"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 15, 2016

Races with the corpse of #AntoninScalia and equality under the law

I recently wrote a blog post about unequal treatment under the law of attorneys who were busted in a sting against international money laundering as opposed to how the results of stings against pedophiles are handled.

Specifically, I pointed out that mistake of fact of lay people who not lawyers (that undercover cops are not minor children) is no defense in prosecution for attempted sex with a minor, yet mistake of fact of prominent attorneys who gave money laundering advice while being given to understand that the potential client is a corrupt public official from another country who wants to bring bribe money into this country, remained free and clear without any criminal charges.

Significantly, one of the lawyer in that sting bragged on video that lawyers run the country, make laws in their favor and befriend judges who are then "courteous" to them.

When such a judge, while - allegedly - being in the process of being befriended by a multimillionaire and his business friends, drops dead, 

so many rules of ethics, laws and procedures were violated and so many inconsistencies are reported in 

  • how and why the judge appeared at that ranch, 
  • how his security was forfeited, 
  • how he was allegedly "found" dead, 
  • how his death was certified,
  • how his autopsy was thwarted,
  • how investigation into his death was thwarted - that it becomes apparent that there are, indeed, two systems of laws in this country - one for the "men from the street" and another for "brilliant jurists" and public officials, the country's elite.

I am trying to reconstruct events from information that is publicly available, using my 17 years of experience in reviewing and analyzing materials of criminal investigations, both as a legal assistant and then as an attorney.

I will first announce two major principles guiding my investigation of the facts known from the press and my analysis.

1) I will not reject any leads or avoid any issues based on anybody's status or the issue's sensitivity or perceived "propriety" or "impropriety", because such issues are irrelevant to journalistic (and criminal) investigations into the death of a human being. 

Any criminal investigator and any investigative journalist worth their salt will follow all leads, including and especially the sensitive one, the ones considered "improper" and the so-called "unlikely" leads.   

Even though the mass media and the legal elite is trying to portray Scalia as royalty or deity, he is not.  He is a human being, and laws of this country apply to him, and to investigation of his death, as much as to any other death.   Moreover, investigation of Scalia's death was supposed to be MORE, not LESS thorough because of who he is, because of the stakes involved in his death and replacement, and because of what such an investigation may reveal of potential misconduct of Scalia himself and of other people, likely rich and influential people who are still alive.

There is no "presumption of integrity" or "presumption of propriety" or "presumption of no foul play" when a person who suddenly turn up dead at a luxury resort happens to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

And, what we judge as "unlikely" may well be what has actually happened, after 17 years involved in helping with or handling criminal cases, even though on the defense side, where I was seeking out potential alternative explanations for what happened in the criminal cases I was working on, there is no such thing as an unlikely lead to me.

2) I do not pretend to know the Texas law, and I will apply it as it was reported in news accounts. 

So, the questions I would ask, investigate and that I would analyze separately, in separate blog posts:

  1. Did Scalia arrive to the ranch alive or already dead?
  2. If Scalia came to the ranch alive, what was the purpose of the visit?  Who were the other guests?
  3. Who was Scalia's lawyer-companion who arrived with him, and who was claimed to be a "mutual friend" with the owner of the ranch John Poindexter? Why did John Poindexter and not that "friend" got alarmed at the absence of Scalia and found him?
  4. Why the law enforcement was not provided with the use of a landline telephone on the ranch and instead had to use faulty cell phone connection to obtain a justice of the peace to certify the death?
  5. What are room service procedures at the ranch?  Why was it John Poindexter and not the room service that found Scalia?  Usually room service starts cleaning rooms at around 10 am, in hotels that are far from luxury, I would presume that housekeeping had to exist for a 1,100 square feet "presidential suite" of a luxury resort going at $700 and more per night;
  6. What was the reason not to call in a coroner to certify the death that occurred less than 24 hours since an allegedly healthy guest's arrival to the ranch?
  7. Why the unseemly haste to skip the autopsy, embalm the body and whisk the corpse out of the state of Texas, all within a span of 24 hours?
  8. Why didn't the ranch's owner insist on autopsy to eliminate any questions of wrongdoing on his luxury resort that can potentially mar his own and his business' reputation? 
  9. If Scalia had chronic health problems that were ascertained on Wednesday and Thursday through an MRI, problems of such seriousness that could explain "death from natural causes" within a day of that MRI, why did he go to that remote location at all, without his spouse, without a doctor in attendance or in the vicinity, and with a "lawyer companion"?
  10. Why did the justice of the peace that certified Scalia's death over the phone without seeing his body and without ordering an autopsy insists that he died of "natural causes", but specifically not of a heart attack?  How does she know?  What does she know?
  11. How could it be that the U.S. Marshals "responded immediately" to the ranch AFTER Scalia's death (while not accompanying him to the visit, as they were supposed to) when the ranch was 200 miles from the nearest city
  12. Why did the U.S. Marshals not bring with themselves a physician, justice of the peace, a coroner or a forensic expert to verify that the death as from natural causes?  What were their qualifications to verify whether there was or was not "foul play" involved?
  13. What was done with Scalia's pajamas?  Were his belongings analyzed for presence of condoms and pajamas and bedclothes for presence of sperm and female bodily fluids? The evidence that may be derived from the body may be destroyed by embalment, but did anybody care to analyze the pajamas, bedclothes and Scalia's personal items to see if there was another in that room at night?

There are all kinds of speculations and conspiracy theories (to the point of involving aliens in Scalia's alleged murder) - as well as mockeries of such conspiracy theories - brewing over the Internet about #AntoninScalia's death.

The problem though is that the reason for such theories is that was the government's job to investigate the death of Antonin Scalia, the circumstances of the death, including the "pillow over his head", raise questions whether the death was from natural causes, while the law requiring an autopsy was not followed in determining the cause of death, and at this time possibility to determine the real cause of death of Antonin Scalia is made, probably, impossible by hasty embalment and whisking the body out of state.

While most conspiracy theories point a finger at president Obama and democrats, in view of the fact that it was known that "Scalia will do anything to go hunting", there could me other reasons for wanting him dead.  

Or, his death could be as trivial as, let's say, not being able to cope with the energy levels needed for sexual performance.  

After all, let's face it, Scalia arrived to the ranch on the even of Valentine's Day, with a companion who was not his wife, who did not check on his well-being when he did not show up in the morning, the companion's name is kept secret.

Answers to at least some of the questions asked above will be given, if not immediately, then over time (maybe, after some considerable time passes and people start selling their stories and writing memoirs).

The answer that is readily available now is that the homicide investigation into the death of Antonin Scalia was screwed, and appears to be screwed intentionally.

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