"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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What is judicial misconduct in Ohio is business as usual in New York...

In Ohio, a judge was recently disciplined with a suspended stay for a year for removing a public defender who dared to criticize a judge for abuse of discretion when the judge refused to accept a guilty plea from an indigent defendant who withdrew his consent and then agreed again.
In New York, Delaware County, Judge Carl F. Becker is allowed to do on the bench whatever he wants, while courts bounce lawsuits against him under various judge-created doctrines, the Commission for Judicial Conduct bounces meritorious complaints against him with barely an explanation or without any good faith explanation, while the judge viciously retaliates against complainants, knowing that there will be no discipline against him for such a retaliation.

New York is not Ohio, I guess.
So far, I have counted 11 lawsuits against Judge Becker in state and federal courts filed within the period from 2004 to 2013, only three are still pending, others were uniformly dismissed on the grounds of absolute judicial immunity, covering even malicious and corrupt acts on the bench.

Such a dismissal means that the court refuses to review whether Judge Becker did or did not engage in malicious and corrupt conduct on the bench, as claimed by the plaintiffs in these lawsuits, claimed under oath, by the way.
Yet, those dismissed cases make interesting reading.  Complaints in federal courts at least, are certified under oath.  By dismissing on the grounds of absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts, the courts essentially say in plain English the following:  "we know that what you might be saying about the judge engaging in malicious and corrupt acts on the bench might be true, but the concept of judicial immunity (that judges created in protection of judges) does not allow us to even look in that direction, so we are forced to dismiss your lawsuit, even if such a dismissal leaves you completely without a remedy". 
So far, 9 people dared to sue Judge Becker against all odds, obviously considering it important to at least signal to the public what Judge Becker is doing wrong:
  1. David Roosa
  2. Joseph Orlando
  3. Michael Hazen
  4. Alecia Bracci
  5. Frederick J. Neroni
  6. Tatiana Neroni
  7. Joseph Goodnough
  8. Maria Aron
  9. Nicholas Mitchell
People who filed lawsuits against Judge Becker over a span of time from 2004 by David Roosa to 2013 by Nicholas Mitchell, claim that Judge Becker was involved in conduct reflecting his bias, discrimination against people with disabilities, retaliation against critics, using extrajudicial evidence and ex parte communications in his decisions, favoritism etc. etc. etc.  The list goes on.  Case law on the issue of judicial misconduct shows that Judge Becker has long ago passed the critical mass of misconduct which requires to take the judge off the bench.  Yet, he is still there.  For some reason that I, as a member of the public, would like to have the State of New York explain to me.

It is not easy to win a lawsuit against a judge.

Remember, his brother (or sister) judge reviews that lawsuit against a judge.

And his brother (or sister) judge will either invent a doctrine covering a member of her class, or will apply the doctrine created by another brother judge, and will not look whether such a doctrine does or does not comport with the Federal Constitution, as long as it serves "independence of the judiciary".  From the tenets of the law.

Lawsuits of David Roosa, Joseph Orlando, Michael Hazen, Alecia Bracci, Tatiana Neroni, Frederick J. Neroni and Joseph Goonough against Judge Becker were dismissed on immunity grounds, and only the case of Frederick J. Neroni was recently partially remanded by the appellate court on a narrow issue whether under the new precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court Mr. Neroni's challenge to constitutionality of two New York statutes can proceed in federal court.  Cases of Alecia Bracci, Tatiana Neroni and Frederick J. Neroni (another case) are pending on appeal.

The case Aron v. Becker, a case where Judge Becker denied a pistol license based on alleged hearsay statements of his own unspecified employees, which somehow outweighed 4 affidavits in support of Ms. Aron from people who knew her and her stellar life record, is still pending.

I already wrote about my own case in one of my first posts, describing how Judge Becker viciously sanctioned me and my husband after I sued him in state court, and added to those sanctions after I sued him for retaliation in federal court.

Time permitting, I will publish all of the lawsuits against Judge Becker (which are public records anyway) online, analyze them in detail and link that analysis, lawsuit by lawsuit, to this blog.

It is time to do something in New York with non-existent judicial discipline. 

