Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has been sitting in the Senate since I was in college. He has done little if anything to ever make me think much of him, but I finally heard him say something sensible when interviewed by Judge Jeanine Pirro several weeks ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v21GnI2kmpc
Judge Jeanine asked what he would like to see happen to clean up Washington, DC, and he replied, "If you expose the wrong-doing and no one gets fired...if heads don't roll...nothing is going to change in Washington."
He's absolutely right--but extremely hypocritical. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 2015, he's had many, many opportunities to remove corrupt judges for cause, but not a single one has been impeached or removed during his tenure. In fact, though the statistics now show that the federal bench holds and houses one of the most corrupt groups imaginable--if you include violations of constitutional rights under color of law-- Senator Grassley has found no cause to disturb their peace, though much "wrong-doing" has been presented--yet "no one [got] fired," and not a single head has rolled under his watch.
Congressional review of over 1,000 complaints submitted to the Judiciary, in fact, tells the story. Not one judge was found by his or her 'peers' to have committed wrong-doing, even when attorneys alleged and/or proved criminal conduct. Of the roughly one-third of the cases re-submitted for appeal of the decision, none were allowed.
So I took Senator Grassley's hypocrisy personally, as I have filed a number of judicial complaints throughout the years, and even when wrong-doing was admitted, nothing--yes, I mean absolutely nothing--was ever done about it. Not a single rebuke or penalty was ever imposed.
One such judge is still on the bench in the Eastern District of North Carolina, as example, after being exposed for creating something of a cottage industry in a conspiracy with Western District prosecutors to violate the Sixth Amendment rights of federal defendants under the Sixth Amendment. These citizens had a constitutional right to be tried in the court and district where they were charged, yet unhappy with the excellent (and honest) Chief Judge of the Western District, Hon. Graham C. Mullen, prosecutors in that federal district who were stopped from violating the rights of their targets would simply have this Eastern District judge poach the case and kidnap the target from the Western District to his Eastern District court to give the prosecutors the outcome they wanted but could not get in the court of actual jurisdiction. This, of course, violates numerous federal laws and Constitutional requirements of due process, but who's watching? Certainly not Senator Grassley--I know, cause this criminal enterprise was brought to his committee.
In just one of these cases, I found 56 federal crimes committed by North Carolina's Eastern District Senior Judge, W. Earl Britt, in league with Western District Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew T. Martens and Kurt Meyers, to violate the constitutional rights of defendants. Though I found a number of other cases in which the conspirators of the Eastern District bench and Western District prosecutors did the same thing, this case involved Judge Britt's "blood-feud enemy of 30 years"--the former State Republican Chairman who had fought to keep him off the bench in 1980 when President Carter appointed him. It was pure payback--in violation of law and Standards of Judicial Conduct--but again, who's watching, Senator?
Though this was formally brought to Senator Grassley's committee by fellow Senator, Richard Burr, no action was ever taken--not even a reprimand-- even when such egregious illegal conduct was evident simply by looking at the Docket Sheet of the case. There was no "he said, she said" or areas for dispute. The facts were clear. The criminal conduct of two Department of Justice prosecutors in collusion with a senior federal judge two federal districts away was right there in the paperwork.
So while I applaud Senator Grassley's words, I'd like to see his actions match them.
America's judiciary now gets it wrong 82% of the time--even when death is the outcome for the citizen. Don't tune me out. I can back that up and give you the links to see for yourself--and those are not my numbers, they are from an intensive review by the courts themselves of their sloppy adjudication in 5,760 capital cases over a 23 year period. And I blame Senator Grassley and his whimpering colleagues for not having the courage to remove such judges and incarcerate corrupt prosecutors for this dismal record, which led to the deaths of many innocent people. That could have been avoided by making sure that 'heads roll' when criminal conduct is exposed, rather than just looking the other way and letting crimes continue to be committed by the courts vested with punishing them.
In Columbia Law School's summary of these reviews, in 73% of the cases, the courts themselves found so many violations of the constitutional rights of the defendants that the outcome was deemed unreliable and required overturn. In an additional 9% of the cases, it was clear from the prosecutors' evidence that their targets were innocent when put to the hazard, yet they tried and convicted them anyway.
