Chapter 4

The Hoax
Of Equality Before The Law

Putting the Legal Society in Perspective

Since Feudal days, those who dominated society remained in power by surrounding themselves with individuals or groups of allies who could provide them with a defense against either physical or legal challenges. In the name of law and order, police and armies have traditionally worked in conjunction with the legal community to enforce the existing laws of the land.

A Relationship of Symbiotic Collusion

While there is certainly nothing wrong with social mechanisms that maintain law and order, the flaw in the system is that the economic elite have used their influence to fine tune the laws, and especially the laws regarding taxation, to effectively maintain a status quo, which allows a minority to economically and politically dominate and manipulate the majority. So while the law society today can claim, as did their counterparts in Feudal courts, to be impartially enforcing the laws of the land, it must be recognized that the legal community is an integral part of the reason why an economic elite continues to dominate society into the 21st century. From Feudal times onward, the law society has carried on a relationship with the ruling class that can best be described as a state of symbiotic collusion.

Maintaining Authority Through Traditional Trickery

The reason that members of the legal fraternity have always been treated and rewarded so well is that unlike dictators who use brute force to retain their dominance, the legal fraternity have been able to achieve the same thing for their masters without force and generally with a facade of respectability. Amazingly, many of the psychological techniques used in Feudal Courts (to intimidate those brought before the courts) are still used today. Costumes complete with flowing robes, wigs, and mandatory submissive gestures such as requiring all persons in the court to rise to their feet when the judge enters or leaves the room, still play an integral part of the stage-like theatrics of Western justice.

Although not the most obvious, but certainly one of the most effective ploys handed down through the centuries is the use of an unnecessary specialized legal language that ensures that any one who is brought before the courts is more or less compelled to not only employ, but put himself or herself at the mercy of a member of the predominantly pro-elite legal fraternity.

Because previous monarchs saw the wisdom of making the legal system at least appear to be independent from the power of the ruling elite, the legal fraternity has been able to carry out their mandate basically unchallenged. Those who attempt to challenge the authority or wisdom of the Courts can be immediately silenced, and when necessary, jailed for "Contempt of Court". Of course this weapon is brought out, when required, and serves effectively to enforce the "Divine Right of The Elite".

Because the legal society has, since Feudal times, been carrying on a public relations show to justify and sell their role in society, let's take a moment to blow aside the smoke screen and see the legal system in a more realistic light. In that regard, a couple of perspectives may be helpful.

Law Practices Are Profit-oriented Businesses

Like any and every other business, their first priority is to make profits. What the public must come to grips with is that law practices have balance sheets, and profit and loss statements like every other business. Their relationship to "justice" is at best incidental. Besides, crooks pay well. If anything, they tend to pay extra well. Crooks and criminals have no difficulty whatsoever hiring lawyers from prestigious law firms who are well connected with the upper echelons of the judiciary.

Whether lawyers are defending the criminal or the victim, they are out to win. Justice becomes irrelevant.

Losing a case detracts from a lawyer's record of successes. And to their peers, employers, and clients, it can reflect a lack of expertise. Making sure the good guy wins, and justice prevails, has got nothing to do with making a law practice turn a profit. It is precisely because they have little allegiance to "justice", that makes them ideal candidates to represent the elite in politics.

The Legal Society Does Not "Dispense Justice"

The public has been incessantly brainwashed into associating "justice" with the practice of law. In reality, the two are only vaguely related. Judges and lawyers in one state can cause a criminal to be executed. In another, they are prohibited from doing so. In both cases they have interpreted and enforced the law.

Contrary to the generally believed precept, it is not the responsibility of either judges or lawyers to make sure that justice prevails. Whether a law is "just", or not, is quite irrelevant to both judges and lawyers. Their job is simply to interpret and enforce "the law". Normally they interpret the law in a manner most favorable to those in power. This latitude, with respect to interpretations, helps to bring about what amounts to "the divine right of the elite". Over time, conservative judgments will actually alter the course of a nation, especially through judgments handed down by the Supreme Court.

Therefore, the difference between "law" and "justice", while being subtle, is the key to a proper perspective of the legal system. While the general public has been encouraged to believe that the justice system "dispenses justice", it does no such thing.

If the tax laws are unjust to the bottom 90%, then it must be recognized that the justice system enforces "injustice" in that case!! Don't forget, it is our justice system that enforces Feudalism.

