"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 cos

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.”
Re Anastaplo,
18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429
(1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong
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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Judges indebted to others - the saga continues

As an attorney and a party, I have appeared in many cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Attorneys are expected (pretty much required is a better word) to presume integrity of presiding judges.

I would rather call it giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Usually, a federal district judge and a magistrate are assigned to any given case filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of New York.

In several of the civil rights cases, Bracci v. Becker, Neroni v. Becker, Neroni v. Zayas, Neroni v. Peebles, a partner from a certain law firm, Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, appeared.

In the first case I was a counsel and a party, in the second and third cases I was only an attorney, in the fourth case I was a pro se party.

Neroni v. Becker was dismissed by Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe, appealed, partially reversed and remanded to the same judge and dismissed again.  The first dismissal was with sanctions for frivolous conduct against both my husband (the only party in the case) and against myself as my husband's counsel.  In Neroni v. Becker misconduct of Hiscock & Barclays and its partners was part of the record, thus making them witnesses in the case.

Neroni v. Zayas as partially dismissed by Judge Lawrence Kahn, even though without a finding of frivolous conduct.  In Neroni v. Zayas misconduct of Hiscock & Barclays and its partners was part of the record, thus making them witnesses in the case.

Neroni v. Peebles was dismissed before it was served by Judge Glenn T. Suddaby, with a ruling that the lawsuit was frivolous.   In Neroni v. Peebles misconduct of a partner from Hiscock & Barclays was a defendant in the case.

Additionally, Hiscock & Barclay, LLP appeared as attorneys of record for a defendant in a pro se civil rights case filed by my husband, Neroni v. Coccoma, also dismissed by Judge Gary L. Sharpe with sanctions and attorney fees against my husband for frivolous conduct.

Moreover, on October 20, 2014 Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe brought a sua sponte "civil rights action" against my husband, citing to Bracci v. Becker, Neroni v. Becker, Neroni v. Zayas (still pending) and Neroni v. Grannis (see my recent posts about misconduct of Judge Leslie Stein and the Governor) and Neroni v. Coccoma (see my post 'Assigned counsel for the rich').

In all of these actions, dismissals were without reaching the merits, and when a court dismisses a case without reaching the merits, pleadings are presumed to be true, so there is nothing to punish the civil rights plaintiff for.

Judge Sharpe brought his action against my husband pretty close to the time when I criticized Judge Sharpe on Forbes.com, a well-read and respectable blog, indicating that Judge Sharpe punished me for correct reading of the 11th Amendment that Judge Sharpe was sworn to uphold.  Seems pretty much like retaliation to me.

Judge Sharpe also failed to disclose to Mr. Neroni, while bringing this action, that:

(1) Several Hiscock & Barclays attorneys either were prior employees of the court, mostly confidential law clerks of judges (one of them, Jason C. Halpin, a recent law clerk to Judge Suddaby, the presiding judge in Neroni v. Peebles before it was even served, while a partner from Hiscock & Barclay was one of the defendant in the action) and two partners are part of the court's judge-selection and local rules committees;

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE


Hon. Frederick J. Scullin

Law Clerk
1.  Aungier, Brittany E.

Confidential Law Clerk

2. Hennessey, Yvonne, E.

3. Melvin II, Edward G.

Frederick J. Scullin, as judge-by-designation of U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit


Hon. Howard G. Munson, former Chief Judge

Law Clerk
4. Barrer, Robert A.

Magistrate David R. Homer

Office employee
5. Burch, David G.

Hon. Howard G. Munson, Senior Judge

Law Clerk
6. Cook, John D.

Hon. Norman A. Mordue, then Chief Judge

Law Clerk
7. Cornish, Kathryn D.

Confidential Law Clerk

Hennessey, Yvonne, E.

Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby

Law Clerk
8.  Halpin, Jason C.

Magistrate George H. Lowe
Law Clerk
9.  Southwick, Karen


Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe
Law Clerk
Jason Hughes


Local Rules Committee
John P. Langan
Managing Partner

Judicially appointed founding member of Federal Bar Association

Merit panel for appointment and re-appointment of magistrates
John D. Cook

(2) the managing partner of Hiscock & Barclay John P. Langan has been judicially appointed to panels to pick magistrates for the court (see the same table);

(3) yet another partner of Hiscock & Barclay John D. Cook is a member of the "Local Rules Committee", which means that HB participates in making rules of the court by which other litigants must live (see the same table);

(4) that Judges Kahn (Neroni v. Zayas) is the president of a social networking organization American Inn of Court for Intellectual Property and Innovation where a HB's partner is a "Program Chair" and where Judge Kahn regularly meets with that HB partner, a witness in a case in front of Judge Kahn, behind closed doors, not to mention that Judge Kahn is in business together with an HB partner and may receive free perks like wining and dining from the Inn of Court;

(5) that Judge Peebles (assigned magistrate on Neroni v. Zayas, Neroni v. Becker, Neroni v. Coccoma, defendant in Neroni v. Peebles) is a counselor/vice-president and trustee of the same American Inn of Court where Judge Kahn is the president;

(6) that Judge Mae D'Agostino (Bracci v. Becker) and Judge Frederick Scullin of the same court are members of the same American Inn of Court;

(7) that not only Hiscock & Barclay's partner is the Program Chair in the Inn of Court where Judge Kahn is President and Trustee, Judge Peebles is Vice-President, Counselor and Trustee, and Judges Mae D'Agostino and Scullin are members, but 7 more attorneys from Hiscock & Barclays, both partners and associates, are members of the Inn of Court.  

Associate, partner, of counsel or counsel

Elizabeth A. Cominolli
M. Eric Galvez
John T. Gutkoski
Jason C. Halpin
Associate, former law clerk of Judge Glenn T. Suddaby (dismissed Neroni v. Peebles, where HB’s partner John Casey was a defendant, before the action was served)

Douglas J. Nash
Partner, Program Chair in the Inn of Court
Michael A. Oropallo
Bella S. Satra
Denis J. Sullivan

It is also interesting to see how judges of NDNY were trying to hide there involvement with this particular Inn of Court.  Talking of the guilty mind...

Here is the snippet of my printout from the "Officers" webpage of the Albany Inn of Court for Intellectual Property and Innovation dated May 13, 2014, which I provided to the NDNY in Neroni v. Peebles (dismissed by Judge Suddaby before it was served while Judge Suddaby's law clerk J.Halpin came to work for HP, and HP's partner was a defendant in the action):

Judge Lawrence E. Kahn is listed there as a president.

After the lawsuit was filed, and even after it was dismissed, on August 19, 2014, I checked the same website again, and here is what I found:

No judges were listed as officers.

I posted a blog asking a simple question - if you think you are right, why hide your involvement?

After that, NDNY judges posted their involvement not only as officers, but also as members, and here is what is on the Inn's "Officers'" website now:

Between the time when the first and the last snippets of the "Officers" page were taken, NDNY court ruled against both Mr. Neroni and myself that we are doing something frivolous, dismissed a case where HB's partner was a defendant, dismissed a case where HB represented several high-standing defendants, and awarded to HB thousands of dollars in legal fees against my husband.

Endearing and indebting judges pays off.

Such a situation creates possibilities for NDNY judges to (1) regularly engage in ex parte communications with Hiscock & Barclays attorneys, witnesses, parties or attorneys in my cases or cases of my husband, and (2) to receive financial perks such as regular free dining and wining, if only that, through the Inn of Court sponsored and run by Hiscock & Barclays.

Moreover, Hiscock & Barclays endears itself to the courts not only by participating in selection of judges or creation of court rules, and not only by wining and dining judges behind closed doors through the American Inns of Court, but also through employment of high-standing public officials that the courts simply cannot resist to rule for:


NYS Senator Charles E. Schumer

Office Employee
Vellano III, F. Paul
NYS Senator Douglas H. Barclay

Senator (1965-1984)
Chair: Codes Committee;
Chair: Select Task Force on Court Reorganization;
Chair: Joint Committee on Housing & Urban Development;
Chair: Select Committee on Moral Obligation Financing;
Chair: Corporation Committee;
Chair: Senate Republican (Majority) Conference

Dougals H. Barclay
Of Counsel
NYS Senator Neil D. Breslin
Senator, present
Neil D. Breslin

NYS Senate, State Select Committee on Moral Obligation Financing

Farr, Jan R.
Of Counsel
NYS Senate, Energy Committee
Maureen O. Helmer

NYS Senator William Smith
Special Counsel
Reynolds Jr., Ransom P.
Of Counsel


NYS Assemblyman for the 124th District
William A. Barclay

William A. Barclay
NYS Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, 144th District

Summer Intern
Bard, Jonathan H.
NYS Assembly Office of Minority Counsel

Deputy Director
Maureen O. Helmer
NYS Assemblyman Lawrence Rulison
Legislative Assistant
Donald M. Mawhinney Jr.
Of Counsel

NYS Assembly Majority, Office of Counsel

Legal Intern
Merriman, Courtney M.

