"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, June 19, 2016

Leniency/corruption in regards to discipline and criminal prosecution of drunk driving judges in New York continues - the case of #JudgeTimothyJCooper

I wrote on this blog about some high-ranking New York state judges who drove drunk, attempted to use their position to get out of criminal charges, got lenient plea bargains because of who they were, and remained on the bench, see my blogs about:

Judge Maney was only censured by the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct, and remains an attorney with "no record of public discipline" - and a judge:

Note that the drunk judge Maney presided during his drunk driving criminal prosecution and disciplinary proceedings, and continues to preside over this day over:

  • Juvenile Drug Court, and
  • Family Treatment Court - you know, substance abuse, alcoholics and domestic violence caused by drinking.
A perfect choice for a judge for both of these courts.

Judge Maney will be (dis)gracing litigants with his "service" until at least 2021.

The next celebrity drunk judge in New York who escaped proper discipline is:

The next "hero" is attorney and iciaicia Astacio - not disciplined at all.

Attorney Leticia Astacio has no record of public discipline.

I also wrote on this blog about the unwritten policy of the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct (which is transparent from the Commission's actions) disciplining - if at all - predominantly local justice court judges, and not touching judges starting with county level, Supreme Court level and especially Appellate court level.

True to the policy, the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct recently took off the bench Judge Timothy J. Cooper, a justice of the Evans Town Court in Erie County, with a stipulation that he will neither seek nor accept a judicial office, and that if he breaks the terms of the stipulation, the judicial disciplinary proceeding will resume and go a hearing before a referee.

Here is judge Cooper:

I guess, New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct needs to be prodded in the rear end to commence such a proceeding before a referee because Judge Cooper did violate the terms of the Stipulation - or the Stipulation was deliberately not worded precisely in order to allow Judge Cooper to retain his position of - guess who? - a Magistrate judge in the Niagara County Family Court, which he remains, according to the court's website, until this day:

Now the Commission took off ONE bench out of TWO Judge Timothy Cooper (without mentioning that Justice Cooper of the Town of Evans court is also a Niagara Family Court magistrate).

Not only the discipline of Judge Cooper was crooked, his criminal prosecution and conviction was even more crooked.

Let's see what Judge Cooper did, what he was charged with, and what he was convicted of.

The snippets below is from the NYS Commission's publication regarding proceedings against judge Timothy J. Cooper.

Let's remember - Judge Cooper drank before driving four 12-ounce(large) beers and a one half-ounce shot of whiskey.

His alcohol content should have been quite high if Judge Cooper could not control himself from veering into a LONELY car coming his way in the opposite lane.

There was just ONE car coming his way because otherwise, when Judge Cooper struck it and when it has spun, flipped and stopped across the highway, there could have been additional accidents if there were more cars on the road at that time.

So, attorney, Niagara Family Court magistrate and Town of Evans justice Timothy Cooper was driving drunk, veered into oncoming traffic despite seeing that there is a vehicle coming his way in the opposite lane, hit that vehicle and caused the other vehicle to "spin, flip on its side, and come to rest blocking the northbound lane of the roadway".

It is sheer luck that the person in that vehicle was not killed and that there were no more accidents.

Where a vehicle is blocking the roadway across, it could very well be that more vehicles could ram into it, not having time to stop.

The injured person sustained "a cut on the side of his head" - not to mention the stress of the near-death experience.

Judge Cooper:

1) admitted to using alcohol - four 12-ounce beers and 1 half-ounce shot of whiskey;

2) refused a breathalyzer test;

3) failed the field sobriety tests;

4) had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and "smelled of alcohol" ("smelled of alcohol" was bad police work, the police should verify that the breath, and not the clothes, smells of alcohol).

In my practice and my husband's practice as criminal defense attorneys in New York,

1) refusal to take a breathalyzer test leads to an automatic suspension of a driver's license;

2) arrest for driving while intoxicated after causing a car accident with injuries, and with an admission to the amount of alcohol Judge Cooper admitted "consuming" leads to charges for

Here is what Judge Cooper was charged with:

  1. VTL 1192(3) - a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (up to 1 year in the local jail if convicted, 3 years probation and a mandatory ignition interlock device on all vehicles in the family);  the next DWI after a misdemeanor DWI conviction is automatically a felony, and conviction of an attorney for a felony in New York causes automatic disbarment as of the date of conviction;
  2. VTL 1194(1)(b) - refusal of a chemical test, which should lead to a 1-year suspension of the driver's license in the case of a first refusal;
  3. VTL 1128(a) - failure to keep right.
Judge Cooper was definitely undercharged.

He was not charged for an aggravated DWI (after having caused a car accident with injuries), and the police did not insist on having his blood drawn after he refused a breathalyzer test - which could lead to a felony-DWI charges.

By the way, two days ago the New York State Senate voted to enact a law that would make it mandatory for the police to check breath, urine and blood of DWI suspects in cases of car accidents that caused death or serious bodily injury.

In my experience as a defense attorney, New York police force defendants to have their blood drawn even without car accidents.

In this case, after Judge Cooper refused the breathalyzer test, but admitted that he drank 4 12-ounce beers and one 1/2 ounce shot of whiskey before veering into ongoing traffic and causing an accident with injuries, it was the most logical thing to do - to check Judge Cooper's alcohol level by having his blood drawn, to ensure safety of other people on the road and protect them from drunk drivers like Judge Cooper.

That was not done.

What occurred next is no less bizarre.

According to NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct, the drunk driving occurred on April 23, 2014, and criminal prosecution of Judge Cooper which was initially started in Lewiston Town Court.

In May of 2014 the prosecution was transferred to the North Tonawanda City Court because both of the judges of the original court recused.

The presiding judge in the new court was Judge William R. Lewis.

Apparently, Judge Cooper opted for a non-jury trial by Judge Lewis, and was not disappointed.

  1. fines and surcharges totaling $615;
  2. suspension of Judge Cooper's driver's license for whopping 90 days; and, imagine
  3. a conditional discharge.

No jail time.
No probation.
No ignition interlock device.
No court-ordered treatment.


The question is - how did a misdemeanor DWI in a context of causing a car accident with an injury turn into a VIOLATION (not a crime) driving while ability impaired?

How did the refusal to take a breathalyzer test disappear - without a plea bargain, after a jury trial?

Judge Lewis definitely overstepped his bounds in convicting a DWI misdemeanor-charged judge for an ability-impaired violation only and in dropping the chemical test refusal charges.

I wonder how much Judge Lewis was paid by Judge Cooper to do what Judge Lewis did.

Since Judge Lewis considered an early retirement immediately after the "conviction" of Judge Cooper for an "ability impaired" violation, Judge Lewis appears to have been paid enough.

Here is the attorney registration of the "hero", Judge Lewis who saved his colleague from a lot of "inconveniences" that a defendant in Judge Cooper's position usually faces.

Once again, what happened in how Judge Cooper was charged and prosecuted, usually does not happen to a regular DWI defendant.

A regular DWI defendant who caused a car accident with injuries does not usually get a reduction of charges to an AI, and especially after a trial.

A DWI defendant in this position usually gets a plea of probation, and, in exchange of not being sent to jail, has to go through 3 years of visits to probation officer, counseling, substance abuse treatment and COSTLY ignition interlock devices for ALL vehicles that the defendant's family is using.

Moreover, probation supervision usually involves a 10 pm to 6 am curfew, prohibition on having alcohol in the house, prohibition of visiting alcohol-serving establishments, and consent to random warrantless searches of defendant's residence.

I know many people who went to jail or prison on violation of probation simply because a probation officer, during a random search, found a bottle of beer in their fridge that defendants claimed belonged to their spouse.

I know many people who went to jail because they did not come to see their probation officer on time, even when claimed they were tied up in traffic or were sick and needed to visit a doctor on the day of scheduled probation appointment.

Moreover, as I mentioned above, the next DWI charge after a misdemeanor DWI conviction is a felony in New York - a mandatory felony, and conviction of a felony in New York of an attorney leads to an automatic disbarment.

Judge Cooper is not on probation.

Judge Cooper is not undergoing alcoholism-related treatment.

Judge Cooper and his family do not pay for and do not experience the inconvenience of ignition interlock devices.

And, motorists are not protected from Judge Cooper who, having been given an understanding of his impunity and invincibility because of his connections in the government, is going to do it again - he is a drunk-driving time bomb.

And, I do not see big campaigns in the press or social media like the one to oust judge Aaron Persky who gave a super-lenient sentence (but still some jail time) to the Stanford rapist.

Here, judge William R. Lewis allowed a super-drunk judge an ability to regain his license within 90 days instead of a year's suspension plus 3 years probation plus counseling and treatment plus ignition interlock devices.

Judge Lewis opted not to protect the public from his fellow drunk judge, and is quickly retiring after his decision.

And, the Commission removed Judge Cooper from his position in Evans Town Court, but apparently forgot to remove him as a Niagara Family Court magistrate where he is paid SEVEN times more than in his position as Evans Town Court judge, compare:

And, the NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct has worded the Stipulation of removal of Judge Cooper in such a way that Judge Cooper only pledged that he will not "seek" or "accept" new judicial positions, but said nothing about being taken off his current position as a support magistrate?

So, Judge Cooper was removed from the bench - kind of, in one place - but allowed to remain on his bench as a Niagara Family Court Support Magistrate?

That is called judicial discipline nowadays in New York?

Don't you think that something stinks?  Very much?

We should more of the same from attorney and support magistrate Timothy J. Cooper since he escaped without proper discipline or proper punishment.

And we should expect ourselves and our children and loved ones to be inside that smashed car - because it is WE THE PEOPLE who allow judges to escape accountability and punishment for their crimes, and it is WE THE PEOPLE who, through our inaction, allow such drunk driving judges to remain on our roads.

1 comment:

  1. This guy is a crook i had him as an attorney and I could tell you stuff that you wouldn't believe BUT I have proof boy do i