Welcome - Justice Network website - NoSue.org

The Justice Network is engaged in advocacy, education, news gathering & dissemination, and helping people fight injustice. This site is also part of my therapy as a survivor of legal injustice. Read more on Scribd

 

Comment on the Justice Network Blog                      disclaimer

 

Read my vision here. Thank you, Neil Gillespie info@NoSue.org

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Petition No. 13-1063 Writ of Certiorari SCOTUS (closed)
Paula Perez-Rodriguez v. The Bank of New York Mellon, et al.

QUESTION PRESENTED FOR REVIEW


Whether borrowers have the right under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to contest residential foreclosures that use the same fraudulent documentation numerous branches of the federal government and 49 state Attorneys General condemned and prohibited through various multibillion dollar settlements?

 

US Supreme Court docket page - Petition No. 13-1063

Petition denied May 5, 2014; time for rehearing expired

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Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Department of State

 

Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.  At the United Nations, Ambassador Power works to advance U.S. interests, promote and defend universal values, and address pressing global challenges to global peace, security, and prosperity. Read more

 

Wikipedia: Samantha Power (born September 21, 1970) is an Irish-born American academic, author and diplomat who currently serves as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

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Petition 13-7280 Writ of Certiorari SCOTUS (closed)

Gillespie vs. Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc., et al.

 

US Supreme Court docket page - Petition No. 13-7280

Petition denied January 13, 2014

               Rehearing denied March 10, 2014

               Petition for rehearing Petition No. 13-7280

 

The Cert Pool, Petition No. 13-7280

Affidavit: well-founded fear of political persecution

Urgent Appeal: to Special Rapporteurs, United Nations

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Petition 12-7747 Writ of Certiorari SCOTUS (closed)

Gillespie v. Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Florida

 

US Supreme Court docket page - Petition No. 12-7747

Petition denied February 19, 2013

Rehearing denied April 15, 2013

 

Fraud or Impairment of 12-7747 discovered May 2013

Index Guide to Petition No. 12-7747

The Cert Pool, Petition No. 12-7747

Justice Network Blog post, Petition No. 12-7747

Blog post, David Rowland misled Florida AG, SCOTUS Petition

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Application 12A215 GRANTED by Justice Thomas SCOTUS
Gillespie v. Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Florida

 

US Supreme Court docket page - Application No. 12A215
 

No. 12A215
Title: Neil J. Gillespie, Applicant
v
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, et al.

Docketed: August 31, 2012
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Case Nos.: (12-11028, 12-11213)

  • Aug 13 2012 - Application (12A215) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from October 11, 2012 to December 10, 2012, submitted to Justice Thomas.
  • Sep 13 2012 - Application (12A215) granted by Justice Thomas extending the time to file until December 10, 2012.

Elizabeth Warren and Bank Regulators At First Hearing

Elizabeth Warren and Hapless Bank Regulators At First Hearing
Huffington Post
by Ryan Grimm
February 14, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Bank regulators got a sense Thursday of how their lives will be slightly different now that Elizabeth Warren sits on a Senate committee overseeing their agencies.

At her first Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Warren questioned top regulators from the alphabet soup that is the nation's financial regulatory structure: the FDIC, SEC, OCC, CFPB, CFTC, Fed and Treasury.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts had a straightforward question for them: When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial? It was a harder question than it seemed. Read more

 

My letter to Sen. Warren, as filed in Petition No. 12-7747

Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UDHR, 60th Anniversary, President George W. Bush addressed The United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2007.

 

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for the opportunity to address the General Assembly of the United Nations. Sixty years ago, representatives from 16 nations gathered to begin deliberations on a new international bill of rights. The document they produced is called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- and it stands as a landmark achievement in the history of human liberty. It opens by recognizing "the inherent dignity" and the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" as "the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world." And as we gather for this 62nd General Assembly, the standards of the Declaration must guide our work in this world....

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United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

Signed by President George W. Bush December 9, 2003

Ratified by the United States October 30, 2006

 

UNODC's Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. Signed by the United States December 9, 2003, and ratified by the United States October 30, 2006.

 

Wikipedia reports "In its 71 Articles divided into 8 Chapters, UNCAC requires that States Parties implement several anti-corruption measures which may affect their laws, institutions and practices."

 

UNCAC's Forward: "Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. This evil phenomenon is found in all countries..." (English PDF).

 

The U.N. Global Compact site anti-corruption resources

 

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)  The Carter Center

 

Signed by President Carter October 5, 1977
Ratified by the United States June 8, 1992

 

UN - International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

 

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution provides "...all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." (in part)

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The Holocaust: German and American Law

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Once a burial ground for partisan heroes of World War II, Lion Cemetery now contains many victims of the siege of Sarajevo.

