LETTER TO JUDGE MCCOY FROM A READER OF THIS BLOG:
(By the way, McCoy's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org). He has not bothered to respond to my email and perhaps to the writer below.)
Dear Judge McCoy,
I’m writing to ask you to look into the disposition of a Small Claims Court case brought by a man named Ron Mason on or around November 19, 2008 and presided over by Court Commissioner Martin Green.
I have read the eyewitness account of four people who were in the courtroom (attached) and if even part of what it recounts is true I find Commissioner Green’s conduct very troubling.
Although I have attached the account for your edification I would like to draw your attention to a couple of particularly egregious allegations:
1. Commissioner Green is alleged to have said several times to Mr. Mason, “Why are you here?” It is a citizen’s right to be heard in Small Claims Court and I can see Commissioner Green’s actions here in no other light than as an attempt to intimidate and belittle Mr. Mason and his right to equal justice under the law, and to redress if his rights have been violated. A Court Commissioner, by questioning those rights, is abrogating them.
2. He referred to the cats who were killed by L.A. Animal Services as “contraband” when in fact they were evidence. I have spent time at City shelters and I know that animals seized in an investigation are supposed to be preserved – alive – as evidence. This is particularly true because since Mr. Mason was initially threatened with charges of felony animal neglect, the physical condition of the cats would have been relevant to the case.
3. Commissioner Green refused to order compensation for cat cages and medications seized (and not inventoried according to law) by LAPD, contending that the cages and medications were “used in conjunction” with the “contraband” cats who were seized, and were therefore contraband also. But the L.A. Municipal Code allows owners up to three cats, which Mr. Mason now has. Cages and medications are used in conjunction with cats, not just with “contraband” cats. Any responsible cat owner has medications, and cat cages are used to trap, neuter and return feral cats, an act that is explicitly allowed in the L.A. Municipal Code (53.69, c. "The Department may also waive fees under Subsections (a) and (b) for any person or rescue organization described above, assisting the Department to safely capture an animal for the health or safety of the animal or the public, including the trapping, neutering and returning of feral cats." I do not believe Commissioner Green has the right to decide which cats need medication and cages and which don’t.
4. He repeatedly (reportedly six times) compared Mr. Mason’s seized property to the gun of a felon. This was not only false, it was slanderous, because Mr. Mason was never convicted of anything, which also calls into question how he could call the property of someone who never committed a crime “contraband.”
5. His only criterion for determining the validity of a warrant was to remark that he knew the issuing judge and she was a “good judge.” This is appalling, giving an enormous appearance of impropriety to the entire court system. Of course the warrant was issued by a judge, and yes, he might know that judge, but to openly proclaim that the fact that he knew a judge was reason enough not to question a warrant’s validity is to completely undermine the basis of our criminal system. A warrant isn’t valid because you know the issuer; it’s valid or not based on the facts, and anything less is a complete mockery of the law.
Judge McCoy, I read the account of this proceeding and felt outraged that any citizen should be treated with this degree of disrespect and disregard for his rights. Commissioner Green has openly demonstrated not only an unjust bias towards law enforcement and judicial officials; he has shown a complete contempt for people who depend upon him for a fair hearing and for justice.
I’m asking that you investigate this case, speak to Mr. Mason and the other individuals who were in court that day, along with Commissioner Green. If you find that any one of the allegations against Commissioner Green have merit, I ask that you either dismiss him or substantively discipline him for this misconduct, contempt for the public, and corruption of the law. It is our right to expect justice when we go into a Los Angeles courtroom. Mr. Mason did not receive justice from Commissioner Green, I hope he will from you and that we can be reassured that we as citizens can expect justice as well.
Thank you for your help in this matter,