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If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Harvard Westlake Lawsuit Archive

Breaking Bullying News -- Thanksgiving Holiday 2006

Ref The Story of Paul Moran is a good reason why HW Counsel should wake up: This bullying business is serious. Not impressed with the excuses.

Students at Harvard Westlake, best wishes! You may find this info of interest to share with your friends -- It explains how the issues below fit into current events. Please consider the information and discuss it with your peers in school. Good luck, and best wishes.

* * *

Ref The small problem with MPP, the fund transfers, and Hudnut: The alleged link between HW-connected Latham, illegal war crimes, and the DoD trip.

Next Event: Arbitration Status Conference 04/19/2007 at 09:00 am in department 54 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Welcome! This is the Harvard Westlake school lawsuit litigation archive.

New readers: Important disclaimers and welcoming notes

This archive listing below includes links to the LA Superior Court case docket; Constant's original material; and other web content about Harvard Westlake.

For example, the section called the "archive" includes links to a case overview, fatal admissions, and a list of issues likely to arise during discovery and cross examination.

We also include in another section other helpful links for educators and counselors.

As a special tribute to educators and parents, included are links to:

  • help your students combat bullying; and
  • topics to discuss with your school's general counsel when crafting a school newspaper editorial policy.

    There is also a way to stay updated on changes to this page. To stay updated on the lawsuit, you can have this content and updates instantly sent to you by either e-mail or with a news feed. Both are free.


    The archive, contents, and blogs are not associated with Harvard Westlake in any way.

    We make no assurance that the information is timely, accurate, or reliable.

    Please consult state board licensed/American Bar Association certified legal counsel. This is not legal advice and should not be relied on for legal counsel.

    This information is provided as is, without any warranties, and may not be consistent with more accurate information from the court docket. Please refer to official LA Superior Court docket information on meeting times, hearing locations, or updates for the Harvard Westlake Litigation.

    This information is provided for information only and general discussion for a wide public audience, and is not intended to be specific information directed toward any specific individual, party, or organization.

  • Archive

    Announcements in re [ BC332406 ]

    See You In 6 months, April 2007

    Next Meeting: 04/19/2007
    Time: 09:00 am
    Location: department 54
    Map: 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Status Conference (re arbitration)

    Status Conference:
    Date: 10/27/2006
    Time: 09:00 am
    Location: Department 54
    Address: 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    As of 7:30PM {Pacific Time}, 12 Jan 2006: Problem with the LA Superior Court website. No information on any changes. Check with your legal counsel, or the Court for any changes.

    Case information, Docket

    Reader tip To view the HW Docket content at the LA Superior Court: [1] hit the link; [2] scroll to the bottom; [3] at "Case Number" enter BC332406 for the Caplins complaint against HW; [4] leave all other boxes blank, hit "SEARCH".

    You only have to enter the code once; each successive time you hit a link related to this case number, you'll be directed immediately to the linked-content.

    08/02/2005 Case transferred from original department 39 to department 1


    Case information

    Documents filed

    Proceeding information

    Case goes to trial, survives summary judgment.

    SPLR reports Caplin complaint against Chronicle Advisor dismissed, with prejudice.

    Red herrings in the wine.


    Football team members summoned

    HW's fatal admissions in their April press release

    A look at the school history, management practices, and possible interrogatories to be filed against school officials to support litigation and the law suit.

    Complaint overview
    $100M internet hate crimes lawsuit filed against Harvard-Westlake
    Defendant Neumeyer: Partial dismissal of claims
    SPLR reports Caplin complaint against Chronicle Advisor dismissed, with prejudice.

    Chronicle advisor provides funds to media outlet with favorable coverage.

    DoJ Investigation: LA District Attorney
    LA District Attorney's declination in re Caplin inconsistent with guidance

    Links between LA DA and defense counsel.

    Proper notifications during safety of life issues.

    DoJ Investigation: LAPD
    LAPD has a pattern of ignoring credible threats of violence.

    LAPD has a pattern of concealing records and files; hit with attorney costs [ More . . .]

    Settlement Issues
    Punitive damages discussion

    General settlement issues

    Quick look at some caselaw relative to the School Handbook
    Plaintiff counsel

    Caplins former attorney allegedly suspended in 2000 by CA state Bar [05/20/2005 Substitution of Attorney: Hassett reported as "former attorney for plaintiff/petitioner" in case docket, replaced by LAW OFFICE OF JENNIFER LYNCH]:

    Jennifer L. Lynch, Attorney At Law;
    St. Bar #157020
    380 S. Melrose Dr., Suite 208 414
    Vista, Ca. 92083
    Tele: (760) 643-4113

    Defense counsel
    E. Randol Schoenberg 155281 1988

    One law firm monitoring the lawsuit. Kent A. Halkett, 102718
    Outside venture capitalists evaluating HW receivorship options
    White House linked to both LA District Attorney Cooley and Harvard Westlake through, inter alia :
    - [a] Latham & Watkins;
    - [b] UCLA [University of California at Los Angeles]
    - [c] the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] and
    - [d] Treasury Department and US Attorney

    Update Notification

    Get Harvard-Westlake lawsuit updates delivered to you!

    That way, you won't have to keep coming back here to check for updates. The info will be sent to your [a] blog, [b] e-mail [c] your news aggregator.

    Or, if you prefer, there are some colorful link-buttons at [d,e].

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    Helping students combat school bullying

    Ref BBC Guide on Bullying

  • Hate Crimes Panel 2005: Sept. 7 at the University of Richmond.

  • Paper: Making a difference in school bullying. [See page 36/37 for worksheet]

  • Video: It's a Girl's World.

  • Bully Online has index for teachers

  • Comebacks: Some easy things to practice with your parents and/or friends before bullying starts. If it happens, talk to someone. You're not alone.

  • PAVE

  • Links for counselors to prevent and mediate bullying

  • Suggested search links

  • NAESP.

    IT solution to combat hate-speech/e-bullying

    Require authentication so only authorized users can access school equipment.

    Combatting textbullying.

    High school newspaper publication policies

    The following are merely illustrative links; consult a licensed attorney for advice on drafting your specific school's policies relative to statutes and caselaw.

    Contrast the general caselaw with sample newspaper publication policies, guidance, guidelines, tips, and standards.


    S1145: Funding to prosecute hate crimes.

    Stickers here:

  • Read more . . .

    Harvard-Westlake isn’t your typical high school

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    On the Board of Trustees is Charlie Munger, financial partner to Warren Buffet, the second wealthiest man in the world, after Bill Gates.

    Also on the board are significant law firms which contributed significant funds through the current DHS Secretary Chertoff to the Bush Administration.

    DOE also has interests in the matter. It remains to be understood how many of the board members are linked directly or indirectly through law firms which directly support the oil drilling business; or what role, if any, principals had in the Cheney Energy Commission.

    Also, Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, is one of the major sponsors for journalism, the committee the current Westlake Chronicle advisor is associated with. Princeton also sponsors a number of outstanding High School journalism programs, and HW is well known at Princeton for outstanding academic achievement.

    Westlake is connected to all sectors of society: Law, media, Wall Street, government, and high society. If you contrast Fox’s OC with Westlake, the only difference might be that the juniors on the OC aren’t yet applying to college.

    The Lawsuit

    The roots of the lawsuit in re abuse go back to the days when Westlake was a boy’s military academy in the early 1900s. Fairly recently, the school joined forces with a girls school. There were some significant forces of opposition to the combination.

