"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, November 14, 2016

The New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman fights against remedies for the wrongfully convicted

Shabaka Shakur, a man who was convicted for a double-killing and who has spent 27 years in prison, filed a claim with New York State Court of Claims in 2012.

The Court of Claims refused to consider the claim and dismissed it, justifying the dismissal by the state's alleged "absolute state immunity".  The attorney that obtained the dismissal was New York State Attorney General.  That was in 2012.

Then, in 2014, with much fanfare, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pushed for the so-called Wrongful Incarceration Act, so that all wrongfully convicted would have access to a "court remedy" - the one that Eric Schneiderman fights in court to block civil rights plaintiffs to obtain.

Yet, at the same time as announcing his endorsement of the Wrongful Incarceration Act, Schneiderman continued to oppose lawsuits for wrongful incarceration on behalf of defendants.

In 2015, Mr. Shakur's conviction was vacated based on new evidence, and Shabaka Shakur was released, after 27 years of incarceration, based on the scandal that the detective on whose testimony Mr. Shakur's conviction was obtained, Louis Scarcella, was involved in rigging convictions by false evidence and false testimony.

After Shabaka Shakur's conviction was overturned, and Mr. Shakur was released, he then used his right as a wrongfully convicted person and, claiming innocence, then filed another claim with the New York State Court of Claims, under Act §8-b (the one promoted by Schneiderman in 2014) which allows the wrongfully convicted to seek damages from the state.

That was what NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed was the wrongfully convicted persons' right to do when promoting the "Wrongful Incarceration Act" in 2014.

And, the same NYS Attorney General who very demonstratively pushed for enactment of the "Wrongful Incarceration Act" in 2014, made a motion to dismiss that claim "on collateral estoppel grounds" - that the claim was already litigated.

But, it wasn't - since the conviction was overturned on new evidence, and the defendant was not retried.

And, the New York State Court of Claims allowed the wrongfully convicted person to proceed with the claim of damages.

Then, it was granted in November of 2016 by the New York State Court of Claims judge.

And, the New York State Attorney General's office continues to oppose the claim.

NYS Attorney General is actually drowning in conflicts of interest.

I first wrote about AG Schneiderman's conflicts of interest in 2014.

I wrote about fraud upon the court - a disbarring offense - committed by AG Schneiderman and his subordinates in federal courts, based on documentary evidence, while AG Schneiderman escaped discipline only because he represented the disciplinary committees in civil rights lawsuits against them, also in federal court, yet another conflict of interest.

This past 4th of July, I wrote about AG Schneiderman's statements where AG Schneiderman was attempting to mislead the public to believe that AG Schneiderman is defending civil rights,

instead of trying to stomp them by representing government defendants in such civil rights cases, and using the power of the state and taxpayer money to dismiss civil rights cases against the State of New York, its officers and employees for civil rights violations, see my blogs about that here and here, with statistics of civil rights lawsuits in which AG Schneiderman participated representing the defendants and opposing those lawsuits. I obtained those documents from and published them in the interlinked blogs. 

AG Schneiderman excelled in ducking his duties as an investigator and prosecutor by failing to prosecute corrupt public officials in New York - because, obviously, he represents them and cannot at the same time prosecute them - but fails to file a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment in federal court, asking to strike Public Officers Law 17 directing NYS AG to represent those he may have to investigate and prosecute as unconstitutional.

Public Officers Law 17, by directing NYS AG to represent those in power, provides NYS AG with powerful protectors, and thus, he will never file such a lawsuit and is happy with his conflicts of interest.

That NYS AG does have a duty to investigate and prosecute crimes of state public officials, was recently demonstrated by the fact that NYS AG assumed investigation of Sullivan County Judge Frank LaBuda accused of a violent crime, see here and here.

At that point, I wrote that NYS AG is also the official attorney for Judge Frank LaBuda, but even then NYS AG did not file a federal lawsuit seeking to strike Public Officers Law 17 as creating an unconstitutional conflict of interest and preventing the NYS AG to properly discharge his duties as the state investigator and prosecutor against public officials in the State of New York committing crimes, thus shifting the duty, the expense and the risks of such investigations and prosecutions, to the feds.

Yet, while failing to investigate New York State public officials and while failing to file a federal lawsuit to eliminate the conflicts of interest involved in representing the same people that NYS AG may have to investigate and prosecute, NYS AG was busy this past presidential elections to aid his own party's candidate - by investigating her opponent, presidential nominee Donald Trump's foundation, for alleged illegal fundraising.

