"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.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Open, Simsim! Or - do attorney disciplinary archives exist?

I would say "no".

For years I tried to get access to my own allegedly existing file in the Professional Conduct Committee, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 3rd Judicial Department (hereinafter PCC), and to the file of my husband in that same organization.

By Judiciary Law 90(10), my husband's file must be available to the public anyway, because my husband's license was taken in July of 2011.

Yet, nearly 3 years down the road my husband or I still cannot get access to his own file.

One can get access to his or her own file in the FBI, but not in the Professional Conduct Committee.

There is no discovery in attorney disciplinary procedure, PCC claims, and they are not under Freedom of information law (FOIL) because they are allegedly part of the judiciary (which raises interesting questions as to how can the same judiciary be the prosecutor and the adjudicator - on top of being the legislator of the rules), and as to my requests under Judiciary Law 255 or due process of law, PCC just bluntly denies access, period.

So I had to sue PCC on behalf of my husband for access to his own file, long after disbarment, while the file is presumed now to be public record.

And the lawsuit proceeds in federal court.

And they still do not give access to my husband's own file.

And at this time they still do not give me access to my allegedly existing file, while claiming they are relying on contents in that file which are unavailable to me.

Is it a violation of my due process of law?  Of course, it is.  But who cares?  They know that I have no right of appeal (New York does not give it to attorneys), they know that the NYS Court of Appeals will toss any constitutional claims by stating that my constitutional rights are not "substantially" violated, in one arrogant phrase without explanations, as NYS Court of Appeals always does, they know that there are only 9 elderly people on the U.S. Supreme Court to deal with petitions for a writ of certiorari from 50 states and that my chances of getting in front of the U.S. Supreme court are worse than for a camel to get through the needle's eye.

But - the mystery of the archive of PCC, or of its existence, remains, and, as a naturally curious person, I want to see it.

It is very difficult to give somebody something which does not exist.

New York State Governor Cuomo knows it and is using it or is about to use this wise approach of timely destroying public records to prevent inadvertent nosy citizens from learning what is not safe for their little minds to know, or to keep public records in his employees' private e-mail accounts.

New York State Office of Court Administration also is using the "do not create, stall access or destroy the evidence" approach for quite a while, and that is on my own knowledge.

But - if PCC uses the "Cuomo approach", then maybe, just maybe, my file and my husband's file still exist?  Maybe it is tucked away in the closet of a PCC employee's home? Or in their garage?  Attic? Barn? Shed?  Dog house? Chicken coup?

Can anybody who ever had access to the mysterious Ali Baba's Cave tell me if the treasure (PCC's archive) even exists?

Or do they feed all their documents, if they are even created, into a shredder or a dustbin and then use the fact that the court (which they are part of) always turns a blind eye on any of their shenanigans, no matter how bad, and believes their statements as to the alleged contents of their allegedly existing archive without any evidence of that existence?

Open, Simsim!

Oh, Treasure, do you still exist?

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