"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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The reality of attorney regulation: when a judge violates your constitutional rights, apologize - or else

I wrote on this blog about #JudgeDanPolster of an Ohio federal court who ordered a New Jersey attorney, who was not a party or attorney in an action and who was not admitted to practice law in Ohio, without serving the order upon him, to personally appear in contempt proceedings the next day after the date of the order, see my blogs here, here and here.

When the attorney did not appear and claimed - correctly - that Judge Polster has no jurisdiction over him, Judge Polster held him in contempt, issued an arrest bench warrant and then changed the warrant to $500/a day sanctions against attorney John McDermott.

Reportedly, the situation changed once again recently when:

1) Judge Polster once again changed his contempt order, now "only" requiring attorney John McDermott - who is still not a party or attorney of record in the proceeding - to pay costs and attorney fees to the opponent of John McDermott's brother, and

2) attorney John McDermott apologized to the court in a letter indicating that he never meant disrespect to the judge or any other court.

Once again - it is the Judge Dan Polster who violated John McDermott constitutional rights to due process of law by holding him in contempt without serving upon an order to appear, and without having any authority to claim his appearance.

It is Judge Dan Polster who harassed attorney John McDermott, even though, based on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision as of June 9, 2016 a judge may not be an accuser in the same action - thus invalidating sua sponte contempt proceedings presided over by the judges who brought them, and that was exactly the situation of Judge Dan Polster.

It is Judge Dan Polster who compounded his due process violations against John McDermott by insisting on sanctions and attorney fees upon him, while having no jurisdiction over him and while being disqualified from imposing any sanctions, after Judge Dan Polster stepped into the case as an accuser in the sua sponte contempt proceedings he illegally brought against John McDermott.

But, it is John McDermott who now feels compelled to apologize to his abuser, to a judge committing egregious misconduct against him and who is violating his constitutional rights - because attorney McDermott, likely, feels that Judge Polster can deprive John McDermott of his livelihood.

I wonder if Judge Polster turned John McDermott into the disciplinary investigation in New Jersey which triggered the apologetic letter to the judge who is committing misconduct.

This is the reality of attorney regulation in this country: when a judge violates your constitutional rights - apologize, or be stripped of your right to earn a living.

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