"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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The inadequate discipline against California #JudgeEdmundWClarke for mistreating prospective jurors - Part II, juror 4688

I am continuing the report on disciplinary decision (admonition only) against the California judge Edmund W Clarke who was discipline for mistreating 4 prospective jurors in a murder trial.

The next victim of Judge Clarke was also a Spanish-speaking female juror, juror 4688 who asked for an excuse from service as a juror in the murder trial because she did not understand English well.

Naturally, that would be a big concern in a murder trial, with a potential life in prison sentence or death penalty, depending on the result of the vote in November of this year.

A juror is a fact-finder of evidence and must be able to understand the language in which the evidence is presented.

Here is the exchange between juror 4688 and Judge Edmund W. Clarke:

Now, being able to say "good morning" in a foreign language does not indicate that the person saying it has any command of that language at all.  Modes of address like that is the first tourists learn in a foreign country, while knowing absolutely nothing of the language other wise.

Yet, that was the immediate hook for Judge Clarke's bullying to start:

Now, whether it is a good idea to live in a country and not know its government language is not relevant here.  Especially that Spanish, increasingly, is used as second government language in many localities in the U.S.

The only relevant question for purposes of jury picking in a murder trial is - is the juror's command of the English language enough to follow the evidence presented in the trial verbally, through documents and testimony in English?

For that, knowledge of how to say "good morning" is definitely not enough.

In some counties in California, according to census and literacy group reports, illiteracy in some counties reaches 34%.  That is, 1/3 of population lacking basic literacy skills.

With that in mind, Judge Clarke's lashing out against the Spanish-speaking juror appears even more outrageous:

Judge threatened the juror who was unsure whether her command of English was enough to be a fact-finder in a murder trial, of lying, and threatened her of having to stay longer in court and away from family and her obligations because of her supposed lie.

There are people who are in this country 25 years and more and do not speak the language - just walk down Brighton Beach in New York City.

Whether that is good or bad, is another question - but it is a fact that it is possible, especially for a Spanish-speaking person, to never learn English at the level required to engage in fact-finding in a murder trial.

Judge Clarke "impeached" juror 4688 by her own answer in the juror questionnaire checking a "yes" box as to the question whether she knows "basic English".

Having a Masters degree in teaching English as a foreign language, I would tell you that the question whether your command of English is "basic" is a trick question.

If a person is illiterate, he or she cannot answer that question.

If a person answers "yes", that is subjective, as what is "basic" for one person, is no knowledge at all for another.

Additionally, a person answering such a question may fear that if they answer "no", some repercussions from the government may follow.

So, judge Clarke, as promised, punished juror 4688 by sending her to sit in the hallway.

Then, he recalled her and started to interrogate, this way:

So, Judge Clarke made juror 4688 to sit in the hallway and used taxpayer money to get a certified Spanish interpreter to interrogate juror 4688 after she waited for the second time to be called back.

Actually, engaging a Spanish interpreter to verify whether the juror knew enough of English to be a fact-finder at a murder trial where facts were presented in English, was useless.  A Spanish interpreter could not prove one way or another whether the juror knew enough of English language to be a juror at a murder trial.

Nevertheless, an interrogation through a Spanish interpreter followed:

Even that did not stop the Jerk Clarke from continuing to embarrass juror 4688.

Through the interpreter, juror 4688 explained why she did not speak English even though naturalized for 25 years - because she was naturalized as a 2-year-old, sent to Mexico and returned to the U.S. as a grown up, so she never needed to study English for a naturalization test.

Even then, Judge Clarke did not simply excuse her, but excused her with an instruction to learn English better so that the court can use her as a juror in the future:

To which the poor woman said that in order to do that, she would have to quit one of her two jobs:

In the case of juror 4688, same as in the case of juror 7122, Judge Clarke also tried to lie to the disciplinary panel, claiming that he did not accuse the juror of lying, but only "expressed skepticism as to her command of English - which was found by the disciplinary panel not to be true:

With all that, amazingly, the Alliance of California judges filed an amicus brief in support of Judge Clarke - the bully in the courtroom, the liar and the abuser of female jurors.

After Judge Clarke mistreated two female jurors, juror 7122 and juror 4688, he mistreated two more in that same case - and both of the other jurors Judge Clarke mocked and humiliated because of their poverty, and still escaped with simply an admonition, and with no attorney discipline, by the way.

I will report on Judge Clarke's misconduct as to two other jurors separately.

Stay tuned.

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