"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.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Otsego County DA John Muehl gets case-fixing from former Michael Coccoma, former Otsego County DA

I wrote on this blog recently about what was likely case-rigging between the Otsego County DA John Muehl and the Otsego County Judge John Lambert in People v Norman Michaels, and that a large part of the appearance of impropriety was that Judge Lambert was Chief Assistant Otsego County District Attorney under John Muehl before he came to the bench in 2008 (Muehl was elected in 2003).

It looked like case-rigging because the case was legally insufficient and an indictment could only be obtained, and sustained, and reach trial, because the judge disregarded the law in favor of his former boss John Muehl.

Two other Otsego County judges, Michael Coccoma (now elected to the Supreme Court) and Brian Burns are no better than Lambert in fixing criminal cases for DA John Muehl and drumming up wrongful convictions or incarcerations for publicity sake, to exact retaliation against people for personal reasons and for career advancement.

Coccoma sent a person to prison for 1 1/3 to 4 years for violation of a sex offender related condition when he was not a sex offender.

John Muehl was the one who did not seek or obtain an indictment for a sex offense against that person.

John Muehl, thus, had no right to offer sex offender-related conditions of probation on a non-sex offender indictment, or to seek violation of such conditions afterwards.

Coccoma had no right to sentence a person who was never charged with a sex offense, to probation with conditions of probation branding him as a sex offender.

Nor did Coccoma have authority to violate that person because he did not fulfill a sex-offender-related condition of probation.
Yet, in court, Coccoma yelled at the defendant, on record, that "for Coccoma" the defendant was a sex offender - and sent him to prison for that.  Coccoma also yelled that it was obnoxious for defendant to say he was not a sex offender.

So, the obnoxious part was for the defendant to insist that the court should follow the law and should not punish him for what he was never charged.

Upon my information, prior to Coccoma's yelling, the defendant turned Coccoma into the Commission for Judicial Conduct for acting without jurisdiction and treating him as a sex offender when he was never convicted or even charged for a sex offense.

If Coccoma was so enraged at the defendant for turning him in, he should have immediately recused from the case.  That, of course, did not happen.

Instead, Coccoma used his assignment to that case to get his revenge against the complainant against him to the Judicial Conduct Commission by sending him to prison for violation of a completely illegal condition of probation that had nothing to do with the crime the person was charged with. 

Once again, the essence of violation of the condition of probation was that the defendant did not undergo a sex offender evaluation and treatment (which the government refused to pay for while the defendant was poor and the cost of treatment was $600) by a person who was never convicted or even charged for a sex offense.

Under the law - defendant wasn't a sex offender, but Coccoma did not care about the law, and for Coccoma - he was, that's the reason he was sent to prison.  

Coccoma was never punished for this and was, instead, elected as a Supreme Court justice, elevated to the position of Chief Administrative Judge of upstate New York, and, recently, at the State of the Judiciary Address, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced his appointment of Coccoma as a chief administrative judge in charge of fiduciary appointments.   

Muehl was never prosecuted for this wrongful incarceration either, even though it was dishonest and illegal for Muehl to try to violate a non-sex offender as a sex offender.  

Yet, there is no statute of limitations for disciplinary actions against attorneys or judges, for either prosecutorial misconduct, nor judicial misconduct, and prosecution of both Muehl and Coccoma for this particular episode is thus possible.

Documentary evidence is there.

It clearly shows that both Coccoma and Muehl are dishonest and incompetent people who should not occupy positions of power they do occupy.

It is no trifle and no laughing matter when a judge who was a former DA in a County, gives his successor a completely illegal victory, in violation of the applicable laws both are supposed to uphold.

It was also clear that both Coccoma and Muehl were seeking publicity by sending the non-sex-offender to jail for not complying with a sex-offender specific conditions of probation, and while Coccoma called that person a sex offender in open court, on record.

The case was vastly publicized in Otsego County, and Coccoma sought advancement of his career through it.

Coccoma has got his advancement soon after.

The wrongful incarceration was ordered in May of 2008.

In the same 2008 Coccoma was appointed Chief Administrative Judge of the 6th Judicial District, and in 2009 Coccoma was appointed Chief Administrative Judge of upstate New York.

Apparently, incompetence and dishonesty of judges are rewarded in New York by career advancement.

It is like a test - can a judge abuse his power and be a "team player"?  Oh, he can, and in a bad way?  Then, more power to him.

To learn about a dishonest ruling aimed to gain publicity and career advancement by yet another judge of the Otsego County Court, Brian Burns, stay tuned for my next blogs about the case of Anthony Pacherille, about the resulting civil rights lawsuit against judge Burns by the defendant's father and how dishonestly Judge Burns had that case rigged and dismissed.

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