"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

New York allows to criminally prosecute parties and attorneys for objections criticising the court

I already wrote on this blog that my law license was suspended for 2 years for making motions to recuse on behalf of my clients required by the circumstances and my duty to my clients as an attorney.

Of course, such a suspension is a violation of my 1st and 14th Amendment rights, guaranteed to me as an attorney by federal and New York law, and allowing me to do my duty to my clients unimpaired by fear of repercussions or actual repercussions, especially punishments as severe as loss of my livelihood.

Yet, it could have been worse than that for me in New York's
lawless courts.

Had I made those same arguments that I made in written motions to recuse (without hearings that the challenged judge denied me) in the physical presence of that judge, during a hearing, I could have been locked up for a year, and be slapped with a criminal record.

Penal Law 215.50(1) provides

 "A  person  is guilty of criminal contempt in 
  the second degree when he
  engages in any of the following conduct:
1. Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent  behavior, 
   committed  during the  sitting of a court, 
   in its immediate view and presence and directly
  tending to interrupt its proceedings or to impair 
  the respect due to its authority".
Talking about vague statutes violating 1st Amendment.
The government does not have an inherent right to 
"respect to its authority", respect has to be earned.
Attorneys and parties have a right to impartial judicial
review guaranteed to them by the Due Process Clause 
of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
To enforce that right, attorneys and parties must 
have a right to be able to challenge judicial 
misconduct or appearance of impropriety without 
the fear of punishment for that.
Such rights of human rights defenders are also 
guaranteed by a Treaty that the U.S. is part of, 
the International Convention for Civil and Political 
Rights, which is made part of the U.S. Constitution 
through its Supremacy Clause, Article IV, Section 2.
A definition of contempt as "contemptuous" behavior
is a tautology and no definition at all.
It is also clear that what is "disorderly", "contemptous"
and "insolent" behavior is not clearly defined and
is subject to subjective interpretation by cranky
judges, objects of criticism.
It is also clear that this criminal statute allows a
judge to lock up for a year a pro se party or 
an attorney who dared to criticize the judge, and thus
"impair respect due" to the judge's authority.

So, I guess that "only" having my law license stripped
for criticism of a corrupt judge, under the 
circumstances, is a gift.

I could be locked up away from you, my dear readers, for 
a year.

Small blessings, so they say?

Imagine Judge Becker forgetting himself so much as 
to give me my requested hearing on the motions to recuse!
The horror!
That right could have turned into my demise, based
on the same arguments I made in my motion to recuse
in writing.
So, when you are asking for a motion hearing on a 
motion to recuse in New York, ladies and gentlemen, 
think first whether you are asking for a year
in jail for yourself.
And, don't be surprised when your attorney, retained
or assigned, refuses to make oral motions to recuse
a judge involved in an appearance of impropriety or
misconduct, "during the  sitting of a court,  
in its immediate view and presence".
Your attorney may very simply value his or her
freedom too much to sacrifice it for you.
Penal Law 215.50(1) made sure of that. 


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