"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.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

#MaleChauvinistGaloreOnTheBench continues. Judges do not have to be courteous or civil with "recalcitrant" female attorneys - a Maryland judge argues

I wrote recently about male chauvinist judges, like Judge  in Nevada, who handcuffed a female public defender for making constitutional argument on behalf of her indigent client when the judge did not want to listen to her, because he already pre-judged the case and made up his mind.

And, I wrote about other male judges engaging in egregious gender discrimination against women - in four different states

After a public outrage, the Nevada judge Conrad Hafen was voted out of office.

Other judges, as far as I know, still remain on the bench.

Now in Maryland now, another case of #MaleChauvinistGaloreOnTheBench develops where #JudgeAlfredNance

fights a disciplinary complaint claiming that he is persistently rude with female public defender Deborah K. Levi by claiming that she is "recalcitrant" - and thus, the judge's logic appears to be, is not entitled to be treated by the male judge in a civilized manner.

Specifically, female criminal defense attorneys for the indigent should be treated, as long as they are labeled "recalcitrant" by male judges, in the following way:

Deborah K. Levi, a young female attorney, is a publicly recognized dedicated defender of the poor in the felony division of Maryland Public Defender's office:

Here is how Judge Nance reportedly treated Deborah Levi though when she represented an indigent criminal defendant in a high-stakes murder trial:

After demeaning Levi throughout the trial, Judge Nance called a mistrial in a murder case claiming that Levi's behavior during the trial was allegedly so "disrespectful" that it affected the jury's perception of her client and interfered with her defense.

That was instead of stepping down from the case where Judge Nance obviously felt a strong bias against the female defense counsel.

And, Judge Nance has been infamous for that bias, and misconduct, and was subjected to disciplinary proceedings for such conduct on two prior occasions - in 2001 and in 2004:

Of course, notwithstanding that biased ruling, attorney Levi moved to dismiss criminal proceedings against her client on double jeopardy grounds - and won it, in front of a female judge.
Had judge Nance been properly disciplined before his 2014 re-election campaign, he would likely not have been elected, and women in the courtroom would not have been subjected to his outrageous misbehavior.

Yet, the latest charges against Judge Nance were dismissed, and, despite Judge Nance's apparent bias against women, he was re-elected to a 2nd 15-year term in 2014, so he will "grace" the bench, unless he is booted now, until 2029, or until his mandatory retirement, whichever is closer.

In the disciplinary charges just filed by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disability against Judge Nance, the Commission states the following:

So, contrary to Judge Nance's claims in his mistrial decision in the murder trial, it was not attorney Levi's "disrespectful" behavior that caused a mistrial, but it was Judge Nance's own biased behavior toward attorney Levi and her client that should have caused Judge Nance to step down from the case - but didn't.

The charges also indicated
  • the level of disrespect to attorney Levi, asking what she is up to that she has put on her "go-to-war glasses", while attorney Levi did not ask the judge for any action, so the interaction was initiated by the judge and indicated that the judge either wanted to flirt with the young female attorney, or punish her for being young and independent;
  • Judge Nance's comments that attorney Levi worked previously in a county the judge disliked, 
  • disrespectful comments to female jurors based on their education and disabilities, and
  • sexually based comments of the judge to attorney Levi's client advising him to wait until he will start "playing with himself" until he reaches his jail cell, and warning him, in another case, that the judge will find a violation of his probation if "his tinkle was dirty".

It is apparent that Judge Nance enjoys his power, and enjoys his ability to abuse his power to impose his dirty language and inappropriate comments and innuendoes on attorneys and litigants present in the courtroom.

In everyday, not politically correct, language, Judge Nance acted like a complete jerk who has no place on the bench.

And, the Commission made the report after its investigative counsel reviewed documents and videotapes of the court hearings in question.

To which obviously irrefutable evidence, documented in transcripts and by audio and video recording, and that happened in front of multiple witnesses, Judge Nance adamantly responded in this manner:

So, now when a litigant or attorney asks for a bathroom break, that is called "conduct of a recalcitrant counsel" that a judge has a right to "control" - and deny ability to go to the bathroom?

I wonder whether the judge will deny a bathroom break to himself...

As to his comments about "playing with himself" and "getting his tinkle dirty" about a criminal defendant, Judge Nance has the following response:

Judge Nance responded in the same fashion to all allegations, claiming that he was within his authority committing all the obvious misconduct he was charged with.

Judge Nance obviously claims selective stupidity in not understanding that he is charged with ABUSE of office - that, while a judge may have authority to "regulate conduct" in the courtroom, the judge may not abuse his authority in regulating conduct that does not need regulation, or regulating conduct in an unacceptable, humiliating or discriminatory manner.

I wonder whether Judge Nance's tactics will save him this time.

The problem though, is that Judge Nance continues to remain on the bench while the charges are pending and has a potential to ruin more lives in retaliation for charges brought against him.

Cases like Judge Nance's clearly show that
  • judges should be elected for shorter terms;
  • should not be allowed to be re-elected for repeat terms, not to get too "cozy" on the job, feeling he can do anything at all with impunity; and
  • there should be a quicker and easier mechanism for removal of judges from the bench, and a mechanism involving jury panels of lay jurors, not panels populated by judges or attorneys whose livelihood is regulated by judges - because both of these groups have irreconcilable conflicts of interest in disciplining "their own".
I will continue to report on this case.

Stay tuned.

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