Judge Yaffe also illegally received over $46,000 last year, and will receive over $57,000 this year, in an under-the-table deal with Los Angeles County Supervisors. Although these payments are called "judicial benefits" by the Supervisors, such payments are plainly prohibited by the California Constitution.
Even though Judge Yaffe receives money from LA County, he refuses to disqualify himself from hearing cases in which LA County is a party. In other words, LA County is paying Judge Yaffe at the same time it is a defendant in lawsuits he rules on.
Judge Yaffe knew the money he accepted was illegally given, as proven by his refusal to list that income on his mandatory financial disclosure form (Form 700), which educates parties to a lawsuit as to a judge's potential biases or influences.
Judge Yaffe was forced to admit, under oath, that, with one minor exception, he has always ruled in favor of LA County in cases in which the County was sued.
The LA County Charter states that Supervisors' salaries are to match Superior Court judges' salaries. It is believed, and Supervisors repeatedly fail to deny, that they are each also receiving the $57,000 per year, and their receipt of such payments is also illegal in that they were never presented to, much less approved by, the taxpaying public at any time over the past 20+ years that the payment scheme has been operating.
In the case of Marina Strand Colony II Homeowners Assoc. v. County of Los Angeles and Del Rey Shores Developments (principally owned and managed by Jerry B. Epstein and his wife Pat), the homeowners began petitioning in June 2007 to have an illegal vote rescinded by the Supervisors which favored redevelopment of the Del Rey Shores projects because the Epsteins had made significant campaign contributions to three Supervisors prior to their approval votes. Still, Judge Yaffe refused to overturn the vote, allowing the redevelopment to proceed, while at the same time he had received almost $100,000 from the same Supervisors, on behalf of LA County, all the while LA County was a defendant in the lawsuit.
(The County's own Litigation Cost Management Reports show that the County hardly ever loses a lawsuit when the decision can be kept from the hands of juries and the decisions and verdicts are given by these paid-for (bribed) judges instead.)
Meanwhile, attorney Richard I. Fine had spent a significant portion of his career single-handedly pursuing cases against LA County in which taxpayers had been cheated in various ways. He's managed to recover about $1 Billion Dollars that was misspent, all to the aggravation of the various powers that be. He was even able to cause the state government to close for a day when he successfully argued that the state could not continue with business as usual without an approved budget in place. This brought his name to the attention of all judges, legislators and other government officials who temporarily lost the day's pay due to their being forced to conduct business in a legal manner.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Dr. Fine has an enviable education. His career has also been one few have obtained, having served with the US Justice Department early on, then coming to Los Angeles and establishing the County's first Anti-Trust Division. A man of unyielding principle was perfectly matched to pursue the wrongs inflicted by the unprincipled.
Then Dr. Fine stumbled across the payment scheme and, long story short, in following his oath to obey, protect and defend the Constitution, sought to disqualify a commissioner (a wannabe judge who also received the illegal payments from LA County) from a case. The commissioner, however, fought tooth and nail, then took almost $2 Million Dollars from Dr. Fine's client trust account to pay for the commissioner's own lawyers in the battle. On appeal, Dr. Fine lost when his case was heard by former recipients of the same illegal payments.
(When Dr. Fine is eventually proven to be correct, hundreds of powerful people will be facing prison time and restitution of the $1 billion stolen state-wide thus far.)
In the meantime, Judicial Watch brought a case challenging the legality of the payments. In the case of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, Judicial Watch eventually won in October 2008 when the payments were found to be unconstitutional (i.e., illegal).
Following this ruling, rather than cease the payments and atone for their crimes, the guilty parties, led by CA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George, greased palms and got legislation secretly passed that audaciously granted retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution to the selfsame people who had now officially been revealed to be felons. (No reason to grant immunity if no crime had been committed, right?) The "crooks", who have collectively committed almost TEN MILLION FELONIES to date, were also granted immunity from civil liability and judicial discipline. In other words, their theft of almost a billion dollars, and the consequences to all the wronged parties to lawsuits, were simply ignored.
The new law granting the immunity, and now authorizing the payments up to a certain point in time, was labeled CA Senate Bill SBx2-11. It was illegally passed as part of the budget bill, and was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on February 20, 2009. (It is believed that Judicial Watch will be attacking this law, especially its ex post facto nature, in the near future.)
After Dr. Fine's ruinous loss to the commissioner in the long battle over his receipt of the illegal payments, Fine found himself representing homeowners in Marina del Rey who were very displeased with the County's handling of redevelopment in the Marina, an area that is supposed to be protected, and concerning land owned by County taxpayers. Dr. Fine uncovered the fact that the County had given sweetheart deals to developers which had cost taxpayers approx. $700 Million in lost revenue, revenue that would have to be made up by taxpayers who had no idea what had been going on.
