"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

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment