"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, June 12, 2014

Chief Judge Sharpe of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York protects a judge's wife from a lawsuit - at the expense of the applicable law, fairness and justice

I already wrote in this blog how Judge Sharpe created an assigned counsel class for the rich and powerful (while 80% of New Yorkers cannot afford legal representation) when he legitimized representation of attorney Ellen Coccoma, the wife of the Chief Administrative Judge for upstate New York Michael V. Coccoma, by the New York State Attorney General, at taxpayers' expense as to the claims where she was sued for her actions as a private attorney.

Judge Sharpe also helped Ellen Coccoma out by dismissing the lawsuit against her in her official capacity pertaining to her investigation and prosecution of my husband's disciplinary case which was related to the Mokay case from which Ellen Coccoma's husband recused.

Judge Sharpe has ruled that Ellen Coccoma is entitled to a "quasi-judicial immunity" for both her investigative and prosecutorial activities because she acted in her official capacity for the Committee on Professional Conduct (COPS).

In his decision Judge Sharpe cited in a negative fashion a case Neroni v. Zayas, recently brought by my husband and which has survived a motion to dismiss at this time.

Judge Sharpe apparently read Neroni v. Zayas very selectively, because in that case, his own court ruled, on March 31, 2014, that a COPS attorney may be sued for money damages for actions in his investigative capacity, because quasi-judicial immunity does not cover investigative functions of the prosecutor.

Notwithstanding the ruling in Neroni v. Zayas, Judge Sharpe made a contrary finding, that Ellen Coccoma, in her capacity as a member of COPS, a body enforcing attorney discipline, was "the arm of the Appellate Court" and was immune under the  "quasi-judicial" and prosecutorial immunity, even for her actions in investigative capacity.

Yet, in November of 2013 Judge Sharpe's own court remanded my disciplinary case back into the arms of that same court despite the fact that I claimed that same issue, that since the members of COPS are deemed as "the arm of the Appellate Division" and its part, and since the Appellate Division also makes substantive and procedural rules pertaining to attorney discipline, the Appellate Division conflates in itself executive, legislative and adjudicatory function, functions as an administrative body and not a court, and thus attorneys in New York are denied any judicial review before their licenses are suspended or revoked.

Does Judge Sharpe read what his court produces?

Does Judge Sharpe try to coordinate and harmonize what his court produces?

It is also interesting to mention that prosecutorial immunity was awarded by the U.S. Supreme Court to prosecutors on the premise that they are amenable to discipline and to criminal prosecutions and thus public is not without a remedy.

When the New York State Attorney General represents COPS, and COPS refuse to prosecute disciplinary violations of NYS AG and his assistant attorneys, as they did when I complained about certain misconduct of certain Assistant AGs, the chances of NYS AG prosecuting COPS are non-existent.

When COPS reject all disciplinary complaints against its own attorneys and complain to the Appellate Division about complaints filed with them against their own attorneys, as they did when I turned all attorneys and attorney members of COPS in for fraud upon the court for claiming that I did not appear at a deposition in 2008 to represent my alleged clients when I was not even an attorney, the chances of prosecution of COPS attorneys for disciplinary violations are non-existent.

Then, why does immunity still cover COPS?  If the rationale and justification for granting absolute prosecutorial immunity disappeared, the immunity must disappear, too.  That is logical and fair, otherwise the society and the victims of such attorneys' wrongdoing society will get no remedy at all, which is definitely contrary to public interests.

The rule of the state of New York - and now federal courts - is enforced again, and again, and again.

If you are a member of the family of a judge, or you are yourself a retired judge, or you are employed with the government, courts will bend over backwards to rescue you and punish the person who is trying to get a remedy for your wrongdoing.

All that Mr. Neroni wanted is to show that Ellen Coccoma deprived him of his due process right to an impartial prosecutor and investigator by deriving a monetary gain from the fruits of her disciplinary investigation and prosecution and to obtain a remedy for that.

What Ellen Coccoma did is well documented. 
Judge Sharpe would not even look at the merits of the case.

Judge Sharpe did not even look at the applicable law which does not allow to cloak a prosecutor with absolute immunity for investigative acts.

Judge Sharpe instead ruled for Ellen Coccoma and allowed Ellen Coccoma to apply for attorney's fees against her own victim.

What can I say...

Wives of judges rock!  Especially in Judge Sharpe's courtroom.

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