Human Rights Alert's Request for US Congress Judiciary Committees to Establish by Law the Case Management and Online Public Access Systems of the US Courts.
Los Angeles, July 31 - Human Rights Alert (NGO) forwarded a request to the US Congressional Committees on the Judiciary for urgent review and legislative initiative regarding case management and online public access systems of the US courts. Such systems were introduced over the past decade through a large-scale project by the Administrative Office of the US Courts, albeit with no public oversight. Moreover, the courts failed to publish Rules of Courts to govern their operation. Evidence was provided that such systems have caused precipitous deterioration in integrity of the courts, particularly in the areas of Banking Regulation and Human Rights. The evidence showed that litigations, which were widely reported by media as court actions, were only pretense, with no valid judicial review at all.
The following key deficiencies were identified:
1) All courts that were examined, from the District Courts, through the Courts of Appeals, to the US Supreme Court, have failed to publish Rules of Court to set the legal foundation for the operation of case management and online public access systems, in apparent violation of Due Process rights.
2) The manner in which case management and online public access systems were operated today, the public at large, and even attorneys could not distinguish between valid and effectual court records and records that were deemed void, not voidable by the courts themselves. Both types of records were published in online public access systems in a manner that had to be deemed as serious violation of various fundamental Constitutional, Civil, and Human Rights.
3) Public access was routinely denied to critical judicial records, in apparent violation of First Amendment rights, and the range of judicial records, which were publicly accessible varied among the courts with no foundation at the law at all.
4) The key role of Clerks in authentication of court records, which was established over the centuries as a critical safeguard for integrity of the courts, was largely eliminated - a sea change in administration of the courts, which was never established by law. Dockets were now constructed by unauthorized persons, and the Clerk refused to certify them. Unauthenticated judgments were entered in the Index of Judgments with no authority at all.
5) Discrimination against pro se litigants, and unprecedented authority for counsel to enter court records with no prior review by authority of the Clerk, which were established in the case management systems, undermined Due Process and Fair Hearing rights.
6) Similar conditions were documented in the courts of the several states as well.
Key features were outlined of the desired legislation:
1) Any case management and online public access systems should be recognized as inherently affecting changes in court procedures. Therefore, their installation must be established by law. Validation of such systems must be undertaken prior to their installation, in a manner that is legally and publicly accountable - e.g. through agencies under control of the legislative branch.
2) Data that must be entered only by authority of the Clerk of the Court should be defined, including, but not limited entries in the online dockets, where the name, authority, and digital signature of the person entering the data should be publicly accessible.
3) All court records must be publicly accessible, pursuant to First Amendment, Due Process, and Public Trial rights, including, but not limited to all authentication records, unless access is denied by law or through documented sealing orders.
4) Authentication records of the US District Courts (NEF - Notices of Electronic Filing) and the US Courts of Appeals (NDAs - Notices of Docket Activity) must be re-drafted, to form valid certification of authentication records, clear and unambiguous reference should be included in such records to the judicial records being authenticated, as well as visible names, authority, and digital signatures of those issuing the authentication records � as signs of intention to take responsibility. Dockets must be constructed only by authority of the Clerk. Judgments must be entered into the Judgment Index only by the authority of the Clerk.
5) Counsel must not be permitted to enter court records in the dockets with no prior review by authority of the clerk; pro se litigants and counsel should be given equal standing in access to such systems.
6) Key provisions of such legislation should apply to the courts of the several states as well.
Conditions now prevailing in the US justice system were deemed as undermining the framework of lawful and effective government. Such conditions incurred risks that cannot be easily assessed to stability of US financial infrastructure, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.
The proposal was copied to the US State Department and the United Nations, as part of the pending, first ever UPR (universal periodic review) of Human Rights in the United States by the United Nations scheduled for November 2010. The April UPR report by Human Rights Alert, alleged large-scale fraud in online public access and case management systems of the courts in the United States. The report called for publicly and legally accountable validation of such systems by the legislative branch.
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of online public access and case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system in the United States.
The proposal was also copied to the Basel Accord Committee, since in such Accords, the US government made commitments for honest and effective regulation of the US banking system, valid risk assessment, and effective risk reduction.
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