"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 PACER verifying its billing practices

I wrote several days ago about a class action pending against PACER (the federal court document archive) for overbilling and fraudulent billing practices, and that the class action does not completely cover the fraudulent billing practices that I am aware of.

Since then, I have been in correspondence with PACER asking them to provide me with documents indicating what exactly they charged me for.

Since PACER's responses to me were inadequate, in my view, I have filed a FOIA request asking for access to records.

Here is the entire request:

Since the text appears to be small, I will publish it separately, here:


Dear Sirs:

Please, provide within a reasonable time, as required by law, to this e-mail address, copies of the following public records:

1) copies of all log-ins from my account, tn1165, since November of 2011 to the date of response to the FOIA request, showing:

    a) what documents the requestor agreed to retrieve and pay for;
    b) whether documents were attempted to be retrieved through:
          I) HTML, or
          II) PDF, and
if documents were retrieved through PDF, were they retrieved by
         downloading, or
whether each and every document was available to be retrieved in all three formats - by HTML, by PDF through viewing, of by PDF through downloading,
whether the requestor actually succeeded in retrieving the documents - with proof as to the size of the allegedly retrieved document in Kilobytes, and with a matching proof showing that that particular size of document was retrieved;
      2) All invoices for payment, with a breakdown as to all retrievals;

      3) All public notices to me as a customer, or to all customers of PACER, and proof of service of those notices, before retrievals by HTML, that retrieval of HTML may amount to a charge 5-time higher than a retrieval by PDF, if the length of the case heading exceeds a certain number of letters (see the currently pending class lawsuit against Pacer in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Fisher v Pacer/United States);

     4) all public notices, to me as a customer, or to all customers of PACER, and proof of service of those notices, that PDF documents from PACER are not viewable in certain browsers, and that charges may nevertheless occur while the customer will not be able to retrieve the documents in that browser, and what browsers are necessary for retrieval of all and any PDF documents available on PACER;

     5) copies of any and all written policies of PACER regarding price-formation and billing of PACER customers;  including but not limited to whether to allow for certain documents or types of documents on PACER (like, for example, docket report of cases) to be available only in HTML format, with pricing 5 times higher than in PDF format, or in HTML and viewing in PDF format only, without a notice that viewing in certain browsers will result in a "Can't open PDF" message and encourage the customer to agree to retrieval in the higher-priced HTML format, or in all three formats: HTML, view-in-PDF or download-in-PDF.

     6) Expenses for maintenance of PACER since January 1, 2009, with a breakdown by years;

     7) revenues from the PACER document retrieval system since January 1, 2009, with a breakdown by years.

I am unable to point out to PACER, as PACER asked me, in what way I think I overpaid PACER for years 2011 to 2017, without PACER first answering this inquiry through my FOIA request, as the relevant information is within possession and control of PACER.

Please, be further advised that I will continue to pay PACER bills in full, not because I agree with the amounts, but simply to ensure my unfettered access to PACER while my FOIA request is being processed, that I am fully intending to litigate the claim of overpayment, including in the event if PACER denies me access to the requested records.


I will publish PACER's responses to my FOIA request when I receive it.

Stay tuned.

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