"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, July 31, 2016

#LivestreamRecordingOfPoliceMisconduct - the police was unable to destroy video of their misconduct created by Maurice "Mo" Crawley's in Syracuse, NY: it was already "on air"

Recently, one of New York's intermediate appellate courts, Appellate Division 2nd Department, has made it more difficult to prosecute the "usual" on the menu of police caught in misconduct - charging a person who recorded such a misconduct with "obstruction of governmental administration".

Usually the police arrest people for "obstruction" - and then think how to justify the arrest.

Well, the 2nd Department has made bringing such criminal charges harder - by actually following the law and requiring to provide what the law has required to provide all along - non-hearsay support for each element of the charged crime, and description of the allegedly obstructed government function, in specificity.

Which did not prevent the police in Syracuse, NY, Onondaga County - that is the 4th Department - to concoct charges against an individual who recorded police misconduct.

The interesting point is not only the police that committed misconduct, but the District Attorney's Office of the Onondaga County who went along with it and is pressing charges against the reporter of police misconduct.

But, of course, in the situation where the local judges of federal court are former prosecutors of that office and preside over civil rights lawsuits against that office, invariably ruling for that office, I wrote about that on this blog before - the Onondaga County DA may seem unreachable by any attempts at accountability.

What police was trying to do by arresting the individual for recording them is, of course, destroy the evidence, the videotape.

Yet, that was not possible, because the individual, Maurice "Mo" Crawley, knew those police tricks and, as a precaution against attempts of our noble public servants to falsify evidence, live-streamed his recordings to his Facebook page - a recording that later, reportedly, went viral.

The Onondaga County Chief of Police, after viewing the video made by Mr. Crawley, including the video of his arrest, said one word as to his impression - "Troubling".  It is interesting to know what was troubling more to the Chief of Police - the contents of the video or the fact that his "boys" were indiscreet enough to allow themselves to be caught on video recording - and on a live-streamed video-recording, too.

Mr. Crawley was charged with resisting arrest and "interfering with investigation".  How can a person interfere with an investigation on a public street by video-recording it from afar, nobody knows, and the Onondaga police force needs to be trained just a little bit better as to "resisting arrest" charges - because in New York, an unlawful arrest can be resisted with deadly force, if necessary, and there was nothing lawful in arresting an individual for recording the police.

So far, Mr. Crawley was arrested, put in jail, released on bail, but charges against him - completely unconstitutional charges - were not dismissed and continue to be pressed by the Onondaga DA's office, which is attorney misconduct.

The court lingers with dismissing the case obviously protecting the police, because once the case is dismissed, the police can be immediately sued in federal court.  If a civil rights lawsuit is filed at this time, it will most likely be dismissed on the "Younger abstention" ground - claiming that the state court has an ability to resolve constitutional matters in question as well as the federal court.

We will see just how well the federal court will resolve those constitutional issues - where a man was arrested for asking the officer to repeat what he said, and, mainly, for recording the police.

One lesson Maurice "Mo" Crawley taught all of us though - if you are recording the police, LIVESTREAM it immediately, this way the evidence will be instantly preserved on an independent remote server unreachable by the police.

Otherwise, our noble and brave public servants will try to use their armed force to get the evidence you created against them, destroy it and make up some criminal charges against you in retaliation for filming them in the first place.

So, #LivestreamRecordingOfPoliceMisconduct.  It may make a difference between life and death for you and other people.

I will continue to cover this case.

Stay tuned.

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