    Until recently, Westlake was known for good things. Apart from a major scuffle over a sporting event in the early 1990s, there really isn’t much to be said.

    The school is known for high academic standards, a favorable teacher-student ratio relative to other institutions, and outstanding Academic Achievement across the board. Indeed, when you mention HW, you’re likely to hear things like, “The best High School in America” and “It’s a place that all journalists can be proud.”

    Even on its website, the school had peer support groups designed to combat abuse.

    But, what would make a fine institution slide?

    Several factors. The Press got lazy. Just as they did prior to 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq.

    And the board of directors trusted the headmaster, even when things weren’t going so well below the surface.

    Hudnut has a reputation for a management style that is delegative. When there is as issue to be reviewed, he’d rather those closest to the situation, namely the teachers, take the lead. Under Hudnut, a committee orchestrated a reduction in homework hours.

    So it comes as a surprise to find that so much apparently went unnoticed or not addressed.

    Litigation issues

    Defense counsel will likely bring forward various former graduates to testify that the personnel were fine. Hudnut has over the years been known to extemporaneously given eloquent speeches celebrating the achievements of former students-turned-administrators.

    One vulnerable area remains the school publication policy. Emerging from the pre-litigation discussion is the false notion that the school newspaper is somehow free to publish what it likes.

    One small problem. The Chronicle is not a public newspaper. Rather, it is a newspaper from a private institution.

    The courts have already found that in cases where the institution is private, that the Administration officials are presumed to be in a position to exercise editorial control.

    This, combined with the Title IX requirements is at the heart of the complaint.

    Thus, Harvard-Westlake appears to be already appealing to the alumni to ensure that the donations do not drop off.

    What is surprising is the lack of press coverage of the issue. It remains to be understood how many members of the press are taking a hands off approach to the issue, just as they did with the pre-Iraq invasion.

    Even the students’ blogs make no mention of the issue. It’s as if the school and parents have collectively agreed to circle the wagons and say nothing.


    Multi-Jurisdiction Contract Management of School Website

    A Rhode Island firm is linked with the school website. The school website as up and running by January 1999. It remains to be understood whether the IT department effectively managed this contract; and if so, why management was not similarly effective in monitoring student access to the computer facilities.

  • A. How was a firm in Rhode Island picked as the California schools website?

  • B. What methods were used to ensure that a distant contractor was appropriately managed; what checklists, coordination, and discussions occurred; how were the ongoing contract results monitored, documented, and reported to the board?

  • C. How does the institutions’ approach to the allegations of abuse compare or contrast with its ability to effectively manage a distant contract in Rhode Island?

    Complex Scientific Technology Contract Management

    There is an external cable than runs from outside the building into the computer area. A contract was let to permit access. This was coordinated with the IT department.

    It remains to be understood whether the IT department carefully reviewed the proposed cable routing plan, and to what extent they were similarly actively involved in appropriately monitoring of computer equipment allegedly used by students to post the threats of death.

  • A. Either checklists are or are not being effectively used. When issuing the contract and overseeing the CHICO monitoring project, what types of checklists were used to ensure the contract was appropriate? It remains to be understood to what extent the apparent problems with not effective overseeing the abuse-prevention programs are indicators of problems in the wider IT management issues.

  • B. Either consultations occurred in the IT project, and were not effective in re the alleged abuse; or both areas have problems with multi-department communications. What consultations did the IT staff have with other members of the faculty, Hudnut, or the board of trustees? It remains unclear whether the apparent problems with communication in the abuse-prevention area are signs of wider problems with communications on other more complicated issues.

  • C. Either the checklists were used in the IT project, but were not in the alleged abuse situation; or they were not effectively used in either situation. How do the checklists, oversight, and management interest in the CHICO project at HW compare with managements responses to the allegations of abuse? It remains unclear whether the apparent problems with abuse-intervention are indicators of wider problems with possible cursory management oversight of technology programs.

    Appropriateness of management responses to foreseeable problems

    Natural disasters are foreseeable. They are not planned, but insurance policies are written to mitigate the risks. Also, there are management plans in place to respond to interruptions and quickly mobilize staff to address the issues.

    In Jan 2005 there was a flood, forcing a substantial number to stay home. It remains to be understood whether the administration’s response to the flood was appropriate, or whether there were critical management issues which would shed light on the apparent lack of response to the alleged abuse.

  • A. Were the administrations’ plans and responses to the flood appropriate?

  • B. Were personnel appropriately trained on procedures what to do with a school shutdown?

  • C. How does the staff planning and response to the flood compare to the alleged reports of abuse?

    Effectiveness of management oversight of facility upgrades

    There’s also been some discussion about a facility expansion which included a parking lot renovation. Small problem. If the student-teacher ratio is correct, there still appear to be an insufficient number of parking lot spots for the teachers. It remains to be understood whether the same Board of Trustees that approved the upgrade plan may have missed an important point, just as they may have missed issues in re alleged abuse.

  • A. Board members are expected to take an active interest in issues. What role did the board of trustees, faculty, or administration staff have in the facility upgrade plan?

  • B. Board members are expected to take an active interest in ensuring the institution is in compliance with the law and meeting institution objectives. Can the board explain why the facility upgrade plan was approved despite the apparent disconnect between the total number of faculty members, and the actual number of parking spots available after the project is to be completed?

  • C. Under Title IX and per the HW parent’s association handbook, faculty members have duty to report allegations of abuse to the Deans. How does the Board of Trustees “intimate involvement in the upgrade plan” contrast with the apparent hands off approach to the allegations of abuse? It remains unclear why the board would have different levels of interest on equally important issues, or is does the board not have enough interest in issues?

    Effectiveness in translating programs in to tangible results

    HW also has a number of associations with abuse prevention organizations. It remains unclear to what extent school officials were knowledgeable of these external association work products, and to what degree, if any they were negligent in translating the case law and lessons learned into appropriate oversight, policies, and responses to the alleged abuse.

    If we are to believe the public accolades for Hudnut, then we are to presume that he delegated the responsibility for oversight of these abuse-prevention programs to either one of the 10 deans, or a faculty member.

  • A. To prevail in a cause of action where qualified immunity fails, the school officials are expected to demonstrate competence in the performance of their duties. Did Hudnut stay in touch with the program?

  • B. Meeting minutes are normally required when board members meet. Are there meeting minutes of the faculty member discussions with students on the effectiveness of these programs?

  • C. It is unusual to have one management style for one set of issues, but a different management style for something else. Did Hudnut ensure that there was appropriate supervision of these well known programs to ensure that the programs were effective in practice, not just name?

  • D. With time, a management style emerges. How does the administrations approach to the abuse prevention programs compare with their approaches to the flood and facility upgrade programs?

    Funding issues

    Let’s take the plaintiff’s allegations as true, and presume that they are a symptom of a breakdown in management oversight, checklist compliance, and board involvement.

    Harvard Westlake issues guidance to parents on stock portfolios. It is not unusual to see Harvard Westlake on the list of first on US Securities and Exchange Documents.

  • What measures, if any, has the board taken in the wake of these allegations to look into wider management issues?

  • Is it reasonable to expect the board, in light of these allegations related to apparent non-compliance with checklists and program objectives, to look at others issues related to funds management?

  • Statement on Accounting Standards 99 [SAS99] is a checklist which outlines a number of risk indicators related to fraud. Some issues related to management turnover, public allegations of corruption, or indicators that internal controls are not effectively followed. What steps, if any, has the board taken to dovetail the guidance in SAS99 with the unfolding indicators in re HW?

