"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 4, 2016

Judge C. Becker and Judge C. Becker and an epidemic of judicial misconduct in Georgia

Over 60 judges reportedly resigned in the State of Georgia after the state started to aggressively apply rules of judicial ethics.

And some of these judges are criminally prosecuted - even though they are criminally prosecuted not by state prosecutors (who would prosecute the judiciary that "regulates" your own law license?).  Usually, it is the feds who prosecute state judges for anything, and then judges do not usually get prison time, or much prison time (with the exception of the major scandal in Pennsylvania in Kids for Cash and in Chicago in the Greylord cases).

Let's count.

Judge Bryant Cochran - convicted and sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for offering to exchange leniency for sexual favors.

Judge Cochran is not a member of Georgia State bar, even though I found no record of his disbarment.

No such charges were brought by the feds against Judge Wade H. McCree in Michigan.  He was taken off the bench, yes, but not disbarred and not criminally prosecuted.

Former Judge Williams was charged with "lying about a drug court sentence during a 2011 investigation by the state Judicial Qualifications Commission."

Former Judge Williams remains a member of Georgia State Bar in good standing with no record of public discipline.


New Yorkers, think how many judges can be indicted for lying about contents of public records - I can name quite a few from memory, I am sure you can, too, judging from my feedback to my blogs about "intellectual dishonesty" of judges.

But now we see that such lying is actually criminally prosecutable - but is usually not prosecuted, when it should be. 

And the reaction of a chief judge of the Georgia Supreme Court to these criminal prosecution is reportedly like this:
It is unclear what is the "it" that puts a black cloud over the judiciary - that they committed crimes they are charged with or that somebody dared to charge judges with crimes.

It is interesting how this surge of judicial discipline - and even criminal prosecutions - can be used to eliminate judges who actually do their jobs, and specifically do their jobs presiding over criminal cases of public corruption.

For example, a criminal FELONY investigation was dropped against a former judge in exchange for her agreement not to seek judicial office again.  Huh?

Do you know of any other such "agreements" where a defendant can go free by simply agreeing to be a good boy/girl and not do something again?  And absolved of a prosecution for a potential past felony?   

I tend to side with Judge Cynthia Becker (imagine me supporting a Judge Becker - surreal) in this case - not about her alleged "lying" to the judicial qualification commission, but about her right as a judge, not to "honor" (accept" an agreement of probation for a corrupt public official.  

When a criminal defendant pleas guilty, the sentencing authority still remains with the judge, and if the judge does not agree to the sentencing that prosecution "agreed upon" with the defendant, the case simply has to go to trial.

Since the case in question that Judge Cynthia Becker was burned for involved public corruption, Judge Cynthia Becker was in her own right to not accept the plea deal.

Judge Cynthia Becker sentenced the corrupt public official to a year in jail and refused him bond pending motions.

Of course, a criminal defendant was entitled to make a motion to withdraw the plea of guilty if he entered it based on promised probation while he got jail time.  Yet, the judge does not have to "honor" agreements as to sentencing between the criminal defendant and prosecution, and does not have to agree to bonds pending such motions to vacate a plea.

It was wrong for Judge Cynthia Becker to misstate that the defendant never asked for bond, but whether the defendant did or did not ask for bond, it was Judge Cynthia Becker's authority to deny it.

For sticking to her authority and principles, Judge Cynthia Becker was forced to resign from her judicial position, and, through intimidation by prosecutors (clearly in retaliation for her not "honoring" the prosecution's deal with a corrupt public official) she now agreed not to seek judicial office.  So, as part of the sweep against bad judges, a good judge was thrown out, too.

Another Georgian judge, Paschal English, resigned amid revelations that he had an affair, involving intimate relations in a parked car, with a public defender who had cases in front of him.

The scandal forced retrial of old cases, the judge's misconduct caused at least 5 re-trials.

Judge Johnie Caldwell Jr. resigned in 2010 after accusations "he made rude, sexually suggestive comments to a female attorney".

As bad as making rude and sexually suggestive comments to a female attorney is, judges usually are not forced to resign over such conduct.

And, there are issues in my mind as to this judge though, whether Judge Caldwell's was forced to resign in connection with his sentencing of a county employee for sexual battery that happened two days prior to his resignation.

Two years after his resignation, that particular judge won a seat in the State House and is now a legislator in the State of Georgia.

Judge Frank R. Cox resigned in 2015 "citing undisclosed health issues".  

Yet, according to a transcript "widely circulated in legal circles", Judge Cox "aggressively questioned an alleged victim of domestic abuse about her heritage and why she wasn’t married to a man with whom she has four children", which prompted two attorneys to file complaint against him with disciplinary authorities, shortly before his resignation.

The blessed State of Georgia!

When now retired Judge Carl F. Becker in New York brought a teenager to tears in the courtroom claiming that she was unlikely to be college material, NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct did nothing but send a copy of the complaint to Becker who retaliated against the complainant (myself). 

Becker made that outrageous statement in protection of his own former client of 27 years, the Delaware County Department of Social Services when it was clear that the Department that held the female teenager in foster care did not comply with the requirements of federal law to put her on track towards high school diploma and college education, as she and her father wanted, and instead put her on the IEP (individual education plan) track for an IEP diploma which is not accepted by NY colleges for admission.

So, when I brought the argument that IEP diplomas are not considered full high school diplomas for purposes of college admission - and provided documentary proof of that - Becker bluntly said in front of the girl that "she is unlikely to be college material", and then had the transcript of that hearing fabricated so that it does not show the girl's appearance at the proceedings.
None of that was considered judicial misconduct by the NYS Commission for Judicial conduct, and the Commission refused to take Becker off the bench when I asked for it in December of 2010.

Instead, Judge Becker was immediately elevated in January of 2011 to the position of Acting Supreme Court justice, was allowed to get himself assigned to all cases of the complainant (myself), to sanction me in those cases, to turn me into the disciplinary authorities based on those sanctions, and the disciplinary authorities, as good boys and girls, suspended my law license without a hearing based exclusively on those retaliative sanctions.  This is how it works in the State of New York.   

But let's return to the blessed state of Georgia.

Judge Shirley Wise was taken off the bench and prosecuted in 2012 for theft of vital records and a kickback scheme "involving a county services contract".

Such prosecution is not possible in New York against Judge Carl Becker.

Since the Delaware County in New York does not keep records of contracts and refuses to disclose contents of public contracts on FOIL requests (even of those contracts that were recently audited by the NYS Comptroller), it blocks investigation of whether Judge Becker was involved in public corruption, and the local prosecutors will never prosecute him because the Acting District Attorney is his former law partner John Hubbard and already refused to prosecute him for filing a fraudulent certificate of 2002 elections in 2011, and the county judge is the newly elected Richard Northrup who was elected based on Becker's political and financial support and is willing to violate the law to the point of allowing retired Judge Becker to impersonate a sitting judge and accept Northrup's oath of office.

Judge Shirley Wise, on the other hand, "was sentenced under the First Offender Act to seven years probation, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $5,500 in restitution. She also agreed not to seek or accept appointment to public office".

Tell that to Barbara O'Sullivan and Alecia Bracci of Delhi, New York.

In 2010, Judge Richard Gumo (later censured for misconduct) allowed a perpetrator of a death threat against Barbara O'Sullivan, a then-U.S. Marine Ryan Adams, now, upon information and belief, of Columbus, Ohio, to escape with an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, not only without seeking the victim's consent to such a disposition, but after the prosecutor John Hubbard specifically deceived Barbara O'Sullivan as to the time of such a hearing where she announced to John Hubbard she wanted to come and testify against such a disposition.

As a result, Barbara O'Sullivan came to court after the disposition was already granted, and prosecutor John Hubbard defied her accusations of misconduct against him by irrelevant claims that Barbara O'Sullivan should not have hired me to represent her daughter Alecia Bracci in a custody proceeding against Ryan Adams.

Needless to say, the same judge Richard Gumo bent over backwards to instead help Ryan Adams and John Hubbard to instead have both Barbara O'Sullivan and Alecia Bracci prosecuted on contrived criminal charges, and failed to recuse from either of the cases, instead engaged in falsely pretending to sign false arrest warrants, refusing to dismiss legally insufficient cases and repeatedly assigning ineffective counsel.

And, to crown it all, Judge Douglas Pullen of Georgia, a former district attorney, resigned and agreed not to seek judicial office again - but was not prosecuted, even though he was investigated for a potential crime - for tipping off targets of an undercover FBI operation.  Pullen had the gall to seek judicial office again and to invalidate he agreement, a bid that was reportedly denied by Georgia Supreme Court.

And, of course, Pullen was not forced to resign.  The only person who asked him to resign, according to Pullen, was Mrs. Pullen.


No, they don't.

It is us who are too timid to complain loudly enough and publicly enough who allow this kind of misbehavior to continue happening for years and decades.

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