"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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Judges as advocates for causes in their own courtrooms: A military veteran judge disciplined for advocating on behalf of his brother, an army veteran, a violent felon "Green Beret" who committed a hate crime against a presumed Muslim

In a bizarre turn of events, a Florida judge Gregory P. Holder agreed to a reprimand for his role in acting as an advocate for an army veteran, Green Beret Clay S. Allred.

Here is what Clay S. Allred did:

"An Army National Guard reservist at the time, Allred was staying in a hotel in Ybor City while waiting to move into an apartment that was being painted. His Jeep was loaded with the few things he owned — three rifles registered to him, some body armor he used during training, clothing, dishes, ironing board, computers, guitar and cables.

He spent a good part of Aug. 21 drinking. On the way back to his apartment, he finally had a break with reality at a gas station on Fowler Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, at a corner of the USF campus.

For Allred, the memories of what happened next are hazy. Much of what he knows comes from a video taken of the incident.

He says he wanted to use the bathroom but was told it was only for customers. He tried to buy an energy drink, but the clerk wouldn’t break his $100 bill.

Then he urinated on the counter and yelled “I hate you people” to the clerk, Quadratullah Hassan, who is Muslim.

Hassan chased Allred out to his car.

As Allred pulled away, he fired three shots from his Glock 26 pistol into the air."

Ok, so we have:

1) driving while intoxicated;
2) urinating on the counter in a public place - that's public lewdness,  a sex crime in many states;
3) aiming a Glock 26 pistol at a clerk, and
4) firing a pistol into the air - three times - in a public place, and at a gas station, which could have caused fatalities.

Clay S. Allred was already given tremendous leniency, a house arrest and probation, a leniency that can only be explained by the military veteran-judge's partiality to a military veteran who, instead of being prosecuted for felonies, was given a slap on the wrist.

Allred was charged with "discharging a firearm from a vehicle, a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and criminal mischief, a first-degree misdemeanor" - but, interestingly enough, he was not charged with public lewdness (urinating in a public place), a sex crime.

After all that, Allred was given a house arrest and probation, and his "brother", an army veteran judge Holder engaged in advocacy on his behalf even after he was convicted.

Judge Holder wrote to the Allred's university that expelled him after he committed a crime, asking to restore him as an online student.

In many online programs, students must take some exams in person and thus appear on campus.  

It is thus understandable that the university refused to enroll the convicted violent felon, protecting other students and people on campus from violent outbursts of this trained-to-kill army veteran who hates Muslims to the point that he already shot (in the air for now) when seeing a person of Middle-Eastern descent and who engaged in public lewdness - for which he was never even charged.

The judge himself is a retired colonel.

With all that in-built bias, the judge presides (and was left to continue to preside) over a Veterans Treatment Court - while obviously acting as an advocate and not as an impartial judge, and letting dangerous, trained-to-kill, felons to have a slap on the wrist and remain free to commit more crimes.

After Allred's case was closed - with house arrest and probation for several violent felonies - Judge "Holder continued to lobby for Allred. In November, he wrote a letter to USF's president asking that Allred to be readmitted to the university as an online student. He pleaded before the school's board of trustees, enlisted the support of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald in Washington, D.C., and sought help from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla."

What is amazing is that the Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald considered it appropriate to help a judge advocate on behalf of a violent felon to enroll that violent felon into the university - which is another shooting waiting to  happen, just wait until Allred drinks again to the point of urinating on the counter in a public place.

When the university, protecting its students, employees and visitors from another potential campus shooter, refused to enroll Allred, the judge "called the university's response "an absolute abdication of their responsibility to their students, especially their student veterans."

In fact, what the university did in refusing to enroll Allred was a complete opposite - a responsibility to the students, employees and visitors.  But, for the judge the only thing that mattered was that Allred was his "brother", a military veteran - and for the judge, the benefit for the "brother" was more important than the danger to the lives of thousands of people on campus and in the community.

For that - the judge "agreed" to a reprimand only.

When a judge starts to engage in advocacy for a person with the same background as the judge himself - the judge should be taken off the bench immediately, not "agree" to a reprimand.

At this time, since the judge received only a slap on the writs and was allowed to stay on the bench, he will simply disguise his advocacy into what will be deemed as "judicial discretion".  But he remains an advocate for the veterans, even for those who present a danger to the public, like Clay S. Allred, a former Green Beret who Judge Holder allowed to escape violent hate-crime charges.

Since Judge Holder was given only a slap on the wrist, expect more of the same - and worse - from him.

Since Clay S. Allred was given only a slap on the wrist, expect more of the same - and worse - from him, too.

Remember, Clay S. Allred is a trained Green Beret who hates Muslims, and who discerns whether a person is or is not a Muslim by how he or she looks.

Clay S. Allred "completed mental health counseling.

He logged more than the required number of community service hours.

And he has stayed away from alcohol."

It is acknowledged in the article that "in another courtroom, those accomplishments wouldn’t have meant as much.

But on this Friday, Allred, a former Green Beret staff sergeant, was appearing in Hillsborough County’s Veterans Treatment Court, where the steps he’s taken mean the difference between prison time on felony charges and house arrest."

This is not a non-violent crime.

This is a person trained to kill pointing a loaded gun at another person because he hates that person for no other reason than his presumed religious affiliation.

Clay S. Allred faced 20 years in prison for his crimes.

He escaped with no jail time at all, thanks to Judge Holder.

I wonder if the victim of Clay S. Allred's crime was consulted about propriety of such leniency.

"The Veterans Treatment Court was launched in October 2013 by county Circuit Judge Richard Weis, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, who saw a steady stream of misdemeanor charges filed against veterans suffering from service-related mental illness, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder."

The Veterans Treatment Court was established for veterans charged with misdemeanors - but, when Clay Allred was charged with hate crimes, felonies, the Veterans Treatment Court was conveniently expanded to encompass army veterans charged with felonies, too - just to accommodate Clay Allred.

Just like that - a military veteran judge creates a separate court for his "brothers", military veterans, so that it is not the jury who would be considering "service-related mental illness, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder" as AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES to violent crimes of army veterans, but military veteran judges who would advocate for defendants as their "brothers".

And just like that - the program expands to make an ineligible army veteran, charged with violent felonies and facing 20 years in prison, eligible for a slap on the wrist - a "house arrest".

This judge-advocacy court exists for 3 years by now - with nobody opposing this singling out for special treatment of criminal defendants who are the most dangerous since they are trained to kill and unbalanced enough to use their skills to mass-murder, as it happened, for example, at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina.

Leniency to dangerous criminals, whoever they are, because they are the judge's "brothers" is called corruption of the court system.

And both "judge advocates" - the one that instituted the Veterans Treatment Court, and the one who advocated for leniency to a person who pointed a loaded gun at an unknown person simply because he hated Muslims and thought his victim was a Muslim - should be removed from the bench and the Veterans Treatment Court dissolved.

The most dangerous criminal defendants should not be sentenced to "house arrest" instead of 20 years in prison, simply because they are army veterans.

If they are a danger to society, they must be held accountable in accordance with the law as everyone else.

And the same refers to judge-advocates.

And, please, note that there are 50 of other army veterans who were charged with misdemeanors and felonies who are currently in judge Holder's Veteran Treatment court.

With Holder's approach to "treatment" of violent felons who are his "brothers", we can only expect that Holder will keep unleashing dangerous trained-to-kill felons upon the society.

Because they are his brothers, and he can do nothing less for them, everybody else's right to life be damned.

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