"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, March 29, 2015

Are Jewish litigants safe in courts of upstate New York?

Are immigrant litigants in general and Jewish litigants in particular safe in the courts of upstate New York?

I don't think so.


A report was made to Judge Mulvey, the Chief Administrative Judge of the 6th Judicial District, that a certain court attendant, at a community event dedicated to safety of children, while registering a Jewish child, asked his parent whether the parent knew it was Hitler's birthday that day.

It happened in June, so it could not be Hitler's birthday, Hitler's birthday is April 20th (according to the parent's and my own search on the Internet).

So why did the court attendant ask that question?

To hurt a Jewish person?

To make him feel vulnerable?

Probably, both.  There is no other rational explanation as to what brought the court attendant to ask that question.

So what did Judge Robert Mulvey do when he was notified about the actions of the court attendant.

Did he remove that court attendant at least from the court proceedings of that Jewish litigant?

Not at all.

Two months after the complaint, that same court attendant was used by another judge, Judge Kevin M. Dowd, to intimidate the litigant for daring to make a motion to recuse against Judge Dowd.

Judge Dowd, according to the victim, put the court attendant in question, armed, behind the litigant's back and, after harassing the litigant enough, and after having the court attendant search the litigant's bag right in the judge's chambers, the judge recused and then ordered the armed Hitler-loving court attendant to get the Jewish litigant out of Judge Dowd's courthouse - he said "get him out of MY courthouse". 

The only "guilt" of the litigant was that he dared to make a motion to recuse Judge Dowd.

Judge Dowd does not own the courthouse.

The litigant had a right of access to that public building at any time during its business hours.

Yet, the same officer who was asking him about Hitler's birthday after registering his child's Jewish name, was ordered by Judge Dowd to remove him from the public building.

So, the question is - if Judge Mulvey did nothing to control behavior of the court attendant and to remove him from proceedings of a Jewish litigant whom the court attendant already attempted to intimidate, was it intentional?  Is Judge Mulvey anti-Semitic?

Is Judge Dowd anti-Semitic?

And, returning back to the initial question, are immigrant litigants in general and Jewish litigants in particular safe from harassment and intimidation based on their national and ethnic origins in our upstate courtrooms?

Judging by the behavior of Judges Mulvey and Dowd, and based on my own experience as an immigrant attorney and litigant, in front of these two judges and other upstate judges - I do not think so.

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