"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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why wouldn't Judge Leslie Stein of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department practice what she preaches - professionalism in the law?

I wrote in my previous posts that on October 17, 2014 the NYS Governor announced his intent to nominate the justice of the Appellate Division Third Judicial Department Leslie Stein to the highest court in the State of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, thus conferring upon Judge Stein a financial benefit of over $2 mln in salary and benefits and eliminating for Judge Stein whose term expires next year (Judge Stein was elected in 2001 for a 14-year term), the necessity to run for re-election - and fund the re-election either with her own funds or through fundraising efforts.

The nomination occurred while Justice Leslie Stein was presiding over at least two cases where the Executive government of the State of New York to which the Governor is the Chief Executive Officer was in front of Judge Leslie Stein as the presiding justice of the appellate panel.

Such a nomination obviously required instant disqualification and recusal of Judge Stein from the case to avoid the appearance that she is being bribed to rule in favor of the Commissioner of the Environmental Conservation in two cases pending in front of her, while the DEC Commissioner was the direct subordinate of the Governor.

Instead, Judge Stein did not step down, remained the presiding justice of the panel and ruled in favor of the Governor's subordinate the Commissioner of Environmental conservation 6 days after being nominated by the Governor to the NYS Court of Appeals.

Offering or conferring a financial benefit of any kind by a party upon a judge results in instant disqualification of a judge under New York State Judiciary Law Section 14, and smacks of corruption.

Conferring a benefit of over $2 mln smacks of major league corruption.

Below I provide the biography of Judge Leslie Stein on the website of the New York State Appellate Division Third Judicial Department.

It indicates, among other things, that Judge Stein is a "founding member of the NYS Judicial Institute of Professionalism in the Law".

Professionalism, right.

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