"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.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sullivan County Judge Frank Labuda has taken a forced leave pending criminal investigation into a possible assault with the use of an ATV

There are bizarre news - and there are even more bizarre news.

I appeared in front of Sullivan County (New York) Judge Frank Labuda as a criminal defense attorney.

Here is Judge Labuda's photo:

He was tough, but I cannot say he was unfair.

And, even though I did not appear in front of Judge LaBuda often, so my experience is limited, I never saw him lose his temper.

That's why I perceived the news that Judge LaBuda took an "annual leave pending investigation" - a criminal investigation - into his brother's complaint that Judge LaBuda allegedly ran over his brother in an ATV as extremely bizarre.

Of course, as every criminal defendant, Judge LaBude is entitled to a presumption of innocence, and we will see how the case will unfold.

And, reportedly, Judge LaBuda maintains his innocence and that it was an accident, while his brother insists that it was intentional.

Peter LaBuda reportedly suffered a broken legs and several broken ribs.

The Sullivan County DA requested New York State Attorney General to investigate as a special prosecutor.

Yet, there will be a pronounced conflict of interest in such an investigation, since New York State Attorney General is, by statute - Public Officers Law 17 - an attorney for all State judges, including judge LaBuda.

The interesting detail is that Peter LaBuda's girlfriend, "lawyer Cheryl Beverson, has sought orders of protection on his behalf, filing in Delaware County".  Cheryl Beverson is of Middletown, New York.

It is unclear why the filing was done in Delaware County if the incident occurred in Sullivan County.

Peter LaBuda and his girlfriend/attorney Cheryl Beverson claim that the Sullivan County Sheriff's office intentionally did not collect the necessary evidence - they allegedly allowed Judge LaBuda to leave the scene of the incident and did not verify whether Judge LaBuda has been drinking.

Reportedly, Peter LaBuda's daughter (and Judge LaBuda's niece) witnessed "the events".

It is interesting to see whether investigation of a judge will be conducted fairly or will be swept under the rug.  Part of it already was - since the judge was not properly processed at the scene, and the local police refused to require a Breathalyzer test on him.

Of course, even if criminal charges are not brought against Judge LaBuda, a civil case against him for assault and/or negligence is possible.

I will continue to cover this story.

Stay tuned.

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