"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.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

In Omaha, Nebraska, pillow-talk case-fixing between Chief Judge Marcela Keim and the local City Prosecutor Matt Kuhse is going to be business as usual

I wrote yesterday about a case where a federal judge refused to recuse from a criminal case where the defendant claimed he used heroin for 14 months with the judge's brother in the presence of the judge's minor nephew, and where the defendant was supposed to testify in an unrelated criminal trial involving the judge's nephew.

The judge simply claimed that he is "estranged" from  his brother, did not see the nephew for a long time - and for that reason he is not biased.  While the judge, of course, kept the defendant in question in pre-trial detention after the defendant asked the judge to recuse himself, lifted the stay he initially imposed on the proceedings while a writ of mandamus to remove him involuntarily was pending in the appellate court, when the defendant asked for as much as a bond hearing (to get out of the pre-trial detention) - and the judge, in the absence of a prohibition from the appellate court, scheduled a trial date, forcing the defendant to file a motion to speed up the prohibition.

The judge, John Adams, was  involuntarily removed from the case by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on May 9, 2016.

What does that story have to do with what is happening in Omaha, Nebraska?


Let's see.

The mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, "chose" to appoint a City Prosecutor - a man whose office is supposed to bring criminal cases in front of the local County Judge.

The trick is that the chosen City Prosecutor is "coincidentally" the husband of the County Judge in question, which presents a conundrum - either the judge should recuse and all local criminal cases should be referred to another judge, or a special prosecutor must be appointed for all local criminal cases.  In both situations, there will be additional (huge, and unnecessary) expenses for taxpayers.

So, what were the reasons Mayor Jean Stothert and City Attorney Paul Kratz who "selected" attorney Matt Kuhse to be the City Prosecutor prosecuting cases in front of Matt Kuhse's wife, Douglas County Judge Marcela Keim (a different last name, you see) despite the obvious, and irreconcilable, conflict of interest?

And why would the husband Matt Kuhse accept a position for his office to prosecute cases before his own wife/judge Marcela Keim?  Which will obviously involve at least an appearance and a possibility of a peculiar type of ex parte communications in every case his office will handle in front of the judge - pillow-talk?

And, by the way, Judge Keim is reportedly one of 12 Douglas County judges - and, "coincidentally", the presiding judge of the 4th Judicial District of Nebraska?

Of course, where Matt Kuhse works now is also a conflict of interest with his wife's job - he works for the Douglas County Attorney's Office, while his wife is the Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District overseeing the Douglas County Court - so, at least theoretically, Douglas County may not be prosecuted for any crimes because of the relationship.

And, the Douglas County attorney Don Kleine already reportedly noted that "Kuhse oversees other lawyers in the County Attorney’s Office, and there are no restrictions on those lawyers appearing in Keim’s courtroom", and that

[t]hey’re both extremely, highly ethical people who I know will do nothing to jeopardize anyone’s fairness on any side.”

By the way, Matt Kuhse worked in this capacity, as a Douglas County prosecutor, since 1999:

And Keim is on the bench since 2011:

Keim is the presiding judge of the 4th Judicial District, not just the County Court, since 2016, and, "coincidentally", in the same year Keim is elevated to the position of Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District, her husband is being promoted to the position of City Prosecutor where his salary nearly TRIPLES, see the current salary of the City's "interim prosecutor" Thomas Mumgaard:

And, of course, such a promotion of the Chief Judge's husband has nothing to do with the wife's position as a Chief Judge.

Because everyone involved in making the appointment, accepting the appointment and then presiding over and "supervising" cases handled by the husband and wife team, are all very highly ethical people.

One highly ethically person oversees attorneys under his supervision who appear in cases presided over by the other highly ethically person, his wife-judge - which is ALREADY a basis to REMOVE the judge, FIRE the husband and VACATE all cases so decided, for violation of due process and APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY reasons.

By the way, what Kuhse already supervised as an attorney in Douglas County was FELONY cases prosecuted in front of his wife - so both Kuhse and Keim should be already impeached and disbarred for that, and convictions so drummed up reversed.

Relationship through 1st degree affinity (marriage) between a prosecutor and a judge is a complete disqualification and a taboo, whether the actual prosecutor appears in the courtroom himself, or supervises the case remotely.

Talking about wrongful convictions!

The wife, of course, same as Judge John Adams in Ohio federal court, does not recuse - because her husband is "removed" from the case by "only" supervising those attorney who appear in front of his wife/judge, and not personally appearing in front of her.

And, in view of sanctions that the judge can impose upon attorneys for opponents who obviously can lose their livelihoods if they move to recuse (I was suspended in New York in November of 2015 for making motions to recuse a judge, attorney Christine Mire was suspended for making motions to recuse in Louisiana in 2016, the list of such attorneys is actually very long), attorneys for opponents prefer to sell out their clients not to jeopardize their own livelihoods.

And, since these appearances of husband-supervised attorneys in front of wife-judge continued, as I understand, for quite some time, the local governmental officials decided to secure their position even more, protecting themselves from possible prosecution, and to promote one of their own, a supervising attorney from the Douglas County Attorney's office, to the position of the City Prosecutor, a person who has an absolute discretion to bring or not to bring criminal prosecutions in the City.

And, the people involved in such an appointment, which clearly qualifies as a "criminal enterprise" under RICO, claim that there is no conflict of interest still, because the husband and the wife are both "highly ethical people", and "they would never".

So, the wife, as a Chief Judge, will supervise appointments of judges to criminal cases, or preside over such cases herself.

The husband will (1) decide which criminal cases to bring or not to bring - obviously sparing the local officials who were his prior bosses or colleagues - and (2) will supervise attorneys in his City Prosecutor's office to appear before either his wife as a judge, or in front of judges assigned to cases by his wife.


And now, every single criminal defense attorney in the City of Omaha, Nebraska will be facing a dilemma whether to make a motion to recuse the entire court and disqualify the prosecutor, or sell the attorney's client and allow the appearance of case-fixing, to preserve the attorney's livelihood.


All of those highly ethical people in Omaha, Nebraska.

And - the attorney disciplinary committee in the State of Nebraska, reportedly supported the appointment of husband to supervise criminal cases in front of wife:

"[Nebraska counsel for discipline Mark Weber] said in an interview that this type of situation has come up in other states, and courts have 'resoundingly' said that a judge’s spouse can’t practice in that courtroom but that colleagues of the spouse can.

'We give people, especially our sworn judges and our attorneys, the benefit that they’ll be objective and remain objective,' Weber said."

Well, here the Nebraska "counsel for discipline" stretched the truth a little bit - Matt Kuhse is not a "colleague" of attorneys who are appearing and will appear in front of Judge Marcela Keim.  

Matt Kuhse is their BOSS, who has an obligation to DIRECT them, and where all prosecutions are done in his name, under his authority and with his signature.

The Nebraska disciplinary counsel and the state courts apparently "resoundingly" overlook this inconvenient detail.

As the situation stands now, we and, most importantly, defense attorneys defending cases against the City Prosecutor/husband sending attorneys he supervises to prosecute cases in front of his own wife, can be assured that, should a motion to recuse be brought in such a situation, the disciplinary committee will go after the defense attorneys and not after the prosecutor and the judge.

And, if you remember, attorney licensing and attorney discipline exists because it is declared by the government attorney licensing protects consumers of legal services.

THIS is how consumers of legal services in Nebraska are "protected".

In my view - as an expert in criminal defense - all criminal convictions already obtained under Matt Kuhse's supervision, and all criminal convictions that are going to be obtained under his supervision in  his capacity as a City Prosecutor, will be void because of the relationship.

The taxpayers of the State of Nebraska, as well as criminal defendants are interested in finality and fairness of the criminal convictions in their state.

Surely there are enough attorneys in the City of Omaha, Nebraska, to fill the position of the City Prosecutor other than the husband of the Douglas County's Chief Judge.

And, it doesn't help that Judge Keim has been an Assistant City Prosecutor in the same office where her husband was now appointed, from 2004 to 2011, when she came to the bench.

Here is the husband Matt Kuhse who obviously uses his familial connection to a high-ranking judge to get a promotion and salary increase:

Not to mention that Judge Keim will FINANCIALLY BENEFIT from that particular salary increase, and is FINANCIALLY INTERESTED in her husband getting that position and keeping that position, so Judge Keim has a financial interest in drumming up convictions for her husband's office.

Judge Keim already had financial interest in the outcome of every criminal conviction prosecuted by her husband's office, from 2011, when she came to the bench, to date, for 5 years so far.

In the city where gang violence and racial tension are still very much a problem, citizens must be assured that people locked up are the criminals, and not innocents framed by a case-fixing husband-and-wife team of Matt Kuhse (in his capacity as the Douglas County assistant attorney - and now City Prosecutor) and Marcela Keim (presiding judge or Chief Judge of the entire 4th Judicial District).

I request my readers from Nebraska to watch the conviction rate in the City of Omaha and whether it is higher than in the neighboring cities and/or counties since 2011, the enthronement of the wife of a local prosecutor to the bench.

I will report how this disgusting and shameless story about misconduct of the "highly ethical people" unfolds.

Stay tuned.

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