"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 20, 2014

To ask the Moreland Commission to fight judicial corruption? What a joke...

I've written earlier in this blog that NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct, in my experience and in experience of people who reported it to me, operates contrary to the purpose as to why it was established - it acts as a glorified shredder of complaints against judges, no matter how well supported and no matter how bad is judicial misconduct complained of.

The same sentiments were aired before the so-called New York State Moreland Commission on public ethics and corruption, according to news reports.

There was the testimony before the Moreland Commission in October of 2013

Crowds of people wanted to testify before the Commission. 

Only a handful of those who wanted to testify and petition the government/ the Moreland Commission to review their grievances against corruption in the court system, was allowed to testify.

Moreover, according to the reports as to an "coincidental" arrest of a would-be witness at the Commission, Seema Kalia, questions should be explored by the same Commission whether corruption of public officials was involved in preventing the testimony of at least one of the witnesses who wanted to testify.

Reportedly, representatives of the U.S. Attorney's Office reportedly testified before the Moreland Commission that corruption of public officials in New York is rampant.

Reportedly, witnesses before the Moreland Commission reportedly testified about corrupt court proceedings.

On December 3, 2013, based on all investigation and testimony the Moreland Commission issued a report.

It appears from the report that "the mountain gave birth to a mouse".

While acknowledging that corruption of public officials is rampant in New York, and there are practically no effective laws to fight such corruption, the Moreland Commission's report of December 3, 2013 was silent as to corruption in the court system.

And the question is - why?  Why after the testimony about such corruption?  What does New York State want?  A revolution to change corrupt ways of courts?  To make judges actually follow the law they are sworn to uphold?

The answer may be in the identity of the Co-Chair of the Moreland Commission William Fitzpatrick, who is also the Onondaga County District Attorney.

William Fitzpatrick is reportedly a law school buddy and roommate of a powerful judge James C. Tormey,the judge who was sued for retaliating against a court clerk for refusing to engage in political espionage against a judge.

The lawsuit cost New York State taxpayers $600,000.00 to hush down the judge's behavior, even though I do not understand why the taxpayers had to pay for outrageous misconduct of judges in office.

After that, Judge Tormey's co-defendant Judge Hedges was taken off the bench, after his resignation, on allegations of sexual misconduct dating 40 years back and while there was evidence that allegations were untrue. 

Why?  I think - because Judge Hedges was the one who disclosed to the plaintiff in the Morin v. Tormey litigation that Tormey's office is out to get her, an admission that could have brought Ms. Morin a victory in the event the case would be allowed to proceed to a jury trial, and it was at the door to that trial when it was settled.

Usually, unless there is a court finding of misconduct, the Commission does not strike a finger to do anything against the judge, no matter how bad his or her misconduct is.

Here, all statutes of limitations against Judge Hedges were long gone and he was simply not suable by the alleged victim, while there was evidence before the Commission for Judicial Conduct that Judge Hedges was not engaged in what he was accused of and the victim simply made up the story to get money from the judge for her children's college education (after, according to the victim's e-mail reportedly submitted as evidence to the Commission for Judicial Conduct, sharing portion of that bounty with the Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick).

It appears to be a mere act of retaliation by the judicial system and their loyal insiders against one of their own for "slipping up" and violating the unspoken rule of the "black wall of silence" to protect their own black-robed brothers and sisters.

Moreover, as I've written before, the public pleadings submitted to the Commission of Judicial Conduct in Bryan Hedges' case, show that William Fitzpatrick had an agreement with the alleged victim to share in the monetary settlement with the alleged victim that the alleged victim was trying to elicit from Judge Hedges.

When blackmail did not help, William Fitzpatrick turned Judge Hedges into the Commission for Judicial Conduct.

While the Commission is notoriously deaf, blind and otherwise unresponsive to any misconduct of any judges, in this case it took Judge Hedges off the bench despite evidence the charges were bogus, despite evidence Judge Hedges already resigned.

Thus, while the Commission for Judicial Conduct refuses to act to protect people from judicial misconduct, it is readily used as a tool of retaliation of corrupt public officials against enemies of embattled judges.

Therefore, one might affirmatively state that the Moreland Committee is another smokescreen attempting to show people that "something" is being done to address the issue of corruption in New York.

As to judicial corruption - this word combination remains a taboo.

My question is - will anybody, at any time, finally do something about at least judicial misconduct, in view of the fact that the Commission for Judicial Conduct would not do anything, the Moreland Commission would not hearings which would give all citizens who have grievances against corrupt public officials to speak, in an unrestricted public way, on record, before the Moreland Commission?

When will we see some action from the Moreland Commission addressing issues of judicial corruption it is charged to address?

My concern is also whether people who wrote to the Commission about judicial corruption will be retaliated against - and will have no effective legal remedy against such a retaliation under the existing law...

Is it too sticky a task to tackle?

Is it difficult for the Moreland Commission to tackle those tasks because Commissioners are themselves attorneys, at least some of them, and their licenses and livelihoods are in the hands of the very judiciary whose corruption they are charged to investigate - while they know from their own report and ivnestigation that in New York, no laws will protect them from judicial retaliation if they start actually doing their jobs and fighting corruption.

Which brings me right back to the main topic of this blog - to remove attorney licensing from the hands of the judiciary and to restore independence of court representation as one of the cornerstones of American democracy.

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