"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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Village taxes in Delhi, NY are not enforceable, based on response to my FOIL request - so, why pay them?

I wrote recently about my 2 FOIL requests to the Village of Delhi, New York, regarding:

1) the contract that, according to the Village code enforcement officer Tom Little, "went out to bidding" regarding demolition of the burnt out building in Delhi, NY, Main Street (as reported on January 18, 2017 by the Walton Reporter);

and regarding

2) records showing efforts of the Village of Delhi, NY to enforce delinquent taxes - according to the personal promise of the Village mayor given to people present at the meeting of the Village Board in the fall of 2014 (I was present at the meeting and spoke to the mayor myself at that time).

I've got the responses to my FOIL requests.

1) The Village of Delhi, NY alleged in its response that it did not bid out the contract to demolition of the building on Main Street.  The only available document that the Village of Delhi sent me on the subject was a permit to demolish the building by owner, and, allegedly, it is the owner who has contracted out the demolition.

2) The Village of Delhi was unable to provide me any records indicating that the Village of Delhi, NY, as its mayor promised in 2014, engaged in any steps whatsoever to enforce delinquencies on the village taxes.

At the public meeting at the fall of 2014, the Village of Delhi indicated that the village lawyers was concerned WHETHER the village tax code is enforceable in court at all, and that the Village of Delhi will soon try and check it out in a "test" court case against one of many tax delinquents, many of whom do not pay taxes for years.

That was in the fall of 2014.  In winter of 2017, that is, 2.5 years later, the Village of Delhi, NY provided me with the following list of tax delinquents:

For the period of 2013-2015:

and for the year 2016:

Despite my clearly worded request, specifically, for records of enforcement of delinquent taxes, as promised by the Village of Delhi, NY mayor, the village was unable to provide such public records - meaning that no enforcement action was filed, and that the Village of Delhi mayor simply deceived the residents and taxpayers of the village by making a promise that he was never going to fulfil.

Yet, there are people and businesses in the village of Delhi, NY who, according to the records, do not pay village taxes for years.

For example, Richard and Janet Babcock, of 20 Park Place in Delhi, New York, according to records provided by the Village of Delhi in accordance with my FOIL request, did not pay village taxes since 2013:

Yet, the Village of Delhi undertook no efforts whatsoever to enforce the tax delinquency in court, and simply assesses a "penalty".

My question then, as a longtime village taxpayer - WHY do we have to pay taxes in the village of Delhi, if there is no enforcement mechanism for the taxes, and if those who do not pay those taxes, are not taken to court for that?

Maybe, there is no need to pay these village taxes at all? 

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