"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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Since documents show that the executed Ethel Rosenberg was innocent, should the surviving members of the prosecutorial and investigative team against her be tried for murder?

A day ago, a letter of the Meeropol Brothers, children of the executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, was published.

The children of this married couple, who were executed on their wedding anniversary, the wife - solely for refusal to turn on her husband, as recently released documents show, ask President Obama to finally do the right thing and exonerate at least their mother who was innocent.

The letter caused a rage of comments on Facebook, and one of the recurrent comments was - why would they ask for that?  Their "commie" parents were convicted correctly, because AFTER the execution some materials from the KGB was released/surfaced etc.

First of all, nobody saw those "materials".

Second of all, if this country is the country ruled by the rule of law and not the rule of crowd rage driven by after-war fear and McCarthy-ist hysteria, a person can only be convicted after a proper jury trial.

A jury trial may not be considered proper and lawful where it was rigged by judicial and prosecutorial misconduct and where the prosecutor, in a published book, admitted that the judge sentenced the Rosenberg to death on the prosecutor's ex parte recommendation.

The misconduct was well known for years.

The prosecutor was not disbarred.

The judge who engaged in an ex parte communication with the prosecutor in a death penalty case, who was an anticommunist and put his political views into his decisions, and who admitted to going to a synagogue to ask for his G-d's guidance as to what decision to make as to the death sentence, was not taken off the bench and was not disbarred.

On the opposite, he was elevated to the appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and even made its Chief Judge.

Another member of prosecutorial team, William P. Rogers, an assistant U.S. Attorney at the time of prosecution, not only was a not disbarred or criminally prosecuted, but became a Secretary of State in President Nixon's administration.

After the judge died, after the witnesses who gave testimony against the Rosenberg (Ethel's brother and his wife) died, then the grand jury testimony of Ethel's brother is released that shows that he was lying against her at the actual trial.

Documents are available that prosecutors never wanted to kill Ethel - or Julius, they simply wanted to coerce them to speak by the threat of the death sentence, and especially wanted Ethel to turn on her husband.

As the children of the Rosenberg's  write in their letter to President Obama, when such tactics did not work, when Ethel Rosenberg "called the prosecution's bluff", false testimony was used against both of them to obtain a wrongful conviction and to execute them, leaving their young children orphans.

We are talking about something done by people who claimed their "honor" all their lives.

They belonged to an "honorable" legal profession.

They took multiple oaths of office to maintain the U.S. Constitution.

Yet, they did not have the basic human decency of not to obtain a wrongful conviction and a death sentence of a mother of two young children simply because she "called their bluff", and not to have her executed on her wedding anniversary to the husband against whom she refused to testify even at the price of her own life.

I must note that there is such a thing as a spousal privilege, and no spouse can be forced to testify against her husband.

Yet, "the honorable" members of the legal profession not only tried to violate that privilege, but punished an innocent with a death sentence when she refused to do that.

A letter signed by 82 law professors signed in 1976, 23 years after the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and 39 years before the letter filed by the sons of the Rosenbergs one day ago, points out, based on documentary evidence the professors reviewed, that the presiding judge, a staunch anti-communist, was in favor of their death penalty before the Rosenbergs were found guilty.  That's an ultimate pre-judgment.

The letter, written to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, requested to investigate the conduct of the judge.

That was in 1976.

As the biography of Judge Kaufman shows, not only he was not investigated or disciplined, but he was elevated to the position of an appellate federal judge and was later made a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit - deciding issues of due process on federal appeals from civil rights cases, of all people, even though, according to the letter of 82 law professors in 1976 to Congress requesting investigation against Judge Kaufman, Judge Kaufman, a trial judge, was trying to unlawfully interfere with appellate process in the Rosenberg case and block appellate motions of the Rosenbergs and their co-defendant.  

Judge Kaufman was, obviously, the best candidate for the job on the federal appellate court, and for the job of the chief judge of that court.

So, as the Facebook community continues to rage, why do the sons of Rosenberg want to stir the painful memories of their executed parents, what I see imperative as a lesson coming out of the Rosenberg case is:

1) the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings serves only the prosecution, including wrongful prosecution, and should be abolished;  had the grand jury minutes of the testimony of Ethel's brother been released at the time of trial and not a month ago, after all witnesses and the presiding judge are long dead, Ethel would have been spared and her children would not have had to be raised as orphans, be adopted and change their last names to protect them.

2) it is clear that judicial misconduct is not properly addressed in this country, and legislative measures should be undertaken to change that;

3) it is clear that prosecutorial misconduct is not properly addressed in this country, and legislative measures should be undertaken to change that;

4) it is clear that the public, judging by FB comments today, would have convicted the Rosenbergs and would have sent them to death again, should they be tried today - without any evidence, just on the accusation of spying for the Soviets.  That shows how low the legal education of the public on the issue of the presumption of innocence and the necessity of the rule of law is in this country, and that should be changed, too.

5) an investigation should be had as to the illegal means by which the wrongful conviction and death penalty of Ethel Rosenberg was obtained, and the surviving individuals who participated in the scheme must be tried for conspiracy to commit murder. 

And yes, I fully support the request of the children of the Rosenbergs to formally exonerate Ethel Rosenberg - and to posthumously declare that judge Kaufman committed misconduct and should have been disbarred, prosecuted and, possibly, put to death penalty himself, because sending an innocent to the electric chair is murder.

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