"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, September 8, 2015

Ability to act as if you are above the law is qualification for judicial office? On retired judge Carl Mugglin's blessing of Porter Kirkwood for judicial office

Porter Kirkwood recently posted on Facebook a blessing by retired appellate judge Carl Mugglin, of Walton, NY:

I already wrote about Carl Mugglin on this blog, only in connection with the case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit 10 years ago where the court recognized as "governmental interest" the "right' of the government to hire police candidates with an intellectual level only below a certain level - to allegedly prevent turnover.

In that connection, I quoted priceless words of Carl Mugglin that I will never forget, that he told me, a female attorney, representing a female client who was a college professor, at an appellate conference held after his retirement (he retired in 2007, I was admitted to practice law in 2009, so our paths as attorney and judge could never cross) - "you will dig a hole for your client, Mrs. Neroni, with your intellectual efforts".

My client was shocked, I was shocked by that statement - because it showed that for the settlement officer, a retired appellate judge, intellect in a woman was a negative that will lead to trouble.

Carl Mugglin also dropped at various appellate conferences, where he shared his wisdoms without getting acquainted with the essence of cases and where his role was only to inquire whether parties want to settle (but never coerce them into settlements), the following pearls:

  • that Carl Mugglin (a retired appellate judge who was allowed to use the grand jury room in Delaware County Couthouse for purposes of an appellate settlement conference only) allows a private counsel to hold depositions in a grand jury room of the Delaware County courthouse for a private client;
  • that it is appropriate for criminal trials to be held in a church;
  • that there is a poster in a Cooperstown court about a criminal trial in a church, and that if a criminal trial was held in a church and it was good for that criminal defendant, it must be good to hold a deposition in a church (over objections of non-believer litigants to enter a house of worship under the threat of criminal contempt which is how subpoenas for such depositions are made)
It is interesting to mention that the issue of depositions in a church was not within Carl Mugglin's authority to even discuss or touch upon.  He simply undertook to lecture to a female attorney condescendingly and to use her as a captive audience at an appellate conference to share his unsolicited wisdom.

Carl Mugglin earlier endorsed Carl Becker as a very eligible candidate.

Carl Becker's misconduct was legendary and was subject of at least 9 lawsuits, all of which were dismissed on the basis of absolute judicial immunity for MALICIOUS and CORRUPT acts - without reaching merits of cases.  Such dismissals left Carl Becker's misconduct unaddressed, yet, all lawsuits were brought on sworn statements of plaintiffs and thus at least raise issues whether such misconduct happened.

Yet, Carl Mugglin, himself a retired judge who thinks that women should hide their brains someplace far away from his male pre-eminence to stay out of trouble, while his supported judicial candidate Becker had a well known bias against women, now wants to put on the judicial throne Becker's apprentice who is no better and may be worse.

Carl Becker ran from the bench into the protection of an "early retirement" on July 31, 2015.

Carl Becker announced his retirement, coincidentally, one day before the press-release by the New York State Comptroller about results of audit in Delaware County finding that 8.7 million (!) dollars worth of contracts were given (I wonder whether Becker or his connections had a paw in the contracts), without public bidding, to "third party contractors" - which could not be done without approval of the new County Attorney Porter Kirkwood.

After that announcement, there was no disciplinary investigation of Porter Kirkwood by attorney disciplinary authorities, there was no disciplinary investigation or prosecution of Porter Kirkwood by the other judicial candidate in Delaware County - Delaware County attorney Richard Northrup, for fraudulent award of governmental contracts bypassing public bidding.

Obviously inspired by Richard Northrup's non-prosecution, or, maybe, as a compensation for that non-prosecution, Porter Kirkwood as a County Attorney obviously endorsed the financial scheme under which a new prosecutor in the DA's office is going to be financed out of conviction fines.  Richard Northrup accepted it.

Carl Mugglin cannot pretend he did not know about either one of these illegal deals.  They were well publicized in the County, by the Walton Reporter, his town newspaper.

