In the years leading to the Civil War it was argued that the rights for life, liberty, and property were secured in the Fifth Amendment. The US courts failed to protect such rights, as best documented in the Dred Scott Decision. Following the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, to further secure these rights through ‘equal protection.’ Today, the US courts again fail to protect these Constitutional and Civil Rights, and the US government fails to perform its duties and obligations in protection of the Human Rights of the People pursuant to international law. The People are routinely deprived of Life, liberty, and property with no due process of law. The latter two - often to cater to large corporate interests. Corruption of the US courts has reached levels not seen for a century and is one of the fundamental causes of the current financial crisis. Unless reform of the US courts is initiated, civil society and socio-economic conditions in the US are unlikely to be restored, leaving other nations as unwitting collateral.
Of particular interest in Jacobus ten Broek’s examination of the Abolitionists’ arguments in the decades preceding the Civil War is the 1837 paper, A Constitutional Argument on the Subject of Slavery, by Alvan Stewart. [[i]] Stewart’s major contribution was the argument that the US Congress had the power to abolish slavery in the United States, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment:
"No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
Stated briefly, the argument in brief was:
* “Person”, as used in the Constitution, included slaves.
* “Due Process of Law,” originating in the Magna Carta, as used by the Framers, referred to trial by jury.
* Slavery permitted the deprivation of life, liberty, and property with no due process of law.
* In the years that passed since the adoption of the Fifth Amendment, none of the slave-holding states had established due process of law pertaining to slavery.
The centrality of Stewart’s arguments is evident in the eventual wording of the 13th and 14th Amendments:
* The 13th Amendment states:
"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." [[ii]]
* The 14th Amendment states:
"Section 1. … nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
* Equal Protection as to Life
Under slavery, “…the same practice was continued, without any of the legal forms known and observed by the common law for the protection of life or the conviction of the guilty; and [that] men had been deprived of life by lynch law, ‘without due process of law…’ ”. [[iii]] Therefore, slavery violated the Fifth Amendment.
Today, there is abundant evidence of executions with no due process of law. Such conditions led some state governors to impose a moratorium on executions. In Illinois, the death penalty was abolished in 2011, after the Governor declared it "fraught with errors" and “a broken system.” [[iv],[v],[vi],[vii]]
* Equal Protection as to Liberty
In 1837, Stewart argued that the minimal review standard by the US courts under habeas corpus, pertaining to the deprivation of liberty, required the master to “produce[s] a record of the conviction of the slave, showing that he has been deprived of his liberty by an indictment, trial... and judgment of a court, or by "due process of law’ ”. [[viii]] Since no slave master could produce these records, any slave who filed a habeas corpus petition against his master in a US court should have been freed.
In 2010, the US courts failed to perform their duties, even by the minimal review standards deemed sufficient in the pre Civil War period. This was clearly documented in the case of the 70-year-old former US prosecutor Richard Fine. Richard Fine was held for 18 months under solitary confinement after protesting judicial corruption with no warrant, no conviction, and no judgment/sentencing ever entered in his case. [[ix]]
Large-scale false imprisonment is common in the United States. At times, the role of large corporations as the beneficiaries was documented. [[x]]
Since 1998, false imprisonment of historic proportion has continued in Los Angeles County, California, even after it had been established that the victims were falsely prosecuted, falsely convicted, and falsely sentenced. [[xi],[xii],[xiii]]
* Equal Protection as to Property
Deprivation of the right to own real property with no due process of law was inherent to slavery.
By early 2011 it was estimated that in recent years some 3 million homes have already been foreclosed, and that in the next couple of years the number would reach 6 million. [[xiv]] Tens of millions of persons will have been deprived of their homes. [[xv]] Many of these foreclosures in the ‘Foreclosure Crisis’ have been documented to have been conducted in blatant violation of due process of law through foreclosure fraud, perpetrated by large financial institutions, and tolerated, or worse, by the state and US courts. [[xvi],[xvii],[xviii],[xix]]
In response to the outcry, the US and state governments have entered “settlements” with the perpetrators, which amount to a state or Federal “Fraud Tax”. Such “settlements” have no lawful validity, and they fail to remedy the deprivation of rights of the People. [[xx]]
Causes and Remedies
The deprivation of the rights of the People of the United States today is of unprecedented proportions. The US courts fail to perform their duties in protection of rights pursuant to the US Constitution and the Amendments, and the US government fails to perform its duties and obligations pertaining to Human Rights in ratified international law.
