THE LAW OFFICES OF JERRY L. STEERING
“Shades Of Brown”
“When I was young I thought that the world was black and white. As I got older, I thought that the world was shades of gray. But now that I am older, the world appears to be, shades of brown, because everyone is full of it; everyone I see.
It’s a matter of benevolence, a matter of malevolence, and a matter of degree, that defines that moral divide, between I and thee.”
Jerry L. Steering, Esq. (2012)
Shades of Brown is admittedly, a more little more colloquial than most legal reference texts. There are a lot of good judges. There are a lot of judges that are wise and just, and many of them are vilified for doing so.
Legal rules are, for the most part, judge made law. The legislators and the voters often (always) wright laws in a way, that call upon the courts, to, for lack of a better term, make the law. This is called “the common law”, and has been a part of the legal mechanism for actual law making in the English speaking world for eight hundred years or so. It’s really not a bad idea. Make it up as you go along, because events occur that no one either did, or could have anticipated, and someone has to deal with it; the courts.
Again, this isn’t all that bad. If the Judges who are in a law making position are good guys (and girls), things go nicely. But, if the Right Honorable Judges of the state and federal appellate benches aren’t so Right Honorable, or just don’t look at the way that most non-statists do, you’ve got a problem.
Most appellate decisions are result oriented. That means, that the Right Honorable appellate judges decide how they want the case to come out, and then tell their law clerks to find a reasoned argument to get one there. The public apparently believes that there is such a thing as “the law”, and what lawyers and judges do is to ferret out the facts, place them into nice little legal categories, and somehow divine what the law sayeth of these facts. That is not how things are. Appellate decisions are result oriented. There are still plenty of surprises. You can’t always predict what Judge or Justice may do. But overall, the result oriented mechanism of law making is what we’re stuck with.
This column deals with the morons, and the oxymorons, of the result oriented mechanism of law making, and the outrages and injustices that fall victim to that system.
Does This Make Sense? Is This American?
Public Prosecutors are immune from civil liability for a malicious criminal prosecution, but not for a malicious civil action, such as civil RICO action. Stapley v. Pestalozzi (8/13/13 9th Cir. 2013) So, if the District Attorney’s Office attempts to frame and falsely imprison you and fails, you can’t sue them. However, if they merely sue you for money on behalf of the government, and fail miserably, you can sue them.
Does This Make Sense? Is This American?
Public employees who are acting in the course and scope of their employment are immune from liability for a malicious prosecution of another. In other words, if a cop tries to frame you for a crime that he knows you didn’t commit, you can’t sue him.
Cal. Gov’t Code § 821.6 provides:
“821.6. A public employee is not liable for injury caused by his instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of his employment, even if he acts maliciously and without probable cause.”
This is simply malicious prosecution immunity under California state law for any public employee, including peace officers, acting in the course and scope of their employment. This section represents an exercise of “sovereign immunity“; “the King can do no wrong.”
The California Courts have bent-over backwards (or “forwards” [sticking it to you], for the body politic) to protect police officers from being liable for damages caused by their attempted framing of persons; including damages for innocents having to sit in jail on trumped-up charges; almost always brought to justify the unjustified use of force, and its accompanying false arrest, or brought to justify an officer’s premature arrest of a person.
Frankly Ladies and Gentlemen, this is outrageous, and downright un-American. It’s morally wrong (i.e. “Thou shalt not bear false witness”), it’s ethically wrong (what could be worse than framing your victim), and it simply should not be tolerated. However, if this author had a nickel for every falsehood testified to by a peace officer in LA County, he would be richer than Bill Gates.