Yet, now Carl Mugglin is lending the authority of his retired judicial office to endorse Porter Kirkwood as eligible to be a judge - even though the only thing Porter Kirkwood is "eligible" for is to be criminally investigated for his involvement in bypassing the public bidding law in the County's award of 129.6 million dollar worth of contracts in one year only (!) to "third party contractors" (and not only for that).

"The County may not be getting the best value for the disposed vehicles" is the understatement of the century.  It is very obvious fraud upon taxpayers, to be prosecuted by the County District Attorney as a crime.

Porter Kirkwood, remember, approved of such sales and is thus participant in the fraud.

Were Porter Kirkwood, the senior mechanic and the senior mechanic's brother investigated and prosecuted by the other judicial candidate, Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup?  Of course, not.  He was at that point too busy prosecuting the victim of his employee's nephew Derek Bowie for a non-existent crime fabricated by Derek Bowie to escape liability for vehicular assault and attempted murder.

He was also too busy fabricating evidence in that case, and he was too grateful to Porter Kirkwood for the third prosecutor (illegally financed out of conviction fines) to prosecute his benefactor.

Here is another piece out of the May 6, 2015 NYS Comptroller's audit of Delaware County for 2013-2014 (when Porter Kirkwood was a County attorney):

Note the number of annual "procurement" - that's the contracts that were supposed to be submitted to public bidding, but never were so submitted.

I am filing today a FOIL with the Delaware County to verify who were the happy recipients of the "procurement" contracts mentioned in the audit - and will make the information public on this blog.

Porter Kirkwood's predecessor as Delaware County Attorney, Richard Spinney, quickly retired at the end of 2012, just before the auditing period began, leaving Porter Kirkwood to  handle the dirt of backroom dealings, and Porter Kirkwood complied beautifully.

I already wrote in one of my previous blog posts about a trio of buddies:

  • Richard Spinney - County Attorney, retired at the end of 2012;
  • William Moon - County Commissioner for the Department of Social Services, Porter Kirkwood's client, retired at the end of 2014;
  • Carl Becker - County judge, former subordinate of Spinney, friend of Spinney and Moon and former counsel for County Department of Social Services for 27 years, announced retirement on May 5, 2015, retired on July 31, 2015, long before expiration of his term through mandatory retirement
Apparently, Porter Kirkwood did a good job approving contracts in backroom deals, and for that he is supposed to be now given a gift of judgeship and a taxpayer funded enormous salary and pension?

Playing ball with the ol' boys' club, and placing the club rules above the law is what makes Kirkwood eligible, in another judge's eyes, for the bench?

Voters, please, don't be duped.

Vote against Kirkwood int he coming primaries!

We had enough dishonest, sexist, incompetent judges so far.  We do not need more of the same, and worse.  

Porter Kirkwood has just approved 129.6 million of backroom contracts plus $770,000 of no-contract payments in 2013-2014, just read the audit of the NY State Comptroller.  

County Attorney must approve  any county contracts, so there is no question about Porter Kirkwood's involvement here.

Moreover, Porter Kirkwood has just approved, in the summer of 2015, while running for the judicial office, an illegal deal for a prosecutor to be funded out of conviction fines.  He knew it is illegal, yet, he approved it on behalf of the County.

There is no more proof needed to see that Porter Kirkwood does not consider the rule of law as mandatory for himself, and there is no chance that a corrupt County Attorney will miraculously become an honest judge.

The question arises - was Carl Mugglin paid for his endorsement of Porter Kirkwood in this judicial campaign?

I will not put it beneath Porter Kirkwood to do that.  He did not put beneath him to do backroom deals, big time, as the audit discovered, and only Porter Kirkwood's obvious connections saved him from criminal prosecution for fraud, imprisonment for a felony and automatic disbarment.

Porter Kirkwood should be investigated and prosecuted for fraud, not elected as a judge.

Vote against Porter Kirkwood in the primaries and at the general elections.

Vote for Gary Rosa!  He has a record of integrity, while Porter Kirkwood has a record of dishonest deals.

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