"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 22, 2016

Did Indiana Judge Michael Hensley deny an arrest warrant of a dangerous stalker (that resulted in the victim's death) because the victim was the stalker's estranged wife? $500.00. That's how much Laura Russell's life was valued at by an Indiana court.

In August, a man in Indiana was arrested and criminally charged  with "with strangulation and domestic battery for allegedly attacking his wife".

A stay-away order of protection was issued at that time.

The man violated the stay-away no contact order of protection by continuing to stalk his estranged wife.

The estranged wife reported his stalking to the police.

When court orders are violated, that is contempt of court, a separate crime.

When a stay-away order of protection is violated, that is a separate crime, and is especially dangerous in view of the August charges - strangulation and battery.

Imagine that the man strangled and hit somebody other than his wife - a stranger, a co-worker, a neighbor.

And, that the man would have violated the order of protection and continued to stalk that co-worker or neighbor.

He would be immediately arrested and brought before court.

But here, the victim was his wife.

And the male judge decided to go easy on him - and simply issue a "summons" to appear in court, based obviously on the wife's report.

That brought the man over the edge - and he stabbed his estranged wife to death.

That blood is on the hands of #JudgeMichaelHensley.

Judge Hensley did not apologize, but he issued a statement expressing condolences to the victim's, Laura Russell's, family, and stated that in the future he will hold a hearing as to the arrest warrant the same day the application is made, to prevent similar tragic consequences.

Those condolences will not bring the 44-year-old mother of a young daughter back to life, to her child, her family and her friends.

On August 20, 2016, a month and a half before her death, Laura Russell reportedly escaped the strangulation attempt and beating at the hands of her abusive husband, fled to neighbors and reported the crime.

Criminal charges were brought against the husband.

It is a wonder why the husband was not kept in jail in view of dangerousness of his behavior.

Allegations were made by the victim already then indicating that the husband was a dangerous control freak:

" The woman also told police she called 911 for help, but Anthony Russell disconnected the call. When dispatchers called back, Anthony Russell said everything was fine.

Laura Russell told police that morning that she attempted to use someone else’s phone, a second phone she owned and attempted to get her car keys to leave during the incident, but her husband took away the phones and keys."

It was unlikely that a "no contact" order of protection would deter such a determined control freak who obviously looked upon Laura Russell as his property.

Of course, the husband claimed that the wife was drunk, came home late and was the aggressor.  The question is, why would a "drunk aggressor" run away to neighbors trying to escape from the husband?

The husband was released on a $500 bond and a no contact in August of 2016.

In September of 2016, "a Level 5 felony count of criminal confinement and misdemeanor counts of interference with reporting a crime and battery were added to the case by prosecutors."

And, the husband was still not arrested and was not kept locked up to protect the victim.

Laura Russell specifically asked the court "that Anthony Russell not be allowed to possess guns, knives or other weapons that could cause bodily injury."

That is the usual requirement for an order of protection.

I am not sure whether that request was granted or not, but for some relentless control freaks, such as Anthony Russell showed to be, an order of protection, and even an order not to possess knives or guns, is nothing but noise.

In June of 2016, the husband filed for divorce, but then quickly withdrew his filing, and the divorce case was dismissed.

After the strangulation episode on August 20, 2016, Laura Russell reportedly filed for divorce on August 24, 2016 - which also was not taken into consideration for purposes of protecting her from her stalker and abuser.

There were multiple witnesses who saw Anthony Russell, on multiple occasions, violating the no-contact court order of protection - following Laura Russell from lunch with friends, from the school where she picked up her daughter, to the gym - and Anthony Russell left before the police arrived, so the police did the right thing and applied, through prosecution, for an arrest warrant - which Judge Michael Hensley denied without a hearing.

Here is what the prosecutor reportedly said about what happened:

If everybody knew that Laura Russell was at risk of BEING KILLED, for God's sake, because she was leaving her abusive partner - why didn't the police start surveillance of Anthony Russell, even if the arrest warrant was denied?

Wouldn't that have saved Laura Russell's life?

Now everybody involved can "express condolences".

But the woman is dead.

And I cannot shake the nagging feeling that she is dead because everybody involved did not exercise the same amount of caution which they would have if Laura Russell was not Anthony Russell's wife.

The perception remains that our court system, especially male judges, like it was in this case, continues to act on implications that

  • wives are husbands' property,
  • husbands can do whatever they want with them, and that
  • wives are not to be believed when they are claiming physical abuse and danger of death at the hands of their abusive husbands.
Just like it was not so long ago - when women were, in fact, the husband's property.

While prejudices die hard, one thing can be done about the situation - and that is not "changing procedures".

Judge Michael Hensley should be removed from the bench.

He would not have denied that arrest warrant, without a hearing, had the alleged victim been male, and a stranger to the defendant.

And that bias is not just a simple lapse of judgment.

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