"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

Claudette Newman, a judge who wags ... another judge

I already wrote on this blog about the outrageous behavior of Claudette Newman, the law clerk of Chenango County Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dowd in several cases.

Ms. Newman is allowed by this judge to butt into proceedings and give her suggestions and testimony on record, engage, without any discipline, in ex parte communications with parties and witnesses in the proceedings, sign orders on behalf of the judge and threaten attorneys who questioned propriety of her behavior.

Little did I know that Claudette Newman, the woman who, apparently, wags Judge Dowd, is also herself a judge.

In 2008 Claudette Newman announced in the press that she is running for the seat of a local town justice in the Town of Butternuts, Otsego County, New York.

In that announcement she said the following:

(1) that she "served" Chenango's courts "providing legal analysis, research and communication services for multiple benches".

(2) that "it is because of [her] desire to serve and make a difference in any way that [she] can that she became a lawyer", 

(3) that "that goal led [her] to many forms of community service", 

AND - here is the kicker

(4) that she may be leaving her position as a law clerk to pursue her candidacy as the judge in the Town of Butternuts.

Fast-forward 7 years, in 2015, Claudette Newman is still a judge in the Town of Butternuts (Otsego County), and did not leave her position as a law clerk to Judge Dowd (Chenango County Supreme Court Justice who is assigned to cases in Otsego County).

There was another court employee who was, at the same time, a secretary to a judge and a clerk to her husband judge in Otsego County - Stacy Johansen.  Her husband no longer works with a clerk, so apparently that was seen as a conflict of interest.

Nothing can be seen as a conflict of interest by Claudette Newman.

It did not appear awkward to Judge Newman to "serve" as a judge in the lower court and as a law clerk to a judge who is assigned to the court of appellate jurisdiction to that lower court (the Otsego County Court).

In fact, in 2012, when Judge Dowd ran for re-election, he ran in Otsego County, too.

Apparently, Claudette Newman did not consider this situation awkward.

As to Ms. Newman's "goal to serve the public", when will people stop pushing this "service" thing into people's face when all they want is money and power?

Claudette Newman reportedly earned as the law clerk of Judge Dowd, as of 2012, $132,809.00, 1.7 times greater than New York judicial employees and 2.8 times greater than all New York employees. shows that Claudette Newman earned $133,535.00 in 2014 as a law clerk for Judge Dowd.

It was hard to leave this position, as she said she would in 2008 when she was running for a judge in Butternuts, to earn a meager salary of a town justice.

So, now Newman has power to sign search and arrest warrants, as a Butternuts judge, and at the same time she has the ear of a Supreme Court justice in that same judicial district who may be assigned to the Otsego County court, appellate jurisdiction to her decisions from Butternuts.

Claudette Newman "has the ear" of Judge Dowd to the point of Judge Dowd announcing her at conferences as "his brain" (which is not far from the truth, the way he acts), allows her to sign his orders, as I recently learnt in a case, allows her to offer unsworn witness testimony in court proceedings, and punishes those litigants who dare to point out her misconduct.

And all of that "to serve the public"?

At the price tag of over $133,000?

And what kind of shining service it is.

A neat arrangement, isn't it?

And I wonder whether it is "the goal to serve the public" that inspired Ms. Newman to run for a judge, or the evidence, while working with Judge Dowd, of unrestricted power and unrestricted abuse of power that judges are allowed to engage in in this country.

From what I know of Ms. Newman as a law clerk, to say that her "legal research" skills leave much to be desired is to say nothing, and the same can be said about her integrity, at least judging by her documented misconduct in several court proceedings that I am aware of.

And - my sympathies to the residents of the town of Butternuts and litigants appearing in judge Newman's court, especially with the new evidence, as reflected in my previous blog post, that this supposedly "honorable" person, Claudette Newman, is destroying evidence of her misconduct by erasing evidence that she listed three court stenographers as her Facebook friends, and hid her Facebook profile after I ran my blog about it.

1 comment:

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