"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.

Friday, December 11, 2015

On death penalty, 8th Amendment and judicial corruption

On December 8, 2015 Pope Franis announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy.

On December 9, 2015 the State of Georgia executed Brian Keith Terrell, after he spent 20 years on death row.

Reportedly, the nurse "had a difficulty" inserting the IV for the lethal injection.  And, the executed person, on his death gurney, declared his innocence.

Still, no mercy.

An incompetent nurse was assigned to make even insertion of the needle unnecessarily painful, and it was reported that for an hour the person who professed his innocence, was wincing in pain.

And, while the civilized world abolished the death penalty long time ago, this country's judiciary continue to stubbornly refuse to declare it unconstitutional as a violation of the 8th Amendment.

That is the same court that considered it more important to decide the issue of constitutional validity of same sex marriage - I have nothing against the right of anybody to marry, but I assert most strongly that the right to life is more important, and with a system of criminal injustice as rigged as it is in the U.S. of America, with police witnesses lying on the stand, evidence forged, prosecutors advancing false evidence with impunity, defense counsel ineffective and dependent on handouts by the judiciary that is always siding with the prosecution...  With all of that, it is cruel and unusual punishment to put a person to death, an irreversible punishment.

And - how many judges knowingly sent an innocent man to his death.  Isn't that murder?  Shouldn't those judges investigated, prosecuted, convicted, put on death row and put to death, too?

And, how many judges send people to death, like they sent Brian Keith Terrell when there were significant issues regarding his innocence or lack of guilt amounting to the point of imposition of the death penalty?

After all, Terrell was tried 3 TIMES.

A prior mistrial.  So, one jury could not find Terrell guilty - the prosecution chose another.

Another jury found him guilty - the case was reversed because of a mistake in jury selection.

The prosecution indicted Terrell again.

Shouldn't there be just one shot at an indictment in death penalty cases.

In Terell's case, the prosecution got what they wanted only on the third try.

Then, changes of venue.

Claims that Terrell was provided ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically, that his counsel did not hire a forensic pathologist to assist the defense counsel to cross-examine the prosecution's forensic pathologist and to testify in Terrell's defense.

Claims that Terrell did not actually murder anybody, that there was a reasonable suspicion that somebody else did it.

You know what kind of statute was used by the court to block Terrell's claims of innocence and his reasonable claims of ineffective assistance of counsel?  The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

Think about this word combination.  "Effective death penalty".  Of a person claiming innocence.  In a rigged system of justice.  Given one mistrial and one reversal.

No?  Why?  Doesn't the law equally apply to all?  I am talking about legal process, not terrorism.  I am talking about a judge who knowingly sent an innocent to his death-by-the-government, or who knowingly colluded with prosecution to block evidence that would have saved that defendant from being introduced, to be investigated and tried for murder and, if convicted, put to death by the means of the same "legal process".

I bet the death penalty will be found unconstitutional before any such sentence is carried out.

Judges will not allow a judge to be subject to a death penalty.  There will be mercy then.

Coincidentally, I recently watched an extraordinarily funny Ukranian comedy, "The Public Servant".  The pace, the pranks, the actors, the dialogue.... Unforgettable.  Highly recommend to those who know Russian - I do not know when or if it will be available with English subtitles.

There, the subject of judicial corruption came up at a talk show with the president of the Ukraine (the movie president, not the real president) talking to his people live, as well as his prime-minister, minister of foreign affairs and majority leader of the parliament.

In answer to the host's question as to how to fight judicial corruption, the minister of health recalled a piece of wisdom that one of the leaders of Asian countries shared with him:  against, it's a movie, a fantasy.

When, in that fantastical Asian country, a judge was caught for briberies, they skinned him, upholstered a chair with his skin, made his son a judge and made him sit and make decisions in that chair, sitting on his father's skin.

Cruel and unusual punishment?  What is cruel and unusual punishment?  Our judges do not consider it a cruel and unusual punishment to slowly put a person to death like so many people were, with drugs that are not meant for that purpose and do not work for that purpose "well".

Here is an execution list for just 2015, in the XXIst century, in the land of the free.

The last execution took place 2 days ago. 

Shouldn't we all be ashamed of what is done by the government in our name?

Shouldn't we stop at least the atrocious corruption in the judicial system to prevent innocent lives from being ruined by that corruption, life and property taken, families split and reduced to poverty?

Should we try then to introduce the Effective Anti-Corruption (Upholstered Chair) Act?

Might work.

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