From the April 2000 Idaho Observer:


J.A.I.L. is the Answer

by Hari Heath

Our criminal court system is all too often just that -- criminal. Routinely, people who do no harm to another get sent to jail and fined. Their property may be taken under some cloak of authority. Their children sometimes are confiscated “to protect them.” The “crimes” they are convicted of, may be manufactured to protect someone “in the system,” or to “enforce” a political prosecution. And who's gonna stop a judge from committing criminal acts from the bench? Another judge?

“Absolute Immunity” they claim. Or so the judges have legislated for themselves by “doctrine.” They can do whatever they want, with impunity. And often they do. By cleverly short circuiting constitutional protections, they have become a law unto themselves. Keeping enforcement of their transgressions “in house,” with mandatory membership for all in the bar associations, our judiciary is often more criminal than the people paraded before them in handcuffs.

When a judicial misconduct complaint is filed against a judge, who is going to hear and decide the remedy for the misconduct? A fellow judge and bar association member?

Idaho's Chief Federal District Judge Edward J. Lodge is a stellar example of a corrupt judicial officer and the failure of our present remedies to have any useful effect. Over 400 judicial misconduct complaints (28 USC 372c) have been filed against Lodge with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, yet Lodge is still on the bench and no action has been taken to remedy those complaints from the citizens he has maligned.

If you try to complain to a grand jury about criminal misconduct of a judicial officer, who will control your access? A prosecutor holds the gate key to the grand jury. Idaho Code 19-4101 provides a method for removing officials for willful, corrupt misconduct of office. It requires accessing the grand jury. Can you get past the bar association members who control the access to the grand jury?

Can you complain to the attorney general about criminal misconduct and get relief? More than likely you will be opposed, rather than assisted by the attorney general. When our rights or property have been plundered away by corrupt judicial officers and civil process fails to provide any remedy, what's the people's solution?

J. A. I. L. -- the Judicial Accountability and Integrity Law

Begun in California as an effort by Ron Branson to put an initiative on the ballot creating a special citizen friendly remedy to the now rampant judicial corruption, the “Jail4Judges” movement is now spreading like a fire in dry brush. In a campaign using e-mail and the internet, Jail4Judges is promoting a sound, well thought out method to return control of the third branch of the government to the people.

The basic principle of the J.A.I.L. initiative is to create special grand juries to investigate the corrupt acts of judicial officers. These grand juries would provide citizens a direct access to an effective remedy for judicial corruption. These grand juries would have the power to indict, and provide for the trial, conviction and sentencing of judicial officers when it can be proven that the judicial officers committed acts of willful corruption. This takes the control of these types of proceedings away from the brethren of the bench, and places it in special citizen juries. Several other states including Washington, Montana and Georgia are beginning their own J.A.I.L. initiatives or legislation. There is an effort by Representative John Duncan to introduce federal J.A.I.L. legislation in Congress. Representative Duncan has forwarded the J.A.I.L. Accountability Bill to Congressman Henry Hyde, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. If passed, it will create a unique new remedy to effectively deal with those members of the federal judiciary who think they are the law -- the Constitution and people's rights be damned.

Nobody's immunity should be absolute

The J.A.I.L. legislation would also eliminate the “absolute immunity” that our modern day judiciary has manufactured for itself by “judicial legislation” known as doctrines. Under this cloak of “absolute immunity,” willful judicial corruption has flourished to epidemic proportions. Judges, of course, need a certain amount of immunity from litigation so that they may properly perform their job. The proposed federal J.A.I.L. legislation recognizes the need for a limited immunity and provides for it by stating that the intent is, “preserving the purpose of protecting judges from frivolous and harassing actions, no immunity shielding a federal judge shall be construed to extend to any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitution of these United States, all violations of which shall constitute bad behavior.”

The Federal Constitution at Article III provides that “...judges...shall hold their office during good behavior...”. The J.A.I.L. legislation defines the conduct which constitutes bad behavior, and therefore defines the behavior that will insure a judge's conviction and removal from office.

Unlike most modern legislation, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation won't become another socialistic burden on the taxpayers, and create another tax-funded program. A unique and most appropriate funding source is provided:

“Congress hereby deducts two and nine-tenths percent from the gross judicial salaries of all federal judges, which amount shall be deposited regularly into the exclusive trust account created by this statute...for its operational expenses, together with filing fees..., surcharges..., and fines imposed...”

Judicial integrity insurance

Think of it as judicial integrity insurance. We are forced by judges to pay insurance before we are permitted to travel on our highways. There are many other forms of work-related insurance obligations in today's world. Wouldn't our judges be willing to pay less than three percent of their already abundant salary to insure the integrity of their profession? As scandal after scandal of court corruption continues to degrade the public esteem of their offices, is less than three percent too much to ask? Instead of the token payment most jurors receive today for their service, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation provides ample compensation for their service: “Each juror shall receive a salary commensurate to fifty percent of a federal district judge prorated according to the number of days actually served.”

As proposed, jurors would serve a one-year term. Jury membership shall “not include elected and appointed officials, members of the Bar, judges (active or retired) judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment or parole from a conviction of a felonious crime against persons.”

A majority 13 jurors shall determine any matter. Special federal grand jury files shall always remain public record following their final determination. The Special Federal Grand Jury may determine “on an objective standard, whether a civil suit against a federal judge would be frivolous and harassing, or fall within the exclusions of immunity set forth herein.”

The Special Federal Grand Jury may also find probable cause and indict a federal judge except where double jeopardy applies. To prevent the usual protection federal judges receive by the assistance of an army of U.S. Attorneys who normally defend them at public expense, the federal J.A.I.L. legislation would require that: “No federal judge complained of, or sued civilly by a complainant pursuant to this statute, shall be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed counsel, nor shall any federal judge be reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained under this statute.”

The Special Federal Grand Jury, as proposed, could also impanel special trial jurors who would have “power to judge both law and fact” and select a “non-governmental” special prosecutor and a federal judge to try a criminal case of criminal conduct on the part of any federal judge once a finding of probable cause has been made.

J.A.I.L.s across America

The J.A.I.L. movement is taking off across the nation. The Constitution Party of Montana is the host for J.A.I.L. in Montana. Michael Heit is their Chairman and has sent the Montana version of J.A.I.L. to two constitutional scholars who are reviewing it for its constitutionality, so it will pass any legal challenges once it is enacted. Mr. Heit is running for a seat in the Legislature and plans to introduce the J.A.I.L. Bill in the next session.

The Constitution Party of Montana can be reached at: http://www.ahpom.org

The Georgia J.A.I.L. Chapter has recently formed to promote successful J.A.I.L. legislation. Elder Hale of the Georgia Chapter, through his friend and Georgia State Representative Brian Joyce, plans to introduce J.A.I.L. legislation in Georgia. He can be contacted at: elder@rangeguid.net

Ron Branson, the originator of the J.A.I.L. concept, can be contacted at: jail4judges@mindspring.com. He operates an e-mail network which regularly diseminates tales of tyranny -- why we need Jail4Judges -- as well as updates on the progress of the J.A.I.L. movement. You may subscribe/unsubscribe to his network at that email address or visit the Jail4Judges web site at: http://www.jail4judges.org

Are you tired of judges who refuse assent to law, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good? Do you want to end the closed-circuit protection racket of the Idaho Bar Association and its control over the third branch of government? It's time for Idaho to implement a solution to judicial corruption. Anyone interested in forming an Idaho J.A.I.L. Chapter may contact me at: brushfire@dmi.net or the address in the BRUSHFIRE banner above.

Let's create the remedy for criminal courts. J.A.I.L. is the answer!