Prytulak to Dershowitz
Here's How They Get You in Los Angeles

"A little further up State Street was to be seen the pillory with three or four fellows fastened by the head and hands, and standing for an hour in that helpless posture, exposed to gross and cruel jeers from the multitude, who pelted them constantly with rotten eggs and every repulsive kind of garbage that could be collected." Samuel Beck

Lubomyr Prytulak
Ukrainian Archive, www.ukar.org

26 February 2003

Alan M. Dershowitz
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
520 Hauser Hall
Harvard Law School
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA   02138

Alan Dershowitz:

My recent experiences in Rambam v Prytulak revealed flaws in the Los Angeles justice system which perhaps people who work in that system are blind to, but which become apparent to an outsider who is victimized by the system, and who because he is an outsider is able to look at it with fresh eyes.  Here are the chief flaws that I noticed, and whose collective import I will comment on below.

What Can the Law Learn From the California Tree Finder?

How Much Did My Defense Threaten to Cost?

In the earliest stages of Rambam v Prytulak, I had two California lawyers quote me the retainers that they would require to represent me, which were US$8,500, and US$30,000.  As the second quotation was given at a later time when the complication of Default Entry had muddied the picture, the difference cannot be taken to mean that the second lawyer charged at a higher rate.  At the time, those two retainers equalled CAN$13,039 and CAN$46,020, respectively.  However, a retainer is not a final bill, and the final bill could easily have turned out to be twice as large, or three times as large, especially in view of Rambam lawyer Gary Kurtz ceaselessly strewing in all directions rotting red herrings that needed to be picked up with one hand and deposited in the garbage can, while holding the nose with the other hand.  A glimpse at the range of possible final bills, then, might be as follows:

American Dollars Canadian Dollars
Lawyer A Lawyer B Lawyer A Lawyer B
Retainer 8,500 30,000 13,039 46,020
Twice 17,000 60,000 26,078 92,040
Thrice 25,500 90,000 39,117 138,060

As even the lower of the above estimates was more than I could afford, I decided to take action without the help of a lawyer.

How Much Should My Defense Have Cost?

My defense should have cost me fifty cents!

Where do I get that figure from?  I get it from the front cover of my California Tree Finder, which I can see cost me fifty cents.  Let me explain.

A couple of months ago, I set foot in California for the first time since 1969, and among my experiences was one resembling this: Seeing a pine tree that I wanted to identify, I consulted my California Tree Finder.

Page 2 confronted me with three binary decisions which I made as follows: the tree had needles (not leaves), the needles were bundled (not evenly distributed), and there were fewer than five needles per bundle (there were three).  Thus, I was directed to proceed to page 7.

On Page 7, three more binary decisions were made as follows: there were fewer than 4 needles to a bundle, there were three needles to a bundle, and the outermost twigs tended to be thicker than a pencil.  Thus, I was directed to go to page 10.

On page 10, I determined that the tree did not have cones over 9 inches long, or some needles over one foot long, and so I was directed to the next page, meaning page 11.

On page 11, I determined that the cones did feel prickly, and the bark was yellow on the inside, and so that what I was looking at was a Ponderosa pine.  A table at the back of the booklet instructs me further that the botanical designation of the species is Pinus ponderosa.

What relevance does the California Tree Finder have to my cost of hiring a lawyer for Rambam v Prytulak?  Well, in the case of the tree, I wanted to know which of 92 species of California trees I was looking at.  Offhand, this might seem like a daunting task after all, California has 21 species of pine, 11 species of Oak, 6 species of Fir, 4 species of Cherry, and so on, such that being able to distinguish every one from every other must at first glance seem like an exceedingly difficult task, requiring a professional botanist or forester, and such that performing an identification would take time and would cost money.  And yet, nothing of the sort was required all that was required was for one clever person to write a manual which I was able to purchase for fifty cents, and which permits anybody to unerringly identify a California tree within about a minute.

And in the case of Rambam v Prytulak, what I wanted to know is what species of defendant I was so that I could learn from the experience of others of my species what treatment I might expect from the court.

The answer turns out to be that I was a Mordechai levy species of defendant.  That is, Mordechai Levy had recently been sued, and what happened to him is what I might expect would happen to me now that I was being sued.  Mordechai Levy was my species because he had been sued in California, and in fact in the very Los Angeles Superior Court where I was being sued.  He had been sued by the same plaintiff (Steven Rambam).  That same plaintiff had been represented by the same lawyer (Gary Kurtz).  That suit had the same complaint (defamation).  The medium of the alleged defamation was the same (the Internet).  The allegedly defamatory material complained of was similar (originating with the JDO).  Most importantly, Mordechai Levy did not aim his Internet publications at California, and Mordechai Levy did not live in California, and did not have substantial ties to California (though he had lived there years earlier as a student), which resembled my situation as well, except that my student days in California were even longer ago, and my current contacts with California were not just weaker, but were nil.

Thus, Mordechai Levy can be considered to be the defining example of a species of defendant, and that species can be considered to be named after him, and so the service that I contemplated purchasing from a California lawyer was mainly to be told the name of my species Mordechai levy.  Ancillary services that the California lawyer would have been expected to supply should have required inappreciable labor, as for example to provide me with a copy of the species description (a trivial request because copies of JDO v Superior Court were available at several Internet locations, and Internet analysis and discussion of the case was ubiquitous).  Also, copies of JDO v Superior Court needed to be sent to Judge James R. Dunn, and to Plaintiff lawyer Gary Kurtz but, again, as copies were available in several locations on the Internet, then simply providing Kurtz and Dunn with the citation of the case (that is, specifying Jewish Defense Organization v Superior Court, 85 Cal Rptr 2d 611, California 1999) would have been enough for them to display or download their own copies, although URLs could be sent them on the possibility that these might prove helpful; and as this information could have been passed along to them by email, it could be accomplished at lightning speed and at negligible cost.

As for the treatment from the court that knowledge of my species encouraged me to expect, JDO v Superior Court told me that California had no jurisdiction over my species, Mordechai levy, and it would have told Judge James R. Dunn and Plaintiff lawyer Gary Kurtz the same thing if they read it, and had Rambam lawyer Gary Kurtz read it with a fair and open mind, then he would never have floated the case, or if he had, then if Judge James R. Dunn had read it with a fair and open mind, he would have quickly sunk what Kurtz had floated.

Qualifications of the proposition that the services I needed from a California lawyer were ones that I should have been able to purchase for fifty cents do need to be made, but they are qualifications of detail, and they are petty.  It is to be expected that to those who profit from the present exploitation of litigants, these trivial details will seem to pose insurmountable obstacles:

  1. Cost.  Although I did pay only fifty cents for my California Tree Finder, I did so around 1967, the booklet's copyright date being 1963.  Today, it is out of print.  However, author Tom Watts presently makes available, among several other enticing publications, the Pacific Coast Tree Finder (undoubtedly covering more than 92 species), costing US$3.50.  When the contrast is being made to lawyers' fees in the tens of thousands of dollars, then fifty cents and $3.50 might be considered to be an inch apart in the same ball park.  In any case, the $3.50 fee is for a hard copy, but now that the Internet is upon us, the same information (permitting the identification of either tree species or defendant species) could be made available online for free.  If for every defendant who purchased an American Defendant Finder for $3.50, six other defendants got the same information over the Internet for free, that would average out to fifty cents per defendant.  Reflections such as these lead to the conclusion that there is no reason to budge from the original estimate of fifty cents, though it should be understood that it is intended as a reference to some trivial cost; as nothing hinges on the forecast of a cost of exactly fifty cents, it does not need to be defended.  If the cost were an excessive five dollars, then the conclusions would be exactly the same, and they would remain unchanged even if the cost were inflated to an unconscionable hundred dollars.

  2. Stability.  Tree species being more stable over time than defendant species, a California Defendant Finder would need to be updated periodically say monthly in order to reflect new legislation, or groundbreaking court decisions.

  3. Tree species are discrete; defendant species are continuous.  Every tree belongs unequivocally to some single species, whereas defendants fall on continua, and blend imperceptibly into one another, which must have the effect of making defendant-species identification of borderline cases uncertain.

    Nevertheless, the California Defendant Finder would succeed in providing an unequivocal Defendant-Species identification for the majority of cases, and for the minority straddling two or more species, the Defendant Finder could simply offer which of several species appeared to apply, which would still be delivering the same services that a lawyer would deliver, only in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.

    One might add, furthermore, that the impression that tree species would appear discrete even to a layman may be incorrect for example, a young pine cannot be expected to manifest the full needle and cone size that it will attain upon maturity, or a tree growing in poor and arid soil may be stunted, either of which will invite misidentification.  In other words, despite the existence of discrete tree species, the identification of species may pose similar problems whether identifying tree species or defendant species.

  4. Number of species.  Maybe 92 species pretty much takes care of almost all California trees, but perhaps there is a vastly greater number of species of California defendants.  Well, supposing that there are a great many more defendant species than there are tree species invites the simple remedy of slightly increasing the number of questions that need to be asked to arrive at a Defendant-Species identification.  How many questions might need to be asked?  In identifying a Ponderosa pine above, we answered eight binary questions, and (in simple cases at least) eight binary questions are able to distinguish 256 different possibilities, because 28 = 256.

    As answering a binary question may take no more than a few seconds, then answering not just eight of them, but ten or fifteen or twenty adds inappreciable labor, and yet permits the identification of 1,024 or 32,768 or 1,048,576 different species, respectively, as is summarized in the table below.  Well, at least it does for simple cases as for example, if you pick a number from 1 to 1,048,576, then I will be able to tell you what that number is by asking you exactly 20 questions to which your only reply will be a Yes or a No.

    From this equation,
    can be inferred that       
    this many
    binary questions
          are sufficient to identify
    this many species
    21 = 2 1 2
    22 = 4 2 4
    28 = 256 8 256
    210 = 1,024 10 1,024
    215 = 32,768 15 32,768
    220 = 1,048,576 20 1,048,576

    To illustrate how 21 = 2 tells us that one binary question is sufficient to determine which of the integers 1 to 2 has been picked (say you picked 2), then the sole question could be "Is the number greater than 1.5?" to which you would answer "Yes," and from which anybody would be able to infer that you had picked the number 2.  Or, to illustrate how 22 = 4 tells us that two binary questions are sufficient to determine which of the integers 1 to 4 has been picked (say you picked 3) then Question #1 could be "Is the number greater than 2.5?" to which you would answer "Yes"; then Question #2 could be "Is the number greater than 3.5?" to which you would answer "No," and from which two answers anybody would be able to infer that you had picked the number 3.

    However, when the task is not the simple one of integer identification but the more complex one of species identification, it will be impossible to squeeze quite as many identifications out of quite so few questions.  Nevertheless, in view of the ease and rapidity of answering binary questions, and in view of the almost doubling of identifiable species that each additional question permits, then it is obvious that the number of defendant species that need to be identified cannot possibly be so large as to bar the proposed procedure.

    What we have gotten into is information theory, whose study brings the further recognition that as some defendant species occur more commonly than others, it is possible to ask binary questions in such a way that the more common species are identified following a small number of questions, with a large number of questions being needed to identify rare species only, whose practical implication is that the average number of questions that need to be asked in identifying the species of a series of trees, or a series of defendants, can remain small even when the total number of species being identified becomes large.

In short, just as a lawyer familiar with Internet law could have instantly told me that I resembled Mordechai Levy, and that JDO v Superior Court was exactly on point, and that California had no jurisdiction over me, so would the California Defendant Finder, only in the case of the lawyer the cost would be measured in months and in tens of thousands of dollars, whereas in the case of the California Defendant Finder the cost would be measured in minutes and in cents; and if the transmission of this information to the Plaintiff and to the Court were streamlined as well, then that should take next to no time and cost next to nothing too.

Thus does our reasoning draw us to the view that the legal profession is in the business of supplying and shipping Defendant-Species information, but doing it so inefficiently as to take a hundred thousand times as long, and to charge a hundred thousand times as much, as modern technology and modern analysis make possible.  If the same inefficiency of information transmission prevailed in botany as prevails in law, then identifying a Ponderosa pine would have taken several months and would have cost tens of thousands of dollars; and if a botanical counterpart of Gary Kurtz had been on hand to throw obstacles in the path of the identification, then it could have taken a year and cost a hundred thousand dollars.  Or if the same inefficiency of information transmission prevailed in medicine, and a Dr Gary Kurtz had been on hand to sow confusion, then a woman presenting with a breast lump would find out whether she had breast cancer a year later at the cost of one hundred thousand dollars.  Such analogies are not exaggerations, as the categorization of Lubomyr Prytulak as nothing other than an instance of the species Mordechai levy is no more complex than the categorization of a tree as a Ponderosa pine, or than the categorization of a breast lump as a benign cyst.

More generally, what it is within the power of the legal profession to supply is not only a California Defendant Finder, but an American Defendant Finder, and alongside that, an American Plaintiff Finder informing complainants what species of plaintiff they were, and pointing out to them as well the cases which describe what they might expect from the courts.  By this means, potential plaintiffs told that they had little chance of success could avoid litigation, reducing the volume of cases flowing through the courts, or the cost to defendants of preparing their defence would be reduced, in some cases by a factor in the order of 1/100,000.  Although legal expertise is necessary to the success of such a project, at the same time the strongest opposition might be expected to come from lawyers and judges galvanized by an anticipated loss of income and of standing into a Luddite obstruction of progress.

Didn't I Already Have Everything I Needed?

As a matter of fact, the above represents my imagining the services that a lawyer might have needed to supply me had I been a typical case, but I was not a typical case, and the above does not at all reflect what happened to me, and what services I needed from lawyers.  What really happened in my case is even more disturbing than what is depicted above because before consulting the two lawyers, I had by myself already found and read JDO v Superior Court, and I already fully appreciated how similar my situation was to the earlier situation of Mordechai Levy, and I already fully understood that the Los Angeles Superior Court had no jurisdiction over me, and I had already submitted my first challenge to jurisdiction, my Motion-to-Quash-A, to Judge Barry A. Taylor who presided over the first Rambam v Prytulak case, 02E00326.  And all this I communicated to the two lawyers (the first by email, the second by email and by telephone) before they stunned me with their retainers.  What, then, were these lawyers planning to do for me that required me sending them US$8,500 or US$30,000 for starters?

Further research was not what was needed my case could be made merely by quoting a few key passages from JDO v Superior Court, and if deeper understanding were needed, or a broader foundation, then one had but to read three or four of the leading cases cited in JDO v Superior Court, and with each case occupying just a few pages, and with only certain sections of each case being relevant, this did not amount to a great deal of work.

Perhaps what was needed was to present my Motion-to-Quash-A again, but this time in the proper format, the format that the Court was used to seeing, and that would succeed in getting it filed.  In many cases, this might have been a useful contribution, but it was inessential in my case because I was challenging jurisdiction, and a challenge to jurisdiction can be made in any manner, even informally, even as a mere suggestion, whereupon the burden falls on the plaintiff to prove jurisdiction.  Thus, there was no need for me to have my Motion-to-Quash-A rewritten and resubmitted it was perfectly adequate as it was.  Not even its several pages were necessary the single sentence "Lubomyr Prytulak is not a resident of California and does not submit to the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Superior Court" were by law adequate.  And even that should have been unnecessary the judge merely seeing my Canadian address should have been enough to trigger a sua sponte evaluation of his own jurisdiction.  In several American States, failure to allege facts conferring jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant voids service of process, though obviously the Los Angeles Superior Court does not follow their lead.

Therefore, in my case at least, what the considerable sums of money that I was being invited to pay would have accomplished for me is to have a California lawyer appear on my behalf and essentially read to the Court my Motion-to-Quash-A a service that did not strike me as deserving payments as high as the lawyers were demanding.

Perhaps the only useful service that the money might have purchased for me was protection against Plaintiff subterfuge and duplicity.  That is, I needed a quick-minded defense lawyer representing me in court to refute fallacies and misrepresentations raining down from the Plaintiff side, which in a modern justice system should not be necessary, or at least should be less costly science too is adversarial, in that schools of thought, or individuals, contend for the ascendency of their views, and yet costs are not multiplied a hundred-thousand-fold by one or both sides relying on dirty tricks.  Science avoids following the path of law simply by attaching stigmata to anyone caught in duplicity, which is not at all what happens to lawyers, and which brings us to the topic of shysterism.

The Los Angeles Superior Court Allows Shysters to Practice Law

The question arose above of how much it should cost to convey the Defendant-Species information to plaintiff lawyer Gary Kurtz, and to Judge James R. Dunn, and as it was not apparent why a few sentences pointing to JDO v Superior Court could not be transmitted to each of them by email, it was wondered why it should cost appreciably above nothing.

However, Rambam v Prytulak was a peculiar case in that it was Plaintiff Steven Rambam himself (along with his lawyer Gary Kurtz) whom JDO v Superior Court had recently informed that California would not take jurisdiction over New Yorker Mordechai Levy, and so that it is a certainty that Gary Kurtz knew before initiating Rambam v Prytulak that California courts would find themselves also lacking jurisdiction over Canadian Lubomyr Prytulak whose ties to California were even weaker than had been Mordechai Levy's.  But to say that Gary Kurtz knew the court had no jurisdiction is to say that he knew his case from the outset had been a sham without the slightest chance of success if considered on its merits, such that Gary Kurtz's only hope was for some extraneous benefit which the courts were not designed to supply, as perhaps extracting some concession from the defendant through the anxiety that a law suit might elicit, or hoping to win a default from the defendant's viewing the suit as so unfounded and preposterous as to deserve being ignored, or scoring points against a foreign defendant for his being unfamiliar with California law and procedure and having no access to California lawyers.

Had Gary Kurtz been a lawyer of competence and integrity with a case better than a sham, then his opening statement would have acknowledged JDO v Superior Court, and would have pointed out differences in Rambam v Prytulak which made JDO v Superior Court inapplicable.  As in the almost fourteen months (so far) of litigation in the two cases 02E00326 and BC271433 Gary Kurtz has never done that has never so much as begun to address the question of why California should take jurisdiction over Canadian Lubomyr Prytulak when it had just recently refused to take jurisdiction over New Yorker Mordechai Levy it may be inferred that Gary Kurtz never did have any answer to this most fundamental of all questions, and placed all his hope on never being asked it.  That is why throughout the two Rambam v Prytulak trials, Gary Kurtz had no option but to act as if JDO v Superior Court did not exist, as if it was not he himself who had just lost JDO v Superior Court for his client Steven Rambam, and even as if the laws concerning jurisdiction did not exist.

A puzzle that remains to be solved is how Gary Kurtz managed to get himself paired up with two Los Angeles Superior Court judges Barry A. Taylor for Case 02E00326 and James R. Dunn for Case BC271433 who took care to never ask Gary Kurtz the very question concerning jurisdiction that he was unable to answer.  This is a puzzle which has been brought to the attention of then Supervising Judge of the Civil Division, Gary Klausner, in my letter to him of 13-Nov-2002, titled Finding the right judge for Rambam v Prytulak.  It threatens to be a puzzle that will be impossible to solve without reliance on the word conspiracy.

