LM _______________________________________ _______________________________________ ST. NORBERT OC

GUEST OP/ED: Justice Should Be Blind, But In Los Angeles It Is Not!!

 

 

Editor’s Note: Mr. Robles sent this in to HMG-CN and requested publication. His views are not necessarily the views of this newspaper. The Op/Ed is unedited and in its original form.

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Albert Robles

Albert Robles

 

By Albert Robles, Carson City Councilman and Board of Director, Water Replenishment District, Division 5

This year stands-out for the number of politicians indicted, convicted, and/or sentenced in Los Angeles County.

On October 31, 2014, the most recent “victim” Senator Rod Wright is scheduled to turn himself in to begin his sentence.  While it is never politically smart to defend criminals, especially corrupt politicians, “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”

And the current administration of justice in Los Angeles County, or rather lack thereof, demands attention.

This year’s corruption scandals include (i) the Bell Scandal, (ii) the felony residency trials and convictions of Senator Rod Wright and Los Angeles Councilmember Richard Alarcon, and (iii) the recent charges and guilty plea of two elected water boardmembers for misappropriation of public funds – Ron Smith and Rob Katherman.

While we should celebrate the prosecution of political corruption, law-abiding citizens should be outraged at the politicization and double standard.  It is unacceptable that in 2014 Los Angeles County, justice is meted out based on who you know or who you are – Lady Justice should not peak or wink from under her blindfold.

The Bell Scandal

This is the most notorious political scandal in a generation, or as Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley referred to it at the time, “corruption on steroids.”  Five councilmembers were indicted, tried and convicted, along with the City Manager and Assistant City Manager for excessive and illegal compensation.

The first hint that Lady Justice was not blind came when the Bell Chief of Police, a “good friend” of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, was the ONLY individual who profited from the excessive and illegal city salary and was not charged.  The fact that the Bell Chief of Police also defrauded the state retirement system did not matter either.

To this day, legal experts wonder out-loud how this was possible, but as repeatedly reported by the Los Angeles Times and other news media, the difference between the Bell Chief of Police and the others charged in this scandal was the fact that the Bell Chief of Police and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley were “good friends.”

Even worse, the Bell Councilmember who initially reported the corruption to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office was indicted, tried and convicted, but the chief law enforcement officer in the City of Bell, the Chief of Police, the person who took an oath to uphold and defend the law was not only never charged, but he did not even cooperate!

Moreover, of the five Bell Councilmembers that were charged with the exact same crime, convicted on the exact same facts, and tried in the exact same courtroom at the exact same time before the same judge, all received basically the same sentence – years in state prison.

One Councilmember, however, received the significantly reduced sentence of 6-months home detention!  In other words, only one of the Bell Councilmembers that was charged, tried and convicted was not sentenced to state prison.

The reduced sentence was not for the Councilmember referenced above that initially reported the corruption to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and resigned from being a Bell Councilmember before the criminal charges were filed.

The Bell Councilmember who received the lightest sentence had served the longest, was known throughout the community as the go-to-guy to get things done in the City of Bell, and known throughout the southeast area of Los Angeles County as the most politically corrupt of all the Bell Councilmembers – George Cole.

Just like the WHITE Chief of Police, George Cole was the ONLY WHITE guy on the Bell City Council, and he repeatedly bragged about his good relationship with Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley who he endorsed over the years – Lady Justice should not be allowed to wink at her friends.

 

 The Felony Residency Trials And Convictions Of Senator Rod Wright And Los Angeles Councilmember Richard Alarcon

 The next major scandal of the year in Los Angeles County is just as appalling, but not for the conduct of the accused, rather for the blatant politicization of the judicial process.

Since 2000, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is the ONLY prosecutor in the entire state that has charged, tried and convicted a handful of elected officials for “not living” in their respective jurisdiction.  Coincidently, none counted on the Republican Steve Cooley as a friend and all were Black or Brown ardent Democrats.

There are many examples of WHITE elected officials throughout the State that DO NOT live in their respective jurisdictions and they are not prosecuted?  (See the Sacramento Bee for numerous examples that involve surveillance and review of utility bills.)

Yet, Black and Brown elected officials who are not friends of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, like Senator Rod Wright and Los Angeles Councilmember Richard Alarcon, are persecuted for purportedly not living in their respective jurisdictions?

This lack of consistency in the application of state law creates injustice, that feeds the perception that NON-WHITE elected officials are treated differently, and that Lady Justice discriminates in Los Angeles County.

The two recent felonious prosecutions of Senator Rod Wright and Los Angeles Councilmember Richard Alarcon for residency problems in Los Angeles County are particularly egregious and hypocritical, as the current Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey had a questionable residency issue herself.

Before Jackie Lacey was tapped by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to be his personally chosen successor, she lived in another county, but she wants us to believe her story that she left her family and beautiful home to “move” into an apartment by herself in Los Angeles County?

That she expects us to believe that this apartment really became her home thus qualifying her as a resident in order to run for Los Angeles County District Attorney is the height of hypocrisy. Seriously.

The residency claim of the current Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, is by an order of magnitude less credible than the residency claims of Senator Rod Wright and Los Angeles Councilmember Richard Alarcon, namely because both these men at least owned property in their respective jurisdictions for many many years prior to their respective elections, and Jackie Lacey DID NOT.

But, that does not matter because in Los Angeles County if Lady Justice knows you she will look the other way!

The Recent Charges and Guilty Plea Of Two Water Boardmembers

Then we have the case against two water boardmembers, Rob Katherman and Ron Smith, both elected officials who serve on two separate water districts.

Their respective cases stem from the exact same facts and the exact same situation, and involve the exact same people/witnesses, but inexplicably one was handcuffed and taken into custody and held on $100,000 bail, and the other was not arrested and released on his own recognizance, i.e., he walked with no bail.

This occurred in the exact same courthouse, before the exact same Judge and at the hands of the exact same Los Angeles County District Attorney.

Can you guess which one considered Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley a friend and is WHITE and which one is Black and not a friend of Steve Cooley?  Correctamundo.

At least Lady Justice in Los Angeles County is consistent – consistently corrupt!

Conclusion

Just because we have the first African-American President, the first African-American United States Attorney General, the first African-American California Attorney General and the first African-American District Attorney in Los Angeles County, “injustice anywhere, is still a threat to justice everywhere,” and the lack of attention to the injustice here in Los Angeles County is deafening.  Lady Justice in Los Angeles County is not blind and we should demand better.

“The greatest threat to an orderly government is the corrupt administration of justice.”

 

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