"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.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New York Judge John Hall: a prosecutor's duty is to zealously represent the complainant

 I came across a news report about a judge, who is still a County court judge deciding criminal cases, who has a belief that the duty of the prosecutor is to "zealously represent the complainants".  

The name of this winner is Judge John Hall of Warren County/Surogate's Court.

His statement is dating back to 2006, so I wonder how many convictions he approved since then with such a mentality.

Judge Hall stated, in his decision in 2006, while overturning a conviction of a local publisher, because the special prosecutor actually acknowledged that what the publisher did was constitutionally protected free speech, that such "conduct" of special prosecutor raises questions as to the special prosecutor's ability to be a special prosecutor, because, in Judge Hall's view, the duty of a prosecutor is to zealously represent the complainant.

The statement of Judge Hall in his decision regarding the special prosecutor has triggered a "petition drive" in the community to have the special prosecutor removed, because she did not zealously serve the complainants.

Yet, the courageous - and honest - special prosecutor Mary Moule responded to that drive that she is not stepping down, there is no basis for removal and that her "position on behalf of the people (of the state of New York) has not changed".

When a judge presiding over a criminal court says what Judge John Hall said in 2006, he should have been IMMEDIATELY removed from office, because what he considers as the DUTY of a criminal prosecutor, is grounds for REMOVAL of a prosecutor - if the prosecutor thinks he or she represents a "complainant" instead of the People of the State of New York.

Was he removed from office?

Obviously, not, because he is still listed as County/Surrogate's Court judge for Warren County.

Moreover, he was appointed by another winner, Jonathan Lippman (now the Chief Administrative Judge for the State of New York), who was then Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York, for a position of Acting Supreme Court Justice.

And - guess what - he is the current president of the Warren County Bar Association, even though he is prohibited - by the State Constitution - to practice law since he has first come to the bench in 2004.

Here is Judge Hall with all of his credentials I wrote about above, as reported on the site of New York State Court Administration.

I wonder if judicial candidate and Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup got training from this judge in his understanding of his prosecutorial duty as zealous representation of Derek Bowie, nephew of Richard Northrup's employee Jeff Bowie, against Barbara O'Sullivan, victim of Derek Bowie's vehicular assault.

But then, how about zealous representation of Barbara O'Sullivan against Derek Bowie? 

Yet, this is what the duty of a criminal prosecutor is, let's demand from prosecutors and judges to drill it through their heads, remember it and adhere to it:

Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88 (1935):
"The United States Attorney is representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense that servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor—indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one."

Taylor v. United States, 413 F.2d 1095, 1096 (D.C. Cir. 1969)
“[T]he Government may prosecute vigorously, zealously with hard blows if the facts warrant, for a criminal trial is not a minuet. Nevertheless, there are standards which a Government attorney should meet to uphold the dignity of the Government.” Prosecutors have a dual duty to “guard the rights of the accused as well as to enforce the rights of the public.” ABA Standards Relating to the Prosecution Function and the Defense Function, § 31.1 (1971) (Comm. at 44).

And the question remains - why didn't the judicial system get rid of Judge Hall after his bad-mouthing of a criminal prosecutor who DID HER DUTY in refusing to support unconstitutional charges and stating on record that her duty is to zealously represent the complainant and her stand in opposition to continuing an unconstitutional charge somehow makes her unfit for her position - which triggered a campaign of harassment of the prosecutor by the locals.

In fact, if Judge Hall overturned the conviction, he had absolutely no business to engage in prosecutor-bashing because she deemed the charge (that she inherited from a prior prosecutor) unconstitutional.

There is no statute of limitation on judicial discipline.

Will Judge Hall be disciplined now?

Will criminal cases where he presided be scrutinized now?

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