Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Judicial Corruption in the Deep South

My research indicates that it is very rare for the press to break a story about judicial corruption, at either the state or federal level. Such cases almost always come to light only when the FBI gets involved and an investigation is made public.

Why is that? My guess is that reporters and editors are intimidated by judges, and judges and lawyers do their best to make the whole legal process seem baffling. Most media outlets don't want to invest the time and effort it takes to truly understand and uncover judicial corruption. Better to wait for the feds to do something and bring you a press release.

So again, you see the critical role of federal law enforcement in investigating and punishing rogue state judges. But we live in a time when the Bush Department of Justice is under investigation itself, for apparently practicing a blatant form of selective prosecution.

Does that mean some cases of judicial corruption will be investigated while others will be ignored? Does that mean such decisions will be based largely on political considerations? Does that mean that Republican judges, such as the ones I've encountered, can violate their oath (and federal law) with impunity without any fear of being punished? Does that mean Democratic judges, who may or may not have broken the law, are more likely to draw scrutiny?

Let's take a look at the Deep South and some recent or ongoing investigations/prosecutions of corrupt judges in state courts:

* First there is the Mississippi case we've noted several times involving attorney Paul Minor and judges John Whitfield and Wes Teel. Sentencing came down in the case about 10 days ago.

* An investigation of alleged judicial corruption was conducted for more than four years in Tampa, Florida. The case was closed last fall.

* Operation Wrinkled Robe has produced numerous guilty pleas in New Orleans, Louisiana.

* An ongoing bribery investigation in El Paso, Texas, has produced a guilty plea from at least one judge.

* A judge in Edinburg, Texas, committed suicide in 2005 amidst an FBI corruption probe.

You see that judicial corruption is not a taboo topic for the Bush Justice Department. It seems to prosecute some cases with gusto. But what is the difference between these cases and my case that Alice Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, has so vigorously ignored?

Well, here's what I think: My case involves all Republican judges, who are all white and almost all male. And the case began in a suburban/rural jurisdiction.

I would invite readers to study the cases noted above and see if you discern a pattern to the prosecutions. See if you notice characteristics in these cases that are different from those present in the Legal Schnauzer case.

It might help to check a recent post from Scott Horton of Harper's, about a Wisconsin prosecutor with a history of going after people who fit a certain profile--Democrats from minority groups and inner cities--while largely ignoring potential wrongdoers from outside that profile.

Is that what's going on in these recent cases from the Deep South? I can't say for sure. I certainly support the prosecution of public officials who truly violate federal law, regardless of political affiliation. And I suspect judicial corruption is a bipartisan problem.

But a glance at recent judicial-corruption cases in the Deep South reveals some disturbing trends. And you learn even more when you look closely at a particular case. To do that, we will turn west to our neighbors in Mississippi.


Anonymous said...

Dear Legal Schnauzer: Keep it up. You are saying what many lawyers, law students, bar applicants and paralegals wish to say, but can't due to the ethics rules.

Anonymous said...

Dear Legal Schnauzer, I suppose it is easier to alledge that there is judicial wrongdoing in Alabama, than to actually provide some evidence this exists. Your whining grows tiresome. Put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Legal guy, how are the folks at AMEX treating you these days?

Barbara Ann Jackson said...

re: Contributions to Judges; Real Estate Fraud and Collusion

Hopefully, the upcoming Tulane Law Review which shall divulge facts about campaign contributions swaying judges' decisions will set off a probe of Louisiana's Judiciary. It goes without saying that a large proportion of Louisiana supreme court cases come from the lower courts. And, it also goes without saying that just as campaign contributions can (perhaps do) sway Louisiana supreme court justices, contributions can also sway lower judges' rulings.

Although it might be hard to prove whether contributions or bribes or perks influence judges’ decisions, IT IS NOT HARD to prove facts of manifest unfair, contrary-to-law rulings which occur far too often in Louisiana judges’ courtrooms! Further, it is glaring that some judges are clueless about jurisprudence, some are inept, and some judges deliberately issue unjust rulings for favored litigant(s).

