An act to ammend SBX-211

 

Senate Bill No. _______; Assembly Bill No. __________

An Act to Repeal Section 2 of SBX 2 11 (Cal. Govt. Code Section 68220) and to Amend Section 5 and Section 6 of SBX 2 11 enacted February 20, 2009, effective May 21, 2009

Legislative Digest

SBX 2 11 was enacted in response to the decision of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 167 Cal.App.4th 640, (4th Appellate District, Div. One, October, 2008) Rev. Denied 12/23/2008 (Sturgeon I). Sturgeon I held that the county payments to Superior Court judges were “compensation” and violated Article 6, Section 19 of the California Constitution which states that the Legislature shall “prescribe” the compensation of the judges.

SBX 2 11 Sections 1 and 2 stated:

“SECTION 1.

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a)

It is the intent of the Legislature to address the decision of the Court of Appeal in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630, regarding county-provided benefits for judges.

(b)

These county-provided benefits were considered by the Legislature in enacting the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act of 1997, in which counties could receive a reduction in the county’s maintenance of effort obligations if counties elected to provide benefits pursuant to paragraph (l) of subdivision (c) of Section 77201 of the Government Code for trial court judges of that county.

(c)

Numerous counties and courts established local or court supplemental benefits to retain qualified applicants for judicial office, and trial court judges relied upon the existence of these longstanding supplemental benefits provided by the counties or the court.

SEC. 2.

Section 68220 is added to the Government Code, to read:

68220.

(a)

Judges of a court whose judges received supplemental judicial benefits provided by the county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.

(b)

A county may terminate its obligation to provide benefits under this section upon providing the Administrative Director of the Courts and the impacted judges with 180 days’ written notice.

The termination shall not be effective as to any judge during his or her current term while that judge continues to serve as a judge in that court or, at the election of the county, when that judge leaves office. The county is also authorized to elect to provide benefits for all judges in the county.”

 

Sections 1 and 2 provided that county payments to “judges of a court” sitting as of July 1, 2008 could receive county payments existing as July 1, 2008 during their “current” term. It also authorized but did not mandate that counties may pay all judges in the county.

 

Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11, enacted as California Government Code Section 68220 were held to be only a “temporary solution” to the problem of the illegality of the county payments in the decision of  Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 191 Cal.App.4th 344 (4th Appellate District, Div. One, December 10, 2010), Rev. Denied 3/16/11 (Sturgeon II).

 

Pursuant to California Constitution Article 6, Section 16 (b), Superior Court judges are elected for six year terms. As of the present time, terms of almost all judges, if not all, who were “current” as of May 21, 2009, the effective date of SBX 2 11, have expired. Thus under the specific language of Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11 enacted as California Govt. Code Section 68220, literally no judge is presently required to receive county payments, rendering the mandatory wording of paying “benefits” to “current” judges under Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11(Cal. Govt. Code Section 68220) presently moot and leaving only the county’s discretion to make payments which have been adjudged to be illegal in the decision of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 167 Cal.App.4th 640, (4th Appellate District, Div. One, October, 2008) Rev. Denied 12/23/2008 (Sturgeon I).

 

To remove any issue of whether Sections 1 and 2 were intended to “prescribe” county payments to any judges sitting as “current” judges elected after July 1, 2008, and whether counties are “prescribed” to pay “judicial benefits” to judges elected after July 1, 2008, Section 2 of SBX 2 11, now Cal. Govt. Code Section 68220 must be repealed.

 

Sturgeon I did not address the criminality of the county payments. However, Section 5 of SBX 2 11 did address the criminality of the county payments by giving immunity from criminal prosecution.

Section 5 stated:

“Section 5. Nothwithstanding any other law, no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or shall be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of this act on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

However Section 5 did not extend to protecting the public interest, the due administration of justice and the integrity of the judiciary and county government by setting forth the protections that the public would receive if the prosecution occurred and the convictions resulted.

The result was that county officers and employees who authorized and gave criminal payments to the judges, and the judges who received the county criminal payments, were given retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution with no consideration to the existing law which would have resulted in conviction and removal from office and prohibition from holding any other office under Cal. Penal Code Section 98 and the District Attorney being required to prosecute the judge to recover all illegal payments plus 20% under Cal. Govt. Code Section 26525.

The Section 5 of SBX 2 11 immunity did not extend to the disqualification of the judges and justices who received the illegal payments from presiding over cases in which the counties who paid them were parties or witnesses before them, or their disqualification for their violation of Cal. Penal Code Sections 7(6), 92, 93, 94, 96.5, and 182(a) (5) amongst others, U.S.C. Sections 4, 241, 1513, 1846, and 1960 et seq., amongst others, California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 170.1(a)(6)(A)(iii) and California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canons 2A, 3E(1) and (2), 4D(1) and 6A.