  • AIG, which falls under Mr. Buffet, is currently under investigation by Mr. Elliot Spitzer, US Attorney General, over allegations that AIG corruptly persuaded firms to pay kickbacks. It is reported that Mr. Buffet has claimed over the years that he hires the best people and lets them run the show. In light of the allegations against HW of ineffective management responses to allegations of deviations from institutional standards in re hate crimes and abuse, what changes, if any, has the board made in their evaluation of their association with Mr. Munger?

    What remains unclear

    It remains to be understood, inter alia:

  • What pressure, if any, law firms on the board put pressure on the homeowner association and/or city environmental officials to either back off or approve a facility expansion project;

  • How much money, if any, was funneled from various law firms to city officials to put pressure on the DA not to prosecute;

  • Whether any individuals, firms, or foundations provided funding to the Bush Re-election campaign in the hopes that DoJ not thoroughly investigate various future allegations; and

  • Whether there were, are, or will be orders issued from Dow Jones to not cover the issues at Harvard Westlake to ensure continued flow of alumni funding.

    Harvard-Westlake has a lawsuit. It remains unclear how far this will go. Is it just a matter of law, or are there more pressed suits involved than meet the eye?

    Of interest

  • Case law compared to Middle School Hanbook.

  • Internet hate crimes at the HW Complaint.

    Read more . . .

  • Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    Harvard Westlake Lawsuit Article

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    Welcome! You're in the right place.

    This is the article that talks about the Harvard Westlake Lawsuit. It goes into some discussion about hate crimes and the school policies.

    The rules were clear, but acccording to the complaint the school officials were doing something else. Where was the board of trustees, or were the board members asleep like they apparently were in re UC Los Alamos National Lab[LANL]?

    To find the article in this blog, type in Kw="Internet Hate Crimes" or scroll down for the article about the Westlake Lawsuit.To read more articles, visit the tag group.

    The School officials are walking on very thin ice in a warming arctic summer. Assuming the essential facts in the complaint are true, you'll find the contrast with the schools' handbook/guide for students and parents very disturbing -- the school likes to say one thing, but it does something else.
    Although Harvard-Westlake encourages the development of individual talents and respects the rights of every student to his or her own opinion, there must be commonly accepted standards of behavior and communication. . . . We expect each member of the community to embrace the spirit as well as the letter of the law. . . . Respect for other people, honesty, and courtesy are fundamental standards in which the school believes and that are expected of everyone. /s/ Jeanne Huybrechts, Head of Middle School
    Appripriate use of technology
    QUOTE: Students accessing technology as representatives of Harvard-Westlake are expected to use appropriate language, manners, and ethics. Students who are unsure of what constitutes “appropriate” should ask themselves, “Will my actions reflect well on the Harvard-Westlake community?”END-QUOTE
    The guide also says that users should report inappropriate conduct; but we can only wonder why anyone would seriously do so if the management response was, "Send the victim to another school":
    QUOTE: Users are responsible for reporting problems, abuses, or misuses of technology resources. Being a responsible user means more than using technology appropriately; it also means taking responsibility for caring for these resources and reporting abuses and misuses. These include, but are not limited to, sending or receiving messages that contain or suggest pornography; unethical or illegal solicitation; and racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate language.ENDQUOTE
    Because of the apparent lack of action against the perpetrators, are we to conclude that threatening death is "appropriate use of technology"?

    The escape clause
    QUOTE: "Any inappropriate use of technology may result in disciplinary action." ENDQUOTE
    Meaning, "may" is discretionary and non-mandatory.

    Take a look at page 48 of the guide, "Audience Behavior Guidelines" -- it appears they put more focus on theater producion standards of behavior than that of factors affecting academic performance, like bullying:

    All beepers and cell phones should be turned off.
    • No photographic equipment is allowed.
    • No talking.
    • If it is necessary to leave your seat during a performance, please
    wait for an appropriate time to leave the theater, when the action on
    stage has momentarily stopped.
    • No calling out to performers while they are performing.

    Maybe they need to add as a 5th bullet, "Please refrain from posting death threats on the internet."

    Sportsmanship: What are they teaching those little interenet-death-threaters?

    This is what they say in the guide [in brackets -- with my comments, based on the news reports about the death threats added]:
    We will teach habits of body and mind that contribute to a healthy and happy life [for those who want to learn how to abuse and victimize others with threats of death].

    We will encourage [but not require] our student–athletes to challenge themselves [and others through threats of death] through [evil, not] honest [harassing] competition [and threats to others] and to learn lifelong lessons of [lack of] responsibility, commitment [to threats of abuse and death], and initiative [which we do not expect you to actually apply; just learn them so you can know what others are foolish to believe].

    We will [pretend to] practice and [go through the motions of] teach[ing] teamwork and good sportsmanship [; when your target is not looking, be evil to them; but why stop there -- do it to their face].

    We will respect [most of] our student–athletes and their [evil plans to threaten death] commitments beyond athletics [not really, but it sounds good on paper, doesn't it].

    We expect all members of our community to respect the athletes and support the officials who join us in competition [this is a nice slogan to induce the parents to keep paying for a private education -- are you tearing up, yet?].

    We recognize that our athletic program is an integral part of the Harvard-Westlake community and complements the academic mission that is central to the
    life of our school [just don't ask us to actually expect peple to follow these rules wen using technology, remember we only "may" impose discipline].

    Sportsmanship standards should apply to the internet [See page 57]
    Players must show respect for their teammates, coaches, officials,
    opponents, and the game [but not the readers of the internet?].
    • Following each game, it is appropriate to conduct a cheer for and/or shake hands with the opposing team [but it is OK to verbally abuse and threaten death of your fellow school mates?].
    • Profanity is not acceptable at any time [but we won't really mind if you threaten someone with deaeth on the internet, cuz that's not really a game?]. An athlete will be removed from a contest if she/he uses inappropriate language of any kind [but go ahead and use fowl language when threatening someone who do not like on the internet?].
    Educators are involved in equipment use: Fair notice to parents and students

    Reliance, and in writing:
    Harvard-Westlake sports and training equipment may be used only after proper instruction and with appropriate supervision.
    In other words, it remains to be seen whether the scope of the allegations are amended to include a class action for constructive fraud and breach of contract: Apparently parents were led to believe that students would be appropriately supervised, but they were not.

    Harassment page 24 [added comments in brackets]
    Any form of harassment, including sexual harassment, whether verbal, physical, or visual, is strictly prohibited [clearly promulgated; relied upon]. All students must be allowed [reasonable expectation of eforcement] to work and study in an environment free from harassment [advertized position, climate and promoted publicly in written literature -- false advertising?] and unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures. Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments or other generally acceptable social behavior. Sexual harassment refers to behavior that is not welcome, personally offensive, or undermines or weakens morale.

    Sexual harassment may include such conduct as (1) demands for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt promises or preferential treatment or threats concerning student status, (2) pressure for sexual activity, (3) offensive, unwanted physical contact such as hugging, patting, pinching, or constant brushing against another’s body, or (4) offensive unwanted sex-oriented verbal “kidding,” jokes, or abuse [seem clear to me: Unwanted statements is harassment].

    If a student becomes aware of harassment of any kind, whether it be personal or not, or feels that he or she is a victim of harassment, this information should be communicated immediately to his or her dean, the head of school, the school psychologist, or the school counselor. Any such complaint must be specific and should include all relevant information so that the school may conduct a thorough investigation.

