"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, February 18, 2016

200 feet and one inch from the courthouse

New York Penal Law 215.50(7) provides for criminal prosecution and incarceration for up to 1 year in jail for the following conduct:

"A  person  is guilty of criminal contempt in 
the second degree when he engages in any 
of the following conduct:
On or along a public street or sidewalk  within 
a  radius  of  two hundred  feet  of  any  building 
established  as a courthouse, he calls
aloud, shouts, holds or displays placards or signs 
containing written or printed matter, concerning 
the conduct of a trial  being  held  in  such
courthouse  or  the character of the court or 
jury engaged in such trial or calling for or 
demanding any specified  action  or  determination 
by such court or jury in connection with such trial."

If you are a woman or identify as such,
you can, of course, argue that, since criminal 
laws must be strictly construed, and this statute
says applies only to "he"-persons, by its 
clear text. 
We can shout all we want that specific judges
are crooks for specific reasons and demand
courts to provide a specific result - charge 
judges who are crooks criminally and jail them.
Or, we can carefully measure 200 feet and 1 inch 
away from the courthouse, have our location
documented by videotaping and follow the list of
prohibited conduct to our heart's desire.

Of course, the bravest of us can stand right
in front of the courthouse with slogans 
criticizing a judge and then sue the suckers who
attempt to arrest and prosecute them based
on a statute that clearly violates our 
1st Amendment right of self-expression and
political criticism.

I also wonder - why 200 feet?  Why not 100?  Not 300?
Nor a kilometer?  You know, those sound waves
can carry over a megaphone quite well.
And - why having a Nazi parade in front of Holocaust 
survivors not a problem while criticizing courts
Why burning a cross on the lawn in front of
the house of African Americans not a problem while
criticizing courts is?
Why saying nasty things in front of grieving
relatives and friends at the funeral
of a fallen soldier not a problem 
while criticizing courts is?
I guess, I seek logic while, while it is wrong
to do so.  After all, I was already punished
for seeking it, in writing, in pleadings.
When will I learn?  

So, instead of seeking any logic in brazenly
unconstitutional statutes protecting
corrupt judiciary from criticism - you step
200 feet and one inch from the courthouse,
take a megaphone in hand, put a giant sign
"LOCK UP CORRUPT JUDGE DOE" or such like - and
you are good to go. 
Especially if you are a woman, remember, 
this is a "he" statute.  

And you know what is also GOOD about this statute?

It shows that the bastards in that courthouse are 
afraid of exposure.

So exposure is what they should be getting. 



  1. It seems to be limited to speech about a trial currently taking place. So it's aimed at preventing outside influence on jurors I guess.

    My voice can carry 1,000 fwet I'd bet! And through closed courthouse windows.

  2. It seems to be limited to speech about a trial currently taking place. So it's aimed at preventing outside influence on jurors I guess.

    My voice can carry 1,000 fwet I'd bet! And through closed courthouse windows.

  3. That's exactly the problem - "it seems". It does not clearly say that the statute seeks to prevent influencing specifically a jury in a jury trial. Moreover, it has this little word "or" indicating that the statute prohibits addressing the conduct of the trial OR the character of the court. Yet, it is not clear why a judge should be free from public criticism at any time. If a judge is corrupt and if the trial is being done in a corrupt manner, it is better
    that the corruption be addressed, in every possible way, at the earliest time possible,
    and in the most effective manner possible.

    So - 200'1" and a megaphone it is.

  4. Well, what I could never develop is a commanding voice :).