"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 criminally prosecutes both "knowingly publishing a false or grossly inaccurate report of a court's proceeding" and creating an accurate record of those same proceedings by videotaping

New York Penal Law 215.50(5), an A misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail, provides:

"A person is guilty of criminal contempt in the second degree when he engages in any of the following conduct:


5.  Knowingly publishing a false or grossly inaccurate report of a court's proceedings".

On the one hand, the hope is for the jury to see that the report of a proceeding is accurate.

On the other hand, this statute criminalizes journalism, specifically, court monitoring and coverage of court proceedings based on witness impressions, because it is an entirely subjective call that can brand a witness's impression, in the absence of a video of that court proceeding, as "grossly inaccurate" or "false".

And, punishing for "gross inaccuracy" in witness recollection is just that - punishing for faulty memory.  Criminally punishing.  By jail time.

And be assured that the punishment will be visited only upon those who criticize what the court did, not upon court personnel who actually cook court transcripts.

The extremely interesting thing is that, at the same time as criminalizing "grossly inaccurate" witness reports about a court proceeding, courts routinely cook court transcripts (I have proof of it, and was charged with criminal contempt, later dismissed, for exposing that misconduct), New York also criminalizing creation of ACCURATE record of court proceedings, Civil Rights Law 52, making videotaping in court also a Class A misdemeanor, similarly punishable by 1 year in jail.

So, you may be punished with a 1-year jail sentence in New York both for your witness account reflecting, in the court's view "a grossly inaccurate report" about what happened in the court proceedings, and for creating a very accurate review of what happened in that proceeding through videotaping those proceeding.

By the way, when I, as a civil rights attorney, challenged constitutionality of Civil Rights Law 52 in federal court on behalf of my husband, both my husband and I were slapped with $6,995 in sanctions.

Even though Civil Rights Law 52, especially in view of existence of Penal Law 215.50(5), is screamingly unconstitutional.

After all, punishing a person for creating a truthful record of open court proceedings makes no sense.



  1. I was suspended then disbarred via decisions which gave completely false depictions of the litigation I had engaged in. Thanks. I might add this to my complaint to emphasize the illegality of the Florida Bar's action against me.

  2. I was suspended then disbarred via decisions which gave completely false depictions of the litigation I had engaged in. Thanks. I might add this to my complaint to emphasize the illegality of the Florida Bar's action against me.

  3. Yes, it can be turned both ways :). Yet, when I pointed out in my own disciplinary proceedings that court transcripts were cooked, and evidence of that appeared online, it is I who was charged with criminal contempt and not those who cooked the transcripts. So, be careful what you wish for :). Those same crooks who disbarred you could cook court records and accuse you instead of presenting to them a grossly distorted or false view of court proceedings. When crooks play with you by their own rules that they change as they go, you can never win...