EVOLUTION OF JUDICIAL TYRANNY:

"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 cos
t.



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.



“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, November 8, 2016

The curiously timed birth of the #Del-Chen-OWomen'sBarAssociation at the time of dwindling business - and the opportunities for its members to fix cases behind closed doors


I recently wrote about the newly-born "women's bar association" of the three rural counties of upstate New York - Delaware, Otsego and Chenango.

Interestingly, while my husband was practicing in that area for 37 years, and when there was enough private business for everyone, there was no need for a women's bar association.

Once economy became bad, and the paying client base all but disappeared, the need for a "women's bar association" somehow arose, with an invitation to "network", for moneywith judges, prosecutors and disciplinary attorneys.

The Del-Chen-O is a "chapter" of a larger women's bar association that is selling "lunches with judges" without any scruples, the practice that in Arizona, has recently resulted in a disciplinary complaint against a judge who was selling tickets to "Breakfast with a Judge" "events".

When a bar association is selling such tickets, corruption remains the same.

Here is the list of members of Del-Chen-O Women's Bar Association which I obtained from the association's website - and added information from attorney registration website of the State of New York's Court system:

MaryJo Long 1978 Chenango Afton Private disabilities attorney no appearances
Nancy Deming 1979 Delaware Delhi Law clerk to Family Court Judge Gary Rosa
Patricia Pantaleoni 1979 Otsego Oneonta Mother and law partner of Judge Lucy Bernier no appearances
Lucy Bernier 1981 Otsego Oneonta Judge of Otsego City Court, in private practice with her mother, former prosecutor of 12 years
Nettie Jean Scarzafawa 1981 Otsego Cooperstown former Otsego County Surrogate Court judge who "retired" from the bench before the end of its term after she decided the case in favor of retired Judge Robert Harlem sued by NY Attorney General for ethical misconduct and misappropriation of over half a million dollars in estate money no appearances
Anne Payne 1984 Otsego Oneonta ? no appearances
Dolores Fogarty 1988 Otsego Unadilla NY Assistant Public Defender in Otsego County Assigned by Judges Rosa, Northrup and Burns as attorney for the child and for parties
Diana Goldberg Adams 1989 Otsego Cooperstown ? no appearances in Family Court
Samantha Holbrook 1991 Chenango Norwich Former law partner of appellate judge Elizabeth Garry; former longtime member of Attorney Grievance Committee of 3rd Department no appearnces in Family Court
Jhilmill Jill Galeb 1991 Otsego Richfield Springs Legal Aid Society, former Otsego County Supreme Court Justice, wife of member of 3rd Department Attorney Disciplinary Committee member Dr Hany Ghaleb no appearnces in Family Court
Anne O'Connell 1992 Otsego Cooperstown NO EMPLOYER IN REGISTRATION no records
Larisa Obolensky 1993 Delaware Delhi  Private practice Assignments as attorney for parties and for the child by judges Northrup, Rosa and Labmert, predominantly Delaware County, some in Otsego County
Claudette Newman 1995 Chenango Gilbertsville Principal law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dowd, judge Gilbertsville is in Otsego County
Catherine Frey Murphy 1996 Chenango Norwich Chenango County Supreme Court Chambers of Judge Kevin Dowd
Kathleen S. Campbell 1997 Chenango Norwich Registered as attorney for NYS Insurance Fund no appearances
Sarah Fitzpatrick 1997 Chenango Norwich Social Services, member of Attorney Grievance Committee 3rd Department appears in front of judges Frank Revoir, Kevin Dowd, and Support Magistrates Stephen Dunshee and Sarah Hinchcliff
Tahirah Clark 1997 Delaware Deposit  Private practice Assigned to a party by Judge Gary Rosa
Carol Malz 1999 Otsego Cooperstown Legal Aid Society, former law clerk to judge Ghaleb not practicing in Family Court
Rosemarie Richards 2001 Otsego Gilbertsville  Private practice Assigned by Judges Revoir, Dowd, Lambert, Northrup, Rosa in Delaware, Otsego and Chenango Family Courts as attorney for parties and for the child
Lisa Natoli 2002 Chenango Norwich Partner, Natoli & Natoli, former Chenango County Public Defender, designated by Appellate Division 3rd Department's Office of Attorney for the Children as attorney representing children in Family and Supreme Court Assigned as attorney for the child by Judges Kevin Dowd and Frank Revoir, and Judge Spero Pines (known misconduct), Chenango County Family Court
Patricia Lynn Canner 2007 Otsego Oneonta employee of former judge Walter Terry NEVER Assigned, only appears as Retained Attorney
Erin Neale 2008 Delaware Delhi  Private practice Assigned counsel for parties, assigned by judges Northrup, Rosa, Burns and John Lambert
Renee Albaugh 2008 Delaware Delhi Erin Neale's law partner Assigned counsel for parties, assigned by judges Northrup, Rosa, Burns and John Lambert
Willa Payne 2010 Otsego Binghamton  Legal Aid
Sarah Cowen 2011 Chenango Sidney The Cowen Law Firm Assigned as attorney for the child and as assigned counsel for parties in Delaware, Otsego and Chenango Family Courts by Judges Kevin Dowd, Frank B. Revoir, Richard Northrup, Gary Rosa, Brian D. Burns
Barbara Durkin 2012 Otsego Oneonta SUNY Oneonta Administration
Susan Lettis 2013 Otsego Cooperstown Social Services
Norene Palmer 2014 Chenango Norwich Ree, Emerson and Palmer Assigned as Attorney for the Child by Judge Frank B. Revoir, Jr (Chenango County Family Court)
Carly R. Walas 2014 Delaware Walton Wood Law Firm Assigned as Attorney for the Child by Judge Richard Northrup (Delaware County Family Court), Judge Gary Rosa (Delaware County Family Court)
Laura Parker 2015 Chenango Norwich Assistant District Attorney, Chenango County, but it does not show on her registration information


Out of 30 members of the Women's Bar association covering 3 counties, there are:

3 (every 10th member) are law clerks of sitting judges:

  1. Nancy Deming, law clerk of Delaware County Family Court Judge Gary Rosa;
  2. Claudette Newman, law clerk to Chenango County Supreme (and Family Court) judge Kevin Dowd;
  3. Catherine Frey Murphy, also law clerk for Judge Kevin Dowd;
2 currently sitting judges:

  1. Judge Lucy Bernier of Oneonta City Court, Otsego County and
  2. Judge Claudette Newman, of Butternuts Town Court, Otsego County
2 former judges:

  1. Jhilmill Jill Ghaleb - former Otsego County Supreme Court Justice;
  2. Nettie Jean Scarzafava - former Otsego County Surrogate's Court judge, one of the anti-heroes of the Blanding saga, "famous" for helping retired judge Robert Harlem and his son attorney Richard Harlem get away with fraud on the Estate and the court of over $600,000 when they were caught by New York State Attorney General, who quickly retired from the bench before the end of her term, right after she, according to NYS AG, read the record of proceedings involving fraud of Judge Harlem and his son Richard Harlem contrary to its clear meaning in order to save the hides of a judge and his son; Nettie Scarzafava disappeared at that point to allegedly "take care of her aging mother".  Now she, apparently, reappeared after dust settled.
4 former and present employees or law partners of judges:

  1. Patricia Pantaleoni - mother and law partner of Judge Lucy Bernier;
  2. Patricia Lynn Canner - employee of the law firm of former Oneonta City judge Walter Terry III;
  3. Carol Malz - former law clerk of Judge Jhilmill Ghaleb;
  4. Samantha Holbrook - former law partner of Appellate Division 3rd Department judge Elizabeth Garry


Elizabeth Garry's biography lists private practice with "the Joyce Law Firm in Central New York from 1995 through 2006".

The "Joyce Law Firm" is now "Joyce and Holbrook", a personal injury law firm where Judge Garry's former law partner Samantha Holbrook worked and continues to work from 1991 to present time.


3 members or former members or relatives of members of New York 3rd Department Attorney Grievance Committee:

2. Jhilmill Ghaleb - wife of longtime AGC member Dr. Hany Ghaleb
3. Sarah Fitzpatrick - current member of AGC


3 criminal or civil prosecutors:

  1. Laura Parker - Chenango County Assistant District Attorney;
  2. Sarah Fitzpatrick - Chenango County DSS attorney;
  3. Susan Lettis - Otsego County DSS attorney 




7 attorneys assigned as attorneys for the child - which requires a named designation for attorneys prior to such an assignment by the Appellate Division 3rd Department





See the full list of attorneys approved to being assigned as attorneys for children in the 3rd Department that I received the list on a FOIL request from New York State Office of Court Administration. 

