Judges Arrested and Convicted for taking bribes

Video: Outlining and Identifying Judicial Corruption

In an effort to help Bill Windham in his documentary film, Lawless America, I have decided to investigate past episodes of judicial corruption in the United States of America. There are a few reasons this is necessary. First, people who claim they are victims of corruption are usually not believed. They are often labeled malcontents who are complaining because they did  not get what they want. I am not saying that this does not happen. There are some stories that leave me wondering, ¨what is this person leaving out?¨ There will always be some people who cry wolf. And then there are the other half, the people who are genuine victims of judicial corruption. That being said, American corruption is real and we have the arrest records to prove it. This blog will discuss some of those judges who were arrested, placed in handcuffs and sentenced for corruption. This blog is about the select few who actually got caught.

I - The Ones Who Get Caught vs. The Ones Who Don´t

This article will summarize Judges who have been recently arrested for taking bribes or favors. I know that many of you may be thinking, ¨by virtue of the fact these people were arrested proves that the system works.¨ I would have to say, not so fast. These are only the people who get caught. When they get caught it is usually because they have been getting away with it for awhile, and started to get too confident and too sloppy. Lets be honest here. Don´t you think that most of them get away with it? Corruption is something that happens in every society, including ours. For every one that gets caught - how many get away with it? How many are still getting away with it?

What is Judicial Corruption? We need to clearly define corruption in order to understand it. Here is my definition of judicial corruption. If you would like to change or add to this definition, please leave a comment below.

Judicial Corruption happens when the judge rules in the favor of an individual or corporation for dishonorable reasons.  Bribes take many forms and cash is not the only currency in judicial corruption.  The currency can be favors, appointments, or gifts. Gifts can be anything from cash, food, or the pleasure of dining with a litigant at his restaurant. Corruption happens when the Judge does something they know is against the rules, but they do it anyway because they are gaining something from it. 

This should not be confused with prejudice, bias, and unfairness. Some judges are foolish, narrow-minded, weird, esoteric and blind. Being a fool does not make a person corrupt. Having a personal bias does not make a judge corrupt. Perhaps we can argue that the Court should recuse itself if they know that bias exists. I do not want to split hairs here, so I will just assume that you get it. Prejudice is different from corrupt. Bias is different from corrupt. Stupid is different from corrupt. Incompetent is different from corrupt. 

Fortunately the internet has made things better for us. Some corrupt judges are making orders that victims may not exercise their first amendment rights and speak out against the Courts. I met a woman online in 2011. She told me that Judge Esther Wiggins ruled that she cannot speak to any person about her case. Therefore, even talking to me on the telephone - telling me that she has a 5 year old daughter that does not even know she has a mother - was violating the Court order. Since I do not know all the facts in this case I am going to suspend my judgement. Remember that a good judge will never fear transparency, and will always respect a persons First Amendment Rights. 

II - Our Place in the World

The United States is not the worst country to live in when it comes to corruption. Do not get this wrong, there are some pretty great things about this country. But we have to ask ourselves, in all honesty, why are New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Singapore, Norway, Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, UK, Luxemberg, Hong Kong, Iceland, Germany, Japan, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Ireland, Chile, Qatar and the Bahamas all rated less corrupt that The United States of America? (1)

Some of the people who speak out against Lawless America, will undoubtedly point the finger to countries that are more corrupt than the United States of America. They will say, ¨Look at Nigeria! You could be living there - so stop complaining!¨  That is as logical as saying,      ¨Misogynous is worse in Saudi Arabia than it is in the United States, so American women who are paid 70 cents to a man´s dollar should just sit down and shut-up.¨ We will always be able to find places that are worse off than our own country. What goes on abroad is not relevant to the problems we have at home. Our goal is a simple one - we strive to be better at everything we do, especially when it comes to ruining the lives of others. Before attacking Lawless America, I recommend familiarizing oneself with the complete list of logical fallacies, and ensure these fallacies are not being relied on as a defense. I ask individuals to make an effort to identify facts, research, and ensure their arguments are good arguments. 

That being said, below is a list of Judges who have been convicted of corruption. As you read each case, I would like you to ask yourself, did anyone believe the victims of these judges? When children were being locked away, children taken from mothers, criminals released from jail.... did general society believe the corruption was happening, or did we wait until the judge was actually arrested before we believed it?

Convicted Judges
For each Judge Caught, how many get away with it?