Although Gary Kurtz's filing and staging Rambam v Prytulak is the most egregious component of his professional quackery, details of his comportment evidence it further, as for example the VNN Hoax that he perpetrated, as has been discussed at two locations, first within Prytulak-Reply-D7 and afterwards within Prytulak-to-Dunn-01; and as for example also his systematic misrepresentation of the precedents that he cited, among which can be found And possibly Rambam v Prytulak did not mark Gary Kurtz's first venture into chicanery, as is suggested by his earlier having proposed to the Court his bald-faced lie that the New York Mordechai Levy that Steven Rambam was suing (and that the Los Angeles Superior Court had no jurisdiction over) was in reality the California Mordechai Motty Levy who ran Motty's Arco service station in Anaheim (over whom Gary Kurtz hoped the court might be fooled into accepting general jurisdiction); or as is suggested also by his having allowed in still another trial his expert witness, Steven Rambam, to testify that Rambam's leading claim to professional excellence was his having been chosen as one of the Top 25 Investigators of the Century, when in fact this putative distinction had been nothing better than a cheap publicity stunt.

The almost fourteen months that the two Rambam v Prytulak trials have been in progress, therefore, can be blamed on the Los Angeles Superior Court policy of permitting shysters to appear before it.  Before a tribunal less ambivalent about its committment to justice than is the Los Angeles Superior Court, Gary Kurtz might be censured or disciplined or disbarred for the cost that he has recklessly imposed on the Court and that he has maliciously imposed upon Lubomyr Prytulak.  As he will in all probability be allowed to continue practicing, and without punishment or even admonishment, then a permissiveness toward hucksterism must be counted as among the flaws in Los Angeles justice, and perhaps might be counted as one of the causes of Los Angeles Superior Court dockets overflowing with sham law suits staged by mountebank lawyers.

Might "shyster" be the wrong word, or might it be too strong?  Merriam-Webster unabridged defines it as "one who is professionally unscrupulous esp. in the practice of law or politics: PETTIFFOGER" which is the meaning that I intended, and if anything too mild.  That Walt Whitman provides one of the Merriam-Webster examples encourages the view that it is not a word that needs to be excluded from civilized discourse: "There are tyrants and shysters in all positions, and especially those dressed in subordinate authority."  Although Walt Whitman is describing military hospitals in Washington in 1863, his statement applies equally to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2003.

Shysterism Blends into Incompetence Blends into Inefficiency

A lawyer does not need to be an outright shyster to inflate the duration and cost of litigation he can be just a little bit incompetent, or just make some mistakes in law.  For example, my US$30,000 lawyer estimated that the first step would be to set aside default, at a cost of US$12,000 to US$15,000, with the question of jurisdiction being addressed separately afterward.  Here he was in error.  All that was needed was to demonstrate absence of jurisdiction which would automatically vacate default, which can be viewed as implementing the principle that jurisdiction failure is an efficient way of vacating default; a search of precedents reveals that in addition to being efficient, it is time-honored.  In fact, setting aside default without simultaneously challenging jurisdiction may constitute a blunder of catastrophic proportions, as it gives the appearance of attorning to jurisdiction.  If default were vacated by demonstrating jurisdiction failure, then that US$12,000 to US$15,000 should have been all that was necessary, thereby cutting the legal fees by at least half.  Thus, it may be feared that even a prominent and successful lawyer, arriving with the strongest credentials, might through lack of mastery of the law multiply his labor, and his fees, twofold or more.  His shortfall in expertise being rewarded by a multiplication of his income constitutes an inducement to negligence.

The cost inflation which comes from incompetence and error is not an inevitability, but rather can be overcome by demanding from lawyers a higher standard of mastery of the law and of procedure.  The assumption that having once passed law-school examinations qualifies someone to practice law for life should be exposed as a costly, and sometimes dangerous, fantasy.  What is called for is annual examinations which will spur the study that is essential to skill maintenance, and will weed out those who have regressed.  Publication of the results of such periodic examination would give the public the tool for making lawyer selection less of a gamble.

Every Judge Should be Required to Know at Least Rudimentary Law

It appears that Los Angeles Superior Court judges are not required to know rudimentary law.  Over an interval of eleven months, for example, Judge James R. Dunn has steadfastly refused to evaluate his own jurisdiction, oblivious to his obligation to do so in limine; and if not prompted to do so by a formal motion, then to respond to an informal suggestion; and if not prompted by any suggestion, then obligated to do it sua sponte or ex mero motu.  Judge James R. Dunn apparently is unaware of any of this, and unaware that his duty is to uphold the entire law of the land, and not merely to uphold the law that the lawyers currently appearing before him happen to bring to his attention in motions typed on recycled paper as is required, bound not on the left as pages are conventionally bound all over the United States and Canada but at the top as the Court demands, tabs not on the right as is conventional all over the United States and Canada but at the bottom as the Court demands, and so on.

A judge has no excuse for avoiding the verification of his own jurisdiction before proceeding, and most of all should be ashamed to offer the excuse that the defendant has refused to bankrupt himself for the purpose of funding a CLE course in which the judge intended to play the role of sole pupil.  Rather, the judge is obligated to seek all available paths toward mastery of the law, even ones that don't enrich lawyers while bankrupting defendants, which can be inferred from the closing words of the following injunction:

A judge shall be faithful to the law regardless of partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism, and shall maintain professional competence in the law.
California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 3, Section B, Paragraph 2.

Of course the law being vast, and human memory being limited, the judge will need to be reminded of esoteric points by the lawyers appearing before him, but it may be said that the less reminding he needs, the better a judge he is, and when he ventures to need reminding of fundamental laws that are applied often, he ventures into unfitness for office.  This conclusion finds support in various other expressions concerning judicial ethics.  Thus, the judge is expected to learn law from his colleagues:

This Canon does not preclude internal discussions among judges regarding the application of substantive or procedural provisions of law to any pending criminal or civil case.
Advisory Committee Commentary on Canon 2 of the California Code of Judicial Ethics.

And the judge is also expected to consult court personnel generally, among whom might be included court librarians, or court clerks, who might either point him toward laws, or toward sources, that they happen to know but he doesn't, or who might research questions of law for him:

A judge may consult with court personnel whose function is to aid the judge in carrying out the judge's adjudicative responsibilities or with other judges.
California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 3, Section B, Paragraph 7b.

The judge may even on his own initiative go beyond his immediate acquaintances and the court personnel at hand to an outside legal expert, but in which case he is obligated to inform the parties:

A judge may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond.
California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 3, Section B, Paragraph 7a.

The judge may invite the consulted legal expert to write a formal opinion (the judge's freedom to investigate the law independently being distinguished below from his prohibition against investigating the facts of the case before him independently):

An appropriate and often desirable procedure for a court to obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on legal issues is to invite the expert to file an amicus curiae brief.

A judge must not independently investigate facts in a case and must consider only the evidence presented, unless otherwise authorized by law.  For example, a judge is standardly authorized to investigate and consult witnesses informally in small claims cases.

Advisory Committee Commentary on Canon 3, Section 7 of the California Code of Judicial Ethics.

A judge is able to discover for himself that there has occurred some change in the law, and that an order of his should be reconsidered, and rather than waiting for one of the lawyers to present a motion that he reconsider his order in light of a new law, the judge is able to invent the fiction of a judge-initiated motion, which is to say he can apply whatever law he thinks fit without any motion at all, and justify whatever he is doing merely by calling it a response to his own motion:

If a court at any time determines that there has been a change of law that warrants it to reconsider a prior order it entered, it may do so on its own motion and enter a different order.
California Code of Civil Procedure §1008(c).

One encounters the expression of the court acting "on its own motion" which description satisfies the expectation that all court action is in response to a motion, but which is in fact a fiction for the court taking into account whatever law it wants without any motion at all, as in CCP §177.5, §403.040(a), §438(b)(2), §438(c)(3), as well as in the following CCP provision which is particularly relevant to Rambam vs Prytulak:

When a court upon motion of a party or its own motion finds that in the interest of substantial justice an action should be heard in a forum outside this state, the court shall stay or dismiss the action in whole or in part on any conditions that may be just.
California Code of Civil Procedure §410.30(a).

And it goes without saying that the judge has key reference works in his chambers, and that his court also places a library at his disposal, either of which he is free to consult.

All of the above undermines what appears to be Judge James R. Dunn's attitude that his mind must be a pristine tabula rasa on which only the California lawyers in the case before him are permitted to inscribe what he needs to know.  According to that perverted view, a case in which a plaintiff sues a dead dog would be allowed to proceed in James R. Dunn's courtroom simply because no lawyer retained to represent the dead dog would be on hand to inform him that the law does not permit litigation against either animals, or the dead, and certainly not against dead animals.

A Judge Can Pauperize a Litigant Merely by Donning a Dunce Cap

In defiance of a judge being required to be faithful to the law, and to apply all the law, and so to study the law at every opportunity, we find Judge James R. Dunn doing the opposite.

