"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, April 30, 2016

The Younger abstention died, and the right to sue in federal court was restored - in the bathroom in North Carolina

I already wrote on this blog, numerous times as to how easy it is to derail a federal civil rights lawsuit - for example, here and here.

The Younger abstention, a doctrine by which federal courts refuse to review civil rights lawsuits, instead imposing upon the litigant the choice of forum in the state court, the choice of forum that is not allowed by the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1983.

Since federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction governed under Article III of the U.S. Constitution which does not allow federal courts to change the U.S. Constitution or statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress - including the U.S. Civil Rights Act or the U.S. Congress's determination of jurisdiction of federal courts to hear civil rights lawsuits - any "doctrines" presenting a bar to federal civil rights lawsuits are unconstitutional as outside the power of federal courts within Article III and usurping exclusive power of Congress to legislate under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

That said, in a paroxysm of sycophancy, the legal profession and scholars parade the doctrine as a doctrine based on "comity" and "equity".

There is no equity in blocking a victim of civil rights violation by the STATE government by dismissing a properly filed federal civil rights lawsuit (without compensation of court costs spent on filing and prosecuting it) and directing the victim of constitutional violation by STATE government to argue that issue before a STATE court.

That doctrine has nothing to do with equity, but everything to do with caseload control - because such cases, and the federal court dismissing the lawsuit knows it very well - will die a violent death in state courts, often with sanctions for "frivolous conduct" - which sanctions the federal court then will refuse to review, now under a Rooker-Feldman doctrine.

Nor does Younger abstention have anything to do with "comity".  Comity is DEFERENCE.

Deference to the state government that is a DEFENDANT in a civil rights action is called BIAS.

Bias is a constitutional problem tainting jurisdiction of the particular presiding judge.

When comity=deference is asserted on a doctrinal level, then bias against a particular class of plaintiffs in favor of a particular class of defendants is asserted on an institutional level in federal courts.

The pretense justification for the Younger abstention is that state courts are "capable" or "competent" (nobody is concerned whether they are willing or unbiased) to hear federal constitutional claims.

Yet, as of March 23, 2016 the Younger abstention simply died in the state of North Carolina.

Specifically, this "scholarly" doctrine has died in North Carolina bathrooms, or was flushed down the toilet - whichever you prefer.


A very fitting end.


Because on March 23, 2016 the North Carolina Legislature has issued the "transgender bathroom bill" which also included, reportedly, a prohibition to sue in state courts for ANY kind of discrimination.

Is it bad?


It is most glorious.

Now, no federal court in North Carolina may state, as a matter of law, that a state court in North Carolina is fully capable and competent to review federal constitutional issues of discrimination.


Now, by statute, North Carolina state courts are precluded from doing so.

And thus, federal courts may not use the pretense of the state North Carolina courts being allegedly capable and competent to review federal constitutional claims.

They will have to actually do their jobs.

And, civil rights litigants will actually have a possibility to get their civil rights lawsuits into federal court (unless more restrictions on civil rights litigation are invented by federal courts located in North Carolina districts) - and prosecute it in their chosen forum.

As the old saying went - every cloud has its silver lining.

Here, the silver lining unexpectedly came out of an overzealous bigotry of state legislators.

I wonder - maybe other states would join North Carolina in prohibiting their courts to review federal constitutional questions (it will not alter the current status quo much anyway, since courts across the country review federal constitutional questions raised in front of them as sanctionable conduct)?

I am just hopeful. 

Then, across the country, people will finally be able to sue for human and civil rights violations the way the U.S. Congress planned for them in an enacted Civil Rights Act all along.

Testimony of American attorneys, including my own, is planned (in writing or orally if permitted) before the U.S. Congress at the next month's hearing as to whether ABA has a policy of non-support of human rights attorneys criticizing the government for political or business reasons


So when ABA and the local state bar associations tried to distance as far away as it is possible from supporting, siding with or even associating with attorneys within the United States who are suspended or disbarred, or targeted for discipline for criticizing misconduct in the government, that is NOT mainstream media news.

That is news for social media only, for blogs like mine and several others, mostly by attorneys who "Felt the Burn" themselves.

But, such cowardice DID just become international news - with the help of Chinese dissenter attorney, and a prominent attorney, Teng Biao.

Market reality?

What market reality?

First of all, ABA is not a for-profit organization, it is a non-profit that was created to allegedly pursue worthy causes.

The cause of supporting a lawyer who criticizes corrupt government in order to help protect his people's civil rights, is a very worthy cause.

Moreover, the "market reality" in the U.S., if ABA is to be honest with the public, is that corruption in the government - Chinese and U.S. - is a very hotly discussed topic.

And, Dr. Teng Biao is a prominent scholar, and his name alone may sell the book, if marketing is the real consideration.

Here is Dr. Teng Biao's credentials published on the site of the Harvard Kennedy School/ Carr Center for Human Rights and Policy.

It is the ABA that pretends the topic does not exist and is not "marketable".

In fact, had the ABA endorsed the book and the topic of resistance to corruption in the government - any government - the book would have instantly become a best-seller.

So, it IS bowing to political considerations.

In fact, back in February of this year, a question was raised in the press that:

"Over the past year the American Bar Association has faced a dilemma over how to respond to China’s repression of human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers."

Not only ABA.

And not only how to "handle" of "human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers" in China.

And there is no dilemma.

I wrote this very month as to how the New York State Bar Association is treating attorneys suspended or disbarred for criticism of the government.

I tried to join NYSBA to attend a CLE (continued legal education) course, free for members.

NYSBA specifically advised me that it is their "policy" to consider ANY suspended or disbarred attorney - no matter for what reason - not an "attorney in good standing", and because of their "internal policy" (no government act prohibits them from accepting a suspended attorney, and I am still an attorney for purposes of CLE obligations) they would not admit/associate with a suspended attorney.  

Including an attorney suspended for criticizing corruption and misconduct in the government, like I am.

