"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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Attention attorneys against whom disciplinary proceedings are pending in the State of New York - a call for a federal class action

When a disciplinary proceeding is filed against you, it is scary.  Many attorneys with whom I confidentially discussed my husband's proceedings, based on the farce of the Mokay case I described in this blog, and about my own disciplinary proceedings, based on retaliative actions of a judge whom I sued, gave me "big eyes" and stated that disciplinary proceedings are so scary they do not want to know anything about them.

Yet, to learn "on the go", when such proceedings already became a reality, is scarier.  And every bit of information as to how to fight these modern day Torquemadas might help.

In the recent decision in my husband's federal pro se civil rights proceeding Neroni v. Coccoma I found a gem of a case that may help attorneys currently involved in a New York State disciplinary proceeding shape their arguments that such proceedings are unconstitutional.

It is amazing what kind of treasure lays around for years (the case is from 1975) and is not given proper regard by attorneys.   Probably, it is exactly because attorneys are so scared of disciplinary proceedings, they are afraid to fight for their rights, and instead try to concede points and plead to something, no matter whether they are guilty or not, in order to preserve the "prize" - the attorney license.

Ok, in 1975, that is 39 years ago (!) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in a case Anonymous v. Association of the Bar of City of New York
515 F.2d 427
C.A.N.Y. 1975 -

gave immunity to attorneys for the prosecuting disciplinary body - Committee for Professional Conduct (COPS) - because - wait - the Committee is an arm of the court.  The pinpoint page for this "pearl of wisdom"  within the case is 433.  The federal court equated COPS being an "arm of the court" with a special master in federal proceedings. 

In fact, a federal master is something entirely different - it is an adjudicator appointed on consent of parties, not a prosecutor pursuing an attorney clearly against his or her consent.  But, when a court wants, in a quick decision, without much bother, attain a needed end, especially when it knows that to get a certiorari review from the U.S. Supreme Court is nearly impossible - the court allows itself to be sloppy.

Now, please tell me, ladies and gentlemen, how can a court where investigators and prosecutors are "part of the court", be considered a true court, instead of a court-advocate?

And how would adjudications of a court blended with prosecutors and investigators and necessarily ruling for them, be deemed constitutionally valid?

Just a thought...

As I said before, it is time for attorneys who are either improperly disciplined or improperly targeted for discipline, to unite in action.

And, based on Anonymous that I cited above, I would suggest not only activities toward a legislative action, but a federal class action.

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