"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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Otsego County DA John Muehl, custodian of evidence in criminal cases

Sometimes you just need to give a person enough rope to hang himself.  Especially when that person has wallowed in impunity forever and got really sloppy.

Like John Muehl, the District Attorney of Otsego County, NY.

In our e-mail exchange when I asked him to step off the already botched-up investigation into the burglary and attempted arson in our home, Muehl told me, among other interesting things, the following:

1) that evidence in a criminal case "belongs" to him, as a prosecutor, for the pendency of the criminal proceeding; and

2) that in 20 years as a prosecutor, Mr. Muehl never lost a piece of evidence.

Here are scans from Mr. Muehl's e-mail to me:

Well, I was a criminal defense attorney for many years, and I know that evidence does not "belong" to the prosecutor.  

And, during those many years, I handled many criminal cases with Mr. Muehl, as a prosecutor, on the other side, and Mr. Muehl never told me that the evidence in the criminal case was in his custody, otherwise I would have immediately moved to dismiss felony cases brought on indictment for disqualification of Mr. Muehl and his office (a jurisdictional flaw when a disqualified prosecutor is present in the grand jury and especially when he directs the grand jury, as a prosecutor does).

And, Mr. Muehl has been, as a prosecutor, also the custodian of evidence in criminal cases, by his own admission, for 20 years, in two counties, Delaware and Otsego.

Based on his misguided perception that evidence in a criminal case "belongs" to a prosecutor until the end of criminal proceedings.

Since Mr. Muehl started his prosecutorial career, as far as I know, in Delaware County District Attorney's office under the supervision of the now-Delaware County judge Richard Northrup, all of felony convictions brought about by Judge Northrup are also subject for review of their validity.

So, I wonder, how many people did their time in state prison on invalid indictments muddled by John Muehl's handling of evidence in Delaware and Otsego Counties?

I will continue this investigation and report the results.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment