"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.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The government still wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts?

In a case decided in 1963 the U.S. Supreme Court made the following statement:

"The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts", Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).

The decision was made on the height of active civil rights movement and public unrest, 5 years before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

The U.S. Supreme Court, a court that is supposedly independent and that must supposedly act in a dispassionate manner, made several decisions helping (for the time being) criminal defendants get justice.

Of course, it did not prevent the same U.S. Supreme Court to wash out the value of those victories by later interpretation, which resulted in a system where wrongful convictions have become the rule rather than the exception.

It is important to note that the case Brady v. Maryland was a state, not federal criminal case, and in that context, by quoting the statement about the U.S. government, the U.S. Supreme Court applied that statement to state government's too, which is what was only fair to do under Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

And that statement, that the government (state or federal) wins whenever justice is done its citizens in the court, is true for criminal, or civil, or and especially civil rights case context.

In that same context, I am asking questions:

  • What justice is done the victims of governmental misconduct and corruption when members of the government (state or federal) are granted absolute immunities for their malicious and CORRUPT acts in office?  What kind of "public policy" would support allowing malicious and corrupt acts of public officials in office remain unaccounted for, because, seriously, they are not accounted for if they are not made public - and if the public does not go massively and seriously to the streets and, now, to the social media demanding accountability

  • Moreover, what justice is done the victims of governmental misconduct and corruption if they are also made to pay attorney fees and sanctions (an increasing trend in civil rights litigation) for even filing their civil rights lawsuit to ask the courts (as they thought they could pursuant to the 1st Amendment Petitions Clause) to do justice for them and to rule fairly?

  • What justice is done if the courts would not want to hear whether a government official (especially a government official of the same class as the court, a judge) did or did not actually commit the misconduct he is sued for, and would not allow discovery?

  • What justice is done if a mass of auxiliary workers serving the judge (or prosecutor, another class of recipients of absolute immunity for corrupt acts in office) are also given judicial immunity - and that is done without the parallel promise (even though a fake promise that it is) of a possibility of judicial discipline and without the parallel requirement (although made ineffective) of having judges file their financial disclosures with the court system (every half a year in New York)?

Just questions this time, no answers.

And does it have to be public unrest, civil rights movement led by a leader of the caliber of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for this country's courts to even try and start doing what is fair for its citizens - for fear that otherwise citizens will eliminate the government as it exists, including that court, and start anew?

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