"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, May 4, 2017

Indiana rocks: when a judge commits a VIOLENT felony, only a reprimand is due

I regularly write on this blog how practically in all jurisdictions across the country judges committing crimes, including violent crimes, are given extreme leniency.

For example, in New York, when an administrative law judge (and an attorney) committed an assault upon a lawyer, knocked him to the ground in a drunken rage under the security cameras, causing him grievous injuries, and left him for dead - he was only charged with a misdemeanor and not put in jail, because charging him with a felony would require automatic disbarment on conviction, and we cannot have that with a judge.  There are no reports as to what happened to Administrative Law Judge and attorney Robert Beltrani's case, and no indication attorney Beltrani was disciplined in any way from his attorney registration information.  In fact, his attorney registration information lists, as of today, "no record of public discipline".

More than likely, Beltrani will be (if he was not yet) plead down to some kind of a "violation, not a crime", or given probation.  Coincidentally, he is an Administrative Law Judge presiding over parole violations, and there is no indication he was yanked from his job.

Yet, what Beltrani did, undoubtedly qualified as a violent felony.

Judge who are not attorneys, and where there is no need to spare a judge's law license from automatic disbarment, can be charged with felonies, apparently - as it was done in Indiana with Judge Tom Phillips who punched his own nephew (a police officer) at an official town meeting.

Judge Phillips was charged and convicted of a felony battery, and was sentenced to 1 year in jail, all commuted to probation and 100 hours of community service.

And you know what kind of discipline judge Phillips was meted out?

A public reprimand.

He resigned, thankfully, but the message that the Judicial Qualifications Commission in Indiana is sending to the public is that a judge who is a CONVICTED VIOLENT FELON could have continued on the bench but for his voluntary resignation.

Great job, Indiana.

And, when we talk about the rule of law and equal protection of laws in this country, as the first step, we need to look how laws are applied to those who apply them - judges.  If judges give themselves more breaks than to everybody else

(and they do, by giving themselves absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts, issuing lenient judicial ethics opinion allowing practically bribes in many formats to themselves - as exclusively judge-populated New York Commission of Judicial Ethics, and rules of federal judiciary regularly do, allowing judges to accept wining-and-dining and free trips from attorneys)

then there is no rule of law and no equal protection of law.

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