"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.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
What is a criminal act for a judge in Tennessee, is a suspendable offense for attorney to report about a judge in New York and Louisiana. The case of #JudgeAmandaSammons.
A judge is supposed to be neutral, and should not act as an advocate.
That much is also supposed to be clear.
It is not clear in, let's say, attorney disciplinary proceedings where prosecutors are claiming to be part of the adjudicating court (that also legislates the rules), but in child protective and especially criminal proceedings, that much is supposed to be clear.
Well, it was not so clear in Tennessee where the Campbell County General Sessions Court Judge Amanda Sammons, this kind-eyed amiable-looking woman here:
reportedly "ordered Campbell County Sheriff's Office jailers to elevate a child neglect charge filed against Krista Leigh Smith for failing to buckle up her children to aggravated child abuse, the toughest abuse law on the books".
In other words, Judge Sammons acted as part of prosecutor's team on the case.
Of course, Judge Sammons denied she ever did anything like that.
Yet, why would the Campbell County Sheriff's Office (I would give them credit on that for not bending to the judge's will) have to hire an attorney - "sought legal representation from attorney Charles C. Burks Jr. who told the News Sentinel the jailers intended to testify Sammons was lying"?
So, reportedly, "LaFollette mother Smith, 26, sat in jail two days in January, first under no bond, then under a $250,000 bond — unaware of any change to the charge she faced or why her bail was so high"
And, "Sammons then altered a record of the increase in Smith's charge by marking through it with a pen, jail records showed".
This is what Judge Phyllis Keaty likely did recently in Louisiana - altered court records - and had an attorney who brought a motion to recuse addressing that issue (where tampering with audio tapes was confirmed through testimony of technical experts and the person who did the altering), Christine Mire, suspended for making that motion to recuse.
In New York, I reported criminal forgery of public documents by, first, the now-former and then-illegitimate Delaware County Judge Becker - who sanctioned me for raising the issue of his illegitimacy and forgery of certificate of elections when I pointed out the lack of such a document on file, and then by the disciplinary referee and disciplinary prosecutor in the New York State Appellate Division 4th Department - and was suspended for two years my efforts.
So, in Tennessee, when a judge alters court documents, it becomes the subject of a criminal investigation - while in Louisiana and New York reporting of such a crime becomes the subject of a disciplinary investigation and prosecution against the whistle-blower.
Judge Sammons reportedly elevated the charges from the initial E Felony (carrying the maximum sentence in Tennessee of 2 years) to a B Felony (Haley's law) designed for "child torturers", with a maximum LIFE SENTENCE.
Baby Haley, the victim of a crime of aggravated child abuse in whose name the law was named, "was burned with cigarettes, beaten with a coat hanger on her ears, had acid put in her eyes".
Mother Smith allegedly did not buckle up her child, an act of negligence, not intentional torture - and Judge Sammons, not being a prosecutor in the case, charged her with Baby Haley's law.
Not to mention that Judge Sammons refused to recuse from the case, even when her role in altering the charge and acting as a prosecutor in the case became known.
Moreover, as is uncovered in the same probe, Judge Sammons recently ordered the court clerk to charge citizens a "drug-testing fee", without the required approval of the State Legislature.
Moreover, when Judge Sammons was informed that the clerk refused to assess such a drug-testing fee, because it was illegal, Judge Sammons did not back down, but instead, in March of 2016 issued an order requiring that such a fee be assessed, law or no law.
It is the same exercise of "raw power", law or no law, by the judge ("because I said it, Counsel") as I recently discussed regarding the case of Judge Manuel Real - and that particular behavior was most sharply criticized by the 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski in his blistering dissent in Judge Real's disciplinary case, where Judge Real was only reprimanded, but allowed to remain on the bench.
As to Judge Sammons of Tennessee, her shenanigans as an advocate in child abuse proceedings were not restricted to defendant Smith's case.
In January of this year, another judge reportedly had to overrule Judge Sammons, returning two children, ages 15 and 3, back to their parents, after Judge Sammons removed the children from home without a hearing or legal grounds.
Also, Sammons, a former prosecutor, reportedly refused to dismiss charges against an innocent woman unless the indigent criminal defendant would pay $50.00 assessed by the judge for the help of the supposedly free (as required by the U.S. Constitution) public defender.
Judge Sammons did the same thing in yet another case, to another poor criminal defendant, ordering him to pay $200.00 for unused services of public defender after criminal charges were dropped against him by the prosecution, as a condition of issuing an order of dismissal, and was later overruled by another judge, stating that the poor do not have to pay legal fees for unused legal services, and especially where such services were supposed, under the U.S. Constitution, to be provided for free in the first place.
Apparently, Judge Sammons required that a criminal defendant who the prosecution no longer wanted to prosecute, pay for an order of dismissal, $200.00.
Same as in the buckling-as-torture case, court records were reportedly altered to show that the fee charged for the order of dismissal is not the fee that was actually charged (and not authorized by law).
Judge Sammons also reportedly refused to issue expungements of criminal record after dismissals of cases, and ordered late-comers to the court to be arrested for contempt of court for not coming at all.
So, this kind-eyed woman thinks that she is not only a judge, but also a prosecutor, and a legislator - she is the omnipotent government, the local Queen - literally, without any constraints on her power.
Let's see if any constraints will come, or whether the "special" prosecutor will let Judge Sammons go without criminal charges.
And - here is the election campaign website of Judge Amanda Sammons.
A judge calls herself in her own election campaign "a blue-eyed assassin". Implicating that (1) she is merciless as a prosecutor and (2) her personal appearance.
Stressing that she is "blue-eyed" is, by the way, stressing that she is also white - in a Southern state, I guess, that means a lot for a judicial candidate.
It is as racist plea as one can imagine - elect me, I am a white girl!
Here is what she said next on her campaign website in 2014:
This is Judge Sammons' motto, loud and clear:
"if elected county judge, Mandy's goal is to make the entire criminal justice system in Campbell County, at sessions and juvenile levels much more efficient and more respectful of the VICTIMS - NOT the criminals".
Wait a minute - mustn't a judge pledge be to be neutral and impartial and to uphold the laws and the Constitution of the State and of the United States?
And, isn't it true that there are no "victims" and "criminals" until the conviction - which is at the end of SOME, but not ALL criminal proceedings?
If "Mandy" had such a mentality - that all criminal defendants she prosecuted were "criminals" before they were convicted - that is only a basis for those criminal defendants to file motions to vacate their convictions because they were deprived of their due process right to an impartial prosecutor, on the basis of "Mandy"'s statements in her judicial election campaign.
Of course, after branding complainants in a criminal case as "victims" and defendants as "criminals", "Mandy" immediately attempts - unconvincingly - to pay lip service to her alleged adherence to the Constitution:
" As a prosecutor Mandy has always strived to remember that she serves the People, not herself, and that she is sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the whims of persons pulling political strings."
And that would include her own whims.
The "rebirth" "blue-eyed assassin" campaign ad was paid-for by the - blue-eyed assassin, that is, of people's rights:
Quite a "rebirth" "Mandy" brought into the court system.
I will continue to cover this story, as the special prosecutor announced the case is "85% ready", and the decision whether "Mandy" will be criminally prosecuted will be made within 2 months.
Remember, "Mandy" was a prosecutor herself for 10 years before coming to the bench.
Will Tennessee criminally prosecute a former prosecutor and a current judge for repeat alteration of court records and abuse of office?