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“Corruption of the courts and the legal profession” in California – Questions and Response

by Joseph Zernik, PhD, Human Rights Alert (NGO) Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 at 4:26 PM
jz12345@earthlink.net PO Box 526, La Verne, CA 91750

Protesting and rebuking corruption of the courts was central to the teachings of the Hebrew prophets, and part of what made them universally admired.

Los Angeles, November 17 – following United Nations official report, which referred to “corruption of the courts and the legal profession” in California, and given the vast over-representation of Jewish attorneys and judges in the matter, Human Rights Alert (NGO) and Joseph Zernik, PhD, presented Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of Tikkun with a series of ethics questions. [1]
The first question pertained to the ethical duty of Bet Tzedek (The House of Justice) and the Los Angeles Jewish Federation to respond on the question whether it had grievance procedures, for a person who claimed he was defrauded by Bet Tzedek and its senior officers on the grounds of Bet Tzedek. Rabbi Lerner responded that in his opinion Bet Tzedek and the Los Angeles Jewish Federation should respond on the question.
Consequently, two additional questions were presented to Rabbi Lerner:
1) Should attorneys in California include a statement regarding “corruption of the courts and the legal profession” in their standard engagement agreements? It should be deemed a material fact, which the average person may not be aware of, but should consider before retaining an attorney in California or ever going to court.
2) What are the duties and responsibilities of counsel, when representing a client in a corrupt court proceeding?
The request was accompanied by correspondence with two Los Angeles Attorneys. The first justified his participation in corrupt court proceedings in the need to provide for his wife and kids. The second – by intimidation/extortion, following what happened to Richard Fine.
Richard Fine tried to stand up to a corrupt Los Angeles judge on behalf of his clients, and ended up in 18 months of solitary confinement with no warrant, no judgment, no conviction, and no sentencing ever entered in his case.
Of note, the second case was again related to alleged Fraud on the Court in conduct of a Jewish Los Angeles judge and Attorney DAVID PASTERNAK, Board Member and former President of Bet Tzedek.
The request, which was forwarded to Rabbi Lerner noted that the questions must be everyday dilemmas for attorneys in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond, many of them members of the US Jewish community.
Moreover, the request for Rabbi Lerner’s opinions noted that protesting and rebuking corruption of the courts was central to the teachings of the Hebrew prophets, and part of what made them universally admired. The request suggested that pronouncing a clear and unambiguous stand on these issues, may indeed help transform California and the United States, as we know them today – part of Rabbi Lerner’s stated mission.
[1] 10-11-17 California Ethics Questions Presented to TIKKUN's Rabbi MICHAEL LERNER: What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of Counsel When Representing a Client in Corrupt Court Proceedings?
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