"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).

“This 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, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"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.

“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.

Monday, February 10, 2020

A partial transcript of a documentary showing why allowing lawyers to regulate lawyers is bad

In 2014, 6 years ago, a movie documentary was published on YouTube about history and reality of regulation of attorneys in California - which pretty much reflects the picture of similar regulation across the United States.

As part of my research over the last several years, I am exploring the history and mechanism of work of attorney monopoly in the United States and efforts of the ABA to transplant/graft it upon post-Soviet and 3rd World countries, and the impact and workings of attorney monopoly in those countries.

The most interesting case study amongst those transplants is Russia where a limited attorney monopoly after an American model was transplanted in 2002, and an absolute attorney monopoly is planned to be introduced in 2021.

For a scholar of the history of attorney monopoly in the U.S. the history of American-brought attorney monopoly in Russia is a Godsend.

I was too late to be born to witness the time when attorney monopoly in the U.S. was taking its death grip upon the public access to justice (which currently resulted in a dire crisis, the "justice gap" when the majority of Americans, as judges and scholars alike acknowledge, cannot afford access to professional help regarding their legal problems).

Moreover, over the century when American attorney monopoly was weaving itself into the fabric of public life and workings by the government, it has developed myths about itself serving to brainwash population at all levels as to its true nature, purposes and whether it does or does not fulfil its declared purpose - helping the public in protecting it from, supposedly, incompetent or dishonest attorneys.

Also, American attorneys have a multitude of disciplinary gag rules, viciously enforced, prohibiting them to speak out about conceptual and constitutional problems in regulation of their own profession, and especially when it concerns problems with integrity of the profession's regulator, the judicial branch of the government.

Taboos of this type are only starting to take a grip upon the legal community in Russia (transplanted from the US), and at this time there is still a possibility to see a lot of information showing corruption and conflicts of interest within the regulatory system of attorneys in Russia - which statistics is simply not kept, or is held strictly under wraps in the U.S.

There is no point looking at what "legal scholars" say about attorney monopoly in the U.S. - mostly, because there is no such thing as academic freedom of thought and of research in legal academia in the United States, as shown, on the issue of attorney monopoly, in my discussion of the issue with American law professor Carl T. Bogus on Twitter where he repeated the 3 tired myths that are being embedded into Russian lawyers, too, judging by the heated discussions in Russian-language legal forums and media:

1/ attorney licensing is not a monopoly (denying the nature of attorneys' grip on public access to justice and judges' grip on attorneys in the same);

2/ comparing doctors and lawyers - which, a professor if law must know, is comparing apples and oranges, and

3/ referring (falsely) to the supposed traditions, to the Founding Father Alexander Hamilton supposedly having passed the NY State bar sometime back in 1700s, 200+ years before attorney monopoly was imported into the US - from Russia, as a matter of sad irony.

Don't try looking for this information in American official "legal scholarship", this is a taboo subject.

Lack of independence of thought in American legal scholars is not surprising since the only way a legal scholar can make a good living is in a university (called "law school") in the U.S. which depends for its financial vitality upon the certification from a non-profit corporation from the State of Illinois, with foreign membership and financial support, the American Bar Association (the ABA).

It is obvious that a scholar may not produce independent research if the scholar's ability to earn a living depends heavily and exclusively upon the object of his/her research - and it does so depend, since, as job posts on (as an example) show, U.S. law schools refuses to hire as legal scholars those of legal scholars - no matter how good their scholarship is - who have stepped on the toes of the attorney monopoly and were cast out of it ("suspended" or "disbarred").

Yet, there appear, here and there, some bits and pieces of information that show - to me, as a comparative legal scholar of attorney monopoly in the U.S. .and in Russia - that corruption schemes in Russian and American attorney regulatory systems are birds of a feather.

One of such pieces is the 2-part documentary posted on YouTube in 2014, The Scandal in the State Bar.

As much of information the documentary provides, it was still extremely skittish as to not to step on the toes of some people and did not highlight a lot of points that could be highlighted based on the facts it was introducing.  I will try and remedy those omissions in my comments, and in my research I call a spade a spade.

I will publish my comparative commentary - in the shape of articles on my English-language and Russian-language blogs, as well as law review articles on, but, first I would like to create and publish the transcript of the documentary.

Here, I am publishing a partial transcript from Part I of the 2-Part documentary.

When you are told that attorney monopoly (licensing of attorneys by attorneys and prosecuting by attorneys of non-attorneys who have dared to help people who cannot afford attorneys with people's legal problems) is somehow good for the people, recall this, and recall that every dollar that the State Bar exacts from individual attorneys for their lavish "junkening" is laid as a burden upon the end consumer in the way of attorney fees - with a markup.


" Meanwhile, in October of 1995 Governor Pete Wilson has signed into law Senate Bill 60.  The bill required the State Bar to conduct a new plebiscite of its members to find out that they would still want to keep the unified bar.

State Senator Quentin Kopp was the author of the bill.  He explains why he introduced it.

Hon. Quentin L. Kopp, former State Senator & Judge, Ret.:

“It wasn’t so much any failure of performance of the State Bar respecting the admission procedures, and that procedure is, essentially, the state bar examination.

There was some disgruntlement respecting discipline.

There was disgruntlement based upon the length of time of any proceeding to finish, and, secondly, the laxity or weakness of discipline imposed for conduct.

That wasn’t so much a glaring cause of… at least, my discontent, because it’s similar to people who claim that a judge hasn’t properly adjudicated the sentence for a convicted felon, or even a misdemeanor sometimes, or a district attorney isn’t pursuing a particular case with affinity, energy and enthusiasm.

It was, more genuinely, the expansion of the State Bar into non-core activity.”

Joining Senator Kopp in his battle to abolish the Bar was Peter Keane, who is today a Professor at the Golden Gate University School of Law.

Professor Keane explains why he came to oppose the unified bar.

“In the early 1980s I’ve started to get involved in the local bar association, the Bar association of San Francisco.

I became a member of the Board of Directors of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and then I became… I got elected President of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 1988.

A… and during that time… I had an interchange with lots of people regarding the State Bar of California, and I was involved with a number of activities having to do with the State Bar of California.

And it became very apparent to me that the State Bar of California was, at best, a very dysfunctional organization.

It was an organization that really didn’t fit the role that it was designed to play.

Essentially, the State Bar of California was designed to play 2 roles.

It was to be the professional association of lawyers, essentially, the lawyers’ union, which means looking out for lawyers’ economic activity, welfare activity, doing all great things for lawyers.

At the same time, it was supposed to police the conduct of lawyers in order to make sure that lawyers acted ethically and didn’t do anything to harm the public.

So, there is a built-in tension in that role in terms of the fox guarding the chickenhouse.

So, in the early 90s I ran for the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California.

And I ran for the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California on a very simple platform, and that was to abolish it.

And, I made that very openly my platform, and I got elected as… as a Governor, member for the State Bar of California from San Francisco, one of 2 Governors.

And, when I was on the Board of Governors, during the 3 years I was on the Board of Governors, in my 3rd year I was Vice-President of the State Bar of California, I saw an organization, really, which was, indeed, dysfunctional, and was an enormous bureaucracy, very expensive, which had the staff in its own kind of crystal palace, very high salaries, doing what they wanted to do.

At the same time you had this group called “the Board of Governors” that, supposedly, had oversight over the State Bar of California – which was a fiction.

All of us were in for 3 years, and most of the Governors spent their first 2 years politicking with the other Governors, so that they get elected President in the 3rd year.

So, it was all sort of this … “don’t rock the boat” thing, “let’s everybody be nice” and see me as the nicest guy in the world, so that you elect me President in my 3rd year, and I’m become… have an extra year as President.

I didn’t do any of those things, I knew I wouldn’t get along to be President, so I didn’t have to be involved in that.

·        Board of Governors/Trustees State Bar Presidential Election 2011: “Ok, so, if everybody would, please, take your pile of paper and… write the name of your vote, the last name, the first name of your… selection”….

The people who owned and ran the State Bar really were the executives on the staff who were giving the marching orders to the people who were the worker bees in the State Bar.

There were some very good people working in regular staff positions on the State Bar, to, pretty much, keep the Governors happy, but keep the Governors away from seeing anything … or doing… or getting involved in it, that might have any meaning.

So in our meetings we get this agenda:

(An incomplete document is shown - T.N.):

Board of Governors Meeting


The State Bar of California

180 Howard Street Board Room, 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94105

Friday, January 07, 2011

1:00 p.m.

Open Session

1 Guest Section

Patti White – CIC Implementation (special set 1:00 pm)

10 minutes

September 26, 2010 Minutes (regular meeting)

November 19, 2010 Minutes (regular meeting)

December 16, 2010 Minutes (special meeting)

30 President’s Report

40 Staff Reports

               41 Executive Director

               42 Secretary

50 Consent Agenda

               50-1 Financial Resolution

100 Reports of Board Committee

               110 Board Committee of Operations

111        Conflict of interest Code for Designated Employees 2011 re year 2010, Return for Public comment

               120 Regulation, Admissions and Discipline Oversight Committee

                              121        Rules of Professional Conduct Proposed New and Amended, Reconsideration of

                                             Proposed Rule 7.5(c) re Restriction on the Name of a Public Officer in a Law Firm


                              122        Adjustment to Cost Assessment Formula – Business and Professions Code

                                             Section 6086.10

               130 Member Oversight Committee



The agenda would be made up by the staff, and it would have all of this crap on it that was just made core that the Governors would be put upon a Committee, and he was supposed to be doing this, and doing this…

But, it was meaningless stuff.  It was just like running around in circles, to meet and debate various things, and the stuff we were meeting about, the stuff we were debating about was trivial.

And, it had nothing to do with the real needs of lawyers, responsibilities of lawyers to the public, the things that should be done in order to improve the legal profession, and also the things that should be done to help lawyers.

So, I saw tremendous outlays of money on parts… on behalf of various things like retreats for the Board of Governors, sinecures at very expensive places like NAPA… country clubs.

(A sign is shown: "Welcome to this world famous wine growing region NAPA VALLEY")

One of the things that amaze me, a little of story that kind of amaze me and kind of sets the tone for the kind of waste of money that was… that I saw at the State Bar of California during my time from the beginning was that the staff… one of its big functions was … sorta… keep the Board of Governors happy, give them whatever they wanted, so they wouldn’t look what the staff was doing.

Whatever they wanted.

You want a party? – You have a party.

You want booze? – We have booze.

You know, you wanna do this, you wanna travel, eh, we will have it all.

And, when I was on the State Bar, after … when the first meetings was gonna come up… they would meet alternately, monthly, one month in Los Angeles and one month in San Francisco.

And the first meeting that was coming up was a San Francisco meeting, and I live in San Francisco, half a mile from where the State Bar had its headquarters then.

And, I got a call saying… from this clerk of the State Bar saying: “Ah… we go… we need to know – would you like us to make your hotel reservations at the Clift Hotel?”  A fancy hotel in San Francisco, for Thursday night, and Friday night, and Saturday night.

And I said – “why would I want that?”

“Well, because you are on the Board of Governors”.

I say – “I live in San Francisco, you know, I… I… I travel by bus, so I am gonna get on the # 5 Fulton bus, put in a quarter, and I am at the State Bar building within 15 minutes from my house.

Why, the Clift Hotel is even farther away on the other side, why would I want to stay there? 

“Well, the reason you want to stay there is because everybody is junkening there, for 3 days, 3 nights - nights of partying, wonderful time, great rooms, great food, whatever you want.  And, you bring your wife – and it is a terrific company”.

I said “No, I don’t need that, I live here, I’ll get there on my own, I don’t need that”.

And that sort of set the tone for me of this waste of members’ money that was done by the staff – not just in regard to, sort of, keeping the Governors happy, but also in regard to huge salaries that many of the staff members (31:00) had, particularly the executive staff members.

Very big salaries.

We had one guy who was in charge of the discipline section of the State Bar, he was supposed to … he was the one who was in charge of all of the investigation and discipline.

And, his office … wh… when the State Bar moved to Los Angeles, his office was in Los Angeles, everything that he was doing was in Los Angeles, but he didn’t want to move to Los Angeles.

So, what the State Bar did is – he stayed here in San Francisco, and every morning they paid for his flight, and then in the evening – back.

And this guy earned more frequent flier miles than, probably, anybody in the country.

So, that was, those were a couple of… sort of… emblematic incidents about the State Bar that showed me that it… it was extremely dysfunctional."

Thursday, February 6, 2020

New York follows California to create its own Brock Turner syndrome for a prominent and rich lawyer and sends women a clear message: you and your safety are dispensable when a rich lawyer is your assailant

New York judiciary is famous for gutting its anti-sexual harassment policy to defeat the lawsuit of a female attorney who was fired because she complained in writing against sexual harassment of a Supreme Court Justice of the State of New York who tried to force her to live with him as "man and wife" and talk to him in a "feminine singsong voice".

While fighting her detailed lawsuit, New York invented a completely crazy argument - that attorneys, law clerks to State Supreme Court justice in New York are hired not by the State of New York (that pays their salaries and benefits), but are personal employees of said justices - and, as such, certain legal protections of state employees do not apply to them.

And yet, if you think that New York could not sink any lower in continuing to stonewall and batter a victim of sexual harassment by a judge - it should that there is potential for sinking even lower.

As shown by the case of suspension of attorney, a law partner in a New York City "complex commercial and securities litigation" law firm Bragar, Eagle and Squires, P.C. - John Brandon Walker.

Of course, New York State court administration website shows his attorney status as of February 6, 2020 as still active, with "no record of public discipline".

While he was suspended 2 days prior.

Of course, on the website he is not listed as a partner of Bragar, Eagle and Squires, P.C. (yet another disciplinary violation) - but he actually listed as such on the law firm's website.

And - he has been suspended, for a whopping 4 months, after conviction for DRUNKEN ASSAULT ON A WOMAN he was dating.

And, guess what - here is the timeline of his "accomplishments":

  1.  March 5, 2016, nearly 4 years ago - the drunken assault;
  2.  April 27, 2017 - he pled guilty to a "reckless assault", in exchange of a sentence of NO JAIL, a "conditional discharge" and an alcohol abuse counseling.
  3.  Suspended only on February 4, 2020, 3 YEARS AFTER THE CONVICTION!!!  And for 4 months only.

His conduct was "disturbing", see?

But, he 

  • accepted responsibility;
  • has no other disciplinary history, and
  • has had a good career - 
which, all in all, amounts to a 4 months' suspension for a convicted VIOLENT CRIMINAL who did THIS to a woman:

  • grabbed her by the neck
  • chocked her,
  • threw her on the floor,
  • kicked her ribcage with his foot, 
  • leaving her with
    • wrist fracture and
    • bruises on her
      • throat
      • head, and
      • wrist

Alcohol abuse counseling, and a 4 months' suspension - 3 years after the conviction.  Indeed!  That will remedy a lot.

And, his so-called "remorse" means much, I am sure, too.

Now, here is his information from the website of his law firm that may shed some light as to why the wheels of justice in his case were dragging so slowly and amounted in such a pathetic and disgraceful show of disdain to the law and to women's safety among the members of the "legal" profession regulated by the New York judiciary.

First, the "big picture" of the "hero", front and center.   Women should know him by face - and stay away.

The picture is also from his law firm's website.

As is this information about his "good career":

So, even though he was admitted to practice law in New York only in 2010, he is listed as having worked for a law firm Motley Rice as an "associate" for 2 years without a license - from 2008 to 2012.  This is a crime, too, as well as a disciplinary violation for both sides - employer and employee - but, neither he nor the law firm were prosecuted, and the information is remaining proudly online.

