From Janet Phelan: a new article and Book Review on Judicial Corruption–Bad Minds High Places

Bad Minds, High Places available on

Bad Minds, High Places” is the story of America’s failed legal culture and the FBI raids on Cleveland from 2008 to the present. It portrays the foibles of American public life from Ohio to Washington State and the ethos under which its legal system operates. The book is an absorbing, non-fiction account of an attorney subjected to fraudulent charges, arrest, extradition, jail and coordinated aggression on a national basis after he published an editorial critical of a Cleveland, Ohio judge. The author forces the reader to see a new model for state judiciaries as self-serving interest groups with the most gruesome failures in jurisdictions where judges are elected and heavily politicized. “Bad MInds”, is not only about individual failure on the part of one judge. It tells how politicized judges, prosecutors, attorneys and police cooperated at the state and federal level to commit serial offenses and obstruct accountability for their failures. The originality of the book is in the magnitude and irony of the failures it exposes and the uncomprehending persona of the author as a character distinct from the consensus which created the failures besetting him.

This is the stuff of paranoid fantasies, no? Unfortunately, the fantastic is now the real. Writes Grundstein in the epilogue to his book:
Government and organized crime are not all that different. The idea is to get something for your group at the expense of people who aren’t in it. The Jewish Holocaust can be cast as not only racism, but a planned transfer of wealth. You kill the person you’ve cheated in order to remove his voice. Andrew Jackson did it with the Cherokee Indians after gold was found in Georgia. No one is innocent.
At a time when lawyers who attempt to uphold the rule of law are disciplined, jailed, sanctioned or disbarred—Richard Fine, Don Bailey, Ken Ditkowsky, Lanre Amu, Andy Ostrowski, Grant Goodman, among others—it is heartening to see the bravery that some of these individuals are exhibiting. Ken Ditkowsky’s writings are being blogged by another attorney-under-fire, JoAnne Denison, and appear regularly at After a harrowing year and a half in LA County jail, attorney Richard Fine has launched the Campaign for Judicial Integrity.
Andy Ostrowski recently made a run for a seat in the US House of Representatives and now hosts a radio show concerning justice issues.
By writing such an engaging and—frankly—disturbing account of powerful people misusing their power in shameful ways, Robert Grundstein joins a growing choir of knowledgeable voices who are declaring, in essence, the utter failure of the US legal system. Writes Grundstein,
Politics is defined as competition for resources under conditions of scarcity. It’s common for judiciaries to be politicized, especially in states where judges are elected. However, when the legal system charged with keeping your group together is politicized, it will discriminate in favor of itself at the expense of the people it’s designed to protect….There will be higher priority people in the interest group and those outside. No one will trust government or the law….

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