1. Judge Deborah Clark  Portsmouth, Va.

Clark was charged in a criminal information filed on April 16, 2012.  She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when she is sentenced on Oct. 3, 2012. 
According to a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Clark was a state magistrate in Portsmouth from January 1993 to April 2012.  She was authorized to issue arrest and search warrants, and to set bail or order the detention of arrestees.  From 2009 through February 2012, she accepted cash and gifts from a bondsman in exchange for referring arrestees to the bondsman as prospective clients and seeking and accepting his advice on the amount of bond to set in particular cases.  In addition to regular cash payments, Clark admitted receiving payments for gas, meals and expense money for trips.

We need to first take a look at recent incidents of judicial corruption. It will allow us to look with a fresh set of eyes at these new cases we are hearing about.

2  Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr.,  Pennsylvania

Probably one of the worse cases I have ever heard of corruption. This man sent hundreds of children to jail for minor offenses. He collected up to $1 million from a privately owned prison. He turned in guilty verdicts for the teens who appeared before them and sent them to juvie, thus enriching the operators of the kiddy gulag. This incident was a heinous that there are many YouTube videos about this evil man.

3. Judge Gerald Garson, New York 

A former State Supreme Court Judge Gerald Garson was convicted of accepting bribes to manipulate the outcome of divorce proceedings in a case that led to a broad political and judicial corruption inquiry in Brooklyn. Mr. Garson handled nearly 1,100 matrimony cases, making decisions on child custody and financial matters. In finding him guilty, the jury endorsed the prosecution theory that he had an agreement with a divorce lawyer to take cash, dinners and cigars in exchange for courtroom assignments and favored treatment. The verdict was a significant victory for the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, and for his chief of investigations, Michael F. Vecchione, a high-ranking assistant district attorney who prosecuted Mr. Garson as part of their larger corruption inquiry.

4. Judge Michael Walker, Louisiana

A former state district judge who is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for taking bribes has been permanently blocked from practicing law in Louisiana.

Louisiana's Supreme Court permanently disbarred Michael Walker this month, noting his conviction in 2008 for taking bribes in return for lowering bonds. Walker stepped down as a judge in Caddo Parish after the conviction.

5. Judge Vernon Clayville, Louisiana

Former Caddo Parish Juvenile Court Judge Vernon Claville will have to spend 5 years behind bars in a federal prison and pay fines totalling more than $165,000.

That's the sentence handed down to him by Judge Maurice Hicks in a federal courtroom in Shreveport Friday morning.

The sentence is in connection with his conviction on federal racketeering charges back in May.  Claville, along with former Caddo District Judge Michael Walker, were found guilty May 31 of accepting bribes in exchange for lowering bonds and letting people out of jail. Walker was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine. 

6Judge Robert F. Collins, Louisiana

 Judge Collins was convicted of scheming to split a $100,000 bribe from a drug smuggler, making him the first federal judge in the 200-year history of the judiciary to be found guilty of taking a bribe. Collins, who was caught with $16,500 in FBI-marked money, was the first black federal judge in the modern-day Deep South. He and the alleged bagman, John Ross, a politically connected businessman, were found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

7. Judge Abel Corral Limas - Texas

Limas took lots of money from lawyers during his time presiding over the 404th District Court, using the funds for everything from paying bills to having extra money for his gambling trips to Las Vegas and the arcades.
And he bestowed lots of favors.

But according to testimony Monday in the trial of lawyer Ray Marchan, in Limas' mind there was a clear line between loans and gifts, and bribery. His “friends” were helping him out, he said, as he would them during his more flush times as a practicing attorney.

8. Judge Suzanne Wooten, Texas

The indictments give no details about the court cases involved. They describe six payments, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, and give a date each was deposited. Those dates run from Jan. 4, 2008, to March 14, 2008. Judge Wooten was accused of engaging in organized criminal activity is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. The bribery charges are second-degree felonies carrying up to a 20-year prison term.
Prosecutors claimed the woman tossed $150,000 at the reelection campaign of a Collin County judge in 2008. The money allegedly would ensure the removal of a family law judge that ruled against her husband in an ongoing child custody dispute.
The woman is not the only defendant in the reported bribery scheme. The Collin County judge, who won the election four years ago, was forced off the bench and convicted last fall. Her sentence included 10 years of probation.
The judge told the court she never knew the couple who allegedly bribed her. According to prosecutors, the middle man between the couple and the judge was a campaign manager. A prosecution witness testified that he heard the campaign manager and the defendant's husband talking about "owning a Collin County judge."
Through the woman's trial, the defense attorney insisted her client did make payments to the campaign manager, but was not involved in the bribery of the judge.
Trials for the judge's campaign chief and the husband caught up in the child custody suit are 
scheduled for later this year.