I would have accepted that investigation as neutral and proper if at the very same time NYS AG would investigate Hillary Clinton's Foundation for:

  1. accepting money from foreign high-standing donors at the time Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State;
  2. using Foundation money for personal needs of the Clinton family, including the wedding of their daughter;  compare Schneiderman proudly going after a "pastor and his wife" for allegedly "pilfering" a charity for $100,000
     - while not going after the Clintons for pilfering the charity, reportedly, of millions of dollars for their daughters' wedding.  Of course, Schneiderman was not voting for the "pastor and his wife", so he was free to pursue them.
  3. allowing the Foundation money to be used - reportedly - by Chelsea Clinton's husband for his hedge fund.
Since these allegations were revealed through released e-mails, and since CNN's Chris Cuomo, brother of New York State Governor, claimed the released e-mails to be "stolen property", thus confirming their authenticity, the investigation was quite in order - but I do not see NYS AG starting to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

Instead, Schneiderman not only voted for Clinton, but publicly announced his vote on his official Twitter account - violating the law about a public official endorsing another public official during elections, on the day of elections.

That's the reason Schneiderman went after Trump's foundation, but not after Clinton's - and that's a really "neutral" prosecutor and enforcer of laws we have here.

In fact, for Schneiderman, the feeling of voting for Clinton, the person he was supposed to investigate, but never did because of personal hopes for gain, was very "describable" - he may have hoped for some kind of promotion, or a place in Clinton's Cabinet.  Money doesn't smell.

Also, while parading his alleged support for remedies for victims of wrongful convictions - and at the same time opposing such remedies for specific victims in courts , such as Shabaka Shakur, Schneiderman had the audacity of posting on Twitter the praise and support for yet another victim of wrongful conviction - who now restored his right to vote, no thanks to Schneiderman.

I bet, Shabaka Shakur may also have exercised his right to vote - but Schneiderman does not seem to be happily reporting it.

So, New York State Attorney General Schneiderman, "progressive & fighter for equal justice for all"

  • continues to OPPOSE civil rights lawsuits on behalf of New York State defendants who violated people's constitutional rights and to OPPOSE the wrongfully convicted individual's claims for damages;
  • violates the law by publicly endorsing a presidential candidate on the day of election on his official social media account, while
  • failing to investigate that same candidate for violations in her charity that operates in New York, and while
  • failing to investigate and prosecute corruption of public officials in New York - because he represents them all -

and, I do not see crowds of mourners burning their shoes over that.

Schneiderman is campaigning against racial discrimination

while opposing civil rights lawsuits for racial discrimination against the State of New York and its officers and employees, where he represents defendants who are accused of that same racial discrimination.

Schneiderman is campaigning against bail disproportionately affecting the poor,

but, if a lawsuit for unconstitutionality of that same bail disproportionately affecting the poor is or will be filed, he will be on the other side of the barricade, FIGHTING the civil rights lawsuit.

Schneiderman is now campaigning to "keep dark money out of politics" - while he is in no hurry pursuing Hillary Clinton's Foundation for accepting the "dark money" while she was Secretary of State.  And, had Hillary Clinton won, the Schneiderman would not have objected against the "dark money" electing her.

And, again, I do not see anybody burning their shoes in the streets protesting against this obvious corruption of a public official.

I am not naïve, and I do not believe in miracles.

I do not think that a billionaire elected on the wave of discontent of working America will not promote his own special interests, and will completely "Drain the Swamp" as the swamp needs to be drained.

It is for us the people to do the draining - and not through childish acts of burning shoes, but through:

  1. declaratory judgment and injunctive relief lawsuits;
  2. legislative proposals;
  3. non-violent grass roots movements,
  4. political action, creating new political parties;
  5. reaching out to international communities to raise awareness of what is going on in the U.S. that does not match the image the U.S. tries to project outside of its borders, as the beacon of democracy and the protector of human rights, and, most of all -
  6. through exposure of misconduct of government officials in the media.
Informing voters does make a difference nowadays, as the last elections demonstrated.

And, the next time the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman runs for re-election or for any other government office, he needs to be voted out.

For his dishonesty, for bowing to authority instead of doing his job, for his hypocrisy, and for promoting his party's interests instead of the interests of the People of the State of New York.

No comments:

Post a Comment