"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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Coverage of Barbara O'Sullivan's house fire continues: the Fire Department's reporting gaps, hysterics, disclaimers and intimidation by a firefighter's girlfriend, anonymous comments of alleged firefighters

I wrote on this blog extensively about Barbara O'Sullivan's house fire that happened during the night from Friday to Saturday last week and that nobody but me wants to report.

The fire was not mentioned in the blotters listing other fires.

The fire was not mentioned on Delhi FD's Facebook page - see that there is a gap in posting the last post before today's was April 17, 2016, Barbara's house fire occurred on the night of April 22 to April 23, 2016 - and could be posted simply as that there was a house fire, and that investigation as to causes is pending.

Yet, there is nothing.  As if that fire did not even happen.

A brush fire is reported.

A house fire of a critic of misconduct of the local government whose fabricated criminal case was just dismissed, is not reported.

And there is no investigation.

And, official reports are not issued.

And, local press is mum about the fire.

Interesting choices in reporting DFD has.

So, the clear intention was to keep that particular fire not reported.

And that wish was thwarted - by a mere blogger, a citizen journalist.

The fire was reported, on this blog, as well as misconduct of local firefighters who refused to help extinguish the fire or save the dog trapped in the basement in the fire, and misconduct of law enforcement and the District Attorney's office that are unwilling to investigate this obvious arson, to the point of not taking written statements from witnesses.

I also wrote about the smear tactics used against me by a group of anonymous individuals claiming to be firefighters (see here), and three women, one semi-anonymous, her posted name is Brigitte (her last name is Berry), so it is #BrigitteBerry, who pretended to be Barbara O'Sullivan's friend while posting comments hurting Barbara, and two other women who provided their full real names - a firefighter's wife #SharonReichert-Morgan and an alleged former firefighter/firefighter's girlfriend #ColleenChurch.

Sharon Reichert-Morgan, an employee of the Delaware County Department of Social Services, first spewed hatred against me, the victims of the fire and even my husband who had nothing to do with reporting of this story or with the case of the house fire, see my blogs here and here.

Then, Sharon Reichert-Morgan, possibly reprimanded at work for contacting me and giving me information, recanted her initial claim that she was getting information about the fire from her firefighter husband - while there is no official report issued about that fire, and claimed she is an "independent thinker" who just happened to think up her theories, without ever being at the fire site, while at the same time accusing me of lies in reporting based on eyewitness accounts, see my blogs here and here.

Meanwhile, Delaware County insurance policy, coincidentally disclosed to me following my Freedom of Information request two days ago, indicated that law enforcement personnel of Delaware County is not allowed, without consent of the insurance carrier, to "accept liability" or "assume obligation" - or, in other words, to tell anybody the truth of what happened at that fire.

Yet, when I posted that intriguing piece of information, #ColleenChurch may have lost her last bearings and posted something completely bizarre, which told me, once again, that I am on the right track in reporting this story.

I must point out that #ColleenChurch first insisted in several posts that she is leaving, and leaving, and leaving, and leaving, and leaving my blog, but with maniacal persistence comes back with increasingly bizarre comments, the last one calling me a "stupid mail order bride bitch".

In that latest bizarre post, Colleen Church was also pretending at some humor claiming that it is impossible to have a "battle of whits" (her spelling) "with someone unarmed".  

Of course, it is impossible, because there is no such word as "whits" in the language which is, I understand, native to Colleen Church, but which she apparently had no time to master past the swear words - she made no spelling mistakes in the words "shit", "bitch" and such like in her comments.

I guess, to each, her own vocabulary.  Colleen Church is familiar with the spelling of words she uses the most.  From that, it is easy to arrive at a conclusion that Colleen Church does not have many battles of wits at all.

And, Colleen Church appears to be "armed" only with that particular strata of vocabulary - which, to her, obviously equates with intellect.

Well, as I said, to each her own.

Now, as to some substantive lies, some threats and some directives to me from Colleen Church which indicate that my reporting is on the right track.

In her earlier post today - made at 5:38 AM plus 3 hours (the time stamp on this blog is California time) - Colleen Church claimed that:

1) she never said she knew what happened at the fire (she did claim that I was lying as to what happened at the fire, based on reports of eyewitnesses, which is the equivalent of stating that she knew what REALLY happened at that fire, otherwise how does she know I am lying?)

2) her boyfriend is (currently) a firefighter;

3) her boyfriend has a pager;

4) Colleen Church "owns a scanner" (a police scanner);

5) that "most people that have lived here for ant /sic/ length of time know the Braccis and how they operate";  "the Braccis" is a very large extended family

Colleen Church said in that post that it would be her last post.

Several posts later, she is still on my blog, her last, very irate, comment posted at 6:50 pm + 3 hours.

She now claims that she listened to the scanner "in her house" and that she allegedly stated before that her boyfriend "has not been a part of the [Delhi Fire Department] for some time".  And that she has allegedly stated that "he is a member of the FD in the town that we now live in and that FD was not dispatched to help with the fire".

She did not state that in her comments before.  

Apparently, somebody had a talk with her, and made her state such a disclaimer, trying to absolve her boyfriend of not having to come to Barbara's rescue.  

That is already good - people are running like rats from a sinking ship, which means, my reports are actually being read by a lot of people.

What is also interesting is that Colleen Church did not disclose the town where she is living - and which allegedly did not dispatch her firefighter boyfriend to fight the fire at Barbara's house, and I wonder, why is that.

