"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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A yet another method of discrimination against poor civil rights litigants was invented - delete important court cases from a cheap public retrieval system

I have written in this blog and in my other blog dedicated specifically to discrimination against pro se litigants in court, about various ways how courts may and do frequently discriminate against the poor, indigent and unpopular litigants.

Civil rights litigants, especially civil rights litigants suing judges are topping the lists of "unpopular" litigants.

Civil rights litigation is all but dead - with all the barriers invented by the trial-level and appellate-level courts to "clean their docket", or, in other words, get rid of civil rights cases without ever reviewing them on the merits.

More and more often, sanctions follow against civil rights plaintiffs, victims of unconstitutional conduct of government officials, for the mere fact of bringing a civil rights lawsuit - and that is where the court dismisses the case without reaching the merits, or, in other words, the court punishes a civil rights plaintiff while at the same time refusing to see whether what the civil rights plaintiff is saying about being the victim of unconstitutional conduct by a governmental official, is true or not. 

Recently, a brand-new way to discriminate against civil rights litigants was revealed.

Legal research is a big effort and comes at a high price in preparation of any appeal.  Civil rights litigants often proceed pro se, especially in cases where attorneys increasingly are afraid to take such appeals, for fear of sanctions "for frivolous" conduct.

Online law databases, such as Lexis Nexis and Westlaw require at least a year-long commitment and are prohibitively expensive.

Cheaper online legal resources are often inadequate.

A cheaper way to do legal research (for indigent and pro se clients) was, as far as I was told, to do free research of cases on the Internet, by key words, and, when key word search returns a case on point about a situation similar to what you have, to go to the federal governmental archive and retrieve the decision in the case, creating a precedent and quoting the law upon it relied., even though criticized for its cost of 10 cents per page which is more than the federal law allows to charge (the federal law only allows to charge enough money to maintain the retrieval system), is still much less than legal research will cost.

Law libraries in courthouses exist, but often they do not have federal cases, necessary for civil rights litigation, are not open every day, be located only in large courthouses far away from where an indigent person lives, requiring a civil rights litigant to invest in a car ride and gas, not to mention to lose a day at work, in order to do any kind of legal research in such a law library.

Well, now even a research through PACER will present a problem, because it has been recently reported that some seminal federal cases, necessary for civil rights litigants' appeals, will simply not be "available" through PACER - because many "old" and not-so-old court cases are being deleted from PACER without much fanfare

I had an experience in trying to locate an old case in federal court not through PACER, because certain information required for PACER was lacking.  From my communication with the court clerk, I understood that, possibly, the "hard-paper" archives might not even be in existence.  I was not able to retrieve documents I wanted in that particular situation.

So - several questions arise in connection of cleansing court cases off PACER.

If such court cases, which were already decided, are not available on PACER - where and on what terms are they going to be available?  What happened to the originals of pleadings? How can people look at them?

What will be the cost of such retrieval, not through PACER?

And, with the increasingly dropping prices in "cloud storage", why problems with PACER had to be resolved by blocking people's access to cases necessary for research instead of fixing the retrieval system?

Was it to make civil rights litigation even harder than it is now?

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