"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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Busy courts and trouble reading

I keep hearing from judges that certain motions are "voluminous" meaning that it is difficult for judges to read them.

"Coincidentally", I am never hearing the same about motions filed against my clients, say, in a credit card consumer debt cases, or in foreclosure cases - in those cases courts usually rubber-stamp whatever the corporations want without complaining about "voluminous" motions.

Many times when I receive a judicial decision, not necessarily against my client, I see that judges fail to have read important portions of the record, because they either skip portions that by law they are not allowed to skip, or misrepresent it, showing that they did not read the record attentively, or even at all.

I understand how busy a judge can be and how many cases he may have.

I understand about budget cuts requiring judges to shoulder larger case burdens.

But - nobody dragged judges to benches against their will.

This is a job that has to be done, each case in front of a judge deals with a unique controversy where a litigant exhausted remedies out of court and has to resort to a court of law for assistance.

A judge has no right to claim that he or she is too busy to actually sit down and actually look and analyze the record of a case in front of him, no matter how voluminous the record is, in order to render a decision which may affect the entire life of an individual who came to court with a request for judicial intervention.

If the judge does not have enough time to do his job, he should either adjourn cases on his calendar so that he has enough time.  After all, for people who appear in front of him, each case may be life-changing, that's why they come and ask for the court's help and intervention to begin with.
And life-changing decisions should not be made by rushed or lazy people who have no desire to read what was put in front of them.

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