"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 23, 2016

A deadly blow dealt to judicial immunity - from an unlikely source, former judge of New York State Court of Appeals Carmen Ciparick

Oh, the joy of depositions.

Usually, if a judge is sued, the lawsuit is tossed on judicial immunity grounds.

In a rare deposition of a former judge of New York top state court, which lifted the veil, at least a little bit, as to what judges in New York State are all about.

Now remember, the concept of absolute judicial immunity - a doctrine that judges invented to give as a gift to themselves, so that they could not be sued for constitutional violations on the bench, such as fixing cases, for example - is jammed down the public's throat with an explanation that it is "necessary" to make CORRUPT judges immune from suit, and thus strip victims of their corruption of any possibility of a remedy in order to maintain and preserve judicial INDEPENDENCE.

An interesting concept of independence from the constitutional oath of office, but still - that's what the declared justification of the concept of judicial immunity is, judicial INDEPENDENCE.

I saw it time and again in civil rights lawsuits.

So, as a matter of common sense and logic, if judicial independence is so important that even corrupt judges are protected by the concept of judicial immunity - it means that what kind of judicial candidates must be picked to be on the bench?

Wouldn't it be independent-minded?

Apparently not so - says former New York State Court of Appeals judge Carmen Ciparick.

Carmen Ciparick was called to testify at a deposition in a civil rights case, this case:

Here is the full text of the deposition, it is not long, just 9 pages.

The deposition was held on February 18, 2016.

After the deposition, the plaintiff in the action filed a motion on April 20, 2016, seeking to include former judge Ciparick in an anti-discrimination lawsuit, as a defendant.

I obtained the motion from and am reviewing it.

Here are some portions from the proposed 3rd Amended Complaint of Tracy Catapano-Fox:

So what did Judge Ciparick say in the deposition that invited the lawsuit against her?

Here's one of her statements:

Ciparick, after 34 years on the bench, believes that "insubordinate" people should be allowed to be on the bench?

So, Ciparick was "subordinate"?

The question is - to whom?

Should all litigants she ruled against in her 34 years on the various benches, be now thinking who told her to rule the way she ruled, and she obeyed as a good girl?

I recently raised an issue in court that assignment of cases by a recused judge is a violation of the litigant's due process of law.

In my arguments that when a recused judge controls assignment of other judges to the case he controls the outcome of the case - and that is a violation of due process of law, I relied upon the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit:

McCuin v. Texas Power & Light Co., 714 F.2d 1255, 1261 (5th Cir. 1983) (“To permit a disqualified chief judge to select the judge who will handle the case in which the chief judge is disabled would violate the congressional command that the disqualified judge be removed from all participation in the case.”)

The situation involved a motion for sanctions for frivolous conduct against private attorney Ellen Coccoma (representing private clients on County time - and she conveniently lost or destroyed her time sheets for the County for the time when she was toiling on this case, in answer to my FOIL request), wife of Chief Administrative Judge for upstate New York Michael V. Coccoma who controlled assignment of judges to her cases, and assigned Kevin Dowd, a judge who had definite mental health problems (he was raving on record about a urinal built in his honor at a custody proceeding) and was close to retirement, and Michael Coccoma the husband also controls lucrative assignments of retired judges as "judicial hearing officers".


New York State Appellate Division 3rd Judicial Department disagreed court responded to my well-grounded argument this way:

"Homestead repeatedly asserts that Justice Dowd erred in refusing to recuse himself in this matter, pointing to the fact that Ellen Coccoma, who has served as counsel for plaintiffs, is the wife of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside New York City. 

Homestead specifically argues that the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge controls the assignments given to retired Supreme Court Justices serving as Judicial Hearing Officers and could thus conceivably cause difficulties for Justice Dowd following his retirement if he sanctioned or otherwise ruled against Ellen Coccoma in this action (see Judiciary Law §§ 850 [1]; 851, 852; 22 NYCRR 81.1). We do not agree that this remote, speculative, "possible or contingent" financial interest warrants the disqualification of Justice Dowd (People v Whitridge, 144 App Div 493, 498 [1911]; see Langdon v Town of Webster, 270 AD2d 896, 896 [2000], lv denied 95 NY2d 766 [2000])."


Of course, the appellate court conveniently overlooked my other argument, based on the McCuin case above:

McCuin v. Texas Power & Light Co., 714 F.2d 1255, 1261 (5th Cir. 1983) (“To permit a disqualified chief judge to select the judge who will handle the case in which the chief judge is disabled would violate the congressional command that the disqualified judge be removed from all participation in the case.”)

 - that Michael Coccoma himself recused from all of my cases, and that assignment by Michael Coccoma of any judges amounted to re-entry after recusal of Michael Coccoma himself, with a purpose of retaliation (I wrote about this technique of 3R's - Recusal-Reentry-Retaliation of New York judges, happened to me several times).

Of course, judge Kevin Dowd claimed that no matter who assigns him, his "judgment" is independent.

That's not what Carmen Ciparick thinks though.

Now, who would be more eligible for the position of an independent judge than the Executive Director of the Citizen Complaint Board about actions of police officers.

You need to be REALLY independent-minded to withstand pressures about the subject as sensitive as police misconduct, in our day and time.

Yet, Carmen Ciparick rejected that Executive Director as a judicial candidate for the reasons described above.  Here is her reasoning, once again:

Ms. Fox was the Executive Director of the Board - who was she supposedly "insubordinate" with?  Who is her boss?

What was she "insubordinate" about?

And why is insubordination TO AUTHORITY is a disqualification for a judge whose only "subordination" must be to the law? And nobody else?

So, the cost that innocent victims are paying for "judicial independence" by being stripped of their right to an effective remedy for constitutional violations - judicial immunity for MALICIOUS and CORRUPT conduct of a judge - is all for a fake?

Because independence of a judicial candidate is a DISQUALIFICATION?

Good job, Carmen Ciparick.

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