"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 1, 2015

Out with Porter Kirkwood, a judicial candidate who, like Judge Carl Becker before him, already claims he will have no conflict of interest presiding over cases of his own clients

Delaware County coroner Dr. Ucci has placed a "letter to the editor" in the Walton Reporter supporting judicial candidate Porter Kirkwood, lauding him for his experience in dealing with child neglect and abuse cases.

I posted a comment to that letter, but it is under review, and I am not sure whether the politically correct and Republican-run newspaper will publish it.

Therefore, I repeat my comment to Dr. Ucci's letter here, with some edits and additions.

Experience does matter.  

Yet, Porter Kirkwood has not only experience in dealing with child neglect and abuse cases -AS A PROSECUTOR.

Porter Kirkwood also has a record of:

* ex parte communications with Judge Becker;
* lying about not having a child neglect file that he had, and thus preventing timely discovery of Judge Becker's disqualification arising from his actions before he came to the bench, something that could not be discovered through public records;
* fabricating child neglect prosecution of parents who reported Porter Kirkwood's child for a serious fight on school grounds;
* retaliation against his own workers for expressing opinions that he did not like;
* having a private practice during taxpayer-paid time as an Assistant County Attorney, and representing in that private practice individuals on claims that ran directly contrary to his obligations as a prosecutor, DEFENDING elder abuse;
* Allowing the County Building to be used by private attorneys for free for depositions in paying cases;
* Approving contracts without bidding in violation of the law;
* Approving the financial arrangement for a new prosecutor, with benefits financed out of conviction fines, in violation of state and federal law, including constitutional law.

As to Porter Kirkwood's abilities as an attorney - only a completely incompetent lawyer can lose a trial in a case where the judge is heavily biased in his favor and where the opponents did not show up, after trying a case against empty seats.

Such a gem as Porter Kirkwood, with his record of "integrity", should not be allowed close to the bench - or even to the practice of law. 

In the meeting with potential voters, Porter Kirkwood claimed that he has no conflict of interest as a potential future judge presiding in a BENCH (non-jury) trial where he will be a FACT-FINDER, over cases brought in front of him by his former client of 20+ years, the Department of Social Services.

Let me start counting the problems here.

* Extrajudicial knowledge about witnesses.
* Extrajudicial knowledge about the case.
* Extrajudicial knowledge about respondents - remember that many cases of social services have a trail of years back, and Porter Kirkwood LED investigations about many people, without their knowledge, and now will be presiding over cases of those parents?

Knowing him as I do, over years of experience with him as an opposing counsel in child neglect and abuse cases, I have no doubt that Kirkwood will NEVER acknowledge his conflicts of interest, NEVER disclose that he has extrajudicial knowledge about the case, NEVER disclose the fact of ex parte communications with his former clients - and your children will be taken away from you simply because social services replaced one judge representing them instead of impartially ruling on cases (Carl Becker), by another, Porter Kirkwood, who learned at Becker's knee as his subordinate, for years.

Neither parties, nor attorneys appearing in front of Kirkwood as a judge, will know or have even an opportunity to verify the scope of Kirkwood's knowledge about testifying witnesses.

Kirkwoood-as-judge will have to assess credibility of witnesses.  Guess how he will assess credibility of social workers who were his clients for decades and with whom he closely associated? 

Child neglect and abuse proceedings with Kirkwood presiding will be decided only one way - and you know, which way it will be.

Experience in the hands of a person with negative integrity and vast connections is a disaster.

Becker just left.  But, having left, Becker have sprouted two heads - Kirkwood and Northrup.

Voters in the coming primaries and in the general election!

Don't allow the local establishment of the Delaware County to saddle you with two Beckers instead of the one that you had and that just ran from the bench.  

You've had enough of ruined lives by a biased and incompetent judge with undisclosed conflicts of interest.

You do not need another one - or two - low on integrity and knowledge, but quick on retaliation and ex parte communications.

Judicial misconduct in the state of New York can be dealt with only one way - by not voting bad apples into office.

Once they are there, they will not be disciplined for anything they commit, and, remember, they will be ABSOLUTELY IMMUNE for MALICIOUS AND CORRUPT acts on the bench, for most horrible violations of your constituitonal rights, the moment they pronounce the oath to UPHOLD your constitutional rights.

That's how the "law" of this country works.

So, do not put on the bench a person who is guaranteed to violate your consitutitonal rights - because that's what he has been doing as a social services prosecutor, he is not likely to change, and he already said he has no conflcit of interest presiding over cases of his own clients of several decades.

Out with Kirkwood. 

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