That is, to the question raised above of delivering the Mordechai levy Defendant-Species information, along with the JDO v Superior Court decision, to Judge James R. Dunn one wonders if such a delivery had really been necessary.  After all, James R. Dunn was a judge in the very Los Angeles Superior Court where Steven Rambam had sued Mordechai Levy and which led to the JDO v Superior Court appellate decision, and so Dunn might be expected to have followed that trial merely because of its physical proximity.  But in addition as we have seen above, judges are expected to also keep abreast of appellate decisions, because these constitute the law of the land that they are sworn to uphold; and in fact, James R. Dunn's official Profile on file with the Los Angeles Superior Court has Deputy District Attorney William Patrick saying of Dunn that "he tries to stay current on the law" which offers another reason to believe that Dunn already knew JDO v Superior Court.  And then too, James R. Dunn's official biography gives "computers/internet" first place in his list of recreations, and so Dunn might be expected to have followed JDO v Superior Court because it dealt with Internet law.  And in addition, JDO v Superior Court was widely commented on and discussed, and copies of the decision were available from several online sources (including online legal libraries that a judge would be experienced in accessing).  And on top of that, it is possible that Gary Kurtz and Steven Rambam had developed a reputation in the Los Angeles Superior Court for their colorful antics and subterfuges, as for example the attempt to borrow the identity of Mordechai Motty Levy described above, which might have elicited not only widespread merriment, but close attention as well.

In short, it seems probable that upon James R. Dunn's laying eyes on the Rambam complaint in Rambam v Prytulak, the first thing that popped into his head was JDO v Superior Court, and the second thing was the recognition that he might well lack jurisdiction over Canadian Defendant Lubomyr Prytulak.  And that's when James R. Dunn made his fateful decision whose repercussions reverberate to this day.  What he should have done was to ask Rambam lawyer Gary Kurtz to allege facts that would give Dunn jurisdiction over Prytulak but he chose instead to reach for his dunce cap.

James R. Dunn reached for the dunce cap that every judge keeps at hand, and he put it on his head, and he has kept it there for almost eleven months (so far), and pointing to it as his justification, he started out on the road of burdening Lubomyr Prytulak with a ruinous hundred thousand dollars in litigation fees, at the end of which waited the fantastic US$1.55 million judgment that he hoped to add.  That is, with the dunce cap as his stage prop, Judge James R. Dunn simply pretended not to know JDO v Superior Court, and in fact to be quite ignorant of the basic laws of jurisdiction, which are written of ubiquitously and not just within that one JDO v Superior Court decision.  James R. Dunn said to Lubomyr Prytulak, in effect, "I don't know anything about jurisdiction why don't you pay a California lawyer to teach me?  Why don't you sell off everything you own to pay for a Continuing Legal Education Course in which I will be the only pupil, and during which I will pretend not to know that I have as much jurisdiction over you as I have over a dead dog, or as you have jurisdiction over me?  Why don't you, way up there in Canada, pauperize yourself because it is within my power to project the appearance of having the right and duty to pauperize you?"

And so as this was the branch of the road that Dunn chose to follow, he neglected to ask Gary Kurtz to inform him how Kurtz thought Rambam v Prytulak differed from JDO v Superior Court, and he did not ask Gary Kurtz to supply, or at least to start off by alleging, facts that would have justified Dunn taking jurisdiction over Lubomyr Prytulak.  Rather, James R. Dunn acted outside the law, having as his only excuse that the law had never been brought to his attention in a formal motion filed by a California lawyer.  James R. Dunn, then, put Defendant Lubomyr Prytulak through an eleven-month (so far) ordeal by means of the simple expedient of donning a dunce cap, such that had Lubomyr Prytulak followed the conventional path of hiring a lawyer, then that lawyer would have charged a hundred thousand dollars to inform James R. Dunn of something that James R. Dunn already knew, but was pretending not to know.  Or to put the same thing more broadly, any Los Angeles Superior Court judge has the power to fine a defendant tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars by feigning ignorance of elementary law.

And on top of that, James R. Dunn must be credited not only with feigning ignorance of the law, but with tenaciously clinging to his feigned ignorance, refusing to be swayed by the several hard copies of JDO v Superior Court that Lubomyr Prytulak mailed him, spoliating right and left every submission which had the effrontery to document either his prejudicial treatment of Lubomyr Prytulak or his own lack of personal jurisdiction.  James R. Dunn didn't simply cry out "I don't know!" but rather added "And I'll be damned if I let you teach me!  Can't you see that I'm wearing my dunce cap?  Have you no respect for the judicial prerogative to while wearing the dunce cap be credited with ignorance?"

And so here we arrive at a locus of concentrated corruption: a Los Angeles judge pretends not to know what his own Court of Appeal told him was the law of his own land, and expects someone living in a foreign land over whom he lacks jurisdiction to write a string of US$30,000 checks to pay a California lawyer to pretend to educate that judge in what the judge pretends not to know.  The exercise of this power to ruin anybody in the world at whim simply through the expedient of donning a dunce cap is tyranny and it is despotism, and it is a power that cannot be taken out of judicial hands too soon.

Is Judicial Incompetence Equivalent to Medical Blood-Letting?

Judge James R. Dunn is portrayed above as donning his dunce cap whimsically, but of course some of the time that he is wearing it may not be a matter of choice, but a necessity arising out of his own incompetence:

A word about judges.  The American people have an understandably negative view of politicians, public opinion polls show, and an equally negative view of lawyers.  David Kennedy, professor of history at Stanford University, in writing about politicians, says: "With the possible exception of lawyers, we hold no other professionals in such contempt.  Who among us can utter the word 'politician' without a sneer?"  Conventional logic would seem to dictate, then, that since a judge is normally both a politician and a lawyer, people would have an opinion of them lower than a grasshopper's belly.  But on the contrary, a $25 black cotton robe elevates the denigrated lawyer-politician to a position of considerable honor and respect in our society, as if the garment itself miraculously imbued the person with qualities not previously possessed.  [...]

Either the appointee has personally labored long and hard in the political vineyards, or he is a favored friend of one who has, often a generous financial supporter of the party in power.  Roy Mersky, professor at the University of Texas Law School, says: "To be appointed a judge to a great extent is the result of one's political activity."  Consequently, lawyers entering courtrooms are frequently confronted with the specter of a new judge they've never heard of and know absolutely nothing about.  The judge may never have distinguished himself in the legal profession, but a cursory investigation almost invariably reveals a political connection.  [...]

Although there are many exceptions, by and large the bench boasts undistinguished lawyers whose principal qualification for the most important position in our legal system is the all-important political connection.  Rarely, for instance, will a governor seek out a renowned but apolitical legal scholar and proffer a judgeship.

It has been my experience and, I daresay, the experience of the most veteran trial lawyers that the typical judge has little or no trial experience as a lawyer, or is pompous and dictatorial on the bench, or worst of all, is clearly partial to one side or the other in the lawsuit.  Sometimes the judge displays all three infirmities.
Vincent Bugliosi, Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder, Island Books, New York, 1996, pp. 105-106.

In my own experience with the two Rambam v Prytulak trials 02E00326 and BC271433, I am inclined to believe that the almost fourteen months that the court has refused to evaluate its own jurisdiction must in part result from the ignorance of the two judges Barry A. Taylor and James R. Dunn.  I can only assume that they did not appreciate fully that jurisdiction must be evaluated in limine, did not appreciate fully that it was their obligation to evaluate jurisdiction even if it was challenged informally, or merely suggested; and in the absence of even any informal suggestion, that it was their obligation to evaluate jurisdiction sua sponte; and happened to never have understood that jurisdiction failure vacates default and that quashing service is a time-honored method of vacating default.

If the cost to me of such judicial ignorance is at all reflective of the cost to others, then the conclusion would have to be that a good chunk of the cost of litigation is attributable to judicial ignorance.

Judge James R. Dunn dispenses justice to Defendant Lubomyr Prytulak
We stand in danger of becoming inured to judicial incompetence unless we go through the exercise of making comparison to other professions.  What, for example, might be the analogue in medicine?  It might be that upon being involved in an automobile accident, and being taken to an imaginary Los Angeles Superior Hospital, my condition deteriorates over fourteen months of Dr. James R. Dunn blood-letting and application of leeches.  Suspecting that these procedures are atavistic, I am able to find much relevant material in the hospital library contraindicating their use, and as well pointing to more appropriate remedies for my symptoms, and I photocopy the relevant pages from medical textbooks and professional journals, and I collate and organize the material, and I add explanatory notes and summaries, and I bind all this and submit it to Dr. Dunn but he never acknowledges receiving it, never responds to it, never either agrees or disagrees with it, never discusses it, but rather continues applying leeches and draining blood despite both my deteriorating condition and my escalating protests.  On one occasion, I do overhear mention by hospital staff that my submissions violate hospital protocol by not being on recycled paper.

Is my analogy extreme?  Was my treatment by Judge Dunn of the Los Angeles Superior Court really as bad as the blood-letting and leeches treatment of my accident injuries by Dr. Dunn of the Los Angeles Superior Hospital?  Well, bloodletting is the longest-running tradition in medicine, stretching back to at least the time of Hippocrates in the 5th century BC, and forward to at least Sir William Osler recommending it in the 1923 edition of his Principles and Practice of Medicine.  Even today, bloodletting enjoys popularity in India, and perhaps in the majority of countries around the globe; and Biopharm, a leech farm in Wales, provides the National Health Service with 15,000 leeches a year and ships another 15,000 around the world.

In comparison, a judge refusing to evaluate his own jurisdiction, while at the same time spoliating almost all of a defendant's submissions, is not the longest-running tradition in law, and in fact cannot be considered to have a tradition at all if one excludes tyrannies and dictatorships.  On the contrary, the necessity of a judge verifying his jurisdiction, sua sponte if unprompted, is testified to by precedents that I brought to the attention of the Los Angeles Court from as long ago as 1873, even though I had made no effort to test how far back I could go, and in fact tended to avoid older cases.

Thus, if the question is which is the more discredited of the two a physician bleeding his patient, or a judge refusing to evaluate his own jurisdiction while spoliating documents one would have to say that it is the judge who was the more discredited because his practices have been held in disregard for a longer time and in more places.  In other words, what Judge James R. Dunn of the Los Angeles Superior Court really did to me was worse than what we imagined Dr. James R. Dunn of the Los Angeles Superior Hospital doing.

