10. The Federal Reserve Act
Allowing a central bank to print un-backed paper money in any amount is counterfeiting, by definition. And counterfeiting is a form of theft, because it allows those with the printing press to transfer real wealth away from those who earned it, and into the hands of themselves and their close friends. For a more detailed explanation, please see The Origin of Money and How It Was Stolen From You.
The Fed should be abolished. Money and banking should be returned to the private sector. Among many other cruelties, the Fed can finance Title IV D funding of the kidnapping and extortion racket known as Child Welfare and Dependency Courts. Truly, the Federal Reserve could be #1 on the list, but we’ve pushed it down to # 10 because most everybody already knows about it.
9. Unpublished Appeal Court Opinions
Any time a Court of Appeal rules on a case, its opinion becomes the law. Such “Case law” may be cited in a new case to show how that case is like the earlier one, and why the Court should rule the same way now. Except, nowadays, the vast majority of Appellate Opinions are issued as “unpublished”, meaning we are not allowed to cite the case. Think about it. If the Opinion is valid, then why would we not want it published? And if the Opinion is not valid, why should we allow it to happen in the first place?
All Appeal Court Opinions must be published. If the result is “conflicting” laws, good. It will shine a spotlight on the problems, and hasten needed reform.
8. Contempt of Court is Non-Appealable
Contempt of Court is a finding by a judge that a person “willfully” violated a court order. Some court orders are valid, and should be obeyed. And a court needs a mechanism to enforce them. But there are severe problems with the present system.
It is common for Family Court judges to illegally order parties not to talk about their case on social media, or even to their own children. Restraining orders can issue that say the same thing. Violate that, and you can go to jail. Like Judge Bruce Mills sent Joe Sweeney to jail for posting facts about his divorce from Keri Evilsizor.
On the other hand, judges will turn right around and allow some people to get away with violating court orders, for example raiding a trust fund. Like Judge Gregory Weingart let Clair Marlo get away with taking $225,000 cash from a disputed property in the now-infamous Baker v. Baker case.
Contempt is found when it shouldn’t be, and not found when it should be. Either way there is nothing that can be done, because Contempt orders are non-appealable. Yes, you can file a Writ, but those are almost always denied, and the Appeal Court doesn’t even have to give you a reason why. Writs just come back saying “denied”.
7. “Temporary” Child Custody Orders
The right to family unity is a fundamental constitutional right. Constitutional rights cannot be taken away without due process. Under any sane legal system, a parent has a right to frequent contact with their child unless and until that parent is convicted of committing a crime against that child. Not accused. Convicted.
It is extremely common in Family Court for the judge to award ‘temporary” sole custody to one parent, and either no visitation, or only monitored visitation to the other parent, all upon allegations only. Getting to a “final” custody order often takes years of expensive litigation, and is never final anyway, as custody is always modifiable. The fight is never over. None of this is constitutional, and none of it makes any sense for a society that values family, which ours no longer does.
No judge has any right to make any order besides 50-50 joint custody until there is a trial finding that a parent did something really bad.
6. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders for Non-Threatening Speech
California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (“DVPA”), defines “abuse” to include "disturbing the peace", which case law interprets to mean “any conduct that destroys the mental or emotional calm” of the other person. This has resulted in cases where a 3 -year restraining order issued solely on the basis of man forwarding the wife’s text messages to her parents, or another man winning a copyright infringement case against his ex-wife and discussing it on a blog, or another man posting pictures of visiting his children on Facebook after the Judge ordered him “not to discuss the divorce with the children”.
Non-threatening speech is not violence. These Family Law DVRO are being used as strategic weapons in property and custody disputes. It’s wrong. It’s hurtful, most of all to the children, who are used as both a weapon and a shield. It must stop.
