Los Angeles Police Department officers entering our TV
broadcast studio and art gallery on February 26, 2000
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no
Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things
to be seized.
U.S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment
My Adventures in Suing the LAPD
For their Obscene Infringement of
Our Fourth Amendment Rights
Dr. Susan Block
the night of February 26th, 2000, for the second time in less than two years,
armed officers of the Los Angeles Police Department invaded my television
studio on the night of a live broadcast.
excuse the first time? Looking for hookers. They had seen my TV show and heard
reports of scantily clad ladies coming and going from my studio, so they figured
I must be running a brothel. As those of you who know me know, though I believe
that prostitution should be decriminalized, I don't allow anything of that
kind on my premises, which they saw clearly as soon as they got there.
excuse the second time? They were responding to an anonymous 911 call saying
that four armed Hispanic men who had just robbed and kidnapped someone had
somehow gotten into my studio through our steel-gated, double-locked front
first time, when confronted by First Amendment Attorney Jeffrey Douglas
and a camera crew from Channel 13/UPN-TV news who happened to be there that
night shooting a news segment about my show, the officers quickly realized
their mistake and left within a few minutes. The second time, they stayed
and searched my studio for two and a half hours. Neither time was I or any
of my staff or guests arrested or charged with any crime.
was much more dramatic, not to mention dangerous. Yelling "SWAT! Police!"
and threatening to break down the door, about 20 heavily armed LAPD officers,
backed up by rifle-wielding marksmen and a beam-shining helicopter, swarmed
into my private broadcast studio and art gallery and, once inside, made themselves
at home for two and a half hours, delaying the live broadcast of my show,
calling in more officers, intimidating and threatening my staff and guests,
and searching the premises for hours without a warrant.
we outraged? Yes. Are we surprised? No. This kind of behavior is condoned
by the city of Los Angeles and by it's internationally notorious gangster
I told the officers both times, if they wanted to visit my TV show, they should
have just called up and asked for an invitation. We've already had several
police officers and their spouses as guests in our studio audience. But they
didn't call. They didn't ask. They just barged in with their big guns, putting
me, my staff and guests at high risk, disrupting our show, seriously tarnishing
my reputation and just generally making big bullies of themselves, as the
LAPD is so famous for around the world. Los
Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan even apologized to me personally for what happened,
Chief Bernard C. Parks never did, nor did anyone in the police department.
in January, 2001, we filed a lawsuit against the LAPD. My original lawyer
for this suit, Greg Smith, had approached me through his public relations
representative when he heard about the police invasion on the news because,
he said, he was impressed by the merits of my case and appalled by the warrantless
entry and civil rights-abusive behavior of the LAPD officers. In June 2001,
when Smith learned that the presiding judge would be the notoriously conservative
United District Judge Manuel L. Real, he told me he thought we should drop
the case because Judge Real was a "reactionary, sadistic, misogynist,
police-loving maniac, and we could never get a fair trial." When I replied
that I did not wish to drop the case simply because we had drawn this judge,
that justice could not be served in that way, Smith agreed to do his lawyerly
duty and continue representing me.
shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Smith informed me that there
was no way we could win our suit in the ensuing conservative climate. I certainly
did not feel that this was a valid or ethical reason to drop the case, and
was shocked to hear a man who calls himself a civil rights attorney bringing
it up as an excuse. I felt it was more important than ever to defend our Constitutional
Rights against an aggressive and unscrupulous police force.
to scare me into backing down from defending our civil liberties, Smith went
to the Court of Judge Real, the guy he'd just called a monster, and meekly
requested permission to withdraw from the case, falsely stating that I was
"uncooperative." Of course, the only way in which I was "uncooperative"
was in not agreeing to drop the case just because we'd drawn a conservative
judge and America had been attacked by terrorists.
pleaded with the Judge to give me time to get another lawyer, but he refused.
Though he was wrong to use it as an excuse to drop my suit, Smith was right
about Judge Real being as reactionary as Jerry Falwell without the jolly disposition.
Some of the folks in his courtroom swore he looked just like one of those
withered Puritan Fathers pronouncing Hester Prynn an adulteror, or even the
Devil Himself, as he ruled against me again and again.
LAPD Defense Counsel Don
W. Vincent to Dr. Susan Block (on the witness stand): "I notice...that
one of the dildos is a giant one. Is that something you use in your show also?
. 3A R.T. 121
thus, I found myself forced into the odd position of playing the "Legally
Blonde" nonconsensual pro per to my own case, without the benefit
of a scripted happy ending, and with the heavy-duty weaknesses of zero experience
and almost as little preparation (and in the midst of a real estate debacle
indirectly related to this police intrusion) in front of the honorable, horrible
Judge Manny Real.
did get a bit of legalistic help and a lot of cheers of encouragement from
some real lawyers, one of whom is quite famous in the field of civil rights
law, all of whom shall remain nameless (for the time being).
all these major drawbacks in my first pro per outing, I know I had
the hearts of the jury members. This was not due to my lawyerly skills, of
which I have next to none, but due to my opponents' lack thereof, as well
as the outrageousness of what had happened on the night of February 26, 2000.
When LAPD Defense Attorney Don W. Vincent boldly tried to establish that one
of my own cameramen made the call on the apparently phony 911 tape, even though
his voice sounded nothing like the voice on the tape, some of the jury members
looked my way with sympathy, while others could barely muffle their giggles.
Vincent later tried to say that the presence on my set of a large fluffy pink
penis-shaped pillow (pictured below) was sufficient grounds to conduct a warrantless
search of my studio during a television show, a couple of the female jury
members smiled at me like they wanted one too. You've heard of the Vagina
Monologues? Well, this was the DiLDO DiALOGUES.
What a farce! What a bogus excuse to search my premises without a warrant!
dildos and bogus excuses aside, Judge Real tossed my case out of his court
before it even went to the jury. Pasty-white jowls quivering with repressed
arousal and full-blown fury, bony finger crooked in my direction, he snarled
that I was lucky I hadn't been killed on the night of February 26, 2000! He
was not about to allow that jury to deliberate on this case, knowing they
would probably side with me against the LAPD and award me damages. Essentially,
he said that because my broadcast studio and art gallery contained what he
called "pornography" (which is perfectly legal to own and display
privately in America), I had no rights. Therefore, after this three- day courtroom
wrestling match that I was destined to lose (all my lawyer buddies were impressed
that I had managed to "go" three days with the Tricky Dick of Federal
Court), my case was dismissed.
Photo of Dr. Susan Block
in her broadcast bed by Lanning Gold.
Note the large, offending penis-shaped pillow to the right which the LAPD
constituted sufficient cause to search our studio without a warrant
because I'm what some folks call "stubborn" about civil rights,
my case is under appeal to the Ninth District Court. I am still in pro
per, though at this point, I've had some preparation, and I have some
other wonderful civil rights attorneys helping me.
an appeal with the 9th District Court is ridiculously rare. Only something
like 2% of appeals are granted. But, though it's a long shot, I will not just
"let it go." Why? Because it is simply too serious a breach of my
civil liberties and the rights of other Americans who are just trying to conduct
perfectly legal, private business or pleasure, when police bust in, see an
erotic object or photo, and use that as an excuse to turn the place upside
down and possibly worse. So much for the First and Fourth Amendments in our
Bill of Rights.
THE BRIEF FOR MY APPEAL
you'll see, parts of my appeal brief (these are the parts with numbers preceding
and following the letters RT) refer to the transcripts from the first case
that Judge Real dismissed before the jury could deliberate on it. We had to
pay over $2000 to the court reporters for those transcripts, and we will make
copies of them available to those who really want them. We ask for a $250
donation per full copy of all the transcripts and the Excerpts of Record (court
you are indigent and can't give a donation, but would like to see the transcripts
and/or the Excerpts of Record, or if you are a journalist writing about cases
like this, please call Sabrina at 213.749.1330, and we will make a copy of
the transcripts available to you.
you'll see if you read them, some parts of these transcripts are pretty exciting,
others predictably boring as any courtroom proceeding. Others are really worthy
of the name "The DiLDO DiALOGUES,"
and others show me to be the naïve, utterly unprepared nonconsensual
pro per that I was. It's a little embarrassing for me to share these
transcripts with you, but it's important for all of us to see just how our
legal system functions, or dysfunctions, when an American citizen seeks redress
for the gross violation of our civil rights.
I NEED TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP.
the past 15 years, the Dr. Susan Block Institute and The Dr. Susan Block
Show have helped thousands of men and women to enhance their sexuality
and improve their lives. We have made you think. We have made you laugh. We
have made you come. We have dedicated ourselves to sex education and helping
to bring people out of the Sexual Dark Ages when ignorance was prized and
information was scarce. It's been, and continues to be, an amazing and rewarding
adventure for all of us here at the Institute. We are grateful, extremely
even as we gain our rights to a better life, sexually and otherwise, there
are venomous fundamentalist forces, from Islamist Ayatollahs to Christian
Crusaders, working against us, operating out of fear that they are losing
their grip on power. And they are! As science opens our minds and technology
brings us closer together, the world is becoming freer and more accepting
of human sexuality and all that goes along with it: diversity, women's rights,
peace, individualism, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
there is always a backlash to growth, and so we encounter these fundamentalist
forces that oppose humane evolution and freedom, feeding off the dark side
of human nature. These are the power brokers and warmongers, the leaders of
the world's largest corporations, their political lackeys and presidential
sons. These individuals and institutions no longer represent the people. They
don't even represent political interests. They just represent their own personal
interests. We're beginning to see what "Family Values" really means.
