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News & Editorials

So Much for Trial by Jury
How California Public Servants Serve Tyranny

by Angel Shamaya


We reported and provided great detail about how a California government agency is trying to destroy one of's Chief Advisors, former NRA Board Member, Russ Howard. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America also covered this story recently. Russ Howard and Californians Against Corruption did, after all, take California's Roberti and Roos (of "Assault Weapons Ban" fame) out of their political careers. Those anti-Constitution self-serving public servants are gone from the political scene, but the backlash against Mr. Howard and Mr. Cicero is still a current issue.

On Friday, January 19, 2001, Judge John R. Lewis of the Sacramento Superior Court granted the "Fair" Political Practices Commission's motion for summary judgment in the case of FPPC v Californians Against Corruption, Russ Howard, and Steve Cicero, thus affirming the FPPC's fine and converting it into a collectible civil judgment. A motion for summary judgment means that judgment is granted without a trial.

Thus, Russ Howard and Steve Cicero have now been fined $808,000 without a trial by jury or even a trial by a judge. No presumption of innocence. No right to an attorney.

Article III of the U.S. Constitution states:

"The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury..."

Amendments 6 and 7 of the Bill of Rights also cover the issue of trial by jury, as well.

But Judge Lewis ignored all of the constitutional arguments presented by the defense, including arguments related to due process, the right to jury trial, the right to have an attorney provided if the defendant cannot afford one, the First Amendment, the right to privacy in both the California and Federal Constitutions, the 8th Amendment prohibition on excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment, etc., ad nauseam.

Judge Lewis considered the argument that the FPPC exceeded jurisdiction because the officers conducting the proceedings were not properly appointed as required under the Political Reform Act. This argument was successfully used by former Assemblyman Paul Horcher to overturn an FPPC fine under nearly identical circumstances.

How do you like that?

Judge Lewis conceded that officers were not properly appointed but said that the hearings were properly conducted nonetheless. In effect, under the Judge's reasoning, any citizen could have walked in off the street and conducted the hearings.

Judge Lewis' decision, along with Judge Connelly's earlier decisions in the case, will be appealed.

The CAC Defense Fund has received about $2,500 for the CAC Defense Fund, mostly through postal mail. They've invested nearly $40,000 on the defense -- half of it out of Russ Howard's own pocket.

Legal Defense donations can be sent to: CAC Defense Fund 1500 Voorhees Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. You can use Pay Pal if you go to

Larry Pratt's writeup on the assault against Russ Howard is, and it includes a tax-deductible internet donation option.

See also:  The Tyrannical Crucifixion of an American Hero.


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For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution. [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)

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