Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Restore Justice in L.A. - Petition is up and running...

The 2006 report of the BLUE RIBBON REVIEW PANEL, commissioned by the LAPD, chaired by civil rights activist Att Connie Rice.  It provides unique documentation of the ongoing incarceration in L.A. of those who were shown in the Rampart investigation (1998-2000) to be falsely convicted and falsely sentenced to long terms in prison.

The report lists as one of the major failures of its own work and the several panels in preceding years, the inability to even provide an estimate of the number of such LA-FIP (LA's Falsely Imprisoned People).  Elsewhere estimates were found that ranged from 8,000 (LA's DA office) to 15,000 and even 30,000.  By any standard, this is a disgrace of historic proportions.

According to the report, it is a combination of resistance by police, prosecutors and the court that prevents any progress in releasing these people.  The reason provided, according to the report, is that it would cause "collapse of the justice system".  A reason found elsewhere - "The total number of these people still falls under the 5% of total prisoners, which is estimated to the error level seen in many justice systems".

It took much more effort than anticipated, but the petition is up and running.  People of good will  everywhere are asked to review and add a signature:

The petition calls for the appointment of a Special Counsel to restore the basic Common Law and First Amendment right for access to court records in LA.  That right is denied to all the 10 millions that the court claims to serve for some quarter century!

The origins of such rights are in the late middle ages, with emergence of the first Books of Court.  And such book evolved over the centuries to become the central instrument in the safeguard of the integrity of the courts.   The adamant refusal of the LA Superior Court to allow access to the data, speaks for itself...

Yet to be created is a reasonable excuse for an honest court to conceal its own books from the public.  But the LA Superior Court denies that access with no reason at all.  The response received from the court, in and of itself, regardless of its content,  is likely to be found in violation of the law, upon review by a competent court -

"Sustain is privileged - for the court only"

Such resopnse demonstrated in fact an unpublished Local Rule of Court, which are forbidden by law.  But in the LA Superior Court there are many, while the published Rules of Court are obsolete.




We congratulate President Obama for his decision, and all those who joined in efforts to bring the detentions at Guantanamo Bay to an end. Now it is time to apply the same standards at home - in LA, where the number of the falsely imprisoned people is estimated at 10,000. Such figure includes only those whose cases were shown in Rampart investigations, a decade ago, to be based on framing or confessions extracted through torture, and are also likely to be racially biased, reflecting conduct typical of “repressive dictatorships”, and a disgrace of historic proportions.


President Obama – if you allow it to stay – you will own it! 

Large scale abuses of civil rights in LA were recognized already a decade ago, but the Overseer appointed in 2001, is ineffective. Countrywide, which led this country into the sub-prime debacle is based here as well, and Countrywide's much publicized investigation by the FBI must be deemed deliberately aimless, while the company is still far from compliance, while the waive of foreclosures is growing, leading to looting of homeowners everywhere. At the bottom of it all, is widespread corruption of the LA Superior Court, overlooked for decades, crippling government here.


These problems can and must be effectively addressed at the federal level with a simple measure: A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO IMMEDIATELY RESTORE THE RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO PUBLIC COURT RECORDS.


Abuse of such rights for the past quarter century by the LA courts is a disgrace on its own. Restoring the access will empower the public, disable wrongdoing at the courts, flag judges that need to be noticed, and allow civil rights organizations to end the false imprisonments through wholesale writs of Habeas Corpus. We also hope it will make the LA Overseer, crippled by denial of access to records, more effective as well. Finally – by eliminating the FBI’s inexplicable engagement in covering up court corruption we hope it will focus on performing its duties in restoring the integrity of financial institutions.


Such problems have been ignored for decades - with disastrous effects. A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO RESTORE THE RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO PUBLIC COURT RECORDS IN LA IS LONG OVERDUE.