"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, April 9, 2015

Are you "the likes" that are allowed to challenge the (questionable) integrity of Judge Kevin M. Dowd?

I keep reading the transcript of another "proceeding" handled by Judge Dowd, and, with the permission of the pro se participant in that "proceeding", I will make the choicest portions of Judge Dowd's outrageous ravings before an indigent pro se party known to the public, because IT IS a matter of public concern.

Page 1 -"proceedings" and appearances

the stenographer (a Facebook friend of Judge Dowd's clerk Claudette Newman) indicates that what she recorded was:

(1) a proceeding;
(2) with three people appearing in the proceeding - the pro se defendant, the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney

The only thing discussed is the motion to recuse.

Motions are reviewed in two ways - on submitted basis (that's how the moving party asked it to be reviewed, as far as I know) and in open court, in an oral argument.

Judge Dowd made his own rule - instead of a public oral argument, at a motion term of the court, he makes his own terms in chambers - and Page 1 of the transcript does not reflect that it was in chambers.

Of course, since Judge Dowd "granted" the motion to recuse (after much harassment of the moving party), the party has no right to appeal the decision and to settle the transcript. 

Yet, please, bear in mind the appearances, and that it is an oral argument on a motion, not an evidentiary hearing.

The motion should be timely opposed, with affidavits of witnesses.  Nobody but the judge, the pro se parties and/or attorneys for parties get to speak at the oral argument of a motion.  Judge Dowd changed that rule, too, as you will see further.

The opening statement, as per transcript, of Judge Dowd sitting in his chambers in front of: the pro se defendant (who moved to recuse the judge), the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney, as well as the judge's various employees who are not listed in "appearances".

JUDGE DOWD: [Defendant's name], you've got your motion, so go ahead and do it.

So the judge is conducting a motion hearing in his chambers, instead of as part of an open public motion term.  And the reason is the subject of the motion.

There are, in fact, no rules allowing judges to hide oral arguments for motions to recuse and to clandestinely hold them in their chambers simply because the topic of the motion involves the judge personally.  Motions in divorce actions (and what was described happened in a divorce action) are routinely heard at motion terms open to the public, together with all other motions.  

Judge Dowd changed that rule, for the convenience and privacy of himself and his law clerk.  This way, nobody would see just how blatantly Judge Dowd was harassing a pro se party for making a motion to recuse.

DEFENDANT:  I think it's self-explanatory.

And - the defendant never asked for an oral argument, especially in the judge's chambers.

Defendant then states that he found out that his children were in Judge Dowd's law clerk's house, and that he saw the judge's law clerk speaking to the plaintiff and plaintiff's mother at a school function.

While the communications could have had nothing to do with the court proceedings, the reason why ex parte communications between parties and the judge (and the judge's personnel) are prohibited is exactly because nobody knows and can establish or should be asked to establish what was the substance of communication between the children, or the plaintiff/wife with the judge or his law clerk.

Once the fact of an ex parte communication is established - and it was established through the motion and oral argument of the party - the judge must recuse, that's the end of it.

Yet, the judge was interrogating the defendant why he attached pictures from the law clerk's Facebook page identifying her grandchildren as being together with the party's children.

 Then, the judge is badgering the ex parte indigent party, for whom English is not his native language, as to what exactly does he believe was an ex parte communication, while it was plainly stated in the motion.

Then the judge testifies as an unsworn witness on behalf of his law clerk - and the plaintiffs, who are the official opponents on the motion:

THE PARTY:  Miss Newman knows my wife and mother-in-law.

JUDGE DOWD:  I don't think she knows your wife.  I don't think she knows your mother-in-law.

That's yet another rule that Judge Dowd changes - he testifies as an unsworn witness as to actions of third parties when the third parties he seeks to protect are his own personnel.

Now, how can judge know that his law clerk DOES NOT know the party's wife and mother-in-law?  Is the judge in such an intimate relationship with his law clerk that he knows all about his law clerk's private life and social connections?  

The judge does not stop and proceeds.

JUDGE DOWD:  How do you know that?  (that Ms. Newman knows the wife and mother-in-law of the party - TN).

THE PARTY: Because I've been in school and I've seen them.

JUDGE DOWD: You've seen her talking to your wife and mother?

THE PARTY:  Yes, and my mother-in-law.

JUDGE DOWD:  In what way?

