Saturday, December 05, 2009


Finally found some free time to calculate an approximation of the number of criminal acts forgiven by California Senate Bill SBX2-11 concerning payments received by state superior court judges from county supervisors: 

Wikipedia reports that there are presently 431 judges in LA County, and 140 Commissioners.

          571       LA Judges / Commissioners receiving payments
x          12       Payments per year

 x         22       Number of years (since early 1988*)

 x          6       Number of persons involved per payment 
   904,464          (1 recipient, 5 supervisors authorizing each)

 x          3       Number of acts per payment (bribery?,
2,713,392          misappropriation of funds?, obstruction of justice?)

That's almost . THREE . MILLION . FELONIES . ... we could be talking about here ... just in LA County alone.

At his State of the Judiciary speech in September 2009, Ronald George mentioned that there are “more than 1600” California judges who’ve agreed to the one-day-per-month salary waiver (for which they had about a 98% sign-up rate) during the budget “crisis”.  Therefore, there are approx. 1,632 judges in California.

If the same ratio of judges to commissioners in LA County applies across the state (33%), we have a total of about 528 commissioners in the state.

Now we must subtract the judges and commissioners in San Francisco County, Mendocino County, and Yolo County who’ve never received any payments.  The 2009 Court Statistics Report (pg 42) states that there are a total of 92 judges and commissioners in those counties.  (70 judges and commissioners reported for San Francisco County seems awfully low.)

Back to the math:

      1,632        Estimated total number of California judges
+       528        Commissioners

-         92        San Fran / Mendocino / Yolo judiciary

x        12          Payments per year

x         22         Number of years (since early 1988*)

x           6         Number of persons involved per payment  
3,275,712           (1 recipient, 5 supervisors authorizing each)

x           3         Number of crimes per payment (bribery?,
9,827,136           misappropriation of funds?, obstruction of justice?)

That's almost . TEN . MILLION . FELONIES .

We also really have to wonder if the following, who’ve refused to help in any way, have been knowingly aiding and abetting the payment scheme:

* CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who signed off on SBX2-11)
* CA Attorney General Jerry Brown (gubernatorial candidate)
* CA Fair Political Practices Commission                           
* CA Commission on Judicial Performance (ordered by Jerry Brown to cease investigation)
* American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (CEO married to 9th Circuit Judge Reinhardt)
* Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), state supreme courts  (colleagues of Ronald M. George, Chief Justice of CA Supreme Court, co-author of SBX2-11)

* Unconfirmed and not included are possible payments made as far back as early 1987.

UPDATE:  Retired Perdue Mathematics Professor Emeritus Daniel H. Gottlieb's review and finding of the above calculation as an acceptable approximation is welcome news ... despite the fact that it has substantiated our fears of the magnitude of the situation. 

UPDATE:  A number of our readers have asked whether the judges who failed to disclose the payments on the mandatory financial disclosure forms (Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests) acted legally.  Many are also questioning whether the payments were paid as taxable income to the judges.  Due to the sheer volume of inquiries on these subjects, we will endeavor to determine the answers as soon as possible.  Stay tuned.

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