[Chief Justice Ronald George retired in 2010]

April 4, 2005

Dear Judge George,                                     
    Are you familiar with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)? I would imagine that you are, but if not it’s a government agency charged by Congress to investigate certain types of transportation accidents - things such as airplane crashes and train derailments. The NTSB’s purpose in doing such investigative work is to not only try to determine what caused a particular accident, but to also hopefully learn how to help avert similar accidents in the future. Naturally enough, to insure impartiality in such forensic work, the NTSB is independent of the airline and railroad industries.
    Now, at this point Judge George, you’re perhaps wondering why I’m writing to you about the NTSB, airplane crashes and train derailments. Well, the reason I do so is to suggest to you, as head of the California judiciary, that the time has come for the creation of some sort of independent agency like the NTSB to investigate the “crashes” and “derailments”  - i.e. the total failures - that occur within the present American legal apparatus.
    What has brought me to this conclusion of the need for such an agency (or you might say pushed me over the edge) was due to my close encounter with a full-blown personal injury lawsuit that could unquestionably be considered to have “derailed.”
    This lawsuit, replete with trial and appeal, involved a pedestrian being struck in an intersection by an employee operated Chevron Corporation automobile. It not only proved to be a rather arduous and unpleasant experience - and mind you I wasn’t the one that got hit by that vehicle – but it also proved to be exceedingly unjust on at least two counts. The first of these was the jury’s verdict that found the vehicle operator and Chevron Corporation to be free of all negligence. The unjustness of this verdict lies in understanding that the jury’s decision ran counter to all evidence and reason. The next failing can be laid at the feet of the appeals court judges who completely confused some key - and obvious – evidence that was crucial to understanding the case. Combined, it seemed as though the legal system had conspired to aid Goliath (Chevron Corporation) in the slaying of David (the five-foot four-inch pedestrian)! Due to the injustice of all this and being more than a little bit peeved, I decided that what had happened in that courtroom and appeals court was not going to be forgotten. The entire business needed the light of day upon it for any who might care to look. Hence was born what is now the www.gotjustice.com website. I think that the truths revealed in the website will prove to be of interest to those people who are genuinely concerned with the practice of justice. It should also prove to be helpful to any unfortunates who find themselves ensnared in the sticky business of personal injury law. I guess, all in all, you should consider the Got Justice website as a kind of guide, warning, wake-up call and bill overdue notice all rolled into one.
    Should you doubt any of what I’ve written here, I’d recommend that you go to the website and see for yourself. I think once you’ve gone over the material there you’ll wind-up asking yourself how such a costly and complex system that’s supposedly dedicated to the finding of truth and the rendering of justice could bend itself so far over backwards to be so grossly deceived by such out and out nit-wittery; how could a “no-brainer” of a case like this get so turned around? 
  
What adds a nauseating touch to the entire bending-over-backwards routine was that it only went to serve the extraordinarily sleazy, greed driven interests of a transparently disingenuous Chevron Corporation. [Do not, repeat, do not, let those cutesy Chevron TV commercials and print ads with the cutesy claymation cars and trucks fool you for one second: “sleazy” and “greed driven” are the correct words. Chevron’s behavior in this case is just another example of Corporate America at its venal, greedy worst. I doubt Bill Gates would ever allow Microsoft’s name to be sullied by engaging in such openly tawdry tactics to evade payment of a just debt – but this type of sleaze-ball behavior is apparently knee-jerk second nature to some Chevron honchos.]
    And I do hope you don’t take exception to my saying that this new agency should be created independently from the present legal machinery, it’s just that I think if left to its own devices that legal machinery would go on to create an institution top heavy with, what else – lawyers - and all that’s going to do, if you’ll pardon the expression, is “to place the weasel back in the chicken house.”
    I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a certain exasperation with a legal system that sometimes seems too long on form, too short on function and too lacking in common sense. For me these feelings were only reinforced after my close encounter with that personal injury lawsuit. Simply put, I believe that the process needs to be made less complicated, less expensive, less rigid and more open. It is through such action that future “derailments” can be avoided.
    Now if you’re wondering where this new agency should begin its work, you’ll find a few solid suggestions within the A Question of Justice part of the website. You’ll discover that the legal muddle described therein was quite likely avoidable had a few simple, common sense steps been required of the police, lawyers, jurors and judges involved in the case.
    Well Judge George, I guess that’s about it for now. I imagine you’re a busy person so I won’t take up any more of your time. I just wanted to broach the subject of the formation of an investigative agency with you while at the same time introducing you to my website. Thank you and have a nice day.

  Sincerely,

 

PS: Did you know that I’d sent you an early printed version of what is now the www.gotjustice.com website by certified mail? I know your office received it – I have the receipt - but I never heard back from anyone, nor was the document returned to me. That’s was all a little bit disappointing considering the cost and effort it took me to assemble the danged thing in paper form, what with all that printing and such. Further, I’d attached a large, self-addressed manila envelope to the document with over three dollars in postage affixed to it and clear instructions that the document be returned to me after you’d perused it. I can only guess that one or more of your underlings read the thing and didn’t like what they’d read so they made it disappear. Which as it turned out was all fine and good for it was that lack of response that made me realize that I should put the whole thing online rather than mailing out costly copies one at a time only to have them vanish. PPS: I wonder who nipped the three bucks worth of postage?

[Note: As of March, 2008, Judge George has not responded to this letter. Given the seriousness of the subject matter, I find that somewhat surprising. I get the feeling that the powers-that-be would like to sweep the whole messy business under the judicial rug and pretend it didn't happen. Such people should be disabused of that notion because it did happen. To say otherwise would be to deny reality, not to mention simple justice.]


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