Monday, November 30, 2009

SUPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT: L.A. County Judges to Lose Payments From County to Avoid Conflicts

Fox Business News has picked up Full Disclosure Network's scoop of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's surprise announcement that LA County would no longer pay "new" judges the illegal $57,000 yearly bonus.

LA Superior Court judges, who are employees of the state, not the county, have been receiving the payments since the late 1980s, but they were not challenged until many years later because they had successfully been kept secret.  The late-2008 decision in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles confirmed that the payments were unconstitutional, but rather than conform their illegal practices, the judges managed to get a bill snuck through the California Legislature in February that forgave their crimes and made the payments "legal".  (See Senate Bill SBX2-11.)

Antonovich's statement referenced the "now legal" payments, a surprising tacit admission that they had been, in fact, illegal.

Antonovich made the statement in response to a question about continuing public concern over the payments and the conflicts created in cases where Los Angeles County has been and is a party.

Will the new policy be applied to judges winning re-election?  Will those currently on the bench be yanked back to reality when they receive their legal and still generous salaries of $172,000 a year?  Will they (properly) blame the Supervisors for not informing them of the truth of the situation?

Time will tell.

Update:  Whoa!

It seems that Full Disclosure Network's story concerning the Antonovich statement has caught the interest of:

Fox Business News
ABC Fresno

and many others.  Yet from the Los Angeles Times, we hear ... *crickets*.

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