NYS Assembly, Speaker Perry Duryea
Administrative Assistant
Nahal, Henry J.
Of Counsel

NYS Assembly Minority Leader
Special Counsel

Reynolds Jr, Ransom P.
Of Counsel


U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs for the Special Investigation of Hurricane Katrina

Special Counsel
Adelberg, Arthur W.


Attorney Grievance Committee,
7th Judicial District, NYS

Gaddis, Sheila A.
Attorney Grievance Committee,
8th Judicial District, NYS

Former member
Wettlaufer, Catherine T.
Chief Judge’s Task Force on Attorney Professionalism and Conduct

Former member

Attorney Grievance Committee, Appellate Division 4th Department, 5th Judicial District

Former member (2007-2013)
Barrer, Robert A.
Professional Conduct Committee, Appellate Division 3rd Department

Former member (2007-2013)
John R. Casey
New York State Committee on Professional Conduct
Katzoff, Susan R.



Name of agency, position in agency

Name of Hiscock & Barclay’s attorney
Position in Hiscock & Barclays
Schenectady County, ADA
1.  Chief ADA

Legal Intern

Casey, Brian D.

O’Connor, Thomas J.
Salkin, Justin L.


Westchester County ADA

Devendorf, Jon P.

Middlesex County
2.  Special ADA
3. Special ADA
4.  Special ADA
5.  Special ADA

Gutkoski, John T.
Scibelli, Anthony A.
Stanganelli, Joseph L.
Whiteley, Brian E.


6.  Nassau County ADA
Larkin, Matthew J.

Suffolk County DA’s Office,
Certified Student Prosecutor

Marcotte, Carolyn A.

Chemung County DA’s Office,
7. Chief Trial Attorney

Reynolds, Jr., Ransom P.

Of Counsel
Kings County DA’s Office,
Legal Intern

Erie County DA’s
8. Bureau Chief

Solomon, Jerry M.

Of Counsel

Monroe County DA’s Office

Van Strydonck, Thomas M.
Of Counsel


Northern District of New York

Aungier, Brittany E.

Forward, Zachary D.,
Summer intern


French, Dan,
U.S. Attorney

Of Counsel

Southwick, Karen S.,


Western District of New York
Bard, Jonathan H.
Law Clerk

Walker, Kristin L.

Civil rights plaintiffs are people whose constitutional rights are violated by the government.

For judges of the NDNY Hiscock & Barclays IS the government because it employs a lot of people from the government and, most importantly, it also provides steady employment for NDNY outgoing personnel and serves as benefactors and support system for judges of NDNY court.

Judges NDNY appear to be so endeared - and indebted - to HB, in different ways, that there is no way that NDNY judges would acknowledge that Hiscock & Barclays attorneys are doing anything wrong, there is no way NDNY judges can resist whatever requests HB attorneys put in front of them, whether supported by law and fact of the case or not, and there is no way NDNY judges can abstain from the pleasure of using their power to return the favor and award legal fees to HB attorneys, whether they are warranted or not.

Of course, if the rule of law was followed by the NDNY court, its ties to the HB firm had to be disclosed, and the court should disqualify itself from all cases where Hiscock & Barclays and its attorneys appear in any capacity - as attorneys, parties or witnesses.

Yet, since those ties are long-standing and were not disclosed to date, nor does the court have the decency to recuse from cases where Hiscock & Barclays' attorneys appear, on the opposite, the court acts as a gatekeeper protecting HB from harm and as a benefactor showering HB with legal fees even where they are clearly not entitled to it, there is no point holding one's breath to await such disclosures any time soon.

It is obvious that it is completely futile to make any motions to vacate any decisions made by these judges who did that despite glaring conflicts of interest, since the only result will be additional sanctions and attorney's fees awarded against us.

So much about presumptions of integrity of judges.