Nor did Colleen Church agree to come "face to face" with me in a live-streamed recorded video-chat, along with her firefighter boyfriend, Sharon Reichert-Morgan with whom she was apparently acting in concert, Sharon Reichert-Morgan's firefighter husband, and all other members of the investigative and fire-fighting team that were involved with the case of Barbara's house fire.

And that is also very illustrative of wrongdoing, along with the pressure put on Barbara's siblings, their businesses and even their employees who are getting an earful from the Delhi firefighters about my blogs, while their bosses continue to stall release of fire reports that should have been ready long time ago.

And, such reluctance to meet me on video-chat with the whole investigative crew and give me "their side of the story" is especially telling, as Colleen Church accuses me, as Sharon Reichert-Morgan and Brigitte Berry, and "Archer" and "LifeSaver" commentators did before - of knowing "nothing about" the firefighters' job, and reporting only wide side of the story, from what the victims told me.

When people refuse to give me "the other side of the story", despite several invitations to do that, but still accuse me, in increasingly personal slurs, of one-sided reporting, and no one else is reporting it - I am definitely not to blame that the "other side of the story" is not given to me.

It is also illustrative - and quite funny - how Colleen Church questions my "right" to investigate anything in Delaware County.

The woman who can spell "shit" and "bitch", but cannot spell words denoting her own pretense at "intellectual humor", apparently, does not realize that I can investigate what is happening in the local government where my husband and I pay property taxes, the same way as every other taxpayer, citizen or journalist can, no permission needed.

Colleen Church also gives me a directive to "keep my crap down there" in South Carolina and "keep my nose out of business here".

I understand that the local establishment in Delaware County really wanted to have my husband and I disappear from the area, with our inconvenient pro bono and low-rate services to the local poor and uneducated criminal defendants and parents pursued by social services,  and it is a bitter disappointment that, with all the efforts to get my husband and I out of the area, all that Delaware County got is an unintimidated journalist with legal and linguistic training, time, and a determination to report specifically about what is going on in the government in that particular area.

By the way, the bitter disappointment, I predict, will get even more bitter when my first book comes out, it will happen soon.

Intimidation of journalists who are reporting on misconduct of governments is not such an unusual thing around the world.

Nor it is a legal thing, and Colleen Church, even with her shrunk gray matter, should have realized that when she was giving me her directives not to get "my nose" into Delaware County's "business".

When somebody is eagerly trying to hush reporting on a mere blog, and especially on a blog of a person who Colleen Church claims to be crazy (but who, at the same time, knows local people and local little dirty patterns in the local government well), it shows that something really rotten IS happening over there that Delaware County residents close to the local establishment would not want to be known to the wider world.

Colleen Church also backtracked as to her claims that all long-time residents of the Delhi, NY area know how "the Braccis operate" - now she claims she has not "bashed Mr. Pete Bracci or anyone else in the Bracci family except [my] alleged friends".  

Well, let's see if that is the truth.  Once again, this is the earlier comment of Colleen Church posted today:

It is clearly bashing "the Braccis", without any exception, so Colleen Church was, in fact, bashing all the extended Bracci family - without thinking.  Again, one cannot expect complex intellectual endeavors from a woman with Colleen Church's limited vocabulary.

I wrote a story based on eyewitness accounts.

I was the only reporter who wrote about that story.  The local press and the local public officials are hushing it up.

The only people who responded to the story are people who have no personal knowledge about what happened, but who are still trying to protect something they know nothing about, which leads to a conclusion that something must really be wrong.

These people, the commentators, repeatedly accuse me of one-sided reporting, but repeatedly refuse to give the "other side of the story" through a video conference.

They are obviously afraid to say something stupid to the allegedly stupid me.  So, they are waiting until their attorney will coach their loved ones to put all ducks in a row to help the County, the DFD and all other entities and personnel involved in the monumental blunder of how Barbara O'Sullivan's house fire was handled, to escape liability.

When I was finishing this blog, another comment was posted - by an alleged anonymous firefighter "LifeSaver".

Here is the comment, with my reply.

I appreciate that the tone of the comment by "LifeSaver" was nothing close to the ravings of Colleen Church.  It was respectful, and I understand that the person wanted to provide some valuable information to me. Once again, I appreciate the tone of LifeSaver's comment, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever to firefighters or police officers in general.

Yet, when there is an eyewitness report of misconduct of police and firefighters, especially under the general circumstances of this particular case, and public officials refuse to investigate or provide official reports that must be provided in this case, it is not disrespectful to try investigate what really happened, by means available to me as a journalist.

Unfortunately, as I stated to "LifeSaver" in my response, his (I presume from the style of the comment that "LifeSaver" is a man, and apologize if I am incorrect) information would have been valuable only if I knew the identity of the source.

Without knowing the identity of the source, information provided to me is useless.

I understand that people may be afraid to come forward and discuss the case, and that is also what troubles me as a reporter of this case - because by now the fire report and the investigative report of what happened must be complete, and the names of investigators and of the members of firefighting team known.

There is nothing secret about those names.  

And, if the "LifeSaver" and "Archer" prefer to remain anonymous, as well as Colleen Church and the "LifeSaver" prefer not to disclose the name of Colleen Church's boyfriend or the fire department where he works and which allegedly was not called to duty to Barbara O'Sullivan's house fire, there is a problem there.

I will continue my investigation, and will report my results on this blog.

Stay tuned.

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