Some of What May Appear to be Judicial Incompetence Must be Judicial Corruption

But mere ignorance cannot explain what happened in Rambam v Prytulak, because Judge James R. Dunn did not merely happen to get it wrong, he insisted on getting it wrong.  For eleven months he has refused to heed pleas that he do what a competent judge would have done spontaneously in eleven seconds that is, eleven seconds after the initial complaint in Rambam v Prytulak landed on his desk is how long it should have taken a competent judge to recognize that jurisdiction was the first issue that Steven Rambam must be asked to address.  Eleven minutes would be slow, but acceptable.  But eleven months, and still James R. Dunn gives no indication of being ready to evaluate jurisdiction? As ignorance this monumental cannot exist, it must be corruption.

A Judge's Reach Extends Beyond His Courtroom

I was surprised to discover that a biased judge can affect the outcome of a trial not only by what he does in court, but by what he commands done outside of court.  Among the things that he can do are to spoliate which is to say, suppress or destroy whichever litigant submissions interfere with the direction that he wants the case to go, and to deny a litigant clerical feedback.  It may be the case that the Los Angeles Superior Court together with the California Commission on Judicial Performance, not to mention State law-enforcement agencies, view these two devices as judicial prerogatives, as I have had no apparent success in getting any agency to share my disapproval of either of the devices.  The two devices of spoliating submissions and denying clerical feedback may not work well when a litigant is represented by a local lawyer, but to a non-resident litigant acting in propria persona, they work to devastating effect, which may be what Gary Kurtz and Steven Rambam were depending on to give them victory.

Perhaps justice would be served by clerical service being required to meet a higher standard, and at the same time being removed beyond the reach of judicial interference.

Ignorance of the Law is an Excuse for Crime

Many fine Latin expressions can be found supporting the maxim that ignorance of the law is no excuse for crime, perhaps the most succinct being: Ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Ignorance of the law excuses no one; Black's Law Dictionary).  An explanation of this principle runs as follows:

It is an emphatic postulate of both civil and penal law that ignorance of a law is no excuse for a violation thereof.  Of course it is based on a fiction, because no man can know all the law, but is a maxim which the law itself does not permit any one to gainsay.  ...  The rule rests on public necessity; the welfare of society and the safety of the state depend upon its enforcement.  If a person accused of a crime could shield himself behind the defense that he was ignorant of the law which he violated, immunity from punishment would in most cases result.
People v O'Brien (1892), 96 Cal 171, 176.  www.geocities.com/tthor.geo/calgenlaw.html

It is perhaps incongruous that the Justice System holds every man responsible for knowing the law, without making any attempt to teach every man some law.  That is, as far as my experience goes, law is not taught in elementary school or in high school, and in university is taught only in faculties of law to students training to be lawyers.  I don't recall ever knowing anyone who took a law course who wasn't on his way to becoming a lawyer.  Nor does the justice system make any attempt to scatter law libraries across the land beyond the law schools to which they are attached, or to guarantee that everyone is within easy reach of a lawyer able to explain the law, perhaps at government expense.  Nor does the justice system disseminate to the public, as through radio or television or the press, essential principles of law presented in a manner that is both informative and entertaining.  As a result, the public is largely ignorant even of the most fundamental laws, though if they should run afoul of them, they may find themselves subject to the severest penalties while at the same time finding themselves prevented from pleading that their ignorance of the law was caused by an inaccessibility countenanced by the justice system.

A cynical observer might notice that the more ignorant the public is of the law, the more work is created for lawyers and judges both by the public running afoul of the law, and by it having to rely on lawyers when it does run afoul.  One solution to this predicament is to place an obligation on the justice system to educate the public in the law that the public is presumed to know.  To illustrate that different attitudes toward the dissemination of information exists within law and medicine, I recollect that as an undergraduate, I took a physiology course offered by the Faculty of Medicine to non-medical students, whereas I never heard of any law course offered by the Faculty of Law to non-law students.  If doctors adopted the same attitude as lawyers, they might promote ignorance of health issues so as to increase the number, and the helplessness, of their patients.

What is of chief interest here, though, is not the obligation upon those who choose to assume that the public knows the law to take a hand in educating the public in the law, but is rather that those who choose to make this assumption of the public nevertheless exempt lawyers and judges.  It is lawyers and judges only whose ignorance of the law can cause damage to others indeed, can rain destruction down upon others and yet be excused by the plea "Sorry, I happened not to have known that law!"  Thus, we have already seen above that Plaintiff lawyer Gary Kurtz brings a law suit, Rambam v Prytulak, which has no standing in law, and who proceeds to misinterpret the law at every turn, delaying the delivery of justice by over a year and yet Gary Kurtz pays no penalty.  The Courts are burdened by his ignorance, and so is his client the Plaintiff Steven Rambam, and so is Lubomyr Prytulak the Defendant, and all of us suffer economic losses, but Gary Kurtz gets paid in proportion to how long his errors can extend the case.  If he loses his case, or is reversed upon appeal, he can simply say to his client, Steven Rambam, "Tough!  I didn't know it would work out that way!  Here's my bill for all the time that I wasted on your behalf making a public spectacle of my misunderstanding of the law!"

And judges excuse themselves from knowing any law either, as we have also seen above.  James R. Dunn flaunts his ignorance of fundamental jurisdiction law for almost eleven months, and he is not fined or jailed, because it is his prerogative to be ignorant of the law, and to wreak devastation upon others as a result of his ignorance.  He spoliates litigant submissions wholesale, which if I had done would surely have landed me in jail but James R. Dunn doesn't go to jail, or as far as I can see suffer any setback, other than that to his reputation as a result of my documenting his actions.

Think of how unequal and unreasonable the respective burdens are Judge James R. Dunn has spent the better part of his professional life studying the law, and working with the law, and he pretty much has only the law of the United States, and of California, to contend with and yet he is expected to know no law.  A defendant like myself, in contrast, in the course of his education, even if he has earned an advanced degree, has probably never taken a single course in law, and has probably never been involved in any litigation, and yet he cannot plead ignorance of the law in whatever court he may be sued.  Thus, if he is sued for defamation in Tibet or in Madagascar or in California, he cannot plead that living as he does in Canada he does not know and should not be expected to know the laws of Tibet or Madagascar or California.  Everyone dragged before the courts, then, is assumed to know the law of the entire world, as he may be sued anywhere in the world, whereas a judge is not assumed to know any law, not even the law of his own jurisdiction, not even though he has dedicated his career to studying and working with the law in that one jurisdiction.

The solution is obvious, and has already been broached above in connection with other issues judges should write annual examinations which qualify them to hear cases in various areas of the law; but to that might be added that judges who make errors in law should suffer a personal penalty greater than that of experiencing discomfort at being overturned upon appeal, as perhaps the personal penalty of paying the costs of every successful appeal out of their own pockets, which seems just, as it was their ignorance of the law that had been responsible for that appeal being necessary.  The prophesy that in the face of such threat of punishment, nobody would want to be a judge is silly judges' salaries could be doubled such that most judges took home substantially more pay despite occasionally being billed for their errors, and only the incompetents were driven out of the profession.  At the same time, the increased cost of paying judges would be more than offset by efficient and orderly justice lowering the cost of litigation, or in many cases altogether eliminating the need for litigation.  Thus, if a competent judge saves a litigant like me the need to spend $100,000 in legal fees, and if he extends a similar saving to ten or a hundred others over the course of the year, then would not society be better off despite that judge earning $100,000 more in that hypothetical future year than he does today?  I do not reciprocate James R. Dunn's attempt to beggar me with my own attempt to beggar the judiciary; what I do is recommend a world in which the public interest is better served.

The Chief Cost of Litigation is the Judge's Entertainment Fee

If judges followed the enlightened lead of physicians, then in addition to offering general practitioners, they would also train and certify specialists, and if Rambam v Prytulak had landed on the desk of one such specialist judge who was expert on Internet law, then that judge would not have had the option of donning a dunce cap, and would have been guided by his expertise to ask Gary Kurtz to supply facts alleging court jurisdiction over non-resident Lubomyr Prytulak, and as Gary Kurtz would have been unable to supply such facts, the case would have aborted instantaneously, without it even needing to be brought to Lubomyr Prytulak's attention and without it disturbing his tranquility.  However, the Los Angeles Superior Court does not categorize judges according to their expertise, and so does not have on hand judges expert in Internet law to whom Rambam v Prytulak could have been assigned, and it was this institutional shortcoming that permitted judge James R. Dunn to plead ignorance, and adopt his "Why don't you pay a California lawyer one hundred thousand dollars to teach me some Internet law?" stance.  Why, then, does the judiciary not follow the lead of medicine by training and providing judges having different areas of expertise, perhaps even to the extent of allocating a case first to a general practitioner judge, who might quickly re-allocate it to a specialist judge if this appeared necessary?

The reason that judges do not specialize is that they would find this boring.  A judge whose law practice had once been, say, bankruptcy, and who would be able to do an excellent job adjudicating bankruptcy cases, nevertheless does not want to spend the rest of his life hearing only bankruptcy cases, because this would be less entertaining than doing a bankruptcy trial today, and a divorce next, and then a murder, and then an extradition, and then a rape, and then a fraud, and so on.  The public is poorly served by this judicial quest for novelty, because upon every new category of case, the judge is permitted to don his dunce cap and proclaim "I'm not required to know a damned thing about this area of the law, and I don't know a damned thing about this area of law, so why don't the respective parties pay their lawyers to teach me?" which he wouldn't be able to do if all his trials were in a single area, and in which he had become expert but the judge wouldn't like that because he would find it too boring.

Therefore, I view the hundred thousand dollars that lawyers were about to charge me in Rambam v Prytulak as a judge's entertainment fee.  I was expected to pay a hundred thousand dollars as my contribution toward relieving a single judge James R. Dunn from the tedium of repetition.

Now imagine this same principle applied to other areas.  Let's start with teaching.  University professors find it boring to teach only Physics, or only French, so they becoming generalists, a typical professor starting off the week by delivering a lecture on Physics, then one on French, then one on Anthropology, following that up with one on Music, and then to top off a repetition-free week, a lecture on Law.  Students pay the price of inexpert teaching in every subject for the purpose of relieving the faculty of tedium.  Or let us apply this principle to medicine.  Variety-craving physicians permit themselves to have a go at brain surgery one day, treat allergies the next, administer chemotherapy after that, take a turn at delivering babies, and so on.  Patients pay the price of inexpert treatment in every category so that physicians can be relieved of the tedium of restricted variety in their practice.  And why not go on to apply the principle to all labor so as to create a Utopian society requiring tedious repetition of no one?  Every man can be a fireman one day, an airline pilot the next, a theoretical physicist after that, and then a circus acrobat the fall in quality of services being more than offset by a rise in the enjoyment of those providing the services.

Obviously, what the Los Angeles Superior Court judges are doing is imposing a crushing burden on the public for the sake of gratifying their own frivolous and immature impulses.  More socially-conscious minds would bend to the need to deliver to the public the highest quality product at the lowest feasible cost, and would understand that a narrowing of focus, rather than necessitating boredom, reveals to an active intelligence infinite variation and complexity, and that what to superficial gaze appears to be narrowing, to a more profound intellect is a discovery of infinite challenge to understanding, and infinite opportunity for amelioration.

And so this judges' entertainment fee must strike any impartial observer as the essence of tyranny and despotism someone in a position of power loses all sense of proportion, all grasp of reciprocal obligation, and encases himself in egocentrism to such a degree as to call forth the image of burning a neighbor's house down to toast one's marshmallows.

The remedy is obvious judges should all have one or more areas of expertise, as many areas as are needed to fill their calendars with cases, and should demonstrate that expertise by writing annual examinations serious enough to typically strip some judges of area certification upon failure, and each judge's areas of expertise should be a matter of public record, and litigants should have the right to demand that their cases be tried before judges who were expert in the relevant areas.  This expedient would bring the immense benefit of relieving litigants of the ruinous cost of paying the judges' entertainment fee whose purpose is to provide distraction to judges who crave novelty.

Los Angeles Justice is Congruent with Los Angeles Profit

Had James R. Dunn confessed ignorance of Internet law, and begged me for enlightenment, and written me a check for US$30,000 retaining me as his instructor, with the qualification that if he proved a slow learner, then he might find it necessary to send me an additional US$30,000, and perhaps even another US$30,000 after that well, then not only I, but the entire world, could not help but marvel at the fairness of Los Angeles justice which showed such eagerness to pursue mastery of the law at no matter what material sacrifice.

The reality, however, is not one that leads to any admiration of Los Angeles justice, because the reality shows an identity between what the Los Angeles Superior Court considers to be just, and the flow of cash into Los Angeles pockets.  In the case of Rambam v Prytulak, Los Angeles justice dictates that when a Los Angeles judge is ignorant of California law, then that judge should be led out of his ignorance by a flow of money from Canada to California.

And so, in the first place, there was the implicit expectation that I would hire a Los Angeles lawyer, which would have ended up draining from Canada to California about a hundred thousand dollars, and in the second place, there was the repeated recommendation that my complaints had no immediate and cost-free remedy, but only the delayed and costly remedy of appeal which is to say, the remedy of paying California lawyers to represent me in front of a second California tribunal after I had been pushed into bankruptcy by my dealings with the first.

Upon the observation of a close correspondence between what the Los Angeles justice system considers to be just, and what drains dollars into Los Angeles pockets, the hypothesis arises that in fact Los Angeles justice is indistinguishable from Los Angeles profit.  Any deviation from this principle produces only comical and fantastic scenarios, such as the one above in which James R. Dunn kept sending me US$30,000 checks in gratitude and compensation for my educating him in California law.  Can there be the slightest doubt that if James R. Dunn had really been asked to write me even a single US$30,000 check in payment for the removal of his ignorance, real or feigned, that Dunn would have instinctively balked at lifting his pen toward his check book, and that his mind would have been suddenly crowded with all manner of creative alternatives, starting with consulting his memory for what he already knew of jurisdiction law (and so did not need to be taught by this expensive Canadian), to reaching for a reference book sitting on his desk, to calling up JDO v Superior Court on his computer screen, to putting the question to other judges in the coffee room, and so on?  No, there cannot be the slightest doubt that these are the things that James R. Dunn would have done had he visualized a flow of money from California northward to the Canadian border.  The reason that none of these creative alternatives did cross his mind in reality is that the only flow of money that he envisioned was a flow southward from Canada to California, and he found that vision agreeable and evocative of no creative problem-solving.

One of the goals of the Los Angeles justice system, then, appears to be augmenting Los Angeles profit, and corruption is evidenced by the system resolving a clash between justice and profit by siding on the side of profit.

The Court Reserves the Right to Dig the Pitfall of Implicit Attornment to Jurisdiction

In civil litigation, higher Courts enjoin that cases be decided on their merits, and frown upon litigants springing traps on one another, and upon the outcome of litigation hingeing upon any decisive misstep:

Federal rules reject the approach that pleading is a game of skill in which one misstep by counsel may be decisive to the outcome and accept the principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits.  [...]  The ends of justice are not served when forfeiture of just claims because of technical rules is allowed.  [...]  "Thus, the Travelers Insurance Company 'hid in the bushes' so to speak and finally struck the plaintiff from ambush."
Judge Hickey of the United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit in Travellers Indemnity Co. v United States, 382 F2d 103 at 104, 106 (1967)

Similarly in criminal cases as manifested in the Miranda rights which are read to criminal arrestees appellate courts again demand that the defendant be protected from hidden traps and from his undermining his position through a failure to appreciate his own rights:

  1. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.  Do you understand?

  2. Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law.  Do you understand?

  3. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.  Do you understand?

  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.  Do you understand?

  5. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.  Do you understand?

  6. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

Honorable Robert R. Jacobs II, Public Defender, Office of the Public Defender, 20th Judicial Circuit publicdefender.cjis20.org/miranda.htm

The only institution which is permitted to spring a trap on an uninformed defendant is the Court itself, which it does most unmistakably through the mechanism of the implicit attornment to jurisdiction.

In an explicit attornment to jurisdiction, a defendant states simply that although he could walk away from the instant court because he is aware it lacks in personam jurisdiction, he nevertheless voluntarily submits himself to its jurisdiction (perhaps because he is interested in seeing some issue resolved through litigation, and sees no advantage to litigating elsewhere).

In an implicit attornment, in contrast, the litigant is typically unaware that he has the option of challenging jurisdiction, and is unaware that he is taking a misstep which the court will seize as justification for stealing for itself the in personam jurisdiction that it lacks.

Specifically, a non-resident defendant without legal training or litigation experience is likely to be unaware that the Court may lack personal jurisdiction over him, and that the simplest and quickest way for him to rid himself of the annoyance of a law suit is to quash service of summons on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction.  However, the Court does not inform him of this possibility, but rather makes it easy for the plaintiff to lure the defendant into the trap of implicitly attorning to Court jurisdiction.  The plaintiff is able to set and bait this trap by filing a complaint which is preposterous and provocative, and which because it is easily refuted, invites the defendant to deny the substance of the complaint; however, by addressing himself to the substance of the complaint, the defendant implicitly attorns to jurisdiction, and finds that his denial has resulted in the court attaching itself to him like well, like a blood-sucking leech even though that court may be thousands of miles from where he lives, and even though it sits in a foreign land, and sometimes even though the people in that foreign land and in that court speak a language he does not understand.  So, for example, if the complaint identifies the defendant as the Boston Strangler, and asks damages for wrongful death, and if the defendant is lured into making the understandable mistake of replying that he was born after the last Boston Strangler homicide, and furthermore has never set foot out of his native country of Italy, then the Los Angeles Superior Court will view him as having begun to address the merits of the case, and as having attorned to Court jurisdiction.  He is then confronted with the option of either defaulting, or going to the astronomical cost of defending against a preposterous charge in a Court on the other side of the Globe speaking English where all he knows is Italian.

Once the defendant has attorned, even in an inadvertent and unintentional and non-explicit manner, he cannot later plead that he had been lured into a trap, and that he had been unaware that he had the option of challenging court jurisdiction, and that he still wished to exercise that option.  Once he's lying impaled at the bottom of the pitfall, the Court refuses to allow him to try to lift himself off the spikes and to crawl out.

The Court adopting the following measures would be its renunciation of helping plaintiffs dig pitfalls into which they hoped to lure naive defendants:

  1. The Los Angeles Superior Court could adopt the policy of several other States of refusing to file any complaint against a non-resident defendant which failed to allege facts conferring personal jurisdiction, as expressed below, and as documented more fully under the heading Several States require that the basis of personal jurisdiction be alleged at the outset in plaintiff's claim within the Prytulak-Reply-D3 of 05-Nov-2002:

    Moreover, to perfect service pursuant to the long-arm statutes, the complaint must allege the jurisdictional requirements prescribed by the statutes.  [...]  Failure to adequately allege the basis for invoking long-arm jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant voids any service of process.
    •  City Contract Bus Service, Inc. v Woody, 515 So2d 1354 at 1356 (Florida 1987)

  2. The Los Angeles Superior Court should do a civil equivalent of reading every criminal defendant his Miranda rights; that is, the Court should inform every civil defendant and should emphasize for every non-resident defendant that if he does not live within the jurisdiction, and does not have substantial and lasting ties to the jurisdiction, then he should investigate the possibility that the court might lack personal jurisdiction over him.  Also, the Los Angeles Superior Court should warn a non-resident defendant who begins to address the merits of the case that he will be allowed to continue only if he explicitly submits to jurisdiction; which is to say that the ambush of implicit attornment should be abolished:

    1. If the instant court lacks personal jurisdiction over you, then you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer the complaint.  Do you understand?

