"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, March 31, 2019

How Jeffrey Deskovic betrayed the dream he claims he is serving, fighting wrongful convictions - from seeking Justice to seeking Just-US. Part I.

Jeffrey Deskovic, the famous New York exoneree, always had a weakness - flattery and recognition by people in authority.

That is how he has gotten wrongfully convicted in the first place.

According to description of facts of his own case provided in the federal court's decision denying summary judgment in one of his lawsuits, the police did not have enough evidence to even arrest him.

The police suckered him into taking a polygraph which turned into 9 hours of interrogation, brow-beating and wrongful confession - because they promised him a central role in a criminal investigation of the murder of 15-year-old older sister of his girlfriend.  Ok, at 16 you might not be able to resist such lures.

But, when you are 45-ish, like Jeffrey Deskovic is now - maybe, you should?

Not likely.

Let's compare certain positions - 

  • Deskovic's position several days ago:

To which Deskovic answered thus:

Let's review what Deskovic "and his colleagues" worked for FOR 6 YEARS (note the period) - the starting point, those same 6 years ago - before going to law school and posing for photographs in the New York Senate, with judges, police officers, prosecutors, doing CLE lectures for these three groups and accepting awards from anybody who ives them - just for the fact that he was suckered into a wrongful conviction, then exonerated by sheer triple luck and then awarded millions of dollars when he sued for his wrongful conviction.  (The luck I am talking about is:  1. DNA evidence pointed at another killer,  2. DNA evidence from the crime Deskovic was convicted for was preserved,  3.  somebody took effort on Deskovic's behalf to prove the above and advocate for his release - the luck that does not happen in majority of wrongful convictions).

So, nearly exactly 6 years ago Deskovic answered the following question of a reporter: If there was one change, just one, that you could make in the criminal justice system, what would it be?

Deskovic:  Definitely criminalizing intentional prosecutorial misconduct

Now, compare it with my view expressed 5 days ago:

I also spoke about elimination of prosecutorial immunity - civil, by the way, there was never a prosecutorial immunity for criminal prosecution, Deskovic was mistaken in believing in 2013 that intentional prosecutorial misconduct is not criminalized, it can be charged as a number of state and federal crimes, the only problem is - who is going to charge it against prosecutors (many of whom since drumming up wrongful convictions to advance their career have become judges), when prosecutors, by laws lobbied by prosecutors, control public access to grand juries and are, in our "fair" "adversarial" justice system are operating, in an ex parte manner, as LEGAL ADVISERS of grand juries.  Imagine - a party in the proceeding operates as a law clerk advising the judge what to do, in an ex parte proceeding, and obtains a decision based on which he acquires the right to prosecute in the subsequent "public" "adversarial" "fair" proceeding - that is a wonder of the American criminal "justice" system.

What has happened over these 6 years that Deskovic transformed from an advocate for CRIMINAL penalties for prosecutors for intentional misconduct and drumming up wrongful convictions (which view I completely share) to telling me that working towards THAT SAME GOAL is "fighting against" what took him and his "colleagues" "six years to pass"?

What transformed a man who adamantly said in an interview that prosecutors and the judicial system target wrongful convictions only against the poor to a self-conceited peacock who tried to lecture to me that blocking the public from membership in the "public" Commission that seeks only to discipline (to the point of removal, but not to the point of criminal prosecution) prosecutors for creating wrongful convictions is justified - by STANDARDS no less.

That "standards" now require for Deskovic - that he is preparing to get licensed as an attorney - that a law license or working as a professor in a school approved by an Illinois corporation with foreign secret membership (the American Bar Association) is a REQUIREMENT FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.

Why - because of "standards", "quality control of education".

So, 6 years ago Deskovic, fresh-er out of prison at that time, with his memories of his wrongful incarceration that lasted 16 years (including denial of parole) fresh-er then, believed that these same people, with "standards", graduates of ABA-approved law schools and licensed attorneys - should be held criminally liable for wrongful convictions that they INTENTIONALLY cause.

Now, his beliefs suffered a dramatic transformation, and now he thinks that "someone receiving an inferior education from a school that does not meet accreditation standards should not be able to serve because they do not have the proper background for that.  They wouldn't be able to practice law: how can they be able to sin on a commission that reviews conduct of those who have went through the process of graduating from an accredited school, sat for bar exams etc. - all through an accredited/approved process".

So, Deskovic, on the brink of becoming a lawyer himself, now professes a belief that only people with law degrees are eligible for public service.  

