(Back to Confronting)

The No-On-E Club says:


"Blocking" is a term invented by the amendment's authors that, with this definition, has serious legal implications. Its meaning, as described in this section, could be used to argue against the practice of summary judgment - a procedural exercise that is used every day to rid our court system of frivolous lawsuits.

Californian Ron Branson, who wrote the amendment, targets summary judgment because he found himself on the losing end of it when he tried to sue a judge. His case was dismissed as frivolous and it earned him a fine for bringing it to court. How has Branson reacted to judgments like this? Not by going quietly, but by going after judges. By his own count he's sued a half dozen judges when they didn't rule in his favor.

By using the term "blocking," Branson plays a game of semantics - who wants to see our courts blocked? No one, of course. But a deeper understanding of the term's true implications - and Branson's motivation for including this definition in the amendment - reveals that this section would force our courts to accept frivolous lawsuits like his, and worse: it would let disgruntled plaintiffs like Branson sue a judge personally if he or she tried to throw out a wasteful, ill-conceived suit like his.

Our response:

I am most happy to address the No-On-E Club's concerns expressed above. However, they totally missed my intent of the term "Blocking," but gave it their own private interpretation, and then proceeded to attack their interpretation.

It is incumbent upon me to first state the true intent of the word "blocking" when I wrote the Amendment (see my experience below), which had no thought whatsoever of "summary judgments." Summary judgments may well be covered under paragraph 2, to wit, "No immunity shall extend to any judge of this State for ... intentional violation of due process of law...." for it has been my experience that summary judgment has been used as a tool to refuse to address the merits of my case(s) in violation of due process of law-- just arbitrarily throw the case out of court --a clear abuse of power which Amendment E is designed to correct.

Summary judgment is a valid legal procedure, providing that the procedural rules are followed. Simply arbitrarily calling a document "frivolous" without addressing its contents (facts and evidence according to law) is not such a procedure. Yet, that is what happens in the majority of pro se plaintiff cases-- it's the "norm" --SOP (standard operating procedure). It is presumed by the legal fraternity that no pro se plaintiff knows what he is doing, and therefore it isn't necessary to take the time to read his legal document(s). As one judge said to me in open court "Mr. Branson, I haven't wasted my time to read one piece of paper you have ever filed in this court." (This was after I had made several appearances in the case).  One thing Amendment E will do, among other things, is provide a plaintiff a means of having determined from the court record whether a document was actually found to be "frivolous" in fact, based on evidence, and not just arbitrarily thrown out of court without findings.

The Club's argument for "blocking", I must say, is thought-provoking for potential future arguments that may be made in court briefs; and I certainly do not wish to limit future ingenious applications that may be made, decided upon, appealed through the courts, and may even end up before future Special Grand Juries. Suffice it to say that the underlying objective here is, as is elsewhere, justice performed according to law as stated on the books.

The particular experience I had which prompted me to include the term "blocking" in the initiative was having a judge write an order "unsubmitting the evidence" after I produced three large volumes of evidence which was taken under submission by the judge at a default prove-up hearing. There is no provision for "unsubmitting" the evidence. The judge was required by law to consider the evidence and rule in my (plaintiff's) favor according to California Rules of Court and statute (Code of Civil Procedure 585(b)).  Since that time, the court file had mysteriously vanished. The Chief of Staff of my then-assemblywoman was not able to review the file to investigate the matter because the file was missing.

Certainly an unlawful order "unsubmitting the evidence" was an "act that impede[d] the lawful conclusion of [my] case" and exhibited the "willful rendering of an unlawful ... order."  It had nothing to do with summary judgment!

Ron Branson


(Back to Confronting)