If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

277 U.S. 438 (1928)

OLMSTEAD ET AL.
v.
UNITED STATES.
GREEN ET AL.
v.
SAME.
McINNIS
v.
SAME.

Nos. 493, 532 and 533.Supreme Court of United States.

Argued February 20, 21, 1928.Decided June 4, 1928.CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

439*439 Mr. John F. Dore, with whom Messrs. F.C. Reagan and J.L. Finch were on the brief, for petitioners in No. 493.

Mr. Frank R. Jeffery, for petitioner in No. 533, and some of the petitioners in No. 532.

Messrs. Arthur E. Griffin, George F. Vanderveer, and Samuel B. Bassett, on a brief for petitioners in No. 532.

Mr. Michael J. Doherty, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, with whom Solicitor General Mitchell was on the brief, for the United States.

Messrs. Otto B. Rupp, Charles M. Bracelen, Robert H. Strahan, and Clarence B. Randall on behalf of The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, American Telephone and Telegraph Company, United States Independent Telephone Association, and the Tri-State Telephone and Telegraph Company, as amici curiae, filed a brief by special leave of Court.

455*455 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases are here by certiorari from the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 19 F. (2d) 842 and 850. The petition in No. 493 was filed August 30, 1927; in Nos. 532 and 533, September 9, 1927. They were granted with the distinct limitation that the hearing should be confined to the single question whether the use of evidence of private telephone conversations between the defendants and others, intercepted by means of wire tapping, amounted to a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

The petitioners were convicted in the District Court for the Western District of Washington of a conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act by unlawfully possessing, transporting and importing intoxicating liquors and maintaining nuisances, and by selling intoxicating liquors. Seventy-two others in addition to the petitioners were indicted. Some were not apprehended, some were acquitted and others pleaded guilty.

The evidence in the records discloses a conspiracy of amazing magnitude to import, possess and sell liquor unlawfully. 456*456 It involved the employment of not less than fifty persons, of two seagoing vessels for the transportation of liquor to British Columbia, of smaller vessels for coastwise transportation to the State of Washington, the purchase and use of a ranch beyond the suburban limits of Seattle, with a large underground cache for storage and a number of smaller caches in that city, the maintenance of a central office manned with operators, the employment of executives, salesmen, deliverymen, dispatchers, scouts, bookkeepers, collectors and an attorney. In a bad month sales amounted to $176,000; the aggregate for a year must have exceeded two millions of dollars.

Olmstead was the leading conspirator and the general manager of the business. He made a contribution of $10,000 to the capital; eleven others contributed $1,000 each. The profits were divided one-half to Olmstead and the remainder to the other eleven. Of the several offices in Seattle the chief one was in a large office building. In this there were three telephones on three different lines. There were telephones in an office of the manager in his own home, at the homes of his associates, and at other places in the city. Communication was had frequently with Vancouver, British Columbia. Times were fixed for the deliveries of the “stuff,” to places along Puget Sound near Seattle and from there the liquor was removed and deposited in the caches already referred to. One of the chief men was always on duty at the main office to receive orders by telephones and to direct their filling by a corps of men stationed in another room — the “bull pen.” The call numbers of the telephones were given to those known to be likely customers. At times the sales amounted to 200 cases of liquor per day.

The information which led to the discovery of the conspiracy and its nature and extent was largely obtained by intercepting messages on the telephones of the conspirators by four federal prohibition officers. Small 457*457 wires were inserted along the ordinary telephone wires from the residences of four of the petitioners and those leading from the chief office. The insertions were made without trespass upon any property of the defendants. They were made in the basement of the large office building. The taps from house lines were made in the streets near the houses.

The gathering of evidence continued for many months. Conversations of the conspirators of which refreshing stenographic notes were currently made, were testified to by the government witnesses. They revealed the large business transactions of the partners and their subordinates. Men at the wires heard the orders given for liquor by customers and the acceptances; they became auditors of the conversations between the partners. All this disclosed the conspiracy charged in the indictment. Many of the intercepted conversations were not merely reports but parts of the criminal acts. The evidence also disclosed the difficulties to which the conspirators were subjected, the reported news of the capture of vessels, the arrest of their men and the seizure of cases of liquor in garages and other places. It showed the dealing by Olmstead, the chief conspirator, with members of the Seattle police, the messages to them which secured the release of arrested members of the conspiracy, and also direct promises to officers of payments as soon as opportunity offered.

The Fourth Amendment provides — “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” And the Fifth: “No person . . . shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself.”

458*458 It will be helpful to consider the chief cases in this Court which bear upon the construction of these Amendments.

Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, was an information filed by the District Attorney in the federal court in a cause of seizure and forfeiture against thirty-five cases of plate glass, which charged that the owner and importer, with intent to defraud the revenue, made an entry of the imported merchandise by means of a fraudulent or false invoice. It became important to show the quantity and value of glass contained in twenty-nine cases previously imported. The fifth section of the Act of June 22, 1874, provided that in cases not criminal under the revenue laws, the United States Attorney, whenever he thought an invoice, belonging to the defendant, would tend to prove any allegation made by the United States, might by a written motion describing the invoice and setting forth the allegation which he expected to prove, secure a notice from the court to the defendant to produce the invoice, and if the defendant refused to produce it, the allegations stated in the motion should be taken as confessed, but if produced, the United States Attorney should be permitted, under the direction of the court, to make an examination of the invoice, and might offer the same in evidence. This Act had succeeded the Act of 1867, which provided that in such cases the District Judge, on affidavit of any person interested, might issue a warrant to the marshal to enter the premises where the invoice was and take possession of it and hold it subject to the order of the judge. This had been preceded by the Act of 1863 of a similar tenor, except that it directed the warrant to the collector instead of the marshal. The United States Attorney followed the Act of 1874 and compelled the production of the invoice.

The court held the Act of 1874 repugnant to the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. As to the Fourth Amendment, Justice Bradley said (page 621):

459*459 “But, in regard to the Fourth Amendment, it is contended that, whatever might have been alleged against the constitutionality of the acts of 1863 and 1867, that of 1874, under which the order in the present case was made, is free from constitutional objection because it does not authorize the search and seizure of books and papers, but only requires the defendant or claimant to produce them. That is so; but it declares that if he does not produce them, the allegations which it is affirmed they will prove shall be taken as confessed. This is tantamount to compelling their production; for the prosecuting attorney will always be sure to state the evidence expected to be derived from them as strongly as the case will admit of. It is true that certain aggravating incidents of actual search and seizure, such as forcible entry into a man’s house and searching amongst his papers, are wanting, and to this extent the proceeding under the Act of 1874 is a mitigation of that which was authorized by the former acts; but it accomplishes the substantial object of those acts in forcing from a party evidence against himself. It is our opinion, therefore, that a compulsory production of a man’s private papers to establish a criminal charge against him, or to forfeit his property, is within the scope of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, in all cases in which a search and seizure would be; because it is a material ingredient, and effects the sole object and purpose of search and seizure.”

Concurring, Mr. Justice Miller and Chief Justice Waite said that they did not think the machinery used to get this evidence amounted to a search and seizure, but they agreed that the Fifth Amendment had been violated.

The statute provided an official demand for the production of a paper or document by the defendant for official search and use as evidence on penalty that by refusal he should be conclusively held to admit the incriminating 460*460 character of the document as charged. It was certainly no straining of the language to construe the search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to include such official procedure.

The next case, and perhaps the most important, is Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, — a conviction for using the mails to transmit coupons or tickets in a lottery enterprise. The defendant was arrested by a police officer without a warrant. After his arrest other police officers and the United States marshal went to his house, got the key from a neighbor, entered the defendant’s room and searched it, and took possession of various papers and articles. Neither the marshal nor the police officers had a search warrant. The defendant filed a petition in court asking the return of all his property. The court ordered the return of everything not pertinent to the charge, but denied return of relevant evidence. After the jury was sworn, the defendant again made objection, and on introduction of the papers contended that the search without warrant was a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and they were therefore inadmissible. This court held that such taking of papers by an official of the United States, acting under color of his office, was in violation of the constitutional rights of the defendant, and upon making seasonable application he was entitled to have them restored, and that by permitting their use upon the trial, the trial court erred.

The opinion cited with approval language of Mr. Justice Field in Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727, 733, saying that the Fourth Amendment as a principle of protection was applicable to sealed letters and packages in the mail and that, consistently with it, such matter could only be opened and examined upon warrants issued on oath or affirmation particularly describing the thing to be seized.

In Silverthorne Lumber Company v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, the defendants were arrested at their homes and 461*461 detained in custody. While so detained, representatives of the Government without authority went to the office of their company and seized all the books, papers and documents found there. An application for return of the things was opposed by the District Attorney, who produced a subpoena for certain documents relating to the charge in the indictment then on file. The court said:

“Thus the case is not that of knowledge acquired through the wrongful act of a stranger, but it must be assumed that the Government planned or at all events ratified the whole performance.”

And it held that the illegal character of the original seizure characterized the entire proceeding and under the Weeks case the seized papers must be restored.

In Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313, the defendant was convicted of concealing whiskey on which the tax had not been paid. At the trial he presented a petition asking that private property seized in a search of his house and store “within his curtilage,” without warrant should be returned. This was denied. A woman, who claimed to be his wife, was told by the revenue officers that they had come to search the premises for violation of the revenue law. She opened the door; they entered and found whiskey. Further searches in the house disclosed more. It was held that this action constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and that the denial of the motion to restore the whiskey and to exclude the testimony was error.

In Gouled v. The United States, 255 U.S. 298, the facts were these: Gouled and two others were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. One pleaded guilty and another was acquitted. Gouled prosecuted error. The matter was presented here on questions propounded by the lower court. The first related to the admission in evidence of a paper surreptitiously taken from the office of the defendant by one acting under the direction 462*462 of an officer of the Intelligence Department of the Army of the United States. Gouled was suspected of the crime. A private in the U.S. Army, pretending to make a friendly call on him, gained admission to his office and in his absence, without warrant of any character, seized and carried away several documents. One of these belonging to Gouled, was delivered to the United States Attorney and by him introduced in evidence. When produced, it was a surprise to the defendant. He had had no opportunity to make a previous motion to secure a return of it. The paper had no pecuniary value, but was relevant to the issue made on the trial. Admission of the paper was considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, held that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments were violated by admission in evidence of contraband narcotics found in defendant’s house, several blocks distant from the place of arrest, after his arrest, and seized there without a warrant. Under such circumstances the seizure could not be justified as incidental to the arrest.

There is no room in the present case for applying the Fifth Amendment unless the Fourth Amendment was first violated. There was no evidence of compulsion to induce the defendants to talk over their many telephones. They were continually and voluntarily transacting business without knowledge of the interception. Our consideration must be confined to the Fourth Amendment.

The striking outcome of the Weeks case and those which followed it was the sweeping declaration that the Fourth Amendment, although not referring to or limiting the use of evidence in courts, really forbade its introduction if obtained by government officers through a violation of the Amendment. Theretofore many had supposed that under the ordinary common law rules, if the tendered evidence was pertinent, the method of obtaining it was 463*463 unimportant. This was held by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in Commonwealth v. Dana, 2 Metcalf, 329, 337. There it was ruled that the only remedy open to a defendant whose rights under a state constitutional equivalent of the Fourth Amendment had been invaded was by suit and judgment for damages, as Lord Camden held in Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell State Trials, 1029. Mr. Justice Bradley made effective use of this case in Boyd v. United States. But in the Weeks case, and those which followed, this Court decided with great emphasis, and established as the law for the federal courts, that the protection of the Fourth Amendment would be much impaired unless it was held that not only was the official violator of the rights under the Amendment subject to action at the suit of the injured defendant, but also that the evidence thereby obtained could not be received.

The well known historical purpose of the Fourth Amendment, directed against general warrants and writs of assistance, was to prevent the use of governmental force to search a man’s house, his person, his papers and his effects; and to prevent their seizure against his will. This phase of the misuse of governmental power of compulsion is the emphasis of the opinion of the Court in the Boyd case. This appears too in the Weeks case, in the Silverthorne case and in the Amos case.

Gouled v. United States carried the inhibition against unreasonable searches and seizures to the extreme limit. Its authority is not to be enlarged by implication and must be confined to the precise state of facts disclosed by the record. A representative of the Intelligence Department of the Army, having by stealth obtained admission to the defendant’s office, seized and carried away certain private papers valuable for evidential purposes. This was held an unreasonable search and seizure within the Fourth Amendment. A stealthy entrance in such circumstances 464*464 became the equivalent to an entry by force. There was actual entrance into the private quarters of defendant and the taking away of something tangible. Here we have testimony only of voluntary conversations secretly overheard.

The Amendment itself shows that the search is to be of material things — the person, the house, his papers or his effects. The description of the warrant necessary to make the proceeding lawful, is that it must specify the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.

It is urged that the language of Mr. Justice Field in Ex parte Jackson, already quoted, offers an analogy to the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment in respect of wire tapping. But the analogy fails. The Fourth Amendment may have proper application to a sealed letter in the mail because of the constitutional provision for the Postoffice Department and the relations between the Government and those who pay to secure protection of their sealed letters. See Revised Statutes, §§ 3978 to 3988, whereby Congress monopolizes the carriage of letters and excludes from that business everyone else, and § 3929 which forbids any postmaster or other person to open any letter not addressed to himself. It is plainly within the words of the Amendment to say that the unlawful rifling by a government agent of a sealed letter is a search and seizure of the sender’s papers or effects. The letter is a paper, an effect, and in the custody of a Government that forbids carriage except under its protection.

The United States takes no such care of telegraph or telephone messages as of mailed sealed letters. The Amendment does not forbid what was done here. There was no searching. There was no seizure. The evidence was secured by the use of the sense of hearing and that only. There was no entry of the houses or offices of the defendants.

465*465 By the invention of the telephone, fifty years ago, and its application for the purpose of extending communications, one can talk with another at a far distant place. The language of the Amendment can not be extended and expanded to include telephone wires reaching to the whole world from the defendant’s house or office. The intervening wires are not part of his house or office any more than are the highways along which they are stretched.

This Court in Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 149, declared:

“The Fourth Amendment is to be construed in the light of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when it was adopted and in a manner which will conserve public interests as well as the interests and rights of individual citizens.”

Justice Bradley in the Boyd case, and Justice Clark in the Gouled case, said that the Fifth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment were to be liberally construed to effect the purpose of the framers of the Constitution in the interest of liberty. But that can not justify enlargement of the language employed beyond the possible practical meaning of houses, persons, papers, and effects, or so to apply the words search and seizure as to forbid hearing or sight.

Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57, held that the testimony of two officers of the law who trespassed on the defendant’s land, concealed themselves one hundred yards away from his house and saw him come out and hand a bottle of whiskey to another, was not inadmissible. While there was a trespass, there was no search of person, house, papers or effects. United States v. Lee, 274 U.S. 559, 563; Eversole v. State, 106 Tex. Cr. 567.

Congress may of course protect the secrecy of telephone messages by making them, when intercepted, inadmissible in evidence in federal criminal trials, by direct legislation, 466*466 and thus depart from the common law of evidence. But the courts may not adopt such a policy by attributing an enlarged and unusual meaning to the Fourth Amendment. The reasonable view is that one who installs in his house a telephone instrument with connecting wires intends to project his voice to those quite outside, and that the wires beyond his house and messages while passing over them are not within the protection of the Fourth Amendment. Here those who intercepted the projected voices were not in the house of either party to the conversation.

Neither the cases we have cited nor any of the many federal decisions brought to our attention hold the Fourth Amendment to have been violated as against a defendant unless there has been an official search and seizure of his person, or such a seizure of his papers or his tangible material effects, or an actual physical invasion of his house “or curtilage” for the purpose of making a seizure.

We think, therefore, that the wire tapping here disclosed did not amount to a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

What has been said disposes of the only question that comes within the terms of our order granting certiorari in these cases. But some of our number, departing from that order, have concluded that there is merit in the two-fold objection overruled in both courts below that evidence obtained through intercepting of telephone messages by government agents was inadmissible because the mode of obtaining it was unethical and a misdemeanor under the law of Washington. To avoid any misapprehension of our views of that objection we shall deal with it in both of its phases.

While a Territory, the English common law prevailed in Washington and thus continued after her admission in 1889. The rules of evidence in criminal cases in courts of the United States sitting there, consequently are those of the common law. United States v. Reid, 12 How. 361, 467*467 363, 366; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 301; Rosen v. United States, 245 U.S. 467; Withaup v. United States, 127 Fed. 530, 534; Robinson v. United States, 292 Fed. 683, 685.

The common law rule is that the admissibility of evidence is not affected by the illegality of the means by which it was obtained. Professor Greenleaf in his work on evidence, vol. 1, 12th ed., by Redfield, § 254(a) says:

“It may be mentioned in this place, that though papers and other subjects of evidence may have been illegally taken from the possession of the party against whom they are offered, or otherwise unlawfully obtained, this is no valid objection to their admissibility, if they are pertinent to the issue. The court will not take notice how they were obtained, whether lawfully or unlawfully, nor will it form an issue, to determine that question.”

Mr. Jones in his work on the same subject refers to Mr. Greenleaf’s statement, and says:

“Where there is no violation of a constitutional guaranty, the verity of the above statement is absolute.” Vol. 5, § 2075, note 3.

The rule is supported by many English and American cases cited by Jones in vol. 5, § 2075, note 3, and § 2076, note 6; and by Wigmore, vol. 4, § 2183. It is recognized by this Court in Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585. The Weeks case, announced an exception to the common law rule by excluding all evidence in the procuring of which government officials took part by methods forbidden by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Many state courts do not follow the Weeks case. People v. Defore, 242 N.Y. 13. But those who do, treat it as an exception to the general common law rule and required by constitutional limitations. Hughes v. State, 145 Tenn. 544, 551, 566; State v. Wills, 91 W. Va. 659, 677; State v. Slamon, 73 Vt. 212, 214, 215; Gindrat v. People, 138 Ill. 103, 111; People v. Castree, 311 Ill. 392, 396, 397; State v. 468*468 Gardner, 77 Mont. 8, 21; State v. Fahn, 53 N. Dak. 203, 210. The common law rule must apply in the case at bar.

Nor can we, without the sanction of congressional enactment, subscribe to the suggestion that the courts have a discretion to exclude evidence, the admission of which is not unconstitutional, because unethically secured. This would be at variance with the common law doctrine generally supported by authority. There is no case that sustains, nor any recognized text book that gives color to such a view. Our general experience shows that much evidence has always been receivable although not obtained by conformity to the highest ethics. The history of criminal trials shows numerous cases of prosecutions of oath-bound conspiracies for murder, robbery, and other crimes, where officers of the law have disguised themselves and joined the organizations, taken the oaths and given themselves every appearance of active members engaged in the promotion of crime, for the purpose of securing evidence. Evidence secured by such means has always been received.

A standard which would forbid the reception of evidence if obtained by other than nice ethical conduct by government officials would make society suffer and give criminals greater immunity than has been known heretofore. In the absence of controlling legislation by Congress, those who realize the difficulties in bringing offenders to justice may well deem it wise that the exclusion of evidence should be confined to cases where rights under the Constitution would be violated by admitting it.

The statute of Washington, adopted in 1909, provides (Remington Compiled Statutes, 1922, § 2656-18) that:

“Every person . . . who shall intercept, read or in any manner interrupt or delay the sending of a message over any telegraph or telephone line . . . shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

469*469 This statute does not declare that evidence obtained by such interception shall be inadmissible, and by the common law, already referred to, it would not be. People v. McDonald, 177 App. Div. (N.Y.) 806. Whether the State of Washington may prosecute and punish federal officers violating this law and those whose messages were intercepted may sue them civilly is not before us. But clearly a statute, passed twenty years after the admission of the State into the Union can not affect the rules of evidence applicable in courts of the United States in criminal cases. Chief Justice Taney, in United States v. Reid, 12 How. 361, 363, construing the 34th section of the Judiciary Act, said:

“But it could not be supposed, without very plain words to show it, that Congress intended to give the states the power of prescribing the rules of evidence in trials for offenses against the United States. For this construction would place the criminal jurisprudence of one sovereignty under the control of another.” See also Withaup v. United States, 127 Fed. 530, 534.

The judgments of the Circuit Court of Appeals are affirmed. The mandates will go down forthwith under Rule 31.

Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES:

My brother BRANDEIS has given this case so exhaustive an examination that I desire to add but a few words. While I do not deny it, I am not prepared to say that the penumbra of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments covers the defendant, although I fully agree that Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law where those words import a policy that goes beyond them. Gooch v. Oregon Short Line R.R. Co., 258 U.S. 22, 24. But I think, as MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS says, that apart from the Constitution the Government ought not to use 470*470 evidence obtained and only obtainable by a criminal act. There is no body of precedents by which we are bound, and which confines us to logical deduction from established rules. Therefore we must consider the two objects of desire, both of which we cannot have, and make up our minds which to choose. It is desirable that criminals should be detected, and to that end that all available evidence should be used. It also is desirable that the Government should not itself foster and pay for other crimes, when they are the means by which the evidence is to be obtained. If it pays its officers for having got evidence by crime I do not see why it may not as well pay them for getting it in the same way, and I can attach no importance to protestations of disapproval if it knowingly accepts and pays and announces that in the future it will pay for the fruits. We have to chose, and for my part I think it a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the Government should play an ignoble part.

For those who agree with me, no distinction can be taken between the Government as prosecutor and the Government as judge. If the existing code does not permit district attorneys to have a hand in such dirty business it does not permit the judge to allow such iniquities to succeed. See Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385. And if all that I have said so far be accepted it makes no difference that in this case wire tapping is made a crime by the law of the State, not by the law of the United States. It is true that a State cannot make rules of evidence for Courts of the United States, but the State has authority over the conduct in question, and I hardly think that the United States would appear to greater advantage when paying for an odious crime against State law than when inciting to the disregard of its own. I am aware of the often repeated statement that in a criminal proceeding the Court will not take notice of the manner in which papers offered in evidence have been 471*471 obtained. But that somewhat rudimentary mode of disposing of the question has been overthrown by Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 and the cases that have followed it. I have said that we are free to choose between two principles of policy. But if we are to confine ourselves to precedent and logic the reason for excluding evidence obtained by violating the Constitution seems to me logically to lead to excluding evidence obtained by a crime of the officers of the law.

MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS, dissenting.

The defendants were convicted of conspiring to violate the National Prohibition Act. Before any of the persons now charged had been arrested or indicted, the telephones by means of which they habitually communicated with one another and with others had been tapped by federal officers. To this end, a lineman of long experience in wire-tapping was employed, on behalf of the Government and at its expense. He tapped eight telephones, some in the homes of the persons charged, some in their offices. Acting on behalf of the Government and in their official capacity, at least six other prohibition agents listened over the tapped wires and reported the messages taken. Their operations extended over a period of nearly five months. The type-written record of the notes of conversations overheard occupies 775 typewritten pages. By objections seasonably made and persistently renewed, the defendants objected to the admission of the evidence obtained by wire-tapping, on the ground that the Government’s wire-tapping constituted an unreasonable search and seizure, in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and that the use as evidence of the conversations overheard compelled the defendants to be witnesses against themselves, in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The Government makes no attempt to defend the methods employed by its officers. Indeed, it concedes 472*472 that if wire-tapping can be deemed a search and seizure within the Fourth Amendment, such wire-tapping as was practiced in the case at bar was an unreasonable search and seizure, and that the evidence thus obtained was inadmissible. But it relies on the language of the Amendment; and it claims that the protection given thereby cannot properly be held to include a telephone conversation.

“We must never forget,” said Mr. Chief Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 407, “that it is a constitution we are expounding.” Since then, this Court has repeatedly sustained the exercise of power by Congress, under various clauses of that instrument, over objects of which the Fathers could not have dreamed. See Pensacola Telegraph Co. v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 96 U.S. 1, 9; Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. North Dakota, 250 U.S. 135; Dakota Central Telephone Co. v. South Dakota, 250 U.S. 163; Brooks v. United States, 267 U.S. 432. We have likewise held that general limitations on the powers of Government, like those embodied in the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, do not forbid the United States or the States from meeting modern conditions by regulations which “a century ago, or even half a century ago, probably would have been rejected as arbitrary and oppressive.” Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 387; Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200. Clauses guaranteeing to the individual protection against specific abuses of power, must have a similar capacity of adaptation to a changing world. It was with reference to such a clause that this Court said in Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349, 373: “Legislation, both statutory and constitutional, is enacted, it is true, from an experience of evils, but its general language should not, therefore, be necessarily confined to the form that evil had theretofore taken. Time works changes, brings into existence new conditions 473*473 and purposes. Therefore a principle to be vital must be capable of wider application than the mischief which gave it birth. This is peculiarly true of constitutions. They are not ephemeral enactments, designed to meet passing occasions. They are, to use the words of Chief Justice Marshall `designed to approach immortality as nearly as human institutions can approach it.’ The future is their care and provision for events of good and bad tendencies of which no prophecy can be made. In the application of a constitution, therefore, our contemplation cannot be only of what has been but of what may be. Under any other rule a constitution would indeed be as easy of application as it would be deficient in efficacy and power. Its general principles would have little value and be converted by precedent into impotent and lifeless formulas. Rights declared in words might be lost in reality.”

When the Fourth and Fifth Amendments were adopted, “the form that evil had theretofore taken,” had been necessarily simple. Force and violence were then the only means known to man by which a Government could directly effect self-incrimination. It could compel the individual to testify — a compulsion effected, if need be, by torture. It could secure possession of his papers and other articles incident to his private life — a seizure effected, if need be, by breaking and entry. Protection against such invasion of “the sanctities of a man’s home and the privacies of life” was provided in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by specific language. Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630. But “time works changes, brings into existence new conditions and purposes.” Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the Government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for the Government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.

474*474 Moreover, “in the application of a constitution, our contemplation cannot be only of what has been but of what may be.” The progress of science in furnishing the Government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire-tapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions. “That places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer” was said by James Otis of much lesser intrusions than these.[1] To Lord Camden, a far slighter intrusions seemed “subversive of all the comforts of society.”[2] Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?

A sufficient answer is found in Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 627-630, a case that will be remembered as long as civil liberty lives in the United States. This Court there reviewed the history that lay behind the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. We said with reference to Lord Camden’s judgment in Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell’s State Trials, 1030: “The principles laid down in this opinion affect the very essence of constitutional liberty and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case there before the court, with its adventitious circumstances; they apply to all invasions on the part of the Government and its employes of the sanctities of a man’s home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of the offence; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, 475*475 personal liberty and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offence, — it is the invasion of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of Lord Camden’s judgment. Breaking into a house and opening boxes and drawers are circumstances of aggravation; but any forcible and compulsory extortion of a man’s own testimony or of his private papers to be used as evidence of a crime or to forfeit his goods, is within the condemnation of that judgment. In this regard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments run almost into each other.”[3]

In Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727, it was held that a sealed letter entrusted to the mail is protected by the Amendments. The mail is a public service furnished by the Government. The telephone is a public service furnished by its authority. There is, in essence, no difference between the sealed letter and the private telephone message. As Judge Rudkin said below: “True the one is visible, the other invisible; the one is tangible, the other intangible; the one is sealed and the other unsealed, but these are distinctions without a difference.” The evil incident to invasion of the privacy of the telephone is far greater than that involved in tampering with the mails. Whenever a telephone line is tapped, the privacy of the persons at both ends of the line is invaded and all conversations 476*476 between them upon any subject, and although proper, confidential and privileged, may be overheard. Moreover, the tapping of one man’s telephone line involves the tapping of the telephone of every other person whom he may call or who may call him. As a means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wire-tapping.

Time and again, this Court in giving effect to the principle underlying the Fourth Amendment, has refused to place an unduly literal construction upon it. This was notably illustrated in the Boyd case itself. Taking language in its ordinary meaning, there is no “search” or “seizure” when a defendant is required to produce a document in the orderly process of a court’s procedure. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” would not be violated, under any ordinary construction of language, by compelling obedience to a subpoena. But this Court holds the evidence inadmissible simply because the information leading to the issue of the subpoena has been unlawfully secured. Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385. Literally, there is no “search” or “seizure” when a friendly visitor abstracts papers from an office; yet we held in Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, that evidence so obtained could not be used. No court which looked at the words of the Amendment rather than at its underlying purpose would hold, as this Court did in Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727, 733, that its protection extended to letters in the mails. The provision against self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment has been given an equally broad construction. The language is: “No person. . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Yet we have held, not only that the 477*477 protection of the Amendment extends to a witness before a grand jury, although he has not been charged with crime, Counselman v. Hitchcock, 142 U.S. 547, 562, 586. but that: “It applies alike to civil and criminal proceedings, wherever the answer might tend to subject to criminal responsibility him who gives it. The privilege protects a mere witness as fully as it does one who is also a party defendant.” McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U.S. 34, 40. The narrow language of the Amendment has been consistently construed in the light of its object, “to insure that a person should not be compelled, when acting as a witness in any investigation, to give testimony which might tend to show that he himself had committed a crime. The privilege is limited to criminal matters, but it is as broad as the mischief against which it seeks to guard.” Counselman v. Hitchcock, supra, p. 562.

Decisions of this Court applying the principle of the Boyd case have settled these things. Unjustified search and seizure violates the Fourth Amendment, whatever the character of the paper;[4] whether the paper when taken by the federal officers was in the home,[5] in an office[6] or elsewhere;[7] whether the taking was effected by force,[8] by 478*478 fraud,[9] or in the orderly process of a court’s procedure.[10] From these decisions, it follows necessarily that the Amendment is violated by the officer’s reading the paper without a physical seizure, without his even touching it; and that use, in any criminal proceeding, of the contents of the paper so examined — as where they are testified to by a federal officer who thus saw the document or where, through knowledge so obtained, a copy has been procured elsewhere[11] — any such use constitutes a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The protection guaranteed by the Amendments is much broader in scope. The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And the use, as evidence 479*479 in a criminal proceeding, of facts ascertained by such intrusion must be deemed a violation of the Fifth.

Applying to the Fourth and Fifth Amendments the established rule of construction, the defendants’ objections to the evidence obtained by wire-tapping must, in my opinion, be sustained. It is, of course, immaterial where the physical connection with the telephone wires leading into the defendants’ premises was made. And it is also immaterial that the intrusion was in aid of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.[12]

Independently of the constitutional question, I am of opinion that the judgment should be reversed. By the laws of Washington, wire-tapping is a crime.[13] Pierce’s 480*480 Code, 1921, § 8976(18). To prove its case, the Government was obliged to lay bare the crimes committed by its officers on its behalf. A federal court should not permit such a prosecution to continue. Compare Harkin v. Brundage, 276 U.S. 36, id. 604.

481*481 The situation in the case at bar differs widely from that presented in Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465. There, only a single lot of papers was involved. They had been obtained by a private detective while acting on behalf of a private party; without the knowledge of any federal official; long before anyone had thought of instituting a 482*482 federal prosecution. Here, the evidence obtained by crime was obtained at the Government’s expense, by its officers, while acting on its behalf; the officers who committed these crimes are the same officers who were charged with the enforcement of the Prohibition Act; the crimes of these officers were committed for the purpose of securing evidence with which to obtain an indictment and to secure a conviction. The evidence so obtained constitutes the warp and woof of the Government’s case. The aggregate of the Government evidence occupies 306 pages of the printed record. More than 210 of them are filled by recitals of the details of the wire-tapping and of facts ascertained thereby.[14] There is literally no other evidence of guilt on the part of some of the defendants except that illegally obtained by these officers. As to nearly all the defendants (except those who admitted guilt), the evidence relied upon to secure a conviction consisted mainly of that which these officers had so obtained by violating the state law.

As Judge Rudkin said below: “Here we are concerned with neither eavesdroppers nor thieves. Nor are we concerned with the acts of private individuals. . . . We are concerned only with the acts of federal agents whose powers are limited and controlled by the Constitution of the United States.” The Eighteenth Amendment has not in terms empowered Congress to authorize anyone to violate the criminal laws of a State. And Congress has never purported to do so. Compare Maryland v. Soper, 270 U.S. 9. The terms of appointment of federal prohibition agents do not purport to confer upon them authority to violate any criminal law. Their superior officer, the Secretary of the Treasury, has not instructed them to commit 483*483 crime on behalf of the United States. It may be assumed that the Attorney General of the United States did not give any such instruction.[15]

When these unlawful acts were committed, they were crimes only of the officers individually. The Government was innocent, in legal contemplation; for no federal official is authorized to commit a crime on its behalf. When the Government, having full knowledge, sought, through the Department of Justice, to avail itself of the fruits of these acts in order to accomplish its own ends, it assumed moral responsibility for the officers’ crimes. Compare The Paquete Habana, 189 U.S. 453, 465; O’Reilly deCamara v. Brooke, 209 U.S. 45, 52; Dodge v. United States, 272 U.S. 530, 532; Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310. And if this Court should permit the Government, by means of its officers’ crimes, to effect its purpose of punishing the defendants, there would seem to be present all the elements of a ratification. If so, the Government itself would become a lawbreaker.

Will this Court by sustaining the judgment below sanction such conduct on the part of the Executive? The governing principle has long been settled. It is that a court will not redress a wrong when he who invokes its aid has unclean hands.[16] The maxim of unclean hands comes 484*484 from courts of equity.[17] But the principle prevails also in courts of law. Its common application is in civil actions between private parties. Where the Government is the actor, the reasons for applying it are even more persuasive. Where the remedies invoked are those of the criminal law, the reasons are compelling.[18]

The door of a court is not barred because the plaintiff has committed a crime. The confirmed criminal is as much entitled to redress as his most virtuous fellow citizen; no record of crime, however long, makes one an outlaw. The court’s aid is denied only when he who seeks it has violated the law in connection with the very transaction as to which he seeks legal redress.[19] Then aid is denied despite the defendant’s wrong. It is denied in order to maintain respect for law; in order is to promote confidence in the administration of justice; in order to preserve the judicial process from contamination. The rule is one, not of action, but of inaction. It is sometimes 485*485 spoken of as a rule of substantive law. But it extends to matters of procedure as well.[20] A defense may be waived. It is waived when not pleaded. But the objection that the plaintiff comes with unclean hands will be taken by the court itself.[21] It will be taken despite the wish to the contrary of all the parties to the litigation. The court protects itself.

Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.

MR. JUSTICE BUTLER, dissenting.

I sincerely regret that I cannot support the opinion and judgments of the Court in these cases.

486*486 The order allowing the writs of certiorari operated to limit arguments of counsel to the constitutional question. I do not participate in the controversy that has arisen here as to whether the evidence was inadmissible because the mode of obtaining it was unethical and a misdemeanor under state law. I prefer to say nothing concerning those questions because they are not within the jurisdiction taken by the order.

The Court is required to construe the provision of the Fourth Amendment that declares: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” The Fifth Amendment prevents the use of evidence obtained through searches and seizures in violation of the rights of the accused protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The single question for consideration is this: May the Government, consistently with that clause, have its officers whenever they see fit, tap wires, listen to, take down and report, the private messages and conversations transmitted by telephones?

The United States maintains that “The `wire tapping’ operations of the federal prohibition agents were not a `search and seizure’ in violation of the security of the `persons, houses, papers and effects’ of the petitioners in the constitutional sense or within the intendment of the Fourth Amendment.” The Court, adhering to and reiterating the principles laid down and applied in prior decisions[*] construing the search and seizure clause, in substance adopts the contention of the Government.

The question at issue depends upon a just appreciation of the facts.

487*487 Telephones are used generally for transmission of messages concerning official, social, business and personal affairs including communications that are private and privileged — those between physician and patient, lawyer and client, parent and child, husband and wife. The contracts between telephone companies and users contemplate the private use of the facilities employed in the service. The communications belong to the parties between whom they pass. During their transmission the exclusive use of the wire belongs to the persons served by it. Wire tapping involves interference with the wire while being used. Tapping the wires and listening in by the officers literally constituted a search for evidence. As the communications passed, they were heard and taken down.

In Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, there was no “search or seizure” within the literal or ordinary meaning of the words, nor was Boyd — if these constitutional provisions were read strictly according to the letter — compelled in a “criminal case” to be a “witness” against himself. The statute, there held unconstitutional because repugnant to the search and seizure clause, merely authorized judgment for sums claimed by the Government on account of revenue if the defendant failed to produce his books, invoices and papers. The principle of that case has been followed, developed and applied in this and many other courts. And it is in harmony with the rule of liberal construction that always has been applied to provisions of the Constitution safeguarding personal rights (Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 32), as well as to those granting governmental powers. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 404, 406, 407, 421. Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 153, 176. Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264. Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52.

This Court has always construed the Constitution in the light of the principles upon which it was founded. 488*488 The direct operation or literal meaning of the words used do not measure the purpose or scope of its provisions. Under the principles established and applied by this Court, the Fourth Amendment safeguards against all evils that are like and equivalent to those embraced within the ordinary meaning of its words. That construction is consonant with sound reason and in full accord with the course of decisions since McCulloch v. Maryland. That is the principle directly applied in the Boyd case.

When the facts in these cases are truly estimated, a fair application of that principle decides the constitutional question in favor of the petitioners. With great deference, I think they should be given a new trial.

MR. JUSTICE STONE, dissenting.

I concur in the opinions of MR. JUSTICE HOLMES and MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS. I agree also with that of MR. JUSTICE BUTLER so far as it deals with the merits. The effect of the order granting certiorari was to limit the argument to a single question, but I do not understand that it restrains the Court from a consideration of any question which we find to be presented by the record, for, under Jud. Code, § 240(a), this Court determines a case here on certiorari “with the same power and authority, and with like effect, as if the cause had been brought [here] by unrestricted writ of error or appeal.”

[1] Otis’ Argument against Writs of Assistance. See Tudor, James Otis, p. 66; John Adams, Works, Vol. II, p. 524; Minot, Continuation of the History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. II, p. 95.

[2] Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell’s State Trials, 1030, 1066.

[3] In Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479, the statement made in the Boyd case was repeated; and the Court quoted the statement of Mr. Justice Field in In re Pacific Railway Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250: “Of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers, from the inspection and scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.” The Boyd case has been recently reaffirmed in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, in Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, and in Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28.

[4] Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298.

[5] Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383; Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313; Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20; Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28.

[6] Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616; Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 70; Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385; Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298; Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192.

[7] Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727, 733; Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 156; Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310.

[8] Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383; Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385; Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313; Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 156; Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20; Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310.

[9] Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298.

[10] Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616; Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 70. See Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298; Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28; Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192.

[11] Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385. Compare Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, 307. In Stroud v. United States, 251 U.S. 15, and Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57, the letter and articles admitted were not obtained by unlawful search and seizure. They were voluntary dilosures by the defendant. Compare Smith v. United States, 2 F. (2d) 715; United States v. Lee, 274 U.S. 559.

[12] The point is thus stated by counsel for the telephone companies, who have filed a brief as amici curiae: “Criminals will not escape detection and conviction merely because evidence obtained by tapping wires of a public telephone system is inadmissible, if it should be so held; but, in any event, it is better that a few criminals escape than that the privacies of life of all the people be exposed to the agents of the government, who will act at their own discretion, the honest and the dishonest, unauthorized and unrestrained by the courts. Legislation making wire tapping a crime will not suffice if the courts nevertheless hold the evidence to be lawful.”

[13] In the following states it is a criminal offense to intercept a message sent by telegraph and/or telephone: Alabama, Code, 1923, § 5256; Arizona, Revised Statutes, 1913, Penal Code, § 692; Arkansas, Crawford & Moses Digest, 1921, § 10246; California, Deering’s Penal Code, 1927, § 640; Colorado, Compiled Laws, 1921, § 6969; Connecticut, General Statutes, 1918, § 6292; Idaho, Compiled Statutes, 1919, §§ 8574, 8586; Illinois, Revised Statutes, 1927, c. 134, § 21; Iowa, Code, 1927, § 13121; Kansas, Revised Statutes, 1923, c. 17, § 1908; Michigan, Compiled Laws, 1915, § 15403; Montana, Penal Code, 1921, § 11518; Nebraska, Compiled Statutes, 1922, § 7115; Nevada, Revised Laws, 1912, §§ 4608, 6572(18); New York, Consolidated Laws, c. 40, § 1423(6); North Dakota, Compiled Laws, 1913, § 10231; Ohio, Page’s General Code, 1926, § 13402; Oklahoma, Session Laws, 1923, c. 46; Oregon, Olson’s Laws, 1920, § 2265; South Dakota, Revised Code, 1919, § 4312; Tennessee, Shannon’s Code, 1919, §§ 1839, 1840; Utah, Compiled Laws, 1917, § 8433; Virginia, Code, 1924, § 4477(2), (3); Washington, Pierce’s Code, 1921, § 8976(18); Wisconsin, Statutes, 1927, § 348.37; Wyoming, Compiled Statutes, 1920, § 7148. Compare State v. Behringer, 19 Ariz. 502; State v. Nordskog, 76 Wash. 472.

In the following states it is a criminal offense for a company engaged in the transmission of messages by telegraph and/or telephone, or its employees, or, in many instances, persons conniving with them, to disclose or to assist in the disclosure of any message: Alabama, Code, 1923, §§ 5543, 5545; Arizona, Revised Statutes, 1913, Penal Code, §§ 621, 623, 691; Arkansas, Crawford & Moses Digest, 1921, § 10250; California, Deering’s Penal Code, 1927, §§ 619, 621, 639, 641; Colorado, Compiled Laws, 1921, §§ 6966, 6968, 6970; Connecticut, General Statutes, 1918, § 6292; Florida, Revised General Statutes, 1920, §§ 5754, 5755; Idaho, Compiled Statutes, 1919, §§ 8568, 8570; Illinois, Revised Statutes, 1927, c. 134, §§ 7, 7a; Indiana, Burns’ Revised Statutes, 1926, § 2862; Iowa, Code, 1924, § 8305; Louisiana, Acts, 1918, c. 134, p. 228; Maine, Revised Statutes, 1916, c. 60, § 24; Maryland, Bagby’s Code, 1926, § 489; Michigan, Compiled Statutes, 1915, § 15104; Minnesota, General Statutes, 1923, §§ 10423, 10424; Mississippi, Hemingway’s Code, 1927, § 1174; Missouri, Revised Statutes, 1919, § 3605; Montana, Penal Code, 1921, § 11494; Nebraska, Compiled Statutes, 1922, § 7088; Nevada, Revised Laws, 1912, §§ 4603, 4605, 4609, 4631; New Jersey, Compiled Statutes, 1910, p. 5319; New York, Consolidated Laws, c. 40, §§ 552, 553; North Carolina, Consolidated Statutes, 1919, §§ 4497, 4498, 4499; North Dakota, Compiled Laws, 1913, § 10078; Ohio, Page’s General Code, 1926, § 13388, 13419; Oklahoma, Session Laws, 1923, c. 46; Oregon, Olson’s Laws, 1920, §§ 2260, 2266; Pennsylvania, Statutes, 1920, §§ 6306, 6308, 6309; Rhode Island, General Laws, 1923, § 6104; South Dakota, Revised Code, 1919, §§ 4346, 9801; Tennessee, Shannon’s Code, 1919, §§ 1837, 1838; Utah, Compiled Laws, 1917, §§ 8403, 8405, 8434; Washington, Pierce’s Code, 1921, §§ 8982, 8983, Wisconsin, Statutes, 1927, § 348.36.

The Alaskan Penal Code, Act of March 3, 1899, c. 429, 30 Stat. 1253, 1278, provides that “if any officer, agent, operator, clerk, or employee of any telegraph company, or any other person, shall wilfully divulge to any other person than the party from whom the same was received, or to whom the same was addressed, or his agent or attorney, any message received or sent, or intended to be sent, over any telegraph line, or the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such message, or any part thereof,. . . the person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.”

The Act of October 29, 1918, c. 197, 40 Stat. 1017, provided: “That whoever during the period of governmental operation of the telephone and telegraph systems of the United States . . . shall, without authority and without the knowledge and consent of the other users thereof, except as may be necessary for operation of the service, tap any telegraph or telephone line, or wilfully interfere with the operation of such telephone and telegraph systems or with the transmission of any telephone or telegraph message, or with the delivery of any such message, or whoever being employed in any such telephone or telegraph service shall divulge the contents of any such telephone or telegraph message to any person not duly authorized to receive the same, shall be fined not exceeding $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”

The Radio Act, February 23, 1927, c. 169, § 27, 44 Stat. 1162, 1172, provides that “no person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any message and divulge or publish the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted message to any person.”

[14] The above figures relate to Case No. 493. In Nos. 532-533, the Government evidence fills 278 pages, of which 140 are recitals of the evidence obtained by wire-tapping.

[15] According to the Government’s brief, p. 41, “The Prohibition Unit of the Treasury disclaims it [wire-tapping] and the Department of Justice has frowned on it.” See also “Prohibition Enforcement,” 69th Congress, 2d Session, Senate Doc. No. 198, pp. IV, V, 13, 15, referred to Committee, January 25, 1927; also Same, Part 2.

[16] See Hannay v. Eve, 3 Cranch, 242, 247; Bank of the United States v. Owens, 2 Pet. 527, 538; Bartle v. Coleman, 4 Pet. 184, 188; Kennett v. Chambers, 14 How. 38, 52; Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co., 16 How. 314, 334; Tool Co. v. Norris, 2 Wall 45, 54; The Ouachita Cotton, 6 Wall. 521, 532; Coppell v. Hall, 7 Wall. 542; Forsyth v. Woods, 11 Wall. 484, 486; Hanauer v. Doane, 12 Wall. 342, 349; Trist v. Child, 21 Wall. 441, 448; Meguire v. Corwine, 101 U.S. 108, 111; Oscanyan v. Arms Co., 103 U.S. 261; Irwin v. Williar, 110 U.S. 499, 510; Woodstock Iron Co. v. Richmond & Danville Extension Co., 129 U.S. 643; Gibbs v. Consolidated Gas Co., 130 U.S. 396, 411; Embrey v. Jemison, 131 U.S. 336, 348; West v. Camden, 135 U.S. 507, 521; McMullen v. Hoffman, 174 U.S. 639, 654; Hazelton v. Sheckells, 202 U.S. 71; Crocker v. United States, 240 U.S. 74, 78. Compare Holman v. Johnson, 1 Cowp. 341.

[17] See Creath’s Administrator v. Sims, 5 How. 192, 204; Kennett v. Chambers, 14 How. 38, 49; Randall v. Howard, 2 Black, 585, 586; Wheeler v. Sage, 1 Wall. 518, 530; Dent v. Ferguson, 132 U.S. 50, 64; Pope Manufacturing Co. v. Gormully, 144 U.S. 224, 236; Miller v. Ammon, 145 U.S. 421, 425; Hazelton v. Sheckells, 202 U.S. 71, 79. Compare International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215, 245.

[18] Compare State v. Simmons, 39 Kan. 262, 264-265; State v. Miller, 44 Mo. App. 159, 163-164; In re Robinson, 29 Neb. 135; Harris v. State, 15 Tex. App. 629, 634-635, 639.

[19] See Armstrong v. Toler, 11 Wheat. 258; Brooks v. Martin, 2 Wall. 70; Planters’ Bank v. Union Bank, 16 Wall. 483, 499-500; Houston & Texas Central R.R. Co. v. Texas, 177 U.S. 66, 99; Bothwell v. Buckbee, Mears Co., 275 U.S. 274.

[20] See Lutton v. Benin, 11 Mod. 50; Barlow v. Hall, 2 Anst. 461; Wells v. Gurney, 8 Barn. & Cress. 769; Ilsley v. Nichols, 12 Pick. 270; Carpenter v. Spooner, 2 Sandf. 717; Metcalf v. Clark, 41 Barb. 45; Williams ads. Reed, 29 N.J.L. 385; Hill v. Goodrich, 32 Conn. 588; Townsend v. Smith, 47 Wis. 623; Blandin v. Ostrander, 239 Fed. 700; Harkin v. Brundage, 276 U.S. 36, id., 604.

[21] Coppell v. Hall, 7 Wall. 542, 558; Oscanyan v. Arms Co., 103 U.S. 261, 267; Higgins v. McCrea, 116 U.S. 671, 685. Compare Evans v. Richardson, 3 Mer. 469; Norman v. Cole, 3 Esp. 253; Northwestern Salt Co. v. Electrolytic Alkali Co., [1913] 3 K.B. 422.

[*] Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727. Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383. Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385. Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298. Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313.

 

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

The Supreme Court is allowing the different States to pass and uphold gun ban laws.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

Washington Post Report

June 20 at 9:51 AM

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

Play Video2:21
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen used the assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX to kill at least 49 people, authorities say. Here’s what you need to know about the guns some are calling “the gold standard for mass murder.” (Editor’s note: This video has been updated with more specific information.) (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Like other laws, Connecticut’s ban includes semiautomatic guns and high-capacity magazines, covers popular weapons such as AR-­15s and AK-­47s, and names more than 180 weapons that cannot be sold.

But the individuals and organizations challenging the law said the state is an “outlier” in banning weapons that are popular and protected in the rest of the country.

“In truth, the odd assortment of firearms Connecticut calls ‘assault weapons’ are mechanically identical to any other semiautomatic firearm — arms that, as no one disputes, are exceedingly common and fully protected by the Second Amendment,” the challengers said in their petition to the court.

Gun rights advocates have urged the court to review such bans, saying that they violate the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which said individuals have a right to gun ownership for self-protection.

After recognizing the individual right for the first time in Heller, which covered the federal enclave of the District, the court made clear in a subsequent case that state and local governments, like Congress, could not prohibit individual gun ownership.

But the court has not shown any interest since then in elaborating on what exactly that right covers. And in the process, the justices have passed up the chance to scrutinize lower-court decisions that have upheld the laws banning certain weapons as well as laws requiring tight restrictions on those who can legally carry guns outside their homes.

When the Supreme Court declined last December to review a lower-court decision upholding such a ban, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wrote that a similar law flouts the court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence. Scalia died in February.


So, what it boils down to, is we all just sit on our happy little asses, and let them continue to do this, because some of us are ignorant enough not to realize that any and every semi-automatic, will soon fit into the category of “assault weapons”, the country is lost.

Has anyone actually heard what the govt. considers an assault weapon?  I know, that every time I hear reference to it, in the same sentence, the speaker references “semi-automatic”.  In reality, an assault weapon, is one used by our military.  It is an automatic weapon, not a semi-automatic weapon.  I could be wrong, but don’t think  so.

If I hear one more idiot reference assault weapon and deer hunting, I will scream!  They have already decided that any semi-automatic is an assault weapon.  So what the hell do you plan to kill a deer with?  A 22 rifle?  Anything and everything that has a magazine, a drum, or any other device to feed the weapon, is an assault weapon.  Before you know it, the good ole reliable six shooter will be an assault weapon.

It is now time to really think about it.  The US Supreme Court has bailed on the United States Constitution.  That is reality.  Just like the reality about the Orlando shooter, was being played with by the FBI for more than a year.  Finally, the guy went for it.  Whose idea was it, FBI’s or the shooters?

So what’s going to be boy, yes or no?

 

The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators. Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal


Photo: andykatz/iStockphoto.com
Trump Names 11 SCOTUS Picks, Bypassing Big Law
http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202757984757/Trump-Names-11-SCOTUS-Picks-Bypassing-Big-Law?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL
The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators.
Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal
May 18, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.

Presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump’s list for potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees is heavy on federal appellate judges and former clerks for conservative justices and light on big names in politics and private practice.

Trump’s list of 11 potential nominees doesn’t include several conservative judges who have been on Supreme Court watch lists in the past, including U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Janice Rogers Brown, Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton and Fifth Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen.

Trump’s list, released Wednesday, doesn’t include any nonjudges. Other names floated in the past as possible nominees for a future Republican president included former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now a partner at Bancroft, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Also not on the list: Trump’s sister, Third Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, although that was no surprise. Trump has praised his sister as “brilliant,” but said he wouldn’t consider nominating her to the Supreme Court because of the conflict of interest. He’s also said that the two share “different views.”

Related: Texas’ Most Prolific Judicial Tweeter Makes Trump’s Shortlist

Trump’s list drew praise and criticism depending on where the commentator sits on the political spectrum.

“The [Supreme] Court needs more justices who will base their decisions on the law, not politics, even under pressure, especially since the next president is likely to determine the direction of the court for a generation,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said.

“It is also heartening to see so many Midwesterners and state court judges on the list—they would bring a valuable perspective to the bench, particularly since they have already served on a court of last resort in their own states,” she added.

Miranda Blue of People for the American Way noted: “It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right.”

Senate Judiciary chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in statement, “Mr. Trump has laid out an impressive list of highly qualified jurists, including Judge Colloton from Iowa, who understand and respect the fundamental principle that the role of the courts is limited and subject to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

So who made the list?

Steve Colloton
Judge Steven Colloton, 53, joined the Eighth Circuit in 2003. Colloton is a former clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was appointed by President George W. Bush. He previously served with independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Before joining the appellate court, Colloton was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

Allison Eid
Colorado Supreme Court justice Allison Eid is a former Clarence Thomas clerk. She took her seat on the state high court in 2006, leaving her position on the faculty of the University of Colorado Law School, where she taught constitutional law, legislation, the law of politics, first-year torts and advanced torts.
Before teaching, she also practiced commercial and appellate litigation in the Denver office of Arnold & Porter.

Thomas Hardiman
Judge Thomas Hardiman, 50, who joined the Third Circuit in 2007 just 3 1/2 years after taking his seat as a district court judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Hardiman’s ruling that a jail policy of strip searching all arrestees does not violate the Fourth Amendment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. In 2013, he dissented from his court’s decision upholding under the Second Amendment New Jersey’s law requiring applicants for licenses to carry handguns in public to show “justifiable need.”
“Those who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment were undoubtedly aware that the right they were establishing carried a risk of misuse, and States have considerable latitude to regulate the exercise of the right in ways that will minimize that risk,” he wrote in Drake v. Filko. “But States may not seek to reduce the danger by curtailing the right itself.”

Related: Third Circuit Judge Among Trump’s Supreme Court Picks

And he also dissented in a 2013 decision holding that a public school violated the First Amendment by banning students from wearing bracelets inscribed with “I [love] boobies” sold by a breast cancer awareness group.

Raymond Gruender
Judge Raymond Gruender, 52, became U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri in 2001 and served in that position until his confirmation to the Eighth Circuit in 2004.
Gruender has written opinions holding that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 did not give female employees the right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy.
He dissented from a panel ruling that upheld an injunction striking down a South Dakota law requiring abortion providers to inform patients that an “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” When the case was heard en banc, Gruender, writing for the full court, upheld the law as constitutional on its face.

Raymond Kethledge
Judge Raymond Kethledge, 49, sits on the Sixth Circuit and is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He joined the appellate court in 2008 after practicing law as a corporate attorney and former counsel to Ford Motor Co.

Joan Larsen
Trump’s list also names a number of state supreme court judges.
Joan Larsen was named to the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2015. Larsen is a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She worked in the George W. Bush Department of Justice in 2002-2003 and then joined the University of Michigan School of Law as an adjunct professor and special counsel to the dean.
When appointed to the state court, Larsen said she would be a “strict constructionist,” explaining, “I believe in enforcing the laws as written by the Legislature and signed by the governor. I don’t think judges are a policy-making branch of the government.”
In March, at a memorial for Scalia, Larsen recalled Scalia as a “fundamentally happy man” who would sing in his chambers and whistle in the corridors of the court. Larsen remembered one time when she made a mistake citing Webster’s Third New International Dictionary in a draft opinion.
Scalia, a critic of that tome, called her out. Larsen said she had used that edition because it was in the justice’s front office. Scalia said the dictionary had been put there as a “trap laid for the unwary.”

Thomas Lee
Trump also named a judge with a well-known pedigree in Washington legal circles. Thomas Rex Lee, son of former Solicitor General Rex Lee, joined the Utah Supreme Court in July 2010.
Lee is a former Clarence Thomas clerk who specialized in trademark litigation when in private practice. He served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department from 2004 to 2005.
Lee has been called a pioneer in “corpus linguistics” to determine ordinary meaning and has applied that in an opinion. He also has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, representing Utah in Utah v. Evans, a 2002 challenge by the state to the Census Bureau’s use of “hot-deck” imputation, a statistical method.

William Pryor
Judge William Pryor of Alabama joined the Eleventh Circuit in 2004 despite considerable controversy over his nomination. He was criticized by Senate Democrats in the 108th Congress who called him an extremist for such statements as referring to the Supreme Court as “nine octogenarian lawyers” and saying that Roe v. Wade was the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
President George W. Bush installed Pryor using a recess appointment to bypass the regular Senate confirmation process. He received Senate confirmation on May 23, 2005, after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, announced an agreement between seven Republican and seven Democratic U.S. senators, the so-called Gang of 14, to ensure an up-or-down vote on Pryor and other nominees.
On the bench, Pryor specially concurred in an unanimous panel decision enjoining the secretary of Health and Human Services from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act against Catholic television network EWTN. That case was one of the petitions pending in the high court until the justices ruling Monday in Zubik v. Burwell.
In 2009, Pryor led a unanimous panel upholding Georgia’s photo ID law as a voting requirement.

David Stras
Another former Clarence Thomas clerk on the list is Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice David Stras, 41. Stras joined that court in 2010. He taught at the University of Minnesota Law School for six years prior to his appointment.

Diane Sykes
Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes, 58, of Wisconsin, is well-known in conservative circles and has been called by some liberal groups as the most conservative judge on Trump’s list. She is a former justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Her more recent opinions include supporting a voter ID law and expanding the ability of religious objectors to limit their employees’ access to contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. She also wrote an opinion in 2011 holding that the Second Amendment prohibited Chicago’s ban on firing ranges
Sykes spoke about her clerk-hiring practices at a conference in Milwaukee in 2014. “I don’t want to be fighting with someone all year,” Sykes said about hiring a clerk whose views are different than hers. “I don’t only hire Federalist Society members” as clerks, she said, but there has to be “some general philosophical fit.”

Don Willett
Another state supreme court justice is well-known to the Twitter community and someone who has actually criticized Donald Trump. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, 49, worked on the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and transition team. In the White House, Willett served as special assistant to the president and director of law and policy for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
In 2003, Willett returned to Texas to become state deputy attorney general for legal counsel in the office of newly elected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, where he served until he was appointed to the state high civil court in 2005.
Circuit judges’ financial disclosure forms

We’ve compiled below some of the recent financial disclosure forms of judges on Trump’s shortlist:

Steven Colloton of Iowa: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Gruender of Missouri: 2014 and 2015
Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Kethledge of Michigan: 2014 and 2015
William Pryor of Alabama: 2014 and 2015
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin: 2014 and 2015
Zoe Tillman contributed to this report.

Atlanta Attorneys Are On a Roll For Disciplinary Action, Bout Time Some Get Caught Up in Their Crimes!

Two Lawyers Hit With Default Judgment in Suits by Clients

Greg Land, Daily Report

Robert Thompson JR Vert 201412121516
Atlanta Attorney Robert Thompson Jr.
John Disney/Staff

Two Georgia attorneys—both under suspension by the State Bar of Georgia—have defaulted on a 2013 suit filed by a Douglas County couple who say they paid the lawyers thousands of dollars to forestall foreclosure proceedings only to lose their home when neither lawyer performed any services.

One of the defendants is attorney Robert Thompson Jr., who was suspended earlier this year after failing to respond to an ongoing investigation by the bar’s disciplinary committee. Thompson also was arrested in February and charged with misappropriating $37,440 of a client’s funds; his then-attorney told the Daily Report he had paid back more than $30,000 of the money.

A criminal charge of theft by conversion is pending against Thompson in Fulton County Superior Court. The phone number for his firm, the Thompson Law Group, has been disconnected.

The other attorney, Rodd Walton, has no disciplinary record with the bar but is under suspension for nonpayment of dues. Walton was arrested in 2009 when he attempted to enter the Cobb County Courthouse with a loaded handgun on the day he was to attend a hearing concerning a motion for reconsideration after being ordered to pay a former client $43,000 in restitution and attorney fees.

When his 2009 arrest was reported in this newspaper, a website for Walton’s Legacy Law Group said he was a former deputy counsel for Glock Inc., the maker of the gun he was carrying when he was arrested. On Thursday there was no immediate response to a message left on Legacy’s phone system, and no email is listed for Walton with the bar.

In the Fulton County suit, Michael and Cindy Bentley’s pro se complaint said they fell behind on their mortgage and in October 2011 paid Walton $3,000 to fight foreclosure proceedings. Walton “did absolutely nothing” on their behalf, it said, and when they requested information on their case he demanded another $3,500.

The Bentleys refused and demanded their $3,000 back. Walton first agreed, then told them he would refund nothing, it said.

In March 2012, they retained Thompson for $5,750. He “did nothing for a full year,” then demanded $500 to file a complaint. Thompson filed the complaint but failed to respond to the mortgage bank’s motion to dismiss or to inform the Bentleys that it had been filed, according to their complaint.

The bank’s motion went unanswered, and the court granted it by default. The Bentleys’ house was foreclosed.

Neither lawyer responded to the Bentleys’ suit, and they too moved for a default judgment. According to an order entered Thursday by State Court Judge Patsy Porter, Thompson appeared at an Oct. 15 hearing on the default motion and said that he had filed an answer with the clerk but that it had not been uploaded to the court’s e-filing system.

Porter instructed Thompson to upload a copy of his answer, but he failed to do so, she wrote.

OCCUPY.COM Expose Courts Blocking the Public From Sitting In On Trials In Georgia Courts, What Better Way to Show How Corrupt The Courts Are?

OCCUPY.COM EXPOSES GEORGIA’S COURTS DENYING THE PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT PROCEEDINGS!

I am quite pleased that someone took notice. The Judges in Georgia are akin to little despots. No doubt, a Judge is God in their Courtroom, but they don’t have the right to Deny the public access, so that they can violate one’s Civil and Constitutional Rights while they sneakily do it.

accused flanked by attorneys at sentencing court

EXPOSED: GEORGIA’S COURTS ARE BREAKING THE LAW BY DENYING PUBLIC ACCESS
TUE, 9/24/2013 – BY TANYA GLOVER

Courtrooms aren’t just a place where justice is served and legal decisions are made. They are also a place for the public to go and see how the justice system works: people enjoy viewing trials and hearings, even if they have no personal stake in them. Viewing public trials is the public’s legal right.

However, revelations by a judicial oversight commission in Georgia show that numerous judges in the state, including some in Atlanta, are violating the law by denying public access to courtrooms in cases ranging from bail hearings to standard trials.

There are some cases in which closing courtrooms to the public is legal, and the circumstances for this are carefully outlined in official Georgia State documents that make the points for legality clear. But according to a recent report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, investigations by the state’s judicial oversight commission found the practice of sealing off courtroom access widespread across Georgia — and in most cases, illegally.

Instead of typical open courts, there are now signs posted on courtroom doors stating access is denied to either the general public or specific groups of people, including kids. Bailiffs sometimes stand in place of the signs, blocking entry to the court despite people’s legal right to go in, said Robert Ingram, an attorney from Marietta, Ga., and chairman of the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.

“We’ve had our own investigators and commissioners go out and visit a courtroom and they have been greeted by a bailiff or a deputy sheriff and been told to state their business or otherwise they don’t need to be there,” Ingram said.

But why the closed rooms and bans on view judicial proceedings in the first place? Under Georgia’s law, closing off or banning someone from the courtroom can be done at a judge’s discretion. For instance, an unruly or disruptive person, whether child or adult, can be removed. Or there may be a case not considered proper for people under the age of 18 to attend.

More often, however, judges these days claim they are keeping out the public because of lack of space in the courtroom. One instance that put this closed court behavior in the spotlight was the jury selection for Andrea Sneiderman, in which DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams lifted the public ban stating that people who wished to be present for the selection had the right to do so.

Seemingly arbitrary court closures by judges in the Peach State are nothing new. Back in 2011, Barbra Mobley, a DeKalb County State Court Judge, resigned after investigations were launched by the Judicial Qualifications Commission alleging that her court featured bailiffs questioning people illegally about why they wanted to observe the cases on the docket.

The phenomenon is occurring statewide. In both Crisp and Ben Hill counties, the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) filed suit against the practice of closing courts to the public. In those counties, it’s been common that courts remain closed off even to the family members of both victims and the accused, other than their attendance at guilt pleas during the trials’ conclusions.

Further investigations have showed that closed courts are more common than first thought. According Gerry Weber of SCHR, this is causing a major problem with transparency. “A closed courtroom is one that is less accountable to the public. What is done behind closed doors can be different to what is done in the cold light of day,” he said.

Many judges are following the closed court lead, including Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court, Judge Clarence Seeliger of the DeKalb County Superior Court, and Judge Patsy Porter of Fulton State Court. Attempts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to contact these servants of the people were unsuccessful, as were the attempts made by Occupy.com.

There are some positive signs as well, however. Judge Christopher Brasher of Fulton Superior Court says he was unaware that the practice of closing courts was occurring in his courtroom, and quickly put a stop to it. Brasher attributed the action to “overzealous deputies, who provide security and order.” He has since ordered that no one be keep out of the court, and that no signs excluding any specific group be put up without his written consent.

Judges Todd Markle and Robert McBurney, both of Fulton Superior Court, say they were not aware the public was being deterred with signs from entering their courts, and that this step was taken without their permission. However, there is debate about the judges’ knowledge of the situation. Each county sheriff’s department is responsible for court security, and Fulton County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Tracy Flanagan says they do not make or affix signs nor are signs permitted without the consent of the presiding judge.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission issued an opinion on the matter, from the commission’s director Jeff Davis who said massive amounts of complaints have come from the public about access to courtrooms. “Our efforts to educate judges about these issues have resulted in the type of response we would have anticipated,” said Davis.

“Judges are complying with the opinion and modifying practices accordingly. Since the issuance of our Opinion, we have been encouraged by the response of judges and the willingness to bring their courts into full compliance with the law.”

Now The News Is Told That They Are Not to Continue Reporting on Ebola, WHY?

From a Trusted News Source..

Earlier today we were contacted by a customer asking if we had received a tap on the shoulder by the CDC telling us to stop reporting on developments concerning Ebola. This individual’s motivation was the sudden drop off in message traffic from our service over the past 10 days.

220px Ebola virus virion

For the record, NO, we have not received such a request, nor would we comply.

But the inquiry raises important questions:

Why has the overall tempo of Ebola stories slowed to a trickle?

Why has the overall tempo of suspected case reports from hospitals and health departments dropped off?

You may recall that on 10/21 AlertsUSA sent the following SMS message to subscriber mobile devices:

“FLASH: CDC insider tells AlertsUSA that U.S. hospitals being advised to NOT publicly report suspected / confirmed Ebola cases using privacy laws as shield.”

This evening we were informed that Obama Administration efforts to squash reporting on suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in the U.S. goes much further. Then consider the following single sentence from a Forbes news story published late on 11/2:

“The Associated Press and other press outlets have agreed not to report on suspected cases of Ebola in the United States until a positive viral RNA test is completed.”

http://onforb.es/1EevzcF

And there you have it.

1. Control the source of the news (hospitals and health departments).

2. Control the propagation of the news (mainstream news outlets and wire services).

It would seem that our new Ebola Czar has been hard at work behind the curtain.

The takeaway here is concerning on multiple levels and should serve to highlight, yet again, that mainstream reporting and information sharing by public agencies is not quite as free and independent as the public may think.

Despite this blackout of sorts,receives a steady stream of information from other sources nationally and globally. Before anything is reported to you, we always seek secondary and tertiary confirmation so as to maintain accuracy. This directly translates into trust in the service.

We deal in black and white facts. No grey matter. No rumors.

That said, healthcare workers, public health professionals and members of the armed services have privately have informed us of the details of numerous additional CONFIRMED cases of Ebola quietly being treated at medical facilities in multiple locations across the U.S.. Many of these have been transported to CONUS from abroad. But without solid confirmation upon which we can stake the reputation of the company, the blowback could be significant.

Excerpts from Tragedy and Hope Selected by henrymakow.com

Insider Confirmed Conspiracy is No “Theory”

Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:49
Get FREE private and secure Email and Messaging click now!

(Before It’s News)

1625cfrquigley.jpg
Caroll Quigley (1910-1977) taught at Princeton, Harvard and Georgetown Universities. In his book,Tragedy and Hope, (1966) he confirmed that private merchant bankers create money out of nothing and control world affairs to their advantage.

 

“There does exist, and has existed for a
generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some
extent, in the way the … Right believes the Communists act. In fact,
this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no
aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and
frequently does so. I know of the operations of this
network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for
two years, in the early 1960′s, to examine its papers and secret
records.” Tragedy and Hope p. 960

Excerpts from Tragedy and Hope
Selected by henrymakow.com

Pg. 48-49:

In effect, this creation of paper claims greater than the reserves available means that bankers were creating money out of nothing. The same thing could be done in another way, not by note-issuing banks but by deposit banks. Deposit bankers discovered that orders and checks drawn against deposits by depositors and given to third persons were often not cashed by the latter but were deposited to their own accounts. Thus there were no actual movements of funds, and payments were made simply by bookkeeping transactions on the accounts.

Accordingly, it was necessary for the banker to keep on hand in actual money (gold, certificates, and notes) no more than the fraction of deposits likely to be drawn upon and cashed; the rest could be used for loans, and if these loans were made by creating a deposit for the borrower, who in turn would draw checks upon it rather than withdraw it in money, such “created deposits” or loans could also be covered adequately by retaining reserves to only a fraction of their value. Such created deposits also were a creation of money out of nothing, although bankers usually refused to express their actions, either note issuing or deposit lending, in these terms. William Paterson, however, on obtaining the charter of the Bank of England in 1694, to use the moneys he had won in privateering, said, “The Bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.” This was repeated by Sir Edward Holden, founder of the Midland Bank, on December 18, 1907, and is, of course, generally admitted today.

Pg. 51: The merchant bankers of London had already at hand in 1810-1850 the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, and the London money market when the needs of advancing industrialism called all of these into the industrial world which they had hitherto ignored. In time they brought into their financial network the provincial banking centers, organized as commercial banks and savings banks, as well as insurance companies, to form all of these into a single financial system on an international scale which manipulated the quantity and flow of money so that they were able to influence, if not control, governments on one side and industries on the other.

The men who did this, looking backward toward the period of dynastic monarchy in which they had their own roots, aspired to establish dynasties of international bankers and were at least as successful at this as were many of the dynastic political rulers. The greatest of these dynasties, of course, were the descendants of Meyer Amschel Rothschild (1743-1812) of Frankfort, whose male descendants, for at least two generations, generally married first cousins or even nieces. Rothschild’s five sons, established at branches in Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris, as well as Frankfort, cooperated together in ways which other international banking dynasties copied but rarely excelled.

Pg. 52: The names of some of these banking families are familiar to all of us and should be more so. They include Raring, Lazard, Erlanger, Warburg, Schroder, Seligman, the Speyers, Mirabaud, Mallet, Fould, and above all Rothschild and Morgan. …

Pg. 324: The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

Pg. 326-327: It must not be felt that these heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called “international” or “merchant” bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks.

Source: http://henrymakow.com/2014/10/Insider-Confirmed-Conspiracy-is-No-Theory.html

EBOLA From Dallas October 02, 2014 Contacts With Diseased Man Up to 80 Now!

Home > News > Local News > Dallas

DALLAS

Possible Ebola contacts now up to 80

Posted Thursday, Oct. 02, 2014 comments PrintReprints

A

More informationTimeline for Dallas Ebola case

The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States flew from Liberia, federal health officials said. The unidentified man, who traveled to Dallas to visit family, is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Sept. 19: Departs from Liberia

Sept. 20: Arrives in the United States

Sept. 24: Begins having symptoms

Sept. 26: Seeks medical care

Sept. 28: Hospitalized and put in isolation

Sept. 30: Tests positive for Ebola

Breaking news

DALLAS — The number of possible contacts with the Ebola patient in Dallas has risen to 80, said Zachary Thompson, Dallas County Health and Human Services director Thursday.

He also said a control order has been issued to the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the man identified by The Associated Press as the victim of the often-fatal virus. Thompson said that means the family members are confined to their apartment and the front and back areas, such as the patio.

Original story

Parents rushed to get their children from school Wednesday after learning that five students may have had contact with the Ebola patient in a Dallas hospital, as Gov. Rick Perry and other leaders reassured the public that there is no cause for alarm.

The patient, identified by The Associated Press as Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20 to visit family. Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said county officials suspect that 12 to 18 people may have had contact with Duncan.

“Right now, the base number is 18 people, and that could increase,” he said. Thompson said more details are expected by Thursday afternoon. The number includes five students at four schools, Dallas school district Superintendent Mike Miles said.

“This case is serious,” Perry said during a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Duncan is being treated. “Rest assured that our system is working as it should. Professionals on every level on the chain of command know what to do to minimize this potential risk to the people of Texas and of this country.”

Miles said Dallas school officials learned Wednesday morning that five students at four schools — Tasby Middle, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary, Dan D. Rogers Elementary and Conrad High — had come in contact with Duncan. Lowe Elementary is also being watched because it connects to Tasby.

“Since none of the students had symptoms, I’m pretty confident that none of the kids were exposed,” Miles said.

At L.L. Hotchkiss, parents pulled their children out of school early.

“I’m scared,” said parent Kia Collins, who has four children at the school ages 5 to 11. “I may keep them home all week.”

District officials said they plan to have counselors and translators reach out to parents: 32 languages are spoken just at Conrad High.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re here is we don’t want misinformation getting out there,” Miles said. “We found out this morning, and then we had a press conference.”

He urged parents to keep their children in school, but some were wary. Marcie Pardo said she picked up her 8-year-old daughter, Soriah, within minutes of being notified by school officials.

“To find out this is a school where it is happening, what are the odds?” Pardo said. “I’m sure there could have been some kind of contact somewhere.”

A letter to parents of children at Hotchkiss, 6929 Town North Drive, said the school was notified Wednesday that “one of our students may have had contact with an individual who was recently diagnosed with the Ebola virus.”

The letter goes on to say that the student has no symptoms, has been told to stay home and is under observation by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department.

“… There is nothing to suggest that the disease was spread to others, including students and staff,” the letter says.

The Ebola virus is not spread through the air but through contact with bodily fluids — sweat, blood, saliva and other secretions.

Dallas victim carried Ebola patient in Liberia

When Duncan arrived in the U.S., he was not showing any symptoms, officials said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4gFyTIEgrU

But The New York Times reported Wednesday that he had contact with an Ebola patient Sept. 15, four days before he left Liberia for the United States, according to the parents of the woman who had Ebola and Duncan’s neighbors in Liberia.

Marthalene Williams, 19, was taken by taxi to a hospital with Duncan’s help Sept. 15 after failing to get an ambulance, her parents, Emmanuel and Amie Williams, told The Times. She was convulsing and seven months pregnant.

Duncan was a family friend and a tenant in a house owned by the Williams family. He rode in the taxi in the front passenger seat while Marthalene Williams, her father and her brother, Sonny Boy, shared the back, her parents said. Duncan helped carry Marthalene Williams, who was no longer able to walk, back to the family home that evening, neighbors said.

“He was holding her by the legs, the pa was holding her arms, and Sonny Boy was holding her back,” said Arren Seyou, 31, who witnessed the scene and occupies the room next to Duncan’s in Monrovia.

Just like Duncan, Sonny Boy, 21, became ill about a week ago, his family said.

An ambulance came to their house Wednesday to pick up Sonny Boy. A woman and her daughter from the same area were also picked up by an ambulance while a team came to retrieve the body of yet another woman. The Times reported that all four appeared to have been infected from a chain reaction that began with Marthalene Williams.

Reuters and other media outlets reported that Duncan traveled through Brussels on his way to the U.S.

A Belgian official told the news service that Duncan left Monrovia on Sept. 19 aboard a Brussels Airlines jet to the Belgian capital. After a layover of nearly seven hours, he boarded United Airlines Flight 951 to Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. After another layover of nearly three hours, he flew on Flight 822 from Dulles to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the airline confirmed.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention typically notify an airline when they learn that an infectious person traveled on that carrier. The airline then turns over the flight manifest to the CDC, and health officials notify other passengers while the airline deals with crew members.

In this case, the CDC told United but not the public what flights the man took. In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, suggested that doing so would divert public health resources away from controlling an outbreak.

He said the CDC was focused on finding anyone who came in contact with Duncan after he began showing symptoms.

The AP reported that Duncan’s sister, Mai Wureh, said her brother went to the Dallas emergency room Friday and was sent home with antibiotics. He told her that hospital officials asked for his Social Security number and that he said he didn’t have one because he was visiting from Liberia.

Texas Health Presbyterian representatives maintained Wednesday that the hospital acted appropriately.

“He was not exhibiting symptoms consistent with keeping him. If the person is not exhibiting the symptoms, there would be no reason to keep them,” Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson said. “That’s a judgment call one of the carriers would have to make. We are following up as well as the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services.”

Another Texas Health Resources representative, Candace White, released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying, in part, that when Duncan arrived Friday, “the patient presented with low grade fever and abdominal pain. His condition did not warrant admission.”

Duncan was listed in serious condition Wednesday, White said in a statement.

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew that transported the patient has been quarantined and the ambulance taken out of service, according to a statement from Dallas. But the children and others who came in contact with Duncan have not been quarantined. None of the paramedics in the ambulance tested positive for Ebola, Thompson said.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said county officials are following the CDC’s lead. If the people who came in contact with Duncan did not isolate themselves, more serious steps could be taken, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said county health officials would be “the boots on the ground” to get out the message to residents of the neighborhood where Duncan had been. But many people in that neighborhood, Vickery Meadow in northeast Dallas, said they had learned about the Ebola case from the hordes of reporters combing through the area.

Statewide health alert issued to providers

Dallas County officials, who have not identified the patient as Duncan, said the case is the only known occurrence of the deadly virus.

Tarrant County Public Health said Wednesday that there were no confirmed cases in Tarrant County.

“We are closely monitoring the Ebola case in Dallas. There are no cases or known contacts in Tarrant County at this time,” said Vinny Taneja, the agency’s director. “We feel confident that residents in our community are safe.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an alert Wednesday outlining what providers should watch for as they evaluate patients.

Doctors and nurses should look for fever higher than 101.5 degrees, coupled with severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained hemorrhaging, the alert says.

Patients who have those symptoms and who have been in contact with someone believed to have Ebola or who have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or Nigeria in the past 21 days should be considered a person under investigation and should be tested, the alert says.

The alert notes that the virus does not generally spread through air, water or food, except in Africa, where handling or eating raw bushmeat can spread it.

The CDC said Wednesday that a team of 10 experts had arrived in Dallas to assist local officials — three senior scientists with expertise in public health investigations and infection control, five epidemic intelligence service officers, a public health adviser and a communications officer.

“We are stopping Ebola in its tracks in this country,” Frieden said in a news release. “We can do that because of two things: strong infection control that stops the spread of Ebola in health care; and strong core public health functions to trace contacts, track contacts, isolate them if they have any symptoms and stop the chain of transmission. I am certain we will control this.”

Ebola has infected a few Americans who traveled to West Africa, including Dr. Kent Brantly, who did his residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Brantly, who survived, was doing missionary work in Liberia when he was infected.

A spokesman at Samaritan’s Purse, for whom Brantly was working, said Wednesday that he is not releasing any statement about the Dallas case.

Staff writers Elizabeth Findell, Monica S. Nagy, Susan Schrock and Judy Wiley contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press.

Pacific Ocean Now Dead, Must Watch Video by thenuclearproctologist.org

“HORROR”  “Pacific Ocean Now Dead From Fukushima Radiation”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1FrscZBjhc&list=TLdJ28vujOJspnMzaADNRXD7_AfpiMeO-H

 Streamed live on Aug 10, 2014

http://www.thenuclearproctologist.org/ The entire 200 kilometers we checked of Canadian Pacific Coast Line was devoid of all life , recovery is highly unlikely . This presentation will be followed tonight with a Q & A session at 8 pm pacific Canada time on this same site beautifulgirlbydana . Watch the live presentation Aug

Truth About Judges and Banks, and Why Foreclosure Hell Will Stay, Written by Darwin Bond Graham Great Story

Backing Banks Over Borrowers, California Judges Often Big Stakeholders in Same Banks

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 09:59

By Darwin BondGraham, Truthout | News Analysis
DARWIN BONDGRAHAM (Darwin BondGraham is a sociologist and journalist who covers political economy. He blogs at http://darwinbondgraham.blogspot.com and for washingtonspectator.org.)

http://truth-out.org/news/item/24400-alifornia-judges-ruling-in-favor-of-banks-over-borrowers-often-own-financial-stocks-and-bonds#.U65EgJjg51o.wordpress

Truthout readers like you made this story possible. Show your support for independent news and make a tax-deductible donation today!

Sue your bank in California over a wrongful foreclosure, and the best you’re likely to get – if you have ironclad evidence that it broke the law – is a loan modification. That is, a “win” for the borrower usually means the bank keeps another customer and collects interest payments that are thousands of basis points above the level at which the bank is able to borrow from the Fed. Very often, however, homeowner lawsuits against the banks end in dismissal. In the parlance of the courts, the defendant’s demurrer is sustained. Judges in California’s superior courts often rule in favor of the banks, and the few lawsuits that filter up to the appeals courts and Supreme Court don’t fare any better.
Why do the banks keep winning in court against borrowers alleging wrongful foreclosure, fraud and other abuses? Many borrowers and their lawyers say there’s a judicial bias favoring the banks over homeowners, and that this bias is revealed by the economic position of the judges themselves. Most California judges are wealthy, and many of them hold significant investments in financial corporations and bonds, oftentimes even in the very same banks and mortgage lenders that have been sued by thousands of Californians over alleged fraud, deception and wrongful foreclosure.
Case in point: Baldwin v. Bank of America, a borrower lawsuit alleging wrongful foreclosure that battled all the way to the steps of California’s Supreme Court. In 2007, Marvin Baldwin borrowed half a million dollars from J&R Lending to purchase a small three-unit apartment building in Long Beach, California. It was the height of the real estate bubble. Things quickly fell apart, and Baldwin ran into financial troubles.
In 2009, Bank of America, which by this point had acquired Baldwin’s loan, notified him that he qualified for a federally sponsored HomeSaver Forbearance Program, a temporary bridge toward a permanent loan modification. Baldwin assumed that this was how the taxpayer-funded bank bailouts were translating into assistance for small landlords, so he cooperated with Bank of America and made payments under the program. But late in 2010, Bank of America recorded a notice of default against Baldwin’s loan. Things looked dire.
Then in October, two months after filing the notice of default, Bank of America spun around again and appeared to be offering Baldwin a rescue plan. Bank of America announced a national moratorium on foreclosures due to the bank’s acknowledgement of “irregularities” in its own internal processes. But then Bank of America reversed course yet again. In spite of announcing a moratorium on foreclosures – a moratorium stemming from the robo-signing scandal in which it was revealed Bank of America was routinely breaking the law – Marvin Baldwin’s home was suddenly sold at auction on December 8, 2010.
He filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud and sought injunctive relief to save his property. Baldwin alleged in his lawsuit that Bank of America violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, which states, among other things, that a company cannot act in ways that would be likely to deceive a reasonable customer. The foreclosure “moratorium” Bank of America announced was one such deceptive practice because the bank lulled its borrowers into inaction, but then in fact continued to foreclose on properties and sell them, argued Baldwin and his lawyer. A year later, a trial court in Los Angeles sided with Bank of America, ruling the foreclosure and auction were perfectly legal, and that the bank’s actions weren’t deceptive.
Marvin Baldwin and his lawyer Lenore Albert appealed and argued their case before California’s 2nd District Appellate Court. They lost again. The court’s reasoning waded deep into gray areas, interpreting California’s business laws, fraud laws, and real estate laws liberally in the Bank of America’s favor.
Broad Pattern of Bias Seen
Plaintiffs’ attorneys see a broad pattern in California in which the judiciary has routinely sided with the banks, even when the law could be interpreted to prevent or reverse a foreclosure.
“They don’t want to be the judge that allows 40 million mortgages to go back to the borrowers,” said Patricia Rodriguez, a lawyer who has filed homeowner lawsuits against banks and mortgage servicers in multiple California superior courts. “They don’t want to possibly set a precedent.” A single ruling against Bank of America that reverses a foreclosure sale because the bank didn’t follow the letter of the law, for example, could spill over into thousands of other cases and potentially impact the profitability of the entire banking and loan servicing industry in Calfiornia, said Rodriguez.
“It was very clear that there is one form of justice for the small borrower and another form of justice for the moneyed interests,” said Donald Adams, a retired California attorney. “It pains me to say that, but having seen the real estate debacle and the judiciary’s protection of these fraudulent practices, I have reluctantly come to that conclusion.”
As to why the banks so often come out winners, some point to the economic interests of the judges. The average superior court judge in California is paid a salary of about $150,000, but many of the judges are appointed to the bench after years of lucrative private practice where they earned many times this amount of money. Most judges worked as lawyers at large law firms and boutique offices whose clients include major corporations, real estate companies, banks, and others that can pay top dollar. By the time they become judges, most of these lawyers have amassed considerable financial wealth, and like other members of the top 1% of income earners and wealth holders, most judges invest their fortunes in stocks and bonds. And after years of working for corporate clients, many judges have also been steeped in legal and social philosophies that favor the interests of the wealthy above those of consumers and debtors.
It’s impossible to really know why California’s judges have decided so many mortgage fraud and wrongful foreclosure cases in favor of the banks. Certainly it’s a mix of factors, including ideology, but also the existing structure of the legal system that favors wealthy defendants like the banks over isolated and indebted plaintiffs; the banks can afford the best lawyers to represent them, and the biggest banks spend several billion each year lobbying the legislatures of all 50 states and the federal government to shape laws and regulations in their favor. It’s an uneven playing field from the very start. But one possible way to gauge the possibility of bias in the legal system is to look at the economic interests of California’s judges. Unlike ideology, the material interests of the judiciary can be observed and measured. Through their ownership of bonds in financial and mortgage lending companies, many judges own senior claims on debt, debt that is directly tied to the loans of homeowners. Judges also own equity stakes in corporations, the value of which hinges very much on residential mortgage loans and loan-servicing activities.
For example, 42 of California’s 105 appeals court judges own stocks or bonds in financial companies. Seventeen of California’s appeals court judges own stock in Bank of America, while 10 own stock in Citibank, 6 in US Bank, 5 in JPMorgan Chase, and 4 in Wells Fargo. These judges own significant numbers of shares, on average amounting to about $10,000, but some California appeals court judges have revealed in their financial disclosure reports that they own perhaps as much as $1 million in stock in these banks.
The implication here is that many of California’s judges have a financial stake in the profitability of the largest mortgage servicers in the state, the same banks that have been brought before the courts in thousands of cases alleging wrongful foreclosure.
For example, in the Baldwin case, one of the appeals court judges who ruled in favor of Bank of America, Steven Suzukawa, owned as much as $100,000 in Bank of America stock, according to public records. Another of the judges on the three-judge appellate panel that heard the Baldwin case, Norman Epstein, owned as much as $10,000 in Bank of America stock. This was not disclosed, according to parties involved in the case. Under California’s judicial ethics standards, a judge owning more than $1,500 in stock of a company that is party to a lawsuit should recuse themselves from the case.
Baldwin fought on after the setback in the appeals court which was decided in February of this year, petitioning the Supreme Court of California to hear the case. California’s highest court refused to consider the lawsuit, dismissing the petition on May 21.
“I am a bit shocked at the failure to review such a new issue that affects thousands,” wrote Lenore Albert, Baldwin’s counsel, in an email.
One of the Supreme Court judges who was set to decide whether or not Baldwin would be heard had to recuse himself from even making that preliminary decision. Ming Chin, appointed to the California Supreme Court by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1996, disclosed as much as $100,000 worth of stock in Bank of America. Judge Chin also owns stock in Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that sold billions in mortgage-backed securities during the real estate bubble of the 2000s.
Majority of Justices Major Stakeholders in Banks
A majority of California’s Supreme Court justices own major stakes in the banks that service the majority of mortgage loans in the state. Justice Marvin Baxter owns shares of Wells Fargo Bank and Citibank. Justice Carol Corrigan owns shares of Citigroup and part of a business called Redwood Mortgage Investors, a private investment company that owns tens of millions of dollars worth of residential mortgage loans in California. Justice Joyce Kennard owns stock in JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Justice Kathryn Werdegar owns as much as $1 million in Wells Fargo stock. That makes five of California’s seven Supreme Court justices major investors in the mortgage lending and loan servicing industries.
“I’m so frustrated,” said one lawyer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, about decisions of California’s judges. “I have my team putting together the wall of shame for the judges, how they’re not enforcing the law.”
The state courts, many of them, were individually biased against the consumers,” said retired attorney Don Adams. “The courts were not going to let individual borrowers escape mortgage payments, and were less concerned with stopping the fraudulent and predatory activities that got us into the mess in the first place.”
In 2009, Adams sued Countrywide on behalf of a client who sought to quiet title to their home after a tangled deal of loans involving Countrywide, Citibank, and Bank of America led Countrywide to wrongfully foreclose. Countrywide admitted to foreclosing “in error,” but a trial court found in favor of the bank, forcing the borrowers to sign a new loan agreement with Countrywide. Adams and his clients appealed the decision, but then lost before a panel of three judges in California’s Second Appellate District court. One of the judges, Arthur Gilbert, owned stock in Bank of America and Citibank. Another one of the judges, Kenneth Yegan, disclosed two loans for over $1 million he had taken from Countrywide.
According to Adams, the bias of the courts in favor of the banks existed long before the foreclosure crisis. “Had courts enforced the law against the lenders, the great recession did not have to occur,” he said. “Many of us were after the New Centurys, the Ameriquests, and Countrywides well before the collapse. Even after the economy imploded, most judges did their best to protect the business interests of the predatory lenders by cynically not wanting to let the consumers ‘off the hook’ without recognizing that borrowers would still have to pay a mortgage, but the lenders would have to unwind the loans and do it again. The courts felt that was too much for the fraudsters – and accordingly protected them.”

Tactical Panda’s Bullet Points

Where we keep you up to date with the latest information in the 2A community!

FightForeclosure.net

Your "Pro Se" Foreclosure Fight Solution!

Journey of a reformed man

Freedom is a state of mind

depolreablesunite

Where Deplorables Hang Out

SCOTUS Predictions

A United States Supreme Court Blog

Great Bear Blog

Pacific Wild is a conservation voice dedicated to ensuring that the Great Bear Rainforest remains one of the planet’s greatest cradles of biodiversity.

Red Wolves

an animal's eyes can speak a great language

save the wolves!

by not killing them.

Save the Wolves

you reap what sow

Wolf4life

Save The Wolves

Protect The Wolves

Help Protect YOUR Wolves

BlueFeatherSpirit

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money can not be eaten."

Save the wolves

Merry Christmas! @SaveTheWolves

The Wildlife Journalist®

The Independent Voice Of Wildlife Conservation

Gold Goats 'n Guns

Speaking Truth, Destroying Narratives about Politics, Markets and Culture

Observing Hermann

“Was interessiert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern?”

World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films

Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC

Tactical Panda’s Bullet Points

Where we keep you up to date with the latest information in the 2A community!

FightForeclosure.net

Your "Pro Se" Foreclosure Fight Solution!

Journey of a reformed man

Freedom is a state of mind

depolreablesunite

Where Deplorables Hang Out

SCOTUS Predictions

A United States Supreme Court Blog

Great Bear Blog

Pacific Wild is a conservation voice dedicated to ensuring that the Great Bear Rainforest remains one of the planet’s greatest cradles of biodiversity.

Red Wolves

an animal's eyes can speak a great language

save the wolves!

by not killing them.

Save the Wolves

you reap what sow

Wolf4life

Save The Wolves

Protect The Wolves

Help Protect YOUR Wolves

BlueFeatherSpirit

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money can not be eaten."

Save the wolves

Merry Christmas! @SaveTheWolves

The Wildlife Journalist®

The Independent Voice Of Wildlife Conservation

Gold Goats 'n Guns

Speaking Truth, Destroying Narratives about Politics, Markets and Culture

Observing Hermann

“Was interessiert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern?”

World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films

Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC

%d bloggers like this: