"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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A novel defense invented by a Cuomo lobbyist - that's my bribe, and you ain't getting it back

Recently, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Preet Bharara charged several business people, lobbyists and public employees (or former public employees) close to Andrew Cuomo, but not Andrew Cuomo himself, in yet another public corruption scandal.

One of those charged, lobbyist Todd Howe, pled guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with the prosecution.

At that point, the Cor Corporation had nothing better to think of than to sue Todd Howe to return to Cor Corporation $85,000 as if it was a loan.  Maybe, the Cor Corporation was trying to elicit from Todd Howe the contents of his secret plea deal with the prosecution through this litigation, but generally, such a move, filing a civil lawsuit about the same occurrence as a pending criminal proceeding, is dangerous and ill-advised.

Todd Howe already pled guilty to corruption, and, the Cor Corporation executives have a right to remain silent in the criminal proceedings, in a civil proceeding started against Todd Howe, Cor Corporation executives have no right to remain silent - so I wonder about the "wisdom" of even starting such a lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed the $85,000 was a loan given by the Cor Corporation to Andrew Cuomo's lobbyist Todd Howe.

To make the bizarre lawsuit even more bizarre, Todd Howe's lawyers came up with a "brilliant" and "novel" defense - it wasn't a loan, it was meant as a bribe, and thus Todd Howe is keeping the $85,000.

Great, isn't it?

First, the U.S. Supreme Court - after the previous, successful trial of corrupt public officials in New York - changes the rules on public corruption, making bribing public officials much easier than before. 

Now, a lobbyist pled guilty in order to get a lenient sentence, and is keeping the loot, adamantly acknowledging it as being the loot and a bribe received in a conspiracy scheme to deprive the public of honest services of a public official (Governor Andrew Cuomo).

Shame does not play a role in these schemes.

Only money, connections and keeping the right people out of the reach of the "rule of law" matter.

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