We must not get taken in by psychological word tricks. Words with positive connotations are often purposely used to market things with very bad connotations, when George Bush named his aerial assassination attempt on Manuel Noreiga as: "Operation Just Cause". "Just Causes" are as related to "assassination attempts" as "true justice" is to the Justice System". Remember too that every dictator runs his country with a "Justice Department".

Those who persist in believing that the justice system is there to "dispense justice" are doomed to be horrified every time they observe the justice system giving better treatment to the criminal than to the victim. Mind you, it is only fair to acknowledge that the elite have gone out of their way to persuade the general public to perceive the justice system in this light. In reality, the legal community have traditionally given their loyalties to the highest bidders, and that has been and continues to be the rule, rather than the exception.

When Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., was facing racketeering charges in connection with its extensive involvement with LBOs and junk bonds, Drexel had little trouble hiring the legal services of the former White House Chief of Staff Howard H. Baker. Mr Baker was a logical choice to help launder Drexel's public image and help fend off the racketeering charges since he was so successful in pulling the White House through the Iran-Contras minefield. It was alleged that Baker would not be involved in any matter which was under scrutiny by the government. {B161}

As long as we are trying to proceed with as few illusions as possible, let's clarify the functions of the legal society.

The Role Of The Legal Community

The American legal community performs four distinct functions.

The Supreme Court

With regard to the law society's first role, it may be appropriate to recall the distinction between Conservatism and Liberalism. Conservatism maintains the status quo which in turn ensures the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.

Nowhere is the ultimate nature of American society decided more than by the nine U.S. Supreme Court judges in Washington who have ultimate power with regard to the interpretation and intent of American law. Although judgments are most often based on existing precedents, members of the U.S. Supreme Court can sometimes bring about virtual reversals to previous precedents, as recent judgments with regard to civil rights and abortion have clearly shown. Consequently, the judges' personal philosophies and political leanings become extremely relevant, mainly because the nature of the American social fabric hinges on their judgments. Needless to say, the elite are critically aware of the role played by these key judges in maintaining the status quo.

Hence, it is not by accident that their appointments are for life, and that they are personally nominated by the president. It is no surprise then that Supreme Court judges who are sympathetic to Republicans choose, when possible, to retire during a Republican administration so that the conservative president in power can appoint another conservative judge (for life) to take the retiree's place. Accidentally, or by design, it is extremely rare for a presidential nominee for the Supreme Court to be rejected.

Therefore it is not difficult to imagine how a Supreme Court, sympathetic to the elite (i.e. conservative), could minimize or retard the progress of civil rights or any other issue that threatened to alter the distribution of wealth or power. The bottom 90% of America must begin to recognize that the Supreme Court has been used as a powerful weapon to fend off serious attempts to alter the legislative infrastructure that determines the nation's allocation of wealth and power. Future historians may well consider that Ronald Reagan's greatest contribution to the economic elite was his choice of three of the five currently serving conservative Supreme Court Justices. {B162} The present members of the U.S. Supreme Court now have the potential to be the well-spring of American "conservatism" for decades to come. This was precisely the same mandate carried out by Feudal Judges.

If any reader is tempted to think that the problem might be solved by electing the U.S. Supreme Court judges, think again. Here's what happens in Texas, one of the states that does elect its Supreme Court judges.

Unfortunately, the same campaign funding quid pro quo arrangements, that exist between elected politicians and the elite, also exist between the judges and their campaign contribution benefactors. Traditionally, judges in Texas have been dependent on campaign support from members of their own legal profession. Of course this creates an obvious conflict of interest when a judge presides over a case where one of the lawyers has provided loyal campaign support. Justice is truly placed in a compromising position whenever a judge presides over a case in which a "supportive" lawyer is dependent on contingency compensation. When lawyers can get as much as 70 cents of every dollar awarded to a plaintiff, awarding the plaintiff is difficult to distinguish from rewarding the lawyer. Hmmm, now just how big should that award be?

It is privately acknowledged in the Texas legal community that the Texas Supreme Court has for some time been effectively owned and controlled by the plaintiff attorneys who hold tremendous lobby power in that state. {B163} So much for the idea of electing judges.

Lawyers in Congress

The degree of democracy that exists in a country can be measured by the degree to which the will of the majority is being carried out, and by the degree to which the majority share in the distribution of wealth. Nevertheless, the introduction of democracy in America was tolerated by the wealthy elite simply because it posed no great threat to their power or to their wealth. Under so-called democracy, as under Feudalism, the wealthy elite have maintained the power to control the distribution of wealth.

