"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.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Execution of the dog Ceasar, Manhattan #JudgeBarbaraJaffe fixation with the "aesthetics of public execution" and the nuts enforcing the death penalty

Some time ago, I've started to write on this blog about people in the legal profession who are helping the machine of the death penalty.

I so far wrote about a District Attorney, from the Alcovy Circuit of the State of Georgia, Layla Zon, who is enthralled with the death penalty that she has reportedly kept a toy electric chair, battery-powered, in her office.  Layla Zon, reportedly, has the highest rate of death penalty convictions in the State of Georgia.

And, I also wrote about Philadelphia (PA) DA Ronald Castille who first obtained death penalty sentences by fraud, and then got elected as a judge and fought appeals from convictions that he himself obtained - resulting in a U.S. Supreme Court case, Williams v Pennsylvania, in 2016.

And, I wrote about a mentally ill and perpetually hospitalized (in mental hospitals) prosecutor in Texas dealing with death penalty cases.

And, I recently wrote about the Texas Attorney General who, in a clinically sterile language, was trying to get the federal court release vials of a misbranded drug in order to kill off the Texas death row inmates, the majority of whom got their after convictions by racist juries, and many of whom got sentenced to death as teenagers.

By the way, since the publication of that article, two people have been executed in the U.S. - Christopher Wilkins in Texas, on January 11, 2017, and in Ricky Gray in Virginia yesterday, on January 18, 2017, under circumstances raising questions whether Ricky Gray was tortured to death by an unknown drug of an unknown concentration and unknown labelling, produced by an unknown "compounding pharmacy".

Since there is an ongoing international boycott to supply the U.S. with drugs used for lethal injections, and since the FDA seized the Texas cargo of 1,000 vials since July of 2016 (apparently, Texas was going to share with other death penalty states, since it has 4 times less people on death row than vials it bought), it is reported that the drugs for these two executions were provided by secret "compounding pharmacies" within the US - which still requires an investigation from the FDA as to which are these pharmacies, what is their "compounding process", are they licensed to do that, how the "compounding" was done and labeled. 

The people who are so obsessed to continue to carry out executions that, against the ongoing protests inside and outside the country, against the boycott of drug supplies, against the seizure of the purchased mislabeled drugs by the FDA, they go the lengths of trying to engage in concocting their own drugs, likely breaking the law in order to enforce the law of the death penalty - must have, in my opinion, profound flaws in their moral, if not mental makeup.

These people, to me, display a great measure of human degradation, advancing their careers on the government machine of killing people as a punishment for killing people.

Yet, that is not the true bottom of human degradation.

Turning public executions into an issue of art and esthetics, at all, and during the raging public debate on their constitutionality, and especially given the evidence that death penalties are mostly meted out to minorities, as a substitute form of lynching, into an issue of art and esthetics, is hitting the rock bottom of human depravity.

And then, nothing can prepare one for a jurist, a judge who is supposed to be a neutral arbiter of disputes, while the judge's longtime chosen pet project, a research topic of choice, is "the aesthetics of public execution".

No, not the execution of public documents.

Public execution of people.

As in:

  • crucifixion;
  • flaying (taking the skin off the still-alive person);
  • lynching etc.
That kind of execution.

The aesthetics of it.

You wonder who this nut-of-a-judge is?

Meet Barbara Jaffe, of the New York County Supreme Court:

She has a Masters degree in Art, and did her graduate studies in Florence, Italy.

Before becoming a lawyer and coming to the bench, she was a wholesale art dealer - and her particular area of interest is this:

Yes, such symposia, obviously, happen, and such research topics, obviously, exist.

And the presenter is a judge.

Sitting in a Manhattan court, and dealing, on a daily basis, with African Americans.

The people whose history of lynching she is researching in her spare time, from the point of view of the "esthetics of lynching".

Here is the list of articles or lectures of Judge Jaffe proudly presented by New York Law Journal in her biography:

Here is another of her writings.

In 2012, in another article, the Judge Jaffe describes commemorating the lynchings in murals on the walls of courthouses in Mississippi and Idaho, and placing those murals on the walls of courthouses as a symbol of  - access to justice, and to show "typical life and people":

Of course, Judge Jaffe's description of those murals, as her description of "schadenfreude" in her earlier article, pretended to be sterile and "scientific", devoid of emotion.  After all, she holds a Masters degree in arts and has been a wholesale arts dealer.

