Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Hollywood 'Elite': Political Activism, Money, and Jury Duty . . .

To help explain the American Health Care Act, "expert" and Harvard economics PhD Jonathan Gruber freely ranted about " . . . the stupidity of the American voter." No one noticed or cared until Rich Weinstein
Twitter: @phillyrich1
discovered and publicized that rant. Rich's efforts caught on and America saw and heard the truth. As a result, we have a new verb: "to gruber." Rich motivated other " . . . idiots like [himself]" to find other examples. Well, a Hollywood screenwriter freely grubered in August, 2018 - in print - and I'm the idiot who caught the whole thing. This article describes what I found and the so-far unanswered questions behind it. Those unanswered questions reach into jury duty service fairness and equality.

By the way, I was honored to work with Rich on a recent research project. I learned and we accomplished a lot. Definitely follow him on Twitter.


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On August 2, 2018, The Hollywood Reporter published Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too Far Left for Hollywood? by Peter Kiefer and Chris Gardner. The article described a late July / early August, 2018 visit to the Los Angeles area by Congressional candidate Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez. The reporters interviewed Hollywood screenwriter Jennifer Levin for their article. The article focused on Levin in one paragraph, and it included direct quotes. The article explained that Levin has worked on Hollywood productions as a screenwriter, and IMDB confirms this. In the paragraph, Levin made a comment about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Then, the paragraph explained that Levin
" . . . moonlights as a grassroots activist working to flip a number of California [Congressional] seats . . ."
and as a free, free-thinking American, Levin obviously has all the rights in America to do so. The article paragraph continued with Levin's quoted statement
"Let's be honest: We represent the money. We are the elite."
where she described herself and her colleagues. Note that I added the bold / italic formatting. Wow. Those two sentences look explosive to me. They sure scared the hell out of me because combined with Levin's "grassroots activis[m]," they tied money and "elite" status all together. I would have thought that reporters Kiefer and Gardner would ask her questions about these statements. I would have thought that The Hollywood Reporter leadership would instruct Kiefer and Gardner, and / or other employees of The Hollywood Reporter, to further investigate these statements. To the best of my knowledge, no one at The Hollywood Reporter did any of this, so I did it for them. They're welcome.

I don't have much money. Therefore, I need Member of the Elite (MOTE) Levin to help me understand just exactly what " . . . We represent the money" means - more about this later. However, as a commoner American1, I most definitely understand " . . . We are the elite." As a non-lawyer, I have read the United States Constitution - cover to cover. The U.S. Constitution outlaws both federal-level and state-level titles of nobility. To the best of my knowledge, MOTE Levin and her colleagues do not have any titles of nobility - but that "elite" business sure looks noble to me. That "elite" sentence ties into our old friend Amendment 14, Equal Protection Clause, United States Constitution. I can't get enough of this clause. It works like duct tape. It works like WD-40. A non-lawyer commoner American like myself can use it everywhere to repair everything. Since MOTE Levin and her colleagues
1. "represent the money"
and
2. have "elite" status
then first, I want MOTE Levin to explain the exact meaning of these items, in light of the Equal Protection Clause. In other words, I want MOTE Levin to explain just exactly how she / her colleagues "represent the money." Then, assuming the Equal Protection Clause works, I want her to explain what I can represent if I have no money to represent. Second, I want to know if MOTE Levin and / or her "elite" colleagues receive any sort of benefit from government employees, in any way, that commoner Americans like myself can't receive. If yes, I want the full information and metadata about that / those benefits. The alleged allegations about former Los Angeles County Property Tax Assessor John Noguez - unproven one way or another so far - make these questions totally relevant. The more recent arrest of Beverly Hills real estate developer Arman Gabaee also makes these questions totally relevant. Both Hollywood and Beverly Hills are located in Los Angeles County.

In my journalist role, I thought about all this and I wrote up what became a list of questions



for MOTE Levin. Click here to open the question list in a new browser tab, for download as a PDF. As mentioned earlier, in the question list I asked MOTE Levin point-blank to please explain how "representation of money" works. I ended up asking her nineteen (19) questions in total. I included plenty of questions about
1. her opinions about jury duty
2. her jury duty history
3. the jury duty history of other folks who "represent the money" and / or who have "elite" status
to learn more about how the "elite" handles American jury duty. I have the qualifications for this because in my role as a non-lawyer commoner American, I became the best jury duty law expert in America. Amendment I, Freedom of the Press Clause, United States Constitution guarantees me the right to ask these questions and to publish and report about these questions. Full disclosure: I researched the jury duty history of MOTE Levin the same way I researched the jury duty history of Barbra Streisand and Thomas Steyer. I did my best but once again, I found no information on this topic. Then, I had to find a way to contact MOTE Levin to send her the questions. After some research, I found the
@jenniferlevin22
Twitter handle. I sent this tweet to @jenniferlevin22, and many other folks, through Twitter. So far, MOTE Levin has not answered. I figured I waited long enough, so I published this article. I welcome answers to these questions from MOTE Levin and I will write a new article about her answers after she sends those answers to me.





