"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.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A 321 pages long cell phone bill for Delaware County (NY) employees - why?

I continue to publish responses of Delaware County, NY, to my FOIL request.

The country denied my request for the latest cell phone bill of the County claiming that I need to pay $87.60 ($80.25 for copies plus $7.35 for postage) for the paper copies of the bill that I asked to scan and send to me by e-mail.

In response, I filed a FOIL request for the inventory of Delaware County's scanning equipment, since the County is required by law to provide scanned copies of paper documents if they have scanners that scan as easily as the documents can be copied, and I am sure the County, with its multi-million-dollar budget (that my husband and I contribute to, as captive cash cows, owners of property in Delaware County) does have such scanners.

It is obvious that Delaware County is playing a game - trying to delay or stall disclosure of any information that can lead to charges of corruption against the County or raising issues of improper use of government equipment.

New York State Comptroller already found that County employees misused county-assigned vehicles - for years.

And, that the county never submitted to public bidding their contracts - for decades.

I only asked for a cell phone bill - that is a public record, without exceptions.

I asked for it in electronic, scanned format.

I asked for it on April 29, 2016, by e-mail.

It had to be provided within 5 business days, also by e-mail.

Today is June 6, 2016, and I only have a demand that I either pay for paper copies (that I do not need) and for postage (that I do not need - I asked for disclosure by e-mail, and the County has no right under FOIL to charge for postage) - or be denied these records.

Ok, I understand the game.

But, inadvertently, while denying me the records, the county still gave me significant information.

The most recent cell phone bill of Delaware County consists of 321 pages (!!).

That is in the county of about 48,000 people, with a per capita income of $22,695 and a median household (not individual) income of $43,000.

A county supported by poor taxpayers has a need to assign cell phones to so many employees that a monthly bill consists of 321 pages?

I recently published e-mails and cell phones of Otsego County employees (information that is still claimed to be for employees only on the Otsego County website).

The number of assigned cell phones begs a question - WHY?

Why so many county employees who have landlines also are assigned cell phones, at taxpayers' expense?  So that they can connect with friends and family on the go, watch movies and post on Facebook?

The same question refers to Delaware County - why the County's cell phone bill is 321 pages long?

Can you, Delaware County taxpayers, afford this?  

I am filing an administrative appeal now, and will publish a copy of the bill when it is provided to me.

Stay tuned.

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