And despite her unhealthy fixation on the "aesthetics of public execution", she is reportedly welcome to and is a member of many professional organizations.  I wonder how people who welcome her into her organizations with open arm, can stomach her enthrallment with the "aesthetic" of public executions.

Because, these theories, that "schadenfreude", enthrallment with the actual killing of others, that, according to Barbara Jaffe's article, "instills in people the sense of 'loyalty' and 'commitment to justice'" is what gives birth to the characters who keep toy battery operated electric chairs in their offices.

It is what gives birth to fascism, to killing people "for public good".

See, for example, an answer by PhD in psychology, Gerald Guild, as to whether Hitler was "a case of schadenfreude":

"The more you express this nasty feeling toward a group, the further you're pushing them out of your circle of moral concern and sympathy".  "By devaluing the lives of members of rival groups, schadenfreude could lead to tacit acceptance of discrimination or even hatred".

And, making real public executions of real people, a part of shameful history of this country which has still not ended, into a case of mere esthetics, and images of art, also leads to "tacit acceptance" of it, by desensitizing people from the actual horror of what is going on, into thinking about it "clinically", as a "mere art".

That is especially true when the "art speaker" is a judge, an authority on the law, and when the judge tries to instill into lawyers, the profession whose livelihood she regulates and controls, the ideas about "the art of public execution" instilling "commitment to justice".
Look at yet another program where Judge Jaffe has spoken on her favorite topic:

The program was announced by the New York City Bar Association.

Judge Jaffe also, recently, was a moderator of an "event" "The Art of Execution through the Camera's Lens", for the same New York City Bar Association - where Judge Jaffe continues to shove her schaudenfreude ideology into the minds of New York City attorneys, many of whom, most likely, appear at the judge's "lectures" in order to please her and drum up favors in cases in front of her.

My questions are:

  1. why New York attorneys were interested in the painful executions, as opposed to the "contemporary allegedly painless" (their words, not mine) executions by lethal injection?
  2. why Judge Jaffe, after having a career as a wholesale dealer, and such a peculiar interest in the "art, image and esthetics of public execution", became a judge?
Is Judge Jaffe's unhealthy enthrallment with the "aesthetics of public execution" influence and guide her judicial judgment?

You bet.

First, in 2015, Judge Jaffe was "assigned" (or, rather, self-assigned, as it usually happens in New York courts where, instead of "rotating assignment", judges grab cases they like), to the case of the non-human rights, the rights of chimpanzees detained by SUNY Stony Brook for experimentation in "locomotion".

I do not know whether experimentation was painful or invasive, and, under the current law animals, even primates, do not have legal standing to sue.

So, if not for Judge Jaffe's particular enthrallment with the "art of execution", the "art of inflicting suffering" and torture, there would have been nothing particular in her decision in that case - denying legal standing to sue to the chimpanzees.

But, look at a case Judge Jaffe decided nearly immediately after the chimpanzee case. 

Here is an excerpt from a case Judge Jaffe decided on August 20, 2016:

It is Judge Jaffe's own choice of words.

The Respondents seek not to "euthanize" a dog, which is the legal term, but to "execute" the dog, named Caesar (as in the one-time ancient leader of Rome Julius Caesar).

Respondents' basis to deem the dog a dangerous dog and seek to kill him is this:

It is well known that authorities use people's love of their pets as a tool to exact retribution against critics of the government - as it happened to government misconduct critic Barbara O'Sullivan and her daughter, whose one dog was tasered, battered and left without medical help or pain medication, with a taser stick embedded into his muzzle, by the Delhi, NY dog enforcement officer, the official custodian of the dog after it was unlawfully seized from Barbara's property (after that, the warrant upon which the police arrived to her property was declared by a judge as invalid).

The other dog of Barbara's daughter was killed under the circumstances suggesting retaliation, and the third dog died in the house fire that eliminated Barbara's entire house, while the local firefighters refused to extinguish the fire, and authorities refused to even investigate the fire.

What is particularly relevant to the execution of the dog Ceasar authorized by the execution esthetics expert Judge Jaffe based on hearsay from unknown sources, is that:

Barbara's daughter's dog seized by Delhi, NY dog enforcement officer and left locked and without medical help or pain relief, with a metal stick embedded into his muzzle, for several days, was also subject to a "dangerous dog" proceedings, and the prosecution (the current Delaware County DA John Hubbard, the sick bird that he is) sought to have the dog euthanized, claiming, on hearsay grounds from unknown sources, that the dog is dangerous, while the dog is not dangerous, is an old dog and has been very good with children, including children not of the family (my own children were safe around the dog on many occasions).

Moreover, the warrant based on which Barbara's dog was seized in the first place, was later rendered invalid - imagine if the dog would have been euthanized before that declaration.  It is sheer luck that the dog was not put down.  John Hubbard was asking for it.

And, according to my information, DA John Hubbard is responsible for the death of another dog, as a reader reported to me recently, who was put down while his owners desperately tried to get a stay of that execution through an appeal.  During that application, reportedly, John Hubbard simply made a phone call and told those who had the dog's custody, to put the dog down.  And, the dog was killed.

It is not a rock.

It is not a piece of art.

It is not "just property".

It is a living, breathing animal who loved and was obviously loved by his owners that Judge Jaffe, the aesthetics of public executions expert, refused to protect, and thus authorized to execute, in a "civil" court proceedings, based entirely on rumors from unknown sources.

Even if the dog Caesar was a piece of property under the law, destroying that "piece of property" still involves ending a life, and should be afforded more "process" than rumors from unknown sources.  Surely, a judge must realize that.

Also, by issuing such an order based on hearsay, Judge Jaffe set a dangerous precedent in her jurisdiction, and now, in reliance on Judge Jaffe's decision, New York authorities can kill any dog on fabricated evidence, without presenting any witnesses or competent evidence of the dog's alleged "dangerousness".

Judge Jaffe acknowledges in her decision that Respondents do not provide the basis of the sources of such information, so the information is pure hearsay from unproven sources, or may have been made up by Respondents - not that it matters to Judge Jaffe.

After all, the word "execution" may have already triggered in her mind the "schadenfreude" that she simply could not resist.

Did Judge Jaffe's enthrallment with the idea of the "art of execution" drove her to take the case where the litigants tried to prevent the "execution" of the dog named Caesar?

Judge Jaffe denied the petition, thus allowing "Caesar" to be executed.

I wonder if she has written a secret article on the art of execution of the dog Caesar.

Why judge Barbara Jaffe, in my view, is so very dangerous to the public while on the bench?

Not only because now she authorizes the torture (the non-human project) or killing (the dog Caesar) of the animals, and as to killing, she authorizes that entirely on rumors - which, given her infatuation with the "aesthetics" of lynching - raises hair on one's head.

But, Barbara Jaffe may be up for more power, now over human lives, and that should be prevented.

Barbara Jaffe has come on my radar as an investigative journalist because Judge Jaffe, just a couple of weeks before the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, at the background of protests against Trump and a downpour of criticism, fair and unfair, in the media, incorrectly ruled dismissing the defamation lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump - in a case where the decision was not in her hands, but in the jury's.

The claim was that Donald Trump made statements about a female professional who was, allegedly, sought to be hired by his campaign, and then who was not hired.

The lawsuit for $4 mln alleged that Donald Trump falsely claimed in a Twitter that the female professional in question "begged" to hire her and "turned hostile" when she was not hired - a claim that, in a reasonable person's view, clearly damaged her professional reputation and had to be heard by a jury.

Judge Barbara Jaffe dismissed the claim as "vague" and a "matter of opinion", not fact, while there was nothing vague in it, and it was definitely not an opinion, but a perceived fact that the Plaintiff claims was false, and Donald Trump is claiming was true.

Here is what Judge Jaffe said in Jacobus v Trump:

There is nothing "loose, figurative", or "hyperbolic" in saying that a professional "begged" for a job.  If true, such a claim indicates that a professional (1) may not have good job prospects, so she might have to beg, and (2) that she acts unprofessionally in begging for a job when she cannot have it otherwise.  That IS damaging to a professional reputation - and, since it was published on Twitter, the jury would have an easy way of finding that the publication did take place.

