"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, January 28, 2016

Judge Harvey Bartle III, Judge John F. Lambert and attorneys as slaves

One thing you do not hear in law schools is that, once you become an attorney, you can be made to work for free.

Wait a minute, you will say, but how about the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that all state and federal government officials are sworn to uphold.

Doesn't it prohibit all forms of indentured servitude - which means, work without pay?

Apparently, not all - at least, that's what many judges think.

For example, yesterday, a Princeton graduate, 75-year-old senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (the Kids for Cash state and "take Attorney General's license for exposing judicial corruption" state) ordered criminal defense attorneys to represent a well-off defendant for free, even if this will mean going bankrupt for the firm.

Here is our slave-owner judge, paid for life by us the captive-cash-cows-the-taxpayers over $200,000 a year with benefits for him and family, looking all bright and sunny:

And that is even though their criminal defendant is the bright-and-sunny U.S. Representative for the State of Pennsylvania Chaka Fattah, prosecuted for allegations of misuse of federal grants and charitable donations (and his son is recently convicted
"of 22 of 23 counts alleging that he misspent loans and some of the nearly $1 million in education funds he got as a school management subcontractor").  Such a good family.

Rep. Fattah, who is very far from being poor and unable to afford an attorney - and yet he did not pay his legal bills reportedly for 5 months.

Rep. Fattah has been elected in 1994, as a federal legislator he commanded a very good salary for 12 (!) years (at the captive-cash-cow-the-taxpayers' expense) and definitely does not fit the definition of an indigent entitled to a public defender. 

Not only Rep. Fattah is supposed to have funds, but he has a contract with his attorneys to pay them for their services.

In any other profession if you do not pay - you cannot require services.

And - not only Rep. Fattah did not consent to withdrawal of attorneys whom he did not pay for 5 months, but he adamantly claimed that criminal defense - and paying his criminal defense attorneys - is not his highest priority, and that instead, his highest priority is investment in re-election (remember, he got re-elected every 2 years since 1994?):

"his current focus was on raising money for the April 26 Democratic primary and that he would worry about paying his lawyers later" - that means, he expects his lawyers to work for at least 3 more months for free, and after he gets the money for re-election bid, then he will only THINK about paying his lawyers, who by that time already will have provided more services to him and incurred more costs.

Rep. Fattah reportedly claimed to the judge that "as a person who has lived a life without blemish, I don't think there's any suggestion I'm not going to pay my bills," he told Bartle.

Sounds not very convincing when his son whom he raised was just convicted of federal fraud, and when he himself is charged for "misappropriating funds from federal grants and charitable donations'.
Moreover, it is certainly the lawyers' call, as providers for services, to agree or not to agree to Fattah's little "payment plan" (I will think about paying you after /and if?/ I get enough money to get my job prolonged).

Yet, Fattah's adamant behavior earned him only a "warning" from the bright-and-sunny Judge Bartle III, but Judge Bartle III still allowed Rep. Fattah to continue in his little slave-owning business of hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent him at a criminal trial and then not paying them and exposing them to the risk of bankruptcy, while instead of paying their bills Rep. Fattah is handling more important matters - such as fundraising for his re-election.

Now, what basis did Judge Bartle III provide for allowing Rep. Fattah to force attorneys he did not pay for 5 months to provide more unpaid services?

None other than "we got too far in this litigation", and "they (attorneys) knew the risk of exposure to not being paid".

So what?

Normally, if you are not being paid, you 

(1) stop providing more services (that is Loss Mitigation from Contracts 101) and 

(2) sue the sucker for breach of contract.

The claim that an attorney is in a "fiduciary" relationship (with an extremely sophisticated client with a Masters degree in Government Administration and 12 years of service as a legislator), and for that reason, cannot break away from a non-paying client who did not pay for 5 months, and is not going to pay for at least 3 more months, makes absolutely no sense, not in law, and not as a matter of common sense.

To work for 8 months or more without pay?

Will you?

Does the prosecutor in the same case work or will work on such conditions?  Of course, not.  He will quit if his paycheck is delayed.

Only criminal defense attorneys are "blessed" with such slave-owning tactics by judges, both federal and state.   

 had a similar experience with NY Acting Supreme Court Justice Judge John F. Lambert who ordered me to provide free representation in a divorce trial despite my client's adamant refusal to pay and evidence that she just outfitted a 16-bedroom bed-and-breakfast and thus has a very good ability to pay me.  

Here is the bright-and-sunny Judge Lambert:


That is the same Judge Lambert who is also notorious in counting money in criminal defense attorneys' pockets by telling them that he knows how much they are being paid - and who is making them and their clients come to incessant and unnecessary conferences, to drain them financially before trial and force them into a plea for the benefit of his former boss, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, possibly because Lambert cannot count on Muehl to be sober for a full trial.

Of course, if Fattah's lawyers just sue Rep. Fattah for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and whatever else they can sue them for, the court might have to be forced to release them, to save itself the trouble of a re-trial after a reversal on appeal because of forced representation of attorneys who were suing their own client.

But - isn't the situation the same whether attorneys did or did not sue Rep. Fattah?  Even if they did not sue him (yet), a cause of action against him for breach of contract has already accrued, which creates a huge conflict of interest preventing such a representation.

Or - will Judge Bartle III still order attorneys to represent Rep. Fattah even if they sue him?

Just to wield his power for the sake of wielding his power?

Once again, law students - take notice - you may well be consigned to slavery by a judge.  

So, after graduation you'd better work only for the government.  Your paychecks will then be guaranteed by us the "captive-cash-cow-taxpayers".

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