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JUDGES BEING INFLUENCED

Did you know that you can influence a judge. No, not just bribes. There are other more subtle ways that Yahoo News reported on. Isn't it a comforting thought to know that judges can be influenced. So much for justice.

Judges shouldn't be allowed to accept the junkets. Their salary, which is quite reasonable, is good enough.                 

"How to influence judges" - Wed May 3, 7:36 AM ET

Members of Congress aren't the only public officials who take lavish trips paid for by special interests with stakes in their decisions. Federal judges accept junkets, too. They're just better at keeping it quiet.

From 2002 through 2004, 160 federal judges took 331 trips under the guise of educational travel funded by groups interested in court rulings, according to a new study by Community Rights Counsel, an environmental advocacy group. Once rare, the number of the junkets has increased 45% since the early '90s.

The two biggest seminar sponsors are George Mason University's Law and Economics Center and the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, according to the study. Both have been bankrolled by foundations and corporate interests that favor free-market, pro-business agendas on some hot-button issues before the courts.

There's nothing surprising about private groups seeking to influence the courts. What's disturbing is that judges accept their favors. The trips are often held at posh locales: resorts in Arizona and lodges in Montana. Sponsors and "teachers," sometimes from the corporate world, hobnob with judges who might decide cases in which they have a stake.

Even if judges aren't being influenced, as the judiciary insists, it sure looks as if they are. And that perception undermines confidence in the courts.

Since Congress' penchant for special-interest travel exploded in scandal last January, lawmakers have cut back on the practice, USA TODAY reports today. At least they have some shame, or fear of voters' wrath.

After judges' jaunts prompted complaints in 2000, the judiciary went in the opposite direction. It loosened its ethics rules. It opposed bans on travel. Judges traveled more on the private dime; they just reported less about it.

In 1997, one judge estimated the value of a weeklong seminar to be $7,300. Today, a handful of judges publicly disclose how much the trips are worth.

Federal judges - most of whom make $165,200 a year and all of whom have lifetime job security - have no business taking favors from private interests. If they don't have the sense to stop the practice themselves, Congress should decide for them." - Yahoo News

That story is a real eye opener. It looks very bad - especially the part about Congress trying to improve - yet the judiciary went in the opposite direction and loosened its ethics.

And I'm not guessing here. I saw federal and state judicial misconduct on more than one occasion with my own two eyes. I can testify that it does exist and to the disgrace of the judiciary.

The mere fact that such high profile articles (and there have been many over the last few months) and many, many web sites are devoted to judicial corruption says the public's confidence in the judiciary has eroded and reached an all time low. Searches of MSN, Google and Yahoo reveal this.

Let's not pretend, judicial corruption is alive and well. I've read cases of judges taking six figure bribes, inappropriately accepting shares in defendants' companies then mysteriously tossing out cases in the criminals' favor or severely trying to alter the case's outcome in the guilty's favor, hitting on rape victims from court cases (they deem easy prey), sexually harassing staff, stalking staff, masturbating while presiding over court cases, double dipping, cheating on their taxes, cursing in court, verbally and emotionally abusing litigants, letting famous defendants, albeit criminals, off the hook, making up and enforcing laws from the bench, making obscene gestures and threats at litigants in court hallways.  

I ask you, is any of that appropriate. I expect such conduct from criminals, not from state and federal judges. And some of these judges have the gall to use the word "honorable" before their names when they are anything but. Some judges titles should read the "dishonorable" so and so.

God help us all and God have mercy on crooked judges, as the Bible states corruption of that natures is ALWAYS punished by Him. It's not worth it, but some of these judges think they are god anyway - so it's not a thought - until things start to go wrong - and the public brings home the fact to them that they are human and not above the law.

The sad thing is with all the financial corruption about, like Judas, they can't use that dirty money to buy the judiciary's good name back with the public. They can only hope to reform it.   

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