No Justice No Peace by Mark Adams, Video Speech
National Judicial Reform Conference
Unfairness and Abuse of Process as Evidence of Judicial Misconduct
No Justice, No Peace
1. I’m Mark Adams. First, I want to thank Zena Crenshaw for her efforts to form the National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, for her efforts to put this Judicial Reform Conference together, for her efforts to expose the problems in our court system and push for reforms, and for inviting me to speak at this conference. Also, I want to thank Rice University for hosting the conference, and I want to thank the other speakers who have the courage and integrity to speak out about the problems with our court system and to push for necessary and long overdue reforms, reforms that are absolutely necessary if we truly want liberty and justice for all in America.
2. Finally, I want to thank those of you who took the time to attend this Judicial Reform Conference and those who are taking the time to watch this video. I truly appreciate your interest in learning about your rights, about our court system, and about the things that you can do to help restore justice in America.
3. I’m an attorney from Florida. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of South Florida with a major in Finance and a minor in Economics. I earned my law degree and my MBA at the University of Florida. They not only have great sports programs. The University of Florida’s law school is consistently ranked as one of the best public law schools in the United States, and it’s also considered to have one of the best public business schools in our country. While earning my MBA, I worked as a teaching assistant in the Economics Department, one of the most important disciplines to be educated in.
4. Some of you may know me from my work on election reform or on media reform. These go hand in hand with judicial reform because if our votes are not counted accurately, then we have no power to elect leaders who will act in the public’s best interest to ensure a just court system, and if the cartel that controls the media in our country will not expose election fraud and will not expose judicial corruption, then that cartel needs to be broken up or we need to turn to new, independent, and more trustworthy news sources.
5. Our country’s Founders realized that a free flow of information is necessary to preserve democracy. This is why they protected freedom of speech and the press, and why they required public trials. They understood that the public needs to know what our government is doing. They knew that an informed and empowered public was the only way to prevent tyranny and protect liberty and justice.
6. Most of us have heard the saying, no justice, no peace. In fact, many of you have probably chanted that a rally. Some may think that it’s a threat, but it’s not. It’s the truth. Without justice, there can be no peace.
7. The Florida Supreme Court has said that if a man cannot find justice in the courts, he is likely to seek justice in the streets. However, vigilante justice is just one of the problems caused by a failure to find justice in the courts.
8. Without justice, there is no peace, because at any moment your life can be turned upside down. At any moment, your job, your property, and even your children, can be taken away. Your only choices are to fight back, and quite possibly lose everything, even your life, or give the man with the power whatever he wants. Without justice, you cannot find peace, unless you are a member of one of the privileged classes, and even then, you have to worry about crossing paths with someone with greater privileges.
9. Without a court system that will protect your rights and give you the same treatment that it gives every person, you have no rights and no justice. If the court system gives some people special treatment and you end up crossing paths with someone from one of the privileged classes, then they win and you lose. If the law is not applied equally, it’s not fair or just. When the law is not applied equally, there is injustice, there is tyranny and oppression. Without justice, there is no peace. There is anarchy.
10. Many leading economists believe that America’s justice system is one of the main reasons why our country grew so much more quickly than others and came to be so prosperous. Of course, there has always been injustice in America, but our system was more just than others, and that is what encouraged Americans to invest time, effort, and financial resources in economic endeavors. They made these investments because they felt that their investments would be protected and they could reap the benefits.
11. However, those who suffer from an unjust government do not have the same incentive to make the investments that lead to a better life because they know that at any moment their investment can be unjustly taken from them. Our Founders understood this, too. They had seen what could happen when people in government had too much power. They knew that it would lead to abuses, and that the abuse did not just hurt the people who lost their property or their liberty. They knew that it hurt everyone. This is why they tried to put a system in place that would ensure that people were treated equally and fairly.
