"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 6, 2016

What judges in Texas are locked up for, judges in New York are praised and rewarded. The cases of Christopher Dupuy and Carl Becker

I wrote on this blog that my law license was suspended - without a required hearing - based entirely on sanctions imposed upon me by the now-former judge Carl Becker, who sanctioned me for making motions to recuse him based on lack of documents proving legitimacy of his elections in 2002, and based on appearance of impropriety and appearance of multiple conflicts of interest.

Not to mention that Judge Becker sanctioned me - and my pro bono client - after we both sued him, and the lawsuit was pending at the time sanctions were imposed.

Now, other jurisdiction approach the issue of judicial disqualification quite differently.

A lot of states have the following layers of protection for lawyers making motion to recuse a judge:

1) a peremptory challenge to a judge allowing an attorney to remove one judge from the proceedings without explaining reasons why (same as there are rights for peremptory challenges to jurors);

2) a rule prohibiting the challenged judge from ruling on any issue in the case, including the motion to recuse, once the motion is filed;  the motion must be transferred and decided by another judge, and the case is stayed until that is done;

3) a rule allowing the challenged judge to rule on legal sufficiency and/or timeliness of the motion to recuse, but not on the merits.

A lot of states have one, two or all three above protections for lawyers.

New York State has none.

New York State allows challenged judges not only to rule on the merits of a motion to recuse, but to retaliate against the moving party - by sanctions (as was done with me and my pro bono client), and by physical force, as was done by Judge Kevin Dowd with a pro se litigant who dared to move to recuse him.

As I am learning now, other states also deal differently than New York in case judges retaliate against litigants or attorneys for making motions to recuse, or for even presiding over cases of parties who had pending lawsuits against judges.

In South Carolina, a "Merit Selection Board" of judges canned for re-election judge F.P. ("Charlie") Segars-Andrews who withdrew her pledge to recuse because of a conflict of interest and who has ruled in favor of the party and attorney who has benefited the judge's husband with a $300,000 bounty shortly before the judge presided over the case.

In Texas, the State Attorney General brought criminal charges against judge Christopher Dupuy for doing exactly what Judge Becker did to me - retaliating for making a motion to recuse.

In Texas, the now former Judge Christopher Dupuy was criminally charged for retaliation against attorney Lori Laird for making a motion to recuse the judge with abuse of office, perjury, taken off the bench on petition of State Attorney General and convicted of perjury and abuse of office on charges presented by State Attorney General.

At sentencing, a Texas judge reportedly told Judge Dupuy this:

"You brought an incredible dishonor to yourself, your name and this profession.  ... Anybody who reads or knows about this case makes our job as judges harder because of what you did."

Judge Christopher Dupuy, by the way, tried to have his criminal prosecutor sanctioned for bringing criminal charges.

And, in North Carolina, a judge was censured for presiding over a case of a party who had a pending lawsuit against a judge.

In my case, 

  • the New York State Attorney General refused to bring a "quo warranto" proceeding against Judge Becker to remove him from office or to prosecute him for fixing cases for friends and abusing his office by retaliating against me and my clients, 
  • then,  the New York State Attorney General represented Judge Becker in two lawsuits that I brought against him, one in state court, and one in federal court, for retaliation through sanctions imposed on me and my pro bono client by Becker after we sued him in State court; and asked, on Becker's behalf, to dismiss the lawsuits and leave us without a remedy - which was done;
  • the NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct refused to sanction Becker, despite Becker's presiding and sanctioning a party and her attorney while having a pending lawsuit filed by that party and attorney against him, and instead 
  • I was suspended without a hearing for making motions to recuse Becker.

The bottom-line - New York is a real wonder world when it comes to the rule of law.

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