Did you fire the Serpico of the Bench?
||"Klausner would not compromise. He contended that each of the 52 downtown judges had to be able to handle overflow criminal cases." — Editorial, Metropolitan News-Enterprise
When Does a Los Angeles Judge Get
By His Supervisers?
(The following quotation was added to this page on 14-Dec-2002)
But Garcetti could cite only one case that led to a prosecution for police perjury. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Albracht, a former deputy district attorney, thinks he knows why. There is tremendous pressure on prosecutors and judges to ignore police lying, he said. A young prosecutor who challenges a veteran cop's claim is "dead meat," said Albracht. "They'll complain to your supervisor: 'You've got some kind of Jerry Brown liberal here.' " Judges are in a pickle too, said Albracht, who was appointed by Brown. The district attorney's office, which prosecutes all felony cases in the county, can, and does on rare occasions, boycott a judge it does not like by filing peremptory challenges against him in every case.|
"If you called the police liars, they'd 'paper' you," the judge said. Then, "instead of working on a nice assignment near your home, they [your fellow judges] send you downtown or to juvenile or dependency court, where they send the slugs."
Ted Rohrlich, Scandal shows why innocent plead guilty, Los Angeles Times, 31-Dec-1999
Ukrainian Archive, www.ukar.org
26 November 2002
Supervising Judge, Civil Division
Los Angeles Superior Court
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA
Re: Rambam v Prytulak BC271433 James R. Dunn
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Burton Bach,
who died in 1999, recounts your truncation of his judicial career this way:
In 1995 at age 65, Judge Bach took an early retirement when he was assigned by the Court’s then Presiding Judge, Gary Klausner, to serve in a courthouse far from his home, which would require him to drive at least one and a half hours each way in heavy rush-hour traffic.|
Judge Bach requested that he be re-assigned to the Pomona courthouse, which was 7 miles from his home, due to being a recovering heart patient, and submitted letters from his cardiologists stating that the stress would be detrimental to his health, Judge Klausner refused to relent and then requested that the Commission on Judicial Performance remove Judge Bach for not working.
Judge Burton Bach as quoted in Editorial, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, 18-Mar-1998, p. 8
As an alternative to being re-assigned to the Pomona Courthouse, Judge Bach also expressed a willingness to be re-assigned to the Central Courthouse, which he could have reached by train, but which you refused. Being offered no choice but the very distant Norwalk Courthouse, Bach stopped showing up for work, was complained of to the Commission on Judicial Performance, and took early retirement. In other words, you subjected him to "constructive dismissal" — making his job so insufferable that he quit.
The Metropolitan News-Enterprise Editorial above arrives at the conclusion that although you were not insincere or insufferable in your constructive dismissal of Judge Bach, you were insensitive, unaccommodating, intransigent, uncompromising, seemingly unjust, and unkind.
But why would you have wanted to fire Judge Bach? The only reason that can be gleaned from the Metropolitan News-Enterprise Editorial seems to be that Judge Bach had been barred from sitting on criminal cases, and the courthouses that were accessible to him were needed largely for criminal cases, a position which the Metropolitan News-Sentinel Editorial questions:
Klausner would not compromise. He contended that each of the 52 downtown judges had to be able to handle overflow criminal cases. We question whether it would not have been possible to dedicate one courtroom in a massive courthouse to civil cases, only, out of regard for maintaining the health of a 12-year veteran of the court.
Editorial, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, 18-Mar-1998, p. 8
And why was Judge Bach barred from hearing criminal cases?
Bach had been disqualified from hearing criminal matters after an Orange Superior Court judge, ruling on a statement of disqualification pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 170.3, held that Bach bore actual bias against the prosecution.
Editorial, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, 18-Mar-1998, p. 8
One's first impression might well be that a judge who had been disqualified for bias was one who deserved to be fired. Or at least, if there was a large category of work that he proved himself incapable of doing, then he became of diminished use to the justice system, and might thenceforth expect to have to accommodate to the system, rather than having the system accommodate to him.
However, a second impression is possible, and it arises from a reading of the Rampart Scandal, the subject of my letter to you of 24-Nov-2002. That second impression begins with the recognition that the complaint against Judge Bach's bias in criminal cases must have been lodged by prosecutors, and that these prosecutors were at the time in a frenzy of railroading criminal defendants. Past president of the Los Angeles Criminal Bar Association, Charles L Lindner, speaks of a judiciary so hell-bent on conviction as to have effected the "virtual merger of judge and prosecutor," as I quoted in my earlier letter to you.
In this light, then, any judge who resisted merging with the prosecution might have been viewed by prosecutors and merged-judges alike as biased, and might have been harassed into early retirement for the sin of probity.
The questions arise, therefore, (a) of whether Judge Burton Bach may have drawn the ire of both prosecutors and merged-judges for having had the courage and the integrity to thwart the railroading of criminal defendants, and (b) of whether your constructive firing of Judge Bach may have been a defense of the corruption which the Rampart Scandal exposed. In other words, maybe you fired Judge Burton Bach because he was threatening to become the Serpico of the Bench.
Speaking of corruption, I continue to await your contribution toward the restoration to the trial record in Rambam v Prytulak, Case BC271433, of the following seven spoliated litigant submissions:
- Motion-to-Quash-B dated 27-May-2002
- Prytulak-Query-B dated 14-Jun-2002
- Motion-to-Quash-C dated 29-Aug-2002, accompanied by a money order for US$193
- Rambam-Objection-C dated 03-Sep-2002
- Prytulak-Reply-C dated 13-Sep-2002, accompanied by a money order for US$23
- Prytulak-Reply-D3 dated 05-Nov-2002
- Prytulak-Reply-D7 dated 21-Nov-2002
James A Bascue, Presiding Judge LASC 111 North Hill Street Los Angeles, CA USA 90012
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