"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, November 18, 2016

Should public employees, and especially former judges, be allowed to use their public office as a sales pitch for after-retirement businesses? The case of the un-retireable U.S. Magistrate Frank Maas

I have been repeatedly receiving an e-mail advertisements of services of the allegedly retired U.S. magistrate judge Frank Maas:

I consider it completely inappropriate that, upon retirement, the judge, or an organization that "welcomes" a judge, aggressively advertises the former judgeship as a selling point.

President-elect Donald J. Trump just announced that he is going to ban lobbying by public officials for 5 years after they left their public jobs.  My opinion, as a citizen and taxpayer, is that the ban should be permanent, and should also relate to using the former public position in advertising - like "retired" Judge Maas is doing.

And, an official website announced that Judge Maas has retired as of September 29, 2016.

But, that official website is not the court where Judge Maas worked, and not the site where people researching Judge Maas' background will first go.

They will first visit the site of the court where Judge Maas allegedly retired from.

And, on that website, Judge Maas is listed as a presently acting judge, as of today, here and here.

As a visitor of the court's website, I am entitled to believe what it says.

It says that Judge Frank Maas is the CURRENT - not retired - magistrate of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

And that is a big problem - because a judge may not have a side job, like JAMS is advertising for Judge Frank Maas now, aggressively offering his services to me personally, in an e-mail, as

  • mediator,
  • arbitrator,
  • special master,
  • discovery referee in
    • business/commercial construction,
    • employment,
    • insurance,
    • personal injury/mass torts,
    • real property, and
    • securities "matters"

Moreover, Judge Maas states on his attorney registration website, as of today, that he is still employed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York:

And that is,

  • while Judge Maas allegedly retired since September 29, 2016,
  • while New York attorney disciplinary rules require attorneys to reflect their new employment within 30 days of any changes - and it has been more than 30 days by now, and since
  • Judge Maas announces on his LinkedIn website that he works as a mediator with JAMS since October of 2016.

So, the court system (but not the SDNY court) claims that Judge Maas retired on September 29, 2016:

Once again, Judge Maas at the very same time claims that he started to work as an arbitrator in October of 2016 - for purposes of income and profit from business.

And, Judge Maas apparently cannot care less about attorney disciplinary rules - being a former judge who is untouchable by such rules - and continues to announce on his attorney registration site, as of today, that he is still a judge at SDNY court.

In New York, attorneys are allowed to update their registration information instantly, online.  Apparently, Judge Maas has no time to comply with attorney disciplinary rules, being, as a former judge, above the law and feeling that compliance with such rules is unnecessary.

That is not the only problem that I have, as a taxpayer, with Judge Maas's contradictory employment and business information.

The problems that I have, as a taxpayer and citizen, with Judge Maas' advertisement is:

  1. that he is still listed on SDNY website as an acting magistrate judge;
  2. that he considers it more important to himself to instantly list himself as a mediator, for business purposes, online on his LinkedIn account, but is too lazy to comply with attorney registration rules, also online, which constitutes, taken together, false advertisement and advertisement of himself as a mediator and at the same time as a judge whose services can be bought; disdain to the law concerning himself is alarming for a former prosecutor, a former magistrate judge and the current mediator, arbitrator and "special master";
  3. that Judge Maas who, over 40 years of his career as a lawyer, worked only 8 years in private practice, and was employed, according to his own statements on his LinkedIn account:
    1. for 5.5 years by New York City; and
    2. for 24 years for the federal government, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a federal magistrate judge - is drawing a large retirement, while at the same time working as an arbitrator.

I believe that public officials should not be paid retirement while they are gainfully employed after official retirement from a public job.

If they retire - they must retire completely.

Moreover, public employees absolutely should not be allowed to use their prior public jobs as a sales pitch - as Judge Maas is doing on his LinkedIn account and as his employer or contracting source the JAMS does in unsolicited advertisements.

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