Americans think 'justice is for sale'

October 29, 2013
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Money talks, the saying goes, and many Americans think it’s telling judges how to rule on cases, according to results of a poll released Thursday.

Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice commissioned the poll that found nearly 9 out of 10 Americans believe campaign donations affect courtroom decisions.

“They’re worried that justice is for sale,” Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, said in a news release.

The poll asked 1,200 registered voters about campaign donations made directly to judges’ campaigns as well as about “independent spending,” in which outside groups spend their own money on TV ads and other election materials for or against a judicial candidate. The poll revealed that 87 percent of voters believe both kinds of spending have either “some” or “a great deal” of influence on judges’ decisions.

A judge should step aside, 92 percent of voters said, when one party in the case has either donated directly to the judge’s campaign or spent significantly on election materials designed to help elect the judge.

According to a new report by the two groups, independent spending on judicial races by special interest groups hit a record high in 2011-2012 of $15.4 million.

Randall T. Shepard, former Indiana chief justice, is a member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors. The group’s focus is keeping courts fair and impartial.

 

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  • full disclosure
    Justice at Stake is dedicated to push the Soros agenda of only judges appointed by non elected kommissars. From their website: :Key state issues and reforms concern the growing expenditure of money to elect judges and whether judges should be elected or appointed to the bench." Question ... who pays the freight for this group?
    • Yes Soros is here
      Here is Justice at Stake admitting that Soros funds them: http://www.justiceatstake.org/newsroom/justice-at-stake-in-the-news-18109/?wall_street_journal_soros_bets_on_nevada&show=news≠wsID=9033 So former Chief Justice Randall Shepard is a friend of George Soros and his Open Society?
    • democracy is a slogan for the war machine not a reality for americans
      Sure money affects voting in campaigns. But the cost of influencing elected judges via campaign contributions is a lot steeper and the outcomes less predictable than the cost of controlling them via the political appointment process. The political appointment process is one that puts elected officials in charge of appointment process in a place of heavy reliance on those large private professional organizations like the ABA who "vet" the candidates "professional qualifications" and also apply ideological acid-tests behind closed doors. When judges have to stand for election or re-election, the populace has a chance to veto what we the law-establishment think they should do. Most judgeship elections are uneventful but there are recent examples in Indiana which show that the electorate may still have an opinion in spite of our collective endorsements and approvals. Major changes to American society have happened in this century via judicial fiat rather than "democracy." Roe v Wade is one example and the trend of judicial approval of homosexual unions is another. It is odd that USA is now the top-cop in the world for "democracy" but the democratic will in the early 1970s against abortion or the democratic will against same sex unions was overcome not by elections nor public debate but essentially by judicial decision. Ironic that the US seeks to impose democracy on foreign societies that seem disinclined to it, even to the point of war of aggression to accomplish such aims, and yet at home when the democratic will does not bend the way the oligarchs want it to, they resort to other ways of accomplishing the social engineering nonetheless. Anyways, hopes and complaints to the contrary, it may be inevitable that election of judges will wither away just as Plato observed democracy inevitably declines into oligarchy. Plus ca change, plus le meme chose.
    • Soros has not left the buiding
      Proof that Justice at Stake is a George Soros operation: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7661

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    1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

    2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

    3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

    4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

    5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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