    2. A lawyer will be able to advise you concerning why the instant court may not have personal jurisdiction over you, and how this may relieve you of any obligation to respond to the complaint.  Do you understand?

    3. You will be allowed to address the merits of the case only if you sign a statement explicitly waiving the right to challenge jurisdiction.  Do you understand?

    4. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, do you wish to sign a waiver explicitly attorning to personal jurisdiction so that you will be permitted to address the merits of the case, even though you may presently fall outside the jurisdiction of this court and be without any obligation to respond to the complaint?

    "Miranda-rights" equivalent, to be read at least to every non-resident civil defendant.

  3. Legislation should abolish the additional trap of acquiring personal jurisdiction over someone by serving him with a complaint while he happens to be physically within that jurisdiction, no matter how brief and transient his presence.  This seems wrong in such cases as a person merely transferring airplanes within the jurisdiction, and being served with a complaint in the terminal; or sleeping overnight within the jurisdiction in the course of driving across one corner of it, and being served with the complaint in his motel room.

By way of further support for abolishing the ambush of implicit attornment might be added that implicit attornment violates the principle that the facts establishing jurisdiction must have been in existence at the time of the complaint, and most especially and emphatically cannot be ones that were created or engineered by the Plaintiff after he files his complaint.  For example, a non-resident defendant may have no ties whatever to California prior to being sued in California; however, as the suit progresses, he might find himself hiring a process server in California, and a private investigator and a lawyer in California, and he may travel to California and spend considerable time there, and may rent a car in California, and may contest a speeding ticket in a California court, and he may find himself requiring medical services while in California, and as part of his effort he may address statements to the California press, and so on, such that it can be said that he has established strong and enduring ties to California.  However, as these ties were created by the litigation, and certainly followed the complaint, the Courts are obligated to interpret them as supportive of a special appearance which does not attorn to jurisdiction.  Well, then, the same should be the case for an accidental implicit attornment it must be recognized as illegitimate because it postdates the complaint and because it takes place within what the defendant, had he been aware, would have wanted to be a special appearance, and because it is an attornment not entered into knowingly or voluntarily by the defendant, but rather that has been engineered by actions of the plaintiff.

The Pillory of Default Judgment

PILLORY (Merriam-Webster illustration)
STOCKS (Merriam-Webster illustration)
The Merriam-Webster definition of pillory: a device for publicly punishing offenders consisting of a wooden frame with holes in which the head and hands can be locked.  The same definition can be adapted for stocks: a device for publicly punishing offenders consisting of a wooden frame with holes in which the feet can be locked.  This sort of punishment (which came in still other variations) exposed the victim not only to psychological pain, such as the humiliation of being examined by passers-by, or being exposed to their jests and jeers, but also to physical pain, as introduced below:

Mr. Samuel Breck, speaking of methods of punishment in his boyhood in Boston, in 1771, said:

"A little further up State Street was to be seen the pillory with three or four fellows fastened by the head and hands, and standing for an hour in that helpless posture, exposed to gross and cruel jeers from the multitude, who pelted them constantly with rotten eggs and every repulsive kind of garbage that could be collected."
Punishment Library, The Pillory www.rm-r.net/~getch/punishments/curious/chapter-4.html

Zooming out presents a picture of what pilloried offenders might sometimes have to contend with:

Rudolf Ackermann, Charing Cross Pillory, from William Pyne, Microcosm of London (1808), Spartacus Educational www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/LONcharing.htm

It should come as no surprise that spectators, especially ones who gathered in crowds, could not always be counted on to show restraint, and that they at times resorted to beating, stoning, burning, cutting, and mutilating the pilloried offenders.

At least two things are wrong with the pillory:  (1) Its use encourages in the public an attitude of vindictiveness and a predisposition toward vigilantism which abrogates the principle that the public cede the right to inflict punishment to the State.  (2) The punishment meted out by the public upon the pilloried offender is not defined and circumscribed, and so will not only vary from case to case, but at times can be expected to become intemperate.

Although the pillory is out of use in Western society, its underlying principles are alive in the institution of Default Judgment.  That is, when a defendant fails to answer a complaint, the court sets out to avenge this show of disrespect to its authority by nailing him to a wall, and then inviting the plaintiff to carve out of him as many pounds of flesh as he wants.

Well, figuratively that's what the court does.  In actuality, the court takes the defendant's non-appearance as indicating that the defendant agrees with the plaintiff's complaint and issues a Default Entry, whereupon court and plaintiff put their heads together to begin calculating what damages the defendant must pay, and then announce the bottom line of their calculations in the Default Judgment.

The Default Judgment retains characteristics of the pillory because the earlier Default Entry shuts out the defendant, who is thenceforth not allowed to say a word, such that if he sees plaintiff testifying that defendant lives in a fifty-room mansion, the court will not allow defendant to bring his landlord into court to testify that defendant really lives in a bachelor apartment; or if defendant sees plaintiff testifying that defendant earns twelve million dollars a year as an investment banker, the court will not allow defendant to produce his income tax return demonstrating that he earns twelve thousand a year as a fast-food server.  It is obvious that the total exclusion of the defendant during Default Judgment proceedings abandons even the pretext of striving to arrive at the truth, and concentrates exclusively on giving the plaintiff free reign to exercise his creativity in inflating the punishment to be imposed on the defendant.  In the interests of court vengeance, the traditional check on the plaintiff degenerating into fantasy and hyperbole is removed, and the proceedings become ex parte and non-adversarial.

Brushed aside in the Default Judgment proceedings is that the excluded defendant is the only one who would be able to balance and correct the plaintiff's allegations, as for the following reasons:

  1. The defendant knows better than even the plaintiff what the defendant's allegedly-culpable actions were.

  2. The defendant may have some acquaintance with the plaintiff, and to be able to estimate whether the plaintiff's statement of losses is truthful.

  3. The defendant knows more accurately than anyone else his own assets and income (from which the Court infers his ability to pay).  In fact, in some situations the plaintiff may be a complete stranger to the defendant, and live in a different part of the world, and therefore have next to no information concerning the defendant's ability to pay a judgment and yet the court will exclude information coming from the defendant who knows everything about his own assets and income, and base its Default Judgment solely on what is proposed by an always poorer-informed, and sometimes wholly ignorant, plaintiff.

Thus, by shutting out the defendant from the Default Judgment phase of the proceedings, the Court invites the plaintiff to run amok.

True, just as the plaintiff has an interest in inflating defendant's culpability, and his own losses, and the defendant's ability to pay, so the defendant has an interest in deflating his culpability, and plaintiff's losses and his own ability to pay but this is where the benefits of the adversarial system should kick in, and where the judge should find himself able to decide which side presents the more credible evidence.  Instead, the defendant is not informed of the dates of the Default Judgment proceedings, is not informed of their progress or of the evidence considered, is not allowed any participation.  During the Default Judgment proceedings, the plaintiff is free to make up one set of fantastic stories concerning the magnitude of his losses (how wealthy he could have been had not the evil defendant reduced him to his present poverty), and another set of fantastic stories which justify the large monetary award that he is seeking (how wealthy the defendant is, how costly his house, how expensive his tastes) and the judge is happy to listen to these stories even though they emanate from a biased and interested party, and even though they are unbalanced by the defendant side which alone has the capability of offering some balance, and indeed of wholly refuting them.  In the case of Rambam v Prytulak, reckless pranksters Gary Kurtz and Steven Rambam went on for proceeding after proceeding saying who knows what, to arrive at the incredible conclusion that Lubomyr Prytulak could afford to pay the US$1.55 million in damages that the Plaintiff was seeking.  Would it were true!

Notice that whether or not the defendant is considered to acquiesce to the complaint, and how much the defendant can afford to pay in damages, are two unrelated questions, and that the law could punish the non-appearing defendant with respect to the first question (the court could assume defendant acknowledges the truth of the complaint) while at the same time allowing him to participate in the calculation of his assets and his income.  But the courts, apparently, consider their own gratuitous assumption that defendant agrees with the complaint to be insufficient punishment for his non-appearance, and gratuitously add to the punishment by excluding him from the estimation of his worth and income.

The question arises of what the defaulting defendant being "out of court" really means.  The only thing it could mean is that the plaintiff has the option of excluding defendant testimony.  However, to have an option and to exercise it are two different things.  If the plaintiff on his own came up with an estimate of, say, the value of the defendant's house, then surely the plaintiff is not prohibited from disclosing this estimate to the defendant, and inviting the defendant's input, and then placing all the evidence before the court the plaintiff's evidence together with the defendant's?  Either the alternative sets of evidence would concur, permitting the judge to estimate this component of the defendant's wealth with a conscience untroubled by the possibility of error, and at the same time protecting the plaintiff from being perceived as carving out a pound of flesh by means of an inflated estimate; or the alternative estimates might clash, permitting the judge to decide which was the more credible, or permitting him to arrive at a compromise figure based on both sets of information.  In short, although the plaintiff does have the right to exclude the testimony of the defendant, the plaintiff's choosing to exercise this right is a demonstration of his vindictiveness, of his desire to keep contradictory information from the eyes of the judge, of his indifference to projecting an image of fair dealing, and of his contempt for arriving at a judgment that the defendant is less likely to resent.

