"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 9, 2016

On the death of a "trouble-maker"

I was waiting how the story of Adam Rupeka will develop before blogging about it.

That was, when Adam Rupeka was still alive.

He isn't any more, according to press reports.

And, with the overwhelming wave of hatred directed against him, even upon his death, in social media by pro-police commentators, I think, his story deserves a thorough review.

Here is Adam Rupeka.

Here is his website, CopBlock, stating on top:

Here are some of Adam Rupeka's videos of police, which expose either embarrassing lack of competence and professionalism, or pure misconduct.

In March of 2015, Adam Rupeka posts a video about police trying to stop and ID him, and being upset when they see that they are being videotaped.

In May of 2015, Adam Rupeka was arrested and pepper-sprayed by a now former police officer, Nathan Baker, for "flipping the bird" on him and not stepping out of the car when police officer told him to.  Moreover, officer Baker roughly handled Rupeka during the unlawful arrest and told him that now "all his freedoms are gone".

In June of 2015, charges for "resisting arrest" were dismissed.

In August of 2015, without suing, Rupeka received a $50,000 settlement, and the police officer was fired, see also here.

It appears that Rupeka did not even have to sue to get the settlement, the police department knew what was done was wrong and paid without a lawsuit.  At least, does not show any civil rights lawsuit by Adam Rupeka.

By the way, in the hate comments on Facebook, some people are asking - now that Rupeka is dead, isn't it time to rehire officer Nathan Baker?  

Just like that.  If the victim is dead, police misconduct is now expunged...

On September 17, 2015 Adam Rupeka posts a video on YouTube claiming that the state police confiscated his camera drone.

In October of 2015, Adam Rupeka was charged and arrested for "reckless endangerment", for flying a drone into a governmental building.

The details of the charges are interesting.

Apparently, the state police confiscated a drone belonging to Rupeka that Rupeka allegedly used to take pictures and videos of police misconduct.

In protest, Rupeka flew another drone over the state police headquarters in Albany, New York.

Adam Rupeka's website reacted by posting an article that his "drone arrest" is retaliatory.

On October 17, 2015 Adam Rupeka posts a detailed article explaining to pro se litigants how to sue the police in federal court.

By the way, Rupeka also posted on YouTube the video of a security guard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York attempting to block Rupeka from videotaping the court entrance from a public street.

In November of 2015, Senator Schumer introduced a bill to restrict drone technology, because of "recent incidents" involving drones.

In December of 2015, after Rupeka's drone arrest in October of 2015, FCC prohibited drone flights over governmental buildings in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, it is interesting to note that a similar charge, only for "flying a drone into a state penitentiary" were recently dropped, reportedly, in Oklahoma.

Upon my information, the "drone" charges against Rupeka were dismissed on or about March 16, 2016.

On March 26, 2016, 10 days after the dismissal of those charges, Adam Rupeka and his girlfriend Jennifer Ogburn were arrested and charged for sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl and endangering welfare of a minor, both misdemeanors.

The focus of Facebook comments immediately changed from calling Adam Rupeka just as a busybody, "police harasser", "wacko" etc. to a "scumbag".

That reaction was predictable.

Back in October of 2015 I posted a blog about general reaction of the public on social media to charges of sexual molestation or endangering welfare of children.

The commentators, as a general rule, reject any concept of presumption of innocence and offer to torture the accused in elaborate ways.

The case with Adam Rupeka was no different.

My work, for years, as a criminal defense attorney, handling all cases including cases of sexual abuse, taught me that sexual abuse allegations are the easiest to fabricate, the easiest to use for smearing people's reputation, and the hardest to break since it is "he said - she said", "children do not lie" and no evidence is needed, "he just touched me 'there'".

False allegations of sexual abuse are especially likely in cases where there are split families and estranged spouses.

Adam Rupeka had an estranged wife and a young girlfriend.

Such cases overwhelmingly result in plea bargains, under intimidation of stiff jail/prison time, so issues in such cases are most often not tried, and whether there was a crime committed or not, usually is not revealed, other than through a confession at the plea allocution hearing - while a bare confession, under New York law, for example, is not valid at trial without corroboration.

Here, there was no confession.

There was an accusation of sexual abuse of a child.

The name of the alleged victim is not known because of her age.

The details of the case are that Rupeka allegedly had the 15-year-old girl in bed with him and his girlfriend, and "rubbed and touched the girl in a sexual manner".

Now, how can one disprove rubbing and touching? There is no physical evidence of it.  It is "he said - she said, children don't lie".

Yes, there is presumption of innocence.

But, this is the public sentiment about presumption of innocence when allegations of crime committed against a child are made.

And this is the sentiment of judges on the same subject.

Yet, the Rupeka's name, while he was still presumed-innocent, was smeared and put him on the run, because he was now afraid of being tortured or killed in prison, in retaliation of his work as an activist to expose police misconduct (and many Facebook commentators suggested he should be tortured or killed in prison).

Many commentators claimed that because he ran, he is guilty - innocent people do not run.

Only a few commentators, vigorously attacked by the majority, raised the issue of presumption of innocence and that if a person has a reason to believe his life is in danger, and is running for his life, he does not care how he looks.

On March 29, 2016 Adam Rupeka is bailed out, bails out his girlfriend, and leaves the State of New York, according to his video, running for his life, believing that the police is seeking to kill him.

On March 30, 2016, Adam Rupeka posts another video, claiming that he is crossing into Canada.

On April 1, 2016 the judge in the sexual abuse case issues a bench warrant for Adam Rupeka when he did not show up for his court appearance.

On April 6, 2016, Mexican newspapers reported that Adam Rupeka and his girlfriend Jennifer Ogburn were found dead allegedly from a drug overdose - in Tijuana, Mexico.

The report said that allegedly, there was a writing on the mirror in the hotel room where the bodies were found: "Take our IDs and give them our bodies. Nobody knows we’re in Mexico".

IDs, for people on the run, messages on mirror in hotel rooms in a country other than the intended country of escape?

Yet, the estranged wife of Adam Rupeka, Rebecca Rupeka, reported that the claim of death from drug overdose does not make sense because Adam Rupeka never did drugs, and, coming from an estranged wife who was abandoned for a girlfriend, that is the most believable information.

According to police reports, Adam Rupeka and Jennifer Ogburn checked into a hotel in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 2, 2016, and on August 3, 2016 Adam Rupeka was found dead, and Jennifer Ogburn alive, but dying, was taken to the hospital and died there

According to the autopsies, the cause of deaths was "pulmonary thromboembolism", or blood clots, in their lungs, and both had the drug Clonazepam "in their systems".

Murder investigations, opened before the autopsies were done, were closed.


A man who was an ardent activist exposing police misconduct, was stopped by police at least five times (that's what I found on the Internet) and arrested at least three times in less than a year.

Stops and arrests:

March 2015 - videotaped a police stop, police was upset

May 2015 - videotaped the police stop for "flipping the bird", was charged and peppersprayed, charges dismissed, resulted in a $50,000 settlement and firing of a police officer

September of 2015 - police took his drone for videotaping them

October 2015 - arrested for flying and crashing another drone into the state police headquarters' building, charges dismissed in mid-March of 2016

End of March 2016 - arrested for sexual abuse of a minor, endangering welfare of a minor

March 29, 2016 - bailed out, bailed out his girlfriend, fled the country allegedly to Canada after seeing his house searched by "men in black",

April 3, 2016 - turned up dead in Mexico together with his young girlfriend (36 and 26 years old, respectively), with a drug in their system, even though the wife says he does not use drugs.

Both had the same side effect, at the same time.

Both died of that same alleged side effect.

Both are claimed to have conveniently OD'd and committed suicides, saying "sorry" and leaving behind their IDs - after being on the run for their lives.

And, under all those suspicious circumstances, there is no murder investigation.

Not if of anybody else's fingerprints.

Not of injection marks.

Not as to what the girlfriend could have said while she was still alive (she was found alive - by somebody, and then died in the hospital, was her death "facilitated", not to leave witnesses)?

There is no logic in all of it other than it is a murder that nobody wants to investigate.

And - in Facebook comments, there were comments like that - "I would like to see Rupeka in need of police help someday".

Rupeka is dead, but justice requires the police to do their jobs and investigate their deaths.

Of course, it's Mexico, sir.

Of course, it's another country, with their own laws and rules.

Yet, Mexico has a long-standing "tradition" of police corruption of its own, so the cover-up of murder investigations could be easily arranged there.

It's pure logic.

The timeline leads to a reasonable suspicion of murder, not suicide.

Dropping murder investigations under the circumstances was extremely suspicious.

And the case stinks.

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