Some of the Founding Fathers did their very best to put an end to the dominance of an elite minority by wording the Constitution in such a way that America could become a land of equitable prosperity, with freedom of speech and equality before the law. America today bears little resemblance to the nation they tried to build. It doesn't take much to appreciate that it is not the will of the majority that the richest one percent should own more assets than the collective wealth of the bottom 90%!!

Unless those who are elected to represent the bottom 90% actually use their power in Congress to represent the needs and interests of the bottom 90%, democracy does not take place. And democracy is most certainly not taking place.

What is happening in American politics, is that only wealthy people who have the support of even wealthier individuals and corporate benefactors are now able to compete in the electoral process. Because of this financial pre-requisite, citizens who could truly represent the needs and interests of the working class are virtually excluded from representing their economic peers in Congress. Instead, members of the legal profession are slowly but surely filling all the seats that representatives of the people are supposed to occupy, but cannot, because they quite understandably lack the financial support of the economic elite. As it stands today, 60 out of 100 senators, 186 out of 435 House members, and the majority of members of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have law degrees. {B164}

Most likely none have known hunger, most likely none have ever worked for the minimum wage, and probably very few can even count a single blue collar family among their friends. In other words, at best they possess an academic appreciation of the interests and needs of the citizens they supposedly represent. Socially and economically, the two social groups travel in totally different social circles. They mix with a cross-section of their electorate briefly at election time, but for the most part, their associations are restricted to their own peer group with whom they compete for success in a material world. And of course as politicians, it is the wealthy special interest groups that have always offered them the most career rewards.

In any event, the 53,000 lawyers belonging to ATLA, the Washington DC based Association of Trial Lawyers of America (actually a plaintiff attorneys' lobby), have given money to 1,485 Congressional Democrats and 656 Republicans since 1977.

In 1987-88, it donated $3.9 million, and this figure does not include attorneys' individual contributions. {B165} As large as the contribution may appear, it is modest when one takes into consideration that Professor Lester Brickman of the Yeshiva Brickman Cardozo School of Law has estimated that plaintiff attorneys income from contingent fees (their share of settlements) exceeded $10 billion.

Lawyers in Private Practice

Like Al Capone, the elite are usually protected behind a host of front men, many of whom are lawyers. As a group, it can easily be said that lawyers have traditionally been raised on the elite's payroll, and willingly act on their behalf. Most of the highest paid lawyers, either directly or through law firms, find themselves on corporate or government payrolls. They are normally called upon to carry out and defend ongoing corporate strategies and actions.

Corporation comptrollers are usually willing to risk carrying out unethical and sometimes illegal practices for the rewards involved, because they too are reassured by the fact that the full power of the corporation may be used for their defense if they are caught. When necessary, corporate lawyers will also use all their acquired legal acumen to obstruct, delay and otherwise prevent attempts to condemn or punish their employers.

The continual close association of lawyers and judges with criminals has led to a difficulty in distinguishing one group from the other. The roles have become increasingly blurred, as most full-time criminals employ powerful full-time lawyers who are well connected with the judiciary.

How then does one distinguish a lawyer permanently in the employment of a criminal, ...from a criminal with a law degree?

In those countries where the wearing of wigs has been discontinued, the job of distinguishing lawyers from the criminals for whom they work has become doubly difficult. Lawyers employed permanently by our leading corporate criminals may yet choose to start wearing wigs, ...and false noses and glasses as well! Those who work in private practice end up providing services almost exclusively for the moneyed class, because the majority of society members simply can't afford to buy justice.

The Legalization of Crime

Perhaps the worst aspect of many of the economic scams mentioned in Chapter 1, is that they are normal legal business procedures ...made legal through carefully orchestrated legislation!

Legislation that would prevent or eliminate the scams has purposely not been passed, ...or even written. As a result of widespread deregulation, laws to inhibit the economic elite, and punishment doled out for high-level white collar crime, are both conspicuous by their absence. For example, little incentive exists to discourage the unethical business speculations that leave S&L owners rich, and S&L depositors holding the bag. Therefore, among the elite, it is usually only the careless or the greedy who end up breaking the laws to make money faster, or to recover from bad business judgments.

Even when the elite do get caught red-handed breaking the few laws that do exist, their brush with the law often translates into virtual immunity from punishment. Why? Because the legal system was designed to be of maximum benefit to them, just as the system was designed to provide them with the maximum financial benefits.

Court Trials ... A Disgraceful Farce

When a serious case comes along that involves the defense of one of the elite, the whole "protection of the elite" fraternity swings into action. Of all the ways used to get the elite out of the limelight and off the hook, the method of choice nowadays seems to be the extremely effective long drawn out investigations, prior to long drawn out court cases, prior to the inevitable further long drawn out appeals, that inevitably result in defenses involving lapses of memory, etc., etc., Although the media usually play a very important role throughout the proceedings, the court fiasco is the most galling. Let's start by reviewing some of the methods used to provide extra legal benefits to the elite.

Pre-trial Tactics

To begin with, some or all of the following standard legal tactics are employed: DENY guilt; DECLARE one's innocence; DESTROY any incriminating evidence; and DELAY the investigation and/or prosecution proceedings.

Of course during the initial stalling period, the press obligingly says as little as possible of a derogatory nature so as to ensure the defendant gets a fair hearing. Sure. When however, the investigation drags on long enough, and the press quietly drop the story, the public's anger dies down as anticipated. This tactic is always used in all serious cases like Watergate, or the Bhopal gas incident. Years can go by, the longer the better. But these are just the pretrial tactics carried out to give the media time enough to diffuse whatever bad impressions the general public might be harboring. If however, despite the media's cooperation a trial becomes necessary, then the real hijinks begin. The elite usually begin the farce by hand-picking a jury!!

Hand-picking the Jurors

This is perhaps the most ludicrous method used to subvert justice that has ever been devised. I speak of course of the jury system itself, the quality of which practically defines the system's level of justice. The Greek word for democracy translates literally as "equality before the law". Not surprisingly, the Greek jury voting system became a model for both America's popular voting system, but its legal jury system as well. The basis for its fairness, and the quality for which it won world acclaim, was its ability to judge a person by a large number of randomly chosen peers. Using an ingenious lottery system to choose its jurors, the Greeks chose from 201 to sometimes over 2000 jurors to cast votes.
The American jury voting system, on the other hand, is vastly inferior to its Greek counterpart. Instead of allowing 201 to 2000 or more peers to cast their votes, the Americans use only 12. Instead of them being randomly chosen from the population, jurors can now be hand-picked by the lawyers. In states like New York and Texas, lawyers are free to ask the jurors what books they read, what television programs they watch, etc., etc. Increasingly sociologists and psychologists are being called in by lawyers to assist in the selection of "friendly" jurors. Who needs to bribe jury members when you can help to hand-pick a "friendly" juror or two before the trial even begins.

These specialists will not only assist in the jury selection, they will, for clients with deep pockets, even recruit a surrogate jury with socioeconomic profiles similar to the actual jury members. The surrogates are paid to sit in the public gallery. At the end of the day's court session, the surrogates would be interrogated as to their reactions to the testimony given so far. Armed with these insights, the lawyers then modify their legal strategies accordingly. One California-based firm called Litigation Services already has a staff of 90. Its clients have included IBM, Pennzoil, and the makers of Agent Orange who are being sued on behalf of war veterans.

Both jury selection, and the monitoring of surrogate juries constitute such mockeries to justice, that it ought to be difficult to find a thinking person who does not have contempt for the court!!

Tactics in Court

There are, unfortunately, plenty of other reasons to feel contempt for the courts. Refusing to answer the court's questions by hiding behind the 5th Amendment has allowed many a Mafia king to walk free. Charles Keating in the S&L scam, is refusing to answer questions. Perhaps his name too will be added to the long list of peers who have walked free courtesy of the 5th Amendment.

Or, the lawyers get an opportunity to bargain between lawyers like judge and jury combined. They get to bargain for such things as pleading guilty to a much reduced charge. Plea bargaining must automatically lessen a person's guilt, because it sure as hell lessens the punishment.

The most unforgivable travesty of justice, however, has to be granting a criminal total immunity for giving evidence against someone else. Sounds like a script out of some perverse comedy instead of a system of justice that people around the world are expected to emulate. The potential for abuse is mind boggling especially when one includes a little covert bribery acceptable to both parties. Of course, when a lawyer is involved, bribery becomes plea bargaining, and in business it becomes "greenmail". But any fool ought to acknowledge that when plea bargaining waddles like injustice, and quacks like injustice, it's usually injustice.

