"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.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Discipline might still be available for #TheBeckerBeast, after all

Delaware County residents and followers of my blog read about Judge Carl F. Becker, a judge whose misconduct was a legend in Delaware County, recently abruptly "retired" 2.5 years into his 2nd term that he fought for by tooth and claw and by fraudulent means.  

And, the annual report of New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct indicated that some judges retired during investigation.

It clearly seemed like Becker was one of that number, and "retired" not to be booted.

At this time, Becker violates rules of attorney discipline by not providing on his attorney registration website either his business address, or his home address.

It is apparent that, since the Becker Beast does not want his whereabouts known, even at the expense of violation of attorney disciplinary/registration rules, that also means that the Becker Beast does not practice law - which is a small blessing.

Yet, the retirement was, for sure, meant to escape any and all kinds of discipline for Becker's misdeeds.

As to that, the Becker Beast may be disappointed.

There is no statute of limitations to attorney discipline in New York.  That particular rule was certainly not made with Becker in mind, but it is equally applicable to Becker, too.

It is an increasingly common practice to disbar judges for misconduct in office, after they resign or retire.

See such a practice used recently in:

New Mexico
and even in New York.

A precedent has been recently created in Florida where a judge was forced to resign and was then disbarred for her conduct as an attorney, before she became a judge.

So, the Becker Beast can still be held accountable, at least somewhat, for wrecking thousands of lives through his corrupt and malicious conduct on the bench where the only people he served were himself and his cronies.

Come July, when the new rules of attorney discipline kick in, allowing to appeal dismissal of complaints, we will see if those new rules are applicable to the Beast.

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