"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 30, 2015

Delaware County continues to stall my FOIL requests for copies of no-bid public contracts

In September 8, 2015, I made a FOIL request for copies of all procurement contracts made by Delaware County, NY over the period of 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Most of these contracts were audited by NYS Comptroller, and, according to a report by his office issued in May of 2015, Delaware County failed to submit $129 million worth of contracts to public bidding in 2013-2014 alone.  All of that was under the guidance of the current judicial candidate and Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood.

The county gave me a run-around answer on October 7, 2015 claiming that my requests for copies of contracts are "too vague".

In fact, the County knows exactly which contracts are meant, and stalls release of those contracts to prevent me from using such documents in opposition to Porter Kirkwood's judicial election campaign.

It is obvious that Porter Kirkwood, as legal advisor of Delaware County, is behind the stalling, and thus that he perpetrates fraud upon voters by preventing public information about his misconduct from reaching an active opponent to his election, in order to dupe the voters and get elected.

I filed an administrative appeal of denial of my FOIL request, and will post response of the County to it.

Here are the scans of what I requested in my FOIL:

and of the response by Delaware County:

It is obvious that there is nothing vague in questions Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and the County, guided by judicial candidate Porter Kirkwood as the County's legal advisor, is unlawfully stalling release of public documents to prevent their use in opposition to Porter Kirkwood's judicial campaign.

Yet, even if elected, Porter Kirkwood may still be taken off the bench and prosecuted for corruption if misconduct is verified through such contract after he is elected.

Moreover, please, note answers to questions Nos. 5, 6 and 7 of the FOIL request.

The self-dealing mechanic was not punished.

A policy prohibiting self-dealing of Delaware County employees in properties foreclosed upon by the county (on the footsteps of the recently caught former Commission Moon who did exactly that when he still was a Commissioner) was not introduced.

No new policies were introduced 5 months after the State audit while a promise was made to the State Comptroller to introduce policies preventing self-dealing and improper use of vehicles by County employees.

That is all under the "guidance" of County Attorney Porter Kirkwood who is chest-pounding about his allegedly stellar reputation in his judicial campaign, but is at the same time hiding evidence of his misconduct from public exposure.

Corruption in Delaware County is business as usual, and Porter Kirkwood is trying to happily carry that torch, as his predecessor Carl Becker did, to the judicial bench.

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