In 1986, California civil rights attorney attorney #PatriciaBarry, now 73 and then 43, won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court - a major accomplishment for an attorney.
It is even more of an accomplishment that it is a rare case of sexual harassment won for an indigent client.
The catch for attorney Barry was what is happening to civil rights attorney across the country - representing indigent parties, even with the promise of 42 U.S.C. 1988, allowing to recover attorney fees from defendants in successful civil rights actions, can make a civil rights attorney broke.
Patricia Barry reportedly represented her client - successfully, up to the U.S. Supreme Court - for 8 years by the time of remand by the U.S. Supreme Court.
And, 42 U.S.C. 1988 allows recovery from defendants only on resolution of the case.
Resolution of the case in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson required a decision, on remand, by the District Judge John Garrett Penn, the same judge who initially ruled for the defendants denying Patricia Barry's clients credibility and ruling that the sexual advances of her bank supervisor (she was a teller in a bank) were "voluntary" on her behalf.
Judge Penn (now deceased),
obviously abusing his power, and retaliating against Patricia Barry for daring to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and reversing him, delayed resolution of the case for over a year and a half.
Had Judge Penn resolved the case on remand, Patricia Barry would have been paid by the bank a major legal fee for several years of litigation.
In November 1987, a year and a half after the remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, Patricia Barry, who was not paid by her indigent client for 8 years and had to file for bankruptcy, finally filed a complaint against Judge Penn with the District of Columbia Circuit Court, but the complaint was dismissed on the pretext that failure to rule by Judge Penn was insufficient to proof retaliation.
Yet, by that time Patricia Barry committed two unforgivable sins - not only she reversed a federal district court judge through the U.S. Supreme Court and became famous in the legal community, being a "nobody", not a connected attorney", but also she dared to complain about a judge trying to deny her what was her due, a promise of 42 U.S.C. 1988, given to civil rights attorneys by the government as an encouragement to attorneys to take civil rights cases from indigent clients without any advance payment, and litigating the case for years.
Judge Penn, the subject of Patricia Barry's complaint, and the one who ruled that sexual advances in the workplace against the woman were somehow "voluntary", was not only not disciplined - he was promoted to Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court in 1992.
In 2011, Patricia Barry suffered imposition of discipline by California State Bar - first, "probation", and then "actual suspension delayed".
In 2011, Patricia Barry, a legal luminary, a pioneer that made the workplace safer for American women, was forced, by threats of being suspended for 2 years or more, and being unable to earn a living, and lured by an otherwise light discipline (60 day suspension as opposed to 2 years), signed a stipulation of facts that she filed frivolous lawsuits, see Patricia Barry's interview starting at 48:24 in this video.
I argued many times in many courts that there is no such thing as a "frivolous" civil rights lawsuit - because what is "frivolous" is determined on mainstream understanding of the law, which necessarily excludes legal pioneers and novel concepts.
In 2015, House Democrat leader Rep. Steny Hoyer appealed to other Representatives to vote "no" against the so-called Litigation Abuse Reduction Act:
It is apparent from introduction of the bill and fight over the bill, that there is a continued onslaught in America upon civil rights attorneys, making their lives difficult in every way - including sanctions for "frivolous" civil rights lawsuits, chilling civil rights litigation and blocking novel arguments of victims of constitutional violations from being raised in court.
Patricia Barry was tricked into signing a stipulation that she was engaged in what is not possible to engage in for a civil rights attorney - frivolous civil rights litigation.
That stipulation, according to her own admission, has hurt her in the future.
She describes in her interview to "Scandal in the State Bar" that she tried to withdraw the stipulation, but her request was denied.
Patricia Barry was also ordered to pay the "costs" of her own disciplinary prosecution - the costs being a matter of profit for California State Bar, a professional corporation that claims that its disciplinary prosecutions are already funded by attorney registration fees.
Maybe, $1,700 in fees are not a hardship for connected attorneys from large law firms - who are never on the radar of California State Bar - but it can definitely be a hardship for a solo civil rights attorney.
Actually, in the 2nd part of "Scandal in the State Bar", evidence is presented that California State bar deliberately uses costs imposed upon solo attorneys who are unable to pay them in order to restore their law licenses and livelihoods to "weed out" "unwanted" people - like Patricia Barry whose unpaid work made all of the America women safer in the workplace from sexual harassment.
In October of 2012, Patricia Barry was restored to the practice of law, but did not start to bow low to those in power.
On the opposite, in 2012 Patricia Barry gave an interview to "Lawless America" indicating that she is representing parents improperly deprived of custody of their children and that she wants to bring about a reform and revolution in Family Court, protecting parents' custodial rights.
Patricia Barry spoke in her interview, among other things, about rules of Family Court in California that already exist for protection of parents, but that are not disclosed to parents because of, what Patricia Barry put as "complicity" of California Family bar - so that parents have to subject themselves to mental health "evaluators", while their mental health is not necessarily in issue, as one of the examples.
In 2014, Patricia Barry gave an interview to "Scandal in the State Bar" describing corrupt practices of California State Bar in singling out civil rights attorneys for disciplinary proceedings and relentlessly pursuing them.
In 2016, Patricia Barry filed an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Adkins v Adkins, where she wrote:
Since Patricia Barry did not stop pursuing civil rights violations and protecting women from discrimination - and was a very capable and formidable opponent, with a track record of success in courts of all levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the only way to "deal with her" was to eliminate her law license completely.
And, California State Bar applied to Patricia Barry its "3 strikes and you are out" rule - which applies automatically, no matter how the alleged violations are or were.
In October of 2016, Patricia Barry, who changed the workplace protections for women through a U.S. Supreme Court precedent, was put on an "inactive status" (disbarred).
Of course, the very first claim in her order was that she allegedly "failed to maintain respect due to the court" and disobeyed some court orders.
What was the basis of that discipline, I do not know since that was private reproval, and the October 2016 order of discipline does not reference specific cases.
The order of discipline says that Patricia Barry was offered - as she was in 2011, a lighter discipline - "just" 6 months' suspension until she pays off court sanctions in full, a truly Machiavellian ploy, depriving an elderly woman who served indigent clients for her whole life of means to earn a living, and conditioning her reinstatement by payment of multi-thousand dollar court sanctions.
Patricia Barry, remembering how her stipulation was used against her in 2011-2012, refused and fought all the way.
And, for fighting all the way, was disbarred.
So, as of now, here is Patricia Barry's status on California State Bar's website.
The woman who protected all American women from harassment in the workplace, going, without pay, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and using her expertise for her clients, average Americans, for her entire life.
And it is a shame. Not for Patricia Barry. It is a shame for the California State Bar.
Because the true reason for her disbarment is because she is who she is - a civil rights attorney, a private attorney general, to the core, without fear, with dignity, expertise and poise.
And because she criticized several judges - including a complaint against misogynistic, petty retaliative federal judge John Garrett Penn, and her alleged failure to give "respect due to the court" - even if a court deserves of no respect the way it is operating.
Violations of court orders alleged against her in the order of disbarment is non-payment of court sanctions. There was no attempt made by the disciplinary authorities to verify whether Patricia Barry, at the age 73 and working for indigent clients all her life as a civil rights attorney, had the ability to pay those sanctions.
This is the true face of the California State Bar.