Guest Post: JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER by: Clinton Galloway, author of Anatomy of a Hustle

Publisher: Phoenix Publishing Corporation

Publish Date: August 15, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: The time was 1979. The place was Los Angeles, the city of angels. The new innovation was cable television-and it was going to change everything.

Two young , black professionals, a doctor and an accountant, who realized that the power of cable television could transform lives. During the next ten years the brothers efforts to improve South Central Los Angeles involved such people as America's most famous black politician and the worlds richest man.

Anatomy of a Hustle is the untold account of two brothers who tried to make a difference in Los Angeles' poorest community. From the back rooms of City Hall to the Supreme Court of the United States, here is the story of the Galloway boys' struggle to bring the latest technology to the Los Angeles citizens who needed it most. Along the way they learn that the are no angels in city hall...unless you own a politician.


You would think that when the United States Supreme Court rules unanimously in your favor that the issue is resolved. I was soon to find out that even the Supreme Court can only do so much when you're trying to fight City Hall.  The book Anatomy of Hustle:  Cable Comes to South Central L.A. details the story.

In the spring of 1986 the United States Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in the case of Preferred Communications, Inc. vs the City of Los Angeles as we sought to break the cable television monopoly.   The case was returned to the US District Court for final resolution. US District Court judge Consuelo Marshall would hold the case for six more years after the ruling and refused to allow a jury trial as is customary in such proceedings.

We knew when the case was originally filed, in 1983, with judge Marshall that she was good friends with Mayor Tom Bradley and his good friend Johnnie Cochran. She dismissed the case in less than 45 days without allowing any evidence to be presented. I did not believe that she would have the audacity to ignore the ruling and intention of the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Marshall would establish a new judicial system that would allow her to become judge, jury and executioner in our case.. Her appointment by President Carter was done with the assistance and support of Mayor Tom Bradley and the Los Angeles Democratic Party machine, including Johnny Cochran.

They say that you can’t fight City Hall. What they mean is that you can’t win when the game is rigged. While we did not expect the politicians of City Hall to act in an independent or honest manner we certainly had an expectation that the federal courts would at least give us an impartial analysis of our case against the city of Los Angeles.  That impartiality certainly did not occur in the US District Court which is located two blocks from City Hall.

According to Wikipedia "the judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in open court". We not only did not receive a trial but all hearings were conducted secretly behind closed doors in the judge's chambers to limit the exposure to the general public.

By refusing to allow a jury trial the judge effectively became the jury. Clearly it was not a jury of our peers nor was the jury impartial. A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict (a finding of fact on a question) submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment.

While we spent five years in the discovery phase, in preparation for trial, the judge was fully aware that there never would be a trial and that the discovery phase was nothing more than another delaying tactic. Trial dates were set on several occasions but always changed at the request of the City.  The delaying tactic would effectively eliminate all competition within the cable television industry within the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles would continue to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money in this litigation. The cable television industry became one the largest political contributors in the 1980’s.

Cable television is carried on public rights of way, the poles that are owned by the City.  By limiting access to only one company, the City was violating the U S Constitution. Cable television was to become the modern version of the old printed newspaper.  If the same were done with newspapers you would see only one newspaper box on any corner and it would be the same newspaper. Clearly that would be unacceptable and has been unacceptable and illegal for more than 200 years.

After six years of holding the case for discovery and never having a trial the judge finally ruled that the City had in fact been violating our constitutional rights for more than a decade. This was same thing that the U.S. Supreme Court addressed in 1986.

The penalty for the violation of these rights was determined by the judge, not by a jury, to be one dollar. The value of the constitutional rights that we had fought so long and so hard for was virtually nil.

Why would any government allow for the rights of the citizen to be exercised if the failure to do so did not subject them to a penalty?  Why would robbers not continue to rob banks if there were no penalty?  The hope of the robber is that they will not be found out.

The city had shown that despite being found out it did not care because the judge would do nothing to correct the deprivation of rights. We were in fact sentenced to live a life in the United States without any constitutional rights. The sentence was executed by Judge Consuelo Marshall.

She had now completed her task of assuring a half million people in South Central Los Angeles would never have the ability to gain their constitutional rights because those rights have been given away for one dollar. The executioner had created the most harsh penalty available in a free society, the deprivation of the rights that make the society free. Judge, jury and executioner were what had become of a US District Court judge in this case.

Any law which does not have a penalty for its violation is not in fact a law but is a recommendation as to behavior. The Constitution of the United States is not a recommendation as to behavior.   It is the law of the land and that which keeps democracy available to the citizen when the government seeks to deprive those rights from the citizen.

The failure to provide penalties for constitutional violations means that the government does not have to abide by the United States Constitution. When a local government is not constrained by the U.S. Constitution then freedom is greatly compromised and democracy endangered. That is the status of the citizens of America today. Although our case was finalized more than 20 years ago the effects continue to this very day.

The importance of the Constitution to protection of the citizens of the United States is summarized best in a quote from Thomas Jefferson in the 1700s. "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

CLINTON GALLOWAY is now the president of Galloway & Associates and lives in Los Angeles.

Clinton Galloway

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