"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, January 29, 2016

Two men wearing one robe - how interesting. A complaint was filed against Delaware County Judge Richard Northrup for conduct unfit for a judge, including enabling impersonation of a judge by a lay individual and accepting an oath of office from an unauthorized political and financial supporter

I filed a complaint yesterday with the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct asking it to take off the bench Delaware County Judge Richard Northrup for conduct unfit for a judge, specifically, 

1) for failing to disclose Mr. Northrup's next-in-command John Hubbard's prior law practice with a judge before whom Northrup appeared for over 19 years (Carl Becker); and 

2) to prosecute, as a District Attorney of Delaware County, Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood who engaged for years, according to documents provided to me after the election by NYS Comptroller's office in unauthorized practice of law (not to mention in perpetuating the illegal no-bid contract scheme of Delaware County).

The reason why Judge Northrup did not prosecute Porter Kirkwood appeared to be not the usual "prosecutorial discretion", but a prosecutorial discretion for personal gain - Porter Kirkwood shared his expensive advertisement and supporters with Northrup.  

After all, both Northrup and Kirkwood were supported by the quickly-retired (and notoriously corrupt) judge Carl Becker, and ran a joint judicial election campaign, and advertisements in election campaign cost money - so it appears that Northrup sold his prosecutorial discretion for the ability to ride on Kirkwood's campaign donors' joint ads, like this:

By the way, Becker has a history of relentlessly pursuing and retaliating against people who challenged his corruption, including people who sued him, which counts sending to jail and taking away children of innumerable challengers, and taking two attorney licenses - mine for making motions to recuse him in view of his egregious misconduct and conflicts of interest and David Roosa's who challenged Becker's misconduct and doling out attorney assignments only to those attorneys who agreed to sell out there clients and not make motions on their behalf, thus agreeing to the  collusion between then-Judge Becker and his client of 27 years the Delaware County Department of Social Services.

Attorney Roosa was reinstated, interestingly, ONE DAY BEFORE Becker retired - on July 30, 2015.   

But, Becker was given a new victim instead of Roosa - me, I was suspended on November 13, 2015 for making motions to recuse Becker for misconduct.

Isn't it interesting that I started to practice law in 2009, one year before Mr. Roosa (and became, unknowingly, instead of Mr. Roosa, the bane of Becker's existence), and was suspended after Mr. Roosa was given back his license - unlawfully taken away from him on complaint of Becker.

I can confirm that in my years of work in Delaware County Family Court in front of Becker in child abuse, neglect and family case as an attorney, since 2009, my husband and I were the only attorneys who made any motions, and those motions were met with severe displeasure, and sanctions if they were seeking to recuse him, by Becker. 

David Roosa's suspension in 2008 apparently has sent a chill through the legal community not to make motions of any kind, especially to recuse - or else.

By the way, at around the same time as Becker, and at around the same time as the audit by NYS Comptroller of Delaware County, Becker's buddies in Delaware County, Delaware County Attorney Richard Spinney and Delaware County Commissioner of Social Services Bill Moon also retired.

In fact, that Richard Northrup will run for a judge was announced in the announcement that Becker was retiring, so Northrup and Becker cannot appear at the same time in black robes as judges.  

They should be wearing one robe for two - as Northrup occupies the same bench as Becker left.

Then, after having retired "to see more of his pregnant daughter" (who, according to Becker himself, lived out of state), Becker was constantly seen in the courthouse, parking in the parking lot reserved for judicial personnel, with "judge plates" still on his car - a voilation of the law.

Becker got the gall to even appear at the swearing-in ceremony of Richard Northrup in a black robe, and, according to the photo, appears to be administering Richard Northrup's oath of office - and sending the public a false message that he was still a sitting judge:

Of course, as a retired judge and a private attorney at the time he was apparently administering the oath to Northrup, Becker did not have ANY power to administer oaths to new judges, and thus Richard Northrup's oath of office is not valid - and, under the NYS Constitution, he is not a valid judge and his actions are not valid too.

There is, of course, a Public Officers Law 15, hastily introduced by the NYS Legislature after a large number of New York judges were caught around 2005 by an investigative reporter not having their oaths of office on file (Becker's was not on file either).

POL 15 claims that , even if the oath of office is not good, the judge's actions are still valid - but Public Officers Law 15 in itself is still invalid, as the Legislature has no power to unilaterally amend the New York State Constitution which provides:

Public Officers
[Oath of office; no other test for public office]
Section 1.  Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as shall be by law exempted, shall, before they enter on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ......, according to the best of my ability;" and no other oath, declaration or test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust, except that any committee of a political party may, by rule, provide for equal representation of the sexes on any such committee, and a state convention of a political party, at which candidates for public office are nominated, may, by rule, provide for equal representation of the sexes on any committee of such party. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

So, the little POL 15 contradicts the state Constitution in recognizing validity of acts by a judge who did not bind himself by a valid constitutional oath of office.

And the "taking" of the oath of office should be, of course, administered by a person who has authority to take such oaths.

Carl Becker, having voluntarily relinquished his position of a judge, as of July of 2015 (the position in which Northrup actually succeeded him), as of his retirement date of July 31, 2015 is just a lay individual and a licensed attorney which did not allow him to administer oaths to new judges.

And, Northrup knew better than to agree to have Becker, wearing a black robe of a present judge, administer oath of office to Northrup. That sent the public a false message that Becker was still a public official and is still in power - maybe, Becker craves to have that message sent, but it was completely wrong for Northrup to humor the political and financial supporter of his joint election campaign with Porter Kirkwood in such a way.

I wonder whether Becker will be sanctioned as an attorney for impersonating a judge and administering an invalid oath of office to another judge.  

I will file a complaint against Becker on this respect and we will see what happens.

As a comparison, the oath of office of another fraudster judge, Christina Ryba in Albany 

(see my blogs about her elections here, here, here, here and here, and I will publish my complaint against her and her two supporting judges requesting to take them off the bench in a separate blog), 

was administered by a presently-in-office Albany City Court judge Rachel Kretser, even though the retired U.S. Magistrate judge Randolph Treece "led the ceremony", whatever that means:


See private attorney disguised as a sitting judge Carl Becker in the same position as sitting judge Kretser, administering the oath of office to Richard Northrup?

At the very least, Ryba did not jeopardize her position by parading a retired judge as a judge-still-in-office, as Northrup did.  

That's some die-hard loyalty by Northrup to Becker, defying law and reason!

Considering that Northrup, for 19 years, appeared in front of Judge Becker, such a loyalty acquires quite a sinister meaning, tainting all convictions Northrup obtained in front of Becker - and especially in view of his successor in the DA's office, now Acting District Attorney and the former Chief Assistant District Attorney John Hubbard's admission that he shared a LAW PRACTICE with Carl Becker (an admission that was NEVER shared in court proceedings where Northrup appeared in front of Becker in criminal felony proceedings or in Family Court child abuse proceedings - as a statutory necessary party).

Here are my two complaints against Northrup to the Commission for Judicial Conduct:

Here is the today's additional complaint:

I will report the reaction of the Commission to these complaints.

Stay tuned.

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