I included assignments as attorneys for the children for the 7 members of Del Chen O from E-courts as of three days ago:

  1. Dolores Fogarty;
  2. Larisa Obolensky;
  3. Rosemarie Richards;
  4. Lisa Natoli;
  5. Sarah Cowen;
  6. Norene Palmer;
  7. Carly R. Walas
6 attorneys who are assigned in Family Court as attorneys for parties

  1. Larisa Obolensky;
  2. Rosemarie Richards;
  3. Renee Albaugh;
  4. Erin Neale;
  5. Sarah Cowen;
  6. Dolores Fogarty
For the "induction" ceremony of Del-Chen-O 'officers' on June 9, 2016, a Thursday, during business hours of courts, Del-Chen-O invited, reportedly, the following "honorable guests":

  1. Judge of NYS Appellate Division 3rd Department Elizabeth Garry
    1. former law partner of member Samantha Holbrook; appointing judge for Attorney Grievance Committee member Sarah Fitzpatrick (members of AGC are appointed by Garry's court);
    2. appointing judge for attorneys for children members Dolores Fogarty, Larisa Obolensky, Rosemarie Richards, Lisa Natoli, Sarah Cowen, Norene Palmer, Carly R. Walas;
    3. Disciplining judge for all attorneys-members of Del Chen O - so Judge Garry is the one who giveth business and taketh away attorney livelihood, and who should be bribed with invitations, food and wine rather than upset with criticism
  2. Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, boss of member Laura Parker;
  3. Judge Gary Rosa, boss of member Nancy Deming and judge who assigns attorneys in Family Court, and who actually made assignments of cases at $75/hr to Del Chen O members:
    1. Renee Albaugh;
    2. Sarah Cowen (Sarah Cowen also receives a lot of assignments from Kevin Dowd, boss of Del Chen O co-members, judge Dowd's law clerks Catherine Murphy and Claudette Newman, who is a Facebook friend of Sarah Cowen's husband Brett Cowen);
    3. Carly R. Walas;
    4. Dolores Fogarty (even though Dolores Fogarty is a full-time public defender in Otsego County, she receives assignments as a private attorney in Delaware County, and has a private business in the Supreme Court on the side, doing cases that have nothing to do with her job as Otsego County Public Defender on Otsego County Public Defender time;
    5. Larisa Obolensky;
    6. Tahirah Clark - an attorney who reportedly has recently moved to the area, and is already assigned cases by Judge Gary Rosa:
    7. Rosemarie Richards;
    8. Erin Neale;
  4. Hon. Molly R. Fitzgerald, Administrative Judge of the Sixth Judicial District; 
  5. Hon. Lucy P. Bernier, Oneonta City Court Judge - member of Del Chen O and daughter of member Patricia Pantaleoni;
  6. Monica Duffy - Chief attorney for member Sarah Fitzpatrick, husband of member Jhilmill Ghaleb and former chief attorney for member Samantha Holbrook;
  7. Michael K. Creaser, Principal Attorney of Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC);
  8. Alison M. Coan, Principal Attorney of AGC;
  9. Anna E. Remet, Principal Attorney of AGC;
  10. Sarah A. Richards, Principal Attorney of AGC.
The "ceremony" was held in the Oneonta City Performing Arts Center where Lucy Bernier was on the Board of Directors at the time a racial discrimination lawsuit was filed against the Arts Center (the Center's Director, Oneonta's now-deceased mayor Richard Miller, according to the lawsuit, allegedly advertised for renting the Center, but refused to rent to African American entertainers - Miller committed suicide during the pendency of the lawsuit, and Oneonta sought to commemorate the memory of the racist by dedicating a park to him). 

The "honorable guests" of Del Chen O who were supposed to come to Oneonta on June 9, 2016, a Thursday, by 3:00 pm, work far away from Oneonta, and had to leave their taxpayer-paid jobs early.
  • Judge Molly Fitzgerald works in Binghamton, NY, a nearly 1.5 hour trip to Oneonta, NY, so Judge Fitzgerald had to leave at 1:30 pm to arrive to the Center by 3:00 pm.
  • Attorneys Duffy, Creaser, Coan, Remet, Richards of AGC, and Judge Elizabeth Garry work in Albany, NY, which is also over 1.5 hours' drive away from Oneonta, NY.  They also had to leave their taxpayer-paying jobs at 1:30 pm or earlier to arrive at the Arts Center in Oneonta by 3:00 pm on June 9, 2016;
  • Judge Gary Rosa works in Delhi, NY, a 30 to 45 minutes trip to the Arts Center, depending on the traffic (it's over mountain one-lane roads);
  • Chenango District Attorney Joseph McBride works in Norwich, New York, an over an hour's drive to Oneonta, NY.
I doubt that any one of these highly-paying officials asked anybody permission to leave their jobs and participate in entertainment served to the "honorable guests", I am sure, for free.

I will try to obtain time-sheets of the "honorable guests" for that day, but as to disciplinary attorneys, three attorneys out of Monica Duffy's committee, including Monica Duffy's predecessor, the former Chief Attorney of AGC Peter Torncello, already "resigned" in 2013 for fabricating time-sheets - and were never disciplined, because who will discipline them? Themselves or their colleagues? So, whatever timesheets are released to me, their authenticity is not guaranteed under the circumstances. 

Duffy's integrity is legendary in other respects, too.

Duffy refused, for several years so far, to turn over investigation and prosecution of herself, attorney Allison Coan, and former disciplinary attorneys Peter Torncello and Steven Zayas for investigation to a special investigation to investigate clearly documented fraud upon the court.

Duffy blocked my husband's and my own access to the disciplinary file she claimed to Judge Garry's court she had - for purposes of discipline, and then, claimed to the federal court she does not have my husband's disciplinary file and does not have to have it.

As to my disciplinary file, Duffy was supposed to transfer it to the 4th Department when the whole case was transferred (on her ex parte application to Judge Garry, the then-AGC Chairwoman Holbrook's former law partner).  Then, Duffy did not transfer my file, and refuses to release both my file and a copy of her ex parte application - even though the case is already decided (without a portion of the record) by the 4th Department.

So, Duffy has a lot to teach about the way her Committee operates.

And, two years ago I already raised the issue on this blog that attending and even teaching CLE courses - for money - is not a legitimate use of time for disciplinary attorneys.

The practice still continues. 

As I stated above, Monica Duffy claimed in federal court that she does not even have to maintain archive of attorney disciplinary complaints and their resolutions to rely upon them when bringing disciplinary cases in court.

Duffy's Committee still does not comply with federal antitrust laws (North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v FTC), being run without statutory authority or neutral meaningful state supervision by a super-majority of competitors of disciplined attorneys, but she still has the audacity to teach CLEs as to "model", or rather, "mock" (a good word she picked for her CLE) disciplinary proceeding.

Since AGC is run in violation of federal antitrust laws, it is run as a criminal anticompetitive cartel - once again, Duffy has a lot to teach attorneys about.

All-in-all, what can be readily discerned from the list of members and the list of guests at the induction ceremony:

1) many members of Del Chen O derive a considerable, if not the main income from judicial assignments in Family and criminal courts;
2) there are several judges and law clerks of judges assigning cases in criminal (Judge Bernier, Judge Newman) and Family and Criminal courts (law clerks of Judges Dowd and Rosa) who were, no doubt, invited to be members of Del Chen O;
3) among the invitees to Del Chen O are:
  • Judge Garry who approves members of the attorney for children panel and presides over attorney disciplinary cases, and can thus give business or kill business and livelihood of attorney members of Del Chen O - and of their competitors or those against whom Del Chen O members have a grudge;
  • Judge Molly Fitzgerald who assigns judges to cases - and can assign cases of "lucrative" parties, or parties where judges can 'excel' by ruling the way the administrative judge wants, and get a promotion;
  • Judge Gary Rosa who assigns attorneys to Family Court and criminal cases, at $75/hr;
  • Monica Duffy and her staff of disciplinary attorneys - who, if Del Chen O members get on their "good side", will disregard or whitewash complaints against Del Chen O attorneys and instead proceed against their enemies - as she already did when she refused to prosecute for attorney misconduct private clients of the Grievance Committee member attorney John Casey (Robert Harlem and Richard Harlem) and instead proceeded against the Harlem's "enemies", my husband and myself.


For attorneys who do not have business independent from court assignments, it is get those assignments through brown-nosing judges - or starve.  A good way to keep attorneys under control by the government, by controlling whether they eat or not.


That's what they are doing through Del Chen O.



Del Chen O is not an association for "excellency" of the legal profession.



Judging just by who their members are and who they invite, Del Chen O is a meal ticket for their members, and a possibility to fix cases with law clerks of judges behind closed doors.



Pro Se parties do not have an advantage of having regular casual meetings with judicial law clerks Nancy Deming, Claudette Newman or Catherine Murphy.


Yet, criminal prosecutor Laura Parker, and DSS attorneys Sarah Fitzpatrick and Susan Lettis have such an opportunity.

