NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
Judicial Reform Resources
In a letter to Ralph Nader about the judical system before the election by the We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, Judicial Accountability Initiative Law Organization, The Family Court Reform Council of America, Fathers' and Children's Equality, the Fully Informed Jury Association, Citizens Justice Programs, Inc., Ethical Justice for Washington, Coast Writers Syndicate, Inc., Children's Rights Advocacy, Family Resolution Council Matter of Justice Inc., and the Heirs Inc., the following statements were made: The American legal system is out of control and the people are demanding reform. Most Americans will tell you that either they or their friends or relatives have been abused and/or deprived of rights by the legal profession. For example: A. The statistics show the attorney and judicial disciplinary commissions are failing to serve the people acting only on a small fraction of complaints against attorneys and almost none against judges. B. The state and federal appeals courts fail to uphold/enforce the law and actually affirm many outrageous decisions of the lower courts, frequently without looking at the evidence. Decisions that are visibly fair and lawful are published while those clearly based on whim, bias and political expediency are not. C. The federal courts have an illegal de facto policy to deny all suits for equitable relief against judges under 42 U.S.C. 1983, leaving the judges completely unaccountable for violation of citizens' rights. D. The state and federal judges usually treat Pro-Se litigants with disdain. (See, for example, "Eliminate Bias Against People Who Represent Themselves" by Attorney Stephen Elias, (http://www.nolo.com/democracy_corner/eliminate_bias.html) Facially meritorious suits filed by them rarely survive even the most frivolous motions to dismiss. A person who can't afford a lawyer is denied a shot at justice. (See New York Post, Wednesday, July 5, 2000, "Federal Justice Not For All: Poll.") The following sites offer information on judical reform: A Matter of Justice Coalition The members of A Matter of Justice Coalition feel there has been a decline in the quality of government, an increase in abuses by government, a deterioration in the quality of justice, and an increase in abuses by the courts and legal profession. There are a number of important items they are hoping to accomplish including working towards a new process of selection of the state and federal judiciary that would favor honesty and professionalism as opposed to political connections, mediocrity and corruption. Check out the website to see the details. Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) Their mission is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers, and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. Jurors must know that they have the option and the responsibility to render a verdict based on their conscience and on their sense of justice as well as on the merits of the law. We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education The mission of the We The People organization is: (1) To protect, preserve and enhance the unalienable rights, liberties and freedoms of the people. (2) To teach people that under our system of governance all power comes from the people and all government is limited by our written constitutions. (3) To help people become better informed about the history and meaning of every provision of the Declaration of Independence and their State and federal constitutions. (4) To help people become better informed about what is really going on in government. (5) To help people become better informed about how to confront unconstitutional and illegal behavior by those wielding power in government at all levels. and (6) To institutionalize vigilance by the ordinary, nonaligned citizen-voter-taxpayers. Children's Right Advocacy Some of the goals from the website of Children's Rights Advocacy are to promote legal reform regarding the current laws and procedures used by child welfare agencies, courts, and government funded programs: (1) Set clear legal standards and legal definitions for court ordered psychological evaluations and assessments. (2) Enact legislation that makes it mandatory that child welfare agencies and police investigators videotape children when performing interviews of children so as to accurately preserve the evidence and eliminate the need to subject a child to multiple interviews. (3) Enact legislation that provides that either party in any court proceeding who is ordered by the court to undergo psychological evaluations and assessments and who requests that these psychological evaluations and assessments be preserved by videotape recording have the right to demand that all parties, including the children involved, be allowed to preserve the evidence by means of videotape recording and that this law be mandatory and not subject to judicial or agency discretion. Check out this website for the full goals and agenda. The following site offers a forum to rate judicial performance : RateTheCourts.com RateTheCourts.com is a website of Government Forums, Inc., a Nevada corporation. Government Forums, Inc. is not affiliated with any advocacy, political or religious organizations. In cooperation with CourthouseForum.com, its sister website, RateTheCourts.com provides the public with a free and anonymous judicial performance evaluation service spotlighting the nation's judiciary. Both websites share the same database so that surveys in RateTheCourt.com, are also in CourthouseForum.com, and visa versa. RateTheCourts.com is a user-friendly way to post and review opinion surveys of the nation's federal and state judges. Their database currently includes over 25,000 judges of the nation's judges.