The current Foreclosure Crisis is far beyond an economic crisis, it is one of several manifestations of an integrity crisis of the US government and the US courts. It is systemic in nature. [[xxi],[xxii],[xxiii],[xxiv]]
Remedy for such conditions is unlikely to come by way of the US courts. However, reform of the US justice system must be of the highest priority. [[xxv]] Unless such reform is initiated, civil society and socio-economic development in the US are unlikely to be restored, leaving other nations as unwitting collateral.
[i] Newart, Alvan: An Constitutional Argument on the Subject of Slavery, The Friend of Man, Vol II, No 18, reprinted in: ten Broek, Jacobus Equal Under Law (1951)
[ii] The 2010 UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (Wg.6 9 l.9 USA) called upon the US to abolish slavery outright, where the Thirteenth Amendment left it lawful under due process of law.
[iii] See [ii], above.
[iv] 11-03-09 Illinois Abolishes the Death Penalty- Compilation of Media Reports
[v] The 2010 UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations called upon the US to abolish the death penalty. See [ii], above.
[vi] 11-03-13 Editorial_ Make Colorado Next to End Death Penalty - The Denver Post
[vii] Petition to end the Death Penalty in California
[viii] See [ii], above.
[ix] The habeas corpus of Richard Fine was subjected to simulated review by the US District Court, Los Angeles, US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, and US Supreme Court:
10-04-15 Fine v Sheriff (09 A827) Press Release US Supreme Court Motion to Intervene and Support Requests s
[x] 11-02-18 Pennsylvania Judge Guilty Of Racketeering In Kickback Case (Kids for Cash Scandal)
[xi] "...judges tried and sentenced a staggering number of people for crimes they did not commit." Prof David Burcham, Dean, Loyola Law School, LA (2001)
"This is conduct associated with the most repressive dictators and police states... and judges must share responsibility when innocent people are convicted." Prof Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Irvine Law School (2001)
"Innocent people remain in prison"; "...the LA Superior Court and the DA office, the two other parts of the justice system that the Blue Panel Report recommends must be investigated relative to the integrity of the system, have not produced any response that we know of..." LAPD Blue Ribbon Review Panel Report (2006)
"...corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California." United Nations Human Rights Council Staff Report (2010)
[xii] In 2006, the Blue Ribbon Review Panel concluded upon review of the Rampart scandal “Innocent people remain in prison”. It documented that their release is prevented by judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court, who claim that release of the innocent would cause “collapse of the justice system”.
[xiii] Of particular concern is the conduct of the US District Court, Los Angeles, pertaining to the Rampart Scandal. The case, which originated in the scandal, US v City of Los Angeles et al (2:00-cv-11769) is opined as simulated litigation: The Court denies access to the electronic authentication records (NEFs –Notices of Electronic Filing) in the case, and the purported “Consent Decree” was never entered in the Judgment Index of the Court. The office of “Overseer of Civil Rights”, which was established through such “Consent Decree”, and which remained in operation for almost a decade, failed to bring about the release of the Rampart-FIPs.
[xiv] “About 3 million homes have been repossessed since the housing boom ended in 2006. That number could balloon to about 6 million by 2013”
Bloomberg (January 2011)
[xv] Submission of Human Rights Alert (NGO), as part of the 2010 UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, focused on false imprisonments and financial institution and housing fraud by the courts in California. The submission was incorporated into the UPR staff report with reference to “corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California”.
[xvi] 11-04-02 Foreclosure Fraud Featured This Sunday on 60 Minutes
[xvii] The case of Susan Lamos in the Los Angeles Superior Court provided unique documentation of fraud on the court in foreclosure procedure through collusion of a California Judge and Bank of America, and refusal of FBI and the US Attorney Office to provide equal protection.
11-04-08 US Attorney Office and FBI Complaint against California Judge Peter Meeka, Clerk John Clarke, BofA and its President Brian Moynihan - Public Corruption and Racketeering in Lomas V Bank of America (KC059379)
11-04-12 PRESS RELEASE: Bribing of State and US Judges by Bank of America Must be a Serious Concern!
