Pastor's Report Staff  

As our readers may recall, the NEWS SUMMARY of May 25 reported the white-washing of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jerry Pacht and attorney Hillel Chodos by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. The Church has taken great exception to the commission's press release of May 22 which exonerated these men — both of whom also happen to be members of the commission. (Chodos and Pacht were allegedly disqualified from participation in the commission's decision.) As you may also recall, that press release was very misleading!

On June 25th, Church attorney Allan Browne wrote a letter to the Executive Officer of the Commission on Judicial Performance. In the letter he clearly outlined the Church's objections to the commission's woefully inadequate investigation of Pacht and Chodos. Two days later the following news release was issued to the media by the Church, accompanied by a copy of Browne's letter.

The Commission on Judicial Performance is continuing its "investigation" of the California Supreme Court, and attorneys for the Worldwide Church of God have demanded that the Commission on Judicial Performance conduct a full investigation, which has been demanded before, of the unethical and unlawful activities of Judge Jerry Pacht of the Los Angeles Superior Court and Hillel Chodos — both members of the Commission on Judicial Performance now investigating the California Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the Church and church officials have insisted that both Jerry Pacht and Hillel Chodos be removed from the Commission on Judicial Performance pending a full investigation. The request comes because there are presently pending before the California Supreme Court, three separate petitions in the instant case involving the State of California and the Worldwide Church of God. Furthermore, additional petitions are expected to be filed as the litigation continues.

The Commission on Judicial Performance said that after going to "special lengths" and examining "all the facts" of the Church's original complaint, they found that "standard practice was followed." "If anything is clear," said Mr. Browne, "it is that standard practice was not followed. Standard, and indeed, required, practice obligates a party to file his action [law suit] before seeking any legal relief whatsoever..." (Superior Court-Rule 7, Section 1 cited). As our readers know, the dissidents' attorneys, headed by Chodos, conversed with Judge Pacht before ever appearing in court. Far from being "standard practice" therefore, such conduct was highly irregular and improper.

"In addition," continued Mr. Brown, "both the United States and California Supreme Courts have clearly and unequivocally held that orders affecting First Amendment rights cannot be granted ex parte without notice" (cases cited). Since no notice was given to the Church of the pending action, nor was there any attempt to notify the Church so it could defend itself at that time (actually, no one wanted to give the Church a chance to state the truth in court to answer the dissidents' false allegations), Judge Pacht could not properly have even considered the application for placing an ex parte receivership over the Worldwide Church of God!

No evidence was presented to Judge Pacht — only hearsay and false allegations Mr. Browne further stated that it was absolutely clear the judge must have placed heavy emphasis not only on the oral argument, but also upon the presence of fellow Commission member Mr. Chodos, a retired judge whom he knew, and a deputy attorney general who came into court under the cloak of credibility and authority of that office. But it appears to Church attorneys that he placed the most emphasis on the fact that Chodos and Weisman were his long-time influential friends.

Mr. Browne concluded by asking the Commission to reopen the investigation of Judge Pacht and attorney Chodos in order to give Church attorneys a chance to present to the Commission their concerns about Pacht's conduct in the case. The Church should have been given this chance to be heard but had not been even contacted in the so-called "thorough investigation"!

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Pastor General's ReportJuly 02, 1979Vol 3 No. 25