The next endeavor in this violent criminal's "good career" was a gig in yet another large law firm where people are not hired "from the street", just like in the previous one, Motley Rice - now he worked 4 years as an associate in Kirby McInerney LLP, and then, for 1 year - as a partner there.

And then, moved on to an even greener pasture, Bragar, Eagel and Squire, P.C., as a partner.

If salaries in big New York City law firms 5 years ago for a 1st year associate were $160,000 a year, you may imagine how much a law partner in such a firm is making.

Which actually explains why he has been given NO JAIL TIME in criminal court and just a 4 months' suspension in disciplinary court.

Such a New York City Brock Turner - oh, no, he did not rape the victim, supposedly, thank God for small wonders.

But, he was treated by judges of two courts just the same way as Brock Turner was treated by a California judge - as a rich privileged brat who is above the law.  Because he has a "good career" - thanks to his good "bloodline", no doubt.

It bears to provide the disciplinary decision here in its full glory:


Matter of Walker 2020 NY Slip Op 00835 Decided on February 4, 2020 Appellate Division, First Department Per Curiam Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on February 4, 2020 SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION First Judicial Department 
Hon. David Friedman,Justice Presiding,
Judith J. Gische (adjunct professor, New York Law School)
Angela M. Mazzarelli
Ellen Gesmer
Cynthia S. Kern,Justices.

[*1]In the Matter of John B. Walker, (admitted as John Brandon Walker), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, John B. Walker, Respondent.

Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, John Brandon Walker, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial Department on May 27, 2010.

Jorge Dopico, Chief Attorney,
Attorney Grievance Committee, New York
(Raymond Vallejo, of counsel), for petitioner.
Michael S. Ross, Esq., for respondent.


Respondent John B. Walker was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Third Judicial Department on May 27, 2010, under the name John Brandon Walker. At all times relevant to this proceeding, he has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.

The Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) commenced this disciplinary proceeding by a petition of charges (Judiciary Law § 90[2], and Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.8), alleging that respondent was guilty of certain misconduct in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0) based upon his conviction for reckless assault in the third degree (Penal Law § 120.00[2]) in that he engaged in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer, in violation of rule 8.4(b) and that he engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of rule 8.4(h).

Responded admitted liability to the charges (Rules of Professional Conduct [22 NYCRR 1200.0] rules 8.4[b] and [h]), and the parties filed a joint statement of undisputed facts. Following a hearing before a Referee as to sanction only, the Committee sought imposition of a one-year suspension, while respondent urged a public censure. By a report, the Referee recommended a public censure be imposed.

The Committee now moves for an order, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1240.8(b)(1), affirming the findings of the Referee and imposing a sanction this Court deems appropriate. The Committee also moves for an order sealing Staff Exhibits 1-10 and Respondent's Exhibits B and C. Respondent seeks an order affirming the findings of the Referee and imposing a censure, as recommended by the Referee.
For the reasons set forth below, we now grant the Committee's motion to the extent of suspending respondent for a period of four months and grant its request to seal Staff Exhibits 1-10 and Respondent's Exhibits B and C.

Respondent's criminal conviction arose from his assault on a woman he met through a dating website. A year after the assault, on April 27, 2017, respondent pleaded guilty to reckless assault in the third degree (Penal Law § 120.00[2]), a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to receive alcohol abuse counseling for one year, with periodic reporting every three to four months. Respondent fully complied with the sentence.

At the sanction hearing, the Committee presented the complainant as its sole witness. Respondent testified on his own behalf and presented three character witnesses. The Referee's report related the following information. On March 5, 2016, respondent and the complainant met for drinks at a restaurant. After several hours of drinking, they left the restaurant and went to respondent's apartment. While at respondent's apartment, the two began to kiss while sitting on respondent's couch. Respondent, who was highly intoxicated, asserted that he blacked out for an unspecified period of time. The complainant asserted that respondent grabbed her by the neck, choked her, threw her on the floor and kicked her ribcage with his foot. The Referee expressly found that complainant's assertions that she feared for her life during the attack were credible. As a result of respondent's actions, complainant suffered bruises on her neck, throat, and ribcage, contusions on her head, a scaphoid fracture, and bruises on both wrists, and continues to suffer psychologically and emotionally.

The Referee concluded that respondent's attack was aberrational and not in his character, noted that he has no disciplinary history, and respondent presented overwhelming evidence of his good professional and personal relationships. Respondent's three character witnesses and 20 character letters convincingly testified to his deep remorse and acceptance of responsibility, which the Referee noted were also palpable at the hearing. In further mitigation, the Referee found that the character witnesses described someone deeply devoted to his girlfriend, family, friends, colleagues and clients. The Referee found, however, there was no indication of any pro bono activity.

In ordering the appropriate sanction, we consider the seriousness of respondent's assault. 

Respondent's misconduct of drinking to the point of blacking out and assaulting a woman in his [*2]home is disturbing and was appropriately the subject of criminal proceedings. However, we also consider that respondent has accepted responsibility for his misconduct, has expressed sincere remorse, cooperated with the Committee and has an unblemished disciplinary history. Moreover, the character witnesses' universal opinion regarding the aberrational nature of respondent's behavior and his otherwise good character and fitness to practice are compelling.

On the issue of sanction, this Court generally accords significant weight to the recommendation of the referee (see Matter of Shearer, 94 AD3d 128, 132 [1st Dept 2012]).

However, in certain circumstances we will depart from the referee's recommended sanction (see Matter of Clarke, 71 AD3d 33, 38-39 [1st Dept 2009]; Matter of Mahoney, 56 AD3d 169, 176-77 [1st Dept 2008]). In our view, this is such an instance. A review of the cases cited by respondent and the Committee convinces us that respondent's misconduct in this case is more comparable to those cases imposing a suspension (see Matter of Tabacco, 171 AD3d 163 [1st Dept 2019]; Matter of Zulandt, 93 AD3d
77 [1st Dept 2012]; Matter of Jacoby, 86 AD3d 330 [1st Dept 2011]; see also Matter of Salami, 157 AD3d 37, 40 [2d Dept 2017]). The evidence before the Referee clearly established the seriousness of respondent's assault on an intimate partner. Even when taking into consideration the mitigating circumstances, a period of suspension for such an assault is warranted in order to maintain the honor and integrity of the profession and deter others from committing similar misconduct (22 NYCRR 1240.8[b][2]).

The Committee also seeks an order sealing Staff Exhibits 1-10, and Respondent Exhibits B and C, which contain photographs and text and email exchanges between respondent and complainant. After reviewing the record, and considering the sensitive nature of the exhibits contained therein, this Court grants the request (see Matter of Scudieri, 174 AD3d 168, 173-74 [1st Dept 2019]).
Accordingly, the Committee's motion is granted to the extent of suspending respondent for a period of four months and until further order of the Court, and sealing Staff Exhibits 1-10 and Respondent's Exhibits B and C.

All concur.

Order filed. [February 4, 2020]


USUALLY, if there is a court order, and especially a criminal court order as a basis of discipline, there is NO HEARING given to an attorney subject to discipline.   None at all, not for the facts, not for the discipline.

It is called "collateral estoppel".

Here there was a criminal conviction for assault, a plea of guilty in criminal court - but, there is no mentioning of the Committee submitting to the court, or Referee reviewing - the transcript of the plea allocution (where the defendant acknowledged in criminal court what he did and how).

Instead, there was a hearing given ANEW, where the victim had to testify - which is incredible, as compared to how New York usually resolves disciplinary cases where there are underlying court orders.

Let's go further.

The Referee hears the testimony of the victim (after conviction - she is a true victim as a matter of law), establishes her testimony as CREDIBLE, that she has CREDIBLY testified about the following actions and injuries that the attorney has inflicted upon her:

  • grabbed her by the neck
  • chocked her,
  • threw her on the floor,
  • kicked her ribcage with his foot, 
  • leaving her with

Moreover - the Referee has found credible the victim's testimony that she feared for her life and that she continues to suffer psychologically and emotionally.

And YET, the Referee, having found THIS kind of CREDIBLE testimony, the Referee recommends - "public censure" only, no suspension at all - because John Brandon Walker is such a good man, loves his girlfriend, family, friends, colleagues and clients.

What does his love to other people has to do when he has brutally beaten a woman and put her in real fear that he will kill her?

But no - he is a good boy and that drunk rage where he KICKED A WOMAN IN HER RIBCAGE was totally "aberrational and not in his character".

Now, a drunken state often releases not "aberrational behavior", but, on the opposite, the person's true inner self.

It is hard to imagine a "good boy", no matter how drunk he is, to start kicking a woman, a romantic partner, especially, in her ribcage and to try to choke her.  That comes with entitlement - which this particular "good boy" had in droves.

And both the criminal case with a conditional discharge and counseling, no jail time, for an assault of this seriousness, and the disciplinary slap on the wrist "for remorse and good character witnesses" will only give him more of a sense of entitlement, that he is truly above the law.

A good judge material.

Note in the disciplinary decision, too, that in attorney disciplinary proceedings there are no legislatively set rules as to when a suspension of a license is or is not mandated.

The court, instead, "explores" its own prior decisions, trying to make what it clearly intends to do - let a violent criminal go scot free - a little bit more palpable.

Instead of public censure (no suspension) the court gave John Brandon Walker a 4-months' long vacation from work, to enjoy with his girlfriend, family and friends.

4 women justices and 1 man declared that a woman's health, bodily integrity, safety and life are dispensable - if the assailant is a "good" rich boy.

I wonder how much was donated to these judges behind the scenes to get the required result.

Yet, the fact remains.

New York judiciary suspends lawyers like me for 2 years for - substantiated - criticism of themselves WITHOUT A HEARING, as a matter of "collateral estoppel", based on a decision of a judge who acted, in violation of all plausible and implausible constitutional rules, as a complainint witness, alleged victim, prosecutor and adjudicator in the sanctions proceeding that he then turned into the disciplinary court to rubber stamp my suspension.

When another woman attorney, a court employee is sexually harassed by a judge, she is fired and the judge has kept both his position and his law license, to this day, and is supervising judge of all courts imaginable:

But, when a rich young lawyer assaults a woman in a drunken rage, breaks her bones, bruises her, chokes her and makes her fear for her life - he gets NO JAIL TIME and a suspension of just 4 months - "to maintain integrity of the legal profession", no less.

While the Referee (I wonder what was his/her name and how much of a bribe he received, too) recommended just PUBLIC CENSURE for a violent assault.

