"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, July 30, 2015

Let's FOIL the NYS Court Administration for its policies regarding waivers of filing fees

By law, Delaware County Clerk is the court clerk accepting filings for the Delaware County and Supreme Courts.

By law, filings for assigning a judge (RJI number) and filing a motion require, respectively, a $95.00 and a $45.00 filing fee.

No judge will be assigned unless you pay $95.00 with the RJI (Request For Judicial Intervention).

The Delaware County Clerk will not accept from you a notice of motion unless you pay a filing fee of $45.

That is, not unless you are an employee of Delaware County sued in his individual capacity in a civil action for misconduct.

Filing fees in court may be waived only to government entities.

Yet, in Delaware County there were two incidents when filing fees were waived to private parties.

First, Judge Kevin Dowd waived a note of issue fee to son-of-a-judge attorney Richard Harlem in the case Mokay v. Mokay (against my husband who sued Judge Dowd).

There is no basis in the law for such a waiver, but that's what Judge Dowd did anyway.

Second, Delaware County Clerk's office, with or without permission from Judge John Lambert, upon information and belief, waived all fees (RJI and motion fees) to police officer Derek Bowie sued in his individual capacity for intentional misconduct, vehicular assault and battery, Delaware County Index No. 2014-911, O'Sullivan v Bowie.

Derek Bowie is represented by attorney Frank Miller, an attorney who some time ago conducted "hearings" for Delaware County regarding misconduct of yet another police officer, without disclosing to the public that he is not acting as a neutral investigator (as most of the people who came to testify in front of him or talk to him thought), but an attorney hired by Delaware County's insurance company to protect the County from liability.

When I pointed that out to Mr. Miller, he tried to intimidate me not to go any further with raising the issues of his conflicts of interest, because Mr. Miller was concerned for his allegedly perfect "Martindale" score.

Mr. Miller's office seems very familiar with the local courts, to the point of obtaining waivers that their client, police officer sued in his individual capacity, was not entitled to.

To me, improper waiver of a filing fee by the County Clerk to the County employee sued for misconduct in individual capacity is nothing less than an improper gift showing corruption of the court personnel and bias against the police officer's opponent requiring the change of venue and disqualification of the judge, if he ok'd such a "waiver" - not to mention a misconduct investigation against all participants in such a "waiver" that gives the public the appearance that courts' favors in New York can be bought.

In both cases the recipients of the benefits are favored attorneys and in both cases the opponents of the favored recipients of the benefits (fee waivers) are critics of judicial misconduct.

It is a pattern, isn't it?

For that reason, and to clear up the issue - which litigants are and which litigants are not entitled to fee waivers in New York courts in civil actions - I encourage the public to file Freedom of Information requests with the NYS Court Administration to ask the administration to provide, within 5 business days, as required by law:

1) records of financial documents documenting payments of filing fees in O'Sullivan v Bowie, Delaware County Index No. 2014-911;

2) policies of the NYS Court Administration regarding waivers of filing fees, and eligibility for such waivers.

At least, NYS Court Administration should then scratch its collective head to answer the question.

Let's hold our collective breaths to see what they have to say.

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