For those who can afford to hire the most experienced and devious lawyers, finding legal technicalities to invalidate evidence or cause mistrials is yet another method of using the justice system to walk free. The list of tricks and methods seems endless. In any case, whether the defendant is found innocent or guilty often hinges on the experience and craftiness of one's lawyer. The richer you are, the more cunning a lawyer you can afford, the more chance you have of winning - regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty.

But let's follow a case right through to a conclusion.

Just before the hand-picked jury leaves the room to decide its verdict, the judge gets to give his "advice to the jury" speech. These are the last words spoken before the jury deliberates, and psychologically they will carry inordinate influence due to the authority that delivered them, in addition to the fact that they were the last words spoken. Conservatively speaking, here's another obvious opportunity to substantially influence the verdict.

And lastly, was Oliver North particularly worried that the jury would find him guilty? Not really, because the press had already prepared the public for a lenient sentence, as they always do when the need arises.

Lenient Sentences

Judges who are in a position to sentence privileged members of the establishment, (or their front men who face convictions), are not only able to impose suspended sentences and community service, but they can direct the offenders to minimum security prisons ...where the conditions and/or special treatment turns the detention center into something rivaling a fitness retreat. A 60 Minutes TV show coverage of the topic referred to one such detention center sarcastically but aptly as Club Fed. When the Watergate fall guys were not busy jogging into shape, or visiting with their families, they were hard at work on specially supplied equipment, ...writing their memoirs to make a few extra million.

Sample Watergate justice for the elite:

Example: John M. Mitchell (while Attorney General)
Convicted of: one count of conspiracy, obstruction of justice; one count of perjury; two counts of false statements to a grand jury.
Sentenced to: 19 months of confinement at an Alabama air force base. Health spa?
Example: Richard M. Nixon (while President, ...proven Watergate coconspirator)
Convicted of: absolutely nothing
Sentenced to: freedom to write a book to make him millions.

Note: Not surprisingly, the whitewash did not stop with the Nixon administration. With absolutely no authority or mandate to do so, President Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, pardoned Richard Nixon of all crimes he had committed in office.

In one of his rare unscripted utterances, Mr. Reagan put it quite succinctly:

Politics is not a bad profession.
If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

The justice system is in such a farcical state now, that for most influential politicians, it doesn't seem to matter how much their guilt is exposed. Rarely do their wrong doings result in more than resignation, followed soon after by royalties on their subsequent books. As if that were not hideous enough, the media regularly rally to attempt to canonize the establishment's high echelon criminals, for their patriotism, ...usually during their hearings and trials.

Finishing Touches (Media Help, and the Appeals)

In Bill Moyers' book, The Secret Government, readers are exposed to the mechanics of a covert organization which operated out of the White House basement no less, and whose purpose was to keep the Contras in operation despite a Congressional ban forbidding the action. {B166} In short, the White House served as the center of operations to defy Congress and sell arms to the Iranians to make money to illegally fund the Contras. To make a long story short, even though the whole plot was fully exposed, the media together with the corrupted legal system managed to absolve Oliver North by putting patriotism on trial.

Specially orchestrated sound bytes and photo opportunities which praised and supported Oliver North and his actions were prepared and shown repeatedly over several weeks in an attempt to not only absolve "Ollie", (as he was affectionately referred to in the media), of blame and guilt, but to elevate him to the stature of a national hero, despite his shameless display of contempt for congressional and criminal law. This particular event involved so many of the nation's elite functionaries, that no less than the attorney general Edwin Meese was entrusted to oversee the investigation, ...(whitewash, paper shredding, & cover-up).

As champion of the elite, Oliver North was given a three year suspended sentence, two year's probation, a fine of $150,000 and was ordered to perform 1200 hours of community service. {B167} As his defense quite aptly shows, even when a CIA operative purposely breaks the law, and publicly admits to misleading and lying to Congress, the elite and friends of the elite are just a little more equal before the law than the rest of the nation.

Needless to say, anyone higher in the chain of command would be similarly immune from the law, whether or not threats are made to implicate superiors or whether any unobtainable top secret files are requested as vital for a fair defense. The public never gets to see the files or even know for sure that they exist, so no one can dispute the claim. Game over, the elite can do as they wish. For all intents and purposes, covert operatives of probably all nations operate with total disregard of the law, and are rewarded with virtual immunity from it. The French military guerrillas who blew up the Greenpeace boat in Auckland harbor, committing murder in the process, were quickly released to work again in their same capacity.

