Like the Great Depression before it, the current financial crisis in its essence is a system-wide integrity crisis. Unless integrity of the financial and justice systems in the US is addressed, socio-economic and civil society conditions are unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.
The first-ever UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States was conducted in 2010 by the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations. The official HRC Staff Report incorporated Human Rights Alert's submission, summing it up with reference to “corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California”.
The submission was based on official, expert, and media reports spanning over a decade, focusing on conduct of the justice system in Los Angeles County, California:
* Collusion by federal and local law enforcement in wholesale cocaine trafficking to Los Angeles for over a decade, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal (~1982-1992), which was claimed as central to the crack-cocaine epidemic of those years.
* Ongoing false imprisonments of thousands of Rampart-FIPs (Falsely Imprisoned Persons) – almost exclusively black and Latinos – victims of the Rampart corruption scandal (1998-2000). External investigation of the Los Angeles courts and the DA office, which was repeatedly recommended, was never conducted. Official reports later documented the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court objecting to the release of the Rampart-FIPs, since it would cause “collapse of the justice system”.
Financial institution and real estate fraud under the guise of litigation in the courts:
* In 1998, the earliest case of real estate fraud by the court was documented, but such conduct is likely to have started much earlier.
* Starting in the early 2000s FBI reports distinguished LA County as “the epicenter of the epidemic of real estate and mortgage fraud”.
* In January 2008, Los Angeles based, leading sub-prime lender Countrywide Financial Corporation collapsed, following news reports of fraud by its attorneys in a Pennsylvania court. Countrywide's collapse ushered in the sub-prime crisis.
* In July 2008, Countrywide Financial Corporation was taken over by Bank of America Corporation, through a US coerced merger.
* Consequently, conduct of Countrywide was adopted by BofA. BofA continues with such conduct in both the state and US courts throughout the United States to this date. US law enforcement is fully aware of the conduct, but refuses to take action.
Limited efforts to enforce the law are seen elsewhere in the United States:
* Large-scale false imprisonments have also been recorded elsewhere in the United States. In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, as part of the Kids for Cash scandal (2008-present), judges took millions of US dollars in bribes from privatized prisons and falsely imprisoned thousands of juveniles. The US DOJ is prosecuting the judges for racketeering and efforts are underway to free the victims.
* Financial institution and real estate fraud have also been recorded across the US in recent years:
- In Florida, the state Attorney General attempted to investigate fraud in the state courts by large law firms, acting on behalf of large financial institutions.
- In Massachusetts the state’s highest court recently issued a ruling that may bring fraud in foreclosure proceedings in that state to a halt.
In contrast, in California, US DOJ has been steadfast in its refusal to take action regarding court corruption and Human Rights violations of historic proportions, even after Congressional Inquiries on the matter. In parallel, US law enforcement agencies have repeatedly provided the US Congress with false and deliberately misleading reports regarding the current financial crisis, stating that:
* No criminality was found in investigation of sub-prime lenders.
* The crisis was the outcome of “changing market conditions”.
* The US has “shored up banking regulation”.
US Congress made efforts to address the situation, as evidenced in passage of:
* The Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002), and
* The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (2009).
Such efforts are ignored by the US Department of Justice and the courts, which refuse to enforce the law.
The US Congress is fully aware of conditions of US justice system. To wit, In early 2009 Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Judiciary Committee called for establishment of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission".
It is proposed that:
* Collusion by federal and local law enforcement in wholesale cocaine trafficking to Los Angeles for over a decade, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal (~1982-1992), resulted in conditions, where federal authorities are unable to enforce the rule of law in Los Angeles County, in particular, and California in general.
* The synergy between Countrywide Financial Corporation and the Los Angeles Superior Court was crucial in propelling Los Angeles to its distinction as “epicenter of the epidemic of real estate and mortgage fraud”, which later became the current financial crisis.
* Conditions that today prevail in Los Angeles County, California, amount to an extra-constitutional zone.
* Like the Great Depression before it, the current financial crisis in its essence is a system-wide integrity crisis. Unless integrity of the financial and justice systems in the US is addressed, socio-economic and civil society conditions are unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.
1. Global Economic Crisis and Criminology
3. Corporate and Business Crime
6. Property Crime
11. Organized Crime
12. Organizational Crime
13. State Crime
64. Truth and Reconciliation
65. Quantitative Methods
66. Qualitative Methods
72. Criminal Justice and Human Rights
Human Rights Alert - NGO
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond. Human Rights Alert focuses on the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of the integrity of the justice system in the United States.
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WHAT DID THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES?
* "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
WHAT DID THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA?
* "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)
* "...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)
WHAT DID THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL STAFF REPORT SAY ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN CALIFORNIA?
* "...corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California."
Original: Criminological Perspective: Collapse of the US Justice System and the Financial Crisis