"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

So who is going to prosecute Governor Cuomo for using the power of his office in bribing a judge whose term was expiring with a $2,411,200 appointment (plus benefits, perks and prestige), at New Yorkers' expense? And who is going to prosecute the judge? Her own counsel Mr. Schneiderman?

I have described how the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo made a nomination to the Court of Appeals by bypassing a qualified candidate Judge Victoria Graffeo and instead publicly announcing his "intent to nominate"  Judge Leslie Stein of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department at the time when Judge Leslie Stein was the presiding judge over a case litigated in front of her by the Governor's subordinate, the Commissioner of the Environmental Conservation.

As I wrote in the prior post, Judge Stein ruled in DEC's favor within 6 days of the announcement by Governor Cuomo expressing his intent to nominate her to the New York State Court of Appeals.

The reported salary of Leslie Stein for the year of 2013 was $176,000.00 (as reported by

The reported salary of Judge Victoria Graffeo in the New York State Court of Appeals for the same year of 2013 was $184,800.00.

According to the official biography of Judge Leslie Stein on the website of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, she was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 2001.

Governor Cuomo could not reappoint her to the Appellate Court unless she would be re-elected, as, by law, Governor Cuomo could only appoint a judge already elected to the New York State Supreme Court to an intermediate appellate court.

Judges of the New York State Supreme Court are elected for terms of 14 years.

Since Judge Stein was elected in 2001, her term ends at the end of the next year, unless she runs for re-election.

With the nomination, Judge Stein does not need to expend her own funds on a re-election campaign in 2015, since judges are not allowed to use public funds for their re-election.  

Let's count how much of taxpayers' money was secured by Governor Cuomo to bribe Judge Leslie Stein into making a decision for the DEC in Martens v. Neroni?

Governor Cuomo promised to appoint her for 14 years, as a matter of his sole discretion.  Remember, the salary of Victoria Graffeo for the year 2013 was $184,800.  Judge Stein's term otherwise would have expired at the end of year 2015, at a salary of $176,000.

Even assuming that Judge Stein will not have any raises over her 14-year term on the Court of Appeals, which is unlikely, she will get $2,587,200.00 over her term minus $176,000 that she would  have gotten as an Appellate Court justice in 2015 anyway, for the total of $,2,411,200, and that is not counting the benefits and the perks of her office, and the savings for not having to fund a re-election campaign in 2015 to keep her current judgeship in the Appellate Division.

$2,411,200.00 is not a bad chunck of change for just one decision, and that is the one that I know of.

The amount of money Leslie Stein was promised by the Governor at the time governor's officers appeared in front of Leslie Stein as a presiding judge, and the fact that Leslie Stein ruled in favor of Governor Cuomo's officers within 6 days of the nomination, puts a whole new light on her statement that she is "humbled" by the nomination.

My question now is - how can the New York State Attorney General criminally prosecute Governor Cuomo and Judge Stein for corruption when the New York State Attorney General is the official legal counsel for both?

Doesn't this case demonstrate clearly enough that the same public official, the New York State Attorney General, should not be given by statute obligations that create mutually exclusive duties toward the same people - both defend them when they are sued for fraud and investigate and prosecute them criminally for the same thing?

No comments:

Post a Comment