How is the party supposed to know that if he observed the conversation from a distance?  The point of prohibition for ex parte contacts is specifically so that there would not be even an appearance that parties would be influencing cases by secret back-door communications with judges or his personnel.

And then a completely irregular thing happens.

Judge Dowd's law clerk CLAUDETTE NEWMAN who is the subject of the conversation pops in and testifies as an unsworn witness on behalf of herself - and plaintiffs - and the judge allows it!

Once again, the rules at the motion hearings are strict.

A motion hearing is not an evidentiary hearing, unless so-ordered by the court.

The court did advise the pro se moving party that he is summoned to an evidentiary hearing, because otherwise the pro se party could have brought or have the court subpoenaed his own witnesses.

So, testimony of witnesses was not allowed by the rules at a motion hearing, and especially testimony of unsworn witnesses.

Moreover, if Ms. Newman was to testify at such a hearing, Judge Dowd was disqualified from assessing her credibility as a witness.

Furthermore, if it was an evidentiary hearing, the court should have sequestered Ms. Newman and Ms. Newman was not supposed to hear what the pro se party had to say about her.  When she heard all that was said and is freely rebutting - and butting into proceedings - the judge had to stop her immediately and indicate that she is acting improperly - and recuse because of improper behavior of his law clerk who attempted to testify in an oral argument.

Yet, Judge Dowd did not control Ms. Newman, and Ms. Newman was allowed to make statements recorded by the stenographer from page 5 lines 21-25 of the transcript to page 6 line 9 of the transcript.

After allowing Ms. Newman's outburst, Judge Dowd engages in the following diatribe against the pro se party who dared to move to recuse the judge because of ex parte communication of his law clerk that was established on record.

Page 6  line 16

JUDGE DOWD:  I am going to grant it.  I'm out of this case.  

Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is a moment of truth.  

The judge said "I'm out of this case".

From this point on the judge is no longer presiding over this proceedings.  That's it.  The proceeding is over, the judge recused.  But - did Judge Dowd stop at that? 

No way.  That's not why he summoned the pro se party into his back chamber, because he could have recused based on submitted written motion.

But the judge did not have his say yet, and he keeps the pro se party as a captive audience, with an armed court attendant standing behind his back, does not say that the court is adjourned, and engages in the following harassment of the pro se party:

Page 6 line 17

JUDGE DOWD:  You are a liar, sir.  You're an absolute liar.  You lied about everything in this document is a lie.  

Since the judge is out of the case and is no longer protected by judicial immunity, this statement, if false, qualifies as a defamation.

Page 6 lines 20-24

JUDGE DOWD: I don't want to deal with people like you I don't want to deal.  I'm a judge and anybody who questions my integrity, you don't know who the hell you're talking to, buddy, you dont' know who the hell you 're talking to or talking about. 
This is a direct threat, to the pro se party, and to anybody else who dares to make a motion to recuse the judge.

Judge Dowd states that simply because he is a judge, nobody has a right to question his integrity.

This alone should take him off the bench immediately, and especially his diatribe to an immigrant, non-native speaker, indigent pro se party: "you don't know who the hell you're talking to, buddy".

Nobody allowed Judge Dowd to call pro se litigants "buddies".

Nobody allowed Judge Dowd to use foul language to such pro se litigants, and this is what the judge says to the litigant AFTER he recused, so the judge is no longer a presiding judge in those proceedings and he has no power whatsoever over the pro se party, but keeps him in his chambers to harass and insult him.

Page 7 lines 2-3

JUDGE DOWD:  You are somebody absolutely irritating to deal with.

Page 7 lines 6-7

JUDGE DOWD:  And you're just a disgusting human being, you just really are.  

And then:

Page 7 lines 7-9

JUDGE DOWD:  I'd tell you what I really feel, but I'm a judge and I can't tell you what I really feel about you at this point in time.

So, keeping an indigent non-native speaker pro se litigant in chambers AFTER RECUSAL and calling that litigant:

(1) a liar;
(2) somebody "absolutely irritating to deal with";
(3) "just a disgusting human being"

- all of that Judge Dowd considers appropriate behavior for a judge and does not consider as telling the litigant how the judge "really feels about him", because he is a judge.

Apparently, when Judge Dowd talks about his own integrity, it appears from these statements that there is not much of integrity to talk about.

Yet, Judge Dowd went on:

Page 7 lines 9-10:

JUDGE DOWD:  When my integrity are /sic/ questioned by the likes of you, unbelievable, unbelievable.

"The likes" are:

(1) Jewish;
(2) The national of the state of Israel;
(3) indigent;
(4) pro se;
(5) not a native speaker of English;
(6) a person without a college degree;
(7) male;
(8) nearly sixty years of age

Litigants, take note that litigants of these category are not allowed to question Judge Dowd's integrity, whether the facts of the case allows it or not.

Litigants, take note that Judge Dowd classifies litigants in front of him as "the likes" that he likes and allows certain things and "the likes" that he does not like.

This judge presides as a fact-finder in multiple trial, and if he assigns credibility to status, nationality, national origin, ethnicity, indigence, pro se status, immigrant status, non-native speaker of English status - you cannot expect justice from Judge Dowd as a fact-finder.

Page 7 line 11

JUDGE DOWD:  Get out of my court.

This is, according to the pro se party, a whitewashed version of events, because in reality the judge ordered the court attendant to get the pro se party out of the courthouse (the stenographer who is the Facebook friend of the judge's law clerk, provided this transcript to the pro se party, after 4 months of requests for it, only after the pro se party filed a federal lawsuit against the judge, so the judge apparently had an opportunity to correct the transcript to help himself in the lawsuit).

The judge is not saying "get out of my chambers", so he knows that it is wrong to hold motion hearings in his chambers, and he knows that the chambers are not the same as the court.

Yet, if this is "a proceeding" that is handled in the public courthouse and in the public courtroom, oral arguments on motins in the Supreme Court, even in divorce actions, are open to the public, and a judge has no authority to order removal of a litigant from the courthouse or courtroom, where he can stay merely as a member of the public during business hours of the courthouse.

There is no indication in the record that the pro se party was violent, disturbed the peace in the courtroom, so there are no grounds to tell him to "get out" other than the judge's extreme irritation with the motion to recuse, which is not a lawful reason to say what the judge said.  

Even after telling the pro se party (and the transcript does not reflect the pitch or tember of the judge's voice when he did that, nor did it reflect the color or expression of his face), Judge Dowd did not stop harassing the pro se party.

Page 7 line 13-14

JUDGE DOWD:  Okay.  You won.  You should go to law school now.

Now THIS is completely inappropriate.

Not only the judge, AFTER RECUSAL, continues to keep the litigant in his chambers as a captive audience, with an armed guard behind his back (and an armed guard who had, shortly prior, made an intimidating anti-Semitic remark to the Jewish pro se litigant, and the pro se litigant reported it to Judge Dowd's supervising judge, of which Judge Dowd, no doubt, knew), but he does that to insult and harass him.

There is no right to assigned counsel or free interpreters in a divorce action in New York.

So, even though the moving party is indigent, not a native speaker of English,  and does not have a college education, he had to do that motion on his own.

He did that motion on his own, and he won the motion.

And after the judge acknowledged that he is recusing - he is mocking that indigent pro se non-native speaker litigant without college education and callously says that the litigant "should go to law school now".

By the way, this comes from a judge who, "coincidentally", did evertying in his power to prevent litigant from going to school after being laid off, so that he would become employable.

The judge, who claimed being "fair", and while his law clerk engaged in ex parte communications with the plaintiff, according to the pro se party, did the following thing:

after the pro se party lost employment, and knowing that he had no income (which entitled his opponent to exactly $25.00 per month in child support, by statute),

this judge:

(1) "imputed" income upon a just laid-off person of advanced age, no native language and without a college degree, who was not employable in the area;
(2)  ordered him to pay times more in child support than the statute allows, AND
(3) ordered him to babysit children all day long for his wife, preventing him from going to school and getting a job to earn a livelihood, and
(4) ordered him to pay for a babysitter/daycare if he does not babysit himself, on top of child support.

That is knowing that the wife earned $45,000 a year, and the husband was just laid off and earned exactly nothing.

And after screwing this pro se party royally this way and preventing him from going to school after being laid off, preventing him from getting a degree that could make him employable in the area, draining him (unlawfully) of resources and trying to trip him into contempt of a child support order for inability to pay and put him in jail, this judge has the audacity to say, first that:

Page 7 lines 3-4

JUDGE DOWD: I try to be fair to you, I try to give you every benefit of the doubt

and tells the party that he "should go to law school now", knowing full well that the party cannot do it because he does not have a pre-requisite college degree or money to pay for college and law school.

