"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 4, 2014

I can only hold the torch (for so long), but it is for New Yorkers themselves, through their Legislature and constitutional intiatives, to clean the mess this state's courts are in

Because of this blog, I am experiencing a surge of requests to represent people in mostly civil proceedings where people ask me to make motions to recuse judges and relate to me stories of judicial misconduct which are really - REALLY - bad.

My heart goes out to these people.

People who otherwise do not have a voice because that voice is stifled by the oppressive court system in New York state have been of the main reasons why I started this blog to begin with - to give them that voice.

Yet, as much as I would wish to help everybody, I cannot do it - and not simply because my time is limited to 24 hours a day, but because I have tried all avenues to make motions to recuse as legitimate as they are presented to the public - and failed.

Civil proceedings (Family Court proceedings, divorce proceedings) are subject to the so-called "rules of frivolous conduct" which were created, obviating the Legislature, directly by the New York State Court Administration.  Under those rules, any party or attorney may be ordered by a judge, in the judge's sole discretion and without much procedure, to pay up to $10,000.00 per "act" that the judge may deem frivolous - and that is including a motion to recuse AGAINST THAT SAME JUDGE that the same judge will review and decide.  And, on top of that, the judge may award attorney's fees for that same frivolous conduct, if the opponent of the party or attorney who asked the judge to recuse, was represented by an attorney.

And attorneys often capitalize on that opportunity, because they often are stuck in cases with non-paying clients with no recourse, and sanctions for frivolous conduct against the opponent provide them a golden opportunity to get paid - usually at any rate they claim to the court.

So, when people ask me to step into the case TO MAKE A MOTION TO RECUSE, I cannot subject the new client and myself to these sanctions.  I've tried and I've been sanctioned.  And I appealed and I lost, and I sued in federal court and I lost. 

And the same dishonest and unconstitutional rules, dishonestly and unconstitutionally applied by dishonest judges who have vested interest to protect themselves from motions to recuse remain in place, hurting people daily.

I already argued to state and federal courts that such rules are unconstitutional for many reasons, one of the main ones is that:

(1) rules of frivolous conduct amount to an important legislative policy and should be introduced only by elected legislative representatives, and not by court administrators;  and that by introduction of these rules, not only attorneys and parties are deterred from asserting their constitutional rights to a fair trial by a competent and impartial tribunal, guaranteed by the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments, but New York voters are stripped of their voting rights (disenfranchised). 

Courts that reviewed my claims refused to render an opinion on these issues - you will not see opinions on these issues in any of court decisions made against me lately, and I've raised such an issue in nearly every appeal in state court and in every federal action. 

These issues are simply ignored.  When such issues are collectively ignored by all courts on all levels, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to see that there is an institutional position expressed by such failure to review this issue and that no matter how hard I am going to try to raise it again, it will fail, and that something needs to be done on a legislative, possibly, constitutional level (a referendum for amendment of a State or even Federal Constitution) in order to address this crisis.

It is a crisis because of people who are contacting me, and the majority of these people want to remain unknown for fear of retribution from the judicial system - which, of course, I am going to honor.

(2) rules of frivolous conduct are vague and encourage arbitrary application to parties or attorneys at the judge's "discretion";  imagine the "discretion" of an enraged judge who is mad at an attorney or party because they dared to make a motion to recuse.

I remember the reaction of attorneys to my first motion to recuse Judge Carl F. Becker in August of 2009, during my first year of practice of law.  They made "big eyes" to me in the corners of the courtroom and outside of it and whispered that "they support me", that "everybody knew" what I was raising in the motion, but "nobody would raise it", that I am the "fresh air" that is "much needed in our profession", but "take care not to burn your bridges".

I did not take care - and as a result I am in the middle of a disciplinary proceeding instituted exclusively based on sanctions of a judge imposed upon me after I sued that judge for misconduct, on behalf of myself and my two clients, one of them my husband.

(3) such rules do not provide a "catch-all" provision prohibiting judges to sanction for constitutionally protected conduct - and especially for making constitutional arguments.  I have been sanctioned for raising constitutional arguments on behalf of my clients several times and at this time there is a chance that I will be disbarred BECAUSE of it. 

All public organizations and all law professors who otherwise advance theories against attorney discipline for criticism of judges declined to help me claiming that they are too busy.

Those attorneys who sympathize with what is happening to me and with what I am doing, do that in deep secret, because they are afraid for their own fate if they express sympathy or support me publicly.

Some attorneys tried to get a political capital on my blog and to cement their favorable positions with judges by providing to courts copies of this blog as proof of my alleged psychiatric instability, lack of credibility and unfitness to be an attorney. 

So - it is fashionable to kick me and unfashionable to support me.  I am sure that in the unlikely situation if I actually win the disciplinary proceeding (one may always dream about a court with minimum integrity, as required by the court's oath of office), there will be a lot of people coming forward and telling me that "the supported me all along".

Yet, same as with my fight to restore the license of my husband - tons of people tried to get my free legal advice claiming that "Fred always advised them for free because I am a friend" and thus encouraging me to do the same and none of those alleged friends supported us.  My husband provided free consultations and mentoring to tons of local attorneys during his 37-year legal career, and during time when I was with him and witnessed it, and NONE of them helped me appeal Fred's case or bring it to federal court.

In fact, at this time, not one, but many local attorneys referred "problem clients" to me where issues of judicial misconduct were involved and attorneys did not want to handle those issues on their own, for fear of being "blackballed" and losing their business.  Obviously, for those attorneys, I am expendable. 

So, instead of presenting a united front against judicial misconduct, as an honorable legal profession and ASSOCIATION of attorneys should do, what we have is scattered individuals who, for fear of their own livelihood, would not support their colleague and will instead refer clients to that colleague who may add to that colleague's demise, to protect themselves.

The bottom line is - I've tried it all with motions to recuse and failed.

The New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct so far did not discipline a single judge who was involved in very well documented misconduct I complained about.  Instead, judges I complained about have my livelihood and reputation in their hands, assigned themselves or through other disqualified judges to my cases (and such assignment is, as federal courts explained to me, immune from civil liability under the absolute judicial immunity doctrine) and sanctioned me for invented reasons - and, in reality, for complaining about them.

It is not usual for an attorney to start a blog and start speaking out against judges.

In fact, discussing what happens in court and in pending cases is frowned upon.

I only started to do that because NOTHING ELSE HELPS.  THE LAW APPEARS TO BE DEAD and not to work.  CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENTS ARE IGNORED AND/OR SANCTIONED.  Uniformly.  Throughout state and federal courts, on trial and appellate levels.

And people who call me universally report that attorneys refuse to raise issues of judicial misconduct and bias, no matter how well established (and I agreed with a lot of them that misconduct was egregious - after review of transcripts and copies of pleadings and court decisions provided to me).

We have arrived at a situation where there is a human rights crisis CREATED by the state and federal court system - where there is NO WAY, ABSOLUTELY NO WAY for a poor litigant in a civil case (Family Court) to obtain:

(1) effective representation from an independent counsel not fearing to raise all necessary issues;

(2) effective access to a truly impartial and fair court.

And that must be the concern of the New York State Government that an impenetrable wall preventing access to court and fair adjudication of cases has been created in this state,

(1) through apathy and inaction of its Legislature

        (a) that allows the "rules of frivolous conduct" to continue to exist, even though by introduction of those rules the New York State court administration clearly usurped the authority for legislative actions and legislative policy from the New York State Legislature,

        (b) that failed to introduce STATUTES 
              (I) for peremptory challenges against judges, as exist in other states, and as exist in New York State if fact-finders are jurors;

             (II) that would PROHIBIT judges to decide motions to recuse that same judge;

             (III) that would demand that a judge must step off ALL CASES INVOLVING THE SAME PARTY if the judge is disqualified from one such case;

              (IV) that would establish mechanisms of disclosure of information disqualifying judges pursuant to Judiciary Law 14 AND due process of law;

               (V) that failed to put into the Judiciary Law 14 a catch-all phrase of constitutional requirements for disqualification;

               (VI) that would prohibit sanctioning attorneys or parties for raising constitutional arguments in court, and especially for making motions to recuse;

(2) through complicity of its Executive branch which represents and protects rogue judges in civil rights actions at taxpayers' expense instead of prosecuting them,

(3) through self-interested actions of judges who:

      (a) introduced all kinds of doctrines which are not part of statutes or state or federal Constitutions, which help them avoid liability, such as immunity doctrines and multiple doctrines blocking civil rights actions in state and federal courts;

      (b) intimidate and chill, if not destroy independent attorneys who raise issues of judicial misconduct - through sanctions at all levels, in state and federal, trial and appellate courts, for making motions to recuse or for otherwise criticizing judges, and through disciplinary proceedings against those same attorneys based on those same sanctions (as it is happening to me as we speak);

     (c) bribe other attorneys with "assigned counsel" privileges in a tight and ever shrinking market of legal services;

     (d ) wine and dine with politically connected and wealthy attorneys behind closed doors to secure support of the legal establishment.

I believe the New York State Legislature has no right to continue to avoid addressing this human rights crisis which affects, yes, myself too, but it affects thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers, every day.

New Yorkers, I am also addressing you directly.  I am not the New York government and I alone cannot resolve this crisis - I can only point out what other attorneys are afraid to point out.

Moreover, you can count on my words that as soon as my license is pulled,

                 (which is very possible, because courts so far unilaterally ignored
                 all constitutional arguments I raised without an explanation or by
                 simply claiming "and we reviewed all REMAINING issues and find them
                 without merit", even though constitutional arguments, under the federal
                pre-emption doctrine and Supreme law of the land constitutional rule,
                should be reviewed FIRST, not LAST)

I will be bad-mouthed in the press, called "disgruntled disbarred attorney" whose words should not be credited - and that is a large part of why judges try at this time to take my license, to discredit me as an outspoken critic of the system.  The trick to tar-and-feather a political opponent is centuries-old, but works every time, especially when used by the government that has power against an individual that doesn't have it - except for speaking out.

And I continue to speak out.

But I will not change the situation until and unless New Yorkers realize that without their own pressure upon the legislatures and without their own movement to introduce the right laws to change the outrage of judicial misconduct that is running amok in state courts, NOTHING WILL CHANGE, and NEW YORKERS WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER - WITHOUT A LEGAL RECOURSE.

What I suggest I can do at this time - and I already started to do that - is offer my services as an investigative journalist and help create videos and publish them on my blog for victims of judicial corruption. 

I am also working with a group of people about starting a non-profit addressing the issue of judicial corruption.   Victims of judicial corruption and New Yorkers who want to bring about a change on this issue are welcome to join.

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