"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.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Otsego County, NY, led by County Attorney, wife-of-a-judge Ellen Coccoma, adamantly disobeys New York Freedom of Information Law

I wrote in my previous blog about efforts of Otsego County, led by the County Attorney and wife-of-a-judge Ellen Coccoma, to stonewall requests for public records made by homeowner Maria Ajello and by the Otsego Board's own representative Betty Anne Shrewd.

I would like to now point out how the Otsego County, led by the County Attorney and wife-of-a-judge Ellen Coccoma, openly announces to the public that certain public records are "for County employees only".

Here is the website of the Otsego County, New York.

It says the following about the goal of why the website was even created:

Yet, if you think that Otsego County wants to be inquirer-friendly and abide by State Freedom of Information Laws, you are wrong.
Below there are two statements: one prominent, the other - not so prominent.

The prominent one announces the sale of "surplus" by the County on Ebay.

The not-so-prominent one announces that County e-mails are for "County employees only"

Yet, such a statement is against the law.

Telephone numbers of public officials, including County-assigned and purchased (or paid-for) cell phones AND County-assigned e-mails are public records.

I encourage my readers to file FOIL requests to Otsego County to ask to provide them, within 5 business days, such information.

I request your feedback as to the County's responses to such requests, and I will make my own FOIL requests and will share with you the County's response to them.
Stay tuned.

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