"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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore - promoted to the position of top New York State judge instead of being disbarred. How predictable. How appropriate.

As I wrote in my previous blog, Governor Cuomo nominated Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to the position of the Chief Judge of the NYS Court of Appeals instead of the retiring Jonathan Lippman, buddy of convicted felon, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

I did not practice in Westchester County much, but this is what I learned last year about operations of Ms. DiFiore's DA's office when I did have a case there.

  1. An A-felony case can be brought where the DA's office had no evidence supporting the case;
  2. a substitution of counsel from the corrupt public defender to the independent private attorney could be thwarted, long enough for the corrupt public defender to probe with me on the phone whether I am going to engage in plea negotiations or ask for a felony hearing, and when the public defender learnt I was going to ask for a felony hearing where evidence supporting charges was supposed to be presented, the corrupt public defender, knowing that another counsel was hired for the defendant, went right into jail to try and thwart my plans and to coerce the defendant to waive grand jury indictment and proceed by the "Superior Court information", thus obscuring the lack of evidence and eliminating the need to confess lack of evidence to the grand jury - and that is multiple fraud;  I am happy my smart client did not fall into the trap and insisted to first talk to his new counsel before making any decisions, there are many people who do fall into such corrupt traps;
  3. a collusion with the judge of the lower court can be arranged, and, in accordance with that collusion:
    1. the criminal defendant can be ordered by the judge, without consent of counsel, into a talking session with a non-profit ABOUT THE CHARGES, in violation of his constitutional right to remain silent - as all criminal defendant with drugs charges are ordered to do in that court - with an order that the results of the talk session be supplied to the court AND to the prosecutor (the illegal order was cancelled by the judge after the initial yelling at me, refusal to vacate it, taking a break, and vacating the order after a break, after obviously consulting with the judge's seniors - and after yanking from me what I was going to use as evidence, a typographically PREPRINTED form with a PREPINTED judge's approving signature on it for the illegal order);
    2. the judge of the lower court that has no authority to anything in a felony case other than (1) hold a felony hearing - which I asked for, and the court instead released my client without a hearing; (2) transfer the case to the grand jury, which the court did not do - that judge instead, without authority, started to drag me EVERY WEEK, from Delaware County to Westchester County, a 6 hour roundtrip each time, to appear at "conferences" where the DA's office would appear and announce that they, yet again, do not have the lab report that they were supposed to have before they filed charges and put the person into jail, jeopardizing his life in that jail;
    3. after several such financially draining conferences, when the judge and the DA's office saw that the defendant, despite the financial drain on legal fees for these unnecessary conferences, is not relenting (and after two motions to recuse and disqualify the DA's office), the DA's office reduced the charges from an A felony to a misdemeanor (!), and gave me a lab report that showed that  there was no evidence against my client for the A felony to begin with, and the police either spoiled the evidence, or threw it away, or never had it, at least, my efforts to obtain evidence through discovery in misdemeanor proceedings resulted in an offer of a violation - which my client took to end the harassment.  From an A felony to a violation, quite a drop.  And when it started, the judge was yelling at me for refusal to settle with the prosecution:  "Do you realize, counsellor, that this is an A FELONY CHARGE?  You'd better talk to the ADA!"  Right.  That is exactly why I was hired, because I know what an A felony charge is and how to defend against it.  And - I got my client out of jail, where he was neglected by Westchester County, where appointed public defender attempted to sell him out, and where the DA's office obviously was behind that attempt to defraud him and cheat him out of his constitutional rights.  
By the way, in that same court, DA's employee, her Assistant District Attorney, is actually routinely accepting plea bargains on behalf of the court and advising criminal defendants at plea allocutions on behalf of the court, which is a gross constitutional violation.

This way, Ms. DiFiore sends a message to the public that her office is PART OF THE CRIMINAL COURT, and that criminal defendant had better plea because there is no choice.

By the way, with the fairly large courtroom packed, and with me coming from far away (over 3 hours' drive one way), the judge always kept calling me until the courtroom was nearly or completely empty (with the exception of the time when my client took a plea for a violation, that was paraded in front of a full courtroom). 

 I guess, my feistiness and opposition to the illegal practices set between the judge and Ms. DiFiore's office was giving a bad example to other attorneys and criminal defendants.

Well, my feistiness, or rather, doing my duty for my clients, bore results.  I got the charges reduced, without indictment, first from an A felony to a misdemeanor, and then from a misdemeanor to a violation.   That was not the first felony charge that I either reduced to a violation or had dismissed or reduced to a non-crime, a YO status.  I guess, New York has an abundance of skilled criminal defense attorneys and does not need such skilled attorneys, because less than a year after that, my law license was suspended because I made several motions to recuse against a corrupt judge in 2011.

Based on misconduct of DA DiFiore's Office that I observed in just one criminal case, DA DiFiore should be disbarred and criminally prosecuted.  

Yet, she has been elevated to now set policies, court rules and to be the top judge of the State of New York.

While such a nomination fits right into the current corrupt culture in the New York State government, I, as a taxpayer and litigant, refuse to be victimized by DiFiore's corrupt conduct in higher office, the way she victimized and attempted to victimize my client in the criminal case.

It will be a disservice to New Yorkers to have, as the Chief Judge of the State, a person who treats the U.S. Constitution and people's rights pursuant to that Constitution, as a stepping stone to office, as a claim for a bigger paycheck, and as nothing else, violating that same U.S. Constitution once her paycheck is secured.

I am filing a complaint against Janet DiFiore with disciplinary authorities listing what I know about her office's misconduct in a felony case, and I am forwarding the copy of that complaint to the New York State Senate that will have to review it while considering DiFiore's appointment.

I am forwarding a copy of that complaint to the New York State Senate and also pointing out to the New York State Senate that one of the previous nominations to the New York State Court of Appeals by Governor Cuomo, Judge Leslie Stein, was appointed under the circumstances suggesting that appointment was meant as a quid pro quo in a court case that could result, if decided properly, in a flood of lawsuits from New York landowners against DEC and a flood of motions to vacate improper criminal convictions, civil penalties, and to return improperly imposed fines, civil penalties and money paid for costly "remediations" on New Yorkers' properties, remediations that DEC had no authority to require.

Judge Stein, in return for a higher paycheck, made sure that flood of lawsuits did not happen.

I do not know what kind of deal with Janet DiFiore, who remains a prosecutor before her candidacy was confirmed, did the Governor seek as a quid pro quo for her nomination for the New York State Court of Appeals, but, judging by how Leslie Stein was nominated by Cuomo, I cannot expect that Andrew Cuomo would let a chance pass not to exact some kind of return on his nomination of Janet DiFiore.

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