"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.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Contempt of court and contemptible behavior of judges

There is a reason for the existence of the battered woman syndrome.

There are reasons why women are afraid to confront their abusers and stay with them for years.

It it private, women are afraid, they are embarrassed.

Even when they complain, they often recant, it is all part of the battered woman's syndrome.

Judges dealing with domestic violence cases must be trained to understand such issues.

Well, a Florida judge, Jerri Collins, was obviously not trained on these important issues - and did not have her own heart and judgment to inform her decisions.

Not only she put a reported victim of domestic violence, a young mother, in jail for not showing up to testify in court as a witness, but she rejected her pleas that she had anxiety and was afraid to confront her abuser in court by reportedly saying:

"You think you're going to have anxiety now? You haven't even seen anxiety" - and sent her to jail.

That is because the mother asked the prosecution not to continue with the case and did not come to court because she was afraid to confront her abuser.

Here is what the young mother said to the judge that the judge ignored:

The prosecution, apparently, did not listen and not only proceeded to trial, but subpoenaed the victim who already told them she wants to have the charges withdrawn.

The question must be raised whether the prosecution was correct to pressure with the charges which the witness wanted withdrawn, and continued to spend public money on the trial that the complaining witness did not want to continue.

For the judge, apparently, the young mother had no right to withdraw her complaint about the father of her child, not even out of fear.

Nothing like victimizing the victim even further.

Nothing like punishing a woman for having a mental health problem, anxiety.

Nothing like taking the mother from a young child because she was too afraid to confront a person who she said choked her and threatened her with a knife.

Now, the concept of "contempt of court" presupposes respect to courts as institutions dispensing justice.

Yet, such contemptible acts of injustice as what Judge Jerri Collins did to the young mother, breed exactly what Judge Jerri Collins purported to punish - contempt of court.  Because what Judge Jerri Collins did is, once again, contemptible.

I wonder whether any discipline is coming Judge Collins' way.

I think, people like Judge Collins have no place on the bench.

Because due to Judge Collins, the abused young mother, and other young women like her, were taught a lesson not to come forward and not to ask help from authorities.

And, if they do not ask for help, however imperfectly, they may die, their children may die, and other women and children may die at the hands of their abusers.

What judge Collins did in discouraging victims of domestic violence to come forward, for fear that they will not be able to carry through with the testimony against their abuser and will be put in jail and a criminal record will be created AGAINST THEM, is not only inhumane and downright contemptible behavior for a public servant, but it is also dangerous.

Judge Collins has no place on the bench.

And, the most idiotic thing that I've ever seen is when a TV station "legal analyst" stated that it makes no sense for the young woman to appeal her sentence of criminal contempt, because she already served it.

Of course, it makes sense.

Because if the sentence is overturned on appeal, the woman will not have a criminal record, her fine will be returned, her feeling of self-worth will be returned, her trust in the fairness of the justice system and that it will protect her instead of victimize her more, will be at least somewhat restored.

Not to mention that she will have a lot more grounds for a disciplinary complaint against the judge.

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