"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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How secrecy proves the true purpose of attorney disciplinary proceedings against a critic of judicial misconduct - to prevent evidence of judicial misconduct from being aired in public

I just put in a blog about Judge Mary Work of Ulster County who has a history of representing the Ulster County Department of Social Services.

When a social worker appeared in front of Judge Work (represented by a local counsel who has likely been a law school schoolmate of Judge Work, one year apart), Judge Work did not disclose her employment with the Ulster County Department of Social Services or whether her employment and representation of the Department overlapped with the employment of the party.

Yet, Judge Work amended and disregarded multiple statutes and acted outside of her authority multiple times in order to benefit the social worker as a party in one proceeding and as a beneficiary in a related proceeding.

This is not the first time when a judge who came to the bench after representing the local department of social services fails to provide disclosures required by rules of judicial ethics and presides over proceedings as a factfinder.

Another shining example is Judge Carl F. Becker who has actually talked to Judge Work after the transfer of the case, even though the case he transferred was from Family Court to Family Court, yet Judge Becker called Judge Work about proceedings that were pending not in Family Court, new proceedings.  It was not Judge Becker's business to call Judge Work, and Judge Work expressed surprise in open court on record as to the reasons of the call.  

Judge Becker has his own skeletons in the cupboard regarding non-disclosure of his prior representation of social services which he refuses to disclose despite existing rules of judicial ethics - because he was never sanctioned for violations of ethical rules.

In 2009 I was asking Porter Kirkwood, now Delaware County Attorney and at that time attorney for Assistant County Attorney for Delaware County Department of Social Service, whether social services had a file on my client at that time and whether they contributed to any "indicated reports" against my client.  Porter Kirkwood denied it.

In 2013, in an administrative proceeding in another county, I was served with an exhibit showing that Porter Kirkwood has lied to me in 2009, that there was a file on my client in the Delaware County Department of Social Services, that Delaware County Department of Social Services investigated my client and contributed to the indicated report rendered by this other county (and since reversed and sealed).  Moreover, in the casenotes of social workers from the Delaware County Department of Social Services I found references to the indicated report of my client's mother, dating back to 2001, when Judge Carl F. Becker was an attorney representing the Delaware County Department of Social Services.

On consent of my client, I notified her mother, who never knew she had an indicated report, but Judge Becker by that time ruled adversely against my client specifically refusing to recognize credibility of her mother who testified in a custody proceedings (that was a year before I started to represent my client).

By 2013, Judge Becker made yet another adverse determination against my client on the custody case, once again making derogatory statements against her mother and imposing a prohibition upon my client from letting her mother (the subject child's grandmother) see the child.

At no time did Judge Becker disclose that his agency in 2001 has made an indicated report against my client's mother. Well, that information was private and undisclosable, but then Judge Becker had to recuse instead of presiding over proceedings where he had adverse extrajudicial knowledge about a witness which was not available to anybody else in the proceedings, because he was clearly making his determinations in a custody proceedings based on evidence outside the record.

Recently a local judge, Delhi/Walton Town Justice Richard Gumo was admonished by the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct because Judge Becker reported Judge Gumo for writing to Judge Becker (appellate judge on the case) a letter informing him of evidence outside of the record of the case.

Apparently, Judge Becker applies a double standard, secretly using such evidence against people he dislikes, but requiring other judges not to rely (or ask him to rely) on evidence outside of the record.

Moreover, in Judge Becker's re-election campaign I received a flyer, contents of which, no doubt, was authorized by Judge Becker, which said that 

I made 5 motions to vacate Judge Becker's sanctions against me, made in proceedings where he presided without disclosure of his disqualification pertaining to his extrajudicial knowledge that was not discoverable at the time sanctions were imposed.

All 5 motions were denied as having "no basis in law or in fact", and in 4 cases, on "collateral estoppel grounds", which applies only if information claimed in the motion was available at the time of sanctions, which it was not.

Affirming the motions was important for the judicial system to allow disciplinary proceedings against me to proceed which are based exclusively on sanctions of Judge Becker imposed upon me, starting with the case where he failed to disclose his extrajudicial knowledge, after I sued him.

The referee in the disciplinary proceeding hastily decided against me on liability, refusing to conduct the evidentiary hearing that was ordered by the court.

I was planning to call Judge Becker, and other actors who participated in his misconduct at that hearing, and have it held in Delaware County, publicly, so, while the disciplinary authorities seek to protect the public of Delaware County and beyond from me as an attorney, the public at whose expenses the disciplinary proceedings against are conducted would be allowed to see how the alleged "protection" proceedings are handled and why I am prosecuted.

Since the hearing on liability, after being ordered by the court, was denied to me without an explanation, there will be no testimony taken from Judge Becker that would have shown how corrupt his judicial performance was over the years.

If my license is pulled, all disciplinary proceedings in my case will become public record, Judiciary Law 90(10).  That would have included testimony of Judge Becker and his cronies at the hearing in such proceedings, had such a hearing occurred, whether the hearing was conducted secretly or in public.   

At this point the disciplinary court has blocked me from opening my disciplinary proceedings to the media and public "as of right" (on my own wish, without the court's permission), requiring that I first obtain the court's consent "on good cause shown".

I was given a "permission" by the disciplinary court to make a motion for such consent of court to open my proceedings to the public until February 6, 2015.

Yet, before I could make a motion, the referee refused to conduct the court-ordered hearing at all.  Thus, I was unable to make use of the court's "permission" to make a motion to open my court-ordered hearing on liability that never occurred to the public.

Then, I understand that the realization dawned upon whoever is concocting the case against me behind the scenes that even a secret hearing will not protect Judge Becker and his cronies enough, because when (rather than if) my license is taken, which is what Judge Becker wanted, his testimony would then become public.

I believe, that is the reason why the referee refused to conduct the court-ordered hearing at all, instead deciding the issues of attorney misconduct, instead of the court, and without the court-ordered hearing, which was contempt of court by the court-appointed referee, imagine that.

All of those tricks to protect Judge Becker and the crew that is working the strings to have my license pulled, from justice or at least exposure through testimony as witnesses.  

That indicates that the court system operates as advocates for my hostile witnesses, because it was for the witnesses, when called to testify, to try to hire attorneys of their own and attempt to prevent me from calling them to the witness stand. 

Nor was or is at this time an order from my disciplinary court rescinding or vacating its order to conduct a hearing on liability (not on mitigation that comes after the issues of liability are already heard and decided BY THE COURT, not referee, against the attorney).

To me, it is unbelievable that the prosecution would not jump at the opportunity to showcase its proceedings to the public in an otherwise confidential case and fought tooth and claw to prevent me from making the proceedings public when I waived my privacy as a matter of right.

Yet, at least the cards are in the open now - the judicial system protects their own, that is the main purpose of the disciplinary proceedings against me and will do ANYTHING, break any laws, to prevent evidence of judicial misconduct from coming to light, to the point of barring the public that is allegedly being protected in the attorney disciplinary proceedings, from attending and observing the process of this "protection", while the attorney clearly asked the court to allow public access to her proceedings.

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