    The deans are required to report [did they?] such complaints to the head of school. The school will investigate the complaint [did it?]. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the school will take action [Did it?] to remedy the situation. The school will not tolerate any retaliation [If retaliation is not acceptable, why are targets advised to leave?] against a student who files a complaint or participates in an investigation regarding a complaint of harassment. However, anyone who makes a false claim of harassment will be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion.

    Is Southern California full of Hate?

    The reason why this is significant is that there have been other attacks recently in the southern California area, the other at Poway High School in San Diego. Why are some attacks getting more attention and police concern than others; and why are targets told to "let it go" and then encouraged to to leave?

    This shifts the burden onto the victim and doesn't solve the harassment problem; it just avoid dealing with the real problem: People not being held accountable for their conduct and poor management.

    Indeed, things are looking bad for management.

    Franklin is an interesting read in that it discusses how a case was dropped, nothing done. The Supreme Court reversed, saying that damage awards were appropriate. The 9th Circuit in 143 F.3d 473 [Warn: Opinion Withdrawn] stated,
    [ in re Franklin, 503 U.S. 60 at 75, 112 S. Ct. 1028, 117 L. Ed. 2d 208.] QUOTE Thus, after Franklin, a school official in a supervisory position cannot claim immunity for the failure to respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination. ENDQUOTE
    20 USC 1681 appears to be a possible cause of action; we'll have to see the actual complaint.

    Here is some interesting language from the 9th Circuit in re "School Officials May Be Held Individually Liable For Failing To Act Upon Harassment Of Students,." 143 F.3d 473. Cert was denied, 526 U.S. 1154.

    Based on this case and the unfolding situation with the DA, it looks as though the situation is far more serious in re 1983 claims. In Oonis [143 F.3d 473] the court found, "The allegations that defendants knew of Ibach's behavior and failed to prevent it are sufficient to show violations of clearly established Title IX rights during the 1992-93 year."

    Specifically, given the clear guidance issued in 1998, the reasonable person would expect other communities to have enacted some sort of training by 2005.

    Even the Poway City Council has closed door litigation meetings, highlighted in red; they gave a $3000 check for Poway High School Grad Nite in 2001.

    1997 language in re expulsion. Expulsion shall be initiated for . . . "Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault". Today, they expel-ostracize the victim-target, a widespread practice in America.

    There was clear statutory language; plenty of time for counsel to digest the language; and ample opportunity for the authorities and management to take action. It seems clear that alot of the language got ignored or explained away on the basis of "the kid didn't mean it." Who's actually running the school, the bullies?

    This is not a new problem. Hazing history at US High Schools, and was behind the Columbine and Red Lake attacks. These school officials appear to be playing stupid about reality. That would tend to increase the severity of the damage award.

    I'm guessing that personnel in the school, DA's office, and LE were promoted not based on qualifications or knowledge of the regulations, but because of backfilling positions that were cleared out because of mandatory retirements.

    Let's take a look at a random person who was tangentially associated with both Harvard-Westlake and Title IX. Again, I'm not saying that this person has a problem or is responsible; only to show that the personnel assigned to Harvard-Westlake did have the ability to understand Title IX, and did have contacts to get informed.

    For example, look at Matt Dillon's CV

    1988: "Tragic Laughter," California Classical Association-Southern Section: Harvard-Westlake School

    1989-1991: Chair, Title IX Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Women, LMU

    Indeed, in 2002 Audrius Barzdukas, head of Athletics at Westlake-Harvard discussed the benefits of Title IX ["Due to Title IX, the opportunitiesare greater than ever"], so some of the school officials knew the signifigance of Title IX. More evidence that there was no excuse for "not knowing" or "failing to act", and this would tend to up the damage award.

    Charter schools not independent.

    Westlake Harvard Lawsuit Background

    NBC4 photos. Caplin filmography

    Superior Court Case #BC332406, Department 39. [ Case Docket: Link to Superior Court ]

    Contacts: [Not affiliated with Constant's Pations]

    The Law Offices of Charlotte Hassett, Esq.

    Jaffe & Co., Inc.

    Note: Hasset was replaced as counsel in May 2005. Caplins new attorney is:

    Jennifer L. Lynch, Attorney At Law;
    St. Bar #157020
    380 S. Melrose Dr., Suite 208
    Vista, Ca. 92083
    Tele: (760) 643-4113

    If you enjoy the article and thoughts, I encourage you to tell your friends and subscribe. More blogs are on the way.

    Read more . . .

    Jury System: Can it survive testilying?

    Quick tip: Read more about testilying and other LE abuses.

    Cops lie in court. But isn't the court supposed to catch this?

    Lying to do the right thing?

    The American legal system does little to inspire confidence when it requires the public to continue to assent to such arrogance. US police officers have no credibility. The present jury system needs to be either reformed or abolished.

    Let’s look at brief history of jurisprudence. Before juries, there were trials by ordeal. The accused was forced to hold hot coals. If they were innocent God would intervene.

    Many centuries ago, the juries were made up of neighbors, nor impartial witnesses. Rather than hear evidence, the jury members would simply discuss their view of the situation, and make their decision.

    They came to their conclusion based on their personal impressions of the parties. No evidence was heard. The juries simply swore an oath to God.

    Today, there is another quirk in the jury system. Sworn officer are lying. Just because a police officer says something in court, it doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.

    For the jury system to survive, there need to be reforms. The days of the trial by ordeal and quiet consultation of neighbors are over. So too should end the days of officers collectively deciding that they are going to pin something on someone.

    The solution to this problem is to reform the jury system. What is to be done?

    There need to be some demonstrated basis for believing that the officer is not lying. It should not be up to the accused to “prove their innocence” by attempting to show the officers have a pattern of misconduct.

    The burden of proof on the officer veracity should move from the defendant to the state. Sworn officers should not be able to simply make accusations; rather, the state should have the burden of proof to prove why officers should be believed.

    The officers need to have a higher burden of proof. Just as lawyers cannot be witnesses, so longer should officers be able to be witnesses. Rather, the state should have the same burden as the accused in finding impartial witnesses.

    There also need to be some meaningful sanctions on officers for their misconduct. It is a shame that despite the known veracity and patterns of abuses within law enforcement, that the government has taken a “hands off approach.”

    Strange, based on mere innuendo, the government takes a very active interest in the private affairs of non-crimminals. It would seem reasonable that if the government were to maintain legitimacy, it would intrude just as much into the private affairs of government officials before they do so in the private affairs of the public.

    Yet, why are officers afforded the special privilege of being a “private citizens” and “cannot be intruded upon,” then turn around and suggest that the public does not have this immunity?

    The officers in the American legal system are unreliable. The jury system, if it is to survive, needs to be reformed.

    The US has no credibility when it touts the benefits of the jury system, all the while its officers continue to lie with impunity.

    Court sanctions, the legal system, training and management have failed. What is needed is a shift in the balance in the foundation of the jury system.

    One that truly puts the public in par with the constitution and the notion of innocence until proven guilty, not require accused people to prove their innocence before lying officers who will do anything to put innocent people in jail.

    Read more . . .

    How western intelligence like MI5 and FBI blackmail asylum seekers and immigrants

    Quick tip: Other blogs mentioning SAIC

    They fled tyranny. Then got more abuse in America.This is sure interesting. MI5 in the UK is blackmailing people applying for political asylum.

    The game goes like this. In exchange for the UK State Security service not deporting them, the asylum seeker is told they have to provide information to the intelligence service.

    If they do not agree to cooperate? MI5 has a strange habit of ensuring they lose their jobs and are fired.

    This is not small matter. For in the United States, illegal aliens could be detained for months in detention centers pending the court review.

    How many in the “free nations of Echelon” are using this blackmail technique against newly arriving immigrants?

    Law enforcement has the role of enforcing the law. They will use all sorts of tricks to get information, even lie.

    But to parade before the world that the US-UK-coalition of the threatened is somehow “doing the right thing in Iraq” is absurd.

    These tactics are no better than what Saddam Hussein has done. Indeed, the “widespread abuses in Iraq” that the UK minister says were justification for removing Saddam Hussein are, guess what, widespread in the US and UK.

    Are we to believe, that based on innuendo alone, that the free nations of the world who might arrive to liberate the Americans from their oppressive captors are somehow subject to a different standard than that applied to the invasion of Iraq?

    “Oh, we can’t think about that.”


    Yet, let us recall that the American ABC News has reported that the DoJ has released a report that the 10,000 AlQueda are fiction.

    This means that there’s no basis to say to any immigrant, “You need to cooperate with us to report information on AlQueda, or you are going to lose your job and be deported.”

    Once again, the United States wants to point the finger at other nations, but engages in the same abuses: Torture, blackmail, and detention of innocent people.

    In the UK, there are individuals on watch lists who are innocent. Despite being cleared, these individuals’ names continue to come up. They are stopped.

    This is no different than the no fly list in the US.

    Yet, why is the outrageous conduct in the UK getting much attention, but the similarly outrageous arrogance in the TSA doesn’t get a peep?

    It’s as if the Americans have succumbed to their plight, and accepted that they have lost their freedom. “Oh, it doesn’t affect me. I’m not an illegal alien.”

    Law enforcement will lie to put you in jail. Then because you have “committed a crime,” that makes you eligible to be deported. Even if you have been in the United States for many years.

  • How much information do the informants give to law enforcement that is false?

  • Why is law enforcement unwilling to respond to calls?

  • Why does the public have to go to extraordinary lengths to prompt law enforcement to respond to reasonable requests for assistance?

    The answer is: The law enforcement knows that the war on terror is phony; and that this is a public relations ruse to gather more non-criminal information.

    Yet, what does the FBI do with this information? It cannot manage it. Look at the botched SAIC contract. Is that an improvement?

    Look at what they do with the information their own employees give them. Sibel Edmonds told DoJ time and time again there was a problem. But did DoJ listen? No.

    What did the FBI do about the information in the I-drive? Did it give it up? No, it couldn’t find it.

    And what did ChoicePoint do when there were allegations that non-approved personnel were getting access to information that was otherwise only supposed to be seen by law enforcement? They covered it up.

    What did the NSA and GCHQ do when Ms Gunn [GCHQ] and Mr. Frank Koza [NSA] were linked with domestic spying in the United States? Nothing, they just asked for the arrogant Mr. Bolton to shove the UN’s nose into the notion of just war theory.

    The world appears to continue to require the catalyst of major human rights abuse. Yet, how many more abuses are required in the UK, US, and Australia?

    How many more people have to believe the bait that they are “running from tyranny, in the hopes of finding a better life,” only to run right into the very forces of arrogance and abuse they thought they fled?

    The word needs to go out. To the entire world. If you think you’re going to flee your tyranny by coming to the west, you are mistaken.

    Once you arrive on the shores of America, you will be threatened and forced to give information about your friends. You will be threatened with incarceration at detention camps if you do not agree to cooperate.

    You could be locked up indefinitely, lost in the US and UK prison system if you decide that you are not going to do what anyone has no reasonable reason to be expected to do.

    If you dare stand up for yourself in the United States or the United Kingdom, you will be threatened with a loss of a job, deportation, and loss of liberty.

    That is not freedom. That is tyranny. And it is no different than that which you hope to flee.

    Stay where you are. Build your own life. And don’t bother believing the illusion that America, the UK, or Australia are free. These countries are run by stupid people, who look for any excuses to violate their constitution. They have already shown they will torture and kill people who dare to refuse to submit to their arbitrary will.

    That is not freedom. It is the same tyranny which the west supposedly fought and died for to prevent on the shores of Turkey during WWI. What a waste!

    The West longs for the Cold War; for in its absence, the West has become the very enemy it once defeated.

    Read more . . .

  • DoD has a ready manpower source for combat

    A draft is on the way. But for whom?Lately, there’s been some talk in Washington that there might be a draft.

    Hold your horses. Actually, DoD has some extra manning that they could realign first.

    There’s been some anecdotal evidence that non-combat units could be realigned within DoD to provide front-line support.

    US Contractors aren’t the only ones that are picking up that slack.

    One potential source of manning will be non-combat units. There are manpower studies going on to determine which units could be moved.

    Some of the factors that go into determining whether units could be realigned from non-combat to combat support are based on academic studies and computer analysis.

    One method proposed is to analyze the number of man-hours that DoD units spend on non-official work.

    This information could be aggregated to determine which DoD units could afford to have their positions either realigned, abolished, or converted to contract status.

    This isn’t to say that it will come cheap. Moving a position from DoD to any other unit can be expensive.

    But there are options on the table besides a draft.

    One place to look will be the number of internet hours that military personnel use official computers for non-combat related activities. Some DoD IPs are known to be hotbeds of online gaming.

    Is this in preparation for war? Certainly not. They’re online role playing games that are fantasy based. They have nothing to do with simulation, combat readiness, or anything related to official duties.

    Another source of realignment will be personnel currently enrolled in academic studies online. If they can continue their academic studies online while in Iraq, that’s two problems solved: Avoids a draft, and puts active duty DoD personnel in forward positions.

    Will the debate end soon? Certainly not. DoD has a story to tell to the world: That, despite the manning cuts, DoD can still do the job.

    They certainly can. All they have to do is look in-house for the excess. There are plenty of troops bored enough during this phony “war on terror” that they have enough time to debate their role-playing character names, online, in plain view.

    I encourage DoD to look at their OPSEC procedures. Why are troops posting on the bulletin boards using DoD IP numbers and being so brazen about their online gaming activities?

    Would be a shame to find out that DoD IG has failed to investigate the complaints.

    Or is online fantasy gaming now part of the new DoD training program?

    Read more . . .

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Nigerian Online Scammers

    Their new scam. Fair warning. It's not like 419. They are now targeting sales personnel with online e-mail contacts.

    Potentially, Nigerian scam artists are masquerading using bogus e-mails stolen from legitimate firms.

    Here are a list of some Nigerian IP addresses to screen and flag for precautions only. This is not a black list, nor are they necessarily related to crimminal activity.

    They may be taking over e-mail addresses, or using similar-looking e-mails to confuse readers.

    Read more . . .

    Internet hate crimes

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    How good kids tunred bad. How a great institution failed.

    The story unfolds at Harvard-Westlake.Harvard-Westlake School faces $100M lawsuit. LAPD/FBI investigating death threats.

    Good thing the victim has a civil lawyer -- FBI agents are lame.

    Convenient Lawsuit Archive

    To help you find other interesting content, there is an archive for the Harvard-Westlake lawsuit. [Click this button: ]

    Thoughts and questions for discussion

    California Statutes

    What is your view on the California Hate Crimes statutes? [Here are some words in re CALIFORNIA CODES PENAL CODE SECTION 422.6]

    California School Legal Advisory

    Here is a copy of a memoranda issued in 2004 in re Hate Crimes and CA Schools. What is your view: Does this memoranda apply in this private school?