So, criticism of a judge - the female attorney is suspended for 2 years, without a hearing and without opening proceedings to the public, as she requested and had a right, as a matter of law, to do, and in the decision the court cowardly refuses to disclose the true reason for the suspension - criticism of judicial corruption and misconduct.

Because she did not express remorse for doing her professional duty to her clients - ensuring their federal constituitonal right to an impartial judge hearing their case, not the corrupt king of the hill that has run from the bench chased by the FBI several months before my suspension - but I was suspended anyway, for no lawyer should be allowed to criticize regulators of his license, judges, who have positioned themselves well and truly above the law in this country and in the State of New York.

Reporting a judge for SEXUAL harassment - the female attorney is fired, the judge remains in full glory, keeps his black robe and his law license.

Violent assault by a rich young lawyer on a woman, kicking her in the ribcage, breaking her bones, bruising her, choking her and putting her in the fear of her life - why, that's a whole different story.

No jail time in criminal court.

A hearing - instead of a collateral estoppel disciplinary suspension - and just 4 months suspension, for being such a good boy with such a good career.

Integrity of the legal profession.


Why the IDV (integrated domestic violence) courts in New York are blatantly unconstitutional

Both the Federal and the State Constitutions (of all states in the United States) have embedded into them a concept of the so-called separation of powers, with courts not possessing authority of legislative or executive branch.

Yet, courts in New York - as well as across the United States - unconstitutionally legislate in a variety of ways.

Of course, such "legislating from the bench" is always portrayed as being for the good of the people in general and of certain groups of "victims" in particular.

This is exactly the way New York state court system has unconstitutionally created a system of "courts, but not courts" - a variety of "helping courts", such as 

  • drug courts, including separate "opioid courts";
  • "family treatment courts", and 
- the latest invention -

the so-called "Integrated Domestic Violence Courts".

Here is how the New York Court Administration describes these courts on its website:

Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Courts

What is an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court?

IDV Courts are specialized Supreme Court Parts developed to better serve families in crisis. Our current court structure often requires domestic violence victims and their families to appear in multiple courts (in front of multiple judges) to address their criminal, family, matrimonial and other legal problems. IDV Courts, by contrast, are dedicated to the idea of "One family-One judge," allowing a single judge to hear related cases involving domestic violence victims and their families. The goal of the court is to change the way the justice system treats families and children by promoting more informed judicial decision-making, creating consistency in orders of protection and reducing court appearances, as well as providing enhanced services to victims and ensuring defendant accountability. 

What cases are included in the IDV Court?

Related criminal, matrimonial and family court cases filed in the same county which involve a single family may be eligible for the IDV Court. Allegations of criminal domestic violence form the threshold requirement for entry into the IDV part, with related cases in at least two of the three areas of law. Although the cases will be heard in the IDV Court part, each case will retain its individual integrity and will not be consolidated with each other.

How do IDV Courts operate?

The goal of the IDV Court is centered around the coordination of related domestic violence cases, victim safety, defendant accountability and addressing the needs of families affected by domestic violence. IDV Courts are unlike Drug Courts where the focus is on rehabilitation of the criminal defendant. In IDV Courts, judicial monitoring of offenders is a cornerstone of the IDV Court and there is a Compliance Part component to the IDV Court to address the issue of defendant accountability. In addition, IDV Courts also assist families in accessing community services and resources in a coordinated team manner.

How will the transfer of cases into the IDV Court part occur?

An administrative order is issued identifying eligible cases that can be transferred to the IDV Court part. Cases that are eligible for the IDV Court are identified through the contributing courts, along with the cooperation of attorneys, law enforcement, victim advocates, and other community service providers. The ultimate determination as to whether the cases will be transferred to the IDV Court is made by the IDV Court Judge who issues the Transfer Order that is sent to the originating courts, counsel or parties.

Now, why are these courts unconstitutional - and blatantly so?

Well, first of all, they are not provided for by the New York Constitution, or New York legislature.

Second, there is no legislatively set procedure governing operation of these courts.  They are fly-by-night courts formed at the whim of judges and going by whatever "rules" judges create on the go.

Yet, the LIMITED authority of the judicial branch is only to:

  • Adjudicate (decide) cases brought in front of courts created by the legislature by parties,
  • following legislatively set procedures (rules),
  • and in accordance with substantive laws also created by the legislature.
That's it.

The judicial branch is not authorized to create:

  • separate courts;
  • separate rules for them.
Third, what else is a huge "no-no" for courts is the so-called "pre-judgment" of the case.

And, treating the supposed plaintiffs (or prosecution's complaining witnesses in criminal proceedings) as "victims" and holding courts to "help" them  - before they are actually determined to be victims by the FINAL decision of the respective cases (civil or criminal) - is unconstitutional.

Now, the fourth problem in operaton of such courts is that they - deliberately, on purpose - break JURISDICTIONAL barriers that they are not allowed to break, creating a procedural mess for all cases involved.

The legislature created specific rules of "consolidation" (merging) of court cases.

Here is what the New York Court administration says about consolidating of Family Court, criminal court and Supreme Court cases which are marked "eligible" for the "Integrated Domestic Violence" (IDV) "Courts":

What cases are included in the IDV Court?

Related criminal, matrimonial and family court cases filed in the same county which involve a single family may be eligible for the IDV Court. Allegations of criminal domestic violence form the threshold requirement for entry into the IDV part, with related cases in at least two of the three areas of law. Although the cases will be heard in the IDV Court part, each case will retain its individual integrity and will not be consolidated with each other.

Once again:

"Although the cases will be heard in the IDV Court part, each case will retain its individual integrity and will not be consolidated with each other. "

Of course, no explanation is given as to how, in practice, such cases will be merged, but not merged.

And, there is a reason for this vagueness.

As I mentioned above, in New York there are strict, legislatively set, rules of consolidation of court cases.

  1. A criminal case may never be consolidated with a civil case - from Family Court or from the Suprem Court (the lower general jurisdiction court in the State of New York is called "Supreme Court").
  2. A Family Court domestic violence case (Article 8 of the Family Court Act) may never be consolidated with a Supreme Court divorce case.

And, finally, there may not be a "one family - one judge" case (even if consolidation of criminal and civil cases were allowed) when:

  1.  there is a combination of a Family Court domestic violence (Article 8) case and a justice court criminal misdemeanor case - because the local Family/County/Surrogate's court judge who is supposed to decide the Family Court case as a TRIAL jurisdiction must serve as an APPELLATE jurisdiction for misdemeanor criminal cases out of local justice courts - and the same judge serving as both a trial and an appellate judge in the same case is unconstituional, the New York State Court of Appeals has confirmed it in a specific precedent on this issue in 2017,  OR WHEN
  2. a certain Family Court judge was simply not appointed by the New York Chief Administrative Judge as an "Acting Supreme Court Justice", in other words, a Family Court judge under such circumstances has no authority to hear issues from a divorce case out of a Supreme Court; and
  3. If the Family Court judge IS also an Acting Supreme Court justice, he/she may not supersede (cancel) the supposedly existing "random assignment system" assigning judges to court cases, which is operated by the respective Judicial Administrative District.  And, if the judge seeks the so-called "consistency" across these three types of courts, he may just as well direct it to the assigning administrative judge, and not create his own "rules" bypassing assignments.

And, if the domestic violence criminal case is a felony, it may only be adjudicated through an indictment of the grand jury, while a felony case in New York usually starts in a justice court.

So, putting together an initial stage of a felony case out of a justice court that did not yet go through an indictment process adds an additional jurisdictional violation.

So, the supposed "problem" -

What is an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court?

IDV Courts are specialized Supreme Court Parts developed to better serve families in crisis. Our current court structure often requires domestic violence victims and their families to appear in multiple courts (in front of multiple judges) to address their criminal, family, matrimonial and other legal problems. IDV Courts, by contrast, are dedicated to the idea of "One family-One judge," allowing a single judge to hear related cases involving domestic violence victims and their families. The goal of the court is to change the way the justice system treats families and children by promoting more informed judicial decision-making, creating consistency in orders of protection and reducing court appearances, as well as providing enhanced services to victims and ensuring defendant accountability. 

that "Our current court structure often requires domestic violence victims and their families to appear in multiple courts (in front of multiple judges) to address their criminal, family, matrimonial and other legal problems"

may not be resolved administratively by the state Court administration, but must be resolved only legislatively.

4. Moreover, there is a HUGE problem with the difference in the factfinders:

  • The Family Court domestic violence case is decided exclusively by a judge (a bench trial);
  • In the Supreme Court divorce case some issues may be decided by a jury (grounds for divorce) and the rest of it - by the judge; and
  • the criminal case, by the State and Federal Constitution, is decided STRICTLY by the jury - unless the defendant waives his right to a jury trial in writing, 
  • in the Supreme Court tort (assault, battery) case the factfinder is also the jury - unless the case is decided by a summary judgment is facts are not in dispute by parties.

5.  Since Family Court domestic violence and Supreme Court divorce and tort cases are considered "civil" cases, they may be decided without a trial at all - by a motion for a "summary judgment".

No summary judgments are allowed in criminal cases, which must be proven by the prosecution to the jury - beyond a reasonable doubt.

6.  There are completely different rules of discovery in civil and criminal cases in New York.

While in criminal court there was - with much theatrics - introduced a so-called "discovery reform", it still did not change the core difference between a civil and a criminal case: availability in civil cases of a 
  • LIBERAL (wide) discovery, not a strictly restricted one to certain enumerated positions, and
  • most especially - of availability in civil, but not in criminal, cases of the right to FORCE the opponent to answer, under oath, questions asked by a party OUT OF COURT, orally (a deposition) or in writing (an interrogatory, a notice to admit).
7.  Moreover, Family Court domestic violence cases and Supreme Court divorce cases are SEALED - while criminal cases and Supreme Court civil "tort" (assault, battery) cases are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Not to mention that

8.  In criminal cases the defendant has a right to remain silent THROUGHOUT the proceeding, including an appeal from a "guilty" verdict and a sentence, which respondents in Family Court and civil defendants in the Supreme Court do not have, so an "IDV judge" may not force a criminal defendant to talk about his case for any reason whatsoever, defeating the purpose of the "court".

Which means that the only way IDV courts can exist is by forcing criminal defendants to plead guilty in order to "enter" such an "IDV court" - in exchange for some promise of leniency, usually a false promise, just to lure people into a setting where judges can submit such people as captive patients to judges' friends - "providers of services", under the threat of contempt of court.