Real estate foreclosures are predatory lenders' bonanzas because foreclosures enable PROPERTY FLIPPING, and flipping enables misleading investors concerning the housing market. In States like Louisiana, because Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac benefit from fraudulent foreclosures, ANY representation about $$$ billion dollar losses due to people defaulting on mortgages should be weighed against needless legal fee payments to law firms which outmaneuver -and even persecute people who file court proceedings in opposition to fraudulent foreclosures and repossessions. In fact, it is no surprise that Freddie Mac's history of unlawful activities which have resulted in millions of dollars in fines, such as the $3.8 million dollar fine that Freddie Mac paid for making illegal campaign contributions elsewhere, has relevance to Louisiana's pervasive real estates and mortgage frauds.

Also, I recall the incredibly appalling views of Louisiana’s Justice Jeannette Knoll’s dissenting opinion about removing former judge Wendell Miller from the bench which seemed full of misplaced sympathy for Miller’s loss of job, and disregard for people ill-affected because of Miller’s proven lack of judicial ethics, including having sex in his chambers with another man’s wife. Knoll seemed to unable to conceptualize the bribes and favors Miller had to be under compulsion to disseminate –and accommodate for others to commit malfeasance while covering for Miller, as well as hush money and favors and abusing his public position. The fact that Miller’s escapades were even reported in the news, and a lawsuit award paid after Miller became sued was not enough for Justice Knoll to conclude that Miller’s days as a judge should have been history long ago.

Yet, whether cronyism, or contributions or whatever, the Federal as well as the State court systems in Louisiana appear to exist to gratify judges and NOT to facilitate justice. (Also see links concerning the long overdue call to impeach federal Judge Thomas Porteous.)

Also, unfortunately, niceties of colleague courtesy hinders attorneys from stating disparaging facts pertaining to fellow attorneys, even when such facts are irrefutably true. As such, wiggle room helps guilty lawyers and judges obfuscate activities of judicial collusion. But, res ipsa loquitur facts and evidence of court connivance cannot, nor should not be prettied up -especially when wiggle room steers away from exposure of wrongdoing, and steers away from corrective measures.

But even more critical, is that people and businesses have been irreparably harmed because of prejudiced, unjust judicial rulings. For myself, and people like me, I vigorously raise my voice and my pen; and name names –along with what they did / do on my website! (If Louisiana had had an Attorney General other than former Charles Foti, a lot misfeasance would have been revealed since Consumer Law violations and White Collar crimes are rampant in this State.) At any rate, the Louisiana Judiciary may look the other way, and the supreme court of Louisiana may continue its biased and atrocious way of doing things, but, even as it occurred for Senator David Vitter, the truth will continue to come out.

Consistent with Louisiana’s infamous corruption title– the court systems of Louisiana as a whole is a despicable regime. I personally believe that –as long as corruption, judicial tyranny, and cronyism remains alive and well here –rather than pursue a Louisiana law degree, a person is better off bagging groceries at a friendly local grocer.

Unequivocal, prima facie facts and evidence of judicial corruption is posted in plain view at www.lawgrace.org. In fact, the following are links to certain postings which corroborate my accusations about the Civil court systems in Louisiana.
Supreme Court of Louisiana Writ Application

Odor of Judicial Corruption / Cronyims in Louisiana 4th Circuit

Federal Judges' Pay Raise; New Orleans Federal Judiciary Call To Impeach

Mortgage Mess, Foreclosure Fraud and Impediments to Justice

United States Chief Justice Roberts, Call to Impeach Judge Thomas Porteous

New Orleans’ Corruption Watchdog? Inspector General?

Judicial Corruption, Deception, Attorneys Brett Furr, Herschel Adcock, Matthew Mullins, Freddie Mac, Real Estate Flipping, etc.

2006O2361 In RE: Judge Wendell R. Miller

Dangerous Clerk of Court, Dale Atkins: Killing Us Softly

Anatomy of Judicial Corruption, Motion for Reinstatement

Barbara Ann Jackson (Katrina displaced from New Orleans)