California Bureaucrats Learn It’s Not Okay to Lie in Court


Wednesday January 11th, 2017   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 7:28pm PDT   •  

50994353 - california law, legal system and justice concept with a 3d render of a gavel on a wooden desktop and the californian flag on background. This week, a three-judge panel of U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals laid down the law on whether government bureaucrats, in this case ones employed by Orange County, can have a free pass from having to comply with any sort of ethical standards of conduct while appearing in court as part of their official capacity as government employees. As R. Scott Moxley reports on the court’s decision in OCWeekly, it turns out that federal judges really do frown on anybody committing perjury or presenting false evidence in court, including government officials:

Using taxpayer funds, government officials in Orange County have spent the last 16 years arguing the most absurd legal proposition in the entire nation: How could social workers have known it was wrong to lie, falsify records and hide exculpatory evidence in 2000 so that a judge would forcibly take two young daughters from their mother for six-and-a-half years?

From the you-can’t-make-up-this-crap file, county officials are paying Lynberg & Watkins, a private Southern California law firm specializing in defending cops in excessive force lawsuits, untold sums to claim the social workers couldn’t have “clearly” known that dishonesty wasn’t acceptable in court and, as a back up, even if they did know, they should enjoy immunity for their misdeeds because they were government employees.

A panel at the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this week ruled on Orange County’s appeal of federal judge Josephine L. Staton’s refusal last year to grant immunity to the bureaucrats in Preslie Hardwick v. County of Orange, a lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in damages. In short, judges Stephen S. Trott, John B. Owens and Michelle T. Friedland were not amused. They affirmed Staton’s decision.

Moxley goes on to present the verbal exchanges that took place between the attorneys hired by Orange County and the Ninth Circuit’s judges, which you have to see to believe really happened with state-licensed attorneys.

Following the Ninth Circuit panel’s decision that government bureaucrats, despite what they might believe, are not entitled to commit perjury without penalty, the civil case against the government of Orange County will continue forward, where the county is at risk of a multi-million dollar judgment against it for the so-far-unanswered misconduct of its employees.

Twenty-two years earlier, Orange County went bankrupt in large part because of the unethical conduct of its government officials. While its potential liability in the new case is far below the level that would sent it back into bankruptcy proceedings, it would be nice if the county’s officials would finally learn their lesson about the proper conduct of public employees so it can avoid imposing such unnecessary liabilities on Orange County residents for their abuses of power in the future.




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