Judge Becker continues to sit on 6 benches:

  1. Delaware County Supreme Court;
  2. Delaware County Court - as trial court;
  3. Delaware County Drug Court - as extension of Delaware County Court (trial part);
  4. Delaware County Court -as appellate court from local justice courts of Delaware County;
  5. Delaware County Family Court;
  6. Delaware County Surrogate's Court
Since Judge Becker occupies all benches in his county, people and especially attorneys, are afraid to speak out, because the judge can affect every single aspect of their lives, by taking away their children in Family Court, or holding them in child neglect, stripping them of a possibility of good employment and subjecting them to humiliating supervision of the judge's former client of 27 years Delaware County Department of Social Services, or taking away their property in Supreme Court or taking away their liberty in the criminal County Court...

The vengeance of this particular judge is vicious and systemic, as my case shows, and people have a right to be afraid.  Yet, there comes a time when being afraid will get you nowhere and will not protect you or your loved ones.

Meanwhile, New York State continues to condone Judge Becker's behavior, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how badly he bends or violates the law and people's rights, no matter what kind of trauma, stress, heartbreak, injury he leaves as his "legacy", no matter how openly he favors and disfavors attorneys and parties based on their social and political status and affiliation with the judge himself, or his friends and former co-workers.

New York state even provides to Judge Becker, when he is sued, free legal representation at taxpayer's expense.  Judge Becker's free legal counsel is the New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman or one of 640 attorneys from Mr. Schneiderman's office, and all resources of the state of New York.  By the way, Eric T. Schneiderman was elected by you to the position of the New York State Attorney General on a platform that he will protect New Yorkers from fraud.  Yet, when such fraud, as an example, is committed by a judge on the bench, Eric T. Schneiderman does the reverse and protects the culprit from your rightful lawsuit, at your expense, while you might be scrambling to find an attorney willing to put his license and livelihood on the line to take your case. 

Why does New York State Attorney General, even though he was elected by you to defend you from public officials violating your rights, defends Judge Becker when he violates your rights, from your rightful lawsuits.

Apparently, his "obligation" to defend the politically powerful outweighs his promises to the voters before he was elected.  Moreover, do not forget that NYS Attorney General is himself a licensed attorney, and his license is within the hands of the judiciary.  Thus, the judiciary has independence from the law for malicious and corrupt act, and you have as a result a timid legal profession which scrapes and bows to judges no matter what they do, in order to keep their licenses intact.  Those who criticizes the judge, be he or she an attorney or not an attorney, does it only at her own peril.

But sometimes, no matter what the risk, you need to do what is right.  There are moments in life where you are squarely staring at a choice that you cannot shirk. 

So far, the 9 people from the list made those choices and filed those lawsuits alone.

Of course, whatever they are doing, can only make a dent in the armor of judicial immunity, if at all.

A systemic legislative initiative, or, possibly, a referendum to amend the State Constitution are needed to change the situation where judges usurped the power to be above the law, the power which nobody, not one person in the U.S. can have.

And such an abomination of justice is declared to help you as public in general to maintain independence of your elected judicial officers.  I as a voter do not need or want my elected public servants, judicial officers, to be independent from the law and the very Constitution that they take an oath to protect when and in order to get on that bench.

It is time to do something about it.

I am sure Judge Becker is not alone in having become a tyrant on the bench.

Immunity and impunity made him a tyrant.

You know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You will not expect not to discipline a child if he errs.  You know that if you don't discipline him, he'll err more and worse.

Not disciplining public officials, including judges, has the same effect.  Judges are only human.

If you don't treat infection, it has a potential of growing into a gangrene and killing you.

Judicial immunity is undermining America democratic traditions declaring that nobody is above the law and everybody is equal under the law.  It's time to make that maxim work, as applied to our public servants, judicial officers.

If we, the People of the State of New York, do not take action to end this shameful concept of absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts of judges on the bench, we will continue to suffer injuries from judicial misconduct while having no remedies for such injuries.

Maybe also (although there is little hope for that without public outcry and media attention), New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct will finally look into the matter and consider sworn allegations of Judge Becker's victims in those dismissed and pending lawsuits?

As well as sworn allegations of victims of misconduct against other judges? 

Judicial discipline does not require as a pre-requisite a judgment against such a judge and does not have statutes of limitations, at least that is what is being declared to the public.  Maybe it's time to practice what is being preached about equality under the law and that sun is the best disinfectant?

It is in our hands not to be silent, to call on our representatives in the State and Federal Legislatures to put an end to the perversion of justice called "absolute judicial immunity" and to introduce effective, transparent and open system of judicial discipline, with active public participation.


  1. Hi, Tatiana,
    I cannot have access to for a while. Would like to share with you a news release today re a complaint filed by me.