US Courts Governing US 
Judge Larry Alan Burns above The Law
Judge Larry Burns is directed by Federal Rules to base his rulings only on briefs submitted to the court but he has blatantly and repeatedly violated this mandate.  He is not to undertake a personal investigation into the personal affairs of any of the litigants coming before him.  An investigation outside of court documents can influence a judge to act on information not submitted to the court.  This issue is of fairness.  It would be unfair to litigants to have their dispute or criminal charges decided on information not set properly that is legally before the court.  It is also an ethical issue for litigants to be treated equally without interference from their past and present affairs.

On November 24th, 2010 Judge Burns (or someone from his chamber for whom he bears responsibility) came to the website  Several days later someone from Point Loma Nazarene University came to the same site.  It appears the cause for their visit was a search for a picture of Judge Burns.  Computer server logs indicate IP addresses for the federal court in San Diego ( and Point Loma Nazarene University (  At that time Judge Burns had a case before him that involved the registrant of the site.  This however does not indicate that Burns was searching for the litigant but the information he could have seen on the site should have been cause for Burns to recuse (disqualify) himself from that case.

This was not the first time Judge Burns failed to recuse himself.  In case number 09CV1478
the pro se couple motioned for his recusal after they learned he had made an investigation on the Internet into their personal affairs.  They submitted computer logs to support their motion for recusal but Burns refused to do so by claiming he was not the one who came to their business website.  According to Federal rules any semblance of impropriety or bias from the court is just cause for recusal.  One type of motion for recusal makes for automatic necessity for the judge to recuse.  Burns adamantly denied the motion for recusal.  Server logs indicated that Burns came to the website which contained personal information not incorporated in any of the briefs submitted to Burns.  The website could be misunderstood as representing a company that was a 'going concern' when in fact it was in startup phase supported by individuals working without pay to acquire funding to become a 'going concern'.  Subsequently Burns ruled against the pro se couple based on a belief he likely gained and could have gained from the website.  This issue was used by Burns to serve his own predilections and bias by twisting the meaning of 'work' and 'employment'.
A judge's (or anyone from his chamber) personal investigation would defeat court rules which are aimed at maintaining justice, fairness and impartiality.  It is to be mentioned that if a clerk searches for information on the Internet to learn about litigants' personal affairs a judge becomes responsible for his clerk's breach of federal rules.  He is therefore held accountable as if he was the one who breached the rules.  This is based on the fact that helpers occupying judges' chamber are responsible for researching case law and other duties to aid the judge in making rulings.  In fact their involvement is such that it is common practice for most judges to assign one of their clerks to write their rulings.

The issue of abiding Federal Rules of Criminal or Civil procedure is not a matter for a judge's discretion.  If it were there would be disorder in the justice system.  Hard evidence exists to prove that judges widely abuse Federal Rules of procedure and therefore a significant amount of disorder does in fact exist.  Nevertheless judges are very rarely impeached or fired for these actions.  Some in the legal profession claim this abuse is minor, a simple abuse of 'discretion'.  They are however wrong because it can be understood by plain common sense to be a violation of the rules, thus a very serious breach of public trust, thus a violation of the Constitution.  Such an act should be deterred by exemplary punishment (such as impeachment and disbarment) to keep the judiciary honest and maintain a predictably fair playing field (see The Role of the Federal Judge under the Constitution... by DF O'Scannlain, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, vol.33, number 3, Summer 2010).
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