"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.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Consumers of legal services in New York and Ohio, rejoice: Ohio quickly reinstated a lawyer who was suspended for lying to the court and stealing/hiding evidence, while New York reinstated a lawyer who was disbarred after being convicted of securities fraud

On September 22, 2016, Ohio reinstated the law license of attorney Robert Paul Demarco who, according to his order of discipline of November 5, 2015, lied to the court and hid evidence given to him by opposing counsel.

So, in Ohio, an attorney can lie and steal/hide evidence, and be reinstated after less than a year, while criticism of corruption in Ohio courts leads to attorney disbarment.

Not to be outdone, on September 28, 2016 New York reinstated disbarred attorney Christopher K. Collotta who was permanently disbarred in 2008 after a criminal conviction for securities fraud in 2004.

The order of reinstatement does not explain any reasons other than that it was based "[u]pon the papers filed in support of the motion and the papers filed in relation thereto, and upon the report of the Committee on Character and Fitness and the exhibits annexed thereto".

Notably, attorney Collotta was reinstated even though he has been "delinquent" - which means he did not pay his registration fee.

Since attorney Collotta's next registration is in November of 2016, and attorneys in New York must re-register every two years, by the time of attorney Collotta's interesting no-reasons-given reinstatement he was delinquent for nearly 2 years - and even that did not prevent his reinstatement.

Consumers of legal services of attorneys and Christopher K. Collotta in New York - rejoice.

Christopher K. Collotta - who was given leniency in criminal proceedings in 2007 because he is reportedly a cancer survivor, has heart problems, was "at the bottom of the food chain" in a 13-defendant conspiracy, and "only modestly profited" from his crime - to the order of $9,000 - is back in service.

So, if he steals from you while representing you, it will be only modest - within single-digit thousands of dollars.

As I previously said on this blog, commission of a felony is regarded by New York courts, as a lesser offense than criticism of a judge.

And, no new rules of attorney discipline that came into effect today, and which are supposed to be "fairer" than the previous mess, can fix the main problem of attorney discipline in New York - corruption.

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