"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 29, 2015

Cozier cannot be cozier - or is Barry Cozier just too cozy to practice law while appointing judges and advocating for their pay raises, while trying to make attorney disciplinary system uniform, efficient and fair?

On July 22, 2014, Barry Cozier, private attorney and a retired justice of the Appellate Division 2nd Department (retired since 2006) was appointed by NYC Mayor De Blasio as Vice Chair of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.

The Committee is reportedly responsible for "recruiting, screening, and nominating candidates for judicial appointment to the city’s Family Court and Criminal Court, as well as the Civil Court for interim appointments".

On February 17, 2015, in his State of the Judiciary address, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced creation of the New York State Statewide Commission for Attorney Discipline, a supposedly independent commission that was charged to "conduct a top-to-bottom review of the system throughout the state to assess what is working well and what can work better, and to offer recommendations on fundamentally reshaping attorney discipline in New York".

On March 30, 2015, Lippman populated the Commission by appointing its members, the overwhelming supermajority of which were attorneys.

On March 31, 2015, Lippman appointed Barry Cozier to Co-Chair to the Statewide Commission for attorney discipline with the then-Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti.

On July 1, 2015 Lippman ALSO appoints Barry Cozier to be Vice-Chair of the Commission on Judicial pay raises.  Of course, Lippman is up for mandatory retirement at the end of this year.  He will not directly benefit from pay raises, but he does have an interest to keep his remaining judiciary buddies satisfied, since his friend Sheldon Silver has gone down and he needs to forge some connections and some favors before he left his position as Chief Judge.

On July 27, 2015 Gail Prudenti, Co-Chair of the Commission for Attorney Discipline, retires to pursue a career as an administrator in Hofstra Law School.

On August 10, 2015 Lippman promotes Barry Cozier as Chair to the Commission for Attorney Discipline.

Barry Cozier is also, reportedly, a long-time adjunct professor at Fordham Law School and he is on the Board of directors of the Fund for Modern Courts.

I also noted that on the website of Fordham Law School Barry Cozier is listed as a Supreme Court justice up to present time - screenshot taken today is below:

Here is a screenshot below from NYS judicial directory that does not list Barry Cozier as a Supreme Court Justice.

Barry Cozier retired from the bench in 2006, according to his advertising in another place, on the website of the law firm where he is partner.   11 years is enough time to change your information on your adjunct professor page and not mislead the public that you are still a judge.

Of course, Barry Cozier called himself a judge even now, while presiding over hearings in the Commission for Attorney Discipline - and while he announces on the webpage of his firm that he is not a judge, since 2006.

11 years since the retirement is enough to get it through his head that he is no longer a judge, and to get the statement that he is a judge from his advertisement at the Fordham School of Law page.

False advertisement is a disciplinary violation.  Barry Cozier knows the rules, and knows that they must apply equally to all attorneys.

His Commission's report specifically deals with advertisement violations by attorneys and are calling for a "uniform penalty" for such violations:

Are we supposed to believe that Barry Cozier, who picks judges in the De Blasio Commission and advocates for judicial pay raises in the Lippman Commission, ever be disciplined for false advertising?  I doubt that.

But I am positive that Barry Cozier's sitting on panels picking judges, advocating for judicial pay raises, and then presiding over public hearings where judicial corruption is presented as "an elephant in the room" at the core of the mess that attorney regulation in New York is in, that constitutes an irreconcilable conflict of interest.

Barry Cozier is a PRIVATE ATTORNEY who is a partner in a large law firm that appears in the same courts for which Barry Cozier appoints judges and sets salaries for judges.

Are we supposed to honestly believe that his activity on those panels does not influence judges in front of whom he and his law firm appears?

Barry Cozier is the WRONG person to be a fact-finder in public hearings raising the issues of:

  • judicial corruption;
  • self-dealing;
  • selective enforcement of attorney discipline;
  • violations of attorney advertisement rules

because he is, apparently, ENGAGED in all of the above.

After reading all of the above, I encourage you to watch 

  1. Barry Cozier's behavior during the testimony of Elena Sassower at the public hearing in New York City - his tense and hostile body language, his rudeness, his deliberate lack of control over the bulky male armed court officer hovering over the petite Elena Sassower trying to shut her up and following her around the hearing room;
  2. Elena Sassower's interview after the hearing where she says that members of the panel - including Barry Cozier - fled without reviewing what she had to offer them, and
  3. The video report by Gary Jacobs of the Long Island Backstory indicating that the Cozier-Chaired Commission threw Gary Jacobs out of the building and threatened to throw him off the sidewalk in front of the building where the hearing was supposed to be held, and after that, it lied in its Report, by omission, showing that Gary Jacobs and his PHOTOGRAPHER were present at the public hearing, but omitting the fact that Gary Jacobs and his VIDEOGRAPHER were thrown out of the building, and not providing the link to Gary Jacobs out-of-the-building video report calling the Commission a sham.
Of course, 6 years ago, Elena Sassower testified in New York Senate in opposition to appointment of Chief Judge Lippman, testified about his corruption, about a pending investigation against him by the Judicial Conduct Commission that should have precluded his confirmation for the position of Chief Judge.

That is, the Lippman who was confirmed because the Senate was led by Lippman's childhood buddy Sheldon Silver who, of course, disregarded any opposition to Lippman's appointment.  Sheldon Silver who is now indicted by the feds for corruption.

The Lippman who ruled Sheldon Silver's way as soon as he got the confirmation to the high court with Lippman's help while, reportedly, bypassing multiple Senate rules.

The Lippman who gives Cozier his cozy appointments that Cozier uses to advertise and promote his private business.

So, Elena Sassower could not possibly get a fair review by Cozier, not when she was telling Cozier, part and parcel of the cozy legal cartel between private corporate attorneys and the judiciary, that that cartel is at the core of the problems with the "access to justice" crisis that Lippman hypocritically claims from high pulpit, while organizing behind the scene.

People who sat on that Commission, starting with Cozier, are the PROBLEM, not the solution.

And the only way to upend that apple cart, reduce corruption in court proceedings and ensure independent representation in court is to DEREGULATE the legal profession COMPLETELY, taking it away from the grips of corporate interests like Cozier's.


  1. Slowly ppl r becoming aware that something is amiss with Barry Cozier. It's the small details that provide the larger picture of the seemingly reclusive mastermind. Of course my experience with his lacking administering in Queens Family and his canadians economic writings makes me wonder if he is suited for public service and suited for self service.

  2. Slowly ppl r becoming aware that something is amiss with Barry Cozier. It's the small details that provide the larger picture of the seemingly reclusive mastermind. Of course my experience with his lacking administering in Queens Family and his canadians economic writings makes me wonder if he is suited for public service and suited for self service.

  3. He is obviously not suited - from a reasonable citizen point of view. But, from the "conventionally corrupt New York government official" point of view - he is more than suited, and is allowed to "serve" (himself and his business) by pretending he is serving the public.