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
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
Small blessings, so they say?
Imagine Judge Becker forgetting himself so much as
to give me my requested hearing on the motions to recuse!
That right could have turned into my demise, based
on the same arguments I made in my motion to recuse
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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