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?):
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".
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?
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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