"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.
“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).
case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not
affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission.
For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the
qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the
rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic
course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines
these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his
principles at any cost.
It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the
law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is
not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a
group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to
humiliate and degrade it.” In
Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429
(1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong
dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan,
“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.
"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
And - it is in violation of the 1st Amendment.
There is no question that the government may not quash the press simply for the publications critical of the government.
But, in this particular situation - where the "free press" is horrified of the President threatening the free press with adverse consequences for criticizing this particular President - who brought this on?
Let's recall how the same free press was bashing Donald Trump, at that point only a presidential candidate, and not a public official - for what, remember? - for criticizing a judge.
Whether Trump had good reasons to criticize that particular judge or not - I think, he did, see my blogs about it here and here if you are interested in the essence of that controversy - is not so relevant to the core question: did Trump have a 1st Amendment right to criticize the government?
Because - judiciary is part of the government, remember?
At that time, the "free press" raised a firestorm explaining why it was inappropriate for Trump to criticize a judge - because it was "racist" apparently to point out the judge's own background as having "Mexican heritage" (as I said in my blogs, Trump did not go far enough in his criticism, the judge not only had "Mexican heritage", but was also the so-called anchor child of illegal immigrant parents, which required his disqualification because he identified with the people, just like the judge's own parents, who Trump pledged to deport), and because the judge was "widely respected".
Well, the same "free press" now moderates comments on their articles in social media - and removes (censures) comments that are critical of the articles, see my blogs about it here and here.
But, the same media leaves in and does not moderate or censure out vile personal attacks making racist comments about the President's skin color, hair color, length of his sexual organ, his bedroom activities with his wife, claiming his wife is a porn star - and that's just the blandest descriptions of what is actually posted, and what the "free press" allows to be posted in comments, again, while erasing comments that are critical of the issues in articles and are actually relevant and on point.
If we distill the issue down to the very basics, we have the following question:
Does ANY individual in the United States have a right to criticize the government under the 1st Amendment?
The answer seems a no-brainer.
Of course, everybody has a right to criticize the government in the United States.
Yet, the free press appears to instill into the readers a double standard.
The "rule" of the "free press" since 2016 was that that "somebody" does not have a right to criticize the government if he is a private individual (even though a presidential candidate) who certain media sources do not like.
And, that "somebody" does not have a right to criticize the government if the public official criticize is a judge - because it somehow undermines public "trust" in the integrity of the judiciary.
In other works, do not criticize a particular judge for potential appearance of impropriety, bias or misconduct in order to help the judiciary as a branch of the government to save face in front of the public.
Well, the "free press" has itself to blame now, because President Trump appeared to have learnt the lesson - that in certain times censure of criticism of the government is good. That's what the press and comments told him in 2016. Shut your mouth, Donald Trump, and do not criticize a judge.
In other words, shut your mouth, a private individual, and do not criticize the government.
Isn't it what Trump is returning to the "free press" now - shut your mouth in your criticism of me, the public official, or I will yank your broadcasting license?
Saturday, October 14, 2017
The #JudgeBrendaWeaver saga, Part X - the fight against access to the tampered court audio file in the Louisiana doppleganger case
Here is that story in documents. I publish these documents as a cautionary tale of what Brenda Weaver and her crew of accomplices may be up to next, following the example of Louisiana Judge Phyllis Keaty and her crew of accomplices.
Here is the first request, a peaceful request by an attorney to a court reporter to prepare a transcript of a certain hearing in a divorce case.
Here is attorney Christine Mire's
request to court reporter Kathy Mathews:
The stenographer responds as peacefully and gives the attorney a cost quote for the transcript.
The attorney obviously paid for the transcript, received it, reviewed it - and found it troubling, because it contains something that she did not hear happening in the proceeding where she was present.
She asks either for a copy of an audio, or, to accommodate the stenographer and save time for everybody involved - simply to come and listen to the audio at the stenographer's office.
Well, that's what Mark Thomason in Georgia had to sue for - simply to listen to the audio of a public court proceeding that was reportedly made public (only not to him) to the Sheriff's department to listen to and laugh, around a water cooler.
And here is what the stenographer did - asked for a delay of disclosure, and got on the defensive claiming that she values her professional integrity and considers such a request a challenge to that integrity.
After several delays were given to the stenographer, and she was nowhere near complying and providing access to the audio file, attorney Mire moved for a deposition of the stenographer - and that was all done as a due diligence process in preparation of a motion to recuse the presiding judge Phyllis Keaty. Since attorneys are severely punished for making "unfounded false accusations" against judges, attorney Mire had more than enough reasons to establish any discrepancy or irregularity (or criminal conduct, as in tampering with court records), through documentary evidence and testimony of witnesses.
So, attorney Mire, asked court reporter Kathy Mathews to come and be deposed under oath regarding the audio file.
The stenographer asked for yet another delay - now for a delay of the date of the deposition:
Attorney Mire agrees to change the date.
Moreover, attorney Mire accommodated the stenographer even further - she offered to release her from the duty to testify on a subpoena if she simply provides a certified copy of the audio.