It means money in the pockets of the Bush Family, the Rigas Family or whichever
Family's favorite son is spouting those political pieties at the moment.
only thing these institutions and individuals have left to protect themselves
against their continuing loss of power to women, minorities and ethical hedonists
is war. Therefore, America has a war for everything. Now we've got the War
on Iraq, which is part of the War
on Terrorism (though nobody can point to a relationship between Saddam
and Osama). We also have the War on Crime, which, though it's put two million
people in prison in this country, hasn't kept us from having one of the highest
crime rates in the world. It's created a mammoth police state that can roam
anywhere, search you at will, arrest you if it suits them, threaten you, beat
you and shoot you for looking the wrong way. Or wearing a lot of jewelry.
While one LAPD officer held a gun to my head, another told me I shouldn't
wear so much jewelry or it could be mistaken for a weapon which would mean
they might shoot me. The policy of the Los Angeles Police Department is "SHOOT
TO KILL." Well, it is a war. Another American War on It's Own People.
there's the War
on Drugs (while half our children are being drugged by government authorized
drug pushers), and the War on Smoking (all the money won from the cigarette
companies was stolen to cover government budget deficits). Topping it off
is the War on Sex that justifies some 25 armed and dangerous police officers
invading a peaceful, law-abiding television broadcast for no legal reason.
What do all of these wars add up to? A War on the Constitution of the United
States. A War on our Bill of Rights.
course, if you want to defend your rights in America, it now takes a military
budget. Since most of us have been impoverished by the current American regime
to the point that we can hardly make ends meet, and many of us are relegated
to work we hate just to live and love a little, very few of us have the money
or power to bite back.
some of us can fight back. And if we fight together, we can fight harder and
more effectively. We have the power to reach out to millions of people, we
have the power to be independent of the system, we have the power to defend
ourselves intellectually against the constant lies of a dying and broken bureaucracy
that is now little more than a war machine. We have the power to say "STOP,"
you've gone too far, you've stepped beyond your right, you are stepping on
"MY" rights, you are stomping on "MY" Constitution. That
I won't allow. Not without a fight.
police entered, occupied and searched "my" broadcast studios two
years ago, like they enter dozens of homes, stop thousands of cars, invade
billions of personal e-mails, find out what books people check out of libraries,
arrest hundreds of citizens at will and simply terrorize others without answering
to anyone, it reminded me of how precious is the light of our enlightened
society, our society that holds up its Bill of Rights as a beacon of liberty
to nations around the world, and how if we allow these police actions to continue
and worsen without redress, we will find our brilliant, liberating light faded
to a darkened bombed-out shell of what was once the most vibrant democracy
Constitution no longer protects us, because the judges are part of the police
department (at least most of the judges are; there are some great ones). Judge
Real is not the only Tricky Dick on the bench. Thus, there are only two things
that protect us against this kind of insidious despotism: LAWYERS and MONEY
(and yes, the two are symbiotically related), a very thin line between freedom
and the gangsterism of our police force.
our lawyers need money. Not a lot of money. But still, they need more money
than we have. Therefore we turn to you, the thousands of friends, fans, business
associates, brothers and sisters, lovers and sinners that have been so giving
and caring over the years. The people we've broken bread with, made love to,
and those that we travel with along the same road, as well as those whom we've
never met, but who know us through the Internet or HBO.
are asking for your donations to help defend all of our rights against massive
government intrusions in all of our lives. We are at the front lines of this
battle every day. If one person loses their rights, we all lose our rights.
People in government must understand that we may not all fight back, but some
of us will. And if we don't give up, we will win.
can donate by calling our office anytime at 213.749.1330. Ask for David.
Or email email@example.com.
you for your donation. If you cannot afford to donate at this time, we understand.
Then, please tell a friend who can. Please don't put this off. We need your
if you prefer, you can make your donation by joining us BACKSTAGE
or calling our Telephone
Sex Therapy service. Make giving a pleasure!
Dr. Susan Block
Judge Manuel Real Faces Impeachment
All About It on My Bloggamy)
LA Deputy City Attorney Amy Jo Field's Request
for an Extention
"The DiLDO DiALOGUES"
to a reading of "The DiLDO DiALOGUES"