"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.

Monday, February 8, 2016

New York state prosecutors, the happy owners of "The Right Thing"

With much fanfare, New York State District Attorneys Association has updated their "ethics" book, "The Right Thing", which reportedly existed, believe it or not, since 2011.

Of course, I practiced criminal law during 2011 through November 2015 period, and prosecutors with whom I dealt (all of them, no exception) demonstrated blissful unawareness of "The Right Thing", or of any norms of ethics.

But, here is this "Right Thing".

In the preliminary letter to "The Right Thing" of 2016, it has been stated that "The Right Thing" is being distributed to every prosecutors in New York state.

Actually, the same statement was made in the previous versions of "The Right Thing".

Participation of an Onondaga County prosecutor caught my attention.  

Probably, because of a lawsuit against the Onondaga County DA alleging that he, in collusion with his law school buddy, Chief Administrative Judge of the 5th Judicial District James Tormey, first criminally prosecuted, and then discriminated in employment, a female court interpreter.

That is, after the Onondaga County DA engaged in extortion of a former judge Bryan Hedges who provided information for another discriminated court employee, which information resulted in a major lawsuit against Tormey and a major settlement (out of New York taxpayers' pockets') for Tormey's misconduct.  When extortion did not work, Onondaga County DA orchestrated taking him off the bench, after he already resigned. 

It takes a tremendous amount of prosecutorial ethics to do all of that.

Here is how "The Right Thing" starts out.

Apparently, New York state prosecutors do know about this case and about their "dual duties".

I am sure this is not visible in how they handle cases - not with the amount of unaddressed prosecutorial misconduct, not with the amount of wrongful convictions, not with lobbying New York Senator DeFrancisco to withdraw his bill for a separate Commission dealing with discipline against prosecutors, because current attorney disciplinary committees would not prosecute prosecutors (see testimony of Bill Bastuk, co-founder and chairman of "It Could Happen to You" at the public hearing in Buffalo, NY before New York Statewide Commission on Attorney Discipline on  August 4, 2016).

Yet, with all the wrong things that prosecutors are doing - and continuing to do - in New York, look at the self-conceited claims that only them, and not the judges, and certainly not the defense attorneys who get to "do the right thing":

They have the audacity to claim that it is their job "to find the truth" - and that they are actually doing it.

Prosecutors acknowledge that they have a great power to change, sometimes irreversibly, lives of victims of crimes, those accused of crimes and of their families:

Of course, rights of victims of crimes are considered only when they put another notch in for the prosecutor and helped him obtain another conviction that he seeks.  Otherwise, victims have no rights in criminal prosecution - or at least that's what Judge Gary Rosa told me in his recent letter.

Remember, this is a foreword to a book of ethics for New York prosecutors, people, who amassed staggering numbers of wrongful convictions and whose misconduct is legendary.

Here is what they say about themselves and the system that drums up these wrongful convictions:

"...the fairest system humans have devised".  That's New York criminal justice system?  Either the DA's association is delusional or I am dreaming.

New York DA's association claims that:

A prosecutor's worst nightmare is to convict an innocent?  Like they actually give a rat's ass about guilt or innocence?  Prosecutors I came across cared about only one thing - convictions.  For something.  Anything.  That's their "record".  That's their career, promotions, job security.

95% or more criminal convictions in this country is through plea bargains.

Many plea bargains happen not because a person is guilty, but because the odds of winning the trial against a fabricated case and perjured police testimony is low, and people choose criminal record with probation and fines over prison time, or less prison time over more prison time if convicted after trial, even when they are innocent.

Who orchestrates those wrongful pleas?


Who has the power to withdraw criminal charges and not try to obtain wrongful pleas where there is no evidence of criminal conduct?


Will they do that?

In your dreams.

I must note that the guidebook says absolutely nothing about wrongful plea bargains, absolutely nothing about wrongful convictions, and absolutely nothing about prosecutorial misconduct in New York, which is traceable AT THE VERY LEAST by claims made under oath in federal civil rights lawsuits - those civil rights lawsuits dismissed for prosecutorial immunity without reaching the merits.

Look how the DA's association warns prosecutors about consequences of their potential unethical behavior:

Now, if prosecutors "may be censured, suspended, or disbarred", why then the same DA's association "descended upon the Capitol like paratroopers" to block creation of a separate Commission on prosecutorial conduct claiming that the system that does not prosecute prosecutors "works just fine"?

Of course, there is a POSSIBILITY that a prosecutor may be prosecutors for crimes committed in office, and the DA's association readily demonstrates cases governing such criminal prosecution against prosecutors:

Yet, do you know a lot of prosecutors being prosecuted for misconduct in office?


Like in the testimony I quoted above before the New York Statewide Commission for Attorney Discipline indicating that the DA's Association claimed it will bring to NYS Senator DeFrancisco a list of disciplined prosecutors.  And the Association is still taking its sweet time with bringing the list.

But, the DA's Association continues to drone on and pretend they are their "to do the right thing":

Not to get rich?  I don't know about that.  Look at all judges who are very well provided for and very well connected politically.  Nearly all of them have prosecutorial jobs in their past.  Talking about rich.

Unethical conduct will rob a New York state prosecutor of his or her self-esteem?

They come to the prosecutorial office because "they know right from wrong and its important to them to be on the side of right"?

Really.  Not funny.

I encourage my readers to read this masterpiece of hypocrisy in its entirety.

It will certainly provide a good source of information about what the prosecutor MUST be doing - and is not doing - for criminal defendants and their attorneys.

So, thank you for that, at least, New York State DA's Association.

Now no prosecutor in the State of New York can state that they did not know what their ethical obligations are.

They all are the happy owners of "The Right Thing".  

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