"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

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. 

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