"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.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman turned the New York State Commission for Attorney Discipline into a circus

On September 21, 2015, without serving properly Mr. Neroni, Jonathan Lippman (Chief Judge of the State of New York), Karen Peters (Appellate Division 3rd Department) and Monica Duffy (Third Department Disciplinary Committee), in an effort to derail Mr. Neroni's appeal challenging constitutionality of attorney disciplinary system, filed this unsigned letter.

I obtained it from Pacer, since Mr. Neroni was never served with it, it was served to his old address, while his new address was clearly stated on his filing papers.

The 2nd Circuit, which was supposed to reject this letter as a defective filing because:

  • it was not signed;
  • it was served to the wrong address
did not reject it, and instead relied on it in issuing a conditional order of dismissal of Mr. Neroni's appeal, with a 7-day "grace" period.  I will discuss the contents of the order in a separate blog post.

The order was made on September 24, 2015 (the deadline was September 25, 2015), the grace period was until October 1, 2015, the order was mailed to Mr. Neroni on September 26, 2015, cutting his grace period even more, NY law requires to add 5 days to any deadlines from the date of mailing if mailing is by regular mail, Mr. Neroni received the order with a "grace" deadline of October 1, 2015, on October 2, 2015.

So, LIPPMAN, PETERS and DUFFY obtained a conditional order of dismissal of Mr. Neroni's appeal contesting constitutionality of attorney disciplinary system in New York in a systemic way, by opposing Mr. Neroni's request to file an oversized appellant's brief (over 30 pages - to address legal sufficiency of an 87-page complaint dismissed in two lengthy court decisions).

In the letter of September 21, 2015 that was not signed by LIPPMAN's, PETER's and DUFFY's attorney, and which was deliberately sent to the wrong address, so that Mr. Neroni would not receive it on time to respond to it, LIPPMAN, PETERS and DUFFY claimed that the problem with Mr. Neroni's lawsuit was that it was "rambling and incoherent", and LIPPMAN, PETERS and DUFFY were against giving Mr. Neroni an opportunity to adequately present all issues he needed to present in the appeal, including the inconsistency of LIPPMAN's PETER's and DUFFY's position as the creator (LIPPMAN) and members (PETER's counsel and deputy clerk; DUFFY) in the New York Statewide Commission for Attorney Discipline.

Mr. Neroni sent the appellant brief in order to meet the deadline, without knowledge of such opposition, on September 23, 2015.

A day after Mr. Neroni has sent his appeal, and on the same day when LIPPMAN, PETERS and DUFFY received an order of conditional dismissal of Mr. Neroni's appeal by an instant electronic notification, on September 24, 2015Defendants DUFFY and two employees of Defendant PETERS's court, her counsel and deputy clerk, now as members of the Commission on Attorney Discipline, provided a Report and Recommendations to Defendant LIPPMAN, creator of the Commission.

In the Report, Defendant DUFFY and employees of Defendant PETER's court freely borrowed ideas from the allegedly "rambling and incoherent" Neroni v Zayas (a constitutional challenge that they had dismissed in the district court and continued to oppose in the 2nd Circuit), and recommended to Defendant LIPPMAN the same reforms that Defendants LIPPMAN, PETERS and DUFFY were opposing and obtained two dismissals at the trial level and a conditional dismissal through bad faith failure to properly serve Mr. Neroni, at the appellate level. 

So, ideas in Mr. Neroni's lawsuit were comprehensible enough in order to borrow them and present them to the public as the Commission's own conclusions, yet, members of the Commission and the Commission's creator, at the same time, opposed those same ideas expressed as challenges in a civil rights lawsuit.

So, Mr. Neroni's challenges in the lawsuit filed 2.5 years ago were "rambling and incomprehensible" to sustain a lawsuit, but were perfectly comprehensible to steal those ideas and defraud the public by claiming that the very same actors that fight against those same changes, "recommend" to bring about those same changes they fight.

For any mere mortal such conduct in litigation is characterized as frivolous and sanctionable.

Apparently, for members of the government and their counsel, New York State Attorney General (who was a Defendant in the case) and his assistants, it is the expected behavior.

What a circus.

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