"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, September 21, 2016

A Massachussets court rules that African Americans have a lot of reasons to fear the police - and run away from the police

Apparently not only New York City police disproportionately targets African Americans with stops - and that includes even off-duty black police officers.

In Massachusetts, a judge just ruled that African Americans had a lot to worry about if police is seeking to stop them - and that African Americans have reasons to flee when they see a police officer.

The case in Massachusetts involved a conviction for a burglary where the criminal defendant was stopped by the Boston police, and a firearm was found on him.

The trial court and the intermediate appellate court denied suppression of the firearm, but the higher appellate court reversed and vacated the convictions, because "the police lacked reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop".

The description of the suspect by the alleged victims was:

1) a black male wearing a red hoodie;
2) a black male wearing a black hoodie; and
3) a black male wearing "dark clothing".

A police officer spotted men who fit the "general description" and "yelled out":

The officer then radioed the description of black men who ran away when the officer "yelled out" to them, to other officers, who stopped the defendant.  The defendant did not have a firearm on him, but a firearm was found nearby near a fence.

The appellate court ruled that the description that black males ran away when a police officer asked them to wait, was not enough reason for reasonable suspicion, stop, arrest, search and criminal charges.

Whether the defendant did or did not commit a burglary, does not matter - and I know that this issue will upset a lot of people, but that's how the law works. 

The government cannot enforce the law, or teach respect to the law, by breaking the law.

If the only suspicion about a person is his skin color, gender, the color of his clothing and that he ran away from the police - that is simply not enough for arrests and searches.

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