"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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good riddance, Carl Becker

Yesterday, I put in a blog about the local antihero, Judge Carl F. Becker, suddenly stepping down while just 2.5 years into his 10-year term (he was supposed to step down only in 2018, when he would turn 70).

Today, the local newspaper, the Walton Reporter, published an interview with Becker where he claims that he is retiring not because his health is poor, but because, on the opposite, his health is good, he wants it to remain good and he wants to be a healthy grandfather.

Looks like a bunch of unlikely reasons to me.

When Becker ran for re-election in 2012, having his cronies make false statements to the voters to get him elected and putting down his opponent by statements that comparing Becker to Gary Rosa is like comparing a Boeing 747 to a "single engine prop plane", he obviously was in it for the kill and the idea of letting it be, leaving the bench after his first alleged term (there is no legally valid certificate of election for Becker's first term on file), and being a healthy grandfather apparently never entered his mind at the time of re-election campaign.

Now, after serving only 2 years with some months of his second term, the idea of becoming a healthy grandfather caught up with Becker? 

Does not look at all like Becker's grandfatherly ideas were the real reason for his quick departure from the bench.

Looks like he is running, and looks like there is a reason why he is doing it, a reason that he is not willing to disclose to the public.

Anyway, Becker is about to become history (bad though it is) for this county, and we will see how many people would even want to remember him publicly after he's gone from the bench.

During his judgeship, practically every year, during the hunting season, the loyal Walton Reporter would publish disgusting and disgustingly large pictures of Becker, as a local celebrity, with a smug smile, over a dead bear.

I wonder whether after his retirement Becker's smug smiles over dead bears will be newsworthy any more.

Good riddance.

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