamped by the clerk and separately endorsed by the judge, the record was stamped as "FILED" at the Los Angeles Superior Court on March 4, 2009, but endorsed by Judge Yaffe as of March 24, 2009
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ In Fay v Noia 372 U. S. 391 (1963), the late Justice William Brennan, writing for he majority stated: "The basic principle of the Great Writ of habeas corpus is that, in a civilized society, government must always be accountable to the judiciary for a man's imprisonment: if the imprisonment cannot be shown to conform with the fundamental requirements of law, the individual is entitled to his immediate release"
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^,0,206146.story
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^

[edit]External links

No comments: