"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: 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.

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