"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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A challenge to attorney licensing by a consumer of legal services

I posted a blog recently indicating that a consumer has filed a challenge to occupational regulation in court, and that it is interesting to see what the court will answer, because the logic of the request is straightforward:

1) the consumer points out to the court that occupational regulation is a form of governmental help to consumers in the choice of providers of certain services;

2) the consumer then says that he is a competent adult and has a right to either accept help from anybody on any subject, or decline it, I already wrote about this aspect of occupational regulation on this blog before;

3) then, the consumer declares to the government that he actually waives the government help and declines to accept it;

4) then, the consumer demands that the government should allow him to hire an unlicensed service provider to provide services that are otherwise heavily regulated; and

5) provides legal arguments as to why he is entitled to such relief;

6) the consumer then says that the provider will be unable to provide services, even if the court allows it, but only to the consumer, and asks the court to specifically give guarantee of non-prosecution to the provider.

That is only one out of several motions included into the bundle that I am publishing at the request of several readers.

The consumer of services is my husband Frederick J. Neroni.

The services he wants to be provided to him are legal services.

The provider he chose is me, an attorney whose license was suspended.

There are, of course, constitutional implications in a person's right to choose a court representative.  My husband quotes precedents allowing not to enforce attorney regulation in some circumstances, and allowing representation by a non-attorney, to ensure constitutionally guaranteed access to court.

I filed an affirmation in support of the request, indicating that, IF the court allows my husband the relief he is requesting, and IF the court guarantees to me non-prosecution (disciplinary and criminal) if I provide such a representation, I am ready, able and willing to do that.

Mr. Neroni had to file the motion by mail because, after I was yanked from his case together with my license, he has also lost e-filing rights, severely inconveniencing him and discriminating against him as a pro se litigant, same as all pro se litigants are discriminated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York where only parties represented by counsel are given extra time to prepare their pleadings and assurance of free electronic filing, when they are allowed to file electronically at the last second of the day of the deadline, while pro se litigants must print out their pleadings, make several copies of it and send them to the court by overnight mail, while overnight mail can be "delayed", "diverted" or "misdirected" (all happened to us), and courts may manipulate the docket by making an order before the motion that came by mail is filed by the clerk.

My husband called the court and confirmed that they did receive his motion and "are working on it" (preparing it for scanning and e-filing into, an unnecessary work that clerks have to do because my husband is not allowed to do electronic filing, otherwise he would have done it himself).

Anyway, his confirmation by phone at least means that the court should be prevented now from making any decisions on the pending Rule 60 motion before the supplemental information that comes with this motion is reviewed.

Despite the obvious bias of the court against Mr. Neroni and myself, the argument of the motion to allow opting out of occupational regulation is straightforward:  the government (the court itself acting as an administrative agency) declares that attorney regulation is governmental help to consumers of legal services meant for protection of the consumers.  

The consumer of legal services turns down the help and says to the government (the court) - no, thank you, I do not need your help, I want this person to represent me in court, license or no license (I wrote about that right earlier on this blog). 

The consumer says - because of the topic and because your, the government's, sanctions made it impossible for me to hire anybody else, you, the government, must grant my motion and must grant me the right to choose a provider I want, not a provider the government (my opponent in litigation) approves.  

And not only for that reason.

Mr. Neroni asserts his right to choose his own provider of services, including his own provider of legal services without any help from the government in the form of licensing (approval) of his providers based on his fundamental right to autonomy in making his private decisions in choosing privately retained providers for himself, as any competent adult has.

All Mr. Neroni is looking for is an honest application of the law to the facts and an honest answer from the court - if the answer is "no", he is not allowed to use me for legal representation, then a reasoned explanation must be provided.

I personally would also be interested to see what position Mr. Neroni's opponents will take.  Let's not forget that the defendants in Neroni v Zayas action are judges, attorneys and attorney disciplinary authorities, all of whom are supported by Mr. Neroni's taxes, all of whom are represented in the action for free by the New York State Attorney General.  I will see how, if at all, they will be able to justify opposition to Mr. Neroni's personal and private choice of legal services provider and court representative who he trusts.

