"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, December 6, 2014

Will the U.S. Congress dare to impeach federal judge Fuller for domestic violence against his wife?

It has been reported that Congresswoman Sewell requested the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to commence an impeachment investigation of federal judge Mark Fuller who reportedly assaulted his wife in an Atlanta hotel.

The judge was charged criminally with domestic violence, requested to step down, but so far reportedly refused to do so.

The judge was reportedly stripped of his cases, but continues to draw his salary of $200,000.00, at taxpayers' expense.

Impeachment of a judge is a procedure that the U.S. Congress uses very rarely.  

Judges are human, and, especially with federal judges who are on life tenure and against whom discipline for misconduct on the bench is simply unavailable by federal court rules, and discipline through civil lawsuits by the victims is unavailable through judicially created doctrine of absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts on the bench, such absolute power has a tendency to go to the judges'  heads and corrupt them absolutely.  

Judging by conduct of some federal judges I have dealt with, such power does so corrupt and makes many judges too arrogant in their belief in their own impunity to comply with their constitutional oath of office and not to strike against critics of their misconduct within court proceedings.

Since all disciplinary complaints about judges, which, naturally, complain about judges' misconduct on the bench, are dismissed without review, no statistics of judicial misconduct of federal judges on the bench is collected or exists, and without statistics, the picture appears to be benign.

The only alternative way to get a federal judge disciplined is impeachment, a 3-step tedious procedure which must be initiated by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Yet, it appears to be a distinct policy of the federal government not to impeach judges, no matter how bad their behavior is, not to upset the public and not to mar public image of the federal judiciary.

In this case, where the cat is out of the bag and where reports of domestic violence by a judge against his wife are already all over the Internet, the image is already marred and attempting to "save" it can be regarded by the public as nothing other than protecting a judge's career, no matter what he did, simply because he is a judge.

Assaulting a woman tells volumes about a federal judge's judicial temperament.  It would especially tell volumes to female attorneys or parties appearing in front of that judge.  If the judge cannot keep his temper in check not to lay a hand on a helpless woman in a private hotel room, the judge is not fit by temperament to remain on the bench.

Life tenure of federal judges clearly is "during their good behavior".  Assaulting a woman is not good behavior by any definition in a civilized society.

I am a criminal defense attorney myself, and I understand and fully subscribe to the concept of "innocent until proven guilty".  Yet, investigations for impeachment are separate and distinct from criminal proceedings, and the U.S. Congress definitely does not have to wait until the criminal proceeding is complete to commence its own impeachment procedures, especially when the victim/witness and her medical records are, most likely, very available for the investigation.

Not to impeach a judge under such circumstances will be very suspicious and will smack of a policy to condone any misconduct if it is done by the new American aristocracy, a member of federal judiciary.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, should not be tolerated by "We the People", by us.

No comments:

Post a Comment