"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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Anthony Pacherille's story, Part 3 - after the sentencing: thin skin, long arms, the sense of entitlement and the complete lack of integrity of Judge Brian Burns of Otsego County

This is the 3rd story in my series of blog posts about the case of Anthony Pacherille and his family, of Cooperstown, NY, Otsego County, and about judicial and prosecutorial misconduct involved in this case see Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I left off in Part 2 where Judge Burns failed to disclose that he felt unsafe because of the contents of the boy's letter sent to Burns as part of regular pre-sentencing procedure.

If the judge felt personally unsafe, he had to recuse before the sentencing of the boy who just turned 16 at the time of the shooting and who was definitely entitled to a youthful offender status, and especially because of his mental health status and the evidence of cruel, consistent and prolong bullying that his family said it had.

Instead, Judge Burns lashed out and retaliated against the father through his teenage son, by sending him for 11 years into an adult maximum security prison.

The father was legitimately upset as to that outcome, and wanted to protest.

According to the father's complaint filed in the U.S. District Court with the Northern District of New York, the father, with a constitutionally allowed protest in mind, and having been advised that the City of Oneonta where Judge Burns apparently resided at that time, had an ordinance in place requiring protestors to apply for a permit with determination of time and place of the protest, Anthony Pacherille father went to what he thought was Judge Burns' address to verify if it was, indeed, Judge Burns' address, in order to put it on the application for a permit with the City of Oneonta.

The father reportedly knocked on the door at 9 Union Street, Judge Burns' wife answered, the father asked whether it was Judge Burns' address, the wife confirmed it and expressed displeasure that Tony Pacherille came there, Tony Pacherille apologized and left.  That was all.

Here is what happened next, according to Tony Pacherille's federal complaint.

After his visit to Judge Burns' residence Tony Pacherille received a call from the City Police Chief telling Tony Pacherille that the City Police received a call from Judge Burns expressing displeasure about Tony Pacherille's visit, and the Chief of Police asked Tony Pacherille to "cease and desist" from coming to Judge Burns' residence, I understand, at the threat of criminal prosecution.

The call to the police, however misguided, was a legitimate way to address the situation for Judge Burns.

The situation was diffused by that phone call, Tony Pacherille did not intend to visit Judge Burns' residence again and consented not to do that in his conversation with the Police Chief.  No further action was required.

Yet, Judge Burns did not restrict himself with legitimate ways.

Here is the letter dated August 3, 2011 that Tony Pacherille received from John McConnell, Esq., counsel to the Unified Court System (it was attached to Tony Pacherille's Amended Complaint in federal court, I obtained it from

Talking about thin skin, long arm and a feeling of entitlement of New York State judiciary.

Here is the salary of attorney John McConnell, Esq. paid to him by you, my readers from the State of New York.  I obtained this information from

The letter was written in 2011.

In 2011 John McConnell's salary was $136,500 a year.

What occurred between Judge Burns and Tony Pacherille was a PRIVATE dispute.  Judge Burns could:

1) complain about Tony Pacherille to the police - and he did;
2) ask the local authorities to start criminal proceedings against Tony Pacherille - and he later did;
3) SUE Tony Pacherille for, let's say, trespass (there is no civil private right of action for harassment in New York) and for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) on himself and his wife - but Judge Burns knew that, had he sued Tony Pacherille for IIED, he would have had to disclose to Tony Pacherille his and his wife's mental health records, which Judge Burns obviously did not want to do.

If Judge Burns so desired, he could hire an attorney to assist him in filing the criminal complaint, and assisting him in filing a civil action against Tony Pacherille, which would have included a filing fee of $210 in the Supreme Court, and a substantial retainer to the attorney - since it was a PRIVATE action by Judge Burns against Tony Pacherille.

Instead, Judge Burns used a state employee, an attorney paid BY US THE TAXPAYERS $136,500 a year at the time (and whose pay skyrocketed to $185,000 by 2015, obviously for "serving" judges proper and improper requests), to represent Judge Burns for free in a private action.

Attorney McConnell stated in the letter that the Office of the Court Administration represents judges of the State of New York "in legal matters".

That is not true.

New York State Attorney General represents judges of the State of New York "in legal matters", and NYS AG claims that such a designation of his office as legal counsel for judges is statutory, by Public Officers Law Section 17.   New York State Attorney General has claimed that much recently in federal court, and the federal court agreed.

It is NOT the duty of the New York State Court Administration to represent Judge Burns in private matters.

It is not a duty of the New York State Attorney General, or of ANY public official, at public expense, to represent Judge Burns in matters where he thinks his personal safety is jeopardized because a visitor on his porch.

New York State Court Administration has no authority to represent judges in civil or criminal matters.  So, attorney McConnell (1) lied, and (2) misused his time paid for by taxpayers to give a personal favor to a judge - on an official letterhead.

Since attorney McConnell had no right to write or send such a letter, it was attorney misconduct and harassment of Tony Pacherille.

Was Attorney McConnell disciplined for that misconduct?  Of course, not.

Attorney McConnell was instead promoted, and his salary soared $49,300 in 4 years,  a 36% increase from the already unreasonably huge salary of $136,500.  That's at the background of the ongoing budget crisis, the exodus of people (taxpayers) out of New York state and shrinking tax base that pays attorney McConnell's salary.

That's who you pay your hard-earned tax money, New Yorkers, and that's what your money is used (or, rather, misused, for).

Was Judge Burns disciplined for abusing his power in utilizing a highly paid court employee to send this "Cease and Desist" letter when he had to hire a private attorney to do that and pay him or her out of Judge Burns' own pocket?  Of course, not.

Brown-nosing the judiciary pays off, and no laws will stand in the way of providing a private favor to a judge, even if that favor is illegal.

"Brown-nosing the Judiciary 1, 2 and 3" must be the main subject taught in the "legal ethics class" in law schools, not the lies about "attorney ethics" and "judicial ethics" that law schools preach to law students, because THAT is how you REALLY advance in the legal profession in the State of New York.

By the way, McConnell was, reportedly, the one who signed the letter about the "stop-gap" job offer to Christine Ryba on behalf of Michael Coccoma, after she was secretly booted by 3rd Department Chief Justice Karen Peters for unethical conduct - strategically booted, I must say, only one day before elections, so voters did not know of her termination and voted her into a judicial office nevertheless.

As I said above, as to attorney McConnell - brown-nosing the judiciary to cater for their little illegal whims, including the married Judge Coccoma's whim in wasting taxpayer money to offer an unnecessary for him "consolation stop-gap job" for 6 weeks to a pretty-face young female attorney fired for unethical conduct - works.  

You can expect yet another salary increase for attorney McConnell after the tear-jerking letter to Ryba on Coccoma's behalf - at your expense, New York taxpayers, of course.

As to Judge Burns and McConnell's claim that the NYS Office of Court Administration represents Burns in "legal matters", that was not only not true (NYS Attorney General does - in matters connected with official conduct, not in private matters like Tony Pacherille's visit to the judge's front porch and the judge's displeasure about it), but, eventually, even NYS AG did not get to represent Judge Burns when Tony Pacherille filed a federal lawsuit against him.

I will post in one of my next blog covering the Pacherille story as to what kind of law firm Judge Burns has actually hired to "effectively defend" him against Tony Pacherille's federal lawsuit, as well as about other ways in which the Otsego County establishment persecuted the Pacherille family.

I will also write about our right and entitlement, as citizens, to protest in front of homes of public officials, even those with thin skin, long arms, a sense of entitlement and a complete lack of integrity - and about the applicable law on the subject.

Stay tuned.

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