"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.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Anthony Pacherille story - Part 5: Judge Burns hires a law firm with ties to the presiding magistrate judge in Tony Pacherille's federal lawsuit

I continue reporting on the story of Anthony Pacherille,  16-year-old mentally disabled boy who was sentenced as an adult to 11 years of adult maximum security prison (instead of a youthful offender status to which he was entitled) by Otsego County (NY) Judge Brian Burns who prefers to go easy on wealthy drunk killers of poor women and maimer of poor children than to do his duty of fairness towards a teenage defendant.

I also reported that the likely reason why Judge Burns denied the YO status to the child was because the child's father had the misfortunate of asking Judge Burns for mercy, as a father of a teenager to a father of a teenager.

Judge Burns, who paraded his three teenage children in front of everybody at his swearing-in ceremony just 5 months prior to the Pacherille-father's letter to the court (sent as part of pre-sentencing procedure and approved by the child's attorney), felt threatened by the letter - but did not recuse, and instead retaliated for the father's letter against the child.

See the prior parts of Anthony Pacherille's story reported on this blog here:

In Part 4, I also reported how Tony Pacherille tried to verify Judge Burns' address to satisfy the ordinance of the City of Oneonta that requires to disclose ahead of time the place of peaceful demonstrations.  Tony Pacherille wanted to demonstrate in front of Judge Burns' home, went to the home, knocked on the door, Burns' wife opened the door, Pacherille-senior asked whether it was judge Burns' residence, the wife answered "yes" and asked Tony Pacherille to leave, he did leave.

I also reported in Part 4 how Judge Burns unlawfully used, at taxpayers' expense, a highly paid attorney representing the Office of New York Court Administration (NY OCA) to pen and send to Pacherille-father a letter, fraudulently representing to Tony Pacherille (the father of the teenager Anthony Pacherille) that the NY OCA represents Judge Burns (in a private matter), and that the father should cease and desist coming to Judge Burns' residence, otherwise civil or criminal action will be considered.

The letter from John McConnell (NY OCA attorney) was dated August 3, 2011.

Judge Burns submitted a deposition sworn to on August 5, 2011 to a criminal court, as a witness and complainant in a criminal proceeding against Tony Pacherille, indicating that Judge Burns felt threatened by the letter of Tony Pacherille written to the court as part of pre-sentencing procedure before Burns proceeded to sentencing Tony Pacherille's son.

Tony Pacherille was actually prosecuted for harassment based on deposition of Judge Burns, and the proceeding was dismissed by Judge Downey based on 1st Amendment grounds.

Tony Pacherille sued Burns in federal court.

Usually, judges are represented in actions pertaining to their official duties by the New York State Attorney General.

The docket report of the lawsuit shows that initially Burns was represented in that case by the New York State Attorney General:

Note Docket 4 dated 7/15/2013, Notice of Appearance of attorney Stephen M. Kerwin.

Note below attorney registration information of the same Stephen M. Kerwin as working for the NYS Attorney General's office.

Yet, on September 3, 2013, Docket 19, a law firm Hancock & Estabrook filed with the court a "letter motion" requesting permission to allow it to proceed on Burns' behalf, and directed the "letter motion" to the decision of Judge David Peebles.

Here is the letter of Hancock Estabrook and attached stipulation with NY Attorney General for the substitution.

It took David Peebles only two days to give business to Hancock Estabrook, under the circumstances where NY AG's office would have represented Burns for the set salary, and Hancock Estabrook would be paid out of New York taxpayers' pockets additionally.

Here is the caption of an order from that lawsuit dated 7/3/14, a year after the lawsuit was filed:

As I already described in Part 4 of Anthony Pacherille's story, abbreviations "GLS" and "DEP" on the path on top of the filing in federal court show the names of the assigned judge and magistrate, the then Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of New York Gary L. Sharpe and Magistrate David E. Peebles.

Now let's see whether there is any appearance of impropriety in David Peebles presiding over Tony Pacherille's case and especially making the orders of substitution of counsel, without any disclosures to the parties or the court.

According to the biography of Chief Magistrate Peebles posted on the website of that court, David E. Peebles came to the bench from that law firm, Hancock and Estabrook, and was "affiliated" with that law firm since 1978, for 27 years.

According to the website of that court's bar association where the picture of all judges of the court is prominently placed on the front page of the association's website, clearly sending a message to the public that the bar association is somehow part of that court - and has influence on that court, which, judging by decisions the court is making, is true.

Review of the website of NDNY bar association reveals that:

1) only a few prominent law firms are Trustees, Officers and members of "standing committees" of the bar association, and as such, are in frequent contact with judges of the court and communicate and take directives from the Chief Judge of the court;

2) Hancock Estabrook is one of those law firms - its partner Doreen Simmonds (a co-alumni with David Peebles not only in the law firm, but also in Peebles' prior employment in the Onondaga County District Attorney's office) is:

      (2) A member of two "standing committees" of the NDNY bar association, one of them requiring a close interaction (ex parte as to any parties and opposing counsel in any litigation Hancock Estabrook handles in NDNY court) with a judge of that court Frederick Scullin and his employee

(3) "coincidentally", Doreen Simmonds is also a recipient of a "Judge Duane" award for, among her other accomplishment, "promoting relations between the bench and the bar".

