"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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Judge threatens attorney who caught judge in an ex parte communication

At 9:30 am today I was scheduled to appear before the Hon. Christopher Cahill of New York State Ulster County Supreme Court.  The subject of appearance was three contested motions, two on my client's side, one on my opponent's side.

The appearance was listed on the E-courts of the NYS Unified Court website as a "preliminary conference", even though it was a motion to vacate a final judgment of the court and no conferences are envisioned for such a type of proceeding.

I saw Judge Cahill today for the first time in my life.

After a conference in judge Cahill's chambers, with participation of Judge Cahill, his law clerk, the opposing counsel Del Seligman and myself, judge Cahill told my opponent and myself to wait outside of his chambers while he confers with his law clerk. 

Del Seligman and I left Judge Cahill's chambers.

After some time, I heard that my opponent, Attorney Del Seligman of Kingston, New York, was called into the chambers, alone.

This was highly irregular, and, in fact, an invitation for a clear ex parte communication between Del Seligman and the Judge.  I have never had a judge call one attorney at a time into his chambers to discuss a pending motion.

With a purpose to prevent the ex parte communication, I have followed Ms. Seligman to the chambers in order to participate in the discussion, too.

By the time I reached the chambers, the door was already closed.

The clerk or secretary sitting in the office in front of the chambers prohibited me from entering the chambers, explaining to me that only Del Seligman was called in by Judge Cahill.

I explained to the clerk or secretary that it is an ex parte communication and that I most strongly object to it.

The lady sternly said to me, in a raised voice - "Go back and sit down". 

I could not disobey the direct order of the judge's employee acting obviously on the judge's orders.  I obeyed her direction and went back into the waiting room. 

The whole situation where attorney Del Seligman was called into Judge Cahill's chambers alone and when I was not allowed by Judge Cahill's clerk or secretary to come in, too, happened in front of multiple witnesses, including, but not limited to, my client, her stepfather, Del Seligman's client and another person accompanying him, and several attorneys waiting for conferences in the same waiting room.

When Del Seligman was called alone into Judge Cahill's chambers, it was loudly announced for everybody to hear, and Del Seligman went alone into Judge Cahill's chambers in front of these witnesses.

Del Seligman was in Judge Cahill's chambers alone for over 10-15 minutes.

Then she came out and told me in front of witnesses that now Judge Cahill is calling me, also alone.

I came to the door of Judge Cahill's chambers, opened it and asked judge Cahill if I can bring Del Seligman back.

The judge asked me why.

I explained that I am called in alone, I could not participate in an ex parte communication with the judge, and that I most strongly protest that the judge conferred with Del Seligman ex parte.

I also told the judge that I most strongly protest because I was blocked by the judge's employee, on judge's orders, from participating in the judge's communication behind closed doors with Del Seligman when I insisted on such participation and strongly objected to the ex parte communication.

The judge immediately got on the defensive and started yelling at me that he never denied me access when he talked with Del Seligman, even though multiple witnesses heard only Del Seligman being called into the chambers, saw and heard how I tried to get into the chambers and was prohibited to do so by the judge's clerk or secretary sitting in the office in front of the chambers, and saw me return back to the waiting room while Del Seligman remained for a prolonged period of time in the judge's chambers.

I asked Judge Cahill to recuse from the case because of his ex parte communication with Del Seligman.

He stated he is recusing, but then started to yell at me that he will turn me into the Professional Conduct Commission. 

It is interesting what that judge is going to turn me in for, that I caught him red-handed in a clear ex parte communication with the opposing counsel?  And the judge will turn me in because I actually refused violate Rules of Professional conduct and refused to engage in an ex parte communication with him when he called me into his chambers separately after he concluded his ex parte communication with Del Seligman?

What kind of judicial integrity we are talking about where a judge threatens a female attorney he sees for the first time in his life because she caught him in clear misconduct, in front of witnesses.  What kind of judicial integrity are we talking about when the judge loses his temper and makes that threat in front of multiple attorneys, multiple parties to litigation and multiple employees who had actually seen that the judge did in fact engage in an ex parte communication with Del Seligman and what I was saying was the truth that everybody present were witnesses to? 

I am definitely turning Judge Cahill into the New York State Commission of Judicial Conduct, and I hope they won't sweep this one under the rug, as they frequently do.

1 comment:

  1. I have had a negative experience with the same judge. Bigger bone to pick w Mary Work. I've heard Ulster County is a dirty place - just HOW dirty, I am now finding out.