"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.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A lot of good things start with a bad thing

I am positive it will be a bestseller.

Persecution of attorneys in retaliation of criticism of the judiciary, as well as unbridled judicial misconduct and corruption are hot topics in the country at this time.  

Not everything will be reflected in the records of disciplinary proceedings that are supposed to be released once my license is pulled, but I am sure will never be released, no matter what the law says (my husband has been disbarred 3.5 years ago, and we had to sue to get him access to these allegedly "public records", his own disciplinary file).
Media can contact me with offers for rights to my story for books and movies based at

I am getting a lot of feedback to the posts about the actions of my disciplinary Referee Steven R. Sirkin who was appointed by the New York State Appellate Division 4th Judicial Department for a specific purpose of conducting an evidentiary hearing on liability in my discipinary case, but instead flaunted that court order to the winds and refused to conduct that hearing.

What is amazing that people of different backgrounds, educations and walks of life who personally commented to me on the recording that I made of my conversation with Referee Sirkin picked up one and the same thing:  how calm Referee Sirkin's voice was when he was announcing to me that he is not going to comply with the court order and that he refuses to hold the hearing that he was ordered by the court to conduct.

I also content to note that people are outraged not only for my sake, but for their own, too.

People who contacted me with the feedback, asked me a question - if the judicial system is so callous that a judicial hearing officer, a referee can arrogantly tell me that (1) he knows that he was appointed to conduct a hearing and report factual findings from the hearing, but (2) that he is not going to conduct a hearing and instead decided against me without a hearing, while he had no authority to decide anything at all, so in other words the referee refused to do what he was ordered by the court to do and instead did what he had no authority to do and if I am practically without recourse on this - what recourse against similar judicial misconduct do majority of people dealing with the judicial system (state or federal) have who are not trained as lawyers, as I am, and who do not have resources to fight the system through motions and appellate process?

And, people also told me that the tone of Referee Sirkin's voice upset them more than anything else - and the tone of a judge's voice does not get recorded into the transcript.

Yet, it is the tone of the judge's voice - arrogant, disrespectful, sure that I cannot do anything about his adamant refusal to obey the law - that showed people how far did the judicial system come with the lack of accountability and transparent and effective judicial discipline.

And, people who contacted me did tell me that they now want to do something about it, in terms of pressuring their representatives for a legislative action, in terms of organizing the public to amend the state Constitution, if necessary - to put an end to the situation where the rule of law came to be non-existent, and is squashed by the very people who are sworn to uphold that law.

People also raised the 100-million-dollar question.  If the recording shows so much of aspects of the proceedings that a transcript does not, why should the court system pay for an army of stenographers instead of install a proper video equipment and allow video recording of proceedings by citizens in the courtroom? 

That question is quite reasonable.  With the advancement of technology, now that video recorders have become so cheap, I personally see no reason whatsoever why the court system should be clutching to the outdated and obsolete mode of court reporting through stenographers who may not even be capturing the words right when the whole proceedings can simply be videorecorded.

It will save a lot of money and a lot of paper.  Instead of  paying court reporters 4 dollars per page of transcripts of hearings - which is exactly what prevents people from appealing their cases - all people can ask for is to put the video on their own thumb drive that can cost them 20 bucks.

Then, in the Appellant's brief, people will be referring not to page and line of the transcript, but to the minute and second in the video. 

Yet, a big business of court reporting will then be eliminated and a lot of people will be laid off.

I foresee that what I am suggesting will cause a lot of outrage from court reporters, but we have to move with the times and people have a right to demand for the recording in court proceedings the mode of recording that truly reflects what is happening in those court proceedings.

Then, it would be a lot easier to spot and prove judicial bias and misconduct, by the tones of voice, facial demeanor and body language of the judge or judicial hearing officer presiding over the proceedings.

So - I suggest that the first order of things is to push the New York State Legislature to introduce a legislation (1) repealing New York Civil Rights Law 52 making it a crime of misdemeanor to videotape court proceedings; and (2) introducing a statute mandating courts in the state of New York to videotape court proceedings and provide files to people for the cost of transferring the files to people's own digital carriers or for no cost and to allow the use of such files as official records in appellate proceedings.

Sunlight is not only the best disinfectant, but replacing court reporting by stenographers with videotaping will save the State of New York taxpayers a lot of money and will provide better access to justice to litigants.

The difference between having a transcript and a video file of the proceedings will also make a difference for many people between having and not having and opportunity to appeal their cases.

I am also sure that if mandatory videotaping of court proceedings is introduced, judicial discipline for misconduct will become much easier to impose since any act of judicial misconduct at least in public hearings will have an instant "Youtube effect".

So - people who want to support my stance with the New York State Legislature to replace court reporting with video recording in court proceedings are welcome to contact me.   Let's start things moving.

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