It was dishonest to say that the claim that the plaintiff "begged" for a job is "not susceptible of objective verification".  It is a matter of fact, very much verifiable - a person either begged for a job, or she didn't.

Moreover, it is not for a judge to pronounce, as a matter of mixed question of law and fact that "to the extent that the word 'begged' can be proven to be a false representation of plaintiff's interest in the position", it still means nothing, because it was allegedly, judging by the facts surrounding the statement, a "petty quarrel".

This pronouncement was not for the judge to make, but for the jury.  Judge Jaffe usurped the authority of the jury to decide a case, and did not allow the case to proceed to a jury trial, forcing Donald Trump to settle, as he was forced to do in the university fraud case.

That saved Donald Trump a lot of money, potentially, in damages, and obviously in legal fees.

I am not the only one who thinks that the ruling is unlawful.

Here is an opinion about the case from an unnamed commentator on Reddit, for example (the commentator is not me, I do my comments under my own name):

Of course, those attorneys who depend on drumming business from Judge Jaffe's courtroom, are afraid to express their opinions.  The mainstream media sources that reported on the case only indicated, matter of factly, that the case was dismissed, without any attempt at criticism of the judge's usurpation of the right of the jury to decide this defamation case, and without any attempt to tie the timing of the dismissal, and the identity of the defendant benefited by the dismissal, to the time of the inauguration of the defendant, and the benefits that the defendant, in his soon-to-be new official capacity, may bestow upon the judge.

Which brings me to this scary idea - what did Judge Jaffe try to accomplish by this clear act of brown-nosing the President-elect?

What can a state judge seek from the President of the United States that she does not already have and that the President can give her?

A permanent job, on the federal bench, of course.

Judge Jaffe's current term on the bench expires in 2021, 4 years from now.

If she is appointed to the federal bench, the appointment is for life.

Trump, as a President of the United States, can give Barbara Jaffe a nomination to the federal bench, and I wonder whether Judge  Barbara Jaffe's sweet gesture, the pre-auguration gift dismissing a $4 million dollar lawsuit two weeks before the swearing-in as President, at the time when the mainstream media is crammed with criticism, fair and unfair, of Trump and his family members, when, reportedly, hundreds of thousands of marchers are planning to protest in Washington, D.C. on the day immediately after the inauguration ceremony, the gift may be meant to be especially prominent and especially remembered by the new President.

I wonder whether we will see Barbara Jaffe nominated to the federal court or not.

What is scary is that death penalty is still legal under the federal law, while it is not in New York.

In New York, the death penalty was declared unconstitutional 2 years after Judge Jaffe came to the bench, in 2004.

Judge Jaffe's decision dismissing the defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump was clearly unlawful.

In New York, under New York Constitution, all issues of fact must be tried by a jury.

I do not know whether the plaintiff against Donald Trump was, or was not telling the truth.

Yet, what I do know is that it was not for the judge to decide the case, but for the jury, because there were outstanding triable issues of fact, or mixed issues of fact and law.

It was dishonest for Judge Jaffe to state in her decision that the claims of defamation were too "vague".  Nothing was vague in the claim, it was clear and straightforward - and, the dismissal can still be overturned on appeal.

But, if Judge Jaffe meant this dismissal as a pre-auguration gift to the President-elect, at the time when he is contemplating nomination of judges to the federal bench, is Judge Jaffe seeking to go from enjoyment of the "images of public executions" to making those executions, of humans, happen in reality?

Right now, in state "civil" court, Judge Jaffe's authority to execute is reduced only to killing animals - like she did with the dog Caesar.

Is Judge Jaffe now trying to get to the federal bench, in order to satisfy her love of public executions, in order to preside over the real capital cases, to fully feed her "schadenfreude", the way the killing of the dog Ceasar didn't?

Do we have a sociopath on the bench?

Does anybody try to run psychological evaluations of judges, to see whether they are mentally stable to be on the bench, or whether they have mental cravings incompatible with the power they are wielding?

As it is now though, imagine what this woman with an angelic face may be thinking while looking at African American or Native American litigants in her courtroom.

After all, while looking at a litigant, she may be fantasizing in her mind of the "art of lynching", and making her decisions on that basis.

Very likely.

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