"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

Three times is a pattern, or, if you need evidence of judicial misconduct, you won't get it, but if you claim judicial misconduct, you will be punished for claiming it based on insufficient evidence

The first time when I was denied access to security tapes in a courthouse was in August of 2010.  I was trying to verify which of the three judges who were at that time (upon my personal knowledge) in the courthouse gave an order to the security officer to detain me, an attorney with a security pass, at the time I was LEAVING the courthouse and to ask me to walk through a metal detector, as if I was a very dangerous person, in front of the public and in front of my colleagues.

The New York State Office of Court Administration (NYS OCA) ducked the issue by claiming that they cannot really give me a copy, copies cannot be made, the video-recording equipment does not allow to make copies, that I need to come before or after the court hours (which is illegal under the Freedom of Information Law) and look through the tapes because otherwise I will interfere with the work of the courthouse.  As a result, I was never able to get those tapes.  The three judges who were present in the courthouse at that time were Carl F. Becker, Rita Connerton, Eugene Peckham.  I would exclude Judge Peckham immediately from the candidates who could have given an order because I was in front of that judge right before I was leaving the courthouse, and there was nothing in my behavior or in the judge's reactions that would suggest that the judge was upset or could have given such an order. 

I did not have any cases in front of Judges Becker or Connerton that day, entered the courthouse using my attorney secure pass, was directed by the court officer to the waiting room under the security cameras and stayed there the entire time until I was called into Judge Peckham's courtroom, and after that I headed toward the exit/entrance of the building and was stopped there and asked to go through a metal detector "before I go upstairs".

In fact, I was supposed to go "upstairs" because my husband and I were attorneys of record in a felony criminal trial that was handled on the 2nd floor at that same time before Judge Carl F. Becker.  I was not heading upstairs at that time, but even if I would, there was no point at all to put an attorney of record in a criminal case through a metal detector.   My background was checked through and through by the immigration authorities (I became an American citizen in 2009), I never committed any crimes and I was a perpetrator of violence, so there was no reason whatsoever to do that to me, other than to embarrass and humiliate me in front of the public and other attorneys.

Yet, I will never know who has given such an order because the security personnel was mum, it was unfair to sue security officers while the "big birds" were getting away with their misconduct, so I did not do it.

The second time I was denied access to the security tapes in a courthouse was in November of 2011 when I was trying to confirm the ex parte communication between a presiding judge, James C. Tormey, the Chief Administrative Judge of the 5th Judicial District who has interesting litigation history against him raising questions as to why he is still on the bench, a judge who was a defendant in an action I brought as a plaintiff and attorney for two co-plaintiffs, Carl F. Becker (you can word-search my blog to find out interesting information about this judge) and an Assistant New York State Attorney General representing Carl F. Becker in that litigation.

The New York State OCA ducked the issue by claiming that for that particular day the video-recorder, unfortunately, broke, but refused to provide to me copies of documents proving that payments were made for repairs of that allegedly broken equipment.

The third time I was denied access to the security tapes in a courthouse was yesterday.  I was bluntly told by NYS OCA that the security footage I was requesting is "unavailable", no explanations given.

The interesting part about it was that I sought for security tapes documenting yet another ex parte communication, but this time of another judge, Judge Christopher Cahill of the Ulster County Supreme Court, I wrote about it in March of this year.   Part of the footage was supposed to show the waiting room between the chambers of Judge Cahill and the chambers of the Chief Judge of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department Karen Peters.

My initial FOIL request made on the day of the occurrence of the ex parte communication to which I was a witness (how attorney Del Seligman was called into the judge's chambers, how she walked into the chambers and closed the door behind herself before I could reach it, how I was not allowed by the judge's clerk or secretary to enter and was told that the judge wanted to see only Del Seligman, and how long Del Seligman was in there with the judge while I was not allowed to enter) asked for the footage of March 25, 2014, I was in a hurry and copied the letterhead template with the previous day's date.

The footage was delivered to me immediately, but, naturally, showed nothing.

I immediately asked for the footage on the correct date, and then silence set in for a month.  In a month's time I was told curtly that the footage will not be given to me because it is "unavailable".

