"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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disciplinary proceedings against Judge Kreep of San Diego, California - a political retaliation?

While reporting on judicial misconduct, I came across bad judges with pretty telling names.  I already reported on judges by the name of Free, Best and Real.

Now is the turn to report on Judge Kreep.

Judge Gary Kreep, of San Diego, California, was recently charged with 11 counts of misconduct, some valid, some not and some really petty.

Judge Kreep's behavior, as charged, is crude, on occasion improper, sexist and racist.  And, Judge Kreep engaged in ex parte communications and did not represent facts correctly during his election campaign.  Yet, the timing of the charges - 4 years after the election, the pettiness of some charges, and the fact that this particular judge was the target of blanket peremptory challenges by criminal prosecutors suggests selective enforcement of judicial discipline against Judge Kreep.

After all, he did nothing that other judges do not do - on a regular basis. Not that it is right, but, once again - anybody appearing in American courtrooms, after looking through the charges, can find that "their" judges behaved in the exact same manner, as to one, more than one, or all charges of misconduct against Judge Kreep.

Here is the description of the charges.

Judge Kreep likes to crack a joke - like this:

And he joked again with a public defender.  Like this:

And, also jokingly, of course, Judge Kreep called attorneys appearing in front of him by nicknames - just as retired Delaware County (New York) Judge Carl F. Becker did (he called an attorney a clown and a Santa Claus).  Here is Judge Kreep's jokingly invented nicknames for attorneys:

JudgeKreep also joked about an attorney's pregnancy - that the opposing counsel needs to wrap up the arguments shorter so that the pregnant attorney can go home and have her baby:

And Judge Kreep openly joked about how good a friend he was to a disabled personal friend:

I wonder how many friends Judge Kreep will have left after that particular disclosure, and how many of them will ask Judge Kreep for help - or offer help, for that matter.

And #JudgeGaryKreep joked yet again - with a criminal defendant:

Judge Kreep is a judge in San Diego, California.

The Bunny Ranch is a brothel in Nevada, which also has an online sexually explicit content.

Apparently, Judge Kreep had personal knowledge (and, maybe, experience?) of this brothel - which he readily shared in an open courtroom, jokingly of course, while accepting a plea from a young woman for prostitution and giving her a fatherly advice as to how to turn her life around.

Judge Kreep's jokingly humiliated young attorneys:

Judge Kreep jokingly - of course - referred to criminal sentences he imposed on people as "gifts":

Judge Kreep referred to cases by ethnicity of criminal defendants involved - and connected that ethnicity with attorneys appearing in front of him:

Judge Kreep is accused of using crude language in the courtroom:

Jiudge Kreep stressed Latino ethnicity of defendants and attorneys:

Of course, I do not know how that can technically be done without hurting clients' cases if the judge is assigned to the case - but a boycott by lawyers was reported, and, reportedly, on the day of the boycott the judge threatened a public defender that "they" will come "for her" if "they" "came for" the judge.

Here are the charges against Judge Kreep in full.

Judge Kreep is also charged for:

  • misrepresentation to voters - and thus being elected by fraud (which reminds me of Albany County (New York) Supreme Court judge Christina Ryba ["ryba" means "fish" in Russian, by the way] who was FIRED from her job in the Appellate Division 3rd Department because she engaged in election fraud, but the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct refused to find anything amiss in Ryba's behavior):

  • running for judicial public office without resigning from another public office, as required by law:

  • opposed a candidate for a public office (the President of the United States) while running for another public office (this charge I find questionable since a candidate for public office does not lose his voting rights by running for a public office)

(3 lengthy examples are included into the charges, you can see them fully here);

  • failed to report certain expenses during his election campaign;
  • used his personal credit card and his personal bank account to finance his election campaign, instead of the campaign contribution account;
  • remained for six weeks as counsel of record in a federal case after taking office as a judge;
  • issued reimbursement checks in a way creating an impression that the judge continued to practice law after Judge Kreep took the bench
  • obtained legal advice for cases from attorneys who did not represent any parties, and then made rulings based on that advice

  • delegated authority to parties to decide cases instead of himself


All of the above, with the one exception I noted (as to voting rights of a candidate for public office) is bad.

But, I bet that readers who have any experience with American courts would say that all judges that they appeared in front of are exactly the same - and are doing exactly what Judge Kreep was doing.

  • Assigning nicknames to attorneys;
  • Making inappropriate, crude, sexist, racist jokes in and out of court;
  • engaging in ex parte communications;
  • pre-judging cases;
  • injecting their own experiences into cases - same as Charges 1 through 11, with specifications, allege against Judge Kreep.
And, judges who do all of that, do not get any discipline - the absolute majority of complaints against judges are dismissed without discipline or even an investigation, in all states, including the blessed state of California, home to Judge Kreep.

Moreover, charges were filed in 2016 against Judge Kreep for his alleged misconduct in 2012 during his election campaign, 4 years after the fact.

Why Judge Kreep?  Why now?

Is it a belated revenge against Judge Kreep for being what was characterized a "legal activist" and a "high profile birther", questioning authority of President Barack Obama to be re-elected to office based on claims that he was born outside of the United States?

Also, even though charges to mention that Judge Kreep made inappropriate comments about a public defender, the bulk of the charges were because of the boycott by the City Attorneys - who usually act as prosecutors.

And, back in 2013, when Judge Kreep was just elected, by a narrow margin, it was mentioned in a high-profile legal blog that Judge Kreep "earned the ire only of prosecutors", while public defenders had no problem with the judge.  The ire that Judge Kreep somehow drew from the prosecutors resulted in a "blanket challenge" - through the use of statutory peremptory disqualification - from all criminal cases, I described what is a peremptory challenge to a judge more than 2 years ago, here.

Not to mention that Judge Kreep's opponent in his election campaign, Garland Peed, is reportedly working in the city attorney's criminal division that is boycotting the judge.

And, many Counts of the charges are outright petty.

You just don't charge a judge with an ethical violation simply because he complimented a female attorney or employee in the courtroom for being pretty.

That is really, really, really petty.

By the way, one of the counts was that Judge Kreep had ex parte communications with public defenders.

I bet that Judge Kreep would never have been charged if he did what other judges are usually doing - having ex parte communications with the prosecutors.

I can recall another case that I recently reported on - of New York judge Thomas Keefe who was forced to resign because prosecutors were not happy with him.

If defense attorneys were not happy with a judge, he would, probably, be given a badge of honor, no matter how crude, rude, sexist and racist he would be with defense attorneys.

And that is the whole problem with disciplinary prosecution of Judge Gary Kreep in California - as well as with the disciplinary prosecution of Judge Thomas Keefe in New York.

No comments:

Post a Comment