Thursday, September 16, 2004

Objection Overruled

The "overrule" right of Superior Court judges offers many possibilites for injustice, if not tyranny. Since judges are under no obligation to establish or prove whether a given piece of evidence is true or false, they may simply overrule objections to evidence and thus a falsehood or mistake may become accepted as truth.

Imagine this scenario: a policeman or probation person gets up on the stand in a civil or family law matter (or presents a report) and asserts that you had a FIREARM or drugs in your possession once when arrested, for say, being intoxicated. Yet let us say you were arrested, but DID NOT have a gun nor drugs at the time and there is no additional charge for this, no sheriff's report etc. You and your attorney strongly object to this admission (a defense attorney may not even want you to object--and you have to fire him or her on the spot). Regardless of the actual truth, the judge has the power to overrule your objection and in effect introduces a falsehood into the record, which is now accepted as a "fact."

This happens quite often in fact. The facts become phucked. But since the judge has no requirement to prove anything to anyone (except to himself and others in the black gown posse), nor is he obligated to check the police report (assuming of course that the police report is correct...hah), the "facts" introduced into the court record may or may not be what actually happened. Yet the absurdity does not end there. If you lose at the trial court (maybe due to the introduced falsehoods) and then file an appeal, you cannot introduce new evidence at the appellate level showing these facts were wrong or mistaken--such introduction, though generally not granted anyways, was recently prohibited by a US Supreme Court decision. You may file a separate Writ of Habeas Corpus which may or may not be heard; in a civil case, you generally do not have this recourse.

At the appellate level, the judges generally are there to protect their fellow country club members, er, junior colleagues. Unless you are lucky enough to be granted a habeas corpus hearing, you can protest such bogus admissions all you want, and nothing will happen--that's the "law " of the land. As far as a Habeas Corpus or Petition for Review, the Lord Justices are not required to take ANY case, and if you are a day late with your filing....dem's da breaks, peasant. Years ago, when Grand Juries still had power over the judiciary, I imagine judges were far more reluctant to make any unconstitutional and/or unethical decisions, knowing that any lapse of judgment was likely to cost them their jobs. Since the county grand juries have been neutered (a few decades ago), certainly many judges have returned to the "off with their heads" style of courtroom procedure, especially in low profile cases, plea bargains, or backwater districts.

A much more scientific and logical court system is needed at all levels, with rigorous requirements for evidence and perhaps tribunals consisting of a panel of judges, psychologists, experts. etc. Shouldn't judges also possess have a great deal of psychological expertise since they are oftne making character assessments? Creating a special State Grand Jury--comprised say of academics, psychologists, reporters, citizens, etc.--to review the judiciary (superior, appeals, supreme courts)--would be a start. Take a look at the California supreme courts's record of denying review for a laugh--it's about 98% denial.

American judges are not scientists, nor are they usually ethical or logical. They are sort of petty aristocrats following the tradition--a mostly corrupt and privileged tradition--of the English barristers. At least we could make 'em wear a wig.

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