"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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Good" attorney misconduct in stalling and misleading a FOIL inquirer regarding sensitive information about corruption in New York and federal court system

I must admit, communicating with NYS Office of Court Administration on FOIL requests is a pure delight.

People responding to the FOIL request and preparing or inspiring those responses clearly think that they are talking to idiots, or pretending that they are themselves idiots and do not understand what they are asked for - in very clear requests.

I've just published my clear and unambiguous FOIL request about  operations and members of the New York State-Federal Judicial Council, a quasi-governmental organization that some people periodically claim they have an "honor" of belonging to - and "advising state and federal judge" - but no information is available anywhere about it.

The organization, based on information available to me, exists since 1970s, but for over 40 years of existence, with so many "honorables" claiming being "appointed" to it, the only record that New York State Office of Court Administration coughed up for me was one puny letter signed by outgoing former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on December 31, 2015, it is available on that same blog I published a couple of days ago.

When I pointed out to the NYS OCA that stalling is not the best tactic in answering FOIL request and warned them that I will file an administrative appeal of their constructive denial of my FOIL request, and possibly, will sue the responding person personally, with attorney fees, if responsive records are not provided to me, the following delightful message arrived into my e-mail box yesterday:

I followed the suggested link and here is what it contains:

So, the deciphered message of the New York State Court Administration may be read as follows:

1) we do not have to create records that we do not want to create - that will embarrass or expose us for corruption (or, we destroyed those records and you will never know when, how or whether we did it - given the stakes involved in information sought through this FOIL request);

2) we do not have the records you are asking for about the over 40 (!) years of existence of a shadow organization controlling state and federal courts, providing a means for legal elite to "advise" the very judges in front of whom that legal elite appears, and

3) when we provided to you one sheet of paper out of all records that should have been created in OVER 40 YEARS of existence of an organization to which the Chief Judge of the State of New York has the power to appoint other judges, we killed your right to appeal our failure to provide you other records that we hid or destroyed.

Not so, NYS OCA, that is not what the FOIL law says.

I have a Juris Doctor degree and a specific training, not to mention experience, to handle Freedom of Information law requests.

Yet, my concern is that attorney Shawn Kerby misleads the same way inquirers who do not have legal training, and that is attorney misconduct, which (I am sure) the judiciary will not address because it was attorney misconduct advanced to protect the judiciary, so that's "good" attorney misconduct in the State of New  York.

I will definitely file an administrative appeal for constructive denial of this FOIL request and will publish the NYS OCA's response to it.

Stay tuned.

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