For NYSBA, an attorney suspended by the government for any reason - including for criticizing that same government - is not an attorney in good standing "by definition".

So, there is no "dilemma".

There is a policy, in the ABA and the local state bar associations of non-support of "human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers" who are suffering and have suffered political repressions from the state and U.S. government in retaliation for criticizing the state and U.S. government.

Because, if ABA and local state bar associations start to side and support these rubble-rousers, they will lose their privileged status in the government of all branches and all levels, as well as in the private practice of the legal establishment - and that is bad for business.

So, it is also a business policy.

Of course, that business policy is being cloaked in lofty reasons - as to China, at least.

"The episode underscores the difficult decision facing the ABA between continuing to work to advance the rule of law in China and criticizing the repression of civil rights under Mr. Xi, said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director for Amnesty International.

'For a long time, ABA could argue that their presence in China was worth the cost of muting their criticism of issues in China’s legal system,” Mr. Bequelin said. “I wonder, and I think many legal analysts wonder, whether that point has passed.'"

So, the pretense dilemma (which was not expressed by the ABA, by the way - ABA only claimed that the book will not sell well, and not in the initial reasons for rescinding of the book offer, there were no reasons given when the offer was rescinded) is:

  • should ABA abstain from criticizing the devil for hurting people
  • in order to try to teach the devil adhere to the rule of law

As I said above, that "dilemma" is non-existent in the U.S., as to "their own" attorneys similarly deprived of human rights on the U.S. soil.

They simply do not see them and do not associate with them.

To the "proper" ABA and the "proper" NYSBA and the "proper" other state bar associations ANY suspended or disbarred attorney, even if the suspension or disbarment by the government was for criticizing governmental misconduct, is "by definition" not an attorney "in good standing".

They will NOT associate with such attorney.

They will NOT offer their support to him in the press, by book offers or otherwise.

They will stay squeaky-clean of any shadow of accusation that they even might support a critic of the government of the United States or of the states.

And that is not because they are deciding how to "work with the devil" better to persuade the devil to change his ways, reform and adhere to the rule of law.

It is, as I said before, a strictly business decision and policy.

What is the most interesting, though, in this story that the U.S. Congress suddenly stirred some interest - undoubtedly because of the international resonance of the story - and even called ABA and the belligerrent Chinese attorney to a hearing next month.

I am going to write to that particular Committee and ask permission to testify at that hearing, and will urge attorneys in the U.S. similarly sanctioned by our own government here, to seek permission to testify that ABA's behavior is part of its business policy of non-support of civil rights defenders - within or without the U.S. borders, if it is bad for business of its members connected with the government and deriving financial benefits from the connection.

There are a lot of us, attorneys sanctioned for criticizing governmental misconduct in the United States.

We are uniting.

And it is time to act.

Thank you, the MaryGSykes blog, for alerting me to the news about the controversy.

I will post my written testimony forwarded to the U.S. Congress for the next month's hearing, with a request to allow my oral testimony on the subject of political repressions against human rights attorneys in the U.S. and the cowardly position of the ABA and state bar associations on this subject.

Stay tuned.

Keep your head low, don't whistle-blow - or feel the Burn

As I promised earlier, I am publishing some documents from a civil rights case filed by 4 female corrections officers from Ulster County in 2009.

The officers alleged sexual harassment and whistle-blower retaliation called "the burn" when no matter what the "guilty" officer does, she cannot escape petty picking that inevitably results in discipline.

See the full text of the lawsuit here.

In 2013, Northern District of New York rejected some of the claims, but allowed several claims to proceed to trial.

Three officers prevailed at the jury trial as to hostile work environment claims and were given a verdict in their favor, and the pregnancy discrimination claim of the fourth officer (refusing to give her lighter duties and making her work, with a high-risk pregnancy, with inmates and having to break up inmate fights) was rejected by the lower district court, see the jury verdict sheet here.

Recently, the federal appellate court reversed the dismissal of the pregnancy discrimination claim and sent it back to the district court for trial.

I encourage my readers to read the text of the initial lawsuit.

The callousness.

The cruelty.

The vulgarity.

Putting a "urinal tablet" on the "heating coil" in order to make a woman with a long-awaited high-risk pregnancy feel sicker than she was.

Those are all public officials.

They have their own wives, daughters, mothers and sisters.

I am sure most of them are church-going men claiming they are God-fearing and pious.

How could they?

Obviously, they could.

And you know why?

Because they thought they are untouchable.

And they are.

Because, out of all claims that these women brought, only "hostile environment" survived.

Not the 1st Amendment retaliation.

Not the sexual harassment.

Only the amorphous "hostile employment environment".

Don't look that the jury rejected some claims.  That happened because of how instructions as to the law were given, how the previous motions were decided.

We don't know the gender composition of that jury either.

As it is now, as a result of this lawsuit, sexual harassment in Ulster County jail and in other jails across the State of New York, against female CORRECTIONS OFFICERS may continue.

If female corrections officers are not safe from sexual harassment by their male colleagues and supervisors, inmates are simply doomed.

And the same can be said about the fate of whistle-blowers, especially female whistle-blowers.

A great message was sent by how courts decided this lawsuit as to the whistle-blower retaliation claims, to all whistle-blowers in New York, and especially to female whistle-blowers. 

Keep your head low, don't whistle-blow.

Or feel the burn.

Delaware County: pet projects, pass-through grants, robbing children in foster care and compensation of foster parents

When a child is removed to foster care in the State of New York, there are several sources of support for the child:

1) compensation paid for the child's board and care directly to foster parent;

2) support obtained from parents, if they are alive, reachable by support petition and have ability to pay;

3) the child's SSI payments through Social Security, if available.

I had some individuals come to me in Delaware County, NY  when I was practicing last year and tell me that Delaware County Social Services is misusing foster children's SSI payments that must be used only for the children's care.

The allegation was that the Delaware County puts such monies in the general fund and uses it for its own needs, not for the child's, while at the same time suing parents for support.

I was also told that the Social Security administration was notified and was conducting an investigation.

I am not aware how that alleged investigation turned out, but misuse of federal funds by the County is a concern, especially in view of the fact that the County funnels millions of dollars, including state and federal aid into its pet satellite business - Delaware Opportunities Inc. (and the two affiliate corporations, see audit report posted by Delaware Opportunities, Inc.), while prosecuting two women from Deposit for being down on their luck and applying for food stamps.

By the way, Delaware Opportunities Inc. had a grant "passed through" from the Town of Deposit for "community development" - for $14,657 in 2014.  

A "pass through" grant, by the way, is a grant for which the non-profit corporation employing 279 people in 2014, Delaware Opportunities, Inc., must APPLY to the pass-through authority.

Here, Delaware Opportunities, Inc., had to apply to the Town of Deposit to give Delaware Opportunities, Inc. a grant of $14,657 for "community development" benefiting the Town of Deposit residents.

Therefore, the Town of Deposit residents, including Tammy Stanton and MacKenzie Stanton, are entitled to know (1) why the grant funds were given to this non-profit and not to needy residents directly; and (2) how Delaware Opportunities, Inc. is benefiting "community development" of the Town of Deposit - other than, possibly, receiving some kick-backs to the Town council people, of course.

By the way, I asked in the FOIL request with Delaware County for the list of employees of Delaware Opportunities, Inc. working on county-funded projects - we will see if those lists will be released, and if they are, how many relatives of the local county and town government officials are working in that non-profit.

And, I also filed another FOIL request today verifying whether the Delaware County District Attorney's office has a contract with Delaware County Department of Social Services, similar to what Otsego County DA's office has with Otsego County DSS, for additional compensation in exchange for prosecution of DSS-targeted criminal cases.

What kind of community development a non-profit corporation handled FOR the Town of Deposit that is located within 40 minutes' drive away over the mountains that could not be given directly to the Deposit residents, so that Tammy Stanton and McKenzie Stanton would not have to apply for food stamps, I am exploring through separate FOIL and FOIA requests.

As to Delaware County and foster parents, I sought information about county-set rates of compensation for foster parents.

Since the former DSS Commissioner Moon announced in the press a couple of years ago that at any given moment there are more than 100 children in foster care in Delaware County, county-set rates of compensation of foster parents are a financial concern for taxpayers.

I will report the response to the FOIL requests in this blog.

Stay tuned.

A FOIL request was filed with Delaware County for cell phone numbers and bills, emails of county employees and for other important information

Yesterday, I filed two FOIL requests with Delaware County, New York.

This is the first one, I will post the second one in a separate blog.

In view of the revealed fact that the alleged Deputy Sheriff Derek Bowie was never a legitimate police officer in Delaware County - because of how he hired and because he never lived in Delaware County during his employment, as was required by the conditions of employment, I made an inquiry as to the residency of the currently employed Deputy Sheriffs and of the Acting Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard, who also has a residency requirement.

I also asked for lists of employees with salaries, salary history, assigned e-mails, assigned cell phone numbers, and I asked for the latest cell phone bills for each of the County employee who enjoys having a cell phone issued by the County.

I also asked for statistics, if any, of relatives employed in the County, and for all written policies the county has.

In the deposition of Derek Bowie he referred to certain written policies and procedures of the Sheriff's Department, yet, each time I ask for written policies, I am given a response that there aren't any.

Here is another try.

I will report on this blog as to Delaware County responses to this FOIL request.

And, I remind the Delaware County officials who may be reading this blog, of what U.S. Congressmen stated in their letter 2 days ago to the U.S. Comptroller in asking for an investigation into non-enforcement of Freedom of Information Act (a similar statute to FOIL under which I made this request):

I couldn't have said it better.

Delaware County insurance policy for this year - exclusions, exclusions to exclusions, and the cost of Derek Bowie and other discharged officers in raised premium

I recently asked the Delaware County for its liability insurance policy.

First, I was given nothing in response to my FOIL request.

When I asked, why, I was explained that they are waiting for a new insurance policy, so I asked for both old and new.

Several of days ago, I received both - but they appear to be limited liability policies covering only law enforcement personnel, while I asked for an insurance policy covering all Delaware County employees.

While I will address the issue on an administrative appeal for denial of my FOIL request, here are the old and the new insurance policies:

Here is the the "old" policy for the previous year.

Here is the renewed policy, for this year, until January 1, 2017.

There are interesting exclusions in the policy.

As to the new insurance policy, you can see a $3,623.40 hike as compared to the previous  one, and the significant event in the previous year (2015) was the deposition of Derek Bowie in the lawsuit by Kylie Smith.  Derek Bowie resigned or was discharged from the Delaware County Sheriff's Department that year.

Significantly, while the insurance company agrees to an obligation to defend against claims of personal injury and property damage by employees of the Delaware County law enforcement, the policy does not cover compensation of damages for personal injury and property damage, intentional acts, unjust enrichment by the County officials, defamation, violation of constitutional rights and any injury caused by vehicles, all in all for 20 types of exclusions.

Yet, the county taxpayers are currently paying, through insurance, for the legal defense of Derek Bowie's shenannigans in two lawsuits - one federal, and one in state court, and that is, possibly, the reason for the raised insurance premiums and extensive exclusions in the new policy.

In other words, the policy does not cover compensation for about anything that Derek Bowie did to his two suing victims - Barbara O'Sullivan and Kylie Smith.

As I mentioned above, there are 20 types of exclusions from the insurance coverage in the policy, and I encourage my readers to read the policy in full, here.

Some exclusions and "exclusions to exclusions" are interesting, some are good for the citizens and some are very clearly bad.

For example, there is an "exclusion to exclusion" that, even though there is no coverage for injuries caused by County vehicles, there is coverage for injuries caused by police vehicles during chase in order to apprehend a criminal suspect.

So, I understand that both the injured criminal suspect, the officers involved in the chase and the possible innocent victims of such a chase (motorists or pedestrians) can receive compensation from insurance within the policy limits.

On the other hand, there is an exclusion for failure to provide or negligent provision of medical help.

That means that the habitual failure of the Delaware County Sheriff's department to provide medical help to inmates and pretrial detainees in the Delaware County jail is not covered by insurance.

That means that the compensation for such failures in case a lawsuit happens, and it is waiting to happen, will come directly from the coffers of Delaware County, without any possibility of recovery from insurance, and will be turned against taxpayers through raised property taxes.

That's even more reason to demand accountability of the County and to demand that the County pays attention to detainees and inmates' medical needs - failure to provide for such needs can be costly for the County taxpayers.

There is an "exclusion to exclusion" for property seized by the County.  While property in custody of the County other than property seized by the County, is not covered by insurance, the property seized by the County, is.

This means, if the County damages or loses property it seizes during arrests, at least insurance is available to compensate the damage.

All in all, it means that employees of Delaware County will be provided legal defense at the expense of insurance if they do something wrong, but as to damages - they are on their own, they will have to pay out of pocket as to intentional acts.

One other important issue.

It appears that despite being busted by New York State Comptroller for not submitting its contracts to public bidding, Delaware County continues to do the same.

I am currently researching documents of the Delaware County's tumor - the Delaware Opportunities, Inc., to show how the taxpayers' money are sucked out, at the threat of foreclosure on the taxpayers' homes, and are funneled, under claims of "serving lofty causes" no less, into a pet business of Delaware County officials.

Any contracts made by the County without bidding are suspect.

Contracts with the liability insurance company fall into the same category.

Since the premiums are so high, and insurance contract is a financial service based on which insurance company offers a better quote for the same coverage, rather than a "personal service", insurance contracts should be subject to public bidding.

This insurance policy wasn't.

I am verifying that in a FOIL request I filed with the County.

I will post my yesterday's FOIL requests in a separate blog.

Stay tuned. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Access to records law gets attention of the House and the Senate

Yesterday, several U.S. Senators and House Representatives reportedly requested the U.S. Comptroller General to start an investigation of how citizen's requests for access to records under Freedom of Information Act (that's federal statute, New York has a state counterpart - FOIL, or Public Officers Law 87).

Their letter reportedly says, among other things, the following:

"The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a vital tool that protects one of the cornerstones of our Nation: the American public's right to know what its government is up to."

The Congressmen obviously did not ask the opinion of some Delaware County officials about the value of access-to-records laws (such as "don't get your nose into our business, etc.") before writing the letter.

This letter.

It will definitely help not only for federal, but also for state public officials to read that letter.

Because it applies to state records, and state access-to-records laws, too.

And, of course, there are not only FOIA and FOIL among access-to-records laws, the scope of these laws is much broader, and all of those laws help people figure out what the government is up to.

I am currently preparing a book specifically on access to records in a certain narrow area of law where knowledge about access to records laws can help a lot of people who are, let's say, far from being privileged members of society.

I cannot promise the date of publication, as it gets delayed by my appeals of the disciplinary case (which now has a likelihood to head towards the U.S. Supreme Court), and I write in two languages at the same time (Russian and English, the books will not be 100% identical), but I do promise that 

  • it will be this year, that 
  • it will be affordable, that 
  • it will cite to free and readily available information sources and 
  • that it will be both in e-version and in print;
  • there is a possibility of a Spanish translation the year after the year of publication; and
  • there is a possibility of an audio version in Russian and in English.

And, of course, I promise thorough research and valuable information in the book as to how to access records in that narrow area of law (which will be applicable in wider settings, too, since these laws have a very wide area of application).

The value of access-to-records laws where litigation is pending, going on or threatened, is that such access-to-records efforts may be done as a leverage against the government, outside of court proceedings, and thus outside of control of courts that are often biased in government's favor.

The publication date approaches, but is still away.

I am vigorously working on the book and I promise I will make the publication date known on the blog.

I will post some interesting blogs tomorrow commenting on public documents obtained through access to records laws and otherwise freely obtained on the Internet.

Stay tuned.

Barbara O'Sullivan's housefire: Delaware County records office does not have a clue who and how changed records on Barbara's house

The mystery - or mess, or both - in Delaware County regarding Barbara O'Sullivan's housefire continues.

Barbara O'Sullivan was sued for foreclosure in 2009 and had already a referee's deed granted to the bank.

Then, Barbara hired my husband and me to vacate the order of foreclosure, I represented her on a motion to vacate, and I won the motion. 

The referee's deed was vacated and the foreclosure action was dismissed for lack of standing.

Barbara's house went back into her name by operation of law.

Yet, in February of 2016 Barbara's daughter's attorney obtained records of her house from the tax office in Delaware County.

The records listed the house as a "2-family" home, and not in Barbara's name, but in the name of the bank.

Of course, that was fraud - because the bank definitely knew of Judge Peckham's decision putting the house back into Barbara's name, which was in 2009, and once again in 2010 when the bank tried to go back and vacate that 2009 order.

Ok, Barbara went today to the real estate and tax records office in the Delaware County building and started asking simple questions.

When was her house changed from 1-family home to 2-family home, because she, the owner of the house, didn't do that?

Delaware County could not provide an answer - neither in the Clerk's Office, nor in the tax records office.

She verified that Delaware County relies on the referee's deed in considering the bank as owner of the property - while the deed was vacated by Judge Peckham, and the foreclosure action dismissed, in 2009.

Barbara asked, when was the referee's deed filed and by whom?

Delaware County could provide no answer to that question either.  They said that their "guess" - in the absence of records - is that PROBABLY the referee's deed was filed 2 to 3 days after it was signed.

But, since there is no record as to when the long-vacated deed was ACTUALLY filed, it could have been filed long after it was vacated, and Delaware County is now backtracking and covering their collective asses in fear of a lawsuit.

Is there any governmental office that has any order in Delaware County?

What are these guys and girls paid for?

What a mess.

Barbara O'Sullivan's housefire: why doesn't anybody investigate Ryan Adams or Derek Bowie?

According to a recent report to this blog, Delhi Fire Investigator Dale Downey (phonetic) was asking questions about explosion before the explosion happened, and firefighters refused to approach the house before the explosion happened.

It was also reported to me that Delhi firefighters called the previous owner of the house William Aikens (who sold the house 30 YEARS prior) THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE - Friday to Saturday, April 22 and April 23, 2016.

Coincidentally, the previous owner who sold the house to Barbara 30 years ago is an extremely nosy person and a blood relation of a high-ranking official in the Delaware County Department of Social Services, Susan Aikens, the Deputy Commissioner of the Delaware County Department of Social Services.

Here is the snapshot of Susan Aikens' LinkedIn profile as of today:

Here is Susan Aikens' salary for several years at Delaware County DSS:

I personally established, through discovery and admissions by Delaware County then-attorney for Social Services and now County Attorney Porter Kirkwood that Bill Aikens is Susan Aikens' blood relative.

Also quite "coincidentally", as the snippet from discovery shows, Bill Aikens is also our next-door neighbor in Delhi, NY who was consulted, along with this wife Wanda, as a witness when Delaware County Department of Social Services fabricated the (now dismissed) child neglect protective charges against me and my husband after I made a motion to recuse Carl F. Becker on behalf of a client that had nothing to do with me personally, an arms-length attorney-client relationship.  

I made a motion to recuse Carl F. Becker on August 31, 2009, I have a copy on file, in a named case that I cannot disclose because of privacy issues of my client, because, according to two opinions of theNew York State Committee on Judicial Ethics, this one and this one, that I provided in support of the motion, a judge may not preside WITHOUT DISCLOSURE over a case where his former longtime client is a party or a witness.

I made the motion in a child neglect case of a client who was not my friend or relative, or any kind of social connection, it was a purely professional responsibility to make that motion that I took seriously.

And, I was slapped for my efforts with a child neglect charge of my own and police and social services at the door of my law office asking me whether they can "look around" (search my home law office).

At a deposition, the former Commissioner Bill Moon testified that the charges wouldn't have been brought "had you opened THAT DOOR" (had I allowed the illegal warrantless search of our then-home law office containing confidential files of clients going back years, including files in opposition to criminal and social services cases).

When I did discovery in the case, I got case notes.

In the case notes, I found out that, despite the fact that the Deputy Commissioner of the Petitioner was Susan Aikens, they used her blood relative Bill Aikens as a witness against me - who spread rumors in those casenotes (same as commentators are doing here on this blog against Barbara).

Child neglect charges could not even be brought against me (not to mention that they were fabricated, and dismissed after two years of litigation and a full discovery and trial) because the Petitioner was disqualified by using blood relatives of his Deputy Commissioner as witnesses against me.

But, where did Delaware County officials stop from a conflict of interest - especially when somebody they hate is involved?

So, as far as Barbara's case is concerned, it is RUMORS firefighters were seeking from Bill Aikens on the night of the housefire instead of doing their jobs.

And I am sure Bill Aikens obliged and gave them some rumors, he is good at it, as I learnt from discovery in my now dismissed child neglect case.

And, talking to Bill Aikens on the night of the fire was the equivalent of talking to the Delaware County Department of Social Services on the night of the fire - that same Department that Barbara sued in federal court.

Which is - especially coupled with personal involvement in this case and threats made against me by the Department's employee Sharon Reichert-Morgan - is getting more and more interesting.

Since any number of changes could be made to the house over 30 years, and Barbara was on the property and available to give layout of the house, and was doing it, the call to that prior owner made no sense.

When I was searching the database of for the name Aikens - I found one more most interesting coincidence, Winston J. Aikens, a long-time employee of New York State Insurance Department:

And this coincidence, Anne Aikens, a long-time highly-paid "general employee" of Delaware County:

Here is a picture of Anne Aikens, of Delhi, NY, from her Facebook page, to show who that is:

And, there is an Aikens Arlene from New York State Law Department.

And, there is an Aikens Cathy, a long time employee of "Children's Services Administration" whose salary has skyrocketed from $10,000 in 2008 to over $70,000 in 2015.

And, there is an Aikens Donna, a "licensed practical nurse" working in "Mental Retardation" with the State of New York.

Just coincidences, I am sure.

Nothing that a few questions in discovery would not clarify.

But, the connection between questions about insurance, a call on the night of the fire to Bill Aikens, and a Winston Aikens working for the NYS Insurance Department is most interesting.

DFD Fire Inspector Dale Downer, reportedly, continues to go around and ask people - but not Barbara herself - whether Barbara had insurance on the house. 

So, the plan, especially with Sharon Reichert-Morgan's clear accusations that Barbara has burnt the house to get insurance, is clear - to frame Barbara in insurance fraud.

And, a couple of people who are likely local confidential informants (I know the names, and I know the connections making me believe they are CIs) tried to approach Barbara and her family members for information whether, once again, she had insurance on the house and whether she paid for the house to the previous owner - again, she bought the house over 30 years ago.

So, nothing like trying to frame a critic of governmental misconduct one way or another.

And nothing like not even trying to investigate who could have been attempting to kill her and her daughter and to burn her house.

There are several people who were actually sued for acts of violence against Barbara O'Sullivan in the past.

Ryan Adams, father of Barbara O'Sullivan's grandchild, was sued for assault on Barbara O'Sullivan.

Ryan Adams then was prosecuted in a criminal proceeding in Delhi Town Court for making a death threat against her over the phone in 2010.

The death threat case was ACD'd (adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and then dismissed) against Barbara's objections by Carl Becker's then-undisclosed law partner who is now running for DA, John Hubbard.

I still have on file a whole library of telephone recordings of Ryan Adams where he is extremely abusive to Barbara's daughter.

Ryan Adams was just held in contempt of court in North Carolina, on March 31, 2016.  

There was a domestic episode in Pennsylvania where Ryan Adams did something so bad that his usually loyal wife called the authorities, ran from home with two babies in tow and called the same Barbara O'Sullivan WHO SHE HATES to report to her that Barbara's granddaughter remained with Ryan because the police did not let the wife take her since she was only a stepdaughter, and she had no legal right of custody to her.

Something REALLY REALLY BAD happened that night for the wife to do that.

Nobody investigated that either.

But, the fact of the domestic episode is reflected in court papers in Pennsylvania.

That man is out of control.

Barbara's daughter stated in court papers which I filed on her behalf that Ryan Adams was choking her when they were living together, and that he had night-vision goggles to watch what was going on around the house.

The same house that burnt.

He lived there.

He knows it very well.

He worked for years in charge of some military storage facility, so he may have had access to sophisticated weaponry.

Despite being married and having 3 or 4 children in his new marriage, judging by the recording phone conversations with Barbara's daughter, he is still bitterly jealous of her.

He went off the hook when he saw her in a relationship.

He could have attempted to kill her out of jealousy.

He had motive, opportunity, funds and knowledge to do it himself or arrange for somebody else to do it.

The explosive flaming projectile that was thrown inside the house has landed on Barbara's daughter's bed, specifically on her bed.

Nobody is investigating.

Another person who is out of control is Derek Bowie.

He already tried to kill Barbara O'Sullivan with a police vehicle on September 5, 2014, Barbara is suing him for that, and Delaware County, according to his deposition in another case, is "100% behind him", HIM, and is funding his legal defense.

And is not prosecuting him - because his uncle works in the Delaware County District Attorney's office.

Derek Bowie is also sued by a woman looking similar to Barbara, Kylie Smith, in federal court, for assault, battery, unlawful imprisonment.

Through a deposition in that lawsuit it has become known that Derek Bowie also reportedly killed a dog by beating it to death.

He tasered Barbara's daughter's dog, and beaten it.

And asked Judge Gumo to euthanize the dog, the witness of his misconduct who can "identify" him by choosing him out of a lineup of officers who have never been to Barbara's house.

That dog was nearly killed by Derek Bowie.

Derek Bowie asked the Delhi Town court to euthanize him when the dog survived.

Two dogs have been killed since Barbara's charges were dismissed.

One under suspicious circumstances, 2 weeks after dismissal of her charges.

One in house fire - and the other two she saved, but could very well not been able to.

No investigation as to those men, is there?


Because one is entrenched into the local government by blood ties, and the other pretends to be a U.S. Marine?

And because Barbara sued the local government, is suing a local cop who has half of his family employed somewhere in Delaware County, and that's why SHE is to blame.

And SHE is being prosecuted.

And SHE is being framed, again and again.


I do not say Derek Bowie or Ryan Adams DID IT.

I am saying there is enough evidence to INVESTIGATE THE CONNECTION, and no effort is being done in that direction.

Because of the APPARENT conflicts of interest involved.

Instead of investigating possible and likely act of terrible violence against Barbara, her daughter, their pets and destruction of their property, same as in the criminal case that was just dismissed against Barbara, the focus is not on the perpetrator of the crime, but on the victim.  

Blame the victim to distract attention from the possible real culprits.


Barbara O'Sullivan's housefire: the incompetent and rude performance of Troop C in Margaretville and #PublicOfficersLaw66-a

Ok, so when you are a victim of a crime, and if New York State Police is investigating, you are entitled to certain reports of the investigation.

Barbara O'Sullivan, after her house fire, was led by the nose by the Delaware County Sheriff's Department first, from Saturday to Wednesday, with claims that the Sheriff's Department handles the reports and that Tim Buckley of the Sheriff's Department will give her the reports of the fire investigation.

Then, Tim Buckley not only did not give her any reports, but told her on the phone and in an e-mail that he does not really know which police agency - if at all - was handling investigation on the fire within his jurisdiction.

Barbara needed that report, and called the New York State Police in Albany.

They referred her to Troop C in Margaretville.

The Troop C in Margaretville told her to go back to New York State Police in Albany for any reports that they allegedly have in Margaretville.

When Barbara asked what reports are available in Margaretville that she should ask in Albany, and where in Albany to ask, she was told by the Margaretville Troop C to "just Google it" - but they admitted that Officer JJ Adams was on the report.

Officer Adams was also the one who refused to investigate text threats that came to Barbara's daughter's cell phone shortly before the house fire.

Not much help with information to the victim of a horrible crime, or, if Troop C doesn't want to recognize the obvious arson in the middle of the night as a crime, victim of a house fire who lost all her property in that fire.

So, the trooper - Officer Carlson - told Barbara to "just google it".

She actually did.

And found out that she, as the victim of a crime or a person in need of information for purposes of insurance for things lost in that fire (like a telephone, for example), she is entitled to certain records.

See the webpage of New York State police describing in detail which records are available from NYS police through FOIL, which are not available under FOIL,

and pointing out that victims of crimes and people entitled to certain records personally can apply for those records under Public Officers Law 66-a.

Here is Public Officers Law 66-a .

And here it is in full, with the exception of the repealed section.  I broke up the text of the statute for easier reading, and will follow it with comments.


Public Officers 
    § 66-a. Accident  reports kept by 
police authorities to be open 
to the inspection of 
persons interested. 

1Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of law, general, special or local, or any limitation contained in the provision of any city charter

all reports and records of any accident

kept or maintained by the 

  • state police or by the 
  • police department or force of any 
  • county, 
  • city, 
  • town, 
  • village or 
  • other district of the state, shall be open to the inspection of any person having an interest therein, or of such person's attorney or agent, even though the state or a municipal corporation or other subdivision thereof may have been involved  in  the  accident;

except that 

the authorities having custody of such reports or records 

may prescribe   

reasonable rules and regulations in regard to 

the time and manner of such inspection


may withhold from inspection 

any reports or records 

the disclosure of which would  interfere with the investigation or prosecution by such authorities of a crime involved in or connected with the accident.    

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of  section twenty-three hundred seven of thecivil practice law and rules (judicial subpoena duces tecum - T.N.), the public officers law, or any other law to the contrary, 

the division of state police 

shall charge fees 

for the search and copy of 

  • accident reports and 
  • photographs.

A search fee of fifteen dollars per accident report shall be charged, 

with no additional fee for a photocopy

An additional fee of fifteen dollars shall be charged 

for a certified copy of any accident report.

A fee of twenty-five dollars per 

  • photograph or 
  • contact sheet shall be charged.  

The fees for investigative reports shall be the same as those for accident reports.


Ok, so after Barbara O'Sullivan was rudely put off by Troop C's Officer Carlson  and told to "google it" as to the information where to get records of accident reports from her house fire, she googled it, found and read on the website of New York State Police that she may be entitled to accident reports under Public Officers Law 66-a (see above).

After having read that, she called Troop C again, and told them what the website of the New York State Police which they told her to "just Google" told her.

The trooper at Troop C acted surprised, but did not release the report anyway, and told her to write to Albany for records that they have, so that she would be - maybe - given those reports in 2 to 3 weeks.

Enough time to concoct those reports which were obviously not timely made, and, again, no written statements from witnesses were collected.

As Barbara says, the supervisor of the trooper she was talking to, interfered into the conversation, overrun the trooper and ended the conversation.


What does Public Officers Law 66-a tell us and 

why Troop C's actions in handling Barbara O'Sullivan's inquiry as to records about her housefire are incompetent, rude and inconsistent with the law?

This is what Public Officers Law 66-a, the law that NYS Police points people to on its website, tells persons who seek information about accident reports regarding something that happened on their property or to themselves personally:

1) Police departments and any other law enforcement entities MUST open to inspection to "interested persons" (such as residents and homeowners of homes lost in fires) the following records:

  • accident reports, 
  • photographs
  • contact sheets
  • investigative reports - and all that is in it, with the exception of records that are at that time used in "investigation or prosecution of a crime" arising out of the accident.

No crime is being investigated in connection with Barbara O'Sullivan's house fire, and that's the whole point.

So, the police cannot have it both ways - claim that there was no crime committed, and at the same time block Barbara's access to what is now deemed, by that same police force, ACCIDENT reports.

There is even a provision in Public Officers Law 66-a that such records MUST be open to inspection even if those records are sought to be used in litigation against the police, or city, or county, or any other public entity employing that police force.

2) The only way, other than to withhold records that are used in investigation or prosecution of a crime (and that is not being done) that the police force that has the records can regulate access to those records, is to:

create reasonable rules and regulations
  • regulate the time of inspection, and
  • regulate the manner of inspection.

Giving the inquiring person a runaround such as Trooper Carlson gave her:

  • write to Albany for records we have here in Margaretville on the computer - where should I write? - "just Google it"
  • oh, you've actually googled it and found on the website of NY State Police about your rights under Public Officers Law 66-a?  I don't know anything about it.   Still write to Albany, and you will (maybe) get COPIES of documents - not access to originals, as the Public Officers Law 66-a requires - in 2-3 weeks.  Maybe.  When we concoct some plausible story lines with the help of New York State Attorney General (who is, by Public Officers Law 17, State Police's attorney who will DEFEND them in actions involving their misconduct).

It is obvious that the runaround that Officer Carlson gave Barbara O'Sullivan did not come close to the "reasonable rules and regulations as to time and manner of inspection" that Public Officers Law 66-a provides for.

Let's go by each and every word of this phrase, "reasonable rules and regulations as to the time and manner of inspection", starting from the end.

Inspection - is inspection of ORIGINAL documents on file, in the ORIGINAL FORMAT.

Trooper Carlson told Barbara O'Sullivan that certain records exist on Troop C COMPUTER, but did not offer her access to those records.  Somehow, Barbara O'Sullivan had to get access to records on computer located in Margaretville, NY, through Albany, NY.

Nor did Troomer Carlson mean that Barbara O'Sullivan will get to do the INSPECTION of the ORIGINAL RECORDS.  No.  He only talked about her getting a COPY of records, by writing to Albany.

And did not advise her of the applicable fees.

Inspection and copying are two different things.

Barbara may first INSPECT what the police force has as to her housefire, and then choose which records she needs and which she doesn't, and only then will ask for a copy and pay for it.

Inspection was not offered.  The law provides for inspection.  That is not a "reasonable rule or regulation".  And, Trooper Carlson had no authority to make rules and regulations for the large Troop C.

*    *     *

 What can I say.

So far, the results of Barbara's attempts for access to records that she is entitled to under Public Officers Law 66-a are as follows:

1) EMS - stalled her and claimed she should contact them in 2-3 weeks (same as Troop C - they are talking, obviously);

2) Delaware County Sheriff's Department - first told her that Tim Buckley is preparing a report, then Tim Buckley wrote to her saying that not only he is not preparing a report, but he does not even know which police agency, if any, handle investigations and had any reports;

3) Troop C of New York State police, Trooper Carlson and his supervisor, acted rudely, incompetently, unprofessionally and in violation of the Public Officers Law 66-a by denying Barbara's access to information they claimed exist on their own computers, without any basis for such denial in Public Officers Law 66-a;

4) Barbara told me that she was going to contact Delhi Village Police yet, for the same records, under the same Public Officers Law 66-a, because according to a witness she talked to, Delhi Village Police officers were sighted at the place of the house fire at the time of the house fire and/or shortly thereafter, so they must have the reports of their activities.  I will report on Barbara's results as to that access to records request.

5) Delhi Fire Department and fire coordinators, as well as families and friends of firefighters are the best in its reaction to reporting and requests for records.  

