"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, February 16, 2017

Judges making political statements at the sake of litigants' rights

So, a defendant comes before a judge at arraignment and pleads not guilty.

At that point the defendant is presumed innocent by law.

Yet, the defendant is at that point in the government's custody, and the prosecution asks for bail.

And, the prosecution asks to up the bail to $1 million.

Whether the prosecution is correct in their request, the judge has all the power in her hands to simply deny that request.

No, that's not what the judge did.

The Texas judge in question, Claudia Brown

in order to punish the prosecution and to show that the prosecution is not right in "turning prisons into adult day care" - that's what the judge actually said - punished the defendant by upping the bail to 4 billion dollars.

And, the judge made a statement after she has set that bail - obviously, illegally, in violation of the U.S. Constitution (which the judge is sworn to uphold), 8th Amendment, prohibiting excessive bail - saying that she is a new judge, and that she has come to the bench "to change the system".

A local attorney Steven Walden reportedly already raised the issue that the amount of bail violated the 8th Amendment, and added that the judge set that level of bail without even looking at the facts of the case.

Obviously, the judge did not care what the facts of the case were, since she was "sending a message" and making a protest statement with that decision.

Once again, protesting against something wrong (as the judge thought) done by the prosecution by punishing the presumed-innocent defendant.

The naïve me thought that judges are supposed to be neutral arbiters of specific cases, and to resolve actionable controversies by applying the governing law of the case to the facts of the case.

And, the judge initially did apply the law to the facts, and was about to set the bail at $100,000:

So, a judge "experiences pressure" - argument from the prosecution to up the bail, and, instead of simply denying that request, "punishes" the prosecution by punishing the defendant?

This is the kind of temperament that a judge should have? To freak out instead of doing her job?

By the way, the judge freaked out in a murder case, in Texas, which still has the death penalty and where, because stakes are so high in a criminal proceeding, a judge must have a super-impartial attitude and a super-self-control.

Well, the judge has sent the statement all right, of her own unfitness for the bench.

Thankfully, another judge has reportedly lowered the bail to $100,000.

But, nobody yet lowered the judge off the bench.

Yet, continuing to allow this freaky "advocate" to have the nearly unlimited power of a judge is simply unacceptable.

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