"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.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Governor Cuomo publicly buys off Judge Leslie Stein of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department with a Court of Appeals nomination to have her decide a case in favor of his agency, and Leslie Stein rules in his favor within 6 days - shouldn't participants in this dirty story be collectively fired and stripped of their law licenses for corruption and fraud upon New York landowners?

The press was confused as to why New York State Governor Cuomo refused to nominate Judge Victoria Graffeo, of the New York State Court of Appeals, to another term at the end of this year, when her current 14-year term expires, and instead announced his intent to nominate Judge Leslie Stein of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department.

Here is the answer:

The intent to nominate Judge Leslie Stein to the New York State Court of Appeals was announced at the time when Judge Leslie Stein had a case pending before her where the New York State Executive Office (DEC) was in front of her.

New York State Governor is the head of the executive branch of the government of the State of New York, and when DEC was in front of judge Leslie Stein in Martens v. Neroni, Case No. 515341, it was the Executive Office, and, subsequently, Governor Cuomo, who was in front of Judge Leslie Stein in that case.

Governor Cuomo, apparently, was insecure as to how Judge Stein was going to rule, given multiple constitutional arguments raised, one of them - lack of notice to a landowner that environmental objects are located on his property - being jurisdictional.

So, Governor Cuomo did not wait how the judge would rule, instead, he sweetened the deal for the presiding judge of the court panel deciding his agency's case by announcing his nomination of that presiding judge, Leslie Stein, to the New York State Court of Appeals.

The judge took the hint perfectly - instead of stepping down from the case, as required by Judiciary Law Section 14, since she was publicly offered a material benefit by a party in an action pending in front of her, she remained on the case as the presiding judge of the appellate panel, and authored the decision favoring the DEC, thus making sure that she controlled it.

In that decision, Leslie Stein ignored the jurisdictional issue that had a potential of reversing all convictions ever obtained by the DEC against New Yorkers and vacate all fines ever imposed upon New Yorkers for violation of environmental law upon their properties, if maps used to describe protected objects on their properties are as blind as the one that allegedly described protected environmental objects on the property belonging in 2001 solely to my husband Frederick J. Neroni.

I guess, my husband's law license and my own law license were doomed since 2007, even before I was admitted to practice law when, through a FOIL request, I discovered at the office of DEC-4 in Stamford, NY, that the map that was used by DEC to establish jurisdiction over my husband's Town of Hamden property: 

(1) is named "Walton", precluding a person who would be looking for a map of the Hamden area from receiving any notice of protected environmental objects on a Town of Hamden property; 
(2)  is blind; 
 (3) contains no readable legend; 
(4) makes it impossible to locate any address of any property on that map, and
(5) does not have any environmentally protected objects noted on that map.

Here is the map that DEC claimed as giving them authority over our property in the Town of Hamden (see that the map says "Walton", so why would a person living in Hamden even look at it to verify whether environmentally protected objects are located on his Town of Hamden property):

It is elementary due process of law that, before a person can be punished by the government for prohibited conduct, he or she should have clear notice from the state of that prohibited conduct. 

Every 1st year law student knows that any rights pertaining to a piece of real estate must be documented in writing to be valid.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, an agency whose Commissioner is a subordinate of Governor Cuomo, does not have jurisdiction over every property in the State of New York,  but only over properties where environmentally protected objects are located.

Location of such objects and their designation as environmentally protected objects must be made in writing, in order to give any New York landowner notice of such an object on the owner's property, in order for the DEC to be able to impose fines, often amounting to thousands and even millions of dollars, and/or and especially, to bring criminal proceedings against New York landowners.

Guess what, when maps are blind and do not show environmentally protected objects, landowners have no notice of such environmentally protected objects on their properties and DEC does not have authority to prosecute them for upsetting such alleged objects.

Leslie Stein, "encouraged" by the announced intent to nominate her to the New York State Court of Appeals by the party in front of her, and to a position not subject to elections and with a higher salary than she has currently and more prestige, simply skipped this initial, threshold and main constitutional issue of notice in her decision and ruled against Mr. Neroni on the merits.

