"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

One in every four adults in the United States is not entitled to a vigorous legal defense?

Every attorney in the State of New York, at the time of receiving his or her license, takes an oath of office as an officer of the court.

As part of that oath, the attorney swears to uphold the Constitutions of the State of New York and of the United States of America.

Both Constitutions have equal protection clauses prohibiting the government to engage in discrimination.

Attorneys have been disciplined, quite severely, for discriminating against potential clients based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or social status.

America is a country with the highest prison population among civilized countries.

As recently as on July 15, 2014, less than a month ago, a lawyer testified in front of the House Committee on the Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force and provided numbers, that 68 million Americans, more than the population of France, have criminal records.

20 million Americans, according to the numbers quoted in the same article, have felony convictions.

It is reported that the population of the United States reached 317 people in 2014.

In other words, 21% of the US population, or approximately every fourth adult, have a criminal record.

Americans with criminal records are, as everybody else, in need of court representation for everyday things like representations in consumer debts cases, foreclosure proceedings, divorce, custody proceedings - you name it.

When a client with a criminal record is hiring an attorney for a civil case or an attorney is assigned to them, the client has every right to expect that he will not be provided a substandard representation simply because they have a criminal record.

An attorney is not allowed to discriminate against litigants simply on the basis of their status as a convicted felon.

The maximum that an attorney can do with the conviction, if the attorney represents a party opposing a convicted felon is to bring out their conviction at trial and hope that the court will take that conviction as proof of their lessened credibility.

Yet, an attorney will be crossing the line if he or she claims that because a person is a convicted felon, he or she is not worthy of any consideration of the court.

That would amount to an attorney breaking his or her oath of office and, in fact, arguing to the court that a convicted felon, by virtue of his or her conviction, is not allowed to:

(1) have access to court guaranteed by the Petitions Clause of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution;

(2) have a right to due process of law, both substantively (fairness in resolving facts of the case) and procedurally (where the court must follow set rules of procedure applicable to the case, notwithstanding the party's status);

(3) have a right to equal protection of laws - meaning, if a certain rule applies to A litigant, that rule must apply to THE litigant, no matter what his or her status is, if he is a convicted felon or not.

Moreover, all attorneys understand that if an attorney pledged to undertake representation of a person who happens to be a convicted felon, that attorney may not claim his client's diminished social status to provide a substandard representation.

I was astonished to find out recently that a seasoned attorney may allow all of those principles to go out the door - and the court would not either report the attorney to the disciplinary authorities, nor sanction her, nor caution her that her behavior is unacceptable and, in fact, constitutes a breach of her oath of office.

In her pleading to the court, attorney Delice Seligman of Kingston, NY claimed that my pleadings on behalf of a convicted felon, in a civil proceedings, are not worthy of consideration and theatrically asked, who that great client is on whose behalf I am expending myself so much - a convicted felon?

It might surprise Ms. Seligman to learn that I do not make a distinction as to status of my clients in the level of representation that I am providing.  Moreover, Ms. Seligman might learn a lot if she re-reads the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment that she was sworn to uphold many decades ago, as well as disciplinary rules prohibiting attorneys to engage in discriminatory behavior.

In our situation, attorney Seligman openly asked the court to, basically, shut the door of the courthouse and the possibility of fair judicial review in my client's face because (1) she is a convicted felon and (2) because she is represented by an attorney who criticizes judicial misconduct in this blog.

In other words, because of my political activity outside of the courtroom, and because of my client's criminal record, my client is not "worthy of consideration", no matter how well supported by documents, legal authorities and reasoning our arguments are.

The judge who Attorney Seligman pled this atrocious and discriminatory claim in front of neither sanctioned her nor turned her into disciplinary authorities, which I can assess by the fact that the judge still remains on the case.  By disciplinary rules for judges, a judge who refers an attorney to authorities must recuse from all cases where such an attorney appears.

Attorney Seligman is a seasoned local attorney for the court where she has made her atrocious discriminatory statements, under oath, by the way.  

If you are "a local" and obey the courts no matter what you are ordered to do, including engaging in an ex parte communication with a judge, called in there before multiple witnesses, as attorney Seligman did - in other words, being "a good girl" for the judges absolves you of any sanctions for misconduct.

Is this protection of the public which attorney regulation is supposed to achieve?

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