"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 16, 2015

Tampering with trial exhibits is the privilege of chosen attorneys? The saga on trial exhibits spans more than one case now

A reader of my blog pointed out  to a problem with trial exhibits that occurred in the reader's court case (reader is pro se, the opponent is represented by a "connected" attorney).

The story goes this way:

the reader was allowed by the judge, as well as opposing attorney, to submit to the judge, after a bench trial, a written summation.

The reader wanted to review trial exhibits (the reader's and the opponent's) to rely upon in the summation.

The court clerk told the reader that (1) the reader could not have access to trial exhibits, but that (2) the opposing party's attorney not only could have access to trial exhibits, but could and did take the trial exhibits out of the court's custody and into the attorney's office.

After the reader took an issue with such inequality of treatment, he was actually given access to trial exhibits, after the opposing attorney returned it to the court.

While reviewing the exhibits, the reader found that exhibits, upon the reader's recollection, were re-marked and re-labeled, the markings put on the exhibits by the stenographer were moved from one exhibit to another.

That's why it is very important to have the list of exhibits created immediately as the trial progresses and have the court clerk file that list of exhibits for public access, or, if the record of the case is private, for access by the parties and their attorneys immediately on conclusion of the trial, and not after the judge makes his or her decision on the case.

That prevents tampering with exhibits and preserves the record for purposes of the appeal - if anybody in the court system is genuinely concerned about these issues.

Yet, the issue remains in that particular case that the trial exhibits for BOTH sides were not given (at least, at first) to a pro se party and were released out of the custody of the court into the custody of the opposing attorney without any record in the court files of doing that - and were returned from the custody of that attorney relabeled, or, in other words, there is a likelihood that the opposing attorney or somebody in that attorney's office tampered with public records, a crime in the State of New York.

Apparently, since that attorney misconduct occurred with the help of the court personnel, and since the attorney in question is one of the "connected" attorneys, I doubt that any discipline will be imposed on any participants in what has happened.

Yet, that's why I suggest to my readers that any and all telephone conversations with court clerks about their cases must be audio-recorded.  Otherwise, you will never be able to prove that access was denied to you and given to the opposing party.

When you record, you at least have an opportunity to catch court clerks unaware, and have them blurp out the truth before their superiors coach them how to lie.

As it happened recently in my case where NYS Court Administration attempted to deny what was already recorded and published, see here (with links to audio recordings) and here (with a full copy of a letter from NYS Court Administration blatantly denying that I was denied access to trial exhibits by the court clerk at the direction of Judge Kevin Dowd and that the court clerk, and not the County Clerk, had possession of those exhibits at all times after the trial, even though the County Clerk should have had them) - as an illustration of how court personnel lies to protect judges committing misconduct.

Once again - only recordings can prove court personnel is lying to protect their jobs and to protect judges who they think they serve (instead of the public who they are hired to be serving, and paid to be serving).

It is lawful in New York to record conversations secretly, as long as the recording person is a party to that conversation.

So - insist on having a list of trial exhibits right at the end of the trial.

Insist on having that list particularly describe marked and admitted exhibits.

Insist on review of trial exhibits in preparation of your written summations, if such are allowed.

Note if trial exhibits were allowed by court personnel to leave the court's custody and go to the custody of "connected" attorneys.

Be vigilant as to the state of exhibits as they are returned from such attorneys' offices, if that happened - look for signs of tampering, document them, photograph them, write about tampering to the court before the court made its decision based on such exhibits.

Preserve your rights. yourselves.  The court personnel sure wouldn't do that for you, at least in New York courts.

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