She also hinted on page 3 of her decision that fines and civil penalties were imposed upon both my husband and myself, which was clearly not what happened and not what was in the record.

This case is bigger than my husband's or my own property rights, it is bigger than the fate of my husband's law license or my own, and it is much bigger than my criticism or even lawsuits targeting judicial misconduct in the State of New York.

It is about rampant fraud upon New York state landowners who are subjected to extortion of thousands and, probably, millions of dollars in fines and suffer criminal convictions based on maps where no environmental objects could be found in order to establish authority of the DEC to claim violations of environmental law.

Had Leslie Stein correctly and honestly ruled that the map M-19 which, DEC claimed, showed an environmentally protected object on my husband's property, could not give any landowner any notice of any environmentally protected objects on his or her property, and tossed the case  against Mr. Neroni, that decision would have resulted in a flood of litigation from New York landowners seeking to vacate their convictions, have the State of New York return illegally imposed criminal and civil fines and make individual public officials involved pay for the fraud to individual landowners, including punitive damages.

See, for examples, similar jurisdictional maps for the areas of Stamford, NY, Bloomville, NY, and Deposit, NY.  They are maps designated as containing alleged references to environmentally protected objects on the maps in the so-called "Water Index".  As you can see, they reference absolutely positively nothing, but are used by the DEC to extract from landowners agreements to "remediate" their properties, at their expense, building costly stone "rip-raps", paying thousands of dollars in civil and criminal fines and suffering the indignities and permanent stigma of criminal convictions.  

These are only some maps of the area where I live.  You are encouraged to seek other maps, of the area where you live, but I doubt that the situation will be different - the maps are blind, do not show environmentally protected objects and cannot be used to give people notice of any environmentally protected objects located on their land.  In our time of GPS and GIS mapping the maps that I provide here are a disgrace, and especially because they are used to extort money, inconvenience landowners, intrude upon their enjoyment of their properties and impose upon many of them the permanent stigma of criminal convictions.

Had Martens v. Neroni been decided by Judge Leslie Stein properly, claims to return the illegally imposed fines, going back years, could have bankrupted the State of New York, cost jobs and positions to many public officials and embarrassed judges, several NYS Governors, several NYS Attorneys General and several DEC Commissioners who, instead of eradicating fraud in the government, promoted it, covered it up, defended it and fought tooth and nail to discredit Mr. Neroni and myself as whistleblowers of that fraud.

The case was important enough for Governor Cuomo to consider bypassing Judge Victoria Graffeo in re-nomination for the Court of Appeals despite her 14-year experience on that court and dangling the carrot of his "intent to nominate" Judge Leslie Stein before Judge Stein made a decision on the case where a Department of the Executive branch of the government, the branch Cuomo is the head of, was a party in front of her.

Remember, Cuomo is the guy who disbanded the Moreland Commission on public integrity once the Commission started to investigate his own office, and for that reason, Cuomo's office is currently investigated by the Feds.  

The Feds should investigate Cuomo's for publicly and openly buying Judge Stein's decision, too.   

If there is the claimed rule of law in this state, Governor Cuomo and Judge Stein must be removed from their respective offices, stripped of their law licenses and criminally prosecuted under state and federal law for corruption and conspiring to perpetrate massive fraud upon New Yorker landowners.

Official maps of other areas of the state of New York show the same as the map of the area that the DEC claims shows our property:  they are blind, lack legends, lack any designation of environmentally protected objects on the map and lack any possibility of tying a particular address of a particular property to the map.

I encourage landowners in the State of New York who were ever fined or convicted criminally on complaints of the DEC or who are prosecuted, civilly or criminally, for upsetting alleged environmental objects on their properties, to file FOIL requests as to the official maps based on which the DEC is asserting their authority over their property and claiming notice to the landowners of the environmentally protected objects on their property.  You might be surprised what you will find.

I also call upon Governor Cuomo, Judge Leslie Stein and New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, as a matter of decency, to step down from their offices, and for Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Schneiderman, to exit their election races.

It will also be proper if attorneys Cuomo, Stein and Schneiderman turn in their law licenses.   

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