"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, December 6, 2015

A disciplinary complaint was filed against New York attorneys Richard Harlem, Eric Jervis, James Hartmann and Denis Dineen requesting their disbarment

As the heading says, a disciplinary complaint was filed (I was not the complainant) against the following attorneys:

1) Richard Harlem - son of the late New York Supreme Court Justice and Chief Administrative Judge of the 6th Judicial District Robert Harlem, law partner in the law firm Harlem & Jervis, of Oneonta, NY;

2) Eric Jervis, Richard Harlem's law partner;

3) James Hartmann, of Delhi, NY, husband of the law clerk of the judge-elect Gary Rosa of the Delaware County Family Court, New York, and

4) Denis Dineen, former law clerk of Richard Harlem's father, the late judge Robert Harlem.

There is no statute of limitations for attorney misconduct in New York, so no matter when misconduct was committed by an attorney, it is still reachable by attorney discipline.

The complaint was based on a reportedly unsolicited affidavit sworn to on November 2, 2015 from a witness who asserted under oath that attorney Richard Harlem filed a lawsuit on behalf of the witness while the witness never hired Richard Harlem and never authorized him to file lawsuits on his behalf.  

According to the affidavit, Harlem was notified by the witness about the problem and that Harlem is proceeding on a retainer agreement where the witness's signature was forged.

According to the affidavit, Harlem arrogantly asserted to the witness, an indigent and disabled individual, that Harlem is still his attorney.

According to the affidavit, knowing that he was never hired by the witness to file or prosecute lawsuits on the witness's behalf, attorneys Richard Harlem and Eric Jervis made multiple sworn statements to several courts that they do, indeed, represent the person in question, and obtained a large judgment based on their alleged legal fees against that individual who, according to the affidavit, never hired them in the first place.

Attorney James Hartmann failed to verify whether the witness (one of several parties in the litigation) ever hired Harlem & Jervis or James Hartmann for the trial in the lawsuit, and submitted to the court boxes of sworn statements of Richard  Harlem and Eric Jervis, as well as solicited testimony of Richard Harlem, but not of the individual in question, in support of the contention that Richard Harlem did represent the individual.  

The complaint also points out that Richard Harlem intentionally lied to the court that he represented the person in question when he blocked discovery directed at that person, and that, by lying to the court that Richard Harlem and his law firm represents the person in question, the defendant in the lawsuit was blocked from direct communication with a valuable material witness, which severely impaired the defendant's defense in the case.

The complaint also adds that Richard  Harlem's fraud upon the court was not isolated (it happened in that particular lawsuit over the course of several years), but is coupled with his, his father's and Denis Dineen's misconduct in the Blanding case in Otsego County Surrogate's Court.

The complaint requests disbarment of attorney Denis Dineen (who is now employed with New York State Workers' Compensation Board) for aiding and abetting unauthorized practice of law by a sitting Supreme Court Justice Robert Harlem, while knowing that the sitting judge is not allowed by the State Constitution to practice law, and knowing that an attorney is not allowed to bequeath to himself in a will he drafts any benefits, as Judge Harlem did.  Instead of reporting Judge Harlem's misconduct, Dineen helped Judge Harlem by appearing as a witness on one of the codicils (additions) to the will that Judge Harlem drafted in his favor for a multi-millionaire testator.

If it doesn't, you know that attorney disciplinary system exists not to protect you from attorneys who commit misconduct, but to protect powerful attorneys who commit misconduct from criticism and to quash criticism of judicial misconduct and corruption amongst attorneys.

An affidavit like that is at the very least worth investigation and, possibly, referral from the attorney disciplinary committee to appropriate criminal investigators and prosecutors.

If the statements in the affidavit are true, Richard Harlem, Eric Jervis and James Hartmann committed massive fraud upon the court that requires their disbarment and incarceration for the rest of their lives.

Once again, will the system dare to apply the rule of law against these politically connected attorneys?

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment