"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.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

On arraignments in New York jails - Part II

As I said previously in my blog on this topic, Part I, New York Court administration introduced a "pilot" system of arraignments of criminal defendants in County Jails.

I will repost, for the reader's convenience, the conflicting reports of the goals of that "pilot program"

Declared goal as per press release
Prosecution’s view of the goal
Judge’s view of the goal
Police view of the goal
Public view of the goal

Ensuring indigent criminal defendant’s constitutional right to counsel to comply with a settlement in a lawsuit against the State of New York for violating indigent defendants’ 6th Amendment right to counsel, confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the year 1963, 54 years ago

Convenience to police, cuts of expenses

Convenience to judges

Convenience to police
Consolidation of "services" at arraignment to cut public expenses on such arraignments.

Crime control

I did describe in Part I the team of judges introducing the "pilot" program - predominantly former prosecutors with a history of misconduct and/or corruption.

Since then, a reader has sent me a tip about another local news source covering the story and about the outrageous interview of the not-so-bright Chief Administrative Judge Molly R. Fitzgerald (helped, I am sure, by the even less-bright-than-herself law clerk Porter Kirkwood, see description of their "accomplishments" in Part I).

Now, 12News took upon itself to explain to the public what the "pilot program" was about.

And did they explain.

Come again?

From this astounding piece of journalism I, as well as all other readers, have learned that:

  • even though the arraignment is the INITIAL stage of criminal proceedings, 
  • it applies only to NON-LAW ABIDING CITIZENS.

In other words, it is an unnecessary procedure that costs taxpayers money.

Because, if people who are only arrested by the police are already deemed guilty (by's Josh Martin), why do we need arraignments and all other criminal procedures?

Well, I do not think Josh Martin, or his editor for that matter, bothered himself too much with an answer to that particular question.

Presumption of innocence is a complex concept to comprehend, I guess.

But, let's go further down Josh Martin's extraordinary statement.

The "pilot program", according to's #JoshMartin is actually meant to "SAVE YOU SOME MONEY" and to "KEEP OFFICERS SAFE".


Gone are the claims that the program was actually nothing of the kind, but was meant to COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS OF A CLASS LAWSUIT to actually satisfy the needs for competent legal defense at arraignments for indigent criminal defendants.

Same as with the previous "professional" media source I reported about in Part I of this blog series, Press & Sun Bulletin, Josh Martin of decided to interview none of criminal defenders and none of the criminal defendants - while reporting that 14 of them were already arraigned - as to their thoughts and feelings about the new "pilot program".

The only people he interviewed were:

Judge Fitzgerald and
Police officers.

Well, we owe Josh Martin who in his youthful lack of understanding of the world, actually reported (and video-reported) what police officers and Broome County Sheriff Mark Smolinsky said about the "pilot program":

Holding a court proceeding in a party's witnesses' (prosecution witnesses') office is a great thing, apparently.  A "one stop shop", and it is designed and works well for the convenience of police officers.

And, as Judge Fitzgerald chimed in, for the convenience of judges and attorneys, too.

Nobody recalled convenience of bail/bond witnesses, likely, as indigent as indigent defendants.  Apparently, if it would cost extra money to officers to go to the small municipal courts, if it would be so inconvenient to not-so-poor judges and attorneys to go there "in the middle of the night", as Judge Fitzgerald, who is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, openly admitted, then how inconvenient and costly will it be for defendant's witnesses to appear at the arraignment/bond/bail hearing in a "centralized location" instead of within a walking distance from home?

Remember, the whole program was aimed, and taxpayer money were provided by the legislature, to help INDIGENT defendant - and thus to help their taxpayer-funded defense counsel, NOT to provide a convenience to police officers, prosecutors and judges.

In the included video interview, first, as an introduction, the news anchor asks Josh Martin:

"This is a change that will affect TAXPAYERS across the county, correct?"

And, Josh Martin, instead of showing any knowledge of why the pilot program was actually funded by taxpayers, rushes ahead and repeats his asinine paragraph from the article - with a smirk:

The video piece then quotes Broome County Sheriff Mark Smolinsky saying that "all in all it was the biggest common sense approach to be put in place" and continues:

Josh Martin then repeats his take on what arraignments are - and gives a glimpse of the inside of the improvised "courtroom" within the Broome County jail.

There is an intercom device visible, and a computer monitor, but I did not see an audio recording device - and arraignments must be kept on record.

The overview of the room shows a VERY limited number of seats, and, since the arraignments are to be held in jail, there is only one door - behind the judge - that will be locked, in accordance with jail security rules. 

Imagine if a member of the public wants to enter or exit that courtroom - they will have to ask the judge to ask the police officer to ask the other police officer on the radio to unlock the door and provide surveillance to the member of the public to go pee.  Imagine how many people would like to attend these proceedings, and that is just part of the inconvenience to the public - I described other inconveniences in Part I in a table.

But, inconvenience to the PUBLIC, those people who FUND these proceedings, do not count either - as long as there is a convenience for the police officers, prosecutors and judges

I already explained in Part I, in a table, how jail security rules will affect what was supposed to be a PUBLIC hearing - which neither Josh Martin, nor Sheriff Smolinsky, nor Judge Fitzgerald even try to mention.

So, accessibility of arraignments by the public is not even a big concern of the authorities - it is not a concern AT ALL.

And that, as I said before, is another class lawsuit waiting to happen.

So, dear taxpayers of the State of New York, it is as always - in order to fix one problem, the corrupt team that only knows how to fix things into their own pockets and in their own favor - "fixed" the problem right back into another bigger problem - now depriving indigent criminal defendants not only of proper legal defense, but also of a public arraignment.

Because, if it is so damned convenient for the police officers, prosecutors and judges to hold arraignments in jail - here is what they ARE going to be held, the majority of them, or the majority of them for indigent defendants.

The police will simply and "conveniently" arrest people only on weekends and only at night, in order to put them through the "convenient" - and secret - arraignment procedure behind locked doors.

Martin then reported that the program launched "this past Monday" - and showed a video interview of Judge Fitzgerald.

First, look at the eyes and facial expression of this woman.

This is the Chief Administrative Judge of a very large judicial district.  There is no thought showing in the eyes, none at all.

And here is what she said: "It's more efficient, people do not have to go ... wherever ... (waving her hand) in the middle of the night - they come here.  The room is equipped.  And it's working really well".

This is the degree of thought, the degree of preparation for public speaking, and the ability for PREPARED public speaking that this Chief Administrative Judge of a large judicial district shows.

I keep wondering - WHOSE appointee is she?  Who is pushing the career of this imbecile up and up?

And, of course, Judge Fitzgerald is portrayed at the background of an American flag and framed on both sides in the background by police officers (Sheriff Smolinsky on the right)

- sending the public a clear message what this program is REALLY about, and what their money is REALLY going to be used for - the convenience of judges and police, not ensuring legal rights of indigent criminal defendants, which was what the money was asked and received for.

By the way, at the end of the video, Josh Martin talks, once again, about savings to taxpayers - but claimed that "it is unknown" how much savings the program will bring.  Not even an estimate.

Great program.

Great journalism.

I wonder who will file the new class lawsuit - because it is a matter of time that such a lawsuit WILL be filed.

And, to New York taxpayers - employing brainless, corrupt and arrogant "golden boys" (and girls) COSTS money.

A lot.

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