"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.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tatiana Neroni and Frederick Neroni, magnets for secret court proceedings and decisions

Court proceedings - and decisions - are presumed to be public in the U.S. and in the State of New York.

That is a guarantee of Due Process and the 1st Amendment.

Openness of court proceedings provide an assurance for the parties that the public can come and observe the court proceedings, can come and look at documents filed in those proceedings - and verify that proceedings are fair, after all, court proceedings are financed by taxpayers and taxpayers have a right to know that their money is not misspent in personal vengeance.

Yet, the presumption of openness of court proceedings does not work for me or my husband somehow - we keep being prosecuted in secret court proceedings and keep receiving ex parte decisions made without notice to me or opportunity to be heard in opposition.

I will list those decisions:

June 11, 2014 - NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division 3rd Judicial Department - a decision that merged, ex parte, without notice or opportunity to be heard, my disciplinary case with the case of my already disbarred husband (the court lost jurisdiction as to him as of July 7, 2011, 3 years prior) and transferred the case to the 4th Department based on an "application" of my disciplinary prosecutors.

Neither Mr. Neroni nor I received a notice of that application, or were given an opportunity to be heard on that application.

The application was not transferred, with the other documents, to the 4th Department from the 3rd Department.

The 3rd Department adamantly refuses to give me or Mr. Neroni access to that unlawfully withheld and secret ex parte application - to this day.

My disciplinary proceedings in State Court - in New York, an attorney has a right to open her own disciplinary proceeding by a simple written waiver of privacy.  I waived my privacy several times in 2014 and 2015, in writing.

The court refused to open my proceedings until it suspended my law license.

Moreover, the sealing of the proceedings, which is done in New York to ensure privacy of the attorney and nothing else (and I waived my privacy several times, in writing) was used by the disciplinary prosecutor #MaryGasparini to file criminal charges against me when audio tapes of conferences in those proceedings, as well as description of misconduct in those proceedings, were posted on this blog.

The 4th Department allowed the illegal criminal charges to pend for nearly 5 months before dismissing them, and then allowed the prosecutor who was a witness in a criminal proceedings against me, to continue prosecuting me, in violation of my due process rights.

My husband's trial in Mokay v Mokay in April of 2015 (you can read about the "Mokay saga" by typing the word "Mokay" in the search box on the right, there are a lot of blogs about this case) was held not only ex parte, in my absence, during my documented medical leave, but also while the judge instructed court personnel to mislead the public and tell observers from the public that the trial is not happening, while it was.

My order of suspension in state court, even though a public document, does not make public the real reasons for suspension, and thus constitutes a secret order of suspension.

The order of suspension does not state the real reason for my suspension - that I was punished for making a motion to recuse a judge (for which in other jurisdictions the punishing judge, and not the attorney, is subject to discipline and criminal charges for abuse of process).

The order of suspension is secret as to the aggravating circumstances, only stating some "mysterious" "abuse of legal process" - while I was never served with specifications of what is sought to be used as aggravated circumstances against me.

So, my "public" order of suspension is, in fact, a secret order - as far as the public is concerned, because after reading it, the public will still have no clue as to what was the reason of my suspension.

My secret order of suspension in federal court - there is NO public order of suspension in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York, you will not find a court proceeding against me on Pacer filed and resolved in November of 2015, even though on attorney lookup I am listed as "suspended" by that court, and even though in various court proceedings claims are made that I am suspended in that court as of November 18, 2015.

Of course, since attorneys admitted to practice in any court are deemed "officers of the court", and I was admitted in an open-court swearing-in ceremony, removal of me as the officer of the court can only be done through a public order, and there is no such public order of suspension.

Not to mention that if my discipline is announced publicly, the order of suspension and the disciplinary proceedings that have led to it, must also be open to the public review - Star Chamber proceedings are not legal in the U.S., or at least that is what is claimed as part of the "rule of law" to pretend legitimacy of judicial power in this country.

Now a series of ex parte communications in the Argro case that I just blogged about today - 

  • a motion against me was made, scheduled (twice) and orally argued ex parte;
  • my own motion, which was filed on notice and initially scheduled on notice to me, was discussed ex parte in an ex parte personal appearance not noticed to me, rescheduled in that ex parte proceeding and the transcript of the ex parte proceeding was sealed and made secret from me and the public.
I understand that to unseal my disciplinary proceedings in state and federal court, allow the public to the Mokay trial, hold the Mokay trial as it was supposed to be held, with a jury, and with public observers, allowing me full due process in motion practice in the Argro case - would be a disaster for those who would like to conceal their own misconduct.

But, openness and transparency of court proceedings is designed exactly for that purpose - so that the public would see that the integrity of court proceedings are not undermined.

The pattern of behavior of state and federal courts towards me and my husband - at least through the secret orders, withheld documents, secret proceedings and ex parte communications - show that there is plenty to hide for the government and connected attorneys the government colludes with.

The pattern is only aggravated by the fact that secret proceedings and secret orders usually appear after we either make a "sensitive" Freedom of Information request with the court system, or file a lawsuit against a public official seeking such sensitive information.

Of course, the tactic of making any proceedings, or orders, secret, only proves that persecution against my husband and myself is politically motivated.

But, at this point the judiciary in the U.S. has become so brazen and shameless (because of self-gifted absolute immunity for malicious and corrupt acts) that they do not really care.

Well, sometimes when judges do not really care about criminality of their actions, they can go too far, and finally, at some point, after some media campaign, the system is not comfortable any longer in associating with criminals.

I am not naive to believe that all of the judges who routinely commit misconduct (including those who engaged in ex parte communications and secret court proceedings and decisions) will suffer any discipline - after all, the judiciary and legal establishment has made sure that those who handle judicial discipline are either judges themselves, or are heavily depending for their own livelihood upon judges - but lately, according to recent court cases, social media and even mainstream media - something has started to give in the court of public opinion regarding rampant judicial misconduct in this country.

It appears that the tide is turning, and not so slowly, by the way.

Let's see what happens.

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