 

This resulted in judges and justices sitting on cases in which the county which gave them a criminal payment appearing before them as a party, appears as a witness or has an interest in child custody and family law cases, class action cases, conservator and elder cases, constitutional cases, contract cases, criminal cases, death, estate, and probate cases, eminent domain cases, environmental cases, personal injury cases, property cases, regulation cases, tax cases, traffic cases, zoning cases, amongst others.

 

Due to judges and justices presiding over cases in which counties which gave them criminal payments were parties before the judge or justice and the resulting violations of: (1) U.S. and California Constitutions and laws; (2) the due administration of justice; and (3) the integrity of the judiciary, the public trust has been severely compromised, requiring legislative action to amend Section 5 of SBX 2 11 relating to the immunity granted therein and the lack of immunity for judges elected after November, 2007.

 

By violating the U.S. and California Constitutions and laws, each 
of the judges and justices who received county payments was subject 
to impeachment and conviction under Article 4, Section 18 (a) and 
(b) of the California Constitution for “misconduct in office” 
resulting in their “removal from office and disqualification 
to hold any office under the State”.

 

Section 6 of SBX 2 11 required the Judicial Council to report to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, and both the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary on or before December 31, 2009, analyzing the statewide benefits inconsistencies. Such report showed that approximately 90% of the judges received illegal payments from approximately thirty counties and courts as of 2008. No subsequent study occurred. It is necessary to annually update the 2009 report to the public on the integrity of the California judicial system and judiciary.

The amendment solves this problem: (1) by repealing Section 2 of SBX 2 11 enacted as California Govt. Code Section 68200; (2) by adding language reflecting existing law to the Section 5 immunity and removing any judge, justice, county supervisor, or other government official or employee who received immunity under Section 5, on the effective date of the amendment; (3) by clarifying that immunity does not exist for any judge who presently receives payments from counties or courts; and (4) by requiring the Judicial Council to make annual reports.

 

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

Section 1:

  1. Sections 1and 2 of SBX 2 11, enacted as California Government Code Section 68220 provided that county payments to current judges sitting as of July 1, 2008 could receive county payments existing as July 1, 2008 during their current term. It also authorized but did not mandate that counties may pay all judges in the county;
  2. Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11, enacted as Government Code Section 68220 were held to be only a “temporary solution” to the problem of the illegality of the county payments in the decision of  Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 191 Cal.App.4th 344 (4th Appellate District, Div. One, December 10, 2010), Rev. Denied 3/16/11 (Sturgeon II);
  3. Pursuant to California Constitution Article 6, Section 16 (b), Superior Court judges are elected for six year terms. As of the present time, the terms of all Superior Court judges who received county payments as of July 1, 2008, and who were “current” as of May 21, 2009, the effective date of SBX 2 11, have expired. Thus under the specific language of Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11enacted as California Govt. Code Section 68220, literally no judge is presently required to receive county payments, rendering the mandatory wording of paying “benefits” to “current” judges under Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11enacted as California Govt. Code Section 68220, presently moot and leaving only the county’s discretion to make payments which have been adjudged to be illegal in Sturgeon I;
  4. Section 5 of SBX 2 11 addressed the criminality of the county payments by giving immunity from criminal prosecution.

Section 5 stated:

“Section 5. Nothwithstanding any other law, no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or shall be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of this act on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

