"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.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Great Britain to gay people convicted for being gay - it is not a crime, so you are forgiven

Imagine that a certain behavior is considered a crime under the law of a country.

Imagine that a person is convicted of that crime.

Imagine that at some point the country declares that that specific behavior is no longer a crime.

Imagine that the country in question has many people convicted of that crime.

No, what do you think the country will do about it?

After all, the crime of conviction is no longer a crime.

Shouldn't the country completely exonerate people convicted of that crime which is no longer a crime, cleaning up their criminal record and restoring completely their good name?

That is not what Great Britain did.

Great Britain PARDONED 50,000 deceased (dead) gay men convicted for being gay, and allowed the 15,000 gay men convicted for being gay to remain alive to apply for such pardon.

Pardoning means that Great Britain acknowledged that these men did commit a crime, but that Great Britain magnanimously forgives them for having done that.

And, as far as the deceased are concerned, the pardon will mar their memory, all over again.

It is no longer a crime, so you are forgiven, says Great Britain to gay men.

Forgiven of what exactly?

Pardoning was, of course, safer than vacating their conviction because of the change of law. 

Vacating the conviction could invite lawsuits for wrongful conviction, and the country cannot have that. 

It is better to give a pardon for no crime - as a new slap in the face of people convicted for who they are.

Not all "pardoned" convicted gay men in Great Britain are accepting the pardon though.

For example, George Montague, convicted in 1974 for "gross indecency with a man" is not having it - he wants an apology, not a pardon, and rightly so.

George Montague, apparently, did not read the piece of Professor Jonathan Turley on the law where the professor claims that giving a "royal pardon" to people who did not commit a crime is "represents an important public apology for the prosecution of people due to their sexual orientation".

Forgiving those whose lives, as Professor Turley correctly admits, were shattered because of such a conviction, and who committed no crime - FORGIVING them for the wrong done TO them - is no apology.  It is a slap in their faces.

An apology is just that - an apology.  From the government.  To those wronged.  An apology and an exoneration.

But, you know what is worse than the hypocrisy of forgiving those the government has wronged?

The laws of the United States which "collaterally estop" vacating "final convictions" based on new laws under which such convictions would not be possible.

As to those laws, and the newest case in New York produced under those laws, I will run a separate blog next.

Stay tuned.

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