4) Doreen Simmonds is also a member of a secret-membership organization sponsoring judges and their law clerk's trips abroad, and monthly dining and wining for judges, the American Inns of Court, and received an award from that organization in 2013.

As of September 23, 2013, right at the time when Hancock Estabrook appeared as Burns' counsel in Pacherille's case, Doreen Simmonds was also a Chair of the Attorney Grievance Committee in the Fifth Judicial District - so her law firm was covered on all sides.

By establishing close social ties with the Onondaga County District Attorney's office (where the DA is a law school buddy with the Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial District James Tormey), with a judge of the Northern District of New York, by "serving" as officers, trustees, members of "standing committees" of the NDNY bar association that is merged at the hip with the NDNY federal court, by having its partner former partner chair the local attorney disciplinary committee, Hancock Estabrook covered all bases - to drum up business, get the ear of judges and escape any possible discipline.

It is clear that with so much on her plate in terms of public service, Doreen Simmonds would not have time for work, but, there is an appearance that her "public service" in "promoting relationships between the bench and the bar", specifically, between her law firm and the Northern District of New York court, likely an ex parte relationship based on past ties with Magistrate Peebles, IS her main job.

Also, please, note that the firm employs an attorney by the last name of D'Agostino that has a striking facial resemblance with the court's judge Mae D'Agostino:

The firm has even more connections with Judge Peebles and the court.

For example, 

6) In February of 2013 (before the Pacherille's lawsuit was filed on 7/3/2013) Hancock Estabrook hosted a "moot court competition" for law students where David Peebles was presiding (and, naturally, had to have an opportunity for ex parte contacts with Hancock Estabrook lawyers).

Even though the moot competition was hosted before the filing of the lawsuit, not all law firms can have a judge to preside over a competition they sponsor, and "coincidentally" the presiding judge is the former partner of the main sponsor, showing the close social and emotional ties of judge Peebles with Hancock Estabrook.

As always, Judge Burns chose wisely - in his usual corrupt way.
Same as in sentencing - lenient for the rich and powerful, blasting against those who crossed his fragile little ego, to the point of retaliating against the child for the requests of leniency by the father - Burns unmistakeably chose one law firm that was dear to the heart of one of the presiding judges, Magistrate Peebles.

And, instead of disclosing his connections to the law firm and recusing from the case, David Peebles presides over the substitution of counsel "letter motion" and grants it - in two days only.

For the detailed description as to how the court got rid of Tony Pacherille's federal lawsuit against Judge Burns after Hancock Estabrook appeared on Burns' behalf, stay tuned for my next post.

As to what happened after the dismissal...

The usual.

One of the partners of the firm, Janet Callahan, was appointed on November 6, 2015, according to Hancock Estabrook's own press-release, to the so-called "screening committee" for the appointment of Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the chief state judge, and "interviewed candidates" for the position of the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.  

As always, such "interviewing" was committed to an attorney from a powerful law firm with an incestous relationship with the judiciary and who is financially interested in the outcome of their own "screenings", not to the public.

The appointment of a Hancock Estabrook partner to the position of choosing a possible candidate for the position of Chief Judge of New York State was made after Hancock Estabrook obtained from the pair of federal judges Sharpe-Peebles (Peebles being their former law partner) a dismissal of a lawsuit against a state judge Burns for misconduct outside of his judicial capacity.  

Hancock Estabrook served the state judiciary well, Judge Peebles helped them do that service and get business, now Hancock will give back to the state judiciary through the screening committee.

Not too corrupt.

And, of course, the Sharpe-Peebles tandem dismissed not only the lawsuit against Burns, but also the lawsuit against his partner in crime Otsego County DA John Muehl.

John Muehl, of course, misrepresented the dismissal to the public in a public statement to the local newspapers "The Daily Star" (of Oneonta, NY) that the lawsuit was dismissed because there was no truth in it.

Yet, the lawsuit was dismissed without reaching the merits of the case.  When a lawsuit is dismissed on the grounds of prosecutorial immunity for corrupt acts, the issue whether the corrupt acts occurred remains wide open.

John Muehl apparently conceals from the public the fact that the lawsuit against him was dismissed on prosecutorial immunity grounds, and conceals the fact that prosecutorial immunity was (unconstitutionally) give by the U.S. Supreme Court to criminal prosecutors in reliance on "availability" of attorney discipline - which, we know it for a fact, is not available in New York against criminal prosecutors.

So, both Burns and Muehl, undisciplined, unaccountable and empowered by lack of accountability, remain on the loose.


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