9. Judge Victor Barron - Brooklyn 

Victor I. Barron, the Brooklyn judge who pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe, returned to his former court yesterday and was led away in handcuffs after being sentenced to serve at least three years in prison.
The judge who sentenced him, Nicholas Colabella, said that Mr. Barron's effort to get a $250,000 payment in exchange for a legal ruling was incomprehensible but that the effect on public confidence in the courts was indisputable. ''You've made almost a joke out of the Kings County judges,'' said Justice Colabella, who usually sits in White Plains in Westchester.
In dispensing the three-to-nine-year sentence that Mr. Barron accepted in a plea bargain in August, Justice Colabella for the first time disclosed sealed defense arguments for a shorter sentence in the case, which has drawn rare and uncomfortable attention to the Brooklyn courts. Justice Colabella indicated that Mr. Barron, who is 61, had claimed his request for the bribe was a symptom of dementia from Alzheimer's disease or the rarer Pick's disease, a similar ailment that can cause bizarre behavior.

10. Judge Mike Murphy, New Mexico
Judge Mike Murphy with the Las Cruces Third Judicial District Court was indicted Friday on four felony counts of bribery, according to KFOX-14's media partners at the Las Cruces Sun-News.
The charges included the following third-degree felonies: demanding or receiving a bribe; bribery of a public officer or employee; bribing, intimidating or retaliating against a witness. The fourth charge was a fourth-degree felony for criminal solicitation.

11. Judge John Whitfield

Attorneys for Harrison County Circuit Judge John Whitfield, convicted of bribery alongside Mississippi attorney Paul Minor, filed a motion for review with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, citing flaws in U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate's refusal to grant Whitfield's motions for release pending his appeal. 

IV - What We Know
From these real cases which lead to actual arrests, we know that Judicial corruption does exist. It is easy to say that these cases are rare, and most judges are honorable people. That may be the case. There may be very honorable judges in the world, but as long as this is a money game there will always be immoral people doing cruel, and sadistic things to children, parents and families. The fact is that there are corrupt judges right now, sitting on the bench, making decisions that will ruin somebody's life forever. 

All hearings and trials must be recorded, and all litigants should be allowed to bring their own court reporter and video camera to record hearings. There should never be anything secret. Judges should not be allowed to change court transcripts or re-write previous orders. We will need some brave people willing to stand up and fight for what is right. 

V - What We Should Do About It

I am going to take a moment to share with you all a little secret about my ancestors. I found traces of myself in my ancestors lives, triumphs and even tragedies. My grandmothers little sister traveled to England about fifteen years ago to finish up the last leg of our family genealogy. I am a descendant of Oliver Cromwell - the man responsible for cutting off the head of the King of England, Charles I, as depicted in the image to your right. This is not a false claim - I truly am related to the guy. As I followed the family line, I found a series of trail blazers and fearless ancestors. It did not surprise me in the least that I am related to this man.

I am not advising any person to pull their sword and play the Highlander in real life. The best sword we have is....and will always be.....the pen

  • If a lawyer lies to a Judge - make a video about it. Publish it. Write about it. 
  • If a CPS worker tell s a lies to the Court and you have evidence that they lied - publish it. Put that persons face and name on the internet for the world to see. 
  • Do not be afraid of the consequences of publishing, it is something you must do.
  • If a Judge does something crooked, corrupt, or inappropriate - publish it, write about it, and use every piece of social networking available to humiliate and expose these people.
  • Finally - remember to always check yourself. Be honest in your claims. Ask yourself if your perception of reality is correct. Ask yourself - is there important information about mistakes you made that you are leaving out? People can usually tell if you are leaving out a big chunk. 
  • Remember that everyone makes mistakes in life. If you did make a mistake, own it. But since there is corruption, and lawyers do lie to judges all the time, remember that little mistakes people make are often blown out of proportion in the Court room. 

Please  continue reading this blog as I have linked several videos that should inspire you. Do not be afraid, you are not alone. This is an important topic that involves everyone. 

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