"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 13, 2016

A case of prosecutorial misconduct (out of Louisiana) is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court

Louisiana courts, reportedly, have an "abysmal record of consistently misapplying and misinterpreting the Brady doctrine" (that's a constitutional doctrine requiring criminal prosecutors to turn over to the defense, upon a request and without any requests, any evidence pertaining to lack or lessening of defendant's guilt, or as to impeachment evidence of the government's witnesses and benefits offered to witnesses in exchange for testimony). 

Yet, federal courts UNfaithfully apply in civil rights lawsuits the doctrine of Younger and Rooker-Feldman, precluding civil rights lawsuits when a criminal proceeding is already pending, and after it has been resolved against criminal defendants - with the court applying the Brady rule in an abysmal way.

Louisiana courts are not unique in their "abysmal record" of misapplying and misinterpreting of ANY constitutional rights of criminal defendants - other states are no better.

Plus, prosecutors "enjoy" (very much) the gift of absolute prosecutorial immunity that the courts, consisting predominantly of former prosecutors, gave prosecutors on a pretext that discipline against prosecutors is avaialble. Of course, everybody knows that disciplinary committees only seek to punish competitors of members of disciplinary committees, as well as critics of the judiciary, and independent criminal defendants and civil rights attorneys - but NEVER prosecutors.

So, when preventive medicine is not available, the body can fester and rot up to gangrene - and that's what happened in Louisiana with prosecutorial misconduct, and is happening across the country, where close to 98% of criminal cases are "resolved" by plea bargains - simply because defendants and their attorneys know that the chances of winning in biased courts in front of former prosecutors are very slim.

A case regarding prosecutorial misconduct is heading towards the U.S. Supreme Court. Will the court review it is a question - review by the U.S. Supreme Court is discretionary, not mandatory.

And, if it does - what will it say? Some dismissive mumbo-jumbo or, finally, a systemic resolution of a systemic problem that the court itself created with the gift of prosecutorial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts?

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