"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.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

On the value of reputation

This year, I have started the series of articles about the criminal case of Terrence Truitt, pending now in Otsego County, New York, see my previous blog articles about this case here and here.

A man of color is charged with arson that has ALLEGEDLY led to a death of a local former firefighter, a white man.

He was charged by an all-white police, and prosecuted by an all-white prosecution team, in front of all-white judges, and represented by a white attorney married to a white law clerk of a white judge.

In a city and area notorious for its racial bias and racial profiling in criminal cases.

Terence Truitt's reputation at this time - as well as his chances for a fair trial anywhere on this Globe - are destroyed by well-orchestrated pre-trial publicity.

Any mentioning that he is presumed innocent until and UNLESS found guilty by a fair jury of his peers meet with violent personal attacks from local people considering that the family and friends mourning the person who ALLEGEDLY died in a fire have a right to mourn by presuming guilt of whoever the police publicly points their collective fingers at.

My next blog is going to be dedicated to the bigger timeline of events in that same area, well documented, 

that may show that Terrence Truitt was no more than a fall guy carefully chosen by the police to cover up for the likely murder of the former local firefighter John Heller - for reasons having nothing to do with family feuds which is what insinuations at this time are about, that Terrence Truitt's brother Gavin lived with is girlfriend in the same building and was abusing his girlfriend (how the police jumped from that to the conclusion that Terrence Truitt set fire to the building with a lot of people, including his own brother, and for what motives, is still a mystery).

But, this blog I want to dedicate entirely to the value of reputation.

Those in power have valued their reputation from the time immemorial - above all else.

Innumerable people were tortured and executed in horrible ways because they dared to criticize authority - religious or secular.

Criticism of those in power was deemed, for millenia and centuries, heresy, treason, "seditious libel".

People who dared to do that, against all odds, were cast out of societies, cast out of churches (anathemized), and declared outlaws, which meant in earlier times that anybody had a right to kill them (or rob them of what they have) with impunity.

If you think that times have changed, democratic societies embedded freedom of speech, including and especially permission for members of those society to criticize their government officials, into their Constitutions and strictly enforce this principles, think again.

Let's take my favorite state of New York, the United States of America.

Every public official there, state and local, executive, legislative or judicial, is sworn to uphold and protect the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution.

Both of these Constitutions contain guarantees of freedom of speech - and that includes, by implication, freedom of criticizing the government.

But, let's look how information criticizing the government, especially the people who can wreak the most havoc in people's lives - judges, prosecutors and the police - is made available to the people.

Or, not available.

Recently, the top New York State Court

(headed by a career prosecutor Janet DiFiore who was saved from criminal prosecution by her position as a criminal prosecutor herself, and her connections to NYS Governor Cuomo whose ass she has saved from federal prison - and who paid her and her husband with positions of super-power in return)

confirmed in a court case that the public does not have a right of access to evidence of police misconduct on Freedom of Information Requests, citing a state law.

That the state law she has cited is blatantly unconstitutional, being invented specifically to impair cross-examination/impeachment of police officers by criminal defense attorneys, and thus state law was meant to undermine federal constitutional confrontation rights under the 6th Amendment - did not bother Janet DiFiore, a former prosecutor, one bit.

So, as it is now, in New York, evidence of police misconduct is secret.

Because it is important for the government to keep their dirty secrets away from people.

And, even when such dirty secrets spill over into lawsuits when those same police officers, let's say, beat some women or try to run them down with cars - those cases are quickly shooed away, by settlements, or by corrupt judges like Otsego County Judge John F. Lambert who first

So, Judge John Lambert, the former prosecutor, made the lawsuit against Bowie to go away, and Bowie, while being quietly fired by the Delaware County Sheriff's department in 2016,

and despite two lawsuits of two look-alike women who he assaulted, see also here,

is employed as a valuable police officer some place else now.

So, thank you, Judge John F. Lambert, for helping the police keeping a violent predator on the police force, since he escaped unscathed, he will next time not just beat women up, break their ribs, traser them, put fire to their houses, taser their dogs and assault them with police vehicles, but kill them outright - with such massive support, at public expense, that has already allowed him to escape accountability, he can do nothing less to oblige impress his benefactors.

But, you will never be able to obtain evidence of misconduct of Derek Bowie through a Freedom of Information Law.

Only on, materials of deposition.

Only in Delaware County Supreme Court (if they did not block the public from those materials, hide them and then destroy court materials of this case, as this particular court has a history of doing, at judges' request), when he was sued by Barbara O'Sullivan who he assaulted.