Attorneys representing the opponents on this motion are:

  • Porter Kirkwood, Delaware County Attorney;
  • Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General (Bruce Boivin of counsel)

I am looking forward to see what these government-employed attorneys, licensed attorneys, will say at the notion of a consumer asking the court to disregard attorney licensing and allow him a provider of legal services of his choice, license or no license.

Here is the motion, to read each document, click on the underlined links:

1) Mr. Neroni's Notice of Motion;
2) Mr. Neroni's Memorandum of Law;
3) Mr. Neroni's Affirmation with Exhibits

Exhibit 1 Tatiana Neroni's state order of suspension
Exhibit 2 conviction of Dean Skelos, resignation from NYS senate, John Flannagan as current NYS Senate Majority leader (for substitution of parties)
Exhibit 3 Evidence showing Samantha Holbrook as Chairman of 3rd Department Committee for Professional Conduct + printout that Monica Duffy is Chief attorney for the Committee and no longer its Chairman
Exhibit 4 Evidence that New York Chief Judge Janet Difiore is sworn in
Exhibit 5 Evidence that Richard Northrup is sworn in as a judge, Delaware County DA website printout showing John Hubbard as Acting District Attorney of Delaware County
Exhibit 6 Appellate docket sheet Neroni v Zayas 15-2030
Exhibit 7 Opposition of State Defendants to Mr. Neroni's oversized appellate brief pointing out to the operation of the Statewide Commission for attorney discipline and new facts that occurred and laws that transpired since the dismissal of Neroni v Zayas action in June of 2015
Exhibit 8 Rule 11 (sanctions) notification to Mr. Neroni from Mr. Neroni's then-counsel Tatiana Neroni (shortly before her suspension), Tanya's attorney affirmation
Exhibit 9 FTC Guidelines to Staff regarding supervision of markets regulated by market players (attorneys disciplined by attorneys)
Exhibit 10 NDNY General Order 44 of December 5, 2014 attorney disciplinary panel consisting of 100% of attorneys
Exhibit 11 The "Legal Hand" announcement about an organization where non-attorneys are giving advice to indigent New Yorkers, with a blessing from New York Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge
Exhibit 12 Article about Defendant Karen Peters' (Chief Judge of New York State Appellate Division 3rd Department)  special counsel Christina Ryba being fired
Exhibit 13 Appointment of Christina Ryba to the NYS Commission for Attorney Discipline
Exhibit 14 Removal (without an explanation) of Christina Ryba to the NYS Commission for Attorney Discipline
Exhibit 15 Article about swearing-in of Christina Ryba as a judge
Exhibit 16 Complaint of Tatiana Neroni about Disciplinary attorneys and members of disciplinary committee of the 3rd Department in 2013
Exhibit 17 The still-unfulfilled demand of Tatiana Neroni made in 2012 for documents reflecting the earlier dismissal of Ryan Adams' complaint against Tatiana Neroni based on the same factual situations upon which the Committee were trying to discipline Tatiana Neroni again based on sanctions of Judge Becker
Exhibit 18 Demand for documents from the 4th Department by Tatiana Neroni after her suspension
Exhibit 19 Letter by the 3rd Department Committee's then-Chief Attorney Peter Torncello dismissing complaint against himself
Exhibit 20 Professor Brescia's article in Huffington Post as to how unregulated industries should follow the lead of lawyers in "self-regulation", to avoid "the watchful and intrusive eye of the state"
Exhibit 21 Attorney Registration of Professor Raymond Brescia
Exhibit 22 Former judge Bryan Hedge's attorney registration
Exhibit 23 Attorney Registration of judge Christina Ryba
Exhibit 24 Attorney Registration of former Chief Counsel of the 3rd Department Professional Conduct Committee Peter Torncello
Exhibit 25 Attorney Registration of former attorney for the 3rd Departmetn Attorney disciplinary Committee Stephen Zayas
Exhibit 26 Attorney Registration of the Chief Counsel and former Chairwoman of the 3rd Department Professional Conduct Committee Monica Duffy
Exhibit 27 Attorney Registration of 3rd Department disciplinary attorney Alison Coan
Exhibit 28 Attorney Registration of New York State Attorney General and defendant in the Neroni v Zayas action Eric T. Schneiderman
Exhibit 29 Attorney Registration of attorney Andrew Ayers, appellate attorney for Eric Schneiderman
Exhibit 30 Attorney Registration of Bruce Boivin representing state defendants in Neroni v Zayas
Exhibit 31 Attorney Registration of Dean Skelos
Exhibit 32 Attorney Registration of Sheldon Silver
Exhibit 33 Bryan Hedges order taking him off the bench by NYS Judicial Conduct Commission for sexual molestation of a child
Exhibit 34 Printout from Christina Ryba's judicial biography on the NYS Unified Court System's website showing that, after she was fired by the 3rd Department Chief Judge for unethical conduct, she was still kept on the 3rd Department Committee for "Fairness"
Exhibit 35 Peter Torncello and Stephen Zayas resign among investigation into falsified time sheets
Exhibit 36 Sheldon Silver "Guilty" Jury Verdict Sheet of November 30, 2015, SDNY Case No. 1:15-cr-93-VEC
Exhibit 37 Federal indictment against Dean Skelos
Exhibit 38 The "Guilty" Jury Verdict against Dean Skelos
Exhibit 39 ABA report cited in Professor Brescia's article calling for attorney "self-regulation" (which is a federal antitrust violation)
Exhibit 40 Matthew Holmes' LinkedIn Account, printout as of 11/05/15 - Matthew Holmes is the former "judicial intern" of assigned judge David Peebles who I sued for spying on me on the web outside of court proceedings - the LinkedIn account shows that Matthew Holmes worked as a "law clerk" for private law firms long before his admission to the bar
Exhibit 41 Attorney registration of Matthew Holmes in 2016
Exhibit 42 Article in New York Times about Brian LaRoche, a non-attorney representing people on traffic tickets in New York City
Exhibit 43 Article in New York Times about police officers practicing law and prosecuting traffic tickets as prosecutors
Exhibit 44 Revised order re representation in administrative proceedings by suspended Pennsylvania attorneys Andy Ostrowski and Don Bailey, indicating that their client may hire them, but that, if they agree to a representation which is not practice of law in Pennsylvania, they may be punished as a disciplinary matter for contempt of court and violation of their orders of suspension

4) My Affirmation with Exhibits in support of Mr. Neroni's motion

  • Exhibit A - a copy from secret records of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York showing assignment of a case number to my disciplinary proceedings in the NDNY;
  • Exhibit B - a printout from NDNY "attorney lookup" indicating my public attorney status as "suspended";
  • Exhibit C - a printout from Pacer search indicating that Tatiana Neroni's attorney disciplinary case, not just the filing in the case, but the existence of the case in NDNY, is hidden from view on Pacer;
  • Exhibit D - Tatiana Neroni's state disciplinary order;
  • Exhibit E - New York state law license of the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York Glenn Suddaby indicating that each judge of NDNY court is dependent on the whims of defendants in Neroni v Zayas action, regulators of the legal profession;
  • Exhibit F - state law license of presiding judge Lawrence Kahn;
  • Exhibit G - state law license of assigned magistrate judge David Peebles.

As far as I know, this is the first court challenge to occupational licensing in general and to attorney regulation in particular, made by a beneficiary of such licensing, a consumer of services, so both Mr. Neroni's motion and the answer to it that we are awaiting from the court, may be a breakthrough in the history of occupational regulation and attorney regulation.

In the context of this case, it is of course, laughable to expect fairness from the government where the government is up to its ears in actively trying to use attorney regulation meant as a shield for Mr. Neroni as a consumer of my legal services as a sword against the same Mr. Neroni, where the government stripped me of my law license right about the time I was going to make a motion for sanctions against that same government.

In the context of civil rights litigation, to expect the government, the defendant in civil rights actions, to somehow protect the plaintiff's rights for good legal services, is laughable as a general notion.

Yet, for lack of any other forum, Mr. Neroni made the motion where he could - where the action was pending, and we will see what the court is going to do, how it is going to twist reason and logic to deny Mr. Neroni what he asked.

I will publish the court's answer in this blog.

Stay tuned.


  1. Hi Tatiana,

    That's a very interesting gauntlet that your husband has thrown down before the court! isn't there anything in the Bill of Rights that relates to a competent individual's freedom of choice vise-a-vie representation. If someone has the choice of pro se then where is the logic in denying this alternative?

    There is something else in your article that caught my eye. I'm puzzled by your " .. assigned judge David Peebles who I sued for spying on me on the web outside of court proceed .. ". How was Judge Peebles carrying out this "spying"??

    Best regards, Pete

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  3. Judge Peebles was not spying himself. His judicial intern Matthew Holmes was visiting my electronic profiles where I discussed my political views. One of such profiles showed me visitors, and Mr. Holmes as one of them, with his account proudly announcing that he is actually drafting decisions for Judge Peebles. By the way, Mr. Holmes immediately left the court after I sued. I presented that evidence to the court in that lawsuit and, despite the fact that the lawsuit alleged behavior outside of court proceedings, the same court employing Judge Peebles gave Judge Peebles immunity from suit. It even assigned Judge Peebles initially to preside over his own case. I had to move to recuse him. He did, and my motion to recuse was denied as "moot". A judge is not supposed to dig up information on attorneys outside of the courtroom during pendency of litigation where an attorney is participating, as an attorney and/or party. Such surveillance puts the judge's impartiality in question and makes the judge a witness in the proceeding.

    1. Hi Tatiana,

      Thanks for that. I found these two of your related articles very interesting:

      Judges do seem to have elevated themselves closer to the level of gods than us mere mortals. I had the impression that "Judge Judy", like our UK "Judge Rinder", was pure TV drama but it seems that they are closer to reality that I thought.

      Lord Denning discussed this issue of the immunity of judges " .. Ever since the year 1613, if not before, it has been accepted in our law that no action is maintainable against a judge for anything said or done by him in the exercise of a jurisdiction which belongs to him. The words which he speaks are protected by an absolute privilege. The orders which he gives, and the sentences which he imposes, cannot be made the subject of civil proceedings against him. No matter that the judge was under some gross error or ignorance, or was actuated by envy, hatred and malice, and all uncharitableness, he is not liable to an action. The remedy of the party aggrieved is to appeal .. " (

      Hardly any wonder that judges, being mere mortals with the same failings that we all have, take advantage of this immunity. Of course, birds of a feather stick together.

      Best regards, Pete

  4. The difference is that in the UK the judge's immunity is the King's immunity, because "the King can do no wrong", and the US was formed to get away from the King who can do no wrong, and from absolute power and abuse of such power. In the US the People is the sovereign and there are no immunities in the US Constitution.

  5. Hi Tatiana,

    I see that in the USA you vote for your judges whereas in the UK they are imposed on us. We can blame the system for any corruption and appeal up to the highest level in the hopes that it is not all corrupt whereas your highest level is the people, but how many really care? I suspect it is only the relative few who have been hurt by the corruption who get excited about it.

    Best regards, Pete

  6. Judging by the social media, "the relative few" is a very high number. Our highest level is the people? I do not know what exactly you meant, but if you mean that in the U.S. judges are ultimately accountable to the voters, that is a misconception. First, the terms are very long, the impeachment procedures mid-term are insurmountable, disciplinary authorities impose discipline upon less than 1% of complaints, toss meritorious complaints, and there is no right to appeal that for the complainant. Moreover, the judiciary in the U.S. that regulates the legal profession, impose upon attorneys a gag disciplinary rule not to discuss competency and integrity of judges, especially during their election campaigns, so voters do not get to know about real qualifications and integrity of judges and often re-elect judges who are involved in egregious misconduct, especially that complaints to disciplinary authorities about judges are deemed private and are not disclosed to the public.