9.  And, PARTIES in Family Court, Supreme Court and criminal court are different.

  • In Supreme Court parties are ONLY the divorcing spouses (their children may be assigned a separate attorney, but they are not mentioned in the court case as separate parties);
  • In the Family Court parties to a domestic violence case may be people restricted to categories defined by Article 8 of the Family Court Act;
  • In a Supreme Court tort (assault, battery) case there is no restriction on who may be the plaintiff and who the plaintiff may sue as defendant in terms of a family relationship
  • In a criminal case the plaintiff is "The People of the State of New York" against the defendant, and the complaining witness of the prosecution (the ALLEGED victim of domestic violence) is not a party in the proceedings at all, 
so, an IDV "court" may not 

  1. pre-judge a specific case making an alleged victim a true victim as a matter of law, and make decisions based on such a determination; or
  2. make the alleged victim a party in a proceeding where the alleged victim is not a party.

and, last, but not least,

10.  In a Supreme Court divorce case, while issues of domestic violence may be raised if one of the divorcing parties insists on, instead of a "no-fault" divorce (the majority of divorce cases nowadays in New York and an easy adjudication of the grounds), a "cruel and inhuman treatment" - which is not the same, as a matter of New York law, as what is considered "domestic violence" in the Family Court Act, Article 8, THERE IS NO REMEDY provided under the law to the victim of such violence - even if a judge finds that a spouse was, indeed, subjected to "cruel or inhuman treatment".

NO REMEDY means NO REMEDY - a transfer to an IDV "court" may not create such a remedy when the law does not provide for one.

In divorce cases parties often try to claim that the court must take into account domestic violence in dividing property among spouses - but, the law does not allow to take domestic violence into account when dividing property, the issue of domestic violence is irrelevant to the issues of equitable distribution, as a matter of law.

And nearly the same in custody of children.  Violence of one partner against the other, if done outside of the presense, view and/or hearing of children may - and often is - ignored by New York courts in awarding custody of children.

So, as it was shown above, domestic violence cases with issues raised in Family Court, Supreme Court (divorce and tort cases) may not legally be merged with one another, and with criminal cases.

And, hearing them in an IDV "part", by "one family - one judge", actually VIOLATES the law, and constitutional rights of the accused - instead of "helping victims", who, as it was mentioned above, are not "victims" at all before the case has gone through 

  •  full discovery, 
  • full trial (a jury trial in the criminal and a part of the divorce case), and
  • a final verdict is obtained - making the IDV "court" unnecessary.

So, if a case is "identified" as an IDV case and people are forced into an IDV court by an "administrative order", they try to challenge the whole idea of IDV court's existence in federal court, as a violation of multiple constitutional rights:

  1.  right to remain silent and for a jury trial - in criminal cases;
  2. right to due process, not to have their cases pre-judged by calling complaining wintesses/parties as "victims" before the final decision in the court case;
  3. right to an impartial judicial review;
  4. right to by tried by a real court, not an administratively created tribunal, like an "IDV court", not set by the State Constitution or legislature;

When saying that 

Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Courts

What is an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court?

IDV Courts are specialized Supreme Court Parts developed to better serve families in crisis. Our current court structure often requires domestic violence victims and their families to appear in multiple courts (in front of multiple judges) to address their criminal, family, matrimonial and other legal problems. IDV Courts, by contrast, are dedicated to the idea of "One family-One judge," allowing a single judge to hear related cases involving domestic violence victims and their families. The goal of the court is to change the way the justice system treats families and children by promoting more informed judicial decision-making, creating consistency in orders of protection and reducing court appearances, as well as providing enhanced services to victims and ensuring defendant accountability. 

the creators of the illegal system of the IDV "Courts" know full well that they have NO RIGHT at all to destroy jurisdictional barriers between civil and criminal, Family Court, Supreme Court (divorce and tort) and criminal cases.

Moreover, as one MAJOR problem - creators of such a system know that, if a court does not have jurisdiction over a case (and there is no such thing as an IDV court in New York state laws, so there IS no jurisdiction in IDV courts or "parts"), constitutionally, a person may not legally give consent to such non-existing jurisdiction.

Making all decisions out of such an IDV "Court" void - not void-ABLE, but void, as in ZERO, NULLITY, ZILCH, NOT EXISTING AT ALL.

Which, in turn, makes creation of such courts and financing them with taxpayer money - a huge waste of taxpayer money, on top of being a gross miscarriage of justice.

Once again, you simply may not legally review/try together these vastly different - jurisdictionally, too - cases:

New York State Family Court
New York State Justice Courts
New York State County courts
New York State Supreme Court
Nature of proceedings
Civil – Tort (a lawsuit for assault, battery)

Civil - DIvorce
Purpose of proceedings against domestic violence perpetrators

Order of protection
Jail time up to a year per episode of DV that is charged as a crime and/or fine and/or restitution

Jail time over a year (according to the letter-grade of the charge) and/or fine and/or restitution

Monetary compensation/
Damages for the plaintiff, injunctive relief (order of protection)

Equitable distribution,
Custody of children, no remedy for domestic violence other than the divorce

Who is the factfinder

Jury – grounds for divorce, the rest – judge

So, there are grounds to ask a federal court for a declaratory judgment declaring IDV "Courts" in New York what they very obviously are - unconstitutional.