As previously mentioned, Patty Hearst was released virtually without punishment, into her billionaire father's custody despite photographic proof of her holding a gun during a bank hold-up.

Does the injustice stop there? Not in Oliver North's case. The story actually gets worse. "Ollie" was convicted on May 4 1989 of three felony counts, one of which was for shredding evidence. On Jul 5, he automatically lost his retirement pay of $23,000 per year due to a Federal law that stipulated that anyone convicted of destroying Federal documents would "forfeit his office". Faced with the dilemma of their hero being penalized like that, the U.S. Senate quite unabashedly voted 78-17 to alter that law by eliminating the clause that disqualified Ollie from collecting the $23,000 per year. Quid Pro Quo!! Not only does he have his pension back, he is appealing his convictions.

Perhaps neither he nor the American justice system has heard of the Nuremberg trials.

As we all know, by the time an appeal goes through, a whole generation will have passed, or so it will probably seem. If and when appeals go as far as they can, they end up in the U.S. Supreme Court which was described earlier. Needless to say, the five conservative judges have the last and final word in the matter. If they quash a conviction. The defendant walks free.

Now that we have looked at "justice" for the rich, let's have a quick look at "justice" for the poor. Pardon me, but I squirm a little whenever the word justice is used in connection with the justice system.

Justice for the Bottom 90

In a case where a person is being charged, one of the most noteworthy characteristics of justice for the bottom 90% is that justice comes more swiftly. Generally speaking, the poor don't get to walk the streets for months or years prior to their case being heard.

If on the other hand a person with little or no financial reserves has been wronged, and wishes to press charges against perhaps a company that has performed shoddy or dangerous work, then the wheels of justice usually grind to a halt. In America, the cost of legal representation is so prohibitive, that most who belong to the working class can not afford to use the justice system even if they have a legitimate cause. To begin with, most cannot afford the lost earnings or the court costs either, even if the person could risk being laid off or fired due to absence from work to attend court. The fact that the majority of Americans, have from the start, been generally prevented by economics from using the justice system should provide the ultimate telltale evidence of the legal system's true purpose and function in society.

However, to avoid being condemned for allowing this economic barrier to exist, and to at least theoretically allow the poor to participate in justice, "contingency fees" were introduced whereby the lawyer is paid only if he wins. Not surprisingly, that arrangement sounds better than it really is. Under this contingency fee arrangement, lawyers normally collect between 30% to 40% of the damages awarded, in addition to, whatever it costs to litigate the case!! {B168}

It is now not uncommon for lawyers to receive more than the clients whom they represent. In fact, the Supreme Court in Washington upheld an award of $245,456.25 in fees for lawyers who won $33,350 in damages for eight of their California clients in a case involving excessive force by police. Lawyers can end up with seventy cents out of every dollar awarded to their clients. So the average citizen has a very slim chance of obtaining a lawyer to work on a contingency basis, if the case has plenty to do with the principles of justice, but little potential for a substantial financial damage award.

However, when the potential damage awards are sizable, lawyers pop out of the woodwork in droves to take the case. Around the nation, an increasing number of physicians are now refusing to deliver babies in fear of the potential lawsuits that inevitably follow birth complications. Changes to tort law, that occurred in the sixties, opened the floodgate for malpractice suits in America, as a direct result of the substantial financial rewards for lawyers who succeed in cases against the deep pockets of drug companies and physicians themselves.

Winning a big case, is equivalent to winning a lottery. Not only have health costs skyrocketed as a direct result of these costs being passed along to the general public, the vast wealth being accumulated by countless contingency case jackpot winners is fueling unrealistic expectations and demands for wealth among the rest of the legal community.

In the Forbes survey of 63 top Trial lawyers, only one made less than $2 million in either 1987 or 1988. Collectively they earned $750 million. Joseph Dahr Jamail who rode to victory in the 1987 Texaco-Pennzoil case allegedly made $450 million for his troubles in 1988, ...a substantial increase over the $25 million he made in 1987. {B169} For the bottom 90% of society this would be equivalent to winning 475 lottery jackpots in the space of two years. It's really scandalous and unethical considering the public end up footing the bill.

