"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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

While we are all grumbling over Trump v Clinton, Silver struck gold with judges

The glorious story of Sheldon Silver, the former powerful (and, I bet, still powerful) head of New York Assembly, convicted for corruption, continues.

Silver so far was - reluctantly - disbarred, and not immediately as of the date of conviction, as required by law.

Silver also kept his pension of $90,750 a year that taxpayers will continue to foot for him - plus medical care for him and his spouse.

Silver, the poor guy, pun intended, was reportedly "struggling" to start paying the fine ordered by the judge out of $7,000,000 that Silver is supposed to return from those monies he was paid for his "services" as a lawmaker over the years.

Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison - in May of 2016, but has not seen the inside of the prison yet.


First, he was allowed to stay out of prison during the summer pending his appeal, because judges were expecting (!) a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a similar case - imagine if a court will do that for any other convicted Joe from the street.

Then, very "coincidentally", just when Silver was convicted, the U.S. Supreme Court - consider the odds - (1) took a case of another corrupt public official (while regularly tossing civil rights cases like garbage unworthy of the high Court's attention), and (2) decided that case in favor of that corrupt official, making it so much more difficult to pursue public corruption in this country.

That's the court that heard 150 cases per year, and in by 2009 it heard half that, 75, while the U.S. resident population in 1980 was reportedly 226,545,805, and was estimated at 308,758,105 in 2010.

So, the population from 1980 to 2010 grew more than 1/3.

Yet, the highest court of the country that takes FINAL appeals from 50 states and 13 federal circuits (63 sources all in all), at the time when the number of court cases increased from 1980 to 2010 even more, percentage wise, than population increased, reduced its "discretionary" intake of cases by 1/2.  Sounds like a policy to me. 

Of course, judges need time for national and international speaking engagements and write books about the Court's glory, participate in a variety of beneficial activities to enhance the honor of the legal profession, and to go on hunting trips with litigants and their lawyers, although the latter is a hazardous endeavor for U.S. Supreme justices of late.

Oh, and don't forget that Justice Stephen Breyer, for example, spends his valuable time attending "movie nights with booze" in the 9th Circuit with the honorable Alex Kozinski , the judge who likes man-donkey porn, opposes "oversized briefs" on constitutional issues (while courts have no restrictions in the length of their opinions and can dedicate as many pages as is needed to prove their point well) and who tries to publicly exert influence upon cases where he is a party.

Yes, the courthouse is open 24/7 supposedly to hear last-minute death penalty appeals, but that's not fun, is it?  

Movie nights with booze in the courthouse and with a U.S. Supreme Court justice attending (to discuss cases?) are more fun - imagine, for Justice Breyer to even find a window in his tight schedule to attend such a booze party, cutting short on national and international speaking tours, wining and dining with the Inn-of-Court lawyers at their expense, writing books, inventing and enforcing "saddle-stitch" rules, dodging the docket of the "griping crackpot" (pro se) cases,

and, of course, doing the most important part of his job, the diligent work for the "chosen 66".

And, while the high court now takes around 70 cases a year out of the entire country, as a matter of its unlimited "discretion", the court also takes in cases from around 70 (66 to be precise) lawyers (9 women and 57 men, no blacks allowed, one Latino and one Hindu squeezed in), of course, with personal connections with the court's judges (former law clerks, colleagues etc.).

A perfect match, isn't it?

Which begs a question - do we even need the U.S. Supreme Court if it continues to be simply a privileged club at taxpayers' expense reviewing - and "setting the law for the country" - only for cases it "wants" to hear from its own friends and acquaintances, a type of judicial misconduct that warranted taking off the bench of a judge in New York in 2013, see Matter of Glen George.  Of course, in this country we imprison people for stealing lipstick from Walmart, but not for funneling millions from taxpayers.  And, by the same token, we take off the bench a judge fixing traffic tickets for friends, but not providing for livelihood of large corporations.

So, to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is a truly miraculous chance - like winning a jackpot in a lottery (if the lottery is rigged).

Remember, the U.S. Supreme Court invented rules, in an electronic age, designed at the same time to flood the court with papers (41 copies of petitions and appendixes are required to be filed for each case instead of one electronic filing) in order to keep the "crackpots with a gripe" from inundating the court, and allows cases only or predominantly from the approved few (66) honorables to be heard.

