"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 11, 2015

Racial and political profiling by the FBI of African Americans as domestic terrorists

The question seems rhetorical and not requiring an answer.

Yet, so much confusion and turmoil exists over this question that research and coverage of the issue is needed.

Some time ago, my husband and I were viciously sanctioned by a federal court judge for reciting to the court the law of the State of New York, the Declaration of Independence of the United States and the 11th Amendment to the United States Constitution, all providing that the sovereign in this country  is "we the People", and not the government.  I did not understand why it was so important for the court to drill into me that the 11th Amendment does not mean what its clear text means.

I understood yesterday when reading the FBI announcement.  The judge must have believed I am a part of a "sovereign citizen" movement - and whatever such people say is domestic terrorism.

The FBI put "on their radar" the so-called "sovereign citizen movement" as "domestic terrorism" and extremists because (and I omit scams, not paying taxes, which does not qualify as terrorism, or having illegal weapons, which qualifies as crime, but not as terrorism, and making physical threats to public officials, which is the only thing that is terrorism):

  1. the sovereign citizens (SCs) make "frivolous lawsuits" - that is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination;
  2. SCs "hold their own courts";
  3. SCs issue illegal warrants against public officials
  4. SCs harass public officials
  5. SCs threaten courts and court employees 
By the way, I do not belong to any organizations, am not affiliated to any SC "cell", "chapter", or anything like that, and my legal and political opinions in this blog are just my own.

But, I have a right to speak my own opinion, especially, as a criminal defense attorney and a civil rights attorneys, as to whether political beliefs may be considered as a form of "domestic terrorism", and to that I firmly believe that such a consideration is screamingly unconstitutional.

As to my own experience that leads me not to believe that "threats against judges", they way litigants' conduct is interpreted by courts, are a form of domestic terrorism.  

First, I was sanctioned by a federal court (judge Gary Sharpe, of NDNY) for simply quoting to the court the state and federal law and the Federal Constitution as to who is the sovereign in this country - something Judge Sharpe had to know before he graduated from law school, much less before he came to the bench.

Second, I was sanctioned for "threatening the court" (by the now quickly-retired Judge Carl F. Becker of Delaware County Family/County Court) for as much as making a motion to recuse Judge Becker where I cited issues of his well documented judicial misconduct and appearance of impropriety, bordering on bribery.

In view of those experiences, I take the claims of anybody "threatening the courts" with a grain of salt until I see how exactly that alleged "threat" is expressed, because judges appear to react to completely lawful acts that question propriety of their actions as hysterical prima donnas.

The FBI invites people who have "information" about "suspicious activities" - such as described above ("frivolous" lawsuits against the government, motions to recuse considered as "threats" against judges?) - to the FBI.  I wonder how many times I was reported to this venerable organization.  I think I need to verify through a Freedom of Information Act request and report back to my readers as to the results.

As to the SC movement, I saw a lot of articles on SC movement being violent, but I did not find much addressing the essence of its ideology in legal literature.  Interestingly, I found the most comprehensive overview of the history and the essence of the SC movement in an article of a psychiatrist about competency evaluations to stand trial of individuals claiming themselves to be sovereign citizens.

That threw me, as a person born and raised in the Soviet Union where political views were also assessed by psychiatrists and were grounds for a sort of civil commitment without any hearings, through abductions and lockups of dissidents by the government.

The article on competency evaluations noted that the FBI started to regard SC as a terrorist organization after two police officers were killed by allegedly two SCs, during a routine traffic stop.

I double-checked in the news, and the killer was only one - a teenager, who could hardly be driven by any kind of ideology, rather than protecting his father and having undue access to weapons.

Yet, commission of a crime by a teenager, which is punishable under penal law, can hardly be used as a true legal basis to consider a whole ideological movement as domestic terrorism.

Since both the teenager and his father were killed by police gunfire, no trial was ever held, and we will never know the truth.

Yet, as the recent information emerges about police shootings, not everything that the police says about grounds for fatal shooting of citizens is true.

I found information on the Internet by friends grieving the deaths of Jerry Kane and his son Joe who contest the claims of the police as to the reasons for shooting them and link the fatal shooting with the "ole boys' club" operation of traffic stops on a certain highway, and the fact that Jerry Kane was going to file a complaint for an unlawful traffic stop.

Since both Jerry Kane and Joe Kane are dead, and are presumed innocent in their deaths, as never charged or convicted of a crime, and against the background of police lies about fatal shootings unless caught on camera, I would take police claims that Jerry Kane and Joe Kane opened fire first and were gunned down because they were SCs and, as such, domestic terrorist, with a big grain of salt.