As Dr. Fine fought, on behalf of area homeowners, to have the illegal redevelopment projects halted in their tracks, Epstein hired two successive presidents of the CA State Bar to represent his interests. Dr. Fine then found himself facing disbarment, and he was eventually disbarred in March 2009 for "moral turpitude" in retaliation for having revealed the criminal payment scheme, which exposed the judges' and commissioners' felonies and pulled back the sacred curtain of secrecy to reveal the complete lack of integrity that had overtaken California's judiciary like a parasitic invasion in a world with only weak antibiotics. The disbarment also resulted in Epstein's redevelopment projects proceeding unhindered.
Going back to the Marina Strand homeowners' case against LA County and Epstein, after Judge Yaffe refused to rescind the Supervisors' illegal vote approving the environmental impact report which allowed the Del Rey Shores projects to proceed, Dr. Fine knew that Judge Yaffe had been compromised and made a motion that he disqualify himself from remaining on the case. Not only did Judge Yaffe refuse, he ordered Dr. Fine to pay the County $47,000 in attorney's fees. When Dr. Fine refused, Judge Yaffe jailed him for "contempt" to "coerce" him into dropping his resistance to capitulating to Yaffe's void order.
But Fine could not comply. It's the principle of the thing. Judge Yaffe was as hard on Dr. Fine as was possible, ordering that he even by denied pencil and paper while in jail with which to draft an appeal. (How the support team managed to help Dr. Fine with these side issues is a story in itself.)
Dr. Fine has been in jail, in solitary confinement, for over a year now ... since March 4, 2009. He's lost his license to practice law (which was his only source of income), his home is being lost to foreclosure, and the consequences to his immediate family have been horrendous. This seventy-year-old champion for We the People has given everything he has to fight for the principle of due process, compelled to obey his oath and not cower in fear and avoid serving his clients' interests.
Is there an end in sight? Frankly, that doesn't seem to be the case. The appeal to the Federal District Court was denied, as was the appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Any other ruling would have exposed their own members' prior receipt of the same illegal payments before their appointments to these higher courts. Even the CA Supreme Court is heavily tainted due to five of its seven members' receipt of the payments in years past.
Recently, even the US Supreme Court, in the form of Justice Anthony Kennedy, denied Dr. Fine's simple request to be released from jail pending the outcome of his full appeal. (A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was recently filed with the Supreme Court next week.) This type of request has been granted before, but not this time. (It was requested last week that the Application for release be forwarded to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but is there any reason to expect a better outcome there? A good outcome with the full appeal? Does this corruption really extend all the way to the top?)
The law very clearly says that a judge may not sit on a case where he has received monies from one of the parties to the case. Judge Yaffe has done that many times, not just in the Marina Strand case. The law says that a judge may not "judge his own actions", yet Judge Yaffe did exactly that when he was both a witness and judge at the contempt trial. The list goes on, ad nauseum, and so does the pretense that all is well.
You see, Dr. Fine could do what they've officially commanded, which is to answer questions by the County which identify any assets. That's what he's being "coerced", officially, to do. He continues to refuse this simple request for the principle reason that to do so would have the effect of obeying a void order, even if the answers, as all involved WELL know, reveal that Dr. Fine no longer has any assets due to the criminal attacks against him, the loss of years' worth of income and the theft of rightfully earned fees.
The guilty have slowly and stupidly painted themselves into a corner, however. For example, Senate Bill SBx2-11 does not protect any Supervisor who received the payments. (It was thrown together too quickly, its genius authors failing completely to pardon those particular forms of possible embezzlement. SBx2-11 also does not protect any current aiders and abettors for their acts in furthering the payment scheme because of a nagging little technical problem: the payments are still unconstitutional. That's what $60,000 in, ahem, "lobbyist fees" will purchase, a protective umbrella that's turned out to have so many holes, its authors would be sued into bankruptcy for malpractice, had they not already given each other immunity. (Irony alert.) What has the world come to that such ridiculousness is actually reality, the same one you and I walk about in, slaves to a system populated by so many morally disturbed people.)
But perhaps the most important corner turned thus far in the Fine saga is California's capital city newspaper's editorial recognizing Fine's overlong incarceration as having developed into one of political imprisonment. After nearly a year's almost total silence on the details underlying Fine's situation, the mainstream press, lately in the form of the Sacramento Bee reporter's Dan Walter's pronouncement of his analysis of what can finally be proven as the guilty parties' desperation to avoid consequences for their criminal acts and forced repayment of the illegal "benefits".
The story of Dr. Fine's situation has finally become too big to suppress. Now, the enemy architects have, in their desperation, stupidly allowed themselves to be personally put on the financial hook for the massive damages Fine has become entitled to recover from his captors.
Whom to blame? The list includes:
Jerry Brown, current CA Attorney General and the Democrat's candidate for governor. Brown refuses to even acknowledge receipt of complaints filed concerning the judges' receipt of the illegal payments, etc., much less investigate as the laws require. It was discovered that Brown even went so far as to quash an investigation instigated by the Council on Judicial Performance, the entity responsible for disciplining judges which now questioned whether that obligation had been stripped from it by the terms of SBx2-11.
