"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 4, 2016

The secret public integrity of the New York government

Just a little over a month ago I posted a blog on the hilarious undertaking of the beyond-corrupt New York government, in conjunction with federal government, to collect information about public corruption in New York.

I also posted there what people think about that, Facebook comments about that undertaking.  The consensus was that it was a fake and that nothing good will come out of it.

A reader reported to me yesterday as to how that reader tried to report an actual egregious case of corruption in New York court system to the New York State Attorney General, defender of the people.

I wrote on this blog more than once that the multiple hats that the NYS AG wears - of defender of the people against corrupt government, and as an attorney and defender of the corrupt government against the people - if they do not give the NYS AG a split personality disorder, they certainly make him look like a circus jester.

Ok, so, the reader decided to report corruption in New York courts.

With that in mind, the reader called the office of the New York State Attorney General and announced the reader's purpose.

The reader was told that the reader (I refuse to disclose the gender, so, please, bear with me when I repeat "the reader" where I could put a pronoun) must put the story in writing, send it to the NYS AG's office, and the NYS AG's office will then forward it to their own "public integrity division".

A "Public Integrity Bureau" of the NYS AG's office actually does exist - as the NYS AG's website says:

The webpage of the Public Integrity Bureau does not have contact names of individuals who handle investigations and to whom the public should report public corruption.   Nor does it have any telephone numbers or direct e-mails of such individuals.

The general "contact us" webpage of the New York State Attorney General's office contains the following information:

The "contact us" information contains the following "hotlines":

  1. General Helpline
  2. TDD/TTY Toll Free Line
  3. Immigration Fraud hotline
  4. Healthcare hotline
  5. Medicaid Fraud control Unit
 No Public Integrity/Public Corruption hotline. 

When my reader (who has some experience dealing with public officials and how they try to hush up reports of public corruption) preferred direct contact with public officials on issues of corruption and did not want to engage in a run-around game.

For that reason, the reader requested a direct phone number of the Public Integrity Unit - and was denied and told to send the information to the general office, and that they will allegedly "forward it" and "call her back".  Right.

I do not know what was so secret in that unit that its phone number could not be given to the public in order to report public corruption to that unit.

But, my reader is not a faint-hearted individual.

After being spurned and not given the direct number to the Public Integrity Unit, my reader simply went to the New York State Attorney General's office in Albany.

On arrival to such office, my reader asked the representative accepting correspondence at the entrance to take her to the Public Integrity Bureau.  The NYS AG representative expressed an extreme surprise as to what the reader was talking about, and that there is no such unit or bureau in existence.

It is not surprising that the NYS AG plays games with people wanting to report corruption, that is exactly what people were discussing when commenting on the "corruption billboards" this past January.

I guess, one of my next Freedom of Information projects will be to obtain and publish direct numbers of the secret public integrity unit of the NYS AG office keeping the biggest secret of all - there is no public integrity in New York government.


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