"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 25, 2015

What is official misconduct in Missouri, is business as usual in Delaware County, New York - and for two judicial candidates, Porter Kirkwood and Richard Northrup

As was reported today, a judge in Ferguson, Missouri, invalidated all arrest warrants made by the Ferguson municipal court before December of 2014 because of the alleged conspiracy between the local police, city officials and the courts to convict people in order to raise revenues.

In Missouri, apparently, such conduct of public officials is illegal.

In Delaware County, New York, similar conduct is being announced blatantly and unapologetically as a savings to taxpayer during a judicial election campaign of two county officials, and is officially approved by two current candidates for the judicial seat, Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood and Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup (see references to press releases  and press coverage in that blog).

These two public officials approved a position of a new prosecutor with benefits paid out of conviction fines.  

That is a financial incentive to that prosecutor that him/her and his/her family will not receive medical coverage unless convictions are brought in, rightfully or wrongfully.  Boy is that an incentive to convict.

A recent New York Comptroller's report indicates that a portion of conviction fines is earmarked to finance local law enforcement.

A description on the website of the Delaware County Sheriff's Department that the STOP-DWI program as "self-sustaining" programs financed by conviction fines, together with the article in the Walton reporter (see link in the blogpost here) where Delaware County probation chief unapologetically states that not only STOP-DWI, but probation and law enforcement in Delaware County, NY, receive money from conviction fines, and that now that the new prosecutor will be similarly "stimulated", the law enforcement hopes for convictions - and revenue - to go up.

So, what is glaring official misconduct in Missouri, is business as usual - and laudable "savings" strategy pandered to voters in order to lure them to vote for two public officials responsible for the scandalous financial incentives for a prosecutor, and to put them even higher than where they are now - on the bench, for 10 years.

The more corrupt you are and the more willing you are to collude with the local law enforcement to bring up revenues and violate people's constitutional rights (to bring "savings" to taxpayers and voters, of course) - the more eligible you are for judicial office?

So, being able to use your public office in order to bring revenues at the expense of people's constitutional rights is yet another new qualification for judicial office in New York - in addition to being gay, as New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick insists.

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