Instead of giving Barbara access to records, a smear campaign has been started when I reported misconduct of DFD "volunteer" firefighters involved in non-extinguishing of the housefire.

So far, what was reported to me was:

  • that the closest fire department (from Bloomville, NY) was not deployed (despite everybody having "scanners" and "pagers" and diligently explaining me in comments my stupidity in my alleged failure to understand the difference between the two);
  • that the Delhi Fire Department arrived with a small truck which likely had no water in the tank, that's why the hose was not taken out and no efforts to extinguish the fire were undertaken;
  • that an actual DFD firefighter's wife and a former DFD firefighter familiar with what DFD usually does, unanimously offered me this "rule" existing among the DFD brotherhood - we do not extinguish fires of those we do not like.  

Sharon Reichert-Morgan openly told me in a message that if MY house was on fire.

My house, by the way, could very well be on fire had we not come back home earlier than planned, in September of 2013 - there was a burning cigarette left by a burglar in my attic bedroom in the short window of 3 hours that we were not at home, during daytime.

Delhi Village Police and Delaware County District Attorney's office refused to properly investigate and refused to prosecute.

Now I know why they did not investigate - Sharon Reichert-Morgan, Delaware County employee and wife of a Delhi Fire Department firefighter explained to me the policy - they do not do their jobs for those they do not like.

Sharon Reichert-Morgan explained that to me with exhaustive clarity:  if MY house was on fire, because of my reporting on Barbara's housefire, Sharon Reichert-Morgan will hide her firefighter husband Josh Morgan's keys and prevent him from extinguishing the fire.  

Probably, that's what she did anyway, preventing Josh Morgan from timely arriving and urging Josh Morgan and crew not to take water or the right equipment to extinguish the fire of somebody who, let's see what she did: 

  • sued her employer, the Delaware County, 
  • sued the former beloved attorney for her employer the Delaware County Department of Social Services of 27 years, and then their benefactor from 2002 to 2015 in child protective cases, who fixed their cases for them, Carl F. Becker, and
  • who is now suing the nephew of their investigator Jeff Bowie, Derek Bowie.

So - the rule of DFD and local government was on:  we don't like them, we don't do our job for them.

I will run another blog today or tomorrow about the technique used by county officials (Ulster County was caught using it) called "the burn".  Delaware County is not much different.

That was Sharon Reichert-Morgan.

Then, there was Colleen Church, as far as I know, the former member of Delhi Town Council (that information she did not disclose) and the former member of the Delhi Fire Department (that she did disclose), and the current girlfriend of a firefighter from an unknown municipality.

An anonymous commentator who refused to reveal his name, appearing under the nickname of "LifeSaver" (not very creative and suggesting something far away from firefighting)

claimed he had "permission" from Collen Church to "reveal" that her alleged unnamed boyfriend allegedly is a member in a Meridale fire department.

I do not buy that.

Colleen Church may very well is now trying to backtrack and to prevent discovery of where exactly her boyfriend was a volunteer firefighter, and whether he was supposed to be deployed at Barbara's housefire, but instead decided to save his preferred liquid to be used in firefighting (the piss - Colleen Church's revelation, and she knows the local ways of firefighters, she was with them for years, according to her own admission) on instructions of his girlfriend and didn't.

Judging by how ardently Colleen Church was trying to smear me, my husband (!), Barbara and her daughter, and her whole extended family ("everybody knows how the Braccis operate"), how ardently she tried to question (1) my right to investigate anything in Delaware County, and (2) my right to write about it (no pun intended), there was something very bad and very personal to hide.

  • The next interesting fact - with all the fury of hate comments, I was not contacted by ANY of individuals with personal knowledge about the housefire or investigation of that housefire.

With all the demands of "confrontation in public" (judging by the vulgarities that flew out of Colleen Church, the author of the request, I can only presume that she meant a fist-fight by the public face-to-face confrontation), all ardent hate commentators faded out and refused to participate in a true face-to-face videotaped livestreamed real-name-only video conference with prior notification to my readers that I offered.

  • While DFD management did not provide Barbara any accident reports, DFD firefighters came to Barbara's brother's business to express displeasure with MY reporting of the housefire.  What was the purpose of those actions, I do not know, because Barbara's brother definitely does not have contact with me or influence upon me as to what I write in my blogs.

  • There were two most definite THREATS made against me directly and personally, and specifically for my reporting of this incident, and made by a wife and a girlfriend of local firefighters.
I was told by a girlfriend of a firefighter Colleen Church to stay put where I am, in South Carolina, and not put my nose in the local "business" of Delaware County (even though I am magnanimously permitted to pay Delaware County taxes and thus support the local school where my child does not go and local government that does nothing to protect me, my family or my property when a violent crime against us is committed).  

The alternative, expressed in no uncertain words by the TWO relatives of firefighters (Sharon Reichert-Morgan and Colleen Church) was that my house will burn down and that DFD will not make efforts to extinguish the fire because of the contents of my reports.

If DFD firefighters to to volunteer in DFD to be able to exact revenge against those who they do not like by choosing not to extinguish fires at their houses, residents and homeowners in Delaware County should be really concerned.

But, so far, anger of wives and girlfriends, and anger of firefighters about a news report of what they may have done wrong at a housefire is apparently the main and only "rule and regulation" governing actions of DFD firefighters.

The bottom line as to DFD is - no records, and a smear campaign against the victims, the reporter, the reporter's spouse.  A very telling sign.

DFD did not report Barbara's housefire in any news releases and did not report it on its Facebook page where it reported the prior brush fires and the subsequent deployment to Ulster County.

6) No local news coverage.  No local news outlets considered it necessary to report on the incident.

7) Local residents actually sent me private messages thanking me for the reporting, and expressing to me that they are concerned and alarmed as to what is going on with Barbara's housefire, how it was handled, how it was reported (or not reported) by the local press, how attempts were made to thwart or discredit my reporting, and how Barbara's efforts of access to records are stalled by the local government.

I will continue to cover this story.

Stay tuned.