Yet, the happy delivery to me of the footage from March 25, 2014 shows that copies of security tapes may be made, contrary to what I was told in 2010 on the same issue by NYS OCA.  Problems with "availability" of these tapes arise only when you ask for tapes which, most likely, document misconduct of a judge.

It is very interesting to mention that the security tapes became mysteriously "unavailable" at the time when I turned Judge Cahill into the Judicial Conduct Commission and asked them to review the security tapes, and when Judge Cahill threatened me to turn me into the Professional Conduct Commission because I was "out of line".  Security tapes would have been key evidence to show that I was right and the judge was wrong.  That key evidence is now "unavailable".

The interesting part is that recently, law clerk for another judge, Mark Oursler, refused to move his finger and push the button on a digital recorder when attorney Andrew Van Buren was verbally harassing and bullying me during a court conference. 

Then, the Professional Conduct Commission relied upon a hearsay statement allegedly from the same Mark Oursler stating that nothing like that ever occurred and that I am making false statements about good and innocent attorney Andrew Van Buren (who is, coincidentally, upon information and belief, the only attorney who openly supported Judge Becker in his election campaign, while I was, upon information and belief, the only attorney who openly opposed Judge Becker in his election campaign).

If I was making those false statements, why would good old Mark Oursler refuse to push the button and create evidence that would rebut my false statements?

It appears as if that was done for the same reason I was denied security tapes by NYS OCA in August 2010, November 2011 and May 2014, so that no obvious evidence of misconduct of a judge, or a judge's darling attorney could be presented to authorities.

I must add that I was sanctioned, by Judge Becker, for making motions to recuse the same Judge Becker, and the sanctions were claiming that I made false claims against the judge, and that my claims were based on allegedly insufficient evidence or making false claims.  That same judge started a sua sponte frivolity proceedings against me for making FOIL requests against him that, obviously, were reported to him back down the grapevine. 

The sanctions were arrogantly imposed upon me by Judge Becker after the NYS OCA stalled my FOIL inquiry into his financial semi-annual reports and refused to provide to me video evidence of which of the three judges present in the courthouse on that August day of 2010, Carl F. Becker, Rita Connerton, or Eugene Peckham (the latter highly unlikely), has given to the court security officers an order to unlawfully arrest me in the courthouse in front of members of the public and my colleagues, other attorneys, and to put me through a metal detector on my way out of the courthouse, thus conducting a body search and drawing attention to me from the people who witnessed that by the highly irregular procedure, especially as applied to an attorney with a secure pass.  

In fact, the regular procedure for attorneys is that, if an attorney comes to the courthouse with a "secure pass" issued by the NYS OCA after appropriate background check, as it was issued to me, the attorney bypasses the metal detectors.  That's what I did that morning in August of 2010.  There was no reason whatsoever to ask me to go through the metal detector, especially when I was leaving the courthouse, other than to harass, denigrate and intimidate me, which is quite Judge Becker's style of conduct toward me that I observed and experienced in the courtroom.

The order was, most likely, given by Judge Becker who is the administrator of that particular courthouse, who was present at the time of the order (which I heard reported over the radio) and in front of whom my husband and I were trying a felony case.  I also heard from other people that Carl F. Becker was upset about my husband and me "double-teaming", or co-chairing, criminal trials, which allowed one of us to cross-examine witnesses and the other to jot down questions or review evidence provided by the prosecution during the trial.

So, a disciplinary case was concocted against my husband, he was stripped of his license and we are no longer "double-teaming".  Now the task before a certain group of individuals within NYS OCA and certain other public officials against whom I filed FOIL requests and blew whistles on appearances of impropriety, is to strip me of my hard-earned law license, which was even more hard-earned that English is not my native language.

In order to do that, I am denied access to the most convincing evidence, video and audio evidence of people's misconduct, and those same people who deny me access to evidence then claim that what I am saying is somehow false.  If it is false, why not allow me to preserve that false statement or evidence of my own inappropriate behavior?  Wouldn't it sound as a logical to do?  Or doesn't such a pattern of behavior show that it was not my misconduct that would have been preserved by audio- and/or videotaping, but somebody else's?

This is the law of connections in New York in its full glory.   Your case is going to be decided in accordance with your social status and your connections.  Do not for a split second confuse it with the rule of law.

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