12. Our Founders designed our system of government to try to protect us from abuses of power. They had experienced tyranny where the king, his judges, and his ministers could change the law at their whim, and they wanted to design our system to protect us from tyranny, both that of a dictator or king and that of the majority. To do this, they designed a system of checks and balances which includes the three branches of government, the press, and the public through elections, the right to assemble, the right to freedom of speech, the right to petition for a redress of grievances, and through jury service.
13. Our Founders intended to continue the protections afforded by the grand jury. The Fifth Amendment requires the government to present evidence showing probable cause to convince a grand jury to issue an indictment before charging someone with a capital or infamous crime which is also known as a felony. However, the Fifth Amendment has since been interpreted as only requiring the Federal government to seek grand jury indictments.
14. When our Constitution was ratified, the public prosecutor as we now know it did not exist. If your cattle were stolen and you learned who did it, you petitioned the court for a redress of grievances, and the court summoned a grand jury to hear you present evidence that your cattle were stolen and who did it. If the grand jury found that you presented evidence showing probable cause that a crime was committed by a certain person, they would issue an indictment which allowed you to prosecute the wrongdoer in a criminal trial.
15. Our Founders intended to protect a citizen’s right to petition for a redress of grievances so that you could present evidence of criminal conduct to a grand jury. Imagine, if you could show a grand jury that a judge ignored the law or the facts to rule in favor of the opposing party. Do you think that a grand jury would find probable cause that the judge had been bribed? Would you?
16. Unfortunately, your Constitutional right to present evidence to a Federal grand jury was taken away in 1946 when the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure first provided that only a United States attorney could present evidence to a Federal grand jury. This important right still exists in a few states, but it’s not taught in schools, even law schools, and therefore, it’s rarely used. Just take a moment and imagine how quickly justice could be restored if a judge had to fear being indicted if he ignored the law and threw a case.
17. Our Founders provided in Article 3, § 2 and in Sixth Amendment, that all criminal prosecutions shall be tried by an impartial jury, and they gave us a right to a jury trial in civil cases. They intended that the jury decide both what version of the evidence was to be believed and whether the law which the parties were asking to be applied was just. The Founders envisioned the jury to be the ultimate check on the power of the state and the ultimate protection against injustice.
18. As Patrick Henry stated, “Why do we love this trial by jury? Because it prevents the hand of oppression from cutting you off. This gives me comfort, that as long as I have existence, my neighbors will protect me.” Alexander Hamilton said that juries make bribery more difficult because there is always more time and better opportunity to tamper with a standing body of judges than there is to tamper with a jury summoned for a trial. However, the jury’s role has been undermined, because now, judges routinely tell jurors that they have to follow the law as explained to them by the judge, and the United States Supreme Court has said that you are not entitled to a jury trial unless you are charged with a felony.
19. Our Founders required public trials so that they public would know if a judge was acting improperly. They protected freedom of the press so that the press would inform the public of government wrongdoing. They understood that if a judge was subject to public scrutiny, the judge would be less likely to act improperly for fear of being shunned by his neighbors. Now, there is much less public scrutiny because Federal judges and most state judges live in homes with undisclosed addresses, and cameras are not allowed by court rules in Federal courts and in many state courts so the public doesn’t get to see what’s going on unless they take the time and effort to go watch a hearing or a trial.
20. So, how do you know if a judge has acted unfairly or has engaged in misconduct? You may feel that a court ruling did not seem fair or know that it was contrary to the facts or the law, but how do you know whether or not the judge engaged in misconduct? What is evidence of judicial misconduct? How are judges supposed to act?
21. The Code of Conduct for United States Judges provides that judges should comply with the law, as well as the provisions of the Code of Conduct. It states that public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary is maintained by the adherence of each judge to this responsibility, and that conversely, a violation of the Code diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and thereby does injury to the system of government under law.
22. The Code provides that a judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. It provides that a judge should not convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge, and that a judge must avoid all impropriety and even the appearance of impropriety.
23. The Code requires a judge to disqualify himself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned including instances in which the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party. It requires a judge to be faithful to and maintain professional competence in the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating it, especially when you are a judge Furthermore, the code requires a judge to give every person who is legally interested in a proceeding the full right to be heard according to law.
