"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, September 23, 2016

#IStandWithJacobHafter. Yet another attorney, #JacobHafter in Nevada, is targeted with a disciplinary proceeding for criticism of #JudgeValorieVega well-known for her outrageous misconduct

I wrote on this blog about the trend in this country to punish attorneys for criticism of the judiciary, listing cases of attorneys so disciplined from across the country.

My petition for the writ of certiorari that is currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, specifically raises the issue that removal of competent criminal, family court and civil rights attorneys through disciplinary process for doing their job, criticizing the judiciary in motions to recuse, is contrary to the declared purpose of attorney licensing (protection of consumers) and is widening the already-wide "justice gap" where the majority of Americans cannot afford an attorney.

At this time, two more cases in addition to the statistics of attorney discipline for criticism of judges I published earlier, are pending - one in D.C. and another in Nevada - where attorneys are targeted by the government for criticism of the judiciary.

In D.C., Texas attorney Ty Clevenger is targeted with a disciplinary proceeding after he single-handedly caused the forced retirement of a sexual predator/federal judge Walter Smith whom the federal system protected and refused to hold accountable for years, the same as the federal judicial system protected and refused to hold accountable another sexual predator/judge Samuel Kent.

Ty Clevenger obtained and published the testimony of  the victim of Judge Smith's sexual crimes, published it, caused reopening the disciplinary investigation against Judge Smith, which initially resulted in a slap on the wristrequested Judge Smith's impeachment, requested an FBI investigation of Judge Smith about Judge Smith allegedly illegally accepting free legal services from an attorney who appeared in front of him in court cases, and wrote to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court asking to speed up the investigation.  Then he was targeted for disbarment.

Interestingly enough, the Chief Judge Richard Warren Roberts, of the D.C. District Court, the court that is now "coincidentally" prosecuting Ty Clevenger on the same charges that were dismissed by the Texas disciplinary authorities as meritless, has recently also "retired" - quickly - after reports of his confession to sex with an underage (16-year-old) girl appeared in the press.

Here are the three federal judges - sexual predators, where two out of three were not prosecuted in disciplinary or criminal proceedings, and escaped with their law licenses and their huge taxpayer-backed pensions intact.

The now-retired Judge Walter Smith, the drunk stalker and sexual harasser of female court employees:

The now-retired Judge Richard Warren Roberts, an accused pedophile who is being sued for statutory rape committed against her by the judge when the judge was an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department and the woman was a 16-year-old witness against a white supremacist on trial.   Even though Judge Roberts "retired" when the U.S. Congress threatened an investigation into the claims of rape, the judge was not investigated or prosecuted criminally or as an attorney after his "retirement".

The convicted felon judge Samuel Kent who repeatedly forced sex upon unwilling court employees, forced one employee out of her job, caused the other to lie against the first one in order to keep her job, and tried to coerce and intimidate a witness to the grand jury against him.



Once again, Ty Clevenger, an attorney who was instrumental in removal of one of these sexual predator federal judges from the bench and protecting federal court employees from their unlimited power and control,  is targeted with a disciplinary proceeding.

And another case of attorney criticism of a judge is unfolding in Nevada, against attorney Jacob Hafter for criticism posted out of court against Judge Valorie Vega:

In 2010, a blogger wrote about Judge Vega as the most corrupt judge in the United States, citing a motion to recuse her from a habeas corpus petition that pointed out her conflicts of interest, prejudgment of the case, presiding over a case where she had personal knowledge of disputed facts, and where she conducted a hearing without giving a party a notice of that hearing - in other words, the judge held an ex parte hearing.

In the same 2010, it was reported by the local TV station that Judge Vega kept a jury sequestered (locked up) and deliberating overnight - in a MURDER trial - to force them to produce a verdict faster so that she would be able to go on a vacation.  Of course, the criminal defendant was black. 

So, the judge did not care whether the verdict in a murder trial would be rendered out of mere exhaustion and desire to go home.

I know of one other such forced verdict, and also, coincidentally, in 2010 - in New York, in People v Quentin Tompkins, in Delaware County County Court, where the now-also-retired Judge Becker told the jury, after they were out for 2 hours in the courtroom re-hearing evidence on tape and drinking water on a hot summer day, that the judge just received a phone call from a crew working on the water main feeding the courthouse, that the water main is severed and shut off and that there is "just one flush left in the restrooms".  Judge Becker did not adjourn the trial, did not move it to another location, with working restrooms.  He simply forced the jury to reach the verdict fast - and they did.  They returned a "guilty" verdict within 15 minutes, not willing to pee and poop into each other's pee and poop.

