"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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Freedom of Information Request was made to New York Senate asking for e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers of the Senators and their employees, and for legislative history of certain statutes

A couple of days ago I wrote about the potential violations of Freedom of Information Law by New York State Senate in how it either seeks information from FOIL inquirers it is not entitled to seek, or how it restricts the means of making FOIL requests to such formats which do not allow to the inquirer to get proof that a FOIL request was made to the NYS Senate, or what was the request's contents.

Today I practically checked out the run-around system of how to file FOIL request with New York State Senate, found a way to preserve evidence of the filing and the contents of the FOIL request - and am sharing this information with my readers.

I've just filed a Freedom of Information Request with New York State Senate for the following public records:


1) State-assigned E-mail addresses and cell phone numbers of all Senators and all of the Senate's employees and officers;  copies of the latest telephone cell phone bills of all Senators and Senate's employees and officers;
2) All records pertaining to any legislation, enacted or discussed, for authority of the New York State Courts or its judges to participate in or appoint officers to the New York State-Federal Judicial Council;
3) The entire legislative history and history of enactment and amendments, including correspondence, transcripts of floor speeches, video and audio recordings of debates, for the following New York Statutes:

a) County Law 400
b) Public Officers Law 15 and 17
c) Judiciary Law 14
d) Judiciary Law 90
e) Judiciary Law 478
f) Judiciary Law 479
g) Judiciary Law 484
h) Judiciary Law 486
i) Judiciary Law 487
j) Judiciary Law 499
k) Civil Practice Law and Rules 2103
l) Civil Practice Law and Rules 5601

4) financial disclosures and disclosures of conflicts of interest by all Senators for the past 10 years.

I demand that the above records are e-mailed to me to my e-mail address at in scanned or print-to-PDF format, or, in case such medium is denied to me, the NYS Senate provides to me, as a response to an additional FOIL request, inventory of its printing, scanning equipment and software indicating that the requested records (i) cannot be scanned as easily as printed, and that (iii) the requested records do not exist on computers, and that (iii) NYS Senate does not possess software for printing into PDF format.

In case of denial of information in electronic format, I also request copies of all equipment sold by NYS Senate as obsolete or redundant, specifically, all scanning, printing and computer equipment, with a list of software contained on the sold computer, including, but not limited to:

1) inventory information on the equipment sold;
2) purchase value of the equipment sold;
3) documents proving title of NYS Senate to equipment sold and its value/cost at purchase;
4) selling price;
5) identity of buyer;
6) date of sale;
7) any records proving that sales of scanning/printing/computer equipment and/or software were put up on public auction.


NYS Senate does not allow to preserve evidence that you've sent a FOIL request in any format:

1) there is no e-mail confirmation sent to you after you click the "Submit" button, this is the only evidence I submitted the above FOIL request:

2) if you try to print-to-PDF your FOIL request, you cannot do it, the window assigned for entering your actual FOIL request is not big enough to show your entire FOIL request to be printed.


before I clicked the "submit" button, 

I copied-and-pasted my FOIL request into this blog, and 

after I clicked the "submit" button, 

I've posted this blog and attempted to post it on the NYS Senate's Facebook page.

The attempt did not go through well.

Here is what I attempted to post on the "wall" of the Facebook (public) page of the New York State Senate:

Here is the response I received when I was tried to post - and my post was rejected:

But, oh the wonder of Mark Zuckerberg - I still was able to get proof that New York State Senate got my FOIL request, no matter how hard New York State Senate tried to duck it.

I (1) "liked" the New York State Senate Facebook page, and then

(2) I posted my FOIL request put into a blog onto my own Facebook page - and "tagged" New York State Senate in the post, and, of course

(3) I preserved the snapshot of evidence that NYS Senate was "tagged" with the post.


So, now I do have proof that the New York State Senate did receive my FOIL request - and it MUST answer it within 5 business days, as required by law, and 

the New York State Senate cannot get out of its obligation to fully comply with my FOIL request by claiming that it did not receive the request at all, nor can it contest what was in it, because the electronic evidence (that New York State Senate was trying so hard not to create) is right there.

So, now the run-around-of filing the FOIL request is complete, the ball is in NYS Senate's proverbial hands, and we will sit back and wait as to the Senate's responses.

I will keep my readers informed as to how New York State, the enactor of the Freedom of Information Law, complied with my FOIL request. 

Stay tuned.

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