"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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Temporary suspension of New York Senator John Sampson, no disbarment of Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver. Really?

Here is attorney registration information for three former New York legislators:

  • Senator John Sampson, former Chairman of the New York Senate's Judiciary Committee;
  • Senator Dean Skelos, former New York State Majority Leader;
  • Sheldon Silver, former New York State Assembly Speaker


John Sampson is "temporarily suspended" from the practice of law.

The other two are attorneys "in good standing" with "no record of public discipline".

Even though Dean Skelos was indicted for this - and convicted by the jury on 12/11/2015 for EIGHT felony counts, specifically for:

That's from extortion under the color of official right to solicitation of bribes, all federal felonies.

And here is the verdict sheet for Sheldon Silver:

Wire fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right.

So, John Sampson was convicted for a felony in July.

New York law requires an automatic disbarment of an attorney convicted of a felony - WITHOUT disciplinary proceedings, as of the date of conviction.

John Sampson was not disbarred, as required by law.

Instead, disciplinary proceedings were instituted, and he was only temporarily suspended pending further disciplinary proceedings and "until further order of the court".

Why was John Sampson suspended while Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver are not?

Sampson asked to postpone his suspension until the sentencing.

Yet, sentencing does not change the fact of his conviction (guilty verdict), nor does it change the same guilty verdicts for Silver or Skelos. 

This is what the court rebutted Sampson's objection to "interim suspension" before sentencing:

 The court then said that commission of a serious crime warrants an "interim suspension".

Once again - why only Sampson?

Why not Silver?

Why not Skelos?

The crimes for which they were already convicted by juries, the federal felonies - are not serious enough?

They can still proceed representing clients as "attorneys in good standing"?

Their connections still allow them to remain licensed attorneys "with no record of public discipline"?

Do you want to be represented by Skelos or Silver?

I bet you might want to - their connections can secure anything for you, law or no law.

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