"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

Members of the bar in Pennsylvania, 11th District for Congressional elections and citizens residing in that district! Vote for Andy Ostrowski, a Congressional candidate running on a platform of court reform. You can bring a real change for all of us.

One of my very first posts on this blog was an appeal for attorneys disciplined for criticism of the judiciary to unite in action to fight encroachments upon independent court advocacy by the judiciary, especially that truly independent court advocates usually have a reason to criticize judiciary for errors, sloppy work and outright misconduct.

Errors, sloppy work and outright misconduct in this branch of the government only gets worse in the absence of real oversight and real discipline against the errant judges.

In my appeal I appealed to attorneys who are presently practicing and to suspended and disbarred attorneys whose licenses were pulled specifically for criticism of the judiciary, as the most eloquent and most potent and knowledgeable group of experts as to the issue of judicial misconduct, to provide as much information as possible to the voters about instances of judicial misconduct, and to appeal to legislators for a quick and efficient judicial reform.

Such a reform is necessary where the majority of litigants in modern American courts are faced with the problem that there is no real access to court and no affordable and efficient legal representation for an average American, due to the quagmire of rules created by the judiciary that makes it impossible for average people to navigate the court system, and because of self-serving judicially created immunity for malicious and corrupt acts.

While I was talking about legislative initiative, in other words, initiative centered around talking to existing legislators, I've overlooked an even better opportunity - to become such a legislator and a lawmaker, and to participate and to become a people's representative who would be able to spearhead such a reform.

Andy Ostrowski in Pennsylvania actually had such an idea - and he courageously and persistently is pursuing this goal.

Andy Ostrowski is running for Congress.

Andy Ostrowski is a suspended attorney.

Discipinary authority recently refused to reinstate his law license. 

Why?  Because he runs a civil rights website and raises there issues of public concern.  Isn't it for public interest?  Yes, it is.  Isn't such activity protected by the 1st Amendment?  Yes, of course, it is within the core values of the 1st Amendment.

But, in the eyes of disciplinary authorities, what is clearly for public interest - but against the interest of the judicial establishment - prevented Andy Ostrowski's law license to be reinstated.

Did Andy Ostrowski know that his public advocacy may serve to prevent reinstatement of his law license?

Probably, yes.   Statistics across the country is frightening.  Attorneys are universally disciplined for any criticism of judges, and such discipline is universally upheld, no matter whether discipline was, in fact, authorized by the law and whether attorney's criticism was protected by the 1st Amendment or not.

Moreover, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by suspensions and disbarments of attorney whistleblowers, made sure that the state legal profession would be overcome by fear and is intimidated into not reported judicial misconduct, whether it was warranted or not.

There are a lot of cases around the country where disciplinary authorities blatantly violate the 1st Amendment and refuse to reinstate law licenses - or take law licenses - based on protected speech for public benefit.

Did it deter Andy Ostrowski from putting his personal interests aside to promote the interests of public benefit and fairness?  Definitely.

It is particularly symbolic that a leader and public advocate such as Andy Ostrowski appeared in the state of Pennsylvania, of all state, the state which was recently rattled by the "Kids-for-Cash" scandal where two judges were involved in a scheme to fill a private juvenile detention facility with kids improperly sentenced in exchange for kickbacks and sent there without the benefit of a hearing or a counsel representing them, in violation of applicable law.

It is particularly symbolic that a leader such as Andy Ostrowski appeared in the state where the legal community of the Luzerne County and beyond knew or should have known what was happening with juvenile sentencing for years, and the where the state judiciary has for years refused to discipline these judges.

It is particularly symbolic that a leader such as Andy Ostrowski appeared in the state where the legal community acted like cowards and protected their own interests in the fear that reporting judicial misconduct (even in order to do their duty and save the kids) will land them in hot waters of judicial rage and retaliation.

The state can attempt to stifle, silence, tar-and-feather its critics, pull their licenses all they want, but, as they say, the proof of the pudding in the eating.

And Andy Ostrowski has already proven his worth.  He is fighting for civil rights even though his license has been pulled, and even at the expense of reinstatement.

The legal community who was silently letting the kids to be sold into slavery/juvenile delinquency - which resulted in at least one suicide and untold and irreversible trauma for other kids - are not the true representative who will listen to people's wishes and at least attempt the necessary legislative changes, no matter what will be the personal cost to him.

When you come to court, you want your counsel to fearlessly defend your position.

Your counsel, at least under the present circumstances, is torn between his duty to you and his duty to his own family.  Most likely, his family will win, and he will not risk his law license to raise an issue in court for one client, when there is a real threat that the attorney will be sanctioned or disbarred for criticizing a judge.  

The problem of judicial retaliation is pervasive in the country, and has legal experts worried.

And for a good reason.  You will not have true access to court unless you have fearless and independent advocacy.  And you will not have fearless and independent advocacy while regulation of attorney livelihoods is in the hands of the judiciary whose misconduct your attorney may have to challenge on your behalf.

Thus, judicial retaliation against attorneys criticizing the judiciary is not just attorney's problem - it is everybody's problem.

Members of the bar of Pennsylvania, residents of the district where Andy Ostrowski runs!

Your fear of retribution from the judiciary if you come and support Andy Ostrowski's cause openly is understandable.  You have families to feed and reputation to uphold.  And sometimes these needs drive people to forget or put on the back burner the oath of office that they took when they became attorneys.

Yet, one avenue of redress is still available to you, it is secret and does not require you to openly reveal your support of Andy Ostrowski - but it can still get him elected.  That is voting.  Voting is in this country - or at least that's what the election committee's make us think - secret.

Vote for Andy Ostrowski.  Stop your cowardice.  Bring about much-needed change in the federal court system.  Help Andy Ostrowski promulgate legislation that will provide true remedies to victims of constitutional violations.

It will not expose you, it will not jeopardize your livelihood to do the right thing.  Yet, it will do a lot of good to all of us.

I hope that Andy Ostrowski will be the first of many attorneys or former attorneys who realize that urgent legislative measures are necessary to create real enforceable mechanisms for access to courts and equal protection of laws, and real laws enforceable by private individuals directly need to be introduced to address the issue of judicial misconduct and retaliation, which continues to undermine democracy in the United States each time a judge rules in a malicious or corrupt manner, because of the judge's bias, because of the judge's friendship with one of the attorneys, because the judge was upset or jealous with parties or counsel.

As attorneys you, possibly, cannot do much under the existing state of events without inviting sanctions from judges for criticism even of the most clear misconduct.

As voters, you can do a lot.

Please, vote responsibly.

Please, vote for change.

Please, vote for Andy Ostrowski for the U.S. Congress.

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