First, let’s start off by putting a smile on your face…
Donald Trump goes on a fact-finding visit to Israel. While he is on a tour of Jerusalem he suffers a heart attack and dies. The undertaker tells the American Diplomats accompanying him, “You can have him shipped home for $50,000, or you can bury him here, in the Holy Land for just $100.” The American Diplomats go into a corner and discuss for a few minutes. They come back to the undertaker and tell him they want Donald shipped home. The undertaker is puzzled and asks, “Why would you spend $50,000 to ship him home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $100″ The American Diplomats replied, “Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. We just can’t take the risk.”
Nobody Is Willfully Poor.
There was a promising bill in the senate that essentially just died a painful death at the hands of career bureaucrats in the judicial branch and county governments. Senate bill 881 (Hertzberg) would have decoupled an automatic drivers license suspension from the DMV from someones ability to pay their traffic court bills. It would also have chewed away at the up to $300.00 civil assessment that is imposed mostly because people cannot afford their citations by distinguishing a willful disregard to appear or pay from an inability to pay. It would have also extended the amnesty program by making everything up to Jan 1 2015 eligible for the amnesty program. As you will see in the video, there is absolutely no front door opposition and broad support from just about every organization that touches law and poverty. Rather, it was killed in the back room by government lobbyists in the legislative appropriations committee who really believe they can squeeze blood out of a turnip if they squeeze hard enough.
The sickening thing about this…. well… there are several actually, is that state and county governments make a small fortune off the current system which directly equates being poor with being a crime. A really expensive ticket a poor person cannot pay turns out to be the first domino that falls. Of course, in public transportation poor California, people who cannot afford to pay need to live and need to drive to work, to pick up their children from school, to go to school themselves and to care for their families. Most of all, they need at least a restricted license to do these things so that they can pay their tickets!
For far too long, suspensions are automatic at the DMV for failing to pay a fine. When that tool wasn’t very effective, the government lobbyists theorized that adding huge penalties on top of already huge penalties would serve as a deterrent.Worse, you would completely lose your ability to argue any aspect of your case once the second set of penalties was imposed. You deal with a collection agency and not the courts from that point forward.
The next time you go out on the roads, look around you because there is about a 16% chance that the vehicle in front of you or in back of you or to either side of you is driven by an unlicensed, uninsured motorist that has one or a pile of tickets they can’t pay. Wait! That’s a person of color in that car? The odds just doubled. It’s no wonder why profiling is so prolific – driving while black or hispanic is low hanging revenue fruit. When you open up your next auto insurance bill, realize that it would be about 16% less expensive if you didn’t have to pay for this travesty through your own law abiding behavior.
Congratulations to the Center for Judicial Excellence
For too long the people of California have looked on in utter shock and bewilderment at the judicial exoneration committee known as the CJP or California State Commission on Judicial Performance. From the judges side of the fence, there are claims that the organization is both petty and politically motivated. From those aggrieved the stakes are much higher. One of the largest complaints from those aggrieved is that the CJP dismisses or will not investigate complaints if the case itself is active. In family and probate law, this generally means that the aggrieved simply loses until the kids turn of age or the probate assets vaporize. By that time, the judge in question could have been long retired.
In other CJP cases items that shock and bewilder the public lead to questions as to why that judge (or untouchable commissioners and judicial council assigned judges) was not removed from the bench, smacking of a three tier justice system: One for judges, the rich and the rest of us.
But I digress. The reason the CJE deserves congratulations is that the state auditor will be looking at the performance of the commission on judicial performance due to their leadership and coalition building. Maybe, just maybe this will lead to some common sense reforms and some significant distancing from the council. Maybe, just maybe some common sense reforms that will cause the CJP to act in active cases before kids turn of age or probate assets vaporize.