The case for 1st degree rape against a young man with no prior criminal history could very well result in an acquittal - because there was evidence presented that the alleged victim, the defendant's fiancé who just broke up with him while keeping the expensive ring he worked hard to buy for her, was jealous after she called his mother and learnt that he was out with other girls.  Otherwise, there was no physical evidence of rape, and there was an egregious video of a 2-hour-interrogation when the young man was forced to sit on his hands with plastic handcuffs eating into it, was crying, and the police officers were using his still-remaining love for the girl by pressing him to confess so that "the love of his life would not have to face a courtroom full of people".

Here is information from New York Department of Corrections about Quentin Tompkins.

This young man worked hard, respected his parents, earned money to buy a ring for his fiance, took care of her ferrets after she split up with him and dumped her animals on him and wanted to go into the Armed Forces.

Instead, he is branded as a rapist, will have to register and undergo restrictions and indignities as a violent sex offender for life, was sentenced by the same corrupt judge for 10 years in prison, and has been incarcerated for 6 years so far, because a corrupt judge Catrl F. Becker and a corrupt prosecutor (now Delaware County Judge) Richard Northrup who was employing (without disclosure) the judge's former law partner, which rendered the whole proceedings against Quentin Tompkins tainted, and his conviction and sentence unlawful. 

This is a young man who fell victim to the misconduct of Judge Carl F. Becker of Delaware County, New York, who forced the jury to deliberate in a room without a working bathroom, in antisanitary conditions, in order to coerce a guilty verdict in favor of the prosecutor's office that employed (without disclosure by the prosecution or by judge Becker) the judge's former law partner John Hubbard - who is now the Acting District Attorney, is running unopposed for the position of the elected District Attorney, and is appearing as a prosecutor in front of his former boss Richard Northrup, who is now the Delaware County Judge, and who obtained the conviction against Quentin Tompkins by conspiracy with the presiding judge to force the jury to deliberate in antisanitary conditions.

Here is the happy face of Carl Becker who retired without judicial or attorney discipline and was not criminally investigated despite his legendary misconduct:

And here is the other "hero" of the wrongful conviction of Quentin Tompkins, Richard Northrup, being sworn by the same Carl Becker as the new Delaware County Judge - while at the time of the swearing-in ceremony, Becker was a retired judge, a private individual, and had no authority whatsoever to swear-in a new judge.  But, so are the ties of friendship that Becker habitually broke the law to unlawfully and without authority swear in another judge, and Northrup, habitually, unlawfully accepted Becker as a swearing-in officiant.

Judge Valorie Vega forced the jurors to deliberate overnight in a murder trial, in order to force a verdict, so that she would be able to go on a vacation.

Judge Becker, in a similar situation, only where there was no jury and the judge was the only fact-finder, in a child abuse case where I was an attorney of record and present in the courtroom, Judge Becker made a statement that the trial in a child neglect case (a statutory priority on a court schedule) will not go into another day because he needs to depart on a vacation - just like that.  Whatever it takes, the trial will end today, he said. 

At the same time, I know of an attorney whose vacation, with airline tickets and hotels paid for - for a family of two adults and three children (I am not talking about myself or my family, but will not disclose the lawyer's name) - was thwarted by a New York judge who forced the attorney to cancel everything and attend a hearing that could be very well adjourned, because it was scheduled after the lawyer bought his tickets.

Back to Judge Valorie Vega, of Nevada.

In 2013, Judge Vega accepted a public reprimand for adjourning trials on 6 occasions in order to attend her daughter's soccer games.

In the same 2013, Judge Vega announced she will not seek re-election for the next term, after 25 years on the bench.

In June of 2014, attorney Jacob Hafter accused judge Vega of racism and anti-Semitism - because she refused to adjourn a trial schedule to accommodate a Jewish holiday.

Remember that the same judge adjourned trials to go to her daughter's soccer games, and kept the jury overnight in a murder trial in order to force a verdict earlier, so that she would be able to go on a vacation.

Attorney Hafter's explanation that his religion does not allow him to work on Wednesday and Thursday during Shavout, fell on deaf ears of Judge Vega.  Adjournment for her daughter's soccer games - yes.  Keeping the jury locked up overnight to force a verdict in a murder case so that the judge could timely depart to a vacation - yes.

Allowing a trial lawyer an adjournment so that he would not work when his religion prohibits him from doing so - no.

Maybe, it was not racism of anti-Semitism.  Maybe, it was simply bias and desire to help attorney Hafter's opponents - because judge Vega's husband is reportedly Jewish, and Judge Vega should have known then that she is scheduling a trial on a Jewish holiday when one of the attorneys could not work for religious reasons.

It was misconduct nevertheless.  And, attorney Hafter said it exactly the way the issue was supposed to be raised - that it appears that either the judge was anti-Semitic, or she was biased, but in any event, she should not be on the case.

