"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 31, 2014

Ethical obligations and sweet dreams of Attorney James Ranous, the Deputy Clerk of the Appellate Division 3rd Judicial Department

My first question to Mr. Ranous, the Deputy Clerk of the Appellate Division 3rd Judicial Department - do you sleep well at night?

Does your conscience bother you?

At least a little bit?

Well, it should.

The Rules of Professional Conduct, applicable to all attorneys, including you, Mr. Ranous, provide that an attorney must (I stress it, must, this is not a discretionary option) report attorney misconduct or judicial misconduct that an attorney knows about.

That may just as well include misconduct of the attorney's employer, no matter how powerful, no matter what consequences to the attorney.

That is a duty that the Rules of Professional Conduct impose upon the members of the legal profession for the protection of the public.

I've written in this blog that the NYS Appellate Division Third Department engaged in an ex parte communication with the Committee for Professional Conduct the moment I mentioned in federal court on my husband's behalf that I am seeking to see the voting record in my husband's disciplinary case and engage an authenticity expert, especially in view of the recent "resignation"of three attorneys from the Committee among investigation regarding investigation for allegedly filing false time sheets.

When the court employing Mr. Ranous engaged in an ex parte communication with the Committee about a CLOSED case and transfer documents sought through a federal lawsuit, what did Mr. Ranous do?

Did he report attorney misconduct?


Did he report judicial misconduct?


Here is the entire correspondence between my husband and the Appellate Division (posted with my husband's permission) that started after the Appellate Division suddenly transferred an long-closed case to the 4th Department, "coincidentally" did it right after I raised in federal court the issue of authenticity and availability of documents in the Committee and did it without showing the application for such an order of transfer to my husband or myself as his attorney.

Document 1.  The ex parte order of transfer.  My husband's case was concluded on July 7, 2011 with the resulting loss of jurisdiction by the court and the Committee.  My case was commenced in January 2013.  My husband's case and my case were never merged (consolidated).  Neither my husband nor I were ever served with the application for this order.

Document 2.  My husband's first letter in response to the ex parte order requesting to disclose authority upon which the order was made and to provide copies of documents upon which the order was granted and documents which were transferred to the 4th Department.

Document 3.  First obnoxious answer by Mr. Ranous ignoring the request for copies of documents.

Document 4.  My husband's second letter to Mr. Ranous repeating his request for copies of documents upon which the ex parte order was granted and copies of documents which were transferred

Document 5.   Mr. Ranous's second obnoxious reply to my husband arrogantly telling Mr. Neroni that Mr. Ranous "was directed to advise" Mr. Neroni that his request "for a copy of all proceedings resulting in this Court's order of June 11, 2014 and for copies of documents transferred has been denied".  

Just like that - denied without an explanation who "directed" Mr. Ranous to answer in this manner, on what grounds or for what reasons.

Today I've read the new lawsuit by Leon Koziol against the Appellate Division Third Department and the Committee for Professional Conduct a portion of which I publish herein (parts of pages 1 and 25):

Document 6.  The first page of Mr. Koziol's federal lawsuit showing names of defendants.

Document 7.   Part of page 25 of Mr. Koziol's federal lawsuit showing that the Appellate Division Third Department engaged in an ex parte communication with the Committee, attorneys Duffy and Zayas, in 2012 and denied Mr. Koziol access to the important documents upon which the court relied in denying him his application for reinstatement of his law license, a constitutionally protected interest.

Document 8.  Part of page 25 of  Mr. Koziol's federal lawsuit showing that Mr. Koziol's second application for reinstatement of his law license was denied because of his political activity protected by the 1st Amendment, posts on his website and anti corruption testimony before the Moreland Commission. 

Document 9.  Part of page 19 of Mr. Koziol's federal lawsuit referenced in Document 8 above.

Document 10.  Part of page 9 of Mr. Koziol's federal lawsuit referenced in document 9 above.

Statements by Mr. Koziol, together with documents from my own and my husband's cases, including my husband's federal lawsuit for access to his own disciplinary file, show clearly that the 3rd Department and the Committee for Professional Standard treat disciplinary proceedings as their own personal fiefdom, do not feel restricted by any rule of law, engage in ex parte communications as a matter of custom and engage in retaliation for pubic criticism of misconduct within the court system also as a matter of custom.

An attorney working within the system, knowing of such misconduct, is obligated by Rules of Professional Conduct to report such misconduct.

In my husband's case Mr. Ranous did the opposite.

He participated in the cover-up and arrogantly told my husband that he was "advised" by an unknown individual that my husband's request of access to the ex parte application to transfer his file 5 hours away from him was denied (see Document 5 above) - no explanations, no grounds, no authority - denied and that's it.

One more example showing that the Rules of Professional Conduct do not apply to the government or friends or relatives of government officials. 

One more example of why attorney licensing do not protect the public, but only protects public officials for accountability for misconduct by giving them power to quash investigation and prosecution against themselves, as well as instill fear in the legal profession and the public by retaliation targeting critics and exterminating their reputation and livelihood.

Once again, so much for the rule of law in the state of New York.

And Mr. Ranous - I return to my initial question - how do you sleep at night?  Any pangs from your conscience?

Didn't think so.

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