"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, June 22, 2017

Is it ethical for a prosecutor to solicit a guilty plea from an exonerated prisoner in order to save their ass and prevent the state from being sued?

In Nevada, a man spent 29 years ON DEATH ROW - luckily, the state did not expedite his execution, as two recent cases with likely claims of innocence were.

Charles Robins, of Arizona, was arrested and went to prison, on death row, at the age of 19.

Of course, Charles Robins is black - African Americans predominate the death row population in the United States.

Charles Robins was convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly beating to death a 6-month-old child of his girlfriend.

Now new evidence emerged that the child may have died of childhood scurvy, a disease with symptoms mimicking symptoms of child abuse.

Since there is a question whether a child has died, in a 29-year-old case, where the body has long been buried and evidence destroyed - of a natural death, that is "reasonable doubt" that must prevent a criminal conviction.

But, that is not so in Charles Robins case.

He did not come out a free and exonerated person.

He came out a convicted murderer with time served.

Because prosecutors in the case considered it ethically possible to play on emotions of a person who was on death row for 29 years - obviously wrongfully - by re-charging him after the conviction was overturned, and offering him a plea bargain that he could not turn down: still plead to an unlawful killing and time served.

I wonder what Arizona State Bar has to say about behavior of prosecutors in this case?


Is it suddenly ethical in Arizona to solicit a guilty plea to a murder in a case where reasonable doubt is spelled out by the new evidence - using the defendant's desire to get out of prison after nearly 30 years on death row?

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