1 An American citizen who has never voluntarily paid and / or voluntarily received political campaign contribution money. See Common Sense - Third Millennium for more.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Lawyers, Judges, and Jury Duty - Q & A . . .

I recently asked randomly chosen lawyers some questions about jury duty and jury duty law. I primarily chose lawyers that I personally employ here in California, because I figured they would see their obligation to answer those questions. They have that obligation to me because as their employer, I directly pay them at least minimum wage for jobs they voluntarily accepted. Additionally, they would probably say that I have an obligation to serve on a jury. I emailed

1.    Los Angeles County Judge Daniel Buckley
I employ Judge Buckley in his job as Presiding Judge of Los Angeles County. Becoming a Different Kind of Professional explained that Judge Buckley " . . . manages the largest unified court in the country and likely in the world." He has worked in courtrooms as a litigation attorney and a judge, and because of this professional experience, I believed that he would have direct knowledge about jury duty, as a lawyer and a judge.
2.    California Supreme Court Justice Tani Gore Cantile-Sakauye
I employ Justice Gore Cantile-Sakauye in her job as California Supreme Court Chief Justice. She worked as a lawyer for more than twenty years in California courtrooms, so I believed that as a lawyer, she would have direct knowledge about jury duty.
3.    U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel
Jeremy Fogel began working as a private-practice attorney in 1974. I employed him as a California county-level judge for seventeen years, starting in 1981, and I first employed him as a federal judge in 1998. He clearly knows all about jury duty.
4.    UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Attorney Chemerinsky has handled law cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, but apparently works primarily in the law school industry, with additional work as an author. Because I employ him to lead an accredited University of California law school at UC Berkeley, I believed that he must have some knowledge about jury duty.
5.    Arizona attorney Stephanie McCoy Loquvam
I do not have an employer / employee relationship with Atty. McCoy Loquvam. Additionally, Atty. McCoy Loquvam practices law in Arizona and not in California. However, I contacted her because I learned that she chairs the Commission on the American Jury of the American Bar Association. Based on this ABA leadership role, I figured she would have a lot of background knowledge to answer questions about jury duty. Also based on her leadership role, I believed that she would want to answer questions about jury duty.
with questions about jury duty and jury duty law. In more than one of my roles as
  • United States citizen
  • American voter
  • United States federal taxpayer
  • California state taxpayer
and
  • Los Angeles County taxpayer
I directly employ, and personally pay, the first four of these lawyers. Therefore, I expected them to answer my questions. Additionally, I contacted Arizona Attorney Stephanie McCoy Loquvam because of her proven focus on jury duty as a central part of the American jury duty trial business model. I sent all of these lawyers these questions




and I waited. Note that I added the page footers later, when I wrote this article. Click here to open the questions in a new brower tab for download as a PDF. At first, I never got a reply from Judge Fogel, so I made some follow-ups. Soon enough


Dear Mr. Solomon,

Thank you for your voicemail following up on the email below from last Thursday.

Judge Fogel is not currently handling cases in our court and he will be leaving the bench in a few months. Furthermore, although he was a state court judge in the past, he has been a federal judge for 20 years. It is very unlikely that Judge Fogel will have opinions on the California jury-related topics that are the focus of your questions.

Best regards,

Staffer's Name
Staffer's Title
United States District Court
Northern District of California

a staffer for Judge Fogel wrote back. Judge Fogel starred in a video all about jury duty, and combined with his professional lawyer and judge employment experience, I thought he would have more than enough background knowledge and opinions to answer the questions. I definitely would have valued his answers. In the same way, I made some follow-ups with Judge Buckley. A staffer for Judge Buckley also wrote

Good Afternoon Mr. Solomon,

I am responding to your email on behalf of Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Daniel Buckley

From Judge Buckley:  

“Mr. Solomon, I am in receipt of your questions about various aspects of the jury system. As Presiding Judge, I am charged with applying laws regarding the administration of justice; it would be inappropriate for me to comment upon them.”

