"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.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Criminal justice is available, for sure. If the defendant has money for professional defense.

I've just put in a blog about acquittal - after a 4th trial - of Cal Harris in New York, of charges of murder of his wife Michele Harris.

Here is the list of criminal defense attorneys who represented Cal Harris throughout the proceedings:

Joseph Cawley who represented Cal Harris in 2007, who has found an easier job as a judge in 2008, and who now is a supervising judge for county (criminal) courts in New York 6th Judicial District. 

Cawley recently engaged in ex parte communications with the prosecution for which I have documents on file, so I wonder whether he sold his client out as a defense attorney, too.

Another defense attorney for Cal Harris was Albany-based and recently retired veteran criminal defense attorney Terence Kindlon.

Cal Harris also had representing him the law firm of Easton, Thompson, Kasperek & Shiffrin, L.L.P., Rochester that represented Cal Harris 

And, finally, for the last, and successful, trial, Cal Harris hired attorney Bruce Barket and made the last-minute decision to go with the bench trial rather than a jury.

Bruce Barket is a partner in Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon, LLP of Garden City, NY, and is famous for his

"booming voice, constant objections and visible outrage" that reportedly "have been constants at the trial".

The defense team also included, a younger female attorney Aida Leisenring (admitted in 2008) and an older female attorney Donna Aldea (admitted in 1999), 

Presence of female defense attorneys was psychologically beneficial, it was balancing out the "booming voice" of Bruce Barket and preventing the impression that female opinions - and lives - do not matter.

By the way, in Delaware County court, when I was present as a second-chair in criminal trials handled by my husband, Frederick J. Neroni, I was constantly shut down by the usually presiding judge Carl F. Becker who complained behind the scenes of our "double-teaming" and introduced his own rule - "no second chairs", only one attorney can do the trial, the other should be silent.

Apparently, such rules were not applicable - fortunately for the criminal defendant - in Cal Harris'  trial.

It is a big relief for Cal Harris, and a big victory (and, no doubt, an extremely lucrative and expensive case) for his defense attorneys.

Once again, the case of Cal Harris shows what CAN be done in a case where supposedly, all is lost - after 2 jury convictions, one affirmed on intermediate appeal - only with one condition: if criminal defendant or his family has money.

But, a situation where justice is available only to wealthy criminal defendants is not justice at all.

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