"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, April 3, 2017

On secretly demented judges. While sealing civil rights cases is unconstitutional, it is done when judicial reputation is at stake - as it was done in federal court in Louisiana when magistrate judge Kathleen Kay sued U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi claiming Judge Minaldi's mental incapacity

I've just recently run a blog about 91-year-old federal judge Edwin Kosik from Pennsylvania who was taken off cases under a fake reasoning that he was recovering from bones fractured in a fall in his house, while in reality he was taking medication for memory loss, was likely demented, and the truth came out only when he left home in a car, drove on the highway, potentially jeopardizing other travelers, and was located, after a full police and U.S. Marshall search, only after a day of search, in a remote wooded area of Pennsylvania.

Now, it has been reported that yet another potentially mentally unstable federal judge, U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi (in Louisiana), the one who was charged with a DWI in 2014, was abruptly pulled off her cases, and a lawsuit was filed against her reportedly challenging her mental incapacity - while the lawsuit is sealed, and the docket about her does not appear on

In December of 2016, on the 6th year anniversary of impeachment of another federal judge in Louisiana, Judge Thomas Porteous, for taking bribes, Judge Minaldi was reportedly taken off all of her cases.

A point of impeachment for a judge is intoxication on the bench, other judges have been removed on these grounds, and I've personally seen at least one judge, at that time Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York who looked visibly intoxicated to me.

It was reported first that a criminal case was removed from Judge Minaldi when she made "a series of procedural errors", including "assigning some of her duties to a prosecuting attorney".

Well, that's what I personally saw a New York town justice (and an attorney) do, numerous times, in open court, as a matter of usual way that particular judge "did business" -  assigning his duty to conduct allocution and obtain waiver of the defendant's rights.  By the way, the prosecutor whose office was routinely teaming up with the judge to do the judge's duty in that court, and whose misconduct I addressed in a motion to disqualify in 2014 in that same court, was not only not disciplined, but was elevated since then to the position of New York Chief Judge, and punished me from that side by presiding on my appeals and deciding them against me.

So, everybody is looking the other way, commending a judge for the brilliant jurist that he or she is - until something happens that does not allow the court to look the other way any more.

In Judge Rinaldi's case, it is not even the arrest and conviction for drunk driving - it is starting to act bizarre in court cases, which, I understand, was described in detail in the now hidden lawsuit in the hidden docket. 

Attorneys reported (anonymously, I presume, as they were afraid to lose their licenses and livelihoods) that Judge Minaldi has been appearing drunk on the bench, handling cases, for some time, and that at least one case has been removed from her to another court because of it.

In December, 2017 an anonymous attorney appearing in front of Judge Minaldi was quoted as saying:

So, when your judge is drunk on the job, an impeachable offense, it is "unfortunate" for an attorney who must, as part of his or her professional duties, REPORT that.

And, apparently, the judge was doing that before, then stopped, then started it again - and the court system must have known what was going on, but covered it up to prevent massive reversals of the judge's cases - same as in the case of Pennsylvania demented federal judge Edwin Kosik, same as in the case of allegedly mentally unstable former New York Chief Judge Sol Watchler convicted for a federal felony of stalking and intimidating a woman and her minor child.

Already on December 9, 2016 a question was asked, in comments to a media article about Judge Minaldi's "situation" about negligence of the Chief Judge of that federal court in allowing Judge Minaldi to preside over cases at all:

At the end of December, 2016, reportedly, 27 cases were transferred from Judge Minaldi to another judge, and that happened after a trial "ended abruptly" before picking a jury.

Moreover, requests for transcripts regarding jury selection were denied to journalists - and I do not see any firestorm in the media from Washington Post or New York Times claiming their readers' right to know about potential misconduct or inability to perform by a federal judge.

The transcripts that were released to the press, allegedly, showed that Judge Minaldi skipped such basic requirements as even telling the jury that the burden of proof in a criminal case lies with the prosecution, not the defense.

At the end of January 2017, Judge Minaldi was put on medical leave for an unknown length of time, without giving the public the reason for the medical leave.

So, once again, we want to know, and are given information, whether President Trump is in good health while holding his finger on the big red nuclear button, but we are not given a right to know whether and for how long a federal judge was incapacitated - and, I do not see any litigants or their attorneys (afraid to be disbarred) to file lawsuits to get such information and seek to vacate Judge Minaldi's decisions.

Now we have a lawsuit filed by one judge (magistrate) against the other judge (District Judge) of the same court, in the same court, claiming mental instability of a judge, and that lawsuit is sealed from public view by that same court that neglected to remove that same judge from cases or tell the public until it was unable to conceal the problem any longer.

Of course, when just a month ago, existence of secret court dockets was discovered in Nassau County Courts, New York, the New York Office of Court Administration immediately claimed its embarrassment and investigation of such a practice, acknowledging that such a practice is unconstitutional.

And, not one, but two federal appellate courts agreeing on that issue, that secret court dockets are unconstitutional, were quoted: 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.

Of course, federal courts within the state of Louisiana report to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, but that does not mean that hiding court dockets from the public in federal court in Louisiana is ever less unconstitutional than it is within the jurisdiction of 2nd and 11th Circuits.

What is completely dishonorable as to the court that is already guilty of negligence, the court where all personnel can be subpoenaed as witnesses, did not recuse from hearing the case against Judge Minaldi - while it should be transferred out of that district court simply because the court that is also a witness in the case, the court whose officials are likely chargeable for screwing who knows how many cases, convictions and civil judgments by allowing a drunk and mentally unstable judge to decide those cases, cannot be allowed to preside over and decide these cases.

But, count on the "honorable" judges not to recuse when such recusal is absolutely required, and to hide the truth of its own negligence from the public, when hiding such truth is considered unconstitutional.

I will continue to follow reports about the lawsuit against Judge Minaldi.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment