Sunday, January 28, 2007

Okay, Randy. I'll Try Again

I faxed this public records request today. I'll post the answer if it ever comes.

January 28, 2007
Randolph Ward
Superintendent, San Diego County Office of Education

Dear Mr. Ward:

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, I request a list of attorneys and/or law firms currently approved by the San Diego County Office of Education--Joint Powers Authority (“SDCOE-JPA”) to represent school districts that belong to the SDCOE-JPA.

If no such list exists, then I request the document or documents indicating the ten most recent payments provided to any attorney or law firm by the SDCOE-JPA for work done for any member school district(s).

Please feel free to redact monetary information and case information. I’m only interested in the names of the law firms.

Yours truly,
Maura Larkins

Why does the SDCOE JPA operate in secrecy with "gentlemen's agreements"?

Another Southern California Joint Powers Authority, So Cal Relief, publishes on the internet its list of approved attorneys.

So why does the the San Diego County Office of Education Joint Powers Authority keep secret its list of approved attorneys? Why is this list kept secret while the list of attorneys approved by the Legal Services Council is published?

And why does it have "gentlemen's agreements" instead of written contracts?

Why did Marsha Sutton write a long article about SDCOE for Voice of San Diego on May 23, 2005, without ever mentioning the JPA? Why does Voice of San Diego refuse to write about SDCOE JPA lawyers?

I won't even bother asking the above questions about the San Diego Union Tribune. It has a well-earned reputation for bias and cover-ups.

How did Voice of San Diego, which started out with such lofty goals of openness and honesty, become merely a slight improvement over the UT?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Does our justice system work?

It is right that our legal system treats those who stand accused of crimes as innocent until proven guilty, but we don't have a law that says no one must ever accuse anyone of anything. If that were the case, there would be no point in having laws. Before the legal system can come up with either a “guilty” or a “not guilty” verdict, a prosecutor has to make an allegation of guilt. It’s bad enough that our flawed justice system often allows those with money and/or power to get away with serious crimes. But it’s even worse that our decision-makers conduct business behind closed doors.

Perjury Lawsuit hearing in East County on Feb. 16, 2007

Can lawyers suborn perjury with impunity?

That is the current public policy. But Maura Larkins has filed a lawsuit to change this policy.

I've put my complaint online. I'll try to scan the exhibits as soon as possible and put them online, too.

Click here to see the lawsuit.

Quote from pleadings:

The crime committed by defendants is particularly harmful to the public good because it involved two law enforcement officers.

In his dissent in Briscoe v. LaHUE, Justice Marshall stated:

"A police officer comes to the witness stand clothed with the authority of the State. His official status gives him credibility and
creates a far greater potential for harm than exists when the average citizen testifies.

The situation is aggravated when the official draws on special expertise. A policeman testifying about a fingerprint identification or a medical examiner testifying as to the cause of a death can have a critical impact on a defendant's trial.

At the same time, the threat of a criminal perjury prosecution, which serves as an important constraint on the average witness' testimony, is virtually nonexistent in the police-witness context.

Despite the apparent prevalence of police perjury, prosecutors exhibit extreme [460 U.S. 325, 366] reluctance in charging
police officials with criminal conduct because of their need to maintain close working relationships with law enforcement
agencies. The majority thus forecloses a civil sanction in precisely those situations where the need is most pressing."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Publication: GUHSD REPORT

I've started a new publication, GUHSD REPORT (Grossmont Union High School District REPORT).

I've begun passing it out at the monthly GUHSD board meeting. The first newsletter came out December 21, 2006. The second one came out January 11, 2007. I've started putting it on line, beginning with (Link: issue number 2..