"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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A couple of Mississippi Supreme Court judges acknowledge that judicial immunity may "embolden" judges to do bad things - but leave the issue "for another day" to address. What self-serving cowards

Here is a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Mississippi in a case of a former court administrator (a female) against a Mississippi judge (a male), the infamous #JudgeJeffreyWeillSr who illegally ordered to jail a public defender for contempt and made unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct against another public defender, Alison Kelly.

And, it was public defender Alison Kelly's motion to recuse that Judge Weill reportedly used to retaliate against one of his own (former) members of staff, his former female court administrator.

 Judge Weill first, reportedly, harassed Karla Watkins Bailey so that she finally left the job, and then cleverly devised a way to defame her and ruin her reputation - by putting what she says were defamatory claims against her into a footnote of his decision in response to a motion to recuse from 65 criminal cases filed by the local public defender (a female).

The former court administrator sued, but, unfortunately, not for harassment on the job - as it was done in New York, Morin v Tormey, where the case was litigated in federal court for 4.5 years and finally resulted in a $600,000 settlement for the clerk (from taxpayer's pockets, unfortunately, not from the pockets of Chief Administrative Judge of the 5th Judicial District James C. Tormey who viciously retaliated against the woman after she refused to do his bidding and spy upon the judicial candidate for the "opposing" party - remember, judges are claimed not to be political animals, right).

Instead, the clerk sued for defamatory statements contained in the footnote.

While the trial court - let's give that courageous court a credit - rejected the judge's claim of absolute judicial immunity, the top court of the State of Mississippi, the court that "regulates" attorney licenses, by the way and that should be the most honorable of courts, reversed and tossed the complaint on the grounds of absolute judicial immunity.

The court has held that the claims of irrelevancy of the defamatory claims, that the former employee had nothing to do with the motion to recuse, do not take away the protection of absolute judicial immunity.

One judge wisely did not participate in this shameful decision, and two judges filed a short and cowardly concurrence where they agreed to toss the lawsuit against their brother, but "expressed concern" about what their own decision will do in the future, whether it will embolden judges to commit malicious acts in the future knowing they are immune (they know that since Stump v Sparkman, a plurality opinion, by the way, was decided back in 1978).

Here is the concurring opinion:

I have just two questions - if these two judges felt so strongly about the decision (and absolute immunity for malicious acts - they avoided to say "and corrupt", which is what the judicial immunity was self-given by the U.S. Supreme Court justices to themselves and to all of their brothers and sisters in courts of "general jurisdiction" back in 1978), why did they CONCUR, not DISSENT?

Surely, a strong two-judge dissent would have made a potential path to the U.S. Supreme Court smoother for the defamed woman.

Second, isn't that lack of courage attributable to the fact that judges were reluctant to take away the judicial immunity protection (illegally obtained in the first place, since all judges take a constitutional oath of office, and nothing in the U.S. Constitution allows anybody, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to allow other people to violate the U.S. Constitution or engage in malicious or corrupt acts on the bench with immunity) FROM THEMSELVES?

But that, of course, is a rhetorical question.

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