"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 15, 2016

California commenced disciplinary proceedings against a judge who taunted jurors because they are poor, but not for receiving bribes from prosecutors

On December 24, 2015 the California Commission for Judicial Conduct instituted formal proceedings against Judge Edmund Clarke, here is the complaint against him.

Judge Edmund Clarke, of Los Angeles County Superior Court, was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger in June 2007. 

At the time of appointment, his salary was reportedly $171,648.  The appointment did not say anything about the boon Judge Edmund received from Los Angeles County in addition to his salary, in violation of State Constitution.

In fact, Judge Edmund Clarke would be one of the recipients of additional illegal payouts that attorney Dr. Richard Fine stopped at the cost of his disbarment and incarceration in solitary confinement.

Reportedly, "L.A. superior court judges were receiving illegal “judicial benefits” payments from Los Angeles County, despite the fact that lawsuits against that county were often adjudicated by these same judges, thus creating clear conflict of interest problems. 
By 2007 these payments amounted to $46,436 per year on top of their state salary of $172,000, making L.A. superior court judges among the highest paid in the country. Not only was this a blatant conflict of interest but also unconstitutional, insofar as the California constitution states clearly (in Article VI, Section 19) that “the legislature shall prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record.”

So, Judge Edmund Clarke was certainly not poor, being a lawyer's son and having a lucrative employment all his life, and, on top of his very large salary (with benefits) accepted illegal annual "incentives" from the county officials while presiding over cases handled by that county.  

Judge Clarke, during his legal career, actually did a gig in Los Angeles County Public Defender's office, from 1977 to 1981.

So, he was supposed to understand problems of the poor, including poor women and minorities.

And, as a judge, he was supposed to treat all who come in front of him, attorneys, parties, employees and jurors, fairly and in a civilized manner.

Yet, at the end of December 2015 Judge Clarke was disciplined for his "terrible behavior towards poor women, and minorities".


According to the complaint against Judge Clarke:

"Clarke excused one prospective juror but then ordered her to wait in the hall for an hour, according to the commission, after becoming angry that she had criticized his clerk. He also drove a native Spanish speaker to tears by suggesting that she had lied about her English abilities to avoid jury duty, according to the notice."

“The commission claims Clarke mistreated one prospective juror after granting her a hardship waiver due to her severe anxiety. Before leaving, the woman complained that Clarke’s clerk had been disrespectful. Clarke seemed to take offense and ordered the prospective juror to wait in the hall until he finished the afternoon session of voir dire, at which point she could “act like an adult”.

So, criticizing a judge for being disrespectful is not "acting like an adult".

Clarke also, reportedly, "made fun at two female prospective jurors whose juror forms indicated that they had less than $35 in their bank accounts, according to the allegations."

"One had asked Judge Clarke to keep the banking information confidential.  Then thanked Clarke afterward when he did.  However, after leaving the courtroom, Judge Clarke made the low balance, bank account information public, as the butt of a joke."

The article asks a question - what's up with the court personnel not reporting that behavior?

But, we all know "what's up".  They were afraid to be fired and blacklisted, that's what's up.

To humiliate a woman because her command of English is not good enough to understand LEGAL CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS that not all native speakers understand is pathetic.

It is even more pathetic to tell a woman who - privately - disclosed that she has only $25 in her bank account the following: “every one of these lawyers spent more than that on lunch today.”

And, after mocking one poor woman for being poor, he mocked the next one this way:   "when talking to the second juror, who said he had $33 in his account, Clarke said, “A little bit more than the other gal. 33 bucks. You are putting her in the shade with that big account.”

Of course, these two poor women did not have the ability, like Judge Clarke, to receive bribes of over $46,000 a year on top of a $171,000 salary, and get away with it by receiving from the legislature a retroactive immunity from civil AND CRIMINAL liability for taking those bribes - and to devastate the life of the person who exposed that criminal behavior.

Note that Judge Clarke is not being disciplined for receiving large bribes from prosecutors for years.

Oh, well.

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