This is also the judge claiming he was "fair" to the pro se non-native speaker indigent party without a college degree, while this same judge failed to even advise the party of his right to an assigned counsel in previous Family Court proceedings and made him proceed to trial on his own - while ruling all the way against him.

This is the TRUE face, the true UGLY face of Judge Dowd that everybody should know about.

This was supposed to be a submitted motion. 

The party is a pro se indigent immigrant, for whom English is not a native language.

 This is a judge who:

  1.  Summons him to a courthouse;
  2. Takes him into a back room;
  3. Starts to question him, where the man simply says - everything is in the motion, I submitted it, what are we doing here
  4. Then, the judge starts to badger him over the issue which is that his law clerk had communications with the opponent, her family and hosted the party's children at her own home, which provided ample means for ex parte communications, and the law clerk was actually observed by the party in an ex parte communication with the opponent and her mother;
  5. In a divorce action where custody is to be determined, which is what it was before the judge, the only communications with the children were supposed to be through a Lincoln hearing noticed to the parties, on stenographic record, with the child's attorney present, and the law clerk obviated all of that;  if the children come into the Lincoln hearing, they already know that the law clerk as a "friend", grandmother of their friends, and, since the law clerk also talks to their mother and grandmother, the conflict of interest and misconduct is obvious and does not require a seasoned judge to make any further inquiries, moreover, to badger the reporter;
  6. The judge recognized the pictures that the party provided that came off of the law clerk's Facebook page and mentioned "we figured that much", indicating that he already had a discussion with his law clerk previously, and no hearing on this was even required;
  7. The fact that the judge identified the picture indicates that he was aware what was on his law clerk's Facebook page prior to the hearing, because he so much as admitted to it;
  8. Then the judge badgers the man further, insults and harasses him; questions how can it be "ex parte", do you know what it means;
  9. Then the judge allows his law clerk to speak and give unsworn testimony, an unheard of thing;
  10. At the end the judge grants the motion, and then engages in a tirade, says that a person who questions his integrity is a "very dangerous person",   "adisgusting human being", that he doesn't know "the hell who he is dealing with", demeans him by calling him "buddy", then throws him out of the courthouse, and
  11. Then the court reporter who is the Facebook friend of the same law clerk withholds the transcript of the hearing for 4 months and provides it only after the judge is sued in federal court, and the transcript omits cogent details, such as that the judge ordered a search of the party's belongings in chambers (which was done), and ordered the court officer to throw the party out of the courthouse (which was also done and is the grounds of the federal lawsuit).
 Judge Dowd could not pretend to the pro se party that he did not know that a judge was admonished by the New York State Commission of Judicial Conduct for having an ex parte visit to a minor in a hospital.

When a judge's law clerk accepts a party's children in her own home, without notification of the father of those children who is a party in proceedings involving custody of those children in front of the judge for whom she is law-clerking, that is the same as if the judge was having an ex parte visit with a minor.

So, instead of badgering the reporter of the law clerk's misconduct, the judge should have disciplined her, apologized to the reporter and, before recusing, as a small measure of restoring justice to the pro se party, he should have vacated all orders he previously entered against the pro se party, because of the ex parte communication of his law clerk who drafted his decisions.

Instead, he chose to badger, humiliate, insult the reporter of misconduct of his law clerk, a Jewish pro se indigent party, and then use his power to have the party searched in a back room, physically threatened, overpowered and removed from a public building "as a very dangerous person" and "disgusting human being" who does not know "who the hell the judge is", to remove him by use of armed coercion of a court security officer, a Nazi sympathizer no less. 

I am sure by this time the party in question knows very well "who the hell the judge is", yet, a definition as to who exactly the judge is cannot be found in polite language.

Now, in all of that, where was Judge Dowd's alleged integrity that nobody can question without a penalty?

1 comment:

  1. like judge frank revoir my son had asked repeatedly in family court for assigned council, in written motion and verbal motion in revoirs court. fell on deaf ears, while his opponent was given an attorney, Revoir too engages in ex parte communication about litigents in his court discussing hearsay information than makes rulings, based on that hearsay, all against my son, only to have revoir, overstep his boundry in availing himself to sign search warrant with no knock authority based on the word of a triple convicted felon, TWEEKER, who served over 18 years in prison, as a reliable source of probable cause, all contrary to the law..oh, and the topic, al the rumors that were discussed with social service employee , ex parte...seems to be the Chenango way