"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.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Assigned attorney for the rich revisited - rights of judge's family members to free legal representation at taxpayers' expense was elevated to the level of constitutional precedent by Judge Gary L. Sharpe

I have covered in this blog that an attorney whose firm advises state and federal judges through the non-transparent non-governmental organization State-Federal Judicial Council (see more about this organization here) applied for counsel fees in a civil rights lawsuit brought by my husband pro se (on his own behalf, without counsel).

I wrote that in his application, Mr. Gleason has shamelessly asked the court to have Mr. Neroni pay Mr. Gleason for Mr. Gleason's advocacy for a non-client, the wife of Judge Michael Coccoma, the Chief Administrative Judge of upstate New York, where Mr. Gleason was advocating to get for Ms. Coccoma free legal representation by New York State Attorney General's office, Judge Sharpe's son's employer, at the expense of taxpayers. 

I have written that Ellen Coccoma was not Mr. Gleason's client and thus Mr. Gleason had no right to advocate for her in front of the court or claim legal fees for such advocacy.

I have written that the point of advocacy of Mr. Gleason on behalf of Ms. Coccoma was, in fact, to get for Ms. Coccoma free legal representation by the New York State Attorney General at taxpayers' expense.

I've written that Ellen Coccoma was sued for her misconduct as a private attorney in a private action where she invoked the powers of the People.  I have written that Ellen Coccoma, sued as a private attorney, was not entitled to representation by the New York State Attorney General.

I wrote that Judge Gary Sharpe, the judge presiding over the case, was disgruntled in his decision by my pro se lawsuit filed in May of 2014 where Mr. Neroni did not participate and which was seeking from Judge Sharpe information as to his participation in the American Inns of Court (see my blog here, here and here) and all other similar organizations, which clearly included the State-Federal Judicial Council.

Now I am announcing that Judge Gary Sharpe has made it official and created a precedent that a private attorney like Mr. Gleason may advocate for a non-client and ask that a moneyed non-client is awarded free legal advocacy at the expense of taxpayers, and that a civil rights plaintiff must pay for such frivolous advocacy for a non-client.

Gary Sharpe awarded the entire shameless request of Mr. Gleason.

Assigned counsel for the rich and powerful, at the expense of taxpayers have been written by Gary Sharpe into law, and reinforced by legal fees against a person who contested it.

It only adds insult to injury that the assigned counsel for the rich was assigned to the wife of the powerful judge in New York State, that the assignment went to the New York State Attorney General's office where Gary Sharpe's son is employed, and that the sanctions came after Mr. Neroni inquired in another case, Neroni v. Becker about such employment of the judge's son and asked the judge to step down.

It only adds insult to injury that Mr. Neroni has asked the judge to recuse from this case in view of his obvious prior retaliation and award of legal fees in Neroni v. Becker for work completely unrelated to Mr. Neroni's claims. 

It only adds insult to injury that this award has come after I have sued Judge Sharpe in his individual capacity, and the point of lawsuit was asking for the judge's possible involvement in organizations where Mr. Gleason's law firm and HHK (another law firm to which fees were awarded) were likely part of.

Judging by the fact that the judge relied upon four lawsuits:
  1.  one of them still proceeding (Neroni v. Zayas),
  2. three dismissed without award of sanctions or finding of frivolous conduct (partial dismissal in Neroni v. Zayas, dismissals in Neroni v. Grannis, Bracci v. Becker), and
  3. one  (Neroni v. Becker) de facto reversed on appeal when the 2nd Circuit remanded the case back to Gary Sharpe who already sanctioned Mr. Neroni for arguing against expansive application of the Younger abstention, specifically because the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the application of the Younger abstention after Mr. Neroni was sanctioned under its previous broader version.

In Neroni v. Becker Gary Sharpe awarded against Mr. Neroni legal fees for review of O'Sullivan v. Hallock, which was not related to Mr. Neroni's case in any way, shape or form, and of several other cases that had nothing to do with Mr. Neroni.

As to the above dismissed or partially dismissed cases that the judge was referring to in his decision as to Mr. Neroni's alleged "bad faith", none of them with the exception of the remanded Neroni v. Becker  (where the award of legal fees is still on appeal) ruled that the lawsuits were frivolous.

Judge Sharpe could not change those decisions made by other judges and now rule that those lawsuits were, in fact frivolous, for purposes of his new findings in a new case.

Moreover, the partial dismissal  in Neroni v. Zayas was on jurisdictional grounds.  If the court has no jurisdiction to decide a claim, it does not have jurisdiction to decide that the claim was frivolous, that is clear logic.

The dismissal of Bracci v. Becker and Neroni v. Grannis was, similarly, jurisdictional.

If the case was not decided on the merits, a court cannot consider the merits for purposes of deciding whether the case was frivolous.

It is an equal protection issue.

If the court refused to take jurisdiction to reach the merits of a case to protect a civil rights plaintiff, it cannot reach the merits of the case to protect a defendant in the same action. 

I will address more specifically the essence of Neroni v. Grannis, Bracci v. Becker, and Neroni v. Becker, with documents from those cases, in more details in separate blogs.

I will show specifically that by dismissing civil rights lawsuits by law-trained civil rights plaintiffs the court forecloses the road to recovery to multiple New Yorkers defrauded by its own government and forecloses the hope of controlling rampant corruption and misconduct of public officials in the state of New York.

It is easy for the court to abuse its power and chill civil rights litigation by simply squashing a person who dared to raise sensitive issues of attorney and judicial misconduct in a civil rights lawsuit.

It appears that judge Gary L. Sharpe pays no attention to the constitutional oath of office that he took when he was confirmed as a federal judge for a lifetime.  After all, what is to be done to him for his obvious misconduct and retaliation against a litigant?  Who will discipline him?  Statistics of discipline of federal judges shows that such discipline is practically non-existent in the United States.

As a Russian saying goes, "a craven will not take another craven's eye".

Yet, 42 U.S.C. 1988, the statute under which attorney fees were requested and awarded, was not meant as a sword against civil rights plaintiffs.

It was meant to encourage, not discourage civil rights litigation.

I already wrote on this blog that constitutional arguments may not be judged by the same criteria as the "frivolous" actions are judged - whether they fall into the "mainstream" thought or not.

Such an approach chills civil rights litigation into extinction.

Mr. Neroni - and any other potential civil rights litigant - were shown by the decision of Gary Sharpe in Neroni v. Coccoma on legal fees that there is no point raising issues of misconduct of the powerful attorneys, especially if they are related to judges.

Gary L. Sharpe, whose son works for the NYS Attorney General's office (who was awarded legal representation of Ellen Coccoma thanks to efforts of Attorney Gleason) elevated nepotism in the judicial system to the level of constitutional precedent.

So much for justice.

So much for fairness.

So much for the rule of law.

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