The Watchdogs

Are there watchdogs to keep the judges and lawmakers honest? Well, yes there are. But I'll let you judge them for yourself.

Keeping the Judges Honest

Because the role of the legal community has been so crucial to the continued dominance of the elite, and because they have carried out their mandate so well over the centuries, the elite have had no reason to set up a mechanism for disciplining members of the legal fraternity. Until very recently, the legal society itself was responsible for disciplining its own members for wrongdoing. Short of impeachment, there did not exist any means of disciplining a judge. However, one presidential nomination for the Supreme Court was rejected by the Senate (due to the judge's involvement in conflict of interest indiscretions on several occasions). Mind you, he was the only presidential nominee to have been rejected for the past 40 years. In voting to reject the judge, Senator Muskie commented that Judge Clement Haynsworth exhibited a marked insensitivity to situations involving "conflict of interest" risks.

Due to the growing number of lawyers, judges, and even Attorneys General that have been caught out exercising very poor judgments in their personal or professional lives, Congress was forced in 1980 to legislate a means of disciplining judges. The chairman of this newly formed body was in effect to be the Chief Justice responsible for disciplining the nation's judges, so logically one would expect that whomever was chosen for this position would possess a record of ethical behavior that could serve as a role model for the judiciary.

In 1982, Chief Justice Warren Burger appointed to that position of trust the only presidential nominee for the Supreme Court to be rejected by the Senate in 40 years (for repeated conflict of interest indiscretions), Judge Clement Haynsworth. Believe it or not! {B170}

Of the nine cases Judge Haynsworth presided over since his appointment, six were dismissed, two cases were dealt with secretly, and only one judge ended up receiving a public reprimand. Notch up one for the fraternity!! Judge Haynsworth's appointment to this position tells as much about the integrity of the law fraternity, as Mr Danny Wall's appointment as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (and later as Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision) does of the Congress.

But don't go away, there's more.

The Senate Judiciary Committee

One of the strongest, if not the strongest weapon currently being used in the war against white collar criminals is a piece of legislation entitled the Racketeer-Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) introduced in 1970. It is under this act that individuals like Michael Milken (the Junk bond king), and Charles Keating (the Lincoln S&L owner), to name but a couple, are now being prosecuted. In other words this legislation is frightening the hell out of the entire elite and even threatens to place a few of their members behind bars for a long time. It is not surprising then that this piece of legislation is now in danger of being rendered harmless by the new conservative Supreme Court. Four of the justices have let it be known that they think that RICO is unconstitutionally vague, thus virtually giving the green light to those being prosecuted to challenge RICO's constitutionality.{B171}

Michael Milken and Charles Keating probably have little to fear from RICO anyway, because there is a Senate Judiciary Committee actively reviewing RICO with the intention of removing its stinger. Guess which Senator has been selected as Chairman of this committee? Give yourself full marks if you guessed it is Senator DeConcini (D-Ariz.) who received $50,000 from Charles Keating in campaign contributions and who was instrumental in causing the S&L losses in the first place. {B172} Once again, the influence peddling and conflict of interest is obvious, but no one involved seems to be worried about that, the prime job is to get the job done.

There are still more "conservative changes" in the pipeline.

The Inspectors General

Another thorn in the administration's side has been the policing action of a corps of 24 "Inspectors General" created through the passage of the Inspector General Act of 1978 as part of a wave of post-Watergate reforms. Since their inception, the group has been credited with investigating close to 15,000 cases. It has been their work that has uncovered fraud within the Defense Department, the generic-drug scandal within the Food and Drug Administration, and the widespread system of influence peddling and kickbacks within the Housing And Urban Development Department (HUD), to name just a few. According to the Office of Management and Budget, their work has saved taxpayers about $100 billion!!

The problem is that many of their pending cases threaten to uncover plenty more government corruption. It appears to have the administration so worried that the Justice Department, through the Justice's Office of Legal Counsel has issued a ruling that will substantially diminish the scope of authority originally given to the Inspectors General, and may curtail or scuttle altogether some of their work in progress. And so the Justice Department is once again putting the brakes on the what remains of entities set up to uncover corruption and abuse in the system. {B173}

Breeding Contempt for the Law

In short, the more money one has, and the more social connections one has to people in power, the more immunity one enjoys. Ivan Boesky's plea bargaining and subsequent token punishment for his extensive profiteering from insider trading provides as good an example of preferential justice as the slap on the wrist given the Hunt family who tried to monopolize the silver market. This sort of judicial kid glove treatment for friends of the establishment perpetuates the impression that ethical business behavior is only for wimps.

