"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

Did Cuomo nominate a criminal to head New York state courts, as a quid pro quo for covering up his own criminal acts? How appropriate...

Oh, the beauty of Kindle books. 

You know what is the main attraction of a Kindle book for a researcher?  Availability of a word search.  How else can you know, in a book several hundred pages long, where to instantly look for certain information?

My own experience so far with nominations of judges to New York Court of Appeals was that Cuomo promotes those who serves his personal purposes or purposes of his agencies.

Example # 1.  Nomination of Leslie Stein.  Cuomo announced his "intent" to nominate to the Court of Appeals a judge, Leslie Stein, who was the head of appellate panel deciding a case brought by his subordinate, Commissioner of Department of Environmental Conservation and that, if decided correctly, would have bankrupted New York, led to voiding thousands of convictions, and to return to New York landowners of possibly millions of dollars of unlawfully extracted fines and fees.

What did Stein do to ascertain that the "intent to nominate" becomes the actual nomination and judgeship?

Within 6 days of the public announcement by Cuomo of his "intent to nominate" she decided the case in favor of DEC.

Example # 2.  Nomination of Eugene Fahey. 

I ran a blog about Cuomo's buying Stein by his nomination.

Cuomo, of course, was pissed off.

So, Cuomo rewarded with the next nomination a judge from the court that handled the unlawful disciplinary proceeding who denied my cross-motion raising constituional issues without an explanation, and when I asked for an explanation, the same panel, including Fahey, slapped me with a sealing order and anti-filing injunction. 

At the time of nomination of Fahey I was also suing Cuomo, on my husband's behalf, in a federal civil rights action.

Example # 3.  Nominaion of Janet DiFiore

I do not know what OTHER personal considerations went into nominations of Stein, Fahey or other judges by Cuomo to New York Court of Appeals.

Cuomo who refused to pay his own children child support money while promoting child support laws in New York, appears to be a completely immoral creature.

So, with nomination of Janet DiFiore, her confirmation hearing pending on January 20, 2016, and the NYS Senate where corruption is an order of business blocking from testifying at that hearing anybody but the brown-nosing bar associations, I researched the possible reasons what may be the payoff for Cuomo in putting Janet DiFiore in a position of Chief Judge.

The easiest way to look for connections of a politician is in his biographies, especially in biographies that he himself did not commission and that are critical of the politician's behavior.

I found such a biography of Cuomo n

It is Michael Shnayerson's "The Contender: Andrew Cuomo, A Biography", published in March of 2015.

Based on information supplied in that book, the NYS Senate does not have to go very far to:

(1)  reject nomination by Andrew Cuomo of Janet DiFiore for the position of NYS Chief Judge of Court of Appeals as a corrupt quid pro quo; and

(2) start impeachment proceedings of Janet DiFiore to get her off her position of Westchester Couny Attorney.

I would also suggest disbarment for involvement in large-scale public corruption, but we know that DiFiore will never be disbarred, given her connections.

I would also suggest criminal prosecution of Cuomo and DiFiore for engaging in the scheme of public corruption, but Preet Bharara was notified about this particular scheme, and so far did nothing, and found no basis to prosecute Cuomo for disbanding the Moreland Commission (I wonder whether the fact that Cuomo's Leutenant Governor is married to a U.S. Assistant District Attorney in Preet Bharara's office had any weight in that decision).

Janet DiFiore was appointed by Andrew Cuomo to be the Chair of Commission for Public Ethics.

The rules governing the commission required disclosure of donors and their donations to non-profits.

One of such non-profits subject to the rule and to the investigation of the Commission was Committee to Save New York (CSNY).

CSNY was a lobbying group that Cuomo supported and that supported causes supported by Cuomo.

CSNY received large donations from small numbers of anonymous donors.

What was known is that CSNY received a donation of 2 million dollars from a gambling association, where a Malasian company Genting was a member, after Cuomo announced in his State of the State address that Genting is to handle (without public bidding) the construction of a 4 bln dollar convention center in New York.

Genting, once again, a foreign company, previously lobbied for the convention center at Cuomo's fund-raiser.

Here is how a councilman from Westchester County has reportedly reacted to that announcement (as reported in the same article interlinked above):

"Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti, a Democrat from Westchester County, said he was disturbed that a group like the Committee to Save New York, which was the largest spender on lobbying last year, was not required to disclose its donor list.

The state ethics commission is developing rules requiring such groups to disclose their donors, though it is unclear when those rules will take effect.

“I think it is a hypocritical situation that small campaign contributors who give $150 get listed, but big-time beneficiaries of state policies don’t have to disclose,” Mr. Abinanti said, adding that he believed the governor and Legislature should make the change immediately.
“The public should be concerned when big money contributors have greater access than the normal voter,” he said.

The book states that a "gaming industry source" observed that "if you want to have a good working relationship with the governor, it ws wise to make [a contribution to the CSNY]).

The press had a frenzy about the connection between Cuomo, CSNY, Genting, and Cuomo's private donors of his various agendas.

Cuomo distanced himself from Genting, and claimed that negotiations with Genting over the convention center failed.

Obviously, Cuomo was interested to have CSNY donors never disclosed.

Janet DiFiore, appointed by Cuomo to the Commission, came in handy to help out.

The book states that, according to Ravi Batra, one of the Commissioners of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics who, unlike other commissoners, actually read submissions regarding private donations to non-profits and got shocked by the potential of corruption, got shocked even more when he learned that "Janet DiFiore proposed to start the clock [of donation disclosures] on July 1, 2012", p. 353. and not six months back from that date, as the law required (January 1, 2012).

The book explains the implications of such a proposal:

" July 1 would fall in the year's second reporting period, from July 1 to December 31, 2012.  All donors bfore July 1, 2012, culd stay uder the cloak of darkness. 

The CSNY's tax filings for 2011 had revealed that $12 million of the $17.5 million donated to it in 2011 had come from just twenty donors.  yet the names of these and the rest of about seventy-five donors to the CSNY tat year had been redacted, and neither these nor donors for the first half of 2012 would ever by known if JCOPE changed the starting date of disclosure to July 1, 2012", p. 353.

As the book reports, "Indeed, as Batra saw, starting July 1 not only protected those donors.  It also gave them one last changce - intil the end of June - to make more anonymous contributions.  After July 1, they could stop writing checks and the CSNY could quietly expire".

That is exactly what happened.

The Committee to Save New York closed in August of 2012, right after the Chair of the Committee for Public Ethics Janet DiFiore, obviously appointed to the Committee to protect Cuomo and his private donors, defied the law and pushed through her unlawful proposal to start the reporting period for donors forward, from January 1, 2012 to July 1, 2012, and thus gave CNSY an opportunity to hide its potential misdeeds from public scrutiny.

"The controversial business-backed group that quietly raised $17 million to advance Gov. Cuomo's agenda during his first two years in office is declaring its mission's accomplished and is closing up shop".

Incredibly, in 2014, DiFiore's husband was appointed to New York Gaming Facility Location Board, in other words, a casino siting commission", along with another Cuomo's allies!

Think of a potential for bribes to locate a gaming facility in a certain town!  Such a position is a veritable cornucopia for Glazer, DiFiore and those connected to them - like Cuomo and their in-laws, just look what Glazer's Commission was doing at about the time of his appointment and right after he was appointed.

That was the second quid pro quo in exchange for DiFiore's "help" to Cuomo with obscuring the donors for CSNY (the first quid pro quo, of course, being not allowing prosecution of DiFiore and her husband Glazer for fraud upon the government, tampering with governmental investiation and intimidating witnesses (see description of DiFiore's and her husband's fraudulent behavior involving employment of an illegal alien who claimed welfare benefits from the government below.

The third quid pro quo came in December of 2015, when Cuomo nominated DiFiore as for the position of Chief Judge of NYS Court of Appeals - apparently, since that seat was taken by Lippman and vacated only at Lippman's mandatory retirement, Cuomo could not possibly do that favor sooner.

Naturally, Cuomo opposed Lippman's efforts to get his own retirement age extended to 80.  Cuomo needed the seat to be vacated sooner, for DiFiore.  After all, for how long could a 60-year-old grandmother wait to be reimbursed by Cuomo for her huge favor to him as Chair of the New York Joint Commission of Public Ethics?

DiFiore is a gem.

According to the press, she was a Republican, but switched to the Democratic party.

She was elected as a Westchester County Court judge in 1998, moreover, she was made a supervising judge of criminal court that added to her pay and status, but then left the bench in 2005 to run for a District Attorney.

In 2006 Cuomo ran for New York State Attorney General, and won.

Usually, once elected as a Supreme Court justice, judges run for reelection in the same office for an eternity and are promoted to the intermediate appellate courts and then Court of Appeals.

Janet DiFiore made a zigzag down and was nominated to the Court of Appeals anyway, for apparent reasons.

At the time DiFiore left the bench  of the Supreme Court to run for the position of the District Attorney, she could help Cuomo more as a prosecutor than a judge. 

A prosecutor has an absolute discretion to prosecute or not to prosecute crimes committed within her county, including crimes of violating child support orders and crimes of public corruption.

Cuomo did a lot of business in Westchester County, he has ties to the Clinton family who resided in Westcheser County, Chappaqua and then Bedford, NY, since 2000, and Cuomo himself  resided in Westchester County since 2011.

Cuomo reportedly did not pay child support, engaged in shady donation schemes, and needed Janet DiFiore as a prosecutor to chair the Commission for Public Ethics and to cover up the tracks of private donations to his lobbying group.

Cuomo reportedly supported DiFiore to get elected as a District Attorney after she left the bench.

The same article which attempted to present DiFiore in a positive light as a candidate for the position of the Chief Judge of New York Court of Appeals, yet stated the following:

"Although a Republican at the time, DiFiore's friendship with Administrative Judge Francis Nicolai, a Democrat, helped her land the prestigious post of supervising judge of the criminal courts in the 9th Judicial District. The district covers courts in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties."

So, Janet DiFiore openly flaunts the fact that her promotion as a judge and supervising judge of criminal courts in a large judicial district (from which position she somehow felt motivated to leave to become a Westchester County DA) was because of her "friendship" with her administrative boss.

The fact that DiFiore was promoted in her previous judgeship based on cronyism is enough to make her unfit for the position of the Chief Judge of the entire NYS court system.

DiFiore was criticized for not prosecuting the police as a result of three fatal police shootings.  Instead of appointing a special investigator to investiate police misconduct, DiFiore reportedly routinely turned the investigations into the culprit police departments to investigate, with predictable results.

So, DiFiore appears to have a policy not to prosecute police misconduct. obviously, because she has close ties to the police in order to be able to investigate and prosecute criminal cases and to obtain what is reportedly the highest felony conviction rate that her office has as opposed to other counties.

I have an experience as a criminal defense attorney that DiFiore's office, in the absence of physical evidence, and faced with the prospect of a private attorney coming into the case, came into collusion with the public defender to quickly extract a waiver of grand jury proceedings and proceed on a felony superior court information against a young criminal defendant. 

DiFiore's office later had to reduce the felony charges to a misdemeanor and then reduce them further to a violation. 

Also, I am the witness how DiFiore's ADAs, in collusion with judges (I saw that happenig with two judges), extract coerced self-incrimination from criminal defendants (including in felony cases) under the threat of violation of a court order.  If that is how DiFiore maintains her high felony conviction rate, she should go tend her grandchildren and turn in her law license instead of be elevated to the position of a Chief judge of the State of New York.

Yet, with police criminals DiFiore is as lenient as with other goverment criminals.  She knows that in New York (and federal) government, not doing your job and engaging in corruption for the benefit of those in power pay off.  Big time.  Look at her nomination.

In return for DiFiore's favors in not properly investigating and prosecuting police shootings, the police did not investigate Ms. DiFiore and her husband, an attorney, for defrauding the federal and state government in employing a nanny since 1996, while Mr. Glazer stated in an affidavit that he employed the nanny only since 2009, and the nanny/maid herself claimed in 2009 she was disabled, and social services, while initially one honest social worker started an investigation of DiFiore that could have political implications to Cuomo (because he appointed DiFiore as the Chairman of the Commission on Public Ethics), no independent out-of-the county investigator was appointed, and, of course, the investigation died, and the investigator who commenced the investigation, Ms. Dhyalma Vazquez, is no longer listed as working for the Westchester County DSS.

There were reports that Westchester County DSS was "discussing employment status" of Ms. Vazquez at the time she commenced the investigation against DiFiore, her husband and their maid/nanny, and there appears to be an audio tape where the Westchester County DSS reportedly discusses intimidation of Ms. Vazquez.

There is also a report that DiFiore sent her own investigator to investigate on Ms. Vazquez who scared the human resources personnel in the Westchester County DSS office:

“She sent somebody. They had a guy who came in to speak to the lady in human resources,” he said. “It was some D.A. investigator. I don’t know who the guy was. He would know. Phil Gille would know";

" “she sent somebody over to the human resources office to find out, you know, what was going on with (Vazquez’s) position.” He added that the person sent over “scared the (expletive) out of the personnel officer.”

That is interference with official investigation against herself and tampering with witnesses, RIGHT THERE.  THIS IS the person who New York wants to put as its CHIEF JUDGE?  A criminal who is saved from conviction and disbarment only through her powerful connections?

DiFiore's maid in question, by the way, became a legal resident only in 2007, while she has been workin for DiFiores reportedly since 1980, which means that DiFiore and her attorney husband employed an illegal immigrant (obviously, to pay her less), she was reportedly a live-in nanny for DiFiore and Glazer most of that time.  Glazer lied under oath that he only employed the nanny/maid since 2009 - and should be prosecuted for perjury, but who will prosecute him, his wife?

The probe included questions whether DiFiore and Glazer paid Buchanan off the books while she claims government benefits - a fraud upon the government which, if proven, could have resulted in criminal prosecution and disbarment of both Janet DiFiore and her attorney husban Glazer.

DiFiore's daughter, New York county prosecutor Alexandria D Glazer (DiFiore officiated at her daughter's wedding - I wonder what authority a DA had to officiate a wedding?), and her two other children, Michael and Joseph, as well as schoolmates, school teachers, childhood friends and their parents, and neighbors of DiFiore and Glazer can be called to testify as to at what age did their children first got the nanny Buchannan, because this information is important to verify whether NYS Senate is putting a long-time criminal in the position of utmost power by elevating her to the position of Chief Judge of the NYS Court of Appeals.

By the way, consider the connections acquired by DiFiore through her daughter's marriage - the groom's mother is a "regional solicitor in the federal Department of Labor in Philadelphia", and the groom's father is a partner in - guess what - New Jersey # 1 lobbying law firm  Gibbons P.C. who also works in Philadelphia (see the wedding article interlinked above).

Gibbons P.C. boasts of its heavy involvement in federal lobbying:

"Our Government Affairs Department is one of just a handful of New Jersey lobbying practices with a regular presence on Capitol Hill.   Interacting regularly with members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation and their senior staffs, our lawyer-lobbyists have extensive knowledge of the committee and subcommittee structure in Congress, as well as the procedures governing the annual budget and appropriations processes.  

We possess longstanding relationships in Washington and help clients in a hands-on fashion to not only navigate the federal legislative landscape but have their voices heard."

So, protection for DiFiore from a federal investigation was also ensured on the highest "professional" level, from her daughter's mother who works for the federal government and from her daughter's father-in-law with "longstanding relationships in Washington" who can "have her voice heard" in a "hands on fashion".

Of course, they would not have wanted the granny of their grandchild to go to prison.

I wonder if they instead steered some anonymous donors toward Governor Cuomo's "Committee to Save New York" lobbying firm, and DiFiore, as Chair of that Committee, helped keep those anonymous donations anonymous...

So, there is A LOT of physical evidence for the NYS Senate to consider as to fitness, or rather, unfitness, of Janet DiFiore for the position of Chief Judge of New York court system, and a lot of witnesses can be called to testify AGAINST Janet DiFiore's confirmation.

Yet, according to the e-mail to me of Jessica Cherry, attorney for NYS Senator Bonacic, Chair of New York Senate Judiciary Committee, the NYS Senate is currently going to consider at DiFiore's confirmation hearing only the brown-nosing testimony of two bar associations, two - what a coincidence! - lobbying non-profits with foreign capital.

What can I say.

The skills of Janet DiFiore are impressive.

They qualify her - let me see:

1) for impeachment,
2) for disbarment;
2) for incarceration for state and federal crimes committed over the years - and, likely, that incarceration for all shenanigans described in his blog alone can be for Janet DiFiore's remaining lifetime.

She is instrumental in:

1) not prosecuting police shootings;
2) intimidating investigators of her own and her husband's criminal conduct;
3) corrupt cover-up of anonymous donors to Governor Cuomo's lobbying firm.

She was already generously rewarded for her efforts by:

1) having state and federal investigations into her misconduct thwarted;
2) having the investigator of her misconduct removed from her position;
3) having her husband appointing as a fox to guard the chicken coop, with endless bribing opportunities from the gaming industry whose anonymous donations to Cuomo's lobbying firm DiFiore helped save from public scrutiny as Chair of the Commission for Public Ethics; and, to crown it all,
4) being nominated by Cuomo for the position of Chief Judge of NYS Court of Appeals before that seat got vacated by the previous occupant - and while Cuomo engaged in energetic efforts to prevent that previous occupant, Lippman, from prolonging his stay in that seat

When you read that New York has the highest taxes and is the No. 2 state that residents run from to other states (the No. 1 state is New Jersey where DiFiore's daughter's father-in-law is a partner in the main lobbying law firm) - do not be surprised as to the reasons.

DiFiore's story, and many others, told and untold, are the reason.

Think about it, New Yorkers said "no" to the prospect of prolonging retirement age of one corrupt Chief Judge judge, Jonathan Lippman, so that Cuomo could fulfill his promise of a favor-for-a-favor to a worse criminal.

New Yorkers are already voting with their feet, disgusted with rampant corruption in the state that undermines their prospects good employment, fair taxes, honest law enforcement and the riule of law enforced by courts.

NYS Senate still has time to save its reputation of a corrupt organization, which was much supported by the criminal federal convictions of the heads of both of its chambers, longtime Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver, and longtime Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos, in November and December of 2015, and of its Senators Libous and Sampson earlier in 2015.

By the way, Senator Sampson was the former Chair of the NYS Senate's Committee on the Judiciary.   It is under his "guidance" that New York was saddled with Jonathan Lippman.  Sampson was convicted in July 2015. 

I wonder if Senator Bonacic, the current Chairman of NYS Senate's Judiciary Committee who is about to hear the brown-nosing testimony of only two witnesses he invited - from lobbying bar associatons (while refusing to hear testimony against confirmation of DiFiore from witnesses of her misconduct) - if Senator Bonacic realizes that he may very well appear to be quite like Sampson, in all respects, if he saddles New York with DiFiore.

NYS Senate can still disaffirm Cuomo's corrupt nomination of a criminal and block that criminal from presiding over courts of law,  pretending to dispense justice while doing what she has been doing all along before - ensuring favors for herself and those in power, in return for favors to herself and to her family and friends, and selling the law to the highest bidder.

I wonder if NYS Senate has the spunk and integrity to vote DiFiore down.

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