It was December of 2010. California Chief Justice Ronald George was stepping down amidst controversy surrounding five-hundred million dollars in missing court construction funds. The Bureau of State Audits was breathing down his neck about the two-billion dollar IT boondoggle known as the California Case Management System. Questions were being asked about family court employees in Marin county, shredding documents as they were under investigation.
Fast forward three years. “King George” as many of the California judges came to call him during his fourteen year reign as California’s Chief Justice, has written a new book. It is a modern day retelling of the “Emperor’s New Robe” fable.
As the story line again goes, out of shear vanity an Emperor tries to rewrite recent events surrounding his contracting with shysters who were to make his robe appear to be the finest in the land. He and a small band of loyalists along with court jesters, publicly parade on like the Emperor has made no grave judgment errors while using kingdom funds. Even long after citizens can easily see that he’s been nakedly exposed and caught making some huge mistakes, the Emperor still tries to rewrite recent history.
This time, the fable setting is the State of California in the early 2000’s; and the name of the fable is, “Chief Justice: A Quest for Justice for California”. We think that this might be some typos and that the title was meant to be, “Chief Injustice: A Jest for Justice for California”.
We are not alone in our review of the autobiographical fable written by a man who in his endless quest for power, quite possibly may have done more long lasting damage to the administration of justice in California than any other man in the history of the state. (and that’s no fable or urban legend)
Quite clearly, many found this self anointed emperor turned fable author, to be an unethical bully who was more concerned about gaining power, cronyism, and covering up mistakes than he was with the administration of justice. Many know that this trickled down to the trial and appellate courts, who used the same “speak with one voice, even if it means a forked tongue” approach, against the public they are here to serve.
The devastating effects are still being felt by many to this very day. Publishing a Mea Culpa may have been a more appropriate act in George’s retirement years, rather than parading the retelling of an old fable.
The following are some key quotes from the November 13, 2013 Courthouse News Service “Ex Chief Justice ‘King George’ Answers Questions About Legacy” By Maria Denzio,
“George destroyed their court system all in the name of aggrandizing himself and feeding his San Francisco sycophants.”
“In his role at the center of that web of power in California’s courts, many trial judges saw a tyrannical figure and gave him the moniker ‘King George.”
“He never had enough power”
“I don’t know of a judge who hasn’t referred to him as King George. That was standard”
“It was like King George talking to the colonists”
“If he needed a friend, CJA [California Judges Association] was his best friend. But if it got between what Ron George wanted, CJA would suffer mightily.”
“He had no respect for trial court judges even though he had been one,”
“George’s explanation implied that ‘the judges were too stupid and venal to elect their own judges. He didn’t believe they had the wherewithal to fairly select members of the council”
“his ‘declaration of war’ remark was an unusual burst of candor. That’s about the most obvious he ever got. It was the most out he ever came in malevolent use of power.”
“What will war bring? The end of your career.”
“George was not one to be up front with his enemies. ‘There’s an old saying that you would much rather fight with someone who would stab you in front than in the back,”
“That was the problem with George. He would never stab you in the front, he’d stab you in the back. That’s historically been his style, the hallmark of the way he kept order.”
“No one who wore the mantle of chief justice ever behaved like that”
“George completely misrepresented the purpose and intent of unification and used his misrepresentations for only one reason, to hijack the state court system,’ said [former State Senator Larry] Stirling in a statement circulated Tuesday afternoon.”
“George created a useless burgeoning bureaucracy of overpaid sycophants who never saw the inside of a courtroom.”” He described George as a ‘dictator’. ”
And reblogged from today’s “News and Views Riverside Superior Court and National Family Law Abuse”
“Ron George’s legacy repair tour? He admits to intimidating the California Judges Association