24. The provisions of the code require judges to act in a manner which is consistent with due process which guarantees us the right to a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal which follows the law. The codes of conduct for state court judges are very similar as they are also based on these fundamental requirements of due process.
25. Due process also requires the court to have jurisdiction to hear the type of case brought before it, requires that such subject matter jurisdiction must be invoked by a properly filed petition or complaint naming the parties to the action, and requires that process must be served in order for the court to obtain personal jurisdiction over the parties against whom relief is sought and in order to notify such parties of the lawsuit. Due process also requires that a party must have the opportunities to be represented by counsel, to have time to prepare, and to be able to call and present witnesses and evidence. Due process is also known as the fundamental fairness doctrine.
26. What is the law that a judge should follow? The supreme law is the Constitution against which all other law must be judged. Then, there are statutes and court rules, and there are cases construing them. Judges are required to follow the statutes and rules and the cases construing them issued by superior courts. The code of conduct requires it, as do thousands of cases, in which superior courts have instructed the lower courts to follow the rules, the statutes, the Constitution, and the case law construing them.
27. So, what is evidence of judicial misconduct? Of course, some actions clearly violate the Code of Conduct, such as instances when a judge is caught taking a bribe. However, although judges have been caught accepting bribes, that rarely happens because they are usually not stupid enough to take money from someone who is not part of the crooked judges’ club.
28. Also, if an attorney or a party is heard bragging about bribing a judge, that should be probable cause to start a criminal investigation of them, as well as the judge. But, as you can probably imagine, our system has become so corrupt that the authorities have failed to act on even that type of evidence and even have even failed to act on documentary evidence that I have submitted showing the commission of felonies by members of Florida’s court system.
29. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the parties involved in fixing a case will not be so stupid that they will brag about their ability to improperly influence a judge or so stupid that they will leave evidence of the commission of criminal acts visible in a court file. In most cases, the only ways to determine whether judicial misconduct has occurred is by being present when the misconduct occurs or by reviewing the case file and the transcripts of the proceedings to see whether the judge has ignored the law or the facts to the point that the judge’s actions indicate a fundamental violation of due process or an abuse of process.
30. What is abuse of process? Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as improper and tortious use of a legitimately issued court process to obtain a result that is either unlawful or beyond the process' scope. However, if a court issues an order or enters a judgment against a person who is not a party to a lawsuit, and therefore, a person who the court has no jurisdiction over, can you say that such order or judgment has been legitimately issued? Of course not, and if a court does so, it’s a prime example of judicial misconduct. In fact, in Florida and many other states, if a judge issues a judgment or order against a person who is not a party to an action, the judge is personally liable for the damages flowing from such order or judgment, but Federal judges are protected from liability for such outrageous actions by the Federal doctrine of judicial immunity which of course, they created.
31. The Restatement of Torts defines abuse of process as use of a legal process against another primarily to accomplish a purpose for which it is not designed. For example, if a judge charges a person with indirect criminal contempt for filing a motion which is allowed by the rules of procedure and case law rather than paying a judgment entered against him even though he was not a party to the lawsuit, it would appear that such judge was threatening to use his power to imprison in order to extort money from someone who the judge has no jurisdiction or power over. Of course, this would also fit the definition of malicious prosecution which is the institution of a criminal or civil proceeding for an improper purpose and without probable cause. You may believe that a judge would not do the outrageous things that I just mentioned, but it has happened in cases that I have been involved in.
32. Although incidents do occur where a judge engages in conduct which indicates that such judge has acted without jurisdiction or has abused his contempt power without probable cause, most of the time the judge will not be so obvious that he is engaging in misconduct. In most cases, you will need to see whether the judge has acted in a manner which indicates that he is favoring one side by ignoring the rules or controlling precedent or is otherwise acting in a manner which is inconsistent with due process. To do so, you must review the applicable rules of procedure and the cases construing them.