The same with judges - you won't ever have access to complaints against them, no matter how supported by verifiable documentation.

The same with prosecutors.

Yet, for judges and prosecutors, judges invented for themselves "absolute judicial/prosecutorial immunity for malicious and corrupt conduct" (!), so those lawsuits, without review on the merits, are tossed directly into the garbage bin.

So, there is, on the one hand, freedom of speech protected by the federal and state Constitutions.

On the other hand, the government, aware of the fact that reputation may be destroyed by saying several words about the person publicly - which can never be "unsaid" - devised ways to:

At the same time, the government:

  • made those proceedings, and the records of those proceedings, secret from the public;
  • blocked the public from directly participating in these proceedings as a jury or grand jury, even when the issue is criminal behavior of public officials;
  • populated those "public bodies" with public officials having irreconcilable conflicts of interest in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating those cases, where, as in Judicial Conduct Commission, the overwhelming majority of the Commission is either judges or people whose livelihood depends on judges, attorneys;
  • gave such Commissions insufficient budgets to investigate every complaint, so that they can explain away non-investigation of the absolute majority of complaints by lack of funds;
  • blocked the public from having a right to appeal dismissals of meritorious complaints without investigation;
  • invented immunities for government officials from civil lawsuits; and
  • put criminal prosecution of such government officials into the hands of people whose livelihood and career depends on NOT filing those criminal charges, judicially licensed criminal prosecutors whose case often rests on suborning perjury from the police and on the judge (most often a former prosecutor) turning a blind eye to that misconduct.

Which brings me back to the issue of the value of reputation.

So, let's get it straight.

There is a constitutional guarantee of the freedom of speech, and criticism of the government - on the one hand.

On the other hand, the government has invented ways to block the flow of that information to the public, immunize government officials who engage in misconduct, and make it impossible for the public to obtain effective legal remedies against those government officials for such misconduct.

Yet, when reputation of a member of the public is involved (and, let's not forget that it is the members of the public that are also members of a public sovereign, employers of the government, and those who are, in their position of power, by the U.S. and State Constitutions, higher than the government, and not the other way around), a completely different thing happens.

  • The person is first very publicly charged with a heinous crime;
  • Information about it is immediately spread - by the government, by those same police officers who treasure their reputation and protect evidence of their misconduct by lobbied unconstitutional laws and clan connections - on the Internet, in a police press-conference then quoted by people as irrefutable evidence of the accused's guilt (over 70+ leads, imagine, the police excluded accidental causes for the fire, they found a can of fire accelerant - with Terrence Truitt's name on it?);

Why is it so?

Wasn't the right to an open TRIAL given TO THE ACCUSED, as a guarantee of the right to a FAIR trial?

And the public's "right to know" will be satisfied all right during and after that trial, not before?

Isn't pretrial publicity considered a form of police and prosecutorial misconduct?

Don't those same police officers, prosecutors and judges HIDE complaints of their own misconduct from the public - because they know, once a word besmirching a person's reputation gets out on the World Wide Web, the damage to the person's reputation cannot be undone?

So, if the "right to an open public trial" is turned by the government on its head and is turned to besmirching the accused's reputation BEFORE that public trial, and into destroying his presumption of innocence and his chance to get that open FAIR trial from an UNTAINTED jury pool - what is the remedy?

Shouldn't we at least equalize the reputational damage visited upon people accused of criminal conduct - whether they are members of the government or not?

Shouldn't we put down the secrecy/privacy walls of 

  • police misconduct;
  • prosecutorial misconduct;
  • judicial misconduct
proceedings - just as police and prosecutors splurge the information about the accused long before that open public trial, so that any potential jurors who would be picked for the trial, would come well brainwashed by prosecutors?

And, shouldn't the police and prosecutors PROHIBITED, BY LAW, strictly enforceable by grand juries operated only by the public, without any input from prosecutors, to publicize charges, evidence and identity of the accused in the media, newspapers, Internet, press-conferences, to make sure than, when that OPEN PUBLIC TRIAL comes, the jury gets that evidence FOR THE FIRST TIME, not after it was discussed and speculated about by the media and people in the area for months before that trial even began?

As to the interesting timeline of events not included into police press-release on the Terrence Truitt's case, but that may be relevant to the case, my next article.

When people are corrupt and drunk with power, they do not hide their ends very well.

So, as to the interesting ends in People v Terrence Truitt that the local media is afraid to cover - 

Stay tuned.

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