Modern Day Star Chamber

But piercing the Judicial robes of the court has proven impossible so far. The guardianship racket has flourished and grown while decimating the rights of the very people it is sworn to protect.

As a country, we need to do so much better.

"Justice" for sale "Justice" for sale

Modern-day probate court proceedings take place under circumstances not recognizable in civil and criminal courts. The absence of a jury and specific rules for procedures place these proceedings into a category of equity type courts or courts of special administration. In this system, the judge, jury and executioner all reside in the form of the administrative judge. The similarities with the Star Courts of 16th Century England are striking. The parallels between that disgraced, reviled and corrupt administration of parens patriea (the King’s authority over his people) and modern-day equity type courts including family, divorce, and of course probate are striking.

The name of the original corrupt court was the The Court of Star Chamber, after which probate court is modeled.

Read this description and see if you recognize the similarities…………

The Court of Star Chamber, known simply as the Star Chamber, was a supplement to common-law courts in England. The Star Chamber drew its authority from the king’s sovereign power and privileges and was not bound by the common law.

The Star Chamber was so named for the star pattern on the ceiling of the room where its meetings were held, at Westminster Palace.

Origins of the Star Chamber:

The Star Chamber evolved from the king’s council. In 1487, under the supervision of Henry VII, the Court of Star Chamber was established as a judicial body separate from the king’s council.

The Purpose of the Star Chamber:

To oversee the operations of lower courts and to hear cases on direct appeal the court had a mandate to hear petitions for redress.

Types of Cases Dealt Within the Star Chamber:

The bulk of the cases heard by the Court of Star Chamber involved property rights, trade, government administration and public corruption. Wolsey used the court to prosecute forgery, fraud, perjury, riot, slander, and pretty much any action they could.

After the Reformation, the Star Chamber was used — and misused — to inflict punishment on religious dissenters.

Procedures of the Star Chamber:

A case would begin with a petition or with information brought to the attention of the judges. Depositions would be taken to “discover the facts” Accused parties could be put on oath to respond to the charges and answer detailed questions. No juries were used; members of the court decided whether to hear cases, passed verdicts and assigned punishments.

Punishments Ordered by the Star Chamber:

The choice of punishment was arbitrary — that is, not dictated by guidelines or laws. Judges could choose the punishment they felt was most appropriate to the crime or criminal. The punishments allowed were:

  • Fine
  • Time in the pillory (or stocks)
  • Whipping
  • Branding
  • Mutilation
  • Imprisonment

Judges of the Star Chamber were not permitted to impose a sentence of death.

Disadvantages of the Star Chamber:

The concentration of such power in an autonomous group, not subject to the checks and balances of common law, made abuses not only possible but likely, especially when its proceedings were not open to the public. Although the death sentence was forbidden, there were no restrictions on imprisonment, and an innocent man could spend his life in jail.

The End of the Star Chamber:

In the 17th century, the proceedings of the Star Chamber evolved from above-board and fairly just too secretive and corrupt. Resentment grew as the Stuart kings used the court to prosecute nobility, who would otherwise not be subject to prosecution in common-law courts.

The Long Parliament abolished the Star Chamber in 1641.

Star Chamber Associations:

The term “Star Chamber” has come to symbolize the misuse of authority and corrupt legal proceedings.

Conclusions:

Probate proceedings mimic the corrupt and reviled Star Chamber blueprint in almost every way. Critics of the system and advocates hold that because the “accused” AIP is often not present for a variety of nefarious reasons, that the entire process is unconstitutional from the start. Additionally the lack of a charge against the accused AIP, the failure to notice the parties timely, and the lack of a jury violates several Constitutional safeguards.

But piercing the Judicial robes of the court has proven impossible so far. The guardianship racket has flourished and grown while decimating the rights of the very people it is sworn to protect.

As a country, we need to do so much better.