  1. However Section 5 of SBX 2 11did not extend to protecting the public interest, the due administration of justice and the integrity of the judiciary and county government by setting forth the protections that the public would receive if the prosecution occurred and the convictions resulted.
  2. The result was that county officers and employees who authorized and gave criminal payments to the judges, and the judges who received the county criminal payments, were given retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution with no consideration to the existing law which would have resulted in conviction and removal from office and prohibition from holding any other office under Cal. Penal Code Section 98 and the District Attorney being required to prosecute the judge to recover all illegal payments plus 20% under Cal. Govt. Code Section 26525;
  3. The Section 5 of SBX 2 11immunity did not extend to the disqualification of the judges and justices who received the illegal payments from presiding over cases in which the counties who paid them were parties or witnesses before them, or were interested parties, or the disqualification of  the judges and justices for their violation of Cal. Penal Code Sections 7(6), 92, 93, 94, 96.5, and 182(a) (5) amongst others, U.S.C. Sections 4, 241, 1513, 1846, and 1960 et seq., amongst others, California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 170.1(a)(6)(A)(iii) and California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canons 2A, 3E(1) and (2), 4D(1) and 6A;
  4. This resulted in judges and justices sitting on cases in which the county which gave them a criminal payment appearing before them as a party, appears as a witness or has an interest in: (1) administrative law cases; (2) child custody and family law cases; (3) class action cases; (4)  conservatorship and elder cases; (5) constitutional law cases; (6)  contract cases; (7) criminal cases; (8) death, estate, guardianship and probate cases; (9)  eminent domain cases; (10) environmental cases; (11) government abuse of power cases; (12) personal injury cases; (13)  property cases; (14) regulation cases; (15) tax cases; (16) traffic cases, and (17) zoning cases, amongst others;
  5. Due to judges and justices presiding over cases in which counties which gave them criminal payments were parties before the judge or justice and the resulting violations of: (1) U.S. and California Constitutions and laws; (2) the due administration of justice; and (3) the integrity of the judiciary, the public trust has been severely compromised, requiring legislative action to amend Section 5 of SBX 2 11 relating to the immunity granted therein and the lack of immunity for judges elected after November, 2007.
  6. Section 6 of SBX 2 11 required the Judicial Council to report to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, and both the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary on or before December 31, 2009, analyzing the statewide benefits inconsistencies. Such report showed that approximately 90% of the judges received illegal payments from approximately thirty counties and courts as of 2008. No subsequent study occurred. It is necessary to annually update the 2009 report to the Legislature and the public on the integrity of the California judicial system and judiciary;
  7. Despite the fact that the county and court payments to judges were illegal and not subject to immunity after the effective date of SBX 2 11, approximately twenty five counties and courts continue such criminal payments with over $350 million of criminal payments having been made to California judges during the last twenty five years;
  8. These illegal and criminal payments resulted in the largest judicial scandal in history and made  the California judicial system and the California judiciary one of the most corrupt in history, particularly as the illegality and corruption were recognized and approved by the granting of retroactive immunity from liability, prosecution and disciplinary action in Section 5 of SBX 2 11with the State Assembly effectively impeaching the judges and the Senate effectively convicting them and entering judgment after enacting Section 5 of SBX 2 11;
  9. A further result of the illegal and criminal payments was and is, that all decisions, orders and judgments made by the judges and justices in cases before such judge or justice, in which the county or court which made such payment to the judge or justice, are void and null for the reason of the actions of the judicial officer and the county and or court being a “fraud upon the court”;
    1. Since: (1) Sections 1 and 2 of SBX 2 11(Cal. Govt. Code Section 68220)  are expired and moot; (2) the Legislature recognized the misconduct of the judges in Section 5 of SBX 2 11by granting retroactive immunity and effectively impeached, convicted and entered judgment against the judges who received retroactive immunity; and (3) the criminal payments from counties and courts continue as of the present day resulting in the continued corruption of the Judicial branch of the California Government, it is imperative that the legislation be immediately enacted.
j.      By violating the U.S. and California Constitutions and laws,
each of the judges and justices who received county payments was 
subject to impeachment and conviction under Article 4, Section 18 
(a) and (b) of the California Constitution for 
“misconduct in office” resulting in their “removal from office and 
disqualification to hold any office under the State”;

Section 2

To remove any issue of whether Sections 1 and 2 were intended to “prescribe” county payments to any judges sitting as current judges elected after July 1, 2008, and the issue of whether counties were “prescribed” to pay “judicial benefits” to judges elected after July 1, 2008, Section 2 of SBX 2 11, now Cal. Govt. Code Section 68220 is repealed in its entirety.

Section 3

Section 5 of SBX 2 11 enacted February 20, 2009, effective May 21, 2009 is amended to now read as follows:

Section 5. Nothwithstanding any other law, no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or shall be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of this act on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law. Any elected official, including but not limited to judges and county supervisors, who is an officer or employee of a governmental entity who receives retroactive immunity from liability, prosecution, or disciplinary action pursuant to this paragraph is precluded from serving in such capacity for which the immunity is granted, or any other state or county elected, appointed or pro tem office from the effective date of this amendment. Any governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, including but not limited to judges and county supervisors, is subject to liability, prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the  official action of a governmental entity as of July 1, 2008, must disclose such benefits and disqualify itself and/or themselves from any action or litigation in which the government entity is involved or engaged, from the effective date of this amendment, subject to the U.S. and California Constitutional rights against self-incrimination, at which point such rights must be asserted and the officer or employee must remove himself/herself from their position with the governmental entity until completion of their criminal trial on the payment of the benefits.

Section 4

Section 6 of SBX 2 11 enacted February 20, 2009, effective May 21, 2009 is amended to now read as follows:

Judicial Council shall report to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, and both the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary on or before December 31, 2009, and every year thereafter commencing December 31, 2013, analyzing the statewide benefits inconsistencies.

About arnierosner

As an American I advocate a republic form of government, self-reliance, and adherence to the basic philosophy of the founding fathers and the founding documents, I ONLY respect those who respect and "HONOR" their honor. No exceptions!
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1 Response to An act to ammend SBX-211

  1. Pingback: California SBX-211; A Call for Action! | Scanned Retina Blog

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