"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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

In a Nebraska federal court, "generally speaking", all federal defendants are guilty before evidence is in - a judge says

In one more astounding blog post, a senior district court judge and a former Chief Judge of the Nebraska District Court, Judge Richard Kopf, makes the following revelation:


 Generally speaking, federal defendants are in a weak negotiation position not because of some flaw in the discovery or plea-taking process in federal court but rather because they are plainly guilty.

*This does not mean, of course, that we judges should not enforce Rule 16 aggressively or refuse to call upon prosecutors to adopt an “open file” approach to discovery. Nor does it mean that ourRule 11 plea taking procedures should be lax or performed in a rote manner. Furthermore, we may well want to assure ourselves before trial that the defendant has been fully advised of all plea offers and has knowingly and intelligently rejected them. See, here, for my standing order on that subject in light of Missouri v. Frye.


The footnote does not pretend to give even a lip service to the principle of the presumption of innocence until PROVEN guilty.

Judge Kopf decides that all criminal defendants coming in front of him - including in death penalty cases - are guilty when they are CHARGED.

This blog, in my opinion as a defense attorney, is enough to have Judge Kopf taken off all criminal cases and to make motions to vacate all of the judge's decisions on motions and all convictions in criminal cases where Judge Kopf has ever presided.

This is the judge who does not want to be "a nanny" to criminal defendants and watch out against wrongful criminal convictions through coerced plea bargains of defendants who are innocent.

This is the judge who finds criminal defendants (including, obviously, criminal defendants in death penalty cases) competent to stand trial if they are not "lamppost climbing crazy" (which is not the same as "crazy as a loon"), because of the judge's prior experience in "serving" on a mental health board.

This is the judge who actually RULES whether a criminal defendant is or is not competent to stand trial - and rules that he is competent even when, by judge's own insulting definition, the criminal defendant is "crazy as a loon".

I always thought that insulting the mentally ill is not only illegal but is simply not done by civilized people.  Some members of the judiciary, covered by absolute judicial immunity for their acts on the bench, do not think that way and have the audacity to spill their noxious approach to mentally ill into the public domain.

Of course, a judge who would find not one, not two, but three reasons why he would execute an innocent person, and who believes that all federal criminal defendants are guilty before evidence is in, would not care whether a mentally ill would be convicted - or even executed.

But that is not a moral or legal norm in this country.

This judge is simply a menace to society and should be taken off the bench immediately.

Enough of judicial incompetence and insolence harming people.

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