Attorneys
  1. Renee Albaugh;
  2. Sarah Cowen;
  3. Carly R. Walas;
  4. Dolores Fogarty;
  5. Larisa Obolensky;
  6. Tahirah Clark;
  7. Rosemarie Richards;
  8. Erin Neale;
who are regularly assigned in Family Court and derive a large, if not the main, portion of their income from such assignments, have an opportunity to talk to law clerks of judges in front of whom they appear, to discuss and decide cases, in an ex parte manner, as well as to talk to Sarah Fitzpatrick, member of a disciplinary committee, as to how to whitewash themselves and eliminate competitors.

The timing of appearance of Del Chen O is also telling - the need for a "women's bar association" was not so acutely felt when attorney business abound in these three counties.

That need arose only when, once again, population dwindled, the possibility to grab a paying client drastically reduced, and assignments by judges became the way to survive.

For litigants - the story of the birth of Del Chen O is a warning.

Do not expect attorney members of this organization who are in private practice to raise any borderline "sensitive" subject in court.

Do not expect to fight in a child neglect case for your parental rights and against fabrications by DSS attorneys.

Do not expect them to seek recusal of biased judges.

I already wrote on this blog how two of Del Chen O members, Rosemarie Richards and Sarah Cowen, sold out their clients in order not to step on the toes of a judge who committed misconduct right in front of them.


While assigned attorneys are notorious to not do much, and just steer their clients toward quick settlements - because assigned attorneys are paid at the end of the case, whichever is its outcome - this particular bunch of assigned attorneys is just too close to judges to maintain their independence of judgment and provide zealous representation of clients.

Del-Chen-O's recent endorsement of Delaware County Clerk Sharon O'Dell on her "retirement" right after a criminal complaint was filed against her (that is how I learnt of Del-Chen-O's existence) is just one display of loyalty-no-matter-what to the system.

By the way, by their endorsement of Sharon O'Dell, law clerks of judges, judges and prosecutors - members of Del Chen O - disqualified themselves and their judges (for law clerks) from handling Sharon O'Dell's criminal case.

That is the "law" in Delaware County - you bow low, you don't whistle-blow, or you starve. 


After all, three attorneys out of tiny Delhi, NY, lost their licenses for criticism of judges within 10 years, all on contrived reasons:

  1. David Roosa - after criticizing assigning misconduct of Judge Becker;
  2. Frederick J. Neroni - after raising the issue of bribery of Judge Becker in a criminal appeal, and after being threatened by prosecutor John Hubbard (who at that point did not disclose that he was former law partner of Judge Becker) "not to burn all bridges";
  3. Tatiana Neroni - after raising multiple conflicts of interest, and lack of evidence proving legitimacy of Judge Becker's 2002 election in motions to recuse.
Judging by conduct of Judges Rosa and Northrup in several cases reported to me, Judge Rosa and Judge Northrup are no better than Judge Becker, so members of Del-Chen-O, who have learnt "their place" over the years well, have a reason to be in full survival mode.

They won't raise their voices for their clients against an assigning judge if he is committing misconduct right in front of them.

One does not bite the hand that feeds one.

Especially when there are not so many paying clients to maintain an independent law practice.

Assigned clients of Del Chen O members should be on a constant watch whether they are going to be sold out.

These attorneys will be Facebook friends of judges they say they hate - to drum up business, have income and survive.

They will be giggling around the corners of the courthouse with DSS workers they say they hate - again, to drum up business, have income and survive.

They will be holding parties, receptions, meetings behind closed doors with DSS attorneys, criminal prosecutors, judges and their law clerks, and you will be left wondering what they are discussing behind closed doors.

Clients appearing in front of Del Chen O member-judges or judges whose law clerks are Del Chen O members should be on constant alert for possibility of case-fixing, if opposing counsel is also a Del Chen O member.

There are just too little paying business to go around in Del Chen O counties nowadays, and too many incentives for members of Del Chen O, and too many opportunities, to fix cases and sell out their clients.

This is the comment somebody posted to my blog article about now-Del Chen O member and Kevin Dowd's law clerk Claudette Newman's Facebook friends:


Yet, the Del Chen O, with its tentacles encompassing judges, friends, families, former and present employees and law partners of judges, court-DSS-criminal prosecutor, assigning judges and their law clerks and their "collaboration" with attorneys-recipients of assignments out of court, with wining and dining public officials who are sources of income for attorneys and regulators of their law licenses.

Claudette Newman's Facebook friends network at least did not pretend (especially that Newman immediately hid it when I published it) that they are "networking" to enhance their legal knowledge and improve their legal ethics, as Del-Chen-O members did, while continuing to receive income from judges they wine and dine, and while they happily endorse criminals.

Litigants beware.





No comments:

Post a Comment