CA Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, left, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
CA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George. Former head judge in LA Superior Court at about the time the payments began. (George and his cabal of crooked judges and administrators operate in secrecy. They have refused to reveal exactly when the payments began. There can only be on reason for taking that position, making it appear that George was the co-author of the payment scheme on behalf of the judges back in the late 1980s. George is also head of the Judicial Council, the legal body which drafted SBx2-11. Expensive lobbyists were then hired to grease the necessary palms. (When challenged, the bill will certainly be struck down (assuming the issue is heard by an honest court, an occasion of considerable rarity these days), not only for its outrageous ex post facto origin, but also by reason of their failure to follow even the basic rules concerning how and when certain types of bills may be passed.)
LA County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Republican, is the only Supervisor presently on the Board whose tenure extends back to the late 80s, making him the only current member who could have co-authored the scheme on behalf of the County, committing millions in taxpayers' money for purposes the Constitution specifically forbids, and which it was discovered they clearly knew ... yet they proceeded anyway. You see, there was a memo written in Nov. 1988 on behalf of the judges requesting County Counsel's opinion of the legality of the payments. Counsel dutifully reported the two existing attorney general opinions which confirmed that the Constitution prohibited the type of payment contemplated, yet claimed that the benefits could be viewed as legal since they were to "attract and retain" supposedly higher quality judges (yet all that Los Angeles and California taxpayers have to show for it is a judicial system that is entirely corrupt from top to bottom.)
Darrell Steinberg, President of the California Senate, Democrat, was the (substitute) author of SBx2-11. (When its first author could not get enough support to pass it through committee, Steinberg was somehow induced to re-present the bill and get it passed, despite its very extraordinary contents, and while legitimate budget resolutions should have been the topic of discussion, given the massive budget crisis (caused in large part by the corruption which has become a super-parasite feeding from across the entire state's population).
US District Court Judge John F. Walter and Magistrate Judge Carla M. Woehrle. These judges and others at the federal district court have been forced to confront the fact that many of the judges in their court were previously LA County Superior Court judges who'd received the payments. If they sided with Dr. Fine against Judge Yaffe in his appeal, their own colleagues faced dire consequences. It was easier to deny Fine and pass the buck to the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, the tenet about an innocent man being falsely imprisoned being one of the greatest sins that a court can fail to correct turns out to have been fiction; there is no such ideal when the same would reveal at long last the hoax of integrity of the courts being perpetuated on the citizenry.Dr. Fine has committed no crime. And not only has he not been a "bad" citizen, he's dedicated his career to being an exemplary one. His work even eventually led to his being named as Special General Counsel for the Kingdom of Norway.
Fate, however, placed a highly principled man at the forefront of a phalanx of honest and decent citizens, We the People, while towering over him and them is all the might amassed by the state's most powerful politicians (and their developer campaign contributors, among others). The integrity of LA County's judicial system has been missing for years, stories of corruption more common than grains of sand on Venice Beach.
On the horizon are the anticipated responses to complaints filed with the UN's Human Rights Commission, the World Court, the US Senate and House Judiciary Committees, the Chinese Embassy, Russia's "Pravda" news outlet, the US Supreme Court, and other entities of sufficient heft.
Unfortunately for the families of the judges and Supervisors, it must be humiliating to be the spouse, child, parent or friend of the instigators and perpetuators of the criminal payment scheme. But said instigators and perpetuators have brought it all upon themselves, sacrificing their dignity and reputations as news of their dirty deeds spreads across the globe. Surprisingly, the story is now being regularly followed by numerous Wall Street and stock trading entities. Unsurprisingly, although much later than expected, inquiries are beginning to be made by news organizations not under the thumbs of local corrupt powers, as the Los Angeles Times has proven itself to be.
Humiliated family members.
California's judiciary is literally reviled by those in the know, as is the leadership of the State Bar and Administrative Office of the Courts. Reports of the internal machinations experienced in attempts to fend off the constant barrage of allegations of corruption and malfeasance revealed an atmosphere so toxic that these entities are likely to soon collapse under the weight of the lack of confidence in them.
But as a political prisoner, the longer Richard Fine is incarcerated, the greater the personal financial liability of each co-actor in perpetuating his illegal isolation. Unlike Judge Yaffe, Dr. Fine cannot be corrupted ("coerced") into disobeying his oath. Will Right be able to trump Might with no greater ammunition than "principle"? Stay tuned.
UPDATE: See attorney/psychologist Stephen R. Diamond's new piece, "Abolish Unlimited-Term Coercive Confinement for Civil Contempt", in which he calls the judges out as to the literal torture that Dr. Fine has been subjected to ... on American soil ... at the hands of "American" citizens.