Is it not significant that nearly every recent president and attorney general has been caught out with involvement in highly unethical and often illegal behavior. As regular as clockwork, and with the same sort of precision, the media and legal communities have swung into action to whitewash or defuse the issues, and if possible allow them to continue on as if nothing had ever happened. Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, William Casey, Spiro Agnew, John Poindexter, Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, Oliver North, etc., etc., are but a few of the latest pack of notables to have benefited from protective string pulling, by the elite minority they so faithfully served.

In the old days, before Feudalism had its democratic facelift, such immunity from the law was excused using the Divine Right of Kings. Today, clever lawyers, corrupt judges, carefully conceived legislation, long drawn out investigations and court cases, and use of the contempt of court silencer, achieves much the same result. The use of illegal methods and tricks by our political and social hierarchy promotes the spread of lawlessness, while their immunity from justice breeds a contempt for the law especially among the criminal element.

It is therefore not surprising that those most affected by the inequities of wealth distribution and social opportunity, have openly regressed back to survival of the fittest tactics in order to survive the poverty, unemployment, and frustration of their social class. In desperation, and lacking hope for a better future, members of some minorities have begun to create their own social structures in the form of street gangs, and make their own job opportunities using the drug trade.
In reality many are using entrepreneurial skills that society could well benefit from, but without legitimate opportunity, they resort to illegitimate opportunity. They disobey the laws and hope to evade punishment in no less a fashion than our country's leading businessmen and political leaders, who consistently broadcast a contempt for law that all can see.

The benefits of civilized society are sadly missing at this class level, and the youth survive as best they can. The instincts that demand survival at any cost are as old as life itself, and still motivate many within our society. While we can all agree that this latest social trend sadly detracts from the quality of life for society as a whole, let us not too hastily allow the drug running street gangs to become the focus for social blame without carefully considering to what extent the social, political, and economic actions of the elite have left them with such desperate social alternatives, and such contempt for existing social authority.

Possible Corrective Actions

We need radical changes to the justice system; the courts are hopelessly clogged. The Fifth Amendment does not make any sense at all, outside of assisting the elite to secure immunity from the law. Why should we discourage criminals from admitting to their crime once clues have uncovered the guilty party.

Once a preliminary investigation has turned up a suspect, that suspect ought to be formally questioned as to his guilt, if he confesses, no further investigation would be necessary. His lawyer would only be required to assist in helping the court decide a fair sentence.

On the other hand, if the suspect denies his guilt when formally questioned, then a normal investigation to prove guilt, followed by a trial, would become necessary. If a further investigation proves conclusively that he had deliberately lied about his guilt, ...which in turn necessitated the further costly investigation and court trial, then he should be forced through public work to pay back the cost of the entire proceedings. This may provide incentive to reduce the number of long drawn out investigations and court trials which often increase the use of failure of memory defenses.

Ensure that a criminal does not regain freedom until the victims have been compensated.

Bibliographic References for Chapter 4

{B161} "Howard Baker could help Drexel get out of the doghouse" BusinessWeek (Nov 21 1988): p48
{B162} "The Conservative Five" The Economist (Jul 8 1989): p22
{B163} "The plaintiff attorneys' great honey rush" Forbes (Oct 16 1989): p199
{B164} "The plaintiff attorneys' great honey rush" Forbes (Oct 16 1989): p199
{B165} "The plaintiff attorneys' great honey rush" Forbes (Oct 16 1989): p197,199
{B166} Moyers, Bill. The Secret Government (USA: Seven Locks Press), 1987
{B167} "No jug for Ollie" The Economist (July 8 1989): p28
{B168} "The plaintiff attorneys' great honey rush" Forbes (Oct 16 1989): p198
{B169} "The plaintiff attorneys' great honey rush" Forbes (Oct 16 1989): p204-209
{B170} Quoted from article "Look who heads 'supreme court' of judicial discipline" by Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard University
{B171} "A right turn, but no free ride for business" BusinessWeek (Jul 10 1989): p27
{B172} "Business may have found a way to defang RICO" BusinessWeek (Aug 28 1989): p
{B173} "A shorter leash for the Attorneys General" BusinessWeek (Oct 9 1989): p86