"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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I posted on Facebook the Amended Complaint in Neroni v Zayas, a 2.5 year old civil rights lawsuit on Facebook - to illustrate how New York fights in lawsuits the very same changes as it asserts as goals of its various "Commissions"

I've just posted the Neroni v Zayas  federal lawsuit that I filed on behalf of my husband Frederick J. Neroni 2.5 years ago, on February 2, 2013.

Since that time, in March of 2014 part of the claims were dismissed.

In November of 2014 the court where the case was still pending imposed an anti-filing injunction upon Mr. Neroni, on the court's own motion (by a different judge than the one presiding on the pending case) claiming the still pending Neroni v Zayas case was frivolous.

In June of 2015 the rest of the claims in Neroni v Zayas were dismissed, and the case is currently on an appeal by Mr. Neroni acting Pro Se.

Once again, the anti-filing injunction claimed that the lawsuit was frivolous.

Since the lawsuit was filed, two defendants changed their place of work, so to say:

Also, since the "frivolous" lawsuit was filed, and since the anti-filing injunction was imposed, two changes occurred suggesting that the lawsuit was far from frivolous.

1/ On February 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court has held that regulation of professions through "state" boards consisting of super-majorities of private members of regulated professions, without proper oversight, is a federal antitrust violation that does not entitle committee members to any immunity.

On May 6, 2015 a consumer group headed by a federal antitrust prosecutors called upon state Attorneys General across the country to enforce that precedent in how attorney regulation is handled.

The Neroni v Zayas  lawsuit filed 2 years prior to that decision - and which was used as allegedly "frivolous" by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to bar Mr. Neroni's access to court in the future - raises the same issue, from the point of view that it is a violation of due process of law of a disciplined attorney where the disciplinary process orchestrated by supermajorities of private competitors (with particular conflicts of interest pointed out in detail in the complaint, with names of conflicted competitors).

Doesn't it make Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe who has commenced the sua sponte anti filing injunction proceedings and imposed the injunction look stupid, biased and corrupt?

2/ On March 30, 2015 NYS Chief Judge Lippman named members of the Statewide Commission on Attorney Discipline the goal of which (at least, the declared goal) is to make attorney disciplinary proceedings (now done through 4 intermediate appellate courts with their own differing rules) more uniform and fair to attorneys, and more efficient for public protection.

New York is FIGHTING at the very same time the appeal of dismissal of THOSE SAME CLAIMS that lack of uniformity and fairness in procedures (or lack thereof) in attorney disciplinary proceedings make such proceedings unconstitutional and their result void.

Once again, doesn't the situation where the same arguments are claimed by NYS to be frivolous and warranting public hearings make the State of New York actors, including New York State Attorney General who is still fighting this lawsuit, now on appeal, as well as Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe who has commenced the sua sponte anti filing injunction proceedings and imposed the injunction look stupid, biased and corrupt?

By the way, transcripts of hearings before the Commission are now posted online, from the Albany, Buffalo, and New York City "public hearings" (how public was the hearing I already reflected in one of my blog following the video coverage of the "public hearing" by a New York City reporter who was thrown out of the building and ordered to get off the sidewalk before the building where the hearings were going on, in violation of New York Open Meetings Law.

 Affidavits of people who were NOT allowed to testify are not posted, and I asked the NYS Court administration for copies of these affidavits, to see what exactly did these people say that they were not "invited" to testify.

3/ Since May of 2014 and to this day, and during the pendency of the anti-filing injunction proceedings against Mr. Neroni, New York Senator DeFrancisco was advocating for creation of a separate Commission to address prosecutorial misconduct.

Look up NY Senate Bill S24 that is seeking to amend Judiciary Law by including into it Article 15-A, Commission for prosecutorial misconduct.  Such a separate Commission would not be needed if attorney disciplinary committees were doing their jobs and prosecuted prosecutors (including themselves).  

So, the solution offered by a Senator Attorney DeFrancisco - while his Senate, through its attorney New York State Attorney General, fights Neroni v Zayas asserting the very same thing - is to add to taxpayers' burden and, in addition to the dysfunctional attorney disciplinary committees that do not do their jobs create yet another Commission, modeled after NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct - which also does not do its job, instead working as a shredder of complaints against judges.

So - if Mr. Neroni, a disbarred attorney, says it - it is frivolous and punishable.

If a New York State Senator - Judge - "Commission member" says it, even if that contradicts what that same Senator - Judge - Commission member - does in opposing those same challenges in Mr. Neroni's lawsuit - that is completely meritorious and even commendable.

It is insane, ladies and gentlemen, that the same idea is treated differently when it comes from people of different social statuses.

And such an attitude of the government, and especially of federal courts, clearly proves that 

(1) the rule of law and equal protection of laws that judges are sworn to protect does not exist;  

(2) judges are adamantly violating their own oath of office in practically every dismissed civil action;  

(3) Mr. Neroni was correct when he was stating in his lawsuit that the system of attorney discipline, as it exists in New York, is designed to quash political dissent, and reduce credibility of dissenters.  

After all, in every order of dismissal of Mr. Neroni's case (and, as I researched, cases of other suspended and disbarred attorneys making meritorious challenges to constitutionality of proceedings), on the very first pages, as a matter of policy, and contrary to the standard of review of motions to dismiss requiring courts to liberally construe pleadings in favor of the non-moving party, courts engaged in plaintiff-bashing by pointing out that plaintiff is a disbarred (suspended) attorney and his complaint is:

  • incomprehensible;
  • verbose;
  • redundant;
  • confusing
  • convoluted
You name any negative attribute - you will find it in orders of dismissal of civil rights cases filed by suspended and disbarred attorneys.

Given that most often those suspended and disbarred attorneys are civil rights attorneys who litigated in those same cases professionally for years, it is clear that these allegations are not only contrary to the standard of review, but also not true.

And, the State of New York cannot even pay lip service to its claim that it wants to bring about changes in attorney disciplinary system without putting its collective foot into its collective mouth.

Am I the only person who finds it objectionable that, on top of creating a Commission, once again, with a supermajority of market players, Judge Lippman allowed to preside over the public hearings to make attorney disciplinary proceedings fair to the just-retired judge Peter Skelos, brother of the indicted Senate Leader Dean Skelos, while Judge Peter Skelos went into "early retirement" after appointment to the Commission and after indictment of his brother (a defendant in Mr. Neroni's lawsuit).

His resignation letter that he is retiring because of a "wonderful opportunity" to continue a private legal practice does not fool anybody.

Here is the "wonderful opportunity", the law firm that accepted the brother of the Senate leader indicted for corruption who suspiciously ran off the appellate bench within a month of his brother's indictment.

The law firm claims to be "conveniently located" to satisfy clients in, among others, Nassau County.  Peter Skelos who hastily retired from the bench of Appellate Division 2nd Department in order to join the firm, should disqualify the firm in the Appellate Division 2nd Department.  Yet, such disqualifications usually never happen.  So, after Peter Skelos' brother has been indicted for corruption, Peter Skelos himself embraced a "wonderful opportunity" to work for a law firm which, as a "general practice" law firm, must work in the court that Peter Skelos just left?

That is a wonderfully ethical decision worthy of a member of the Statewide Commission on attorney discipline.

Nor does any reasonable person has any doubt that "election" and appointments of the whole dynasties of lawyers to be Senators, Governors and appellate judges have anything to do with merit rather than their political and familial connections.

Remember the hypocrisy of the State of New York in trying to blow smoke screens into the public eyes by claiming they are trying to bring change through Commissions - while they are fighting tooth and claw, since 2013 to prevent that very same change to come through a court decision in Neroni v Zayas.  

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