33. For example, if a judge refuses to allow a party to present witnesses in his defense or refuses to allow a party’s witnesses to testify about all matters which are relevant to that party’s claims or defenses, then the judge is clearly violating the party’s right to due process and is most likely biased in favor of the opposing party. Also, if an appellate court refuses to require the lower court to comply with the rules requiring preparation of the record and also refuses to allow you to submit documents which disappeared from the record, then the appellate court is ignoring the rules of procedure and appears to be biased in favor of the opposing party.
34. So, if a judge has acted in a manner which has unfairly deprived you of due process, what can you do? You could report it to the appropriate authorities in the court system, but the U. S. Supreme Court’s own study shows that over 90% of such complaints are dismissed without any investigation and that disciplinary action is rarely taken in the few cases that are investigated.
35. In Florida, you could report it to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, but those reports are kept secret unless the Commission decides to files charges against the judge which rarely happens, and when it does, quite often, the Commission is going after a judge who rocked the boat by exposing improper conduct by another judge. Yes, fortunately, there are judges who have integrity and who will follow the law, but if you’re not in one of their courtrooms, you’ll be lucky if you find justice.
36. Unfortunately, these commissions are made up of judges, so having them protecting the integrity of our court system is about as successful as having the fox watch the hen house, and in Florida, it’s even worse, because the watching is done in the dark, hidden from public view.
37. You could report judicial misconduct to law enforcement, like the FBI or the prosecuting attorney, but although action is occasionally taken against corrupt judges, it’s rare.
38. You could write your Congressional representatives and Senators, but Congress has rarely taken action to remove a Federal judge. You could write your state legislators, but that also rarely results in any action being taken.
39. You could tell the press, but they almost never report on judicial misconduct unless it involves drunkenness or sexual misconduct or unless too many people know about it for the press to ignore it.
40. You could tell your friends, your family, your coworkers, and those in your church, but you will probably find that many of them are scared to face the truth because they don’t want to believe that it could happen to them. Of course, some will be supportive rather than running away, but what can they really do that can help? They can show up for hearings because judges feel more uncomfortable ignoring the law and the facts when a crowd is watching. They can attend a rally at the courthouse which may draw some media attention.
41. Of course, if your state allows you to present evidence to a grand jury, then you should put your evidence of misconduct together and try to get an indictment although since this is a route that it rarely taken, you will still be fighting an uphill battle.
42. When you are being railroaded, it’s really almost too late to do much other than make it as difficult as possible to get run over. So, if you really want justice, you need to act now.
43. You can fight to restore your right to petition for a redress of grievances to a grand jury.
44. You can fight to restore your right to a jury trial in all cases because far too many judges have proven that they are untrustworthy.
45. You can fight to have more public oversight of the judiciary by requiring information on judges’ homes and finances to be made public and by requiring video cameras to be allowed in the courts.
46. You can push to make complaints about judges public record, available to all to see on the internet, and to have those complaints reviewed either by a grand jury or at the least, by a committee that is not made up solely of judges and attorneys.
47. You can take away the power of bar associations to take actions against attorneys without a jury trial.
48. You can support the National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, the Full Informed Jury Association, and the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, and help spread the truth about the problems with our court system. You can contact We The People or the Lawmen to see if they have a court watchers group in your area, and if not, you can start one for your area. You can ask those seeking office whether they support judicial reforms, and you can support the ones who are speaking out about problems with our court system.
49. We have to work together to restore justice in America. Without all of our efforts to raise awareness about these serious problems, our court system is doomed to move further down the path towards a third world system, and we and our children are doomed to suffer the dire consequences which flow from a corrupt court system which include a declining standard of living and increasing crime and violence, consequences which we are already experiencing.
50. Remember, without justice, there can be no peace. If you want peace, take action to restore justice, and do it now.
I look forward to working with you in this fight, and I truly believe that if we work together, we can get justice in America.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
No Justice No Peace by Mark Adams, Video Speech