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Staffer's Name
Staffer's Title

Los Angeles Superior Court

back. Hmmm. Judge Buckley has more than fourteen years experience as a judge, and from all that time, I figured that he must have some opinions about jury duty. I don't understand his reluctance to answer those questions. Some years ago, I had an exchange with now retired Los Angeles County Judge Connor about jury duty. I sent her this letter



and in my younger days, my diplomacy skills sure needed some improvement. Still, I got my thinking across, and Judge Connor



definitely wanted to reply. Of course, I did not send the list of questions from this year to Judge Connor. However, Judge Connor obviously had no problem commenting on various aspects of the jury system. It looks like she pretty much agreed with what I wrote in that first letter. Additionally, she alerted other judges, and the head of the Los Angeles County jury duty system at the time, about the issue. I would have thought that more than one of the people - mostly lawyers - directly or indirectly made aware of these issues in this post office mail / email outreach would have contacted me, made some general comment(s) about jury duty, and / or maybe even tried to publicly reform jury duty itself. Focusing on Judge Buckley, maybe some new big post-July 2, 2002 policy forced him into silence. If so, I oppose that policy because Judge Buckley has an Amendment I, Freedom of Speech Clause, United States Constitution right alone to speak up and speak out about all this. Judge Buckley himself should know to oppose that kind of policy because like myself, he must have read the United States Constitution, cover to cover.

I never heard from California Supreme Court Justice Cantile‑Sakauye or UC Berkeley law school Dean Chemerinsky. I decided to avoid follow-up emails to them, to compare their responses with those of Judge Fogel and Judge Buckley. After about two and a half months, I figured I waited long enough. Additionally, I never heard from Atty. McCoy Loquvam and I did not follow up with her.


In my opinion, all of these lawyers have more than enough qualifications, education, knowledge, and experience to answer the questions. I directly employ most of them, and I don't like their nonanswers to my questions. After all, I have read that jury duty trial witnesses must answer every question a lawyer asks. If I land in a courtroom as a juror, all the lawyers can ask me a whole bunch of voir dire questions. If I don't answer the questions put to me in a jury duty trial, either as a witness or as a juror, bad things will happen to me. Amendment 1, Freedom of Speech Clause, United States Constitution alone guarantees that all of the lawyers listed above can freely answer the questions I asked them. This clause overrides all prior restraints that might silence them. I know this, and all of them should know this as well.

The taxpayer / government role I have with lawyers one through four above obviously obligates them to answer my questions. The lawyer / non-lawyer role I have with all of these lawyers obligates them to answer my questions because as a non-lawyer, I want to know about the internal mechanics of the judiciary system and the lawyer industry. These obligations operate the same way as the government laws and the United States Constitution that obligate me to serve as a juror. I perfectly understand my roles, rights, and responsibilities. It looks like these lawyers might not correctly understand their own roles, rights, and responsibilities.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

American Jury Duty Has Major Zero-Day Flaws

In America, everyone with a civil law or criminal law dispute has the right to a trial by jury. The U.S. Constitution guarantees this right. For this to work, American citizens have to serve as jurors. Most Americans likely don’t want to deal with jury duty, but eventually, they understand the situation - I have to do this because I would want a jury trial option for myself - and they proceed. American jurors might not catch the fact that they definitely have rights to minimum wage and fair mileage compensation for their service, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Existing jury duty pay and mileage levels have become zero-day flaws in the American justice system, and government must reform jury duty immediately.

In 2017, the Los Angeles County Juror Services Office sent me a jury duty summons. I never volunteered or applied for jury duty - and I had no choice. I did exactly what they told me. As instructed, I first called the Los Angeles County Superior Court (LACSC) phone number to register. Later on, I watched an online jury duty training vid. Then, I took a test to qualify as a juror. I studied hard, and as I read the jury duty paperwork and watched the vid, I learned that starting day two, I would receive $15.00 a day - taxable - for my service. This definitely looked wrong. Based on the way the jury duty paperwork and training vid described jury duty, I saw it as a job, even at that early stage. As a job, jury duty entitled me to minimum wage for ALL hours that I worked as a juror. This would cover day one, and the personal time I used for the required jury duty training and test. I also learned that Los Angeles County would pay me seventeen cents a mile - taxable - for my jury duty commuting expenses, also starting on day two. That mileage price also looked wrong. Gasoline in the Los Angeles area costs much more than $3.00 a gallon. Seventeen cents a mile would never cover my fuel expenses, wear and tear on my car, or wear and tear on me.


I did some research and I learned that California jury duty laws set the current jury duty pay and mileage levels sometime around the turn of the century. For whatever reason, those amounts did not rise with federal / state minimum wage level increases or inflation. It still amazes me that a federal judge defined jury duty as a job, to explain what he expects from jurors, but somehow, he never mentioned that jurors therefore earn minimum wage as jury duty employees. Los Angeles County government obviously agrees with him, because they embedded this vid at the official Los Angeles County government jury duty website. California government alone has increased minimum wage rates many times since 1999, but those increases don’t cover jury duty. California has increased direct and indirect gas taxes many times, including a new twelve cent per gallon gas tax this past November. I have no idea why California legislators never increased the jury duty mileage payment to compensate for those increased taxes. However, as a California taxpayer, I pay all California legislators a $104,000 annual taxable salary. In addition, I pay each of them a $183 tax-free daily per diem, plus a tax-free 53 cents a mile rate for their own commuting expenses. Based on these facts, California legislators will eagerly write laws to require tax-free minimum wage for all hours that eligible Californians work as jurors. Those legislators will also write laws to pay 53 cents a mile - tax-free - for all miles California jurors drive to and from the courthouses where those jurors work. Those legislators will just need a little motivation to get going.