In sum, you can be assured that your case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court will not be heard, no matter how meritorious or important for your and for this country, unless you have enough money to hire one of "the 66" and unless you are rich enough not to care about the intentionally discriminatory, petty, burdening "saddle-stitch" rules invented by the U.S. Supreme Court in our day and age of electronic filing in order to further reduce the number of people willing or able to present their cases to the High Court.

You, of course, know why such rules are needed. 

No, the U.S. Supreme Court certainly does not want "every crackpot with a gripe inundating the court".  So, it made the rules reducing access to court based on educational and financial restrictions.

After all, it cost no less than a $1,000 to just print an average-size petition and appendix to it (41 required copies of petition and appendix), and $1,000 is a very low figure.  I was quoted much, much more by companies specializing on such printing, from 2 to 5 thousand dollars.  For printing.  That does not include the filing fee ($300) and the legal fees if you need a lawyer, and most people need a lawyer, unless they are lawyers themselves capable of handling an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course, you can apply to court for a waiver of fees ($300), but you will still have to pay for the print - of 41 copies of petitions and appendixes.

And, you will have to "re-typeset" all documents in the appendix (not just provide copies) so that they look uniform, in a Century font - a font that nobody uses, so the high Court can be sure that "the crackpot gripes" will have to re-"typeset" every single document in the file - taking more time, effort and money than most people can afford.

But, you will only get that waiver of fee if you are indigent.  If you are not indigent, if you work and make ends meet, you will have to pay all the way through.  Or decide not to.  And the court will be glad that one more "crackpot gripe" fell off the wagon and will not be inundating the court with his or her nonsense.

With all that background, what are the odds of U.S. Supreme Court "coincidentally" taking an the appeal of a corrupt public official to see whether public corruption can be redefined in order to make it more difficult to prosecute public corruption (a question of utmost public importance nowadays warranting the high Court's immediate attention) - at the very same time as two very public and very corrupt figures, heads of BOTH chambers of New York State Legislature, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, were convicted for public corruption?

Even if the High Court took that case for review, what are the odds that any federal court would not send a convicted criminal to prison pending review of a similar case in the U.S. Supreme Court?

And what are the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule so that the conviction of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos would have a chance to be overturned?

And what are the odds that the federal district court that sentenced Silver to 12 years in prison will keep a convicted criminal out of prison pending appeal where there is a possibility (not certainty) that the conviction will be overturned based on a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court?  You know how many precedents of the same U.S. Supreme Court there are that federal courts do not care a rat's ass about?  Let's talk whistleblower's loss of livelihood cases.  Let's talk court corruption cases.  Let's talk unconstitutional family break-up cases. There are zillions of applicable precedents, parties quote them until they are blue in the face - with no result.

Here - Silver is kept out of jail despite a jury conviction and a 12-year sentence because there is a CHANCE that he will win on appeal because of ONE recent precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court?

And what are the odds that any judge will give a criminal convicted by jury, sentenced to 12 years in prison and to a fine/forfeiture of 7 million dollars, "a little extra time" to pay that 7 million spread by tiny increments well beyond the lifetime of the criminal?   

And what are the odds of ALL OF THE ABOVE happening together - without just a little help?  Without "a hand laid on the scales of justice", as our criminal procedure professor used to say?


If Silver stole those $7,000,000 (and he likely stole much more) and put it into an investment account, even at a low rate of 3%, he would have a profit of $210,000 per year in interest only.

Silver is 72.

The judge ordered him to start paying out his 7 million dollar fine and forfeiture sentence at the whopping $5,846 a month.

That's $70,152 a year.

Silver's ongoing pension is $90,750.

And, if he stole $7,000,000, his income on that steal is at least $210,000 a year, by conservative estimates.

Silver will have enough money to pay his lawyers and a couple of judges, wouldn't he?

Corruption pays, doesn't it?

So, stop inundating courts with your petitions for justice, my dear average Americans, the griping crackpots.

And stop concerning yourself with Trump v Clinton, and where to run if Trump is elected or if Clinton is elected.

Start thinking business.  Like Silver did.

Just get elected,  invest your loot well, steal as much as you can, share your steals with whoever will cover your ass, don't get caught until you are old, frail and can beg for mercy because of your pitiful old age - and then beat the odds and live a great long life with your loot laughing at those silly people who must work for a living.

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