5. "Dispensing with" Notice
Notice is a fundamental part of Due Process. California’s Probate and Family Codes contain rules saying that on a hearing for Temporary Guardianship of a Child, Notice requirement may be done away with for “good cause”. What constitutes “good cause” ? It is simply a checkbox on a standard form, and no explanation is required.
In one case, a judge awarded temporary guardianship of a child at an unnoticed, ex parte hearing. That same day they took the child away from the legally married, biological parents, who had no idea the hearing had taken place. This happened 5 days after DCFS cleared the father of the one (1) vague allegation that he had “inappropriately touched” the child 4 years prior.
Another case involved an estranged husband leaving his wife and son in Canada, and somehow getting a judge in Los Angeles to grant an ex parte custody award based on a provably false allegation that his estranged wife had “kidnapped” the child. In fact, the family had been living in Canada for 3 years. In contradiction to the Hague Convention, the man somehow got U.S. officials to cross the border and seize the child, and mother has never seen him since.
No judge should be allowed to conduct any kind of court proceeding regarding parental rights unless all parties are present.
4. Automatic Hearsay Exception for Child Welfare Reports
California Welfare and Institutions Code § 355 makes Hearsay evidence by “peace officers”, “social workers”, “health care practitioners”, and “teachers” automatically admissible as evidence, as long as it is found in a “social study” or a “report”. Not only is it admissible, but the law literally says that it shall be sufficient evidence for a finding of “jurisdiction” over the children, i.e. to seize and permanently hold the children in the foster care system. This is a very profitable situation, as County agencies receive federal money under Title IV D for each child taken.
Let’s look at the Hearsay Rule and why it is important. Hearsay is an out of court statement offered for its truth. So any time a witness is testifying, and says something like, “…Joe told me Bob hit him…” that is hearsay. The witness has no knowledge of Bob hitting Joe, the Court needs Joe to testify. Wait, it gets worse.
All written declarations and reports are out-of-court statements, thus hearsay by definition. Typical social worker reports contain triple hearsay. One group of social workers writes the report, which is full of out-of-court statements relaying the out-of-court statements of other social workers and peace officers, who assert that the child made certain out-of-court statements that somebody did something wrong. That’s triple hearsay. And yet, it is not possible to cross examine any of these accusers. The Judge, who is acting as jury, will simply accept anything in a report as the truth, and "the law" backs up the judge. If that doesn’t constitute a show trial, I don't know what does.
The Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause promises that defendants have a right to cross examine accusers. This is one of the most important protections of all, and this “Accusatory Hearsay Exception” law just does away with it. Seriously.
3. All Non-Jury Court Systems
We inherited our jury trial court system from England, and it worked quite well for a long time. Any kind of case, criminal or civil, consists of a Plaintiff alleging a series of facts about the conduct of the Defendant, which if proven, add up to a violation some a particular law. The parties can dispute the facts, of course. He said, she said. Sometimes, the parties can dispute the law. In essence, the Defendant says to the Plaintiff, “So what? Even if all the facts you allege are true, it doesn’t violate any law."
According to the system of Anglo-American jurisprudence, the judge is the trier of the law, while the jury is the trier of the facts. When it comes to factual disputes, judges were NEVER supposed to decide cases. The role of the judge is to ensure a fair process, but not to decide the case. It is the jury who decides the winner and loser in a court case. The right to a jury trial in a criminal case is enshrined in the 6th Amendment, while the right to a jury trial in a civil case is found in the 7th Amendment. The fundamental right to petition the government is found in the 1st Amendment.
Over a hundred years ago, they started coming up with ideas like Family Court, Probate Court, and Child Welfare Court systems. In clear violation of the Constitution, they simply decided these would be Judge trials instead of jury trials. Gone are not only the juries, but in criminal matters – like Custody and Child Welfare cases – missing also are a whole set of procedural safeguards such as the right to an attorney, right to confront your accuser, right to see the evidence against you, right remain silent, etc.
2. The Litigation Privilege (aka the Perjury Privilege)
The Litigation Privilege holds that you cannot sue a person based on what they said in a court proceeding. Not even if it is defamatory. Not even if it cost you a fortune and you can prove it. Not even if it was a false statement, under oath about a material issue. Statements made in court are said to be “absolutely privileged”. We might as well call the Litigation Privilege what it really is – the perjury privilege.
The supposed rationale for the Litigation Privilege is that we want to encourage witnesses to come forward and testify in court cases. If every witness was worried about being sued for what they said, then many would be intimidated and afraid to come to court. The Litigation Privilege is said to “preserve the integrity of the court system”.
Do you believe that the Litigation Privilege preserves the integrity of the court system? I think the opposite. Witnesses who are telling the truth do not need to fear being sued, because, well, they are telling the truth. Just like people who tell the truth on their blogs don’t need to worry about being sued. It is liars who would be afraid to come to court and tell lies. Don’t we want liars to be afraid to lie? Why do we invite liars to testify, and how could anyone buy in to the notion that this preserves the integrity of the system? Is it any wonder that every Civil and Family Law case devolves into a cesspool of dishonesty?
1. Judicial Immunity
Judicial Immunity means you can’t sue a judge for damages. Not even if they lied. Not even if they broke the law. Not even if they injured you on purpose with actual, premeditated malice. The leading Supreme Court case on Judicial Immunity is called Stump v. Sparkman, and a review will help illustrate just what the system allows judges to get away with.
In 1971, a woman came to Judge Stump’s courtroom and Petitioned for an Order to sterilize her 15 year old daughter. The woman claimed her daughter was “somewhat retarded”. Judge Stump did not order any evidentiary hearing, and did not appoint any lawyer to represent the teenager. Rather, Judge Stump simply signed the Order. The girl was told she needed an appendectomy, and did not discover she was sterilized until years later when she got married and could not have children.
The case reached the Supreme Court in 1978. By a 5-3 decision, the High Court found that Judge Stump was immune from suit, because issuing Orders of this kind was a judicial function. Stump v. Sparkman is a landmark case that sets out the test to determine whether a judge’s action is “in the complete absence of all jurisdiction”, or merely “in excess of jurisdiction”.
The explanation for Judicial Immunity is much the same as the Litigation Privilege. Supposedly, a judge cannot do his job if he is worried that any decision he makes might be second-guessed, and subject him to liability. To this I say:
Any professional should be subject to liability if they screw up their job badly enough. If an engineer designs a structure that falls apart when the wind blows, shouldn't they be responsible? If a contractor's brand new plumbing leaks and causes significant damage, shouldn't he have to pay for it? Should we not be able to sue a surgeon if she makes a bad mistake and injures you?
Is it possible for a professional to do their job properly with the thought hanging over their head that they might be sued if they hurt you? The answer is: Yes. They had damn well better do the job right or they are going to get sued. That’s the only remedy we have, short of taking the law into our own hands. Do we want vigilante justice?
If you had no recourse against somebody who injures you, what kind of legal system even exists? And the previous examples related to accidental injuries. What about intentional injuries? Judicial Immunity protects judges even when it can be proven that they injured a person on purpose. Seriously, there is case law that says this.
No one, not even a judge, should be above the law. We want judges to be afraid of making illegal, injurious decisions. Yes, that's exactly what we want. Be afraid, the same way every professional is afraid they might hurt someone. Like most professionals, Judges should have liability insurance to cover them for negligence, but be held personally liable for fraud or other intentional torts. Why wouldn't we want judges to go to jail and pay steep restitution if it is proven they harmed somebody on purpose?
As it stands, we are not the least bit surprised that Judicial Immunity has resulted in a system that runs on bribery and corruption. From the judge’s perspective, corruption is all upside, with no downside. Judges are completely above the law. And since the decisions that judges make ARE the law, we might as well face up to this sad and disturbing conclusion:
As long as there is Judicial Immunity, there is no law.