"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, January 18, 2017

A FOIA request was made with the Federal Trade Commission verifying results of its investigation of attorney regulation system in New York

In April of 2015 I have made an anti-trust complaint to the Federal Trade Commission requesting to investigate anti-competitive nature, structure and practices of attorney regulation in New York State and New York's non-compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court precedent North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission decided in February of 2015 - indicating that regulating a market by market-players without statutory approval or neutral state supervision is in violation of federal anti-trust laws that strips such regulators of "state immunity".

In New York, attorneys are regulated by the statute, Judiciary Law 90.

Judiciary Law 90 does not provide for existence or operation of attorney grievance committees, and does not approve of populating such attorney grievance committees with super-majority of market players, licensed attorneys (18 out of 21).

After my complaint was filed, in December of 2015, New York changed its rules of attorney discipline and issued new rules, 22 NYCRR 1240.

While the new rules, instead of strictly requiring for super-majorities of attorney grievance committees to be lawyers, instead required that "no fewer than" 3 members out of 21 should be non-lawyers,

it nevertheless allowed for supermajorities of market players, licensed attorneys, to be appointed to attorney grievance committees - and all 4 attorney grievance committees in  New York, upon my information and belief, consist of supermajorities of licensed attorneys - without statutory approval (22 NYCRR 1240 is not a statute and was not enacted by the New York State Legislature), and without neutral state supervision by people who are not licensed attorneys.

Moreover, the 2/3 membership quorum requirement provides for decisions of attorney disciplinary cases by licensed attorneys, competitors of the disciplined lawyer, alone, without participation of non-lawyers.

The math is very simple.

2/3rds of 21 is 14.

The minimum required number of non-attorney members of the committee is 3.

No matter how ardently the non-lawyer members may be against (or for) discipline in certain cases, they can never outvote market players, licensed attorneys, who may be driven by interests that are very far from those of public interest and protection of consumers.

After 22 NYCRR 1240 was introduced, I filed an additional antitrust complaint with FTC, and it responded, as with the initial complaint, promising to turn my complaints to the "appropriate staff" for investigation.

The "appropriate staff" has been investigating my complaints for nearly 2 years now, with no response so far, while New York continues its anticompetitive practices, hurting consumers of legal services, since attorneys in New York are disciplined not in order to protect consumers, but in order to eliminate competition of the attorney grievance committee members (and their friends and relatives), and in order to eliminate critics of the judiciary and of the high-ranking attorneys who can effectively sue them for misconduct from the reach of legal consumers, widening the "justice gap".

In view of FTC's wheel of justice rotating with a lethargic speed, today I filed a FOIA request with FTC requesting to provide to me a copy of the investigative file in order to see how my complaints of anticompetitive practices of attorney regulation in New York have been investigated (if at all) by FTC.

I will publish FTC's responses to my FOIA request.

Stay tuned.

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