And, only people with law degrees and law licenses 

(which in New York and across the United States also means - who never criticized a judge, including the judge who has caused a wrongful conviction) - 

people, so far, did nothing to investigate and prosecute prosecutors for wrongful convictions, 

the reason the bill for the Commission for prosecutorial misconduct was proposed in the first place - 

have the ability to properly investigate and prosecute THEMSELVES and get to the bottom why they THEMSELVES cause wrongful convictions.

The same people who create wrongful convictions - prosecutors, judges and public defenders - are the ONLY people who may, according to plan put into law by Deskovic, preside over investigations of public complaints of such wrongful convictions or wrongful prosecutions - where the decisions of that Commission, fashioned (as Deskovic openly acknowledged) after the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct that shreds WITHOUT INVESTIGATION the overwhelming majority of meritorious complaints from the public,  will not be even appealable by the victims of prosecutorial conduct?

(The link above: this is how the federal court, judge Mae D'Agostino, the then-undisclosed Chairperson of the shadow judiciary, the State-Federal Judicial Council, the composition of which the 2nd Circuit still refuses to disclose to me in answer to my Freedom of Information request, so I do not know whether judges - defendants in this action - were or were not deciding this same case through participation in that "Council", said:  

"In the present matter, the Court finds that Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the following: (1) the policy which allows attorneys who are members of the Judicial Conduct Committee from practicing law "in the courts where the mere appearance of such an attorney may influence the court;" (2) the New York State law "which provide[s] that no appellate review of denial of citizen complaints for judicial misconduct is available;" and (3) the policies of the Judicial Conduct Committee regarding the confidentiality of their records of investigation. See Dkt. No. 5 at ¶¶ 254-56. The law makes clear, a private citizen does not have standing to initiate or maintain a disciplinary proceeding against an attorney or a judge, or to appeal if the court or commission declines to discipline, see In re Attorney Disciplinary Appeal, 650 F.3d 202, 203-04 (2d Cir. 2011) (citing cases); and, therefore, Plaintiffs lack a legally cognizable interest in the disciplinary proceedings that follow the filing of a grievance, just as a crime victim lacks standing to challenge the decision not to prosecute. See Weisshaus v. New York, No. 08 Civ. 4053, 2009 WL 2579215, *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2009").


Especially from a person who lectured me on what due process is:

Only prosecutors (and other attorneys) eligible to investigate and prosecute prosecutors for misconduct, after a lifetime of not doing that through existing attorney disciplinary system, while denying the public the right of any voice on that Commission - through membership, the right of the complainant for participation as a party, or the right of the complainant to appeal dismissals of meritorious complaints, even without investigation - is NOT a violation of due process, according to the newly transformed Deskovic.

But, appellate review by the Court of Appeals of its own decision - is a violation of due process.

For that reason, and for the reason that the Court of Appeals "did not want" to uphold the law if the law puts a certain function on it, and the wish of the Court of Appeals as to how the law must be shaped - is somehow law of its own - the decision of the Commission (fashioned, mind, after the Commission for Judicial Conduct - where its decisions go only to the Court of Appeals, no problem with non-appealability at all) will go for review to the Appellate Divisions.

The same Appellate Divisions, mind, that have a policy of non-prosecution of prosecutors, which was the reason for creation of the Commission for Prosecutorial Conduct in the first place.

This kind of argument.

So, in 2013, 6 years ago, before going to law school, Deskovic considered that the main thing to be done is to make prosecutors who intentionally caused wrongful convictions, must be made CRIMINALLY accountable.

For that, there should be an effective GRAND JURY mechanism, eliminating prosecutors (institutionally interested parties) as parties controlling public access to the grand juries, directing the grand jury investigation, advising it and being able to be present in the grand jury while the public, the subjects of the investigation and the defense cannot.

Did Deskovic, with his "colleagues", fight for implementation of that grand jury mechanism?

Oh, no.

He is proud that he has given power to a body (after getting and publishing some snapshots of himself in the New York Senate and self-advertised his close connections to all three branches of power in New York) that will make true accountability of prosecutors impossible.

And now he claims that it is people who insist on Deskovic's OWN INITIAL VERSION of what needs to be done to fight wrongful convictions are - well, in the way.  Fighting against what he "fought for 6 years to pass".

Such a busy man.

So much effort, time and money dedicated to the "cause".

Dedicated "7 figures of money" into a cause - and squandered it on a TV show without a written contract.

"There is only one me".

"Body of work, time and money spent to the degree that he "contributed" "are the true barometers".

Body of work, mind.

Not the result.

Limelight, remember?

Wrongfully convicted because he was weak for flattery, and now suckered his supporters into supporting something that will KILL their dreams of every stemming wrongful convictions - also because of his hunger for proximity to power, money and the spotlight.

As to how well Deskovic manages the money of his foundation - public money - will be my next article.

Stay tuned.

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