"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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Time sheet scandals prove there is no such thing as making high-ranking employees close to the judicial system accountable for misconduct and even crimes - Part IV of public comment regarding proposed New York mandatory discovery rule in criminal proceedings

Falsifying time sheets may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much in unearned public money was stolen. 

For example, recently two employees of the town of Middletown, NY, were charged with felonies and misdemeanors for falsifying time sheets.

That was considered theft of public funds.

Yet, when three attorney disciplinary prosecutors of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division, 3rd Department (New York):

 were implicated in doing the same, they were only allowed to quietly resign, were not prosecuted criminally or disciplined as lawyers.

While Elizabeth Devane is not even listed as an ever-licensed attorney in New York state, Peter Torncello continues to toil in private practice:

and Steven Zayas is even allowed to continue in public service,

possibly, further engaging in theft of public funds, since they were not deterred by prosecution for their previous misdeeds.

In 2015, Chief Judge's own counsel Christina Ryba was fired for unethical conduct, but was never disciplined as an attorney and was allowed to become a judge, which requires to have a valid law license.

Ryba was not prosecuted either by criminal prosecutors - for elections fraud - nor by attorney disciplinary prosecutors, nor by the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct.

Apparently, the ethical probe that Ryba's Republican opponents wanted amounted to nothing.

Nor were there any disciplinary probes of the wife of the Chief Administrative Judge for the State of New York, Otsego County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, former member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division, 3rd Judicial Department, who, while being a full-time County Attorney, engages in private practice on the side during her work time.

Otsego County responded to my FOIL requests for her time-sheets by claiming that they simply don't have them.

Ellen Coccoma, as the County Attorney, was the legal advisor for that response.  Attorney rules of professional conduct prohibiting participation in a conflicted representation, apparently, did not apply to Ellen Coccoma, as wife of a high-ranking New York State judge.

At this time, New York State Court Administration, at the same time,
  • is stalling my FOIL requests for time sheets of the new Chief Attorney of the Attorney Grievance Committee, Monica Duffy, as well as some other attorneys of the Committee and some judges who were, according to my information, skipping work to participate in wining and dining with some attorneys from Otsego, Delaware and Chenango Counties - and,
  • is trying to push through "mandatory discovery orders" in criminal proceedings that are meant to pull the wool over the eyes of the public and create an impression that prosecutors - all prosecutors - in the state of New York are allegedly accountable for their misdeeds, see my public comments on that:
    • Part I;
    • Part II;
    • Part III - and more comments to come before June 5, 2017, the deadline for submission of public comments on that issue.

They are not.

The time-sheets prosecutions against town employees, but not against attorney disciplinary prosecutors prove that.

The lack of disciplinary prosecutions against attorney disciplinary prosecutors who falsify timesheets and are even fired for unethical conduct and defrauding voters, prove that.

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