    Note the following language in the 2004 memoranda: QUOTE: "Penal Code section 422.6 states as follows, and must be read together with the categories stated above: No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force . . . "
    Where does it say in the memoranda that the "threat of force" must be linked with actual intent?

    Appellate Review

    Page 4 states that the threat is a function of having been communicated electronically, and it is a function of what is in the mind of the target. From USA v Reynolds, 5th Circuit:
    Blacks Dictionary defines a “threat” as “[a] communicatedintent to inflict harm or loss on another or on another’sproperty[.]”Blacks Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004). Webster’sdefines a “threat” as “[a]n expression of an intention to inflict something harmful.”Webster’s II, New Riverside UniversityDictionary (Anne H. Soukhanov ed., Houghton Mifflin Company 1984). Furthermore, we have defined the term “threat” in 18 U.S.C. §875, which prohibits threatening communications made through interstatecommerce. We held under § 875(c) that a communication is a threat if “in its context [it] would have a reasonable tendency to create apprehension that its originator will act according to its tenor.” United States v. Meyers, 104 F.3d 76, 79 (5th Cir. 1997); see also United States v. Redden, 81 Fed.Appx. 96, 2003 WL 22682457 (9thCir. 2003) (unpublished)(defining “threat” under 18 U.S.C. § 175).We have found no credible support for a definition of “threat” thatrequires reference to a future act. We therefore conclude that the proper definition of “threaten” in §2332a is that adopted by this court in Meyers: a communication that has a reasonable tendency to create apprehension that originator of the communication will act as represented.
    Blacks law dictionary in re "Intent"

    When arriving at a decision over whether an individual "intended" to do something, the courts often review Blacks Law Dictionary. In this situation, the dictionary is quoted as saying in re "intent."

    In this case, is the crime a future event; or is the crime the threat of a crime? How does your conclusion square with the 2004 memoranda on what is prohibited? Did the school officials, in light of the 2004 memoranda and the definition of intent properly respond to the facts as they knew them?

    A layman's view of Hate crime

    Let's put aside the CA legal jargon for the moment, and look at the plain language of what is a "hate crime." One unofficial view of hate crime is that involves harassment.

    In this case, does the internet posting quality as 'harassment'; however, does the CA statute at section 422.4 properly cover this more general/non-legal notion of harassment; and is the public's perception of harassment [and the concept of hate crime] not consistent with the plain language of 422.4?

    Hate crimes legislation: Pros and Cons

    Here are some arguments for and against Hate Crime legislation. What are your views: Is the legislation needed; is there too much; does the incident at the school indicate that the laws are fine, they just need to be enforced; or are there gaps in the statutes that need repair?

    Threat Management Units: Writings as a basis for increased alerts

    TMU personnel are assigned to respond to reasonable concerns by high profile celebrities when there are allegations of stalking.

    Recall that the TMU training does use as an indicator someone's writings to a celebrity as evidence of their potential threat. Does the TMU in LA plan to approach similar statements and incidents in such a manner, and should the public reasonably expect that the TMU will not respond the similar written statements and notices?

    If true, this would have a chilling effect on the decision to reside in California; and would be a material decision for high profile celebrities in to engage in continued association with the State of California. That tax revenue might have a better return-on-investment [ROI] in neighboring states like Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon.

    Absence of forethought implies educational experience wanting

    One element in re Hate Crimes is forethought. Does the act of writing on the internet presume forethought; conversely, if individuals in the school are writing without forethought, should the school allow unsupervised access to the internet?

    The LA DA asserted there was no intent. However, this raises questions about the ROI for those parents paying for the education at this school. Specifically, if this school is for "well established youth," could it not be argued that, despite the education, those who are products of this educational system access the internet and do not make reasoned use of the internet?

    CA AG guidance on hate crimes. Where these procedures clear, and how did the DA's decisions square with the guidance?

    Someone needs to explain how someone who voluntarily writes a statement on the web cannot be found to have intended to carry that out. Why did they write the statement, unless they actually intended it to be true; or are we saying there is a discipline problem despite the high fees parents pay for "high class education"?

    More broadly, are young adults at American schools getting "high class education" about not being accountable for their actions?

    If this is the intent, then there are well suited for jobs on Wall Street and the Federal Government in re White Collar Crime and War Crimes in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

    Perhaps they would like to apply for some jobs in the state and local governments. I hear that American government officials like people who are blind sheep, unwilling to take responsibility.

  • Is the declination to prosecute actionable?

  • What was the basis for the LA DA's office to conclude that a "willful, voluntary statement about future action" was not related to some intent to carry out that threat?

  • Why do people get to say, "the defendants were not under duress to make the statement, therefore they have not intent to carry it out," but then turn around and say "the lack of physical harm means there was no duress for the plaintiff--victim"?

  • Are there any improvements or revisions needed in the LAPD officer manual?

  • Is the conduct not a crime, but a civil tort such as "intentional infliction of emotional distress"?

  • How do countries like Canada approach internet hate crimes; and is the US approach lacking?

  • California schools have issued guidance on school bullying. However, Harvard-Westlake is a private school. Should the public reasonably expect that students attending private schools should put up with bullying on the internet?

    Other links

    Harvard-Westlake webpage.

    Other LA private schools [Link index, narrative in Japanese]

    Blogs mentioning the school. Note the number of students who are complaining about the school.

    My views

    That the FBI and LAPD are investigating tends to substantially undermine the DA’s position.

    Further, the intent-element requires only that there be intent to harass, not intent to carry out overt assaults.

    Thus, I’m not persuaded that the DA correctly handled this situation.

    Yet, I’m not surprised that the prosecutor essentially declined to prosecute. Let us look broadly at the apparently rising tolerance for abuse.

    The US Prisons system and abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are often explained away as collateral damage.

    America’s actions speak volumes: It has an appalling record of human rights abuses and criminal torture committed at the hands of US troops abroad.

    At home, there’s a reasonable basis to question who is actually holding the judicial branch of government accountable.

    I’m most troubled that the prosecutor in this case, despite the clearly promulgated CA statute in re hate crimes, threw the case out on the apparent basis of linking the students’ actions to a speculative future event.

    That misses point.

    The intent of public statutes is to combat abusive conduct. The goal is not to form a foundation in which to selectively cherry pick high profile cases.

    Rather, the purpose of the law is to guide public behavior. Not explain it away.

    Indeed, that the family needs to bring this case in Civil court is most troubling. The purpose for having a public prosecutor is so that the public [in this case, called “the state”] has its business done for them.

    In other words, the reason that a public prosecutor commands a high salary is not based on his academic and career accomplishments in the rear-view-mirror; but it is based on service and the potential that that experience would be applied, not ignored, on the road ahead.

    The future has arrived.

    To be clear, this is not to suggest that the prosecutor was somehow negligent in the conduct of his affairs. This remains a matter for the courts to decide.

    However, I would hope that the CA state bar take a careful look at the DA’s actions in light of the Prosecutors’ ethics. Is the DA so overwhelmed and overworked that his office is unable to manage the workload?

    The DA needs to explain what happened. But there needs to be an outside review. The DA has a problem.

    Another view

    Let’s put aside the public policy issues for the moment and focus on the real problem. There’s a young adult, in a school, who has a problem.

    The young adult has been threatened with death.

    That is a problem.

    But the problem doesn't stop there.

    Nor is the problem just for the young adult. But also for the parents.

    At every juncture, the system, to which the adult parents pay taxes to support, has done nothing, but for the private civil action.

