"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.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Delawarel County's revealing responses to a FOIL request

In 2010 I asked Delaware County, New York, through a FOIL request, to provide me the list of all of its written policies.

I received a response that Delaware County has none.

In 2015 I repeated the request.

The response I received last week was that there are too many in existence to send me immediately, and that I need to come to Delaware County (from South Carolina where I am now) to review the policies and ask to provide me copies of "what I need".

Which is, as you understand, dear readers, BS and attempt to avoid response to the FOIL request which I will appeal.

Next, I asked in 2010 and in 2015 whether Delaware County has an anti-nepotism policy (policy against hiring relatives in a position that may present conflicts of interest).

No such policy in 2010 and no such policy in 2015.  Delaware County employment swarms with relatives, often with different last names, making them, and conflicts of interest they create, untraceable.

I asked in 2010 and in 2015 whether Delaware County has any policy specifically for disqualification of employees where they engage in activities that may present a conflict of interest with their direct duties.

No such policy in 2010 and no such policy in 2015.

I asked repeatedly from 2009 to 2015, for documents showing Delaware County's compliance with certification requirement of its Sheriff's Department by the New York State Criminal Justice Department - while such certification is paraded to Delaware County residents as evidence of good training and good practices in the Sheriff's Department.

Up to 2015 Delaware County was only inviting me to review those records (which I know must exist, because otherwise Delaware County Sheriff's Department would not have had continued certification from the State Criminal Justice Department). 

In 2015 the response to that same question asked on a FOIL request was that there are "no records responsive" to my request.  Which - I know - is BS. 

Well, I will ask for the same records from the Criminal Justice Department.  Records supporting a certification that the Sheriff's Department parades as evidence that it is well trained and does not violate people's constitutional rights are subject to FOIL on both ends of the filings.

There was also an interesting discovery regarding the bail receipt of a certain individual, posted in the fall of 2014.

Judge Carl F. Becker was listed as the judge on the receipt - even though at the time bail was posted and the case was transferred to Delaware County Becker had to recuse from the case of my client - as he promised to the federal court he would, in order to have a certain lawsuit dismissed.

Well, this is not the first time when Becker lied to authorities and went back on his word after he attained what he wanted.

I will keep the public informed about responses to FOIL requests I receive from various state and local agencies.

Stay tuned.

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