"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, October 4, 2014

A right to due process of law must include a right to a reasoned decision of constitutional challenges

Even before I went to law school, I always thought, as many people who have no law degree whatsoever, that when a person is trying to resolve important issues pertaining to his/her life, property, livelihood, reputation in court, that person is entitled not only to be heard by an impartial judge, but also to get a decision from that judge that at the very least explains to the person the court's reasoning, and especially if fundamental constitutional rights are involved.

Apparently, not so in attorney disciplinary proceedings.

Today, I've got a decision from the 4th Department in my much publicized disciplinary case that was based in its entirety on sanctions from Judge Becker imposed by him on me after I sued him.

Obviously, important 1st Amendment retaliation and due process issues were involved which were not yet reviewed on the merits by any other courts because the issue was either outside of the record or barred by judicial immunity.

I have filed a cross-motion with a supporting affidavit/memorandum of law on 159 pages, and with 101 documentary exhibits.

The decision of the 4th Department that I received today recites the procedural history of the case, it recites documents upon which the decision is made, and it contains:

  • 0 (zero) analysis, 
  • 0 (zero) reasoning, and
  • 0 (zero) substantiation of the decision.

I will skip my further analysis of what is wrong with the court decision, it will be expressed in writing to the proper tribunals in the future.

I think that, since the court denied me challenges to constitutionality of attorney disciplinary system in New York that were remanded by federal court under the guise that the state court can fairly review and rule on such issues -  I am owed just that, a ruling on the issues, or, in other words, an explanation why the court denied my challenges.

And, if decisions regarding other attorneys' reputation and livelihood are made this way by this court, too, this policy of providing no reasoned decisions in proceedings involving attorneys' reputations and livelihoods is a systemic violation of attorneys' due process of law in New York.

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