"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 24, 2016

Good faith enactments turned into nightmares based on money interests - and the need of citizen panels for statutory retention reviews

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 introduced for the noble purpose of fighting terrorism, is now precluding the claims of actual innocence, contributed to mass incarceration in the U.S.,  and is precluding release of people kept in prisons on convictions based on old laws that were repealed or changed.  In order to preclude re-trying of these cases (and ostensibly saving taxpayers money), more money is spent on litigation of appeals and civil rights lawsuits, and grave injustice is done by keeping in prison individuals put there with gross constitutional violations, and especially to prevent release of people who are in jail because of convictions based on old changed or repealed laws, and people who are innocent.

But, there are people, including judges, who consider it ok to follow that law.

Adoption and Safe Families Act, introduced in 1997 to allegedly help children not to linger in foster care for too long without permanent families and provided money to terminate parental rights in child protective proceedings faster, and that allows payments to the states of thousands of dollars per each child for the increased number of adoption of foster care children,

caused not only

Money talks, and if the money incentive is given to rip a family apart and to separate a newborn from his mother, do not expect social services to instead "make reasonable efforts to reunite the family", as state laws also require them to do.  Money talks louder.

Here are words out of Section 201 of Public Law 105-89, "Adoption Incentive Payments", that funds for "technical assistance" will be provided to the states (50% of those funds to the courts) for:

‘‘(E) Models to encourage the fast tracking of children who have not attained 1 year of age into pre-adoptive placements.
 ‘‘(F) Development of programs that place children into pre-adoptive families without waiting for termination of parental rights.

While state laws do not make a distinction in the child's age in the procedural speed of termination of parental rights, and parental rights are constitutional rights not to be easily severed, federal law specifically provides for payments for doing just that - making separation of newborns from parents faster.

Of course, newborns and babies under 1 year old, with no memory of their parents yet, are the best "adoption material".

So, under the guise of protecting unborn babies, pregnant women are arrested and kept in detention across the U.S. on charges of "fetal neglect" - and in reality, to keep them in jail until delivery so that they would not escape, and so that the state can snatch the child from the mother at birth, get the federal grant money for fast-track adoption, and give the child to adoptive (richer than the mother) parents - all while claiming that all "procedural protections" for the mother and the child are observed.

While federal money buys fast-tracking adoptable babies into the hands of adoption parents, in reality it means that mothers are discouraged from getting prenatal care and hospital delivery, mortality rate of mothers and infants rises, and there is, of course, no fairness in snatching babies from the poor and giving it to the rich-er adoption parents.

Yet, that same amount of money is denied birth mothers to support her child and prevent separation with the child.  And, separation with the birth mother of a newborn or a baby under 1 deprives the baby of mother's breast milk, too - and undermines the buildup of the child's immunity, which does not concern CPS. 

Once again, money talks louder.

So, in criminal law we have the blunder of AEDPA.

In child protection we have the blunder of ASFA.

Now we have a emerging blunder of "end of life" legislation.

Introduced, same as AEDPA and ASFA for noble reasons of protection of safety and human rights, the end-of-life legislation is declared to allow people who suffer intolerable pain and/or have incurable diseases severely undermining their quality of life, to make a CONSCIOUS DECISION to end their lives.

Of course, such a decision must be the person's OWN decision.

Many people, on religious grounds, may not end their own life no matter what kind of pain they are experiencing.

There were concerns when such legislation was introduced, that such legislation will lead to ration healthcare and cleanse the elderly and the disabled, as a cheaper solution, instead of treating them or providing chemo and hospice care.

Yet, in June, her home state of California has passed the assisted suicide law ALLOWING her to CHOOSE THE OPTION of assisted suicide.

Well, her insurance company tries to make it less than an option and more of a mandate: it denied Mrs. Packer money to cover her treatment, but approved, same as in Oregon in 2008, a suicide pill, with a co-payment of $1.20.  The pill that Mrs. Packer does not want and did not ask for.

Moreover, Mrs. Packer is reportedly a devout Roman Catholic, and for her a suicide is not an option on religious grounds.

What happened in Oregon in 2008 and what happened in California in 2016 - denying money for treatment because an option for physician-assisted suicide exists - should be legislatively prohibited.  I doubt though that legislatures, lobbied by insurance companies, will do that change on their own, without being prodded by grass-roots movements and volunteer citizen review panels.

And the same applies to the "Effective Death Penalty Act", which came to mean the opposite because of prosecutorial ambitions towards conviction, because of prosecutorial and judicial careers already made - and easily made -  with the help of this statute.  Advancement from prosecutor to a state judge, from a state judge to a federal judge means more money and more power.  To turn that extra money and power down for the mere "fairness" to criminal defendants? Let's not be naïve. 

There are also prison officers unions that are interested in keeping all their jobs, which would require to keep the incarceration rates at present level.

There are also private prison complexes who benefits from slave labor.

There are also all of us, let's face it, who benefit from prison slave labor - from cheaply produced, and thus, sold for low prices, household goods and even "organic", "whole foods" - to inmate-produced disaster relief items, such as sandbags recently produced by inmates in South Carolina, according to daily announcements by the State Governor, at 10,000 sandbags a day, I am sure, for no pay or minimal pay to the inmates.

Lobbies in the U.S. Congress will prevent any changes to AEDPA without a grass roots movement and without volunteer citizen retention review panels for statutes. 

Existence of such panels is not prohibited by the law. 

Establishing them may help greatly in bringing about necessary changes in the law - peacefully, by legal means.

And the same applies to review of effectiveness (or harm) or "Adoption and Safe Families Act" - which rips and harms families instead of keeping them "safe". 

According to various sources, a child in foster care produces revenue from $85,000 to $250,000 to various government actors and "providers of services" they hire.

That is OUR, taxpayer money.

Much less of that money, a fraction of it, given to the parents in terms of maternity leave and job-preservation assistance, housing assistance, transportation assistance, food assistance, daycare costs assistance - will what will make families safe, not the gestapo proceedings happening in Family Courts around the country nowadays.

But, legislators will not listen unless there will be a lot of evidence collected by citizen groups.  Citizen review panels.

Such panels may review whether the already enacted legislation - local, state and federal - fulfils purposes for which it was enacted, or, whether it operates contrary to such purposes, or in harmful ways.

Our legislators, for whom their Senatorial seats have become something of hereditary boons where Senators "serve" for 30-40 or more years and then pass their seats from father to son, do not seem much interested in looking at any enactments or at changing any enactments that lobbyists did not pay them for.

And I mean citizen review panels which are NOT appointed by the government, which are self-organized, grass-roots entities unaffected by conflicts of interests.

Once again, it's our money that is being poured down the drain to enact and enforce harmful legislation.

It's time for us to act and change that.

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