Soon enough, LACSC told me to get to the L.A. County Airport courthouse on May 24, 2017 at 9:30 AM PST. I did exactly that, and except for the lunch hour, I spent my whole time there in the jury duty ready room. I never landed in a trial, and the jury duty staff released me at about 3:30 PM PST. When I got home, I read the U.S. Constitution because I remembered that it would guarantee my rights, even as a juror. I just needed to find the exact amendment. Yup - Amendment 13, Involuntary Servitude Clause, U.S. Constitution covered me. After all, my full-time jury duty employers, at least one major federal judge, Los Angeles County government, and myself all agree that jury duty is a job, I had to show up for that job against my will, and I received no pay and no mileage compensation at all for that job. As a non-lawyer American, my cynicism about jury duty grew and I researched all these issues. To learn more about how eligible Americans deal with jury duty, I investigated the jury duty history of both Thomas Steyer and Barbra Streisand. I ended up with many questions and no answers about them because I hit massive government secrecy walls. I taught myself jury duty law, and when I wrote and published Common Sense - Third Millennium, I became the best jury duty law expert in the United States of America.


If I paid political campaign contribution money, government employees might well reform jury duty, if I explained - with my payment - that jury duty reform needs to happen. I have never touched political campaign contribution money, and I never will. I now see jury duty service as a political campaign contribution. This makes perfect sense, because government employees can supply something I want - jury duty reform. Eventually, I will again have something government employees want - jury duty service. If government employees, including legislators, don’t reform jury duty, then during my next jury duty
 voir dire temp job interview, I will have to explain these issues to the hiring judge. If that judge does not reform these problems and / or arrange to reform them, I will hand that judge my jury duty job resignation. I will have to do this to protect my Constitutional rights and economic survival. I have the right to do this. My resignation will help motivate government employees to reform jury duty. This means that jury duty will begin to formally operate just like political campaign contribution money. Ideally, full-time government employees will reform jury duty before any of this happens.

Earlier, this piece explained that existing jury duty laws have become major zero-day flaws in the American justice system. That looks like quite a claim, but it has total accuracy. As presently structured, American jury duty obviously violates the Constitutional rights of jurors. In addition, anyone who lost an American jury duty business model trial can very easily say



. . . None of my peers would serve on a jury for these mileage and pay rates. That proves that I never got a fair trial!

and then demand a mistrial to throw away the verdict. To solve all this, full-time government employees need to pay highest possible minimum wage and highest possible mileage rates to jurors, for all hours worked and all miles driven, with zero tax and zero tax paperwork. In California, the legislator mileage rate of tax-free 53 cents a mile becomes the logical jury duty mileage rate. Government employees must also pay back jury duty wages and mileage. I also expect public disclosure of government jury duty history information for everyone who paid political campaign contribution money. This disclosure will help show whether or not jury duty service operates in a fair way. Lastly, I expect prosecution and punishment for everyone
 - both inside and outside of government - involved in any type of jury duty service corruption. Government employees will not successfully hire me for a jury duty temp job until they choose to make these fair, reasonable jury duty reforms, to fix the zero-day flaws of jury duty. In addition, government employees will have an increasingly hard time hiring other Americans as jury duty temp employees. If they drag their feet, it will become impossible soon enough. Americans have every incentive, and plenty of Constitutional rights, to resign from and avoid the present structure of American jury duty. That will destroy the American jury duty trial business model.

It might look like I want the jury duty trial system to completely implode. No way. Since we opened for business in 1789, American civilization has relied on citizen jury duty. I would never volunteer for jury duty, but I would accept my role and responsibility as a juror, and I would do more than my best work in that role. In return, I have some expectations. I expect government to see me as an employee, working in a job that I did not apply to get. I expect government - as my jury duty employer - to pay me highest possible minimum wage and fair mileage compensation, with zero tax and zero tax paperwork. To help verify that jury duty service operates fairly, I expect full jury duty history information disclosure for everyone who ever touched political campaign contribution money. Government, lawyers, and law schools all should have known better. They should have noticed and fixed these problems years ago. They certainly all had - and have - the means, motive, and opportunity to do this, and I expect them to proceed with it. If they decide that they don’t feel like it, they can expect nonviolent jury duty strikes, in California and across the nation. My government employees, the lawyer industry, and the law school industry all completely and exclusively own these problems. Working together, they can easily solve these problems. The choice to do so is theirs alone.