In answer to that reasonable offer, the stenographer sues Christine Mires client to block him from access to the audio file, and, for that she hires Susan Theall,
- represented the opponent of Christine Mire's client in a divorce proceedings under a very interesting circumstance: she actually employed the presiding judge's law clerk as her secretary!;
- represented Christine Mire herself in the past as Christine Mire's divorce attorney;
- employed Christine Mire; and
- was her close friend
Here are interesting details about Susan Theall revealed in testimony of Christine Mire in Christine Mire's attorney disciplinary proceedings (where Susan Theall, Christine Mire's former own attorney, employer and friend, testified already as a judge who replaced Phyllis Keaty on the bench - while Phyllis Keaty moved to greener pastures, to an appellate court):
It did not work though.
A subpoena duces tecum was issued against the stenographer, signed by Deputy Clerk of the Court.
In an email to Kathy Mathews attorney Mire explains that it is her duty to her client to prudently discover information pertaining to recusal of a judge in the pending divorce proceedings.
Susan Theall immediately moves to recuse the presiding judge in the related access to audio action that the stenographer filed (Mathews v Hunter) claiming that Theall represents yet another judge, Judge Mary Broussard, presiding over the access to audio action:
#SusanTheall also files on behalf of the court stenographer Kathy Mathews a motion for an order of protection and restriction of access against attorney Mire's client:
In that motion, attorney Susan Theall cites to a multitude of reasons why the equipment of Kathy Mathews should not be provided for the deposition - after Christine Mire clearly advised Kathy Mathews that she will release her from the necessity for any subpoenas if she, very simply, provides a CERTIFIED copy of an audio instead of coming and being deposed.
Such a motion was obviously frivolous. But, since Susan Theall was a friend of judge Phyllis Keaty, employing the judge's law clerk - and in the not-so-distant future, in 2010, Theall showed herself publicly as being "member of online community" supporting Keaty's election campaign -
Susan Theall was never disciplined for her frivolous motion.
Attorney Mire responded to the motion for an order of protection and restriction of discovery and access to the court audio files and cross-moved for sanctions.
In the motion for sanctions, Christine Mire very clearly explained why restriction of access to the audio file was not warranted.
Meanwhile, an additional attorney, Anthony Fontana, joins representation of the court reporter:
Anthony Fontana represents everything, from wills and trusts to sexual abuse to maritime law to felony defense.
I specifically draw your attention to the language that attorney Fontana
an elderly white guy, uses against his female colleague, a dark-skinned young woman:
First of all, when making such a threat, attorney Fontana knows that his threats are frivolous and inappropriate - because attorney Mire is fully covered by litigation immunity against any claims of defamation against the court reporter.
Moreover, as a witness to what Judge Keaty said in court, she can very well herself testify that "additions and alterations" were made to the transcript, without listening to the tape, and she can use her own personal knowledge as a witness to seek the audio, because the transcript reflects what was not said in court, and that is an "addition or alteration" all right.
On top of that, Attorney Fontana allows himself a completely uncivilized behavior with a younger colleague, a minority woman, calling her letter "pure garbage", specifically because she dared to suggest what was screaming into everybody's face - that Attorney Fontana's client cooked the transcript, and refuses to give access to the audio because it will be clear from the audio.
In two months after the first threat, attorney Fontana escalated the threat and now threatened a criminal action against Christine Mire AND her client - same as it was actually done in Georgia to Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey.
In his letter, attorney Fontana continues to engage in uncivilized language and to call attorney Mire's legal writing "rantings"
Well, Christine Mire actually WON access to the audio, against tremendous odds, and at a tremendous personal risk to herself, doing her due diligence in preparation of a motion to recuse.
And, she had a technical expert testify under oath as to the actual tampering of the court audio file to put into it a separately recorded audio file where Judge Phyllis Keaty purports to disclose the conflict of interest that she never actually disclosed.
In respect to providing to the public the actual PROOF that:
- court audio files CAN BE tampered with technically, and that
- they ARE ACTUALLY tampered with;
Christine Mire received only a lukewarm support from her law professor who, while acknowledging that Christine Mire's discipline was caused not by her own actions, but by an existing institutional taboo to never call a corrupt judge a corrupt judge, nevertheless ASSUMED that the majority of judges are honest.
Of course, such an assumption makes no sense whatsoever, at least because judges gave themselves a gift of immunity specifically for their CORRUPT acts on the bench, despite their oaths of office to honestly enforce and uphold U.S. and state Constitutions and laws.
Moreover, judges did not stop at giving themselves the gift of immunity for corrupt behavior, but corrupted their personnel by giving THEM the gift of immunity for THEIR corrupt behavior.
Of course, nothing so persuades one in the integrity of a person as that person's gift of immunity for corrupt behavior to himself and to his close circle of friends and accomplices.
For the publication of the testimony of the technical expert as to how the court audio file was "spliced"/tampered with in the Louisiana case, the doppleganger of the Georgia #JudgeBrendaWeaver case - which tampering could not possibly be done without participation of the court reporter in whose possession the audio was,