"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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A judge will not disbar a judge

I have been analyzing reports of judicial misconduct and reactions to them from various states of this country.

As you, probably, know if you read my blog regularly, I am also researching the issue of judicial retaliation against attorneys who criticize judges.

A peculiar pattern appears from all reports of judicial misconduct.

A judge apparently can do nearly anything - and still escape with his or her law license, and all that an attorney has to do to lose his law license is to criticize a judge.

I decided to put some of my findings into a table illustrating to what lengths judges can go and still keep their licenses.

With no effective judicial discipline, ever expanding judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts and nearly no criminal prosecutions of judges no matter what they do on the bench - judgeships are, probably, the safest careers of all.

Such careers are safety nets for incompetent and immoral people who can do ANYTHING in their office - and still escape with their law license.

Apparently, the public does not have to be protected from a lawyer the same way that people are to be protected from a rogue judge.

It is beyond me why attorney disciplinary authority do nothing to remove law licenses from former judges taken off the bench for misconduct or mental instability - it is very easy to do, by using the same "collateral estoppel" that is regularly used against attorneys who get disbarred without an opportunity for a hearing because some state court has decided a related issue by a low evidentiary standard.

Here, disciplinary standards are the same in the judicial disciplinary proceedings and the attorney disciplinary proceedings.

So why not discipline these judges as attorneys, too?

The only answer that comes to explain this situation is judges of the attorney licensing courts are afraid to create such precedents as to not to destroy their own safe harbors, should they themselves be removed from the bench for misconduct, incompetence or mental instability.

And that is one good reason to take attorney licensing out of the hands of the judiciary.

Name of Judge
What did the judge do
Disciplined as a judge?
Suspended or disbarred?
Where works now
James C. Tormey
New York
Asking a court employee to spy against a democratic judicial candidate, a judge of Family Court;  demoting and harassing the employee when she refused
Chief Administrative Judge, 5th Judicial District
Bryan Hedges
New York, Onondaga County Family Court
Allegedly molestation of a 5-year old deaf-mute niece
The alternative version is that Judge Hedges actually warned Attorney Morin that Judge Tormey is planning a retaliation against her, and that’s why he was destroyed by Judge Tormey’s friend William Fitzpatrick who failed to get a payoff from Judge Hedges
Yes, taken off the bench
Diane L. Schilling
New York,
East Greenbush Town Court (also until the scandal, special counsel to Judge Coccoma, Chief Admin. Judge of upstate New York)
Fixing a traffic ticket for another judge's wife
Yes, taken off the bench
Partner in MGuire and Cardona where a son of a late chief appellate judge Anthony Cardona and a niece of the present federal NDNY judge Mae D’Agostino are partners.  The law firm mentions in the website that Diane Schilling has “served” as a judge in East Greenbush court, not that she was taken off the bench
Robert Restaino
New York, Niagara Falls City Court
Jailed the whole courtroom full of people because one cell phone rang
Yes, taken off the bench
Gerald P. Garson
Former judge of NYS Supreme Court
Taken off the bench
Gilbert A. Abramson
Family Court, Saratoga County
Sexual jokes and suggestive behavior with female litigants
Taken off the bench
Registration status delinquent, but not suspended or disbarred
Gerard E. Maney
Family Court Judge Albany County
Caught driving drunk, asked for a "professional courtesy" from the police
Censured, remained on the bench
Joseph W. Belluck, a Manhattan lawyer, wrote that it was “mind-boggling” that the judge would be left on the bench after making “a calculated effort” to ensure that the law “would not be applied to him personally.”
Cory Woodward
California, Superior Court Kern County
Having Sex in chambers
Reprimand, remained on the bench
Scott Steiner
California, Superior Court, Orange County
Having sex in chambers
Reprimand, remained on the bench
Wade McCree
Detroit, Michigan
Having sex in chambers with a witness in a criminal case, discussing sentencing of her husband who did not pay child support with that witness
Taken off the bench
Kimberly Brown
47 counts of misconduct: Delayed release of defendants from jail, failed to train court employees, created hostile environment for staff, did not cooperate with investigation
Taken off the bench
Illinois, was a judge since 1994, had mental breakdowns since 1994, with at least 5 hospitalizations
shoved a court deputy, found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity
Taken off the bench for mental instability
Gross neglect of cases, delays, disorganized files
Taken off the bench
Suspended, but not disbarred
Florida, Broward County Drug Court
From the bench

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