"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.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Delaware County and Otsego County taxpayers - take action against misuse of your hard-earned tax money by the privileged politically connected attorney Ellen Coccoma, wife of judge Michael Coccoma

According to my information, Ellen Coccoma, wife of Chief Administrative Judge of Upstate New York Michael Coccoma used the public building at 111 Main Street, Delhi, NY for a deposition for her private clients without paying rent to the Delaware County.

I reported this instance to the New York State Comptroller and requested to check how the Delaware County grants free use of public property, on what grounds, and whether grounds upon which such use was granted, were legal.

As far as I know, Ellen Coccoma had no court order granting her FREE use of the public building at 111 Main Street, Delhi, NY.

This is not the first time Ellen Coccoma made "arrangements" for free use of public property located in Delhi.

Her first choice was Delhi Town Court, then the Delaware County Courthouse, now Delaware County building.

Ellen Coccoma obtained orders from two judges, both subordinates of her husband, for depositions at public buildings.  Yet, upon close inspection of the orders, none of the orders allowed Ellen Coccoma or her private clients FREE use of such public buildings.

So, as a taxpayer, I call other taxpayers to action:

1) Write, as I did, to the New York State Comptroller to investigate how does it happen that Delaware County gives free use of public property to a private attorney, wife of a powerful judge, on orders made by subordinates of attorney's husband; 

2) How does it happen that Delaware County does not appeal orders of depositions at their buildings made without notice to them or opportunity to intervene;

3) Write, as I did, to the U.S. Attorney General investigating corruption in New York State government who already indicted two top legislators in New York - Majority Leader of the Senate Dean Skelos and (now) former Leader of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, buddy and benefactor of NYS Chief Judge Lippman - ask to investigate the extent of these "free donations" by local counties to politically connected wealthy private attorneys and to their clients.

4) Write, as I did, to the Delaware County Treasurer and DEMAND that the Treasurer should demand payment from Ellen Coccoma.

By the way, Ellen Coccoma is also a full-time (I stress it, a full-time) County Attorney for Otsego County, and all of her daytime belongs to Otsego County taxpayers.  

I am one of at least five witnesses to the fact that at 10:00 am today Ellen Coccoma was in Delhi, NY representing private clients, instead of doing her job as the full-time salaried Otsego County Attorney.

As the full-time Otsego County Attorney of many years, Ellen Coccoma should know better than (1) to work for private clients during her time paid for by Otsego County taxpayers, and (2) to use public buildings in another county for the benefit of her private clients without paying for such use.

So, I believe, taxpayers of Otsego County may also want to make inquiries with its County government to verify how does it happen that the County allows its full-time salaried officers and/or employees to work on private jobs on the side during taxpayer-paid time? 

My belief is that Otsego County taxpayers are entitled to return of the portions of Ellen Coccoma's salary paid to her while she was in court on private cases, and an investigation as to how much of the taxpayer-funded time she spent representing her private clients should start immediately.

PS  This post was written in the State of New York.  The time of postings on the blog is stamped in accordance with the Pacific Time (California), where the blog's host server is located.

So, when this blog post showed that it was posted at 10:18 am, it was posted in reality at 1:18 pm New York time.


  1. This does not surprise me. The collusion and corruption is rampant in Otsego County. She helped the Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell sieze two Veterans homes last year. One of those homes happens to be mine. I own three properties in Otsego County which consist of 111 acres. We recently lost our case in the appellate Court in Albany on May, 7 2015. Guess who represented Otsego County? Do you think that it is a conflict of interest when your husband is a NY State Chief Administrative Judge? How does one get a fair trial in the Otsego County or NY State Court system. I am appealing the appellate Courts decision in the Court of Appeals but it will be an up hill battle to beat Otsego County. My Wife and I have health problems and only owed two years of back taxes when they foreclosed on our properties. I am a Navy Veteran and serve in the Air National Guard.
    I was willing and able to pay my back taxes but they would not accept my back tax money. May God help us fight this corrupt County...we have contacted Congressman Chris Gibson, Senator Seward and Assemblman Clifford Crouch.... No one will help us because we are in litigation. The message Otsego County is sending is that if you become sick, disabled or lose your job..... You will lose your property. Shame on you Otsego County!
    Contact me at:

  2. I am desperate for a lawyer to help fight the corruption in Otsego County, NY. My properties should have never been in foreclosure. I only owed two years of back taxes at the time of the Otsego County, NY land auction on Aug.20, 2014. I paid my 2012 taxes... It takes four years of back taxes before Otsego County can foreclose on a property. I need a lawyer to keep a stay on my deeds and to bring my case to the Court of Appeals. I have new evidence that Otsego County, NY should have allowed me to pay my back taxes as they have in the past a day before the land Auction. I have an Otsego County Board member who will verify that no amendment or resolution superseded the resolution that allowed a land owner to pay their back taxes a day before the land auction. No other County in the surrounding area prevents a land owner from paying their back taxes prior to a land auction, How does three properties valued at $285,00 with no mortgage go to auction when the owner was willing and able to pay their back taxes? Please contact me at