"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 10, 2015

British press reports that the U.S. does not have effective mechanisms to fight judicial corruption, U.S. press keeps mum

I wrote on this blog extensively about attorneys sanctioned for trying to do the right thing for their clients.

I recently posted a list of some lawyers who were reported to be sanctioned for critisim of judicial misconduct.

For purposes of disclosure, I am one of those lawyers.  My law license was suspended as of November 13, 2015 for what the disciplinary court modestly called my role in "3 client matters", which in reality were sanctions for motions to recuse a judge who sanctioned me after I sued him.

I found another name today, attorney Lori Laird, of Texas.

Here is what reportedly occurred.  "Attorney Lori Laird asked that [Judge]Dupuy bow out in 2013 because she’d represented Dupuy’s ex-wife in the couple’s custody battle in Galveston. The judge responded by slapping her with 37 counts of contempt, demanding that she “explain, defend or apologize” for her motion. He later sentenced her to 220 days in jail, although she didn’t serve any time."

In my case, it was thousands of dollars of sanctions that Judge Carl Becker extracted from me for suing him and exposing his misconduct in motions to recuse and the loss of a law license.

What the Louisiana judge did in the case reported in the same article was no different than what Governor Cuomo did by providing a similar "incentive" to Appellate Division 3rd Department (NY) judge Leslie Stein by elevating her to the position of a judge of New York State Court of Appeals, which was a huge promotion in terms of more money and more prestige.

The article reports that a New York attorney Raoul Felder who "served" on the New York State Judicial Conduct Commission, recalls "perplexing" experience from the Commission's decision-making.

The article reports that unreported and unaddressed judicial conflicts of interest go all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court:

"Justice Steven Breyer owned $215,000 in health-care stocks when deciding on the legality of the Affordable Care Act in 2012. Justice Samuel Alito’s portfolio included $2,000 in stock in The Walt Disney Co. in 2008, the year the court heard Disney, FCC v. Fox Television Stations. And perhaps most famously, justice Antonin Scalia has participated in the Bush v. Gore case, even though his son Eugene’s law firm represented one of the parties. In another case, Scalia remained in the panel despite having gone on a duck hunting trip with former Vice-President Dick Cheney while he was being sued to reveal the details of secret meetings he held with oil company executives in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq",

and that judges refuse to step off conflicted cases by claiming that their impartiality cannot be reasonably questioned.

The question is - by whom? - by them certainly, since their moral compass seems to become permanently askew as soon as they take the oath of office that brings them their money, power and prestige.  But by a reasonable objective observer - sure.

Not the least of questions is - why it is a British newspaper that is so vigorously investigating judicial corruption and not American.

Why whistle-blowing attorneys, time and again, get their stories turned down by American mass media that is simply afraid to touch the subject?

Where is the famous fearless journalism on the burning issue of public concern in this country, judicial corruption?

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