"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.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The soap opera with Judge Alan Simon concluded, kind of - other soap operas are going on

The New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct has published its determination of removal against Judge Alan Simon, "a justice of a Justice of the Spring Valley Village Court and the Ramapo Town Court,
Rockland County".

I wrote a preliminary blog about discipline against Judge Alan Simon, when his case was just reported, but before the determination was published, here.

The decision reads like a novel about the Wild West.

The only thing that it lacks is horseback chases with shooting.

Otherwise - it is intimidation, yelling at another judge "have a stroke or die", holding a court employee (intern) in contempt for disobeying a "court order" issued orally by Judge Simon outside of the courtroom or any court proceedings, attempting to use for arrest of that employee Judge Simon's personal friend who was off-duty at the time, the list goes on and on - I encourage you to read the decision.

Yet, as I said in my previous blog, while Judge Simon undoubtedly deserved being removed from the bench for his shenanigans, many judges on higher benches remain there despite any shenanigans, because the New York State Commission has an unwritten policy to remove only low-rank jerks.

Higher-rank jerks will remain there and continue to do what Judge Simon was removed for - with impunity - until people of the State of New York vote in 2017 to change to the State Constitution and remove judicial immunity on constitutional level, allowing to sue judges who commit misconduct in office, for money damages.

Only hitting them in the pocket, where it hurts, will work.

And, as to Alan Simon - the "have a stroke or die" former judge is actually an attorney "with no record of public discipline":

Like another removed judge, Diane L. Schilling, who also remains a practicing attorney with "no record of public discipline", see her order of removal here.

Of course, Diane L. Schilling was a "special" counsel for Chief Administrative Judge for upstate New York Michael Coccoma - that may explain that she still does not have a "record of public discipline", despite having been kicked off the bench for misconduct.

Mr. Simon might not be as lucky as Diane Schilling - his looks do not qualify.

My not-so-rhetorical question is - when will attorney disciplinary committees take their collective heads from where they are and start removing licenses of judges disciplined for misconduct?

Isn't it their job to protect the public from the likes of Simon and Schilling?

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