"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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

While criminal charges are hardly brought against corrupt public officials, they are immeditely trumped up against defense attorney #MarcusMumford

I have been writing on this blog since 2014 about cases where attorneys are targeted and punished by the government for their professional activities as attorneys - by monetary sanctions, by disciplinary actions, by arrests and criminal charges, as they did to attorney Russel Stookey in Georgia, John Aretakis and George Galgano in New York, and now, as the government is doing to attorney Marcus Mumford in federal court - the defense attorney for Ammon Bundy, recently acquitted of criminal charges based on his standoff in a National Wildlife Preserve, a defense attorney who was, reportedly,

  • tasered;
  • handcuffed;
  • arrested;
  • taken into custody, and
  • criminally charged  -

  • all for making a legal argument for his client that his client's detention by the federal government without a proper court order, after he was acquitted by the court where he was seized by U.S. Marshals, was illegal and unconstitutional.

    Now, while the feds are notoriously slow and reluctant to press criminal charges against high-standing public officials involved in corruption and misconduct - think federal judges involved in sexual misconduct with their employees, for example, think corrupt judges who usually are allowed to "resign" and keep their pension, but are practically never charged with crimes - criminal charges for "contempt of court" were immediately drummed up against attorney Mumford.

    By the way, even though some sources on media and social media claimed that attorney Mumford was charged with a "contempt of court", that is not so.

    Attorney Mumford was charged with "failure to comply with lawful direction of a federal police officer".

    Attorney Mumford's e-mails to the court sent before the criminal charges were filed are also part of the docket.

    The e-mails indicate that Attorney Mumford sought videotapes of the court proceedings showing the "incidents" of October 17, 2016 and October 27, 2016 where the U.S. Marshals instigated a conflict with him, and mentions in his e-mails that the same U.S. Marshall who instigated the confrontation that led to attorney Mumford's tasering, was also yelling at a judge and disobeying a judge on different occasions - yet, contempt of court charges were not brought against U.S. Marshals.

    It appears that, since attorney Mumford was not criminally charged immediately after the tasering "incident", on October 27, 2016, and was only charged on November 29, 2011, after he sought video surveillance tapes from the court, the charges are in retaliation for seeking public records to expose misconduct of government officials - in continuation of an ongoing tendency of persecution of people trying to get access to government records that I previously reported on this blog. 

    The charges are, of course, all bogus, since they charge attorney Mumford with "failure to comply with lawful direction of a federal police officer" - while the essence of the charges is kept secret (and sealed in the docket), 

    and while attorney Mumford was specifically demanding from the U.S. Marshals who were taking his client to produce the court order upon authority of which they were arresting his just-acquitted client in the courtroom.

    Since no court order was produced, the government will have a really hard time to prove - and it has to prove each and every element of his crime beyond the reasonable doubt - that:

    • a federal police officer issued an order;
    • that it was directed at attorney Mumford;
    • that it was "lawful", and that
    • attorney Mumford knowingly, of the order and of its being lawful, did not comply with it.
    As a minimum, the government will have to produce the order that was the basis of "lawful" direction by U.S. Marshals, whatever that "direction" was, and the fact that attorney Mumford actually sought from the U.S. Marshals, on behalf of his client, production of that order, and was tasered instead of given the order, should be a basis of a motion to dismiss.

    Of course, no judges of the court where the "incident" occurred agreed to preside over the case, so a judge from Washington, D.C. was imported for such purposes - and, when I tried to access the order of assignment of that judge on Pacer, Pacer claimed that it "can't open PDF" - while I could open other pdf documents from the same case and using the same browser, computer and viewing session.

    Attorney Mumford recently appeared for an arraignment and pled "not guilty", and his own defense attorney, Michael Levine, reportedly stated the following to the court at his client's arraignment:

    I can’t recall an incident where a defense attorney in the midst of an argument on behalf of his client is tackled and tased, twice surrounded by the force of the state,” Levine said to reporters after Friday’s hearing. “If this is what America is coming to, ladies and gentleman, we are in deep trouble.”

    And we are.

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