From the March 2002 Idaho Observer:
J.A.I.L. for Corporations?
By Hari Heath
Perhaps the most stellar remedy for effectuating America's return to constitutionally founded government is the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) -- also known as Jail 4 Judges ( www.jail4judges.org).
It may well be our last hope short of violent revolution to restore our republic. By passing J.A.I.L. into law, the citizenry will be able to hold the judiciary accountable. J.A.I.L. will reverse many travesties of justice which are now commonplace. J.A.I.L. will also compel judicial officers to honorably perform their duties as public servants or face civil or criminal charges in the event of errant behavior.
But is there an even greater potential benefit to be derived from the J.A.I.L. concept? First we must understand what J.A.I.L. is and what it can do.
The imminently fair system of J.A.I.L. will both protect judges from frivolous charges while allowing the citizen an effective means of remedy for certain specifically defined and willful forms of judicial misconduct. In short, J.A.I.L., when fully implemented, will cause our now unaccountable judiciary to remain within its constitutionally designed straight-jacket and become respectful of the citizenry and its rights.
How? Essentially, J.A.I.L. establishes a special citizen grand jury to hear complaints of judicial misconduct. The judge complained of is served a copy of the complaint and has time to answer its charges. The J.A.I.L. grand jury then decides if there is enough merit to the complaint to allow it to be sent to either a civil or criminal trial. In a civil proceeding the judge loses the immunity he currently enjoys as matter of contemporary judicial doctrine. Additionally, the J.A.I.L. grand jury could appoint a special prosecutor and send a case to a criminal trial jury when there is evidence of criminal misconduct. Under a three-strikes-and-you're-out clause in the J.A.I.L. law, judges found liable or guilty at trial three times would be permanently removed from the bench and have their retirement benefits cut in half.
Bar Association members who now permeate all branches of government would be prohibited, along with elected or appointed officials, from participating on this grand jury. In theory, the J.A.I.L. grand jury would remain in the hands of the citizenry and away from those who seek the powers of government and its control.
What can the long term effects of such citizen enforced accountability be? Unconstitutional or illegal agency actions will be stopped in their tracks by a judiciary that must abide by the Constitution and laws, or else face consequences. Perjured testimony and documents, false prosecutorial actions, procedural violations and constitutional mandates will no longer be swept under the rug when judicial officers are held accountable. Legislators will be less inclined to pass laws on any subject with such reckless abandon when the citizenry can effectively challenge the constitutionality of their legislation in courts that must honestly consider and interpret the laws.
The protection racket that government has set up for itself will be broken when the corrupt judiciary that is essential to its operation is removed or reformed as a result of effective citizen complaints.
Once the judicial system is cleaned up, the many dedicated citizen-litigants who are presently thwarted by corrupted courts will be able to have an honest day in court and challenge the many issues that have corrupted our nation.
Expand the concept
J.A.I.L., by itself, is an excellent remedy for many of our state and national woes, but consider some other applications of the J.A.I.L. concept.
Many maladies afflict our country. The weak link in our Constitution is accountability and enforcement of its great principles. J.A.I.L. provides a format and concept that could be expanded to put accountability back into public affairs.
In the beginning of our national experiment in self-government, we the people did ordain and establish a Constitution. The Constitution, in turn, established the form and function of the national government that was to serve us. A similar Constitution created each state.
The people (those men who showed up at the convention) yielded some of their sovereignty, through the Constitution, to a defined and limited government. In that flow of power, the people were to remain superior to the government that served them. However, in our current times, this order of power has been reversed. The people, once sovereign, are now the subjects of an ever expanding governmental force which no longer abides by its constitutional limitations.
The problem with corporations
What is at the top of this inverted power pyramid? Corporations, those creatures which began life at the bottom of the people's sovereign power structure. At the state level, the people created a state Constitution as the source of all legitimate powers of the state. Each state Constitution has provisions for the state to create and regulate corporations. In Idaho it's Article Eleven of the state Constitution .
But look around you. The flow of power from the people, through the Constitution, to the state and then to the corporations has been reversed. Corporations are now king. They control banking, transportation, the energy supply, agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, industrial production, wholesale distribution, retail markets, communications and every infrastructure that makes modem life happen. The media shapes the collective public mind by creating or preventing political scandals, limiting the issues of political discussion and often swaying the outcome of elections.
Former corporate officers and employees are routinely appointed or elected to government positions where they can regulate the competition or allow the misconduct of their former employer.
Vice President Cheney, a former oil man who is now in charge of setting our National Energy Policy and former Monsanto employees who became FDA agents and approved Monsanto's reportedly dangerous and improperly tested Bovine Growth Hormone, are but two examples of corporate invasion of the people's political institutions.
What common enemy has united labor unions, environmentalists, resource extractive industries; liberals, libertarians and conservatives alike? The corporate global dictatorship known as the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Not content with merely controlling all modern infrastructures and much of government, the WTO has set itself up to be the final arbitrator and controller of all things corporate, national sovereignty be damned. The inverted power pyramid can be righted with some dedicated citizen activism.
An idea whose time has come
But all corporations started somewhere. From the source of a corporation's beginnings can also be their end. Corporate status exists as a privilege granted by the state, subject to revocation or reformation whenever conduct requires it. In a letter to The Idaho Observer Editor (Feb. 2002), W. Stephan Hoop seeks to push forward with an idea.
Hoop proposes that corporations, should be held to the same standards that we place on the individual. Namely, the 'Three Strikes and You Are Out' rule.
He furthers this idea with the suggestion that, if a corporation has three felony convictions, it should be sent to 'jail' for the rest of its life and forever be prevented from doing business. Its charter should be 'pulled' and its assets sold -- the same as if it had been bankrupted. If this is a corporation that is not chartered in the U.S., it should be 'barred' from doing business ever again within our borders.
Hoop points to some 19th century examples of such corrupt corporate unraveling in his letter. He promotes this idea through the Program On Corporation Law And Democracy (POCLAD), which can be found at www.poclad.org.
A state by state solution
Hoop's idea is well within constitutional reality. Like the J.A.I.L. movement which has chapters active in 48 states, it will need state by state implementation. Corporations, as creatures of the state in which they are incorporated, are to be regulated there.
But who will call the mismanagers to account? Will officials elected by corporate campaign contributions effectively regulate corporate activities? Is there a state regulatory entity that can be trusted to put the peoples' interests ahead of corporate interests? Can a citizen effectively petition that regulatory entity to redress a grievance of corporate misconduct? Will a citizen fare the same on corporate issues as they do with current attorney and judicial reviews, which have a less than one percent chance for successful remedy? Just as J.A.I.L. is the answer for judicial misconduct, a citizen-controlled review entity for corporations, with the power to enforce effective remedies, could be created in each state. With enough states enacting such a program, corrupt corporations would eventually run out of states within which to do business.
The Idaho remedy for corporate corruption is within its citizens constitutional grasp. Article 1(1, Section t, reserves to the people themselves the power to propose laws and enact the same under the initiative process, as the Idaho chapter of J.A.I.L. is doing. Using a similar format, a Corporate Accountability Initiative could be enacted.
Article 11 of the state Constitution provides the authority for corporate accountability. Section 3 states: The legislature [and presumably the people by initiative] may provide by law for altering, revoking, or annulling any charter of incorporation...in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators.
Section 7 requires that, No corporation...shall have the benefit of any future legislation, without first filing in the office of the secretary of state an acceptance of this Constitution in binding form.
Section 8 allows the legislature to take the property and franchises of incorporated companies under eminent domain and prohibits the police powers of the state from being abridged or so construed as to permit corporations to conduct their business in such a manner as to infringe on the equal rights of individuals, or the general well being of the state.
Section 10 requires that foreign corporations doing business in this state must have a known place of business and an agent upon whom process may be served. Foreign corporations are also prohibited from exercising any rights or privileges greater than those exercised by Idaho corporations.
Article Eleven also provides for the control of railroad, telegraph and telephone companies; equal transportation rights; limitations on capital stock and prohibitions on retroactive laws favoring corporations; consolidation of corporations with foreign corporations; transfer of franchises and liability of stockholders.
Section 18 declares that any corporation or association of persons who combine with another incorporated company to fix the price or regulate the production of any article of commerce or product of the soil or consumption by the people can be punished, by adequate penalties, to the extent, if necessary for that purpose, of the forfeiture of their property and franchise.
Are these provisions adequately enforced now? Would they be if there was a citizen-controlled corporate accountability grand jury? Would corporations be such a controlling force in our state and nation if they knew they could be held to answer for their misconduct by the citizenry? That is the beauty and utility of the J.A.I.L. concept. It can be adapted to remedy many areas of public misconduct.
Imagine a legislative accountability grand jury which could hold legislators accountable to their oath of office. Such a system could be utilized whenever a legislator was notified of the unconstitutional or illegal nature of legislation, but voted for it anyway. A citizen could bring a complaint and offer his proof. If found to have merit by such a grand jury, it could be sent to trial and be proven. Three strikes and the legislator would be out of the legislature for life. Can we even imagine what a constitutionally accountable legislature would be like? Has such a concept become so far removed from reality as to be unfathomable?
We need J.A.I.L. now. It is the beginning of the end for unconstitutional government, corruption, corporate anarchy and the administrative dictatorship currently ruling our formerly free people.
J.A.I.L. is an excellent concept that can be expanded to throw sand in the gears that turn the real axis of evil -- our three branches of government acting as one and the corporations that control them.
Such procedures as those proposed in J.A.I.L. to enforce accountability could repave our way back to constitutional government and put the people back in the driver's seat where they belong.
For a free copy of the state and federal Constitutions, call the Idaho Secretary of State at 208-334-2300. Study it and learn how to enforce it.
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