Any of several Court responses in the case of non-appearance of the defendant, as the three below, would remove the vestige of the pillory mentality from modern jurisprudence:

  1. Should the defendant choose not to appear, then plaintiff and court could proceed with the Default Judgment without him; however, the defendant is allowed to intrude his own evidence at any time, with the proviso that the cost of his delayed appearance will be awarded the plaintiff in the eventuality that the plaintiff wins the case.  Even allowing the cost of delay to be doubled so as to impose a punitive component to the sanction would still be retaining the principles that punishment be determined not by some vengeful and unqualified and self-interested plaintiff, but by the State, and that the punishment be predictable and circumscribed and appropriate.  What is to be avoided is the plaintiff taking advantage of ex parte proceedings to project hyperbolized images of both plaintiff loss and defendant wealth, which the court lacking acquaintance with either plaintiff or defendant, and lacking investigative authority is powerless to resist.

  2. In case the defendant makes no appearance, his assets and income could be estimated by an impartial agency standardly employed to perform this service, and relying on standard procedures.

  3. In case of defendant non-appearance, a public defender could be appointed to represent his interests, and where the public defender performs standard verifications such as what the $500,000 house attributed to the defendant was worth in US funds, and whether there might not be a $400,000 mortgage on it, and whether the defendant owned the house alone or in partnership, and how many partners there might be, and whether it could be argued that the partners' equity was unequal because of inequalities in their initial investments and in their subsequent mortgage payments all of which questions could without the participation of a public defender easily be overlooked by a suggestible judge entranced by a duplicitous plaintiff into believing that the defendant was the sole and unencumbered owner of a US$500,000 house.

The Horror of a Jury Trial

The OJ Simpson trial demonstrated that a jury can be so manipulated as to acquit someone of a double murder despite overwhelming proof of guilt.  The intelligent public views this as a misfortune, but not one that touches directly on their lives; not a misfortune that should induce anxiety and lead to sleepless nights.  However, it should in fact give everyone nightmares because if a jury can be persuaded to set a murderer free, then it can be persuaded to set free someone who murders you, or who murders a member of your family.  And it should give you nightmares because if a jury can be manipulated into acquitting an obviously guilty person, then it can also be manipulated into convicting an obviously innocent person and that obviously innocent person might someday be yourself.

To manipulate the jury is to select it, analyze it, coddle and pamper it, all of which takes skill, and the hiring of skill costs money.  Therefore, the jury system is a means by which the rich can impose undeserved punishment upon others, and can deflect deserved punishment from themselves.

The fallacy of the jury system lies in the assumption that people of modest sophistication can be depended upon to arrive at truth.  If the economy were to be run according to the same principles, then the interest rate would be set by pulling a dozen people off the street, spreading the data and the arguments before them, and having them vote on a money-supply policy.  If a military campaign were to be conducted according to the same principles, then an invasion would be planned by a dozen privates pulled off kitchen and latrine duty, given a week of briefings, and asked to submit their best plan.  If medical treatment were run according to the same principles, then a patient's diagnosis and therapy would be determined by pulling a dozen people off the street, explaining the symptoms and treatment options to them, and having them vote.  If science were conducted according to the same principles, then the clash between wave and particle theories of light would be settled by pulling a dozen housewives out of their kitchens, giving them a week of physics lectures, and having them vote in the correct theory.  If a family were to purchase a home according to the same principles, then the children would decide which houses to inspect, which one to attempt to buy, and how much to offer.

The jury system would work better if jurors were paid a substantial wage so that the employed, the educated, and the accomplished did not struggle so hard and so successfully to escape jury duty; and if a college or university degree, or equivalent demonstration of mental competence, were a prerequisite of service.

Mediation Subverts Justice

Rambam v Prytulak was initially allocated to an Early Mediation Pilot Project, whose salient characteristics were that meetings were to be held behind closed doors, public and press excluded, no records were to be kept of what was said, participants were to be sworn to secrecy, and of course that the only rule that was to be followed was the imprecise one of trying to hammer out an agreement.

Disputants who prefer mediation to litigation have always been able to get it, and can get it today, outside the courts.  What is offensive, and indeed destructive of Western Justice, is to require anyone to participate in mediation, and for the Courts to be involved in it, and most especially for the courts to attempt to replace litigation with mediation.

What is valuable about litigation is that it takes place in public, the press can report on it, anyone can obtain transcripts of what was said, a decision may be published, and so that it tends to provide a precedent, which is to say a guide for others who may at some future time want to learn what they can expect for themselves were they to tread the same path.  A world that relies on mediation rather than litigation, in contrast, is a dangerous place the consequences of action are harder to calculate because there are fewer precedents.  Whatever happens takes place behind closed doors, according to no set rules.  Every manner of chicanery and deceit can be practiced without the press exposing it to public view.  All sorts of pressure and arm-twisting and bullying can go on behind those closed doors without the public learning of it, except through rumor.  And as precedent vanishes, so does the safety of predictability.

The public's access to a litigation which adheres strictly to legislation and to precedent is the keystone of our civilization.  The more that anybody is directed, or pressured, into mediation, the more is that keystone loosened, and the readier does that civilization approach to collapse.  Behind closed doors where no record is kept of what transpires is where the strong will trample the weak, the majority will trample a minority, the rich will trample the poor, the loud will trample the quiet, the intimidating will trample the timid, the experienced will trample the inexperienced, the knowledgeable will trample the naive.  Our open courts are the social institution which gives the weak, the minority, the poor, the quiet, the timid, the inexperienced, and the naive a chance at besting great powers; behind closed doors, the lone individual defending his rights against entrenched power has no chance.

Mediation is not what the courts were created to provide, and the courts must be stopped from supplying mediation services.  Obligatory and secret mediation is not an innovation, it is a throwback.  The only benefit it brings is that biased or foolish judges who pass their time mediating instead of adjudicating will not have their bias or folly thrown in their faces by appellate courts, as mediation leaves no record, and thus no opportunity for appeal.  Litigation must be treasured because it extends societal protection over individual rights; mediation throws the concept of rights out the window, and gives deception and menace the governing roles.

Uncertainty is the Justice System's Cash Cow

There are obstacles to relying on an American Defendant Finder to predict with confidence what the outcome of litigation will be, but these are obstacles that are not inherent in the American Defendant Finder, but rather are the same obstacles which make it impossible to predict the outcome of following the conventional path of paying lawyers to litigate.  The chief obstacle to confident prediction in either case is chaotic precedents.  That is, some defendants will discover a number of precedents in which a weaker defense than theirs succeeded, and also a number of other precedents in which a stronger defense than theirs failed.  For such cases as these, then, litigation is a submission to randomness.  Still, a systematic and orderly retrieval of precedents employing a computerized Defendant Finder will leave a defendant better informed of his chances, and with smaller outlay of time and money, than having a lawyer attempt the same retrieval at his snail's pace and at his high billings.  Also, a comprehensive and exhaustive ranking of precedents made possible by a computerized Defendant Finder or Plaintiff Finder can deliver to a potential litigant a probability of success, expressed for example as, say, a 78% chance of success, or a 17% chance of success.

That the justice system permits considerable uncertainty is a measure of its shortcoming.  Among the justice system's chief goals should be progress toward banishing uncertainty, so that each man would have it within his power to look into the future with the confidence that he knew what consequences would follow from each of his actions.

However, as certainty removes the need for litigation, it must inevitably be opposed by the justice system because every step toward certainty shrinks the size of the justice system, and throws lawyers and judges out of work.  Those who are on any justice-system payroll, then, will be the first to step forward and the loudest to defend uncertainty as both ineradicable and desirable.  At the opposite extreme will be those who find themselves for the first time being ground up in the gears of litigation, powerless to predict whether the morrow holds vindication or ruin these hapless victims will find themselves able to appreciate that an institution that doles out unpredictable outcomes attracts the same odium as would one that bases its decisions on the toss of a coin.

What Has This to do With You?

Every time John Demjanjuk's name re-emerges in the press, I keep expecting that you will be moved by conscience to come forward and offer him your apologies for having once jumped to the head of his lynch mob, and on top of that I keep expecting that you will help him escape the future ravages of this same lynch mob which has yet to be quelled but you never do.  My recent experiences with the Los Angeles Superior Court in Rambam v Prytulak help me understand your inaction by allowing me to infer what kind of a person you are from the profession you practice.  Yours is a profession whose activities sometimes range from predatory and exploitative all the way to tyrannical and despotic, as for example in the several ways documented above.

Quite simply, then, one reason why you do not object to John Demjanjuk being exploited and tyrannized by his persecutors may be that your profession has inured you to exploitation and tyranny.  The same principle applied more generally helps reveal why the world resists amelioration which is to say, if politicians run the world, and if politicians are disproportionately lawyers, then politicians will tend to be inured to exploitation and tyranny.

If Los Angeles Justice is at all representative of American Justice, then one begins to appreciate why John Demjanjuk never stood a chance, and why he stands no chance today, and why you will never acknowledge your error of having led the effort to get him hanged.

Lubomyr Prytulak

Hard copies to:

Gary Klausner, Judge • USDC • 255 East Temple Street • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90012
Carolyn B Kuhl, Supervising Judge, Civil Departments • LASC • 111 North Hill Street • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90012
Bernadette Torivio, Executive Secretary • CJP • 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400 • San Francisco, CA • USA 94102-3660