"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, March 5, 2017

New York courts engage in an unconstitutional practice of hiding entire court cases from public docketing, and administrators of courts on all levels pretend the have no clue. Maybe, impeachment will help?

More than a year ago I wrote a blog about the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York hiding the entire docket of my alleged suspension in that court.

I said "alleged" because suspension of an attorney, same as an admission, is a public court order, and, while I am listed in that court as "suspended", there is no such public court order - or even a public docket on showing that there is a disciplinary case against me.

That was true in 2015, 2016, and that remains true today.

Here is the scan of all cases where I appeared as an attorney or a party (or both), and there is no case there that started in November of 2015, after I was (illegally) suspended in New York State for making motions to recuse on behalf of my indigent clients. 

While the Northern District of New York continues to play game with hidden court dockets, a scandal is currently unraveling in New York State where a Nassau County legislator #LauraCurran raised the issue that Nassau County Courts did the same thing as the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York did in my case - the courts are hiding court dockets.

And, while it was obviously ok in my case for the NDNY court to play these games with my hidden docket and claim that I am somehow suspended - while now public docket or order of suspension was available, when New York State Court were caught red-handed in hiding court docket, the reaction of state court administrators was different.

First, the press picked up on those hidden dockets, and ran not just one, but two articles so far about it, here and here - before New York State Court Administration reacted.

The press indicated that it is not clear HOW MANY of hidden court dockets exist - how many of these dockets New York State Courts (where all judges are sworn to uphold the U.S. and New York State Constitution and federal and state law, as well as Canons of Judicial Ethics, engaged in this clear fraud upon the public and violation of their oaths of office).

Moreover, John Ferretti who was portrayed by the press as a "Chief Deputy Clerk", but who is listed on New York State attorney registration website as THE Nassau County Clerk


claimed that he "does not know", for how long the "practice" of hiding certain court dockets was going on in Nassau County.

John Ferretti, of course, is not Nassau County Clerk.

Maureen O'Connell is listed as such,

Maureen O'Connell is also an attorney "with no record of public discipline".

"No record" in New York courts is becoming a new pun, isn't it?

Maureen O'Connell said nothing about the ongoing scandal with missing court dockets on her webpage.

Look what Maureen O'Connell tells us on her webpage:

"I am delighted that you have chosen to visit the County Clerk’s online office. Please note that Nassau County land documents are now available to search online for your convenience.
The County Clerk is an office created by the New York State Constitution, serving as Clerk of the Supreme and County Courts and as an agent for state and federal governments. In addition, the Clerk is responsible for recording documents relating to real property located in Nassau County and maintains the official index of real property ownership.
As County Clerk, my primary objective is to continue to implement strategies to promote real-time services and facilitate enhanced access to serve the residents of Nassau County. We constantly are working to strip away layers of bureaucracy, improve access to official records, and streamline operations while containing costs.
The Nassau County Clerk’s Office offers a variety of services to assist the courts, legal professionals, and the public. We process hundreds of millions of dollars per year in transactions and have many statutory duties. I hope our website is informative and that this office processes your transaction to your satisfaction.

And, if he lied to the public on that - and I am sure he did, because the County Clerk's office is where all cases are filed, and where the actual sealing was taking place - he engaged in untruthful conduct making John Ferretti unfit to be an attorney.

I will not hold my breath though to wait until disbarment of John Ferretti, as I am sure the system that "regulates" attorneys will protect "their own" - as it always does in New York, without fail, and especially given how much John Ferretti knows about the dirty little or not-so-little dealings in courts.

And, if that practice exists in Nassau County, I wonder whether it exists in all other courts in the State of New York.

Of course, now that the scandal is raging in the press, New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks had to say something, so he said that the practice of hiding court dockets, if it really is like that, is "troubling".

Of course, it is not just "troubling", but, as the press had no trouble pointing out, unconstitutional - as held in the 2nd Circuit 13 years ago (having jurisdiction over New York), and in 11th Circuit:

Here is another article describing how dockets are being hidden in federal trial courts.

And, here are the decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in U.S. v Valenti in 1993 and of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Hartford Courant Co. v. Pellegrino in 2004 ruling that hiding court dockets from the public is unconstitutional.

I know wonder whether New York State Courts will now reveal to the public:

  1. all index numbers concealed over, let's say, 50 years going back;
  2. all names of parties and their attorneys involved in knowingly engaging in litigating cases on secret dockets; and, of course,
  3. all names of judges who ordered such sealing of dockets.

After all, since it is Nassau County court dockets are hidden, such dockets may involve a lot of politicians, government officials and celebrities.

And, while I will not hold my breath as to discipline of such judges and such attorneys, it will be interesting to see how Nassau Courts and New York State Court Administration will be getting out of this mess.

Right now the New York State Court Administration - both the Chief Judge Janet DiFiore with her "Court Excellence" program, and the Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks, pretended that they have no control over how the lower court judges administrate their court dockets. 

Even though they are chief administrators of the court setting policies on how to administer those same court dockets - and hiding many court cases obviously denotes a policy.

Count on "the honorable" courts in New York to:

  1. do something illegal; and, when caught red-handed
  2. try to hide it and have its personnel - an attorney no less, whose license is "regulated" by the courts - lie about it.
I bet Nassau County Clerk #JohnFerretti (in New York County Clerks are also the filing court clerks at County and Supreme Court trial levels) was told to zip his lips, or be thrown under the bus, his license and livelihood and all.

I will continue to cover this story.

Stay tuned.

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