"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, November 1, 2015

Oneonta, NY, a town with a history of racial profiling, to commemorate the memory of its recently deceased racist mayor Dick Miller - with a garden. How sweet.

Recently, plans of the City of Oneonta, New York, were announced to commemorate the memory of the recently deceased mayor of the City of Oneonta Richard Miller - with a garden in his memory, the "Miller garden", to preserve and further Miller's "legacy".

There is one glitch in those sweet commemorating plans.  Part of Miller's "legacy" is that of a racist.

A year before his reported suicide in October of 2014, Richard Miller was sued for racial discrimination by a black individual who claimed that Richard Miller, as Director of the Board of a local theater that announced renting out its spaces, refused to rent a space to his studio entertaining minorities and specifically told him that Miller does not want "the likes of him" to be given rentals, and that the "likes of him" should actually leave the city.

"The likes" was black, and there was no reason to deny him the rental of the spaces.  The civil rights plaintiff against Richard Miller had no criminal record.   Of course, the local police attempted to create such a criminal record for him.

The local police first arrested him in the middle of the night because he did not put on a turn-signal on an empty street in a lane with an arrow clearly showing that he is intending to turn.

Then the police beat him, pepper-sprayed him and tasered him.

Then the police charged him with resisting arrest.

That was not enough - when the charges were reduced to a plea of "making unreasonable noise", the police charged him with felony drug possession, put him in jail, and then the team of Otsego County judge John Lambert and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, acting together, attempted to drain his financial resources for the trial (Lambert, ordering numerous unnecessary "pretrial conferences", see how he does it in my previous blog) and to intimidate him that, if he proceeds to trial on THIS indictment, Muehl will RE-indict him for higher counts.

When the courageous individual persisted in proceeding to trial, Muehl finally coughed up a confession that he does not have a witness for the prosecution, that their alleged witness disappeared somewhere in Florida and was not to be recovered for trial.

Yet, Muehl continued to bluff that he had a witness - up until the trial date approached, and continued to intimidate the black individual who was the target of campaign orchestrated by Richard Miller to "get the likes of him out of town" - because he provided entertainment to minorities constituting just 4% of the City of Oneonta's population, but constituting over 60% of criminal defendants in Oneonta City Court, charged by the city's all-white police force.

After the felony counts were dismissed for failure of prosecution to provide a witness (if prosecution ever had a witness, or instead just tried to intimidate the victim of racial discrimination to plead guilty to a felony - against no prior criminal record - in order to get a basis to further discriminate against him) - he sued.

The lawsuit, filed in 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, was named Baron v Miller, 3:13-cv-153. 

The City of Oneonta is notorious for racial profiling, and commemorating a garden in the memory of a racist is a slap in the face of the unlawfully profiled, discriminated and prosecuted minorities in the City of Oneonta.

Some years ago, a racial profiling sweep by the Oneonta police was upheld by a federal court because the racial factors were allegedly not the only factors in the sweep.

The sweep was triggered by a complaint of an elderly woman who was burglarized and who vaguely remembered the attacker as a "young black MAN".

That characterization was enough for the sweep of the whole city and of the SUNY campus, arrest of a black professor walking down the street, arrest of many young people including a young black WOMAN - and constitutionality of all of that was upheld by our glorious federal courts.

Yet, there were vigorous dissents in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Brown v Oneonta, including one joined by the current U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonya Sotomayor, see comments about the dissent legal blogs.

There was also a petition by the New York Civil Liberties Union for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, available here.

The Brown v Oneonta case was not the only case that caught public attention involving racial profiling in the City of Oneonta.

Some time in the early 2000, I report the case from memory, several young black people were charged by Oneonta City police for defending themselves against assault by several white students in the Oneonta Parking garage.  A white student suffered brain damage.  No white students were charged, only the black young people who were defending themselves.  The first indictment was tossed because the identifying information about the alleged perpetrators of crimes were "young black people in baseball caps".  Later on, one of the initially indicted black individuals was not re-indicted, one pled guilty on ill advice of his attorney, and the others were acquitted at trial.

Then, there was the felony drug case, tossed because allegedly the prosecution's witness was nowhere to be found - after Judge Lambert denied access to the initial reports that the black individual was entitled to, attempted to drain his resources by dragging him to multiple unnecessary conferences off record where he was not allowed to appear, and after the courageous individual did not succumb to intimidations of John Muehl to indict him "higher" if he proceeds to trial.

There were also recent, May 2015, anti-racial profiling demonstrations in Oneonta, NY, you can see a video report about it here.  

With THIS history of racial unrest and tension in the city, to dedicate a GARDEN to a racist who has reportedly killed himself recently (shortly after being sued for racial discrimination)?

A very bad idea.

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