"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.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Porter Kirkwood and his alleged 3,000 cases: let's have a trip to Delaware County Family Court and then do the math

A reader sent me an election campaign flyer of Porter Kirkwood, a judicial candidate for the Family Court seat in Delaware County, New York.

In that election campaign flyer, Porter Kirkwood claims that he has "handled" 3,000 cases in Family Court.

First, this claim is absolutely unverifiable - because Porter Kirkwood was and still is a social services attorney, his "Family Court cases" must be exclusively child neglect and abuse cases.

I encourage future voters to march into Delaware County Family Court at 3 Court Street, Delhi, NY 13753 across from the post office, and demand review of Porter Kirkwood's 3000 Family Court cases.

You will be denied that access because child neglect cases are sealed, so Porter Kirkwood can blow bubbles all over you and can tell you how many thousands of cases he allegedly "handled" in Family Court - it is absolutely unverifiable.

Moreover, I suggest for the readers to engage in a little math experiment to show that not only the number 3,000 is unverifiable - but it is likely false, as are many Porter Kirkwood's claims in his election campaign (I will continue to analyze Kirkwood's election campaign flyer, issue by issue).

So, this is the claim that Porter Kirkwood made in his flyer - once again:

Porter Kirkwood was admitted to practice law in 1994 after graduating from an elite private law school:

Upon information and belief, he worked for Delaware County Department of Social Services ever since he was first licensed in 1994, including at least 6 years under the "guidance" of Carl Becker as his boss and mentor.

So, Porter Kirkwood worked for Delaware County for 21 years as an attorney for social services.

Most of the time before Becker got on the bench in 2002, Becker litigated child abuse and neglect cases.

After Becker got on the bench, Amy Merklen litigated child abuse and neglect cases, with Porter Kirkwood handling only a small fraction of the cases.

As I stated above, his participation in cases is unverifiable, because Delaware County Family Court will not allow review of any child neglect or abuse cases by anybody who was not a party or attorney of record for a party in those cases, so he can just as well tell the public that he handled a million such cases - it will be equally unverifiable.

Yet, realistically speaking, let's do the math.

To be able to handle 3,000 cases in Family Court over the course of his career, Porter Kirkwood was supposed to be in court every other day to handle child neglect cases.  

That is simply not happening - not only Porter Kirkwood was not in court nearly every day, and there were times when I was in that same court every single day, and did not see him at all, but other attorneys were usually litigating child neglect cases, and my suspicion is - because Porter Kirkwood is not a good litigator.

I dare Porter Kirkwood's election campaign to present to voters his court calendars indicating that he, indeed handled 3,000 cases. Court calendars do not mention names, only file numbers, and are public.

I doubt Kirkwood can or will produce such calendars to the public.

Which brings me back to the 3,000 cases.

When such numbers are unverifiable, and the level of competence in participation in such cases is similarly unverifiable, such numbers should not be used in bold font, white on red, in an election campaign - because, without ability to verify these numbers, they very likely be fraudulent.

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