"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 14, 2015

Michael Coccoma's stop-gap job offer to Christine Ryba: for a senior high-ranking male judge, ethical misconduct of a pretty-face female attorney who has ties to the government is grounds for promotion. Again.

I wrote on this blog multiple times about misconduct of Judge Michael V. Coccoma, the Chief Administrative Judge of upstate New York, and the tendency of New York government to protect him in all of his unethical behavior and outright misconduct and to elevate him instead of punishing him.

I also wrote on this blog about Michael Coccoma employing, as a special counsel, an attorney who was booted from the bench by the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct which removed her from a position of a judge of the Town of East Greenbush court for attempting to fix a traffic ticket for the wife of another judge.

The extraordinary beauty of the booted former judge, Coccoma's special counsel Diane L. Schilling, is undeniable.

I also wrote on this blog that at first, after she was booted from the bench, Schilling was embraced as a partner by the firm Maguire and Cardona where Anthony Cardona, the son of the late Chief Judge of the Appellate Division 3rd Department (and Albany County Assistant DA) and Amanda Kuryluk, the beloved niece of the U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of New York Mae D'Agostino are partners.

These two judicial relatives considered it possible to drum up business by advertising in Schilling's biography posted on the law firm's website that she was a judge - as a proof of her experience and credibility - but failed to post information that she was booted from the bench for unethical behavior.

Of course, Schilling was never disciplined, nor were the judge's son Anthony Cardona or  niece after I blogged about their false advertisement of Schilling.

No doubt that immunity to attorney discipline despite the apparent false advertising and misrepresentation-by-omission of credentials of their new partner Diane L. Schilling, as well as blood ties with state and federal judges allow the firm to "excel" and get victories in all kinds of courts and ratings.  Of course, who would dare oppose the flesh-and-blood of top-ranking state and federal judges.

Yet, Schilling left Maguire and Cardona after I blogged about false advertising, compare:

1)  The May 10, 2012 notification in the Albany Times Union that Schilling was booted from the bench for unethical conduct;

2)  The gleeful news release by Maguire and Cardona on December 7, 2012 that Schilling joined the firm;

3)  My blogs of about Schilling as partner in Maguire and Cardona and Maguire and Cardona's false advertisement here and here in September of 2014; and again in August 2, 2015 raising the issue as to why attorneys favored by judges or their relatives are not disciplined for misconduct in the State of New York;

4)  where Diane L. Schilling works now.

Apparently, attorney discipline does not apply to attorneys who are relatives to judges, were judges themselves, work for law firms of relatives of judges, or worked for high-ranking judges like Michael V. Coccoma.

Two days ago, Albany Times  Union has announced that Michael V. Coccoma has made a job offer to the embattled attorney Christine Ryba who was booted from the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division 3rd Department for unethical behavior during her judicial campaign, 1 day before she got elected based on her unethical behavior.

I blogged about Ryba's elections and fraud upon the voters in those elections, here and here, where I covered her unethical conduct in detail.

Of course, those who voted for her, did not know that she was booted for unethical behavior, and thus, voting without this essential information is void and election is based on Ryba's failure to provide such information to the voters and, instead, continuing to parade on her Facebook page how "highly qualified" and "eligible" she is, amounted to fraud upon the voters.

Such a job is a promotion, as compared to her job with the 3rd Department.

Announcement of such a job offer is also a not-so-subtle warning to disciplinary authorities that Ryba is under protection of a high-ranking judge and should not be touched by attorney or judicial discipline, especially considering the lightning speed the job offer arrived after Republican committees of three counties asked for an ethical probe against Ryba.

Out of hundreds of thousands of attorneys in New York state, honest, competent, eligible for such a job, the job offer went to an attorney who was just booted for unethical behavior.

The offer announced to everyone, including those seeking the probe, loud and clear:  Ryba is still part of the pack, do not touch.

Moreover, the job offer also included a congratulations to Ryba for her election (fraudulent as it was), thus announcing loud and clear the endorsement of Ryba's fraudulent and unethical methods involved in her election campaign. 

The job offer was extended to Ryba just for 6 weeks before she comes to the bench.  It was very clear that Coccoma did not need a stop-gap "special counsel" for those 6 weeks and that the job was offered simply as an endorsement of Ryba and a warning to those who want to have her held accountable for her misconduct.

Coccoma did not even try to conceal the fact that the stop-gap job offer was personal, where the letter offering the job stated that the job offer was made "in order to avoid the personal difficulties that a short separation from service sometimes entails".

Not to mention the nature of the "short separation", and not to mention that disciplinary authorities, and criminal prosecutors may choose to make that separation a very long separation, from any "service", as well as from liberty and a law license.

It is nice to through money around when it's not yours.

And it's nice to know that for some attorneys, being booted for unethical behavior causes compassion and monetary infusions from the higher echelon of the judiciary instead of discipline.

Now, that is the same judge who in May of 2008 separated a criminal defendant from his wife and two children for 1 1/3 to 4 years by sending him to the state prison for pointing out to the judge that he was not a sex offender (which was correct as a matter of law).

Judge Coccoma did not consider the "personal difficulties" that such a LONG separation from the person's family entailed.

Of course, the guy was a male, and not handsome.

Let's sum up, with pictures.

This is Michael V. Coccoma.

Not exactly a Mr. Universe.

This is Diane L. Schilling, Coccoma's former "special counsel" who has never been disciplined for her unethical conduct.

Schilling is an extraordinary beauty.

This is Christine Ryba.

A very pretty young woman.

And this is attorney registration information for Judge Coccoma.

The year of admission (usually at 25-26) puts Judge Coccoma's age at 61 or more.

Ryba is 39.

Coccoma's appreciation of young beautiful females is evident, even though it may raise issues as to his consistent gender-discriminative, to put it mildly, choice of his "special counsel".

But, putting a nice piece of furniture or an object of art in your chambers is not the same as hiring screamingly unethical female employees for their young and pretty faces.

It is a slap in the face of other attorneys and further justifies public distrust of integrity of New York judges.

And, it is a slap in the face of New York taxpayers, and in my face, personally, where Coccoma throws our money around on pretty faces, unethical pretty faces and uses our money and the trust of the voters who elected him to enforce the power of the judiciary to act as kings, without regard to law, ethics or common decency.

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