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State of California June 8, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Repair our Broken Court System [ ]

By Mike Schmier

Candidate for Attorney General; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Return Our Rights to Defend Ourselves by Use of Now Forbidden Unpublished (90%) Appellate Opinions
We need to repair problems in our court system. How would you feel if you were charged with a crime, perhaps a major capital crime, perhaps a $500 ticket from a red light camera, and you were told that - even though appellate courts have decided that what you may have done is not a crime - you are forbidden to use, or even mention the decision necessary to exonerate yourself? Wouldn't you wonder - how can this be? What happened to "equal justice?"

The problem is that more than 90% of the time appellate courts order their opinions marked "Not to be Published", and a California Supreme Court Rule prohibits us from using, or even mentioning these "unpublished" opinions in our state courts. This practice continues in California, even though United States Supreme Court justices have eliminated similar rules in federal courts and said these rules can "no longer be justified". California Supreme Court justices refused to follow the new federal policy, and instead lobbied the Legislature against bills that would have corrected this problem. Moreover, California justices also erase or "de-publish" lower court decisions they don't like. Thus, different results flow from similar legal situations. The promise of equality before the law is destroyed.

Doesn't this situation warrant our action?

We need to ask the California Supreme Court justices now running for re-election to 12 year terms why we are not allowed to use all precedent opinions and rulings to defend ourselves.

There can be no real reform of our courts, criminal justice system, legal processes, and financial markets that our society so desperately needs until this issue is addressed by the voters.

I will work to see that all laws are uniformly and adequately enforced.


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