Total--82%. Of the 5,760 people, which is almost every citizen charged with a crime deserving of death over a 23 year period, corrupt prosecutors and complicit judges were found to have gotten it wrong 8 out of 10 times. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/summary-columbia-university-study-prof-james-s-liebman. Also, see https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-destruction-of-defendants-rights
I've personally worked on over 400 federal criminal cases where death was not the intended outcome, just years and decades in prison, and can tell you that the rate of criminal conduct by prosecutors and judges is even higher in non capital cases. Why? Because no one gets fired and no heads roll--just like Senator Grassley says. They are above the law and know it.
The Judge Britts of the judiciary--which is an alarmingly high percentage of them--know there is no penalty likely for their misconduct, even when it is criminal. Only two judges have been removed from office this century--even though the evidence of their incredible incompetence is now in hand. Though they are not immune from laws such as 18 U.S.C. §§241 and 242 (Violation of Constitutional rights under color of law, or conspiracy to do so), they simply don't charge themselves and there is no power remaining in America that can do so, which they also know.
Every other nation in the world that claims to be free has solved this problem by creating Offices of Ombudsman in each federal district to hold members of government to rule of law. Bureaucrats, politicians, prosecutors--and yes, even criminals on the bench--can be prosecuted by the Ombudsman and relief granted to their victims in independent review. So why don't we have Offices of Ombudsmen, Senator Grassley, if you guys in Congress are too chicken to 'fire' and make heads 'roll' in the federal judiciary, as is your duty under the Constitution? If you are unwilling to remove the criminals running the courts, why not allow Ombudsmen to do the job for you? Or are you and your colleagues perhaps concerned about your own actions that are unconstitutional--which an Ombudsman might also pursue? (That's bait for my next article about Congress's own criminal scheme to have us pay the premiums for their health care).
But let's see how many Americans you have allowed to be ruined by these rogue courts and prosecutors whose only apparent goal is chalking up convictions. The BNA Criminal Law Reporter, May 19, 2010, Vol. 87, No. 7--an official government publication--admitted, "The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 71 million Americans--approximately 25%--have a criminal record." Shocking, right? That's why this number has only been published one time.
So let's juxtapose that government admission, with the more recently admitted excruciating level of incompetence (or malfeasance) in getting it wrong 82% of the time. (Imagine a drumroll in the background). That's 58 million Americans since I was in college and Senator Grassley came to Washington that are very likely to have been unlawfully imprisoned or executed by rogue judges and prosecutors who did not live within the law themselves. That's a holocaustic number of people murdered or sent to the Gulag by the state, and it's got to stop. Heads must roll--now.
58 million Americans lost their right to vote. They lost their right to defend themselves and their family. They can never get a good job again and are forced to pay for many government programs they cannot access. They are branded for life with a Scarlet "F" for felon put on their chest wrongfully by a system where prosecutors are driven to win and courts willingly assist them to fill the prison industry to overflowing. And how many innocent people were sent to their deaths instead of the gulag? We'll never know, because once this horrendous record of 'getting it wrong' began coming to light, Congress virtually suspended our constitutional right to seek review of bad or unlawful court decisions and outcomes. (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-destruction-of-defendants-rights)
What other job in the world besides being an American prosecutor or judge allows you to get it wrong 8 out of 10 times--even when you are going to kill the person--and keep your job? It's high time Congress used their powers under Article III to create offices of Ombudsmen or Peoples' Courts in each federal district with the power to 1) hold government employees to Rule of Law as we are held to it by them, and 2) to grant relief to the millions of Americans violated under color of law.
Talk is cheap, Senator. It's time for action.
Howell W. Woltz
Author, "Restoring America: by returning to its Constitution"
Born in North Carolina and educated at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Caledonian University in Scotland, Howell now lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife, Dr. Magdalena Iwaniec-Woltz. Howell is the European Correspondent for The Richardson Post and Chairman of The International Centre for Justice.