So now, with all her shenanigans - and especially with locking up the jury in a murder trial of a black man in order to go on a vacation on time - Judge Valorie Vega is listed as an active judge on Nevada State Bar's registration website.

Let's note that, despite her public reprimand as a judge, she has no matching disciplinary record as an attorney.  As an attorney, she has NO disciplinary record.

Instead, the attorney who raised issue of her obvious bias, is now in hot waters and is subject to a disciplinary proceedings - for being too "outspoken".

And, remember, we are talking about the blessed state of Nevada that did not prosecute - as a judge or as an attorney - judge Conrad Hafen who handcuffed a public defender for making a constitutional argument on behalf of her indigent client.

And, Judge Hafen has a record showing that he is willing to go an extra way to humiliate not only female attorneys, but male attorneys as well:

"When Las Vegas Township Judge Conrad Hafen became a judge in 2011 and noticed some attorneys weren’t wearing ties, he went to a thrift store and picked up a few funky ties from the 1960s and ‘70s along with two children’s clip-on ties. He then gave attorneys who showed up without ties a choice: wear one from his thrift store collection, or have their case heard last or even moved to a different day."

One thing is to require a certain type of attire in the courtroom - which I don't believe courts can do, short of prohibiting dirty clothing - and quite another is to force the judge's choice of clothing, chosen specifically to humiliate the person, for disobeying the judge's prior choice of clothing for an adult man and an attorney.

To put adult men in front of a choice - wear a funky tie or have your client's case heard last or on another day (adding to billable hours for the client, or having the client to appear at a different day, with a respective loss of work time, and additional arrangements to be made for daycare of children, for example), is not funny.   It is judicial misconduct that should have been, but never was addressed as such.

Same as judge Vega, Judge Hafen has no record of public discipline as an attorney.  He is good to continue doing what he did to public defender Zohra Bahtary, and he is good to practice law once he is off the bench (he was recently voted off the bench after the handcuffing episode - thankfully, people of the State of Nevada has more honor, sense of fairness and common sense than the Nevada court officials, criminal officials and disciplinary authorities).

So, these two individuals, who, judging by their reported actions (and I am sure, that is only the tip of the iceberg of their misconduct), should not be on the bench and should not have a law license, have no record of public discipline as attorneys.

Here are their happy faces.

Valerie Vega.

Conrad Hafen.

Instead, an attorney who criticized a judge with a documented record of EGREGIOUS misconduct, is sought out for discipline - for stating the truth, in and out of court, for the sake of getting fairness for his clients.

We, as taxpayers, must come to a realization that these cases not only MULTIPLY injustice and undermine people's already rightfully eroding trust in the so-called rule of law in this country.  Such cases also COST US MONEY, a lot of very real, hard-earned money that can be used for our common good.

When a capable attorney is removed or silenced and cannot do his or her job - the entire society and each taxpayer pays.  Pays in unnecessarily increased fees to house the wrongfully convicted.  Pays for inflated budgets of social services when attorneys who can represent parents in child protective cases are targeted and washed out by discipline, and parents are routinely assigned "yes-men" (and women) who help social services inflate their budgets through wrongful child neglect and abuse adjudications even more.

So, if an attorney working for the people is wrongfully removed - not only your chances of getting justice through good representation in court are shrunk, but you will be paying, as a taxpayer, for the resulting injustice against others.

Look once again at the self-complacent faces of people whose pictures I posted in this blog.

All of them are highly educated, privileged and vested with tremendous power.

All of them used that power for their own personal gain - with no real accountability, with the exception of Judge Vega who was publicly reprimanded, but was not taken off the bench and did not lose in salary or power, and judge Kent who was convicted and sentenced for a very short amount of time in prison, on a plea bargain, despite engaging in unwanted sexual touching of employees of the years and intimidating a witness in a grand jury proceedings - for which any other "lay" person would be incarcerated for a very long time. 

Judge Kent is not even convicted as a sex offender, so he does not have to register as a sex offender, and had the audacity to complain recently in an official motion that he was treated in prison as a sex offender.

Judge Samuel Kent was brought to justice only because of the courage of two women, Cathy McBroom and Donna Wilkerson, both non-attorneys, in coming forward and seeing it through, despite tremendous odds, pressure, humiliation and intimidation, that the powerful judge was indicted and convicted for at least something.

Attorneys were afraid to touch that case.

Because of what is usually happening to attorneys in this country if they criticize a judge or raise issues of judicial misconduct - no matter how right they are.

Until the rule of law starts to be equally applied - with a real bite - against judges and prosecutors, and stops being applied against critics of governmental misconduct, we cannot claim, as a country, that we have the rule of law.

I stand with #JacobHafter.

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