"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, July 24, 2014

Do you believe in spirits?

I do want to believe in ghosts after reading the story of the yesterday's execution in Arizona.

Now, in all civilized countries but the United States (if the United States may be called a civilized country in view of its staunch adherence to the death penalty) death penalty is abolished.

I am blessed to live in a state (New York) which imposed an indefinite moratorium on death penalty, hopefully for good.

Yet, death penalty is still "administered" in many states in the United States.

And executions are botched throughout the country, the latest being the execution of Clayton D. Lockett in Oklahoma and the yesterday's execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood in Arizona.

Executions, if the government is to claim that it is a constitutional and not a cruel and inhuman punishment, should at least be quick and the least painful.

Yet, had Mr. Locket and Mr. Wood been simply shot in the head, they would have suffered less than what they had to endure - physically and emotionally.  At least they would have died instantly.

The death penalty is taking of a life, not inflicting pain.

Yet, in this country people are fried in electric chairs or suffocated for hours by using unknown lethal injection drugs information about the government refuse to reveal to the public - with the U.S. Supreme Courts' blessing.

The federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has granted Joseph Rudolph Wood, scheduled to death by a lethal injection, an injunction to at least verify what drugs are going to be used to kill him.

That was on July 19, 2014.

Within 4 days the U.S. Supreme Court has lifted the stay and sent Joseph Rudolph Wood to die a horrible death.

That is the same court that denies writs of certiorari to thousands of people whose constitutional rights are violated.

In order to deny a human being a basic human and constitutional right to know whether the punishment that is about to be inflicted upon him may turn into hours of torture, and in order to allow the state government to send a human being to a horrible death, the U.S. Supreme Court has all the time in the world.

Did judges who allowed the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood in Arizona to proceed without disclosing to Joseph Rudolph Wood the manufacturer of the drugs, the names of the drugs and the batch numbers of the drugs which were going to be used in his execution not know that executions by lethal injections were recently botched in Oklahoma, resulting in suffering of the condemned.

Did those judges not know that the American Civil Liberties Union called for an immediate moratorium on death penalty until an independent investigation is concluded into the causes of the horrible death of Clayton D. Lockett in Oklahoma?

Did they not know that the United Nations which the U.S. is part of has a moratorium on death penalty since 2007?

Did they not know that the United Nations has actually called upon the United States after the previous botched execution, back in May of 2014, to impose a moratorium on death penalty in the entire country?

Did they not know that executions in Oklahoma were stayed due to the botched execution of Clayton D. Lockett?

Did they not know that after the horrible death of Clayton D. Lockett a federal court imposed a stay of executions in Ohio?

Of course they knew it.  It was all over the news in the country.  The judges of the highest court in the country may not claim ignorance and stupidity defense in a case this important.  The botched executions throughout the country were the main reason why Joseph Rudolph Wood's attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit in the first place.  The concerns about botched executions were in the pleadings.

So why did these judges make a decision that has sent a human being, a murderer or not, to at least a possibility of a horrible death by hours of suffocation, a death that even Nazis did not inflict on their victims?

The answer is very simple.

Judicial immunity.

Judges knew that for any judicial decision, no matter how bizarre, no matter how cruel and inhuman, no matter how unconstitutional, their brethren, other judges will always cover them with absolute immunity, to do what they whim from the bench.

The horrible death of Joseph Rudolph Wood was predictable.  And it happened.

I am not a believer in God or any Supreme being.  I am not a believer in spirits or ghosts.

But in this case I want to believe that the afterlife exists, that judges who made the decision denying the stay of execution and denying to Joseph Rudolph Wood knowledge of what drugs were going to be used to kill him (knowledge that could have served to prevent his horrible death), those judges, all of them, should be haunted by the ghost of Joseph Rudolph Wood suffocating on that gurney day and night, for as long as they live, and should rot in hell after they die. 

When Joseph Rudolph Wood murdered a human being, that was wrong and punishment was in order.

When the government suffocated Joseph Rudolph Wood for 2 hours, after denying him the right to know that the drugs to be used in killing him can do just that, that is a punishment long banished from the arsenal of the civilized world.  This is murder, too.

What is most concerning to me as an attorney and a human rights defender is that the United States is openly and arrogantly flouting requests of the United Nations to stay clearly inhuman and cruel punishment of its prisoners.   That is the same United States of America which presides in the United Nations over cases of other countries violating human rights of their citizens or residents.

Another reason why Americans should push for full ratification of the United Nations Convention on Political and Civil Rights by the United States without any restrictions and allowing Americans remedies against their own government that citizens of countries like Belarus have.

At this time, the only remedy Americans have against their government violating their basic human rights seem to be in the belief in the afterlife, and that the spirits of those wronged by the government would haunt the wrongdoers and condemn them after their death.   During our lifetimes - there is no remedy.

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