By Dr. Phil Taverna
I have a difficult time with judges. And in all fairness since the judge has to decide who is telling the truth then most of their results are bogus. Judge Judy wins out because there is at least $5,000 in the pot thanks to the studio and all the costs are covered. And there are no useless and expensive lawyers involved.
This is a funny story. I have been fighting a corrupt judge and township and developers for a long time. So I filed an appeal in Pennsylvania. I filed it in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. And this court has a lot of rules and basically if the case is not ripened, they won’t look at it. But the case carried a special provision that the judge had obstructed justice. And it really didn’t make any sense (common or legal) to wait until the case was in its final stages. The Superior Court didn’t want to hear anything about it. And let’s face it why should they do any work. Just deny the appeal and they vote themselves a vacation. So I asked for reconsideration and again I was denied.
They wouldn’t even look at the case.
So I asked them how long was I permitted to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. They said my case would have 30 days. So I filed the appeal in less then 30 days. I immediately had the appeal returned. The clerks in the Supreme Court office said I only had 15 days to file an appeal.
The best part is it didn’t go to a judge for determination, but the clerk’s office decides whether the appeal is timely. . How lazy can you get? Remember they get their paycheck and lifetime benefits for life no matter how many cases they hear. So I call the Superior Court back and asked again how long do I have to file an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania? They again said 30 days. So I file a motion in the Supreme Court to allow a late appeal even though it was not late. Months latter the motion is denied and the motion is not signed by any judges.
So you can be the dumbest person on the planet, but the taxpayer spends a fortune for all these courthouses and Judges and staff. They all get lifetime benefits and some heavy duty vacations. But it looks like they really don’t want to work. So if you get a crooked judge in the lower court, unless you have a lot of money or some connections you are screwed.
Remember that American that was tried for Murder in Italy. Amanda Knox was accused of murder. This is a criminal case so it takes on a different level of importance. But if you are going to waste your time and money appealing a poor decision, you want someone to actually work on it and not just to pass over it. Also some Appeals in the United States take years to free innocent victims of judicial error.
And if you are “privileged” to appeal all the way to the US Supreme Ct, your chances of being heard are slim to none. So for all concerned the appeal process is actually a waste of time and money.
There is a case in NY right now. Two parents are accused of killing their baby. Since they have no money, they sit in prison for several years waiting to be tried. Holder and his firm fought for the rights of the terrorists in Gitmo, how come his law firm doesn’t fight for these folks? It could just be that you are guilty until you are proven innocent in NY.
What is different in Italy is that the appeal process is actually another trial. Keep in mind most civil cases in America do not go to trial unless you have a corrupt judge.
Think about the appeal process in America. Some how or way you need to preserve the record. That means you have to get all the important stuff on the record and not only on the record but it must reproducible. When you think about it a week of a trial could include 25 to 30 hours of testimony, arguments and motions.
And when you read most verdicts they are empty for the most part. So tell me how you get a bunch of appellate judges to understand what happened at trial? And it will cost a fortune just to get the information to the judges. So if the lower court judge is shrewd, you have no chance to win!
And what is really cool in America is that they really don’t look at the facts. They actually can’t. So if you have a crooked court, and they doctor the facts, and they don’t allow a jury, you are screwed. Isn’t there a constitutional right to a fair trial? I guess it only applies to criminal cases…Sometimes!
Back to Pennsylvania, if the Superior Court knows that the Supreme Court is allowing only 15 days to file an appeal, don’t you think they should change their advice? It almost looks like they are setting you up. You have to pay the filing fee. They deny your appeal and then they give you the wrong information as to the time allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Some stupid lawyer will say something like if you are appealing a case, you should know that. I think if the Superior Court of Pennsylvania is giving out information it should be correct. It sounds like the case of maybe they have 2 interpretations of the same law. But the end result is that they collect the money and they do nothing for it.
So if you are going to argue an appeal and you are limited to the interpretation of law rather then the truth and understanding of the facts, I think you are wasting your time and money. And it is time to make some changes.
Up to now most of these changes come from the lawyers themselves as they make their services less expendable and more expensive. And you don’t get a FREE lawyer for civil matters.
Instead of having to go through the appeal process which is quite an ordeal from a lower court decision, it would make more sense to just have another trial. Of course this would be by another judge. If you get 2 corrupt judges, then this country has a bigger problem to deal with.
Most judges live in an Ivory Tower and for the most part have a job for life. If they did a great job and were fair to all people involved that would be great. But in most cases it is becoming evident that judges rule more on doing less work then finding a fair verdict.
So the first rule should be to take the judges out of their Ivory Tower. Most people don’t know the judges that sit on the US Supreme Court; no one knows who sits on the local courts. The communities should assign committees to follow each and every judge. And questionnaires should be offered to all the people involved in the cases. And from these questionnaires and committees make the judges accountable for their decisions.
Today nobody is keeping an eye on the judges. No practicing lawyer is going to complain to the judicial board or newspapers. If they did they would be ostracized by the legal community including the judge they have offended. Even the liberal newspapers like the Morning Call and the Express-Times will not take on these judges. I wonder why?
When you look at the Judicial Code, it is very much like the Professional Code of Conduct for lawyers. Basically both groups can lie at will and there is no recourse.
But if Judges were not appointed to lifetime positions, they would be concerned about the outcomes they have delivered. The fact that the verdict is not appealed means nothing. The appeal process is bogus. And every few years the community should assess the facts and decide whether the judge should be retained on the bench.
Their findings should be made public and the people can decide whether a corrupt or incompetent judge should be retained on the bench.
So at the end of the day, American justice except on TV shows is unfair and a waste of time and money. Italian food is one of the most popular foods out there. You can have pizza delivered almost anywhere in the country. But is it time to change the appeal process and go the Italian way? It would be great if a fair trial could be delivered anywhere in America.