    Does the public require the catalyst of major disasters for it to respond? We’ve already had the disaster in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

    The abuses in the US prisons are already history. Not a hypothetical-potential-speculative-future-possibility.

    It already happened.

    One cannot throw their hands up in the air and credibly ask the public to believe, “The DA carefully reviewed the matters and made the decision.”

    No. A prosecutor doesn’t make a decision about the law. That is up for the court to decide.

    A prosecutor’s role is to gather the evidence which law enforcement collects and present the case. We need to understand why, despite the evidence of webpage writing, that this wasn’t sufficient to act.

    To intervene. And to send a clear signal, “This type of behavior, these threats of violence, does have consequences.”

    Rather, the public must come to an understanding of what the public officials are hoping to provide.

    Or not provide. And why.

    Recall, under the theory of the state, the people give up some of their rights to self-defense in exchange for the state, in return, promising to provide some sort of security in return.

    In this case, the parents have given to the school the power to educate their child in a suitable environment.

    Yet, despite the 2004 memo, we see nothing other than words that would demonstrate that anything was actually done, but for the civil lawsuit.

    Why does it take so much work on behalf of private citizens to get the local, state, and federal governments to respond?

    It should not require Herculean efforts on behalf of the victim and the victim’s guardians to ensure that the system works.

    No. The purpose of a constitution is to provide the guidelines so that the state, not the individual, takes on this burden.

    Yet, in this day and age, we have the opposite. The public, and in this case the parents, are doubly burdened with taxes to pay for public schools, yet in order to get the education they think they need, choose to spend additional money on a private school.

    Did the school provide that extra security and protection which the parents paid for?

    Are there substantial benefits to engaging in a private transaction for a private education?

    On the surface, I’m appalled that the parents have been failed in this situation not just once, not just twice, but countless times.

    The public education system has fallen down. The school administrators issued a memorandum in 2004 calling for there to be close scrutiny of the situations related to hate crimes.

    And then, when the publication of that inappropriate threat was communicated, what did the public servant do?

    On all counts, those the citizenry freely chooses to engage in a government-sovereign transaction were let down.

    Yet, who is to be held accountable? Surely, we will hear many claims of immunity. That the children’s conduct was so unexpected that no reasonable person could possibly do anything to stop it.

    Yet, who will suffer? The young adults, whose parents pay for this education, will be asked, because of the transgressions of a few, to undergo greater scrutiny.

    Will they be asked to give up their personal privacy so that they have to sign in before using the internet?

    The answer isn’t to require the disciplined to be disciplined. The answer is to discipline the undisciplined.

    The answer isn’t to celebrate the American system, all the while doing nothing to stand by the parents in their time of need.

    Those parents are the one doing the public’s bidding. And for that, at the very least, they deserve more than simply kudos and spots on the television.

    At the very least they deserve to be compensated justly for the grief that they have been put through. Again, the purpose of the prosecutors’ office is to do the public’s business.

    When the DA refuses to act, or asserts that an act isn’t a problem, or there is some sort of legal impediment to action, then the DA needs to get out of their office and come before the legislature and say “We have a problem and this is what needs to be done to fix it.”

    Yet, I see nothing of that sort. I see a DA that throws up their hands and says, “Not my job. Not going to hold these kids accountable for their threatening words. We’re going to rely on what the students say and then make the problem go away.”

    That’s not leadership. That’s not public service. That’s something the ABA needs to look into: Did the DA recklessly ignore the overwhelming evidence on the website and, without fair basis, knowingly refuse to prosecute something that deservedly requires some action, and that a reasonable attorney would know required some action?

    But let’s not stop there. Let us recall the situation in LA. The police have regularly been under close scrutiny for their misconduct.

    Is it not strange that the very police force that commits abuses on innocent civilians, is now one of the investigating agencies looking into this matter? Not just the LAPD, but also the FBI.

    They’ve already demonstrated their own institutional arrogance toward the weak with their abuse, threats, and overt acts of violence.

    Let us be clear. The FBI agents were the ones in Guantanamo who were actively in discussions with the US NAVY IG in how to get out of this mess. FBI and DOJ aren’t credible in getting to the bottom of a mess. They create messes.

    The US prison system as evidenced by the abuses committed in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo has a problem. We should not expect either the FBI or the LAPD to be sensitive to some “idle discussion” on the internet.

    Surely, the public will not lose the outrage of this. Surely someone will stand up and say what is self-evident: Those who are entrusted to protect the public are abusive; and they have no credibility in investigating something that they do every day.

    Thus, it is an outrage, yet also understandable that the only way forward is through a civil action.

    Yet, that is the outrage. That government failed. That the private citizen, not government, is the one that brings order and understanding.

    But it is growing far too common. How far they drift when not bound by the oath to which they freely took an oath.

  • What is the United States to even suggest that it is for the rule of law, or fair treatment, when its own school children are subjected to threats of abuse?

  • That the only way forward is not through the criminal system, but a private cause of action?

    Recall, the President of the United States used the same charges of abuse against Saddam Hussein to justify invading Iraq.

    Time and time again, the President claimed that Saddam was not responding.

    The President went to the Congress and claimed that Saddam was not cooperating.

    Yet, do we not have the same at Westlake? Are there not credible reports of abuse that the leadership is not responding to; that the leadership is not cooperating to resolve?

    I see no difference between the allegations of misconduct leveled against Saddam and the hollow attempts by the United States to justify actions; and the similarly hollow excuses to do nothing when there is real evidence of similar threats on a public website.

    In both cases: Hot air, moral indignation, and actions at odds with principle.

    That is an integrity issue. And what forms the basis for international contempt for the United States. That it parades itself as the standard bearer for one set of standards, while its actions and deviations are above remark.

    This divergence the downfall for both the British and Roman Empires. One by land. The other by elephants.

    We might wonder: What are the students at Westlake learning?

    If the DA is correct, that the students didn’t intend to do anything, then I ask you, “Why are parents paying a premium to send their children to such an institution?”

    What will they learn? Apparently the stuff that Americans learn around the globe: That it is permissible to threaten death and have no consequences?

    Such is the arrogance to which the Americans mobilized when waging war on the Germans and Japanese during WWII.

    It was the standard of evidence which McNamara self-admittedly said justified the firebombing on Tokyo.

    Has America, in the vacuum of the Cold War’s end, become that enemy?

    Look around you. Look into the eyes you see. Ask yourself if your nation, your leadership, and your fellow citizens have not lost something since 9-11.

    Yes, America was attacked. And it will face troubles again, as war is not a history lesson, but an option.

    But recall the words at the national cathedral. Let us not let the enemy bait us to be as abusive.

    These are the words which the Americans must remind themselves. For in the wake of 9-11, it appears as though the level of callousness and arrogance has reached a new watermark.

    To the point where abuse inflicted on the youth is considered a right of passage.

    As if threats of death are not actionable.

    If that is true, then what basis was there to take any action in Iraq?

    To the extent that public officials now throw their hands up in the air saying, “Things are fine; the problem is with those who dare point out the obvious.”

    America is a sick country. It needs to be brought back into good health.

    Let us hope that American will pause during this time. That it will realize that its own children are now throwing around threats of death will full expectation that their conduct face no consequences.

    This is alarming. For it is a sign that America’s leadership is having a direct, negative, and adverse impact on the youth.

    This is no different than what was happening in Nazi Germany. With the Hitler Youth. S

    It began with innuendo and threats. The leadership got away with invading countries. The youth then took it upon themselves to act.

