"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, July 12, 2015

Turf sharing by judicial candidates in Delaware County

According to my reliable sources of information, the turf has been divided by two judicial candidates for the seats of Delaware County Judges (New York).

Porter Kirkwood (current Delaware County Attorney, friend, subordinate and colleague of the "retiring" Judge Becker of many years) and Richard Northrup (the current Delaware County District Attorney) who have not been elected as judges yet, already decided that:

  • Richard Northrup will "take on" the County and Surrogate's court;
  • Porter Kirkwood will "take on" the Family court.
Think about the consequences.

First of all, Richard Northrup will preside over cases that may have been in investigation stages while he was still a District Attorneys, and will preside over cases of people whose background he knows, through information not available to the defendants or their attorneys, from confidential sources.  That information and not what will be in the record, will be "informing" potential Judge Northrup's decisions.

And, to learn just how dishonest Richard Northrup can be when he needs to save face for the local government official and be a tool of revenge for Judge Becker - consult the Barbara O'Sullivan case.

I am still waiting for Richard Northrup to cough up information to the court that the alleged "victim" of the crime charged against Barbara O'Sullivan (assault by a dog on a police officer), "coincidentally" a defendant in a parallel civil case by Barbara O'Sullivan against that same police officer for vehicular assault upon her several days prior to the alleged "dog incident" after which the police officer should have been taken off the force, or to desk duty, investigated and prosecuted (but never prosecuted by Richard Northrup) happens to be the nephew of a long-time employee of Richard Northrup as a District Attorney.

No, Richard Northrup continues to keep to himself this information to the court which would have instantly cause to have the case tossed - because Richard Northrup, a disqualified person, was present in the grand jury proceeding, directed that grand jury proceeding and obtained an indictment against Barbara O'Sullivan, a person who sued Judge Becker and is hated by Judge Becker with a passion, obviously without revealing to the grand jury that Richard Northrup is doing it not for "the People of the State of New York", but to save a nephew of his own longtime employee and to exact revenge on behalf of a judge against a person who sued him, FOILed information about him and complained about him to authorities on several occasions about Judge Becker's judicial misconduct (one instance involving interfering with jury deliberation in a murder trial of Glenford Hull some years ago).

With this "stellar" integrity, Richard Northrup, as far as I know, is running unopposed.  I wonder why no attorney wants to run for a judge in Delaware County, a well-paid job, against Richard Northrup.  Fear? Of what?

So, Delaware County residents and litigants will have a district attorney with questionable integrity who will handle criminal and surrogate's court, dealing with people's liberty, property and money.

Delaware County residents and litigants will also have a similarly unscrupulous County Attorney Porter Kirkwood handling Family Court in Delaware County, continuing the "glorious" tradition of Judge Becker who first represented the Delaware County Department of Social Services for 27 years and then presided over cases that same department, Judge Becker's client of 27 years (as well as, according to my information, where Commissioner Moon was a petitioner, who also speedily retired, earlier than Becker, during investigation into some fiscal activities of Delaware County).

Porter Kirkwood similarly represented the Delaware County Department of Social Services for many years (and was Becker's colleague and subordinate in that representation for many years), and now he will pick up the torch in rubber-stamping decisions for his own client from Becker.

A rhetorical question - why not swap? Why wouldn't Northrup handle Family Court?  Why wouldn't Kirkwood handle County Court? Why both of these judicial candidates are so bent on such openly conflicted judgeships?  Why they are so blatantly announcing to all who care to hear about their little "turf division", before they are even elected.

Why the very first picture on Porter Kirkwood's fundraiser post on Facebook is featuring Delaware County Clerk Sharon O'Dell, 2nd from left, who by law is the court clerk for the County and Supreme Courts of Delaware County, and both judicial candidates will be, no doubt, "ordained" into positions of "Acting Justices" of the Supreme Court, too - as is the pattern with County/Family court judges?

Apparently, to show that, even though Becker leaves by July 31, 2015, his legacy of lawlessness will stay.  Apparently, to show that the law in Delaware County will be the "old boys' club" "law" - and to send a message to opponents of such an arrangement.  Bow to it - or else.

Yet, despite fundraisers, "dedicated team of volunteers" (I wonder if Kirkwood is using County employees as "volunteers" who comply for fear for their job security), it is the voters who have the final say whether Kirkwood and Northrup will or will not be judges.

And it is for the honest attorneys with the required qualifications for a judge (over 10 years of practicing) to step up to the plate and oppose both of these "old boys" and run for these judicial seats.

I have a pessimistic view of what is going to happen.

With the County Board of Elections in the hands of the County Attorney (think about it!) who is running for the position of the King of Delaware County (well, now the King will have two heads) that currently Carl Becker occupies, the Board of Elections will bend over backwards for both candidates to "eeke out" a victory, and the voters will never know how that will be done, even if they vote against these two dishonorable injustices.

But, who knows - maybe, a miracle will happen and Delaware County voters will wake up and say "no" at the voting booths to the dishonest people who want to grab absolute and unlimited power over people's lives for 10 years at the least?

Future will show.

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