11-05-04 Lomas v Bank of America (B232086) Fraud and Extortion by Judge Peter Meeka and Bank of America in the Los Angeles Superior Court continue in the California Court of Appeal, 2nd District
[xviii] Unique evidence of the role of the US courts in the undermining US banking regulation in the current crisis is provided in the litigation of Securities and Exchange Commission v Bank of America Corporation in the US District Court, NYC:
Zernik, Joseph: Securities and Exchange Commission v Bank of America Corporation - Simulated Litigation and Simulated Banking Regulation in the United States
11-01-10 Request No 1 for investigation/impeachment proceedings, in re: US Judge JED RAKOFF and Clerk RUBY KRAJICK, US District Court, Southern District of New York, Conduct of Securities and Exchange Committee v Bank of America Corporation (1:09-cv-06829) s
10-12-08 RE: Securities and Exchange Commission v Bank of America Corporation(1:09-cv-06829) – Request No 1 for Investigation, Impeachment of RUBY KRAJICK, Clerk of the Court, US District Court, Southern District of New York
Zernik, Joseph: Securities and Exchange Commission v Bank of America Corporation - Pretense Litigation and Pretense Banking Regulation in the United States (filed in support of Request No 1 for impeachment of US Judge JED RAKOFF and Clerk RUBY KRAJICK, US District Court, Southern District of New York)
10-12-19 RE: Securities and Exchange Commission v Bank of America Corporation (1:09-cv-06829) - Addendum to Request No 1 for Investigation-impeachment of Judge Rakoff and Clerk Krajick
[xix] Conduct of the US justice system pertaining to the ‘Foreclosure Crisis’ has been repeatedly rebuked:
“Foreclosure fraud: The homeowner nightmares continue”, CNN (April 7, 2011)
"...a system in which only the little people have to obey the law, while the rich, and bankers especially, can cheat and defraud without consequences." Prof Paul Krugman, MIT (2011)
11-04-21 "In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures" - Because of widespread corruption of the justice system, they are effectively immune…
[xx] 11-02-24 Foreclosure Fraud Settlements- Compilation of Media Reports
[xxi] Corruption of the state and US courts today, was opined by official reports as higher than that during the notorious Robber Baron Era, a century ago. Blue Ribbon, see [xiii], above.
[xxii] See for example: 11-01-07 Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California: Widespread Public Corruption and Refusal of US Department of Justice to Take Action
[xxiii] Fraud opined in the electronic record systems of the US courts, PACER and CM/ECF, provides unique evidence of the systemic nature of corruption of the US courts: 11-06-02 PRESS RELEASE: Eric Holder, US Attorney General is requested to investigate the integrity, or lack thereof, of the electronic record systems of the US courts – draft published for comments
[xxiv] "On July 26, 2010, Laurence Tribe, Senior Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Access to Justice Initiative, delivered an important speech to the Conference of Chief Justices, challenging them to halt the disintegration of our state justice systems before they become indistinguishable from courts of third world nations." Prof Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School (2010), per National Defender Leadership Institute (2010)
"More than 100 law professors have signed on to a letter released today that proposes congressional hearings and legislation aimed at fashioning "mandatory and enforceable" ethics rules for Supreme Court justices for the first time. The effort, coordinated by the liberal Alliance for Justice, was triggered by "recent media reports," the letter said, apparently referring to stories of meetings and other potential conflicts of interest involving Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas among others." More than 100 law professors, as reported by the Blog of the Legal Times (February 2011)
"The American legal system has been corrupted almost beyond recognition..." Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Edith Jones, speaking before the Federalist Society of Harvard Law School (February 2003)
[xxv] The urgent need for addressing corruption of the US justice system was recognized by no lesser than the chair of the US Senate Judiciary Committee: * In a speech in Georgetown University, Senator Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee called for a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" on the US Department of Justice.
Transcript of Senator Leahy speech (2009)
In: LiveLeaks, Citizen Journalism
Tags: Corruption of the Courts, Banking Regulation, Foreclosure Fraud, False Imprisonment
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States (load item map)
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