    Is this the path America wants to take?

    The time to correct and adjust is now, not when it is self-evidently intolerable. For there have already been threats of death that were actively carried out in Red Lake in Minnesota.

    Yet, what did we hear? “Nobody did anything.” Well, once gain, we have threats of death, nobody doing anything.

    Except for the Parents. Was the tragedy at Columbine and Red Lake lost?

    Was the fact that youths spoke about their plans to commit criminal acts not something that sunk into the minds of the country?

    Part of the responsibility for this callous disregard for bullying lies in the White House. It also rests with the Los Angeles DA’s office. And the time to set the example has long overdue.

    The rule of law is all the America has. And when that fails, America and its youth have shown a tendency to resort to threats and actual violence.

    Apparently the DA was hoping for dead bodies and then maybe does something? Just as we saw in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the dead bodies can be hidden. And the evidence destroyed.

    What was the DA hoping for? Was the DA hoping for another Eye on LA exclusive coverage from a roving ABC chopper, catching the youths in the act?

    That is too late. It was too late in Columbine. It was too late in Red Lake. And it’s too late for those who have been tortured to death in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

    Or is America saying that it is OK to threaten abuse against those it randomly decides to target?

    For if that is the new standard, and then America is asking the world to assent to the rule of law as America defines it, but do nothing when America violates those rules.

    Such an approach is reckless. And such a double standard is what sparked the souls of those who acted on 9-11.

    America cannot descend down that path while expecting the world to do nothing.

    At home, such momentum is an abandonment of the notion of civil society, public service, and the notion that a nation has a representative form of government.

    The DA has some explaining to do. To the Bar, to the peers in the ABA, and to the legal community.

  • What standard of evidence do you require?

  • If that standard of evidence is so high, why are you even there?

    It appears in the DA’s universe, that anything short of overwhelming evidence and massive killings, there’s no problem.

    Huh? Where did the DA get this silly idea? From Mr. Gonzalez in DoJ? How many students at Red Lake in Minnesota was it that was killed, and this DA in LA says that there wasn’t anything done?

    There’s something missing here. The idea is for things to be nipped in the bud, not let the problem then become so out of control that the DA then throws their hands up in the air and says, again, “We can’t do anything.”

    See that: They don’t do anything when the problem is small; and then when the problem occurs, they say it again: We can’t do anything.”

    Interesting. No matter what happens, the DA’s response is, “We can’t do anything.”

    Brilliant. Why do we not show the DA the door? Find a new DA. One that can do something.

    Because if the answer is “we can’t do anything” why do we have a government? Why is it there? What does it do?

    Other than collect taxes and make up excuses for hiring incompetent people who like to violate the law with impunity and not be held accountable for these war crimes, I’m not clear that the government necessarily does provide what it promised to do back in 1776.

    Remember: That thing called the constitution. It is an agreement.

    The founding fathers spoke well of this nation’s prospects. They reminded us that when the government fails to abide by that agreement, it no longer has legitimacy. Nor does it deserve trust.

    This was the basis for a new nation.

    So where have we come in these last few centuries?

    Why is it that on the eve of this civil trial, we are once again reminded of the arrogance to which this nation holds itself, and why do we find once again that the leadership failures to lead, and that the citizenry is the one that has to do the real work?

    If the citizens have to do the work in a civil trial, then there’s really no reason to have a prosecutor.

    Surely, we can’t have that. All chaos would arrive. I argue the chaos already here. Not just at the doorstep. But everywhere.

    The problem is not hypothetical. Rather, the government uses the threat of chaos as the excuse to command obedience; and in exchange, what do we get? Chaos.

    Unresponsive government. Excuses. Inaction. And a chorus of people asserting that things are just fine.

    Baloney. A young adult was in school, and was threatened with death.

    Does it get any worse?

    America has overstayed its welcome on the stage of moral authority. Indeed, we should not be surprised why the President continues to stick by his man Bolton.

    No longer should parents trust their schools to make informed decisions. They like to issue legal memoranda, but the teachers are incapable of ensuring the students are adequately supervised. Even at a private school.

    What is to be done? Pull your kids out of school. The state funding is based on attendance. That will be a wakeup.

    Those parents deserve your support. Keep your kids at home.

    What is to be done about America?

    There’s no reason to engage in any transactions with American corporations. Their firms are actively supporting military operations despite no lawful authority.

    Congress has self-appointed itself as being immune to international law.

    There is no reason to trust Americans. They will lie, betray, threatened, and intimidate because they face no prospect of being held accountable for their abusive conduct.

    What is to be done about America? America will survive, not because it has the moral authority, but because it has the financial capital to overwhelm anyone.

    But those days are no longer ensured. America, as we have seen with the competition from oversas, will not be able to compete.

    American workers are lazy, arrogant, not all that bright, and are not reliable. But despite their flaws, they like to suggest that they deserve something.

    Yet, I see nothing on the horizon deserving much respect about America. It is one nation whose President likes to say that it is the shining beacon of hope.

    For whom? Those who are naïve to believe that a dream is possible, despite the overwhelming evidence that law enforcement uses that dream as bait to entice and blackmail people to become informants?

    But to the future. Where will American go?

    That is for America to decide. The same people, who did nothing about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, are the same ones who will ultimately decide whether DoJ will do anything about this egregious conduct.

    These threats. Against a young adult. Who simply was going to school. Just as the young Iraqi children desire to go to school.

    So let's hear it. Is America fighting in Iraq for a safe future for children? Because I'm not seeing it at Westlake.

    Rest assured America’s youth and the world watch closely. If there are not measurable sanctions against the students for these threats of death, then there will be no sympathy for those who are drafted into the armed services and face real threats on the battle field.

    For every time that America refuses to stand for the rule of law, is yet another catalyst for the enemy to further sacrifice to defeat something they perceive to be a cancer.

    If you do not fight this intolerance at home, then on the battlefields in Iraq, rest assured your youth, when they are drafted, will be asked to account.

    Recall, that if your DA refuses to hold your youth to be accountable, then surely anyone could make the same idle threats against anyone?

    Is that the standard to which you wish the rest of the world to be held?

    For if idle chatter is not basis to act, then there was no basis to invade Iraq; nor are any public statements by an enemy without real WMD any basis to do anything.

    Choose your argument. If your DA wants to command the world to believe that there was nothing there, then you must hold your own President to that same standard when it comes to Saddam Hussein.

    Pick. Will you hold your youth or your President accountable?

    You must choose. Otherwise, you remain a land of inconsistent, arrogant, hypocrites.

    This is not surprise. Nor new.

    The actions and inaction in Los Angeles are things that the world will watch closely. Secretary Rice argued that Byelorussia is not a vacuum. The world is watching.

    So too is the world watching how America really stands for principles and stands up to abuses when that abuse smacks them in the face.

    America’s legacy will not be measured just in terms of battle field victories. Nor just in the number of oil wells it secures.

    Rather, America’s legacy will be measured in terms of the safety it brings to its own citizens, not just the youth in Iraq.

    On both fronts, we see there is much room for improvement.

    Avoid waving your hands as if holding a flag of freedom, when you simply mean to shoo away flies that follow your stench.

    America is becoming a deeper cess pool. And there should be no surprise why the world cares a little less for whether America remains a shining light.

    The American light is flickering. Again.

    The answer is not to create another diversion. But to focus on the poor example for its youth. And to require accountability, not excuses, for misconduct.

    A civil society commands nothing less. Indeed, a free citizenry deserves no less.

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