"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.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A follow up on Otsego County DA John Muehl: rehab, impeachment and/or disbarment?

I recently ran a blog about misconduct of Otsego County (NY) DA John Muehl and posed a question about obvious alcohol abuse by John Muehl that, in my view, jeopardizes constitutional rights of criminal defendants where Muehl is acting as a prosecutor.

After the blog was posted, a reader has sent to me an old archived article from 2003 about Muehl's leaving the scene of a personal injury accident in 1998 that Muehl has caused.

Here it is from the local newspaper The Daily Star, of Oneonta, NY:

 I will go column by column to enlarge the font and make it readable.

 Naturally, the trooper who stopped Muehl was "unavailable for comment".

Of course, telephones for the victims of the personal injury accident where Muehl was involved, were also not available for comment, their telephone was, allegedly, out of order, and the reporter could not wait with the publishing until he would talk to both the victims and the trooper who arrived at the scene and issued tickets.

Well, at least Muehl said it was his fault.

 Muehl was "thinking about fishing" when "driving along" and - voila! - hit a car in front of him and caused personal injuries to two people requiring transportation to a large hospital.

Apparently, Muehl (for some interesting reason) was not charged with driving without insurance, even though he did not have insurance card on him at the time of the accident.

Of course, the lawsuit by the victims of the personal injury accident was dismissed by judge Phillip Ramsey who, as far as I know, is yet another incompetent among our judges, at least judging by how he handled a divorce case reported to me, with records, by a person whom I did not represent in that case.

Muehl claimed he was "exonerated", yet, if the case was dismissed without reaching the merits, that does not mean Muehl was actually "exonerated", nor does it mean that Muehl, as a public official, should not have been investigated and prosecuted for lack of fitness for office - and especially so if he duped his voters by not disclosing the fact of his alcohol affliction during his election campaign.

It does not matter that "it's been a while".  Judging by Muehl's erratic behavior in court, his permanently glassy eyes and drunken face color, time only made his alcohol abuse worse, not better, which usually happens when you are in denial that the problem even exist, which is what happens when a person is cloaked with power and that power goes into that person's head, like it is in Muehl's case.

So, once again, shouldn't the accident reports be investigated once again to verify whether attorney Muehl was fit for office in the first place?

I also encourage members of the public to appear in court and witness Muehl's appearance and behavior, which speaks for itsef.

We have a staggering number of wrongful convictions in this country and in the State of New York.  Keeping prosecutors who think of fishing while driving a vehicle on windy mountain roads (likely, because Muehl was in his permanent happy or unhappy alcoholic stupor) will not improve that picture.

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