The psychiatrist in the article about competency evaluation treads way outside of his competency and right into evaluation of people who hold "SC" beliefs, into which the psychiatrist lumps tax protestors.

Yet, perfectly mainstream law scholars and government officials, such as the former federal prosecutor the late Carrol D. Kilmore in his book "Judicial Tyranny: On the Integrity of the Federal Judiciary", share the belief that federal taxes in this country are illegal and unconstitutional - whether one complies with the government's oppressive machinery to collect them or not - and substantiates it very well based on good legal theory.

The article of the psychiatrist also noted the spread of "sovereign citizen" beliefs in "African-Americans and prison populations" - where African Americans are also disproportionately represented.  

So now African Americans are targeted by the FBI as inherent domestic terrorists?  On the basis of psychiatric science?  Same as when psychiatry pitched in an diagnosed run-away African American slaves as being nuts for wanting to run from their masters?  Very nice, indeed.

The racial profiling continued when the psychiatrist went into the actual "case studies".

His "case studies" of competency evaluations of individual allegedly having "sovereign citizen beliefs" returned 67% (two thirds) of African-Americans.

The psychiatrist makes a "statistical" observation from an extremely "representative" group of 6 people that all of holders of SC beliefs had a GED level of education, moreover, 3 attended college and one had a master's degree.

The psychiatrist did not find the interviewed individuals as having "cognitive deficits".

The good psychiatrist even provided a table of his so-called "research" of POLITICAL beliefs of individuals to whom he was giving a PSYCHIATRIC COMPETENCY examination in trials where they were raising POLITICAL objections:

The table is very much in the spirit of the Soviet-type punitive psychiatry.

Look at the extensive legal research that the good psychiatrist did in support of his "competency evaluations" of political beliefs of criminal defendants:

Our good psychiatrist does not even try to conceal that he is analyzing POLITICAL beliefs of litigants:

Here is the description-by-psychiatrist of political beliefs of "sovereign citizens":

I discerned nothing terrorist in the beliefs.

Then, the psychiatrist goes into affirmative statements that "sovereign citizen" common law courts actually engage in "paper terrorism" by issuing certain documents.

Freedom of Speech, as far as I checked, is still allowed in this country by the 1st Amendment.

If the "common law courts" did something wrong, that is addressable by legal process.  

There is no statute in criminal law defining "paper terrorism".

Yet, we have a psychiatrist "diagnosing" people who hold certain political beliefs and engage in certain political actions, without use of force, as "paper terrorists".

So much for the neutrality of an expert for purposes of competency evaluation, and so much for competence of the expert.

Then the good psychiatrist goes into the legal analysis of such completely non-psychiatric subjects as:

  1. The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution;
  2. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution;
  3. the Admiralty Law;
  4. Redemption Theory
  5. Uniform Commercial Code
  6. Accepted for Value
  7. Use of Capital Letters
  8. Office of the Person
  9. License Plates and Drivers Licenses
and starts the section "Discussion" with the following statement:

So, now psychiatrists pass on whether LEGAL theories are "idiosyncratic" or whether certain POLITICAL beliefs are "delusional". 

The psychiatrist ruled most of the defendants competent to stand trial, but the main point is they were subject to competency evaluation for possible psychiatric disorder because of their "extreme political philosophy", which sounds pretty much like Middle Ages to me:

But, the most flooring statement comes at the end of this amazing pseudo-legal/psychiatric article:

In fact, political beliefs cannot be used in competency evaluations in ANY way - to rule a competency problem IN or to rule it OUT, as the our "good psychiatrist" did.

Simply because a person holds certain beliefs, does not indicate whether he is competent or incompetent to stand trial, whether he or she "understands the nature and objectives of criminal proceedings", and whether the person is able or not to assist his or her attorney.

If a person recites Shakespeare from memory, that does not make him competent - or incompetent - to stand a criminal trial.

If a person recites a legal theory or a political philosophy from memory, that does not make him competent - or incompetent to stand a criminal trial.

Different criteria to assess competency to stand trial are necessary, not taking into account political beliefs or legal theories of the accused and presumed-innocent criminal defendant.

So, whatever the claims is about "sovereign citizens" as a form of domestic terrorism, the use of psychiatry in political oppression and racial profiling of the predominantly African American movement strips such claims of all credibility.

I will address the essence of the law as to who exactly is the sovereign in this country, how the sovereign power is to be enforced in this country, whether the legal theory of sovereignty is well developed in the U.S. and on state level, and how courts misinterpret existing federal law and state law of sovereignty and deny people legal remedies, thus giving credibility to various "sovereign citizen" movements, in my next blog posts.

Stay tuned.

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