 

What Happened to the Hague Tribunal?
The New York Times
by ERIC GORDY Op-Ed Contributor
June 2, 2013

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia decided on Thursday to acquit two Serbian state security officials, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. The acquittal is one of a series of dramatic reversals by the tribunal over the last year, and it fits into the evolution of an institution that came in with a squeak, banged around for a bit, and looks likely to go out with a whimper.

Stanisic and Simatovic had the largest hand in creating, training, arming, financing and directing several of the paramilitary groups responsible for a large number of crimes in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The tormented reasoning of the tribunal’s 800-page verdict offers some fascinating reading: It affirms that crimes were committed and describes them in excruciating detail. It names the victims, names the perpetrators, and in most cases details the connections between the accused parties and the direct perpetrators.

Then it declines to convict, on the ground that the evidence does not show that the support provided to the criminals was "specifically directed towards the commission of the crimes."

Read more here

 

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Wikipedia

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Kenya parliament to reconsider ICC membership

Legislators recalled for vote in advance of trials of president and vice president at international court at the Hague.

Kenya parliament to reconsider ICC membership
Aljazeera Africa
September 4, 2013

Legislators recalled for vote in advance of trials of president and vice president at international court at the Hague.

Kenya's parliament has been recalled to debate ending its membership of the International Criminal Court, in advance of a crimes-against-humanity trial of the vice-president starting next week.

Joyce Laboso, parliamentary deputy speaker, issued on Tuesday the order for the "special sitting of the assembly", with parliament to meet on Thursday.

However, even should Kenya choose to leave the ICC - the first country potentially to do so - it would not affect upcoming trials since legal proceedings have already begun.

The ICC trial opened of Vice-President William Ruto, who is facing three counts of crimes against humanity for allegedly organising 2007-2008 post-election unrest that killed at least 1,100 people and displaced more than 600,000.

Ruto's trial comes about two months before that of President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 12, who faces five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have said they will cooperate fully with the court but deny the charges against them.

Politicians are expected to debate and vote on a possible departure from the Rome Statute of the ICC, following a request from the senate's majority leader Kithure Kindiki.

"Any law in this country or internationally like the Rome Statute can be repealed and can be amended," said Asman Kamama, one of at least 30 legislators supporting Kindiki's petition.

"It is not cast in stone and we want to be the trail-blazers in the continent."

The Jubilee Coalition party of Kenyatta and Ruto dominate both houses of Kenya's parliament.

The Hague-based court was set up in 2002 to try the world's worst crimes, and countries voluntarily signed up to join.

Legislators will debate a motion on whether to pull out from the ICC, but any actual withdrawal requires the submission of a formal request to the UN, a process that would take at least a year.

Ruto will be the first senior politician to stand trial for crimes carried out during the violence, with Human Rights Watch this week stressing the importance of the ICC as "a court of last resort". Read more here

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International Criminal Court - ICC website   ICC on - Wikipedia
Crimes against humanity - ICC website        CAH on - Wikipedia
Rome Statute - ICC website                           Rome on Wikipedia

 

Ratification of the Rome Statute

International Committee of the Red Cross - Rome Statute
Prevent Genocide - Rome Statute - International Criminal Court

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Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times Adam Victor, chief executive of TransGas Development Systems, said of his bills from DLA Piper, “I’m going to keep on fighting.”

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World’s largest law firm DLA Piper overbilled the wrong client

- Adam H. Victor who fought back.

 

Suit Offers a Peek at the Practice of Inflating a Legal Bill
New York Times DealBook
By PETER LATTMAN
March 25, 2013

They were lawyers at the world’s largest law firm, trading casual e-mails about a client’s case. One made a sarcastic joke about how the bill was running way over budget. Another responded by describing a colleague’s approach to the assignment as "churn that bill, baby!"

The e-mails, which emerged in a court filing late last week, provide a window into the thorny issue of law firm billing. The documents are likely to reinforce a perception held by many corporate clients — and the broader public — that law firms inflate bills by performing superfluous tasks and overstaffing assignments.

The internal correspondence of the law firm, DLA Piper, was disclosed in a fee dispute between the law firm and Adam H. Victor, an energy industry entrepreneur. After DLA Piper sued Mr. Victor for $675,000 in unpaid legal bills, Mr. Victor filed a counterclaim, accusing the law firm of a "sweeping practice of overbilling."

Mr. Victor’s feud with DLA Piper began after he retained the firm in April 2010 to prepare a bankruptcy filing for one of his companies. A month after the filing, a lawyer at the firm warned colleagues that the businessman’s bill was mounting.

"I hear we are already 200k over our estimate — that’s Team DLA Piper!" wrote Erich P. Eisenegger, a lawyer at the firm.

Another DLA Piper lawyer, Christopher Thomson, replied, noting that a third colleague, Vincent J. Roldan, had been enlisted to work on the matter.

"Now Vince has random people working full time on random research projects in standard ‘churn that bill, baby!’ mode," Mr. Thomson wrote. "That bill shall know no limits." Read more

 

Original court documents, DLA Piper v. Victor, 650374/2012

E-Mails Attached to Court Filing on Law Firm Billing

ABA Journal, Law News Now: ‘Churn that bill, baby!’ email surfaces in fee dispute with DLA Piper, Martha Neil, March 25, 2013

New York Law Journal: DLA Piper Emails Reveal Firm Overbilled, Former Client Says, by Christine Simmons, March 26, 2013

An Honest Legal System Matters: Trickle-Up Economics

Hernando de Soto

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else Hernando de Soto, Author

Published 12 years ago, the information is dated in a way beneficial to understanding current economics, and why we in America are truly in a crisis over the misrule of law.

From Amazon: "It's become clear by now the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in most places around the globe hasn't ushered in an unequivocal flowering of capitalism in the developing and postcommunist world. Western thinkers have blamed this on everything from these countries' lack of sellable assets to their inherently non-entrepreneurial "mindset." In this book, the renowned Peruvian economist and adviser to presidents and prime ministers Hernando de Soto proposes and argues another reason: it's not that poor, postcommunist countries don't have the assets to make capitalism flourish. As de Soto points out by way of example, in Egypt, the wealth the poor have accumulated is worth 55 times as much as the sum of all direct foreign investment ever recorded there, including that spent on building the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam."

"No, the real problem is that such countries have yet to establish and normalize the invisible network of laws that turns assets from "dead" into "liquid" capital. In the West, standardized laws allow us to mortgage a house to raise money for a new venture, permit the worth of a company to be broken up into so many publicly tradable stocks, and make it possible to govern and appraise property with agreed-upon rules that hold across neighborhoods, towns, or regions. This invisible infrastructure of "asset management"--so taken for granted in the West, even though it has only fully existed in the United States for the past 100 years--is the missing ingredient to success with capitalism, insists de Soto. But even though that link is primarily a legal one, he argues that the process of making it a normalized component of a society is more a political--or attitude-changing--challenge than anything else." Read more here

Hernando de Soto, Wikipedia    ILD, Wikipedia

The Institute for Liberty and Democracy envisions a world where the majority of people can fully participate in a national and global economy by having access to property and business rights.  We seek bottom-up reforms that are derived from understanding and recognition of existing extralegal systems and customs. Read more here

The rule of law and property rights came to America in the 18th and 19th century according to DeSoto (at 7:30 in the video). But what about the rule of law and property rights of Native Americans? The Lenape people claim the Walking Purchase of 1737 cheated them of their lands in the Lehigh Valley. The case was adjudicated in U.S. District Court November 30, 2004, see The Delaware Nation v. Commonwealth of Pa., et al., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 04-CV-166. The 33 page Memorandum and Order of November 30, 2004 shows quite a story in land title and conveyance.

Stephanie McCurry is a specialist in Nineteenth Century American history, with a focus on the American South and the Civil War era, and the history of women and gender. Read more

 

Who Won the Civil War? New York Times, July 2, 2013

Book TV: Stephanie McCurry, "Confederate Reckoning"

Professor Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning

But There Was No Peace: The Aftermath of the Civil War (Stanford)

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, Public Broadcasting Service

Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow" - Kent Lecture

 

Penn is strongly committed to open learning — a vital part of our mission to increase access, around the world, to the educational resources that can change people’s lives. Read more

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Louis Seidman

Law Prof Who Urged Abandoning the Constitution Gets Abusive and Threatening Emails
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
January 3, 2013

The op-ed by Georgetown law professor Louis Michael Seidman was provocative and, apparently, anger-inducing.

Writing in the Sunday New York Times, Seidman said it was time to abandon the U.S. Constitution and its "archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions."

"As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is." he wrote. Imagine the president or Congress decides on a course of action. "Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: A group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?"

The op-ed, written in advance of Seidman’s new book, On Constitutional Disobedience, brought more than 700 emails in Seidman’s in box, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.) reports. "My email box may never recover," Seidman told the blog. "I would say a large percentage of them are seriously abusive. Quite a few are anti-Semitic. Some are actual threats." Read more

Louis Michael Seidman, On Constitutional Disobedience 2012, The Scholarly Commons Georgetown Law paper

On Constitutional Disobedience - Louis M. Seidman

What would the Framers of the Constitution make of multinational corporations? Nuclear weapons? Gay marriage? They led a preindustrial country, much of it dependent on slave labor, huddled on the Atlantic seaboard. The Founders saw society as essentially hierarchical, led naturally by landed gentry like themselves. Yet we still obey their commands, two centuries and one civil war later. According to Louis Michael Seidman, it's time to stop.

In On Constitutional Disobedience, Seidman argues that, in order to bring our basic law up to date, it needs benign neglect. This is a highly controversial assertion. The doctrine of "original intent" may be found on the far right, but the entire political spectrum--left and right--shares a deep reverence for the Constitution. And yet, Seidman reminds us, disobedience is the original intent of the Constitution. The Philadelphia convention had gathered to amend the Articles of Confederation, not toss them out and start afresh. The "living Constitution" school tries to bridge the gap between the framers and ourselves by reinterpreting the text in light of modern society's demands. But this attempt is doomed, Seidman argues. One might stretch "due process of law" to protect an act of same-sex sodomy, yet a loyal-but-contemporary reading cannot erase the fact that the Constitution allows a candidate who lost the popular election to be seated as president. And that is only one of the gross violations of popular will enshrined in the document. Seidman systematically addresses and refutes the arguments in favor of Constitutional fealty, proposing instead that it be treated as inspiration, not a set of commands.

The Constitution is, at its best, a piece of poetry to liberty and self-government. If we treat it as such, the author argues, we will make better progress in achieving both. Read more on Amazon

Roman Pino vs. The Bank of New York, Etc., Et. Al.
Supreme Court of Florida, Case No. 11-697
Matt Weidner blog
May 5, 2012

On Thursday May 10, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the extraordinary case of Roman Pino v. Bank of New York. Make sure to bookmark here to watch the arguments live, and in advance, click here and here and here and here to read all the briefs before hand. Read more, Justice Network

Banks, Destroying America, Desecrating Court System

Student jailed five days without water drinks own urine

California student jailed five days without water drinks own urine
Reuters
By Marty Graham
May 3, 2012

(Reuters) - A California university student who was mistakenly left handcuffed in a cell without food or water for five days and survived by drinking his own urine is planning to sue, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Daniel Chong, an engineering student at the University of California at San Diego, ended up hospitalized for five days after being left unattended in one of three cells at a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in San Diego last month, his lawyer, Julia Yoo, said.

Chong, 23, was taken to the DEA office after he was rounded up with several other people in a drug raid on April 21 at the home of a friend where he had spent the night, Yoo said.

She said her client was cleared of any wrongdoing and agents told him they would put him in a holding cell for just a minute before driving him home.

When he was found in the cell by DEA staff after five days, he was still conscious, but dazed and hallucinating. Yoo said Chong had became so desperately thirsty he drank his own urine, and doctors are concerned about possible kidney damage. Read more here

 

Related story ABA Journal Law News Now

 

Related story New York Post

 

Related story Los Angeles Times, L.A. Now blog

 

Related story The Seattle Times/AP 

Attorney Eugene Iredale

Abandoned DEA detainee seeks $20 million
U-T San Diego
by Jeff McDonald
May 2, 2012

The UC San Diego student mistakenly locked up by federal drug officials for five days with no food or water filed a $20 million claim Wednesday that referred to his ordeal as torture.

Attorney Eugene Iredale sent the five-page demand notice on behalf of engineering student Daniel Chong, 23, to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s general counsel in suburban Washington D.C. by mail.

"The deprivation of food and water for four and one-half days while the person is handcuffed the entire time constitutes torture under both international and domestic law," the claim says.

Read more here

Notice, Federal Tort Claims Act 28 U.S.C. 2675
Iredale and Yoo, APC, May 2, 2012
FTCA_claim_Chong.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [241.3 KB]

18 month "coercive confinement" of Richard I. Fine

18 month "coercive confinement" of 70 year old Richard I. Fine
Documentary Movie Narrated By Ed Asner

Full Disclosure Network presents this 3 minute trailer of a soon to be completed documentary movie entitled "The Cost of Courage" based on a three-year television interview series covering California Court Corruption and the 18 month long solitary "coercive confinement" of 70 year old former U.S. Prosecutor Richard I. Fine in the County Central Men's Jail. The trailer features clips with narrator Ed Asner, Richard Fine, Rabbi Chaim Mentz along with Mary Ellen and Tory Fine. Read more here

.........ABA - Law Day 2012 - Crisis in Court Funding......

Law Day Theme Focuses on Crisis in Court Funding
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
May 1, 2012

The ABA is joining with civic and legal leaders today to focus on court funding as part of a Law Day commemoration.

The Law Day theme is "No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom." A press release and the ABA website outline Law Day events, including a Washington, D.C., press conference and a panel discussion on constitutional democracy sponsored by the ABA Division for Public Education. Meanwhile, ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III scheduled visits to five states throughout April and May to highlight court underfunding issues.

In an online video, Robinson said bar associations throughout the nation are celebrating Law Day with events ranging from essay contests to mock trials to town hall meetings. He also noted this year’s Law Day theme.

"Court systems in states throughout this country—42 of them—had their court funding sliced. And this is on top of court funding cuts that had been suffered in recent years since the economic downturn," Robinson said. "An independent, adequately funded judicial system is the key to constitutional democracy. Constitutional democracy is the key to freedom." Read more here

 

2012 Law Day Theme: "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom"


ABA Law Day 2012

 

ABA Law Day Planning Guide PDF

 

White House Press Release PDF

Law Day, U.S.A., 2012 

 

Explore the Theme: Videos, Articles, and Websites

Supreme Court Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest

Albert W. Florence was strip-searched twice after being wrongly detained over a fine.

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest
The New York Times
By ADAM LIPTAK
April 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

"Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed," Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.

The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures. Read more here

Commentary by Karen Garcia on Sardonicky

Related story on the ABA Journal Law News Now

Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court and the law 

Epidemic of Prosecutorial Misconduct in America

Morton, freed after 25 years

Evidence of Innocence: The case of Michael Morton
60 Minutes CBS News
by Lara Logan
March 25, 2012

It's not every day that a convicted murderer clears his name and then returns to court to argue that his prosecutor should be prosecuted. But that's what happened recently in a high-profile case in Texas that raises broader questions about the power prosecutors have and what happens when they're accused of misusing it. At the center of this story is a man named Michael Morton. He was once an ordinary citizen with a wife, a child, a job, and no criminal record whatsoever. But then he was sent to prison for life. Read more here

Justice and Prosecutorial Misconduct

Michael Morton

Justice and Prosecutorial Misconduct
The New York Times, Editorial
December 28, 2011

Michael Morton was exonerated by DNA evidence this month after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and serving nearly 25 years in prison in Texas. In seeking to prove Mr. Morton’s innocence, his lawyers found in recently unsealed court records evidence that the prosecutor in the original trial, Ken Anderson, had withheld critical evidence that may have helped Mr. Morton.

The judge reviewing the case allowed Mr. Morton’s lawyers, including those from the Innocence Project, which represents prisoners seeking exoneration through DNA evidence, to gather facts about the prosecutor’s conduct. The Innocence Project’s report makes a compelling case that Mr. Anderson, now a state judge, disobeyed "a direct order from the trial court to produce the exculpatory police reports from the lead investigator" in the case. Read more here

More Prosecutorial Misconduct: Sen. Ted Stevens Case

U.S. Sen. Stevens

Justice Department: We won't repeat Ted Stevens mistake
McClatchy Newspapers
by Sean Cockerham
March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that its misconduct in the case against then-Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was an isolated incident and Congress shouldn't pass a law forcing prosecutors to disclose all evidence they have to the defense.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is pushing a bill to require prosecutors to turn over evidence to the defense immediately that could be favorable to the accused. Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who beat Stevens in an election just days after his conviction, which later was thrown out, is a co-sponsor. The American Civil Liberties Union, among others, supports the bill, saying that this type of problem happens too often.

But the Justice Department released a statement Wednesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on an investigator's report that concluded the Stevens investigation and prosecution "were permeated by the systematic concealment" of evidence that would have helped Stevens. Read more here

Tab For The Ted Stevens Misconduct Report: $981,842

Andrew Thomas

The Prosecutor on Trial: Ex-Maricopa County Attorney Faces Disbarment for Political Acts
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Terry Carter
April 1, 2012

Nothing was usual when Colorado bar discipline prosecutors John Gleason and James Sudler flew into Maricopa County, Ariz., in March 2010. For security reasons, they used assumed names and stayed at nine different hotels over the next year, as well as rotating through three rental car agencies.

Appointed by Arizona’s chief justice to investigate allegations that Maricopa’s elected prosecutor abused his powers to take down political enemies—even filing bizarre criminal charges against a judge just to prevent a scheduled hearing—they arrived with targets on their backs.

Precautions were worked out by the heads of security at the Colorado and Arizona supreme courts, mindful of the intimidation and harassment faced by many who crossed then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his closest ally and enforcer, the self-proclaimed "America’s toughest sheriff," Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

While the discipline case was to be decided by early April, appeals are certain either way.

There has been nothing before—in scope and import—like this spectacle, which ended in November. Many professional responsibility lawyers consider this the mother of all discipline trials, though technically it was an administrative hearing.

At age 38 and with virtually no prosecutorial experience, Thomas, a Harvard Law School grad, took office in 2005 after a tough-on-crime campaign, then was re-elected as a populist hero whose battles against illegal immigration helped spark a number of states to enact immigration laws out of frustration with what they see as the feds being feckless on the job. Thomas was instrumental in the movement launched from his state, and the issue is now before the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States.

Lisa Aubuchon

Early in his tenure, the prosecutor started feuding with other elected officials, judges and county managers. He used the bully pulpit of news conferences and opened criminal investigations against those who criticized or questioned his handling of immigration enforcement and other issues.

The detailed, 33-charge bar complaint accuses Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon, his former go-to assistant for prosecuting politically charged matters, of, among other things, filing criminal and civil cases without probable cause or evidentiary basis; bringing them to embarrass, burden or delay; dishonesty and fraud; incompetence; conflicts of interest; and engaging in criminal conduct (by causing an unknowing sheriff’s detective to swear to a false affidavit for charging a judge with crimes after others had balked.) It seeks their disbarment. Read more here

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The Maricopa Courthouse War
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Terry Carter
April 1, 2012

On Dec. 21, in the afternoon sunshine that passes for winter in Phoenix, several hundred well-dressed protesters—most of them lawyers—gathered on the Maricopa County courthouse plaza.

Summoned by an e-mail from a local lawyer, they brought handmade signs that were quaint by protest standards: "Rule of Law!" "Free Judges/Free People."

Holding handouts, they recited the oath they gave when joining the bar, their voices rising for the last section: "I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding that shall appear to me to be without merit or to be unjust."

The immediate cause of their concern was a charge of bribery filed against a local superior court judge. Announced in vague terms at a news conference some days earlier, the charge was brought without indictment by the local prosecutor, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

But the criminal complaint against Judge Gary Donahoe was the last straw for these Phoenix-area lawyers, who had watched hardball politics overpower Maricopa’s courts. Read more here

DOJ Threatens to Sue Sheriff Joe Arpaio

DOJ Threatens to Sue Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Civil Rights Violations
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
April 4, 2012

The U.S. Justice Department is threatening to sue a controversial Arizona sheriff for civil rights violations because of his treatment of Hispanics.

The department’s civil rights division revealed a possible lawsuit after settlement talks broke down with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to Reuters and the Washington Post. "We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," the department said in a letter to Arpaio’s lawyer.

A Justice Department report released in December accused the sheriff’s department of using racial profiling against Hispanics in police stops and denying them services in jail.

The DOJ says Arpaio’s lawyers have twice called off settlement negotiations at the last minute, according to the Post account. After cancelation of a March 1 meeting, Arpaio held a news conference to claim President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. Now Arpaio is complaining about the feds’ demand for a court-appointed monitor.

"To the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say: This will not happen, not on my watch!" Arpaio said in a statement published by Reuters. Read more here

U.S. Investigation (PDF) of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Supreme Court Approval Rating Drops to 25-Year Low

Supreme Court Approval Rating Drops to 25-Year Low
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
May 2, 2012

Only 52 percent of the public has a favorable view of the U.S. Supreme Court, down from a previous low of 57 percent in 2005 and 2007.

The favorability rating is at its lowest point in 25 years, according to a press release on the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The poll was conducted in April after the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health care law.

Fifty-six percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats and independents give the court favorable ratings. (Others in the survey identified themselves as having no party preference, members of other parties, or "leaning" toward Democrats or Republicans, according to a questionnaire summary.)

Among supporters of the health-care law, 52 percent have a favorable view of the Supreme Court. Among the bill's opponents, 55 percent view the court favorably. Read more here


Hat tip to How Appealing

Ginsburg: "I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012"

Justice Ginsburg

Ginsburg Appears on Egyptian TV, Talks About Constitution Writing
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Molly McDonough
February 3, 2012

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrapped up a trip to Egypt with an appearance on Egyptian TV, where in a lengthy interview she discussed the U.S. Constitution and whether it should be a model for Egypt.

While urging that the U.S. Constitution be used as inspiration, Ginsburg said Egyptians should look to other countries with newer constitutions for guidance, the Huffington Post reports.

"Let me say first, that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom," Ginsburg said in the 18-minute interview with Al Hayat TV, which is posted on YouTube. "If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference."

Ginsburg was in Egypt to meet with judges, legal experts, law faculty and students in Cairo and Alexandria. According to the U.S. Embassy, she was there to "'listen and learn' with her Egyptian counterparts as they begin Egypt's constitutional transition to democracy," the Huffington Post notes.

On the television program, in a response to a question about drafting a constitution in the modern era, Ginsburg said she would not look to the U.S. Constitution when drafting in the year 2012 because it excluded women, slaves and Native Americans.

Rather, those writing constitutions should look at all constitution writing since World War II. She pointed specifically to the South African constitution and Canada's charter of rights and freedoms as good modern examples.

"Why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world? I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others," she said.

The Huffington Post reports that no other justice on the current high court has publicly advised another country on the creation of a constitution. Read more here

United States Constitution Wikipedia

 

U.S. Declaration of Independence Wikipedia

Constitution of South Africa Wikipedia

Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms Wikipedia

 

European Convention on Human Rights Wikipedia

‘We the People’ Loses Appeal Around the World

‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World
The New York Times
By ADAM LIPTAK
February 6, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Constitution has seen better days.

Sure, it is the nation’s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning.

In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that "of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version."

A quarter-century later, the picture looks very different. "The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere," according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

The study, to be published in June in The New York University Law Review, bristles with data. Its authors coded and analyzed the provisions of 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, and they considered 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them.

"Among the world’s democracies," Professors Law and Versteeg concluded, "constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. Constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s."

"The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II."

There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution’s waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige.

In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. "Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1," he said.

In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. "I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.

The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber. As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in "Our Undemocratic Constitution," "the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today." (Yugoslavia used to hold that title, but Yugoslavia did not work out.)

Thomas Jefferson

Other nations routinely trade in their constitutions wholesale, replacing them on average every 19 years. By odd coincidence, Thomas Jefferson, in a 1789 letter to James Madison, once said that every constitution "naturally expires at the end of 19 years" because "the earth belongs always to the living generation." These days, the overlap between the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and those most popular around the world is spotty.

Americans recognize rights not widely protected, including ones to a speedy and public trial, and are outliers in prohibiting government establishment of religion. But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care.

It has its idiosyncrasies. Only 2 percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)

The Constitution’s waning global stature is consistent with the diminished influence of the Supreme Court, which "is losing the central role it once had among courts in modern democracies," Aharon Barak, then the president of the Supreme Court of Israel, wrote in The Harvard Law Review in 2002.

Many foreign judges say they have become less likely to cite decisions of the United States Supreme Court, in part because of what they consider its parochialism.

"America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater," Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand.

Mr. Barak, for his part, identified a new constitutional superpower: "Canadian law," he wrote, "serves as a source of inspiration for many countries around the world." The new study also suggests that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982, may now be more influential than its American counterpart.

The Canadian Charter is both more expansive and less absolute. It guarantees equal rights for women and disabled people, allows affirmative action and requires that those arrested be informed of their rights. On the other hand, it balances those rights against "such reasonable limits" as "can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

There are, of course, limits to empirical research based on coding and counting, and there is more to a constitution than its words, as Justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. "Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights," he said.

"The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours," he said, adding: "We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal. They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!"

"Of course," Justice Scalia continued, "it’s just words on paper, what our framers would have called a ‘parchment guarantee.’ " Read more here

Originalism - Back to the Future - September 17, 1787

Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas

Originalism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws (which is the realm of the legislative branch) but only to uphold them. The term is a neologism, and the concept is a formalist theory of law and a corollary of textualism.

Today, originalism is popular among political conservatives in the U.S., and is most prominently associated with Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork. However, some liberals, such as Justice Hugo Black and Akhil Amar, have also subscribed to the theory. Read more here

The Originalism Blog

Why Originalism Is So Popular,

Eric Posner, The New Republic

Legal Theory Lexicon 019: Originalism

The Founder’s Constitution
, Kurland & Lerner

Jack Balkin, Bad Originalism

 

Balkin, Scalia Blowing Smoke Again

 

Ed Brayton, Balkin on "Bad Originalism"

JustOneMinute, The NY Times Finds A Codebreaker

Booknotes interview with Jack Rakove on Original Meanings:

Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

Second Constitution of the United States?

Second Constitution of the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Second Constitution of the United States is a controversial proposal made by a small but increasing group of scholars and activists from both left and right for a substantive effort to reform politics in the United States by means of overhauling the current United States Constitution. The current Constitution in Article V describes several ways in which the current constitution could be altered, but that in any event, thirty eight of the fifty states would be needed to ratify any changes. While in 2011, the number of voices calling for such a Constitutional Convention are small in number, there are reports of state legislatures leaning in the direction of substantive constitutional reform, based in part on widespread dissatisfaction with the American political process at the national level. In contrast, however, analyst David O. Stewart, writing in the Huffington Post, suggested that most Americans would "recoil from the disruption" of a possible second Constitution. Read more here

Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It)

Sanford Levinson, Author

The Constitution is one of the most revered documents in American politics. Yet this is a document that regularly places in the White House candidates who did not in fact get a majority of the popular vote. It gives Wyoming the same number of votes as California, which has seventy times the population of the Cowboy State. And it offers the President the power to overrule both houses of Congress on legislation he disagrees with on political grounds. Is this a recipe for a republic that reflects the needs and wants of today's Americans? Read more here

Sanford Levinson

Review by Michael Kinsley, The New York Times: Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's provisions promote either unjust or ineffective government. Under the existing blueprint, we can neither rid ourselves of incompetent presidents nor assure continuity of government following catastrophic attacks. Less important, perhaps, but certainly problematic, is the appointment of Supreme Court judges for life. Adding insult to injury, the United States Constitution is the most difficult to amend or update of any constitution currently existing in the world today. Democratic debate leaves few stones unturned, but we tend to take our basic constitutional structures for granted. Levinson boldly challenges the American people to undertake a long overdue public discussion on how they might best reform this most hallowed document and construct a constitution adequate to our democratic values. Read more here

Professor Sanford Levinson talked about his book, Constitutional Faith on BookTV, in which he argues that the U.S. Constitution is worshipped to a degree that it is unhealthy for our democracy.

Constitutional Faith, Princeton University Press

Matt Weidner

Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Are Doing- A Gutwrenching Story
Matt Weidner

Fighting For The American People
January 22, 2012

Last week I made a pilgrimage of sorts. I traveled to Florida’s Capitol City, Tallahassee. The trip was long, inconvenient and expensive and quite frankly I did not exactly go willingly.  I had been summoned to the Capitol as part of my punishment for speaking out, but I do not want to dwell on that.  I decided that I would take in all the experience had to offer and truly use the experience to gain and deliver understanding.

My core message is that our nation and our state are in grave peril because we are no longer a nation of laws.  The legislative and executive branches are entirely captured by the corruption of corporations and the judicial branch has withered into a twig. This disturbing reality is most clearly demonstrated in the State of Florida where the corporations that own our government have whittled down the budget of our (their) entire judicial system to less than 1% of the state government budget.  Fundamentally, I want judges, attorneys and all thinking people to wake up and begin speaking out against the tyranny that this disturbing situation presents.  This profession of The Law especially, must especially stand up and begin advocating for a restoration of the Rule of Law that we have all taken an Oath to uphold.

Read more here

U.S. Civil Court System Needs Major Overhaul

U.S. Civil Court System Needs Major Overhaul, New Book Declares
PBS News Hour
October 18, 2011

A new book, "Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Care," argues Americans don't understand how the courts work and that the system itself needs a major overhaul. Ray Suarez talked with the book's co-author on the campus of Georgetown University Law Center's Supreme Court Institute.

Rebecca Kourlis

RAY SUAREZ: Well, the book reads like a 230-page indictment. What's the problem?

REBECCA LOVE KOURLIS: Well, it's not that complicated -- or it shouldn't be. If you get in a car wreck, and there's an argument about who should be paying damages, your assumption is that you can go to court to have that case resolved. The truth of the matter is that's probably the last place you want to be, because the fees and the costs will ultimately be more than your car is worth, even if you drive a really nice car. Continue reading on the PBS News Hour

From Amazon.com: Over the past several decades, the civil justice process has become alarmingly expensive, politicized, and lengthy. Though the court system lies at the heart of American democracy, it often does not meet the legitimate needs of the people, resulting in a rift between citizens and their own legal system. With a system that hasn't seen major reform since 1938, it's inevitable that there are shortcomings and misunderstandings. Read more here

 

Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing

Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, IAALS: Authors Rebecca Love Kourlis and Dirk Olin tell the story of a civil justice system that has become alarmingly expensive, politicized, and time-consuming, degrading it to the point that it no longer meets the legitimate needs of the people it was created to serve. IAALS Facebook

A Dozen Law Schools Hit with Lawsuits over Jobs Data

A Dozen Law Schools Hit with Lawsuits over Jobs Data
The Wall Street Journal
By Joe Palazzolo
February 1, 2012

The number of lawsuits accusing law schools of "legerdemain"* in their claims about post-graduate employment has quintupled.

Three complaints — against Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, New York Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law — were already out there. The schools have moved to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that they strictly followed American Bar Association rules on job-placement data.

David Anziska, who filed the lawsuits in Michigan and New York, teamed with lawyers from seven other law firms to file a dozen more on Wednesday.

The list of schools includes Albany Law, Brooklyn Law, Hofstra Law, Widener Law, Florida Coastal, Chicago-Kent, DePaul Law, John Marshall Law School, California Western, Southwestern, USF Law and Golden Gate. The lawsuits seek tuition refunds.

"Our goal is to sue 20 to 25 more schools every few months," said Anziska. Read more here

Related stories on Thomson Reuters and Inside Counsel

The Lawyer-Judge Bias in the American Legal System

Benjamin Barton

Law Professor Benjamin H. Barton is the author of The Lawyer-Judge Bias in the American Legal System. Barton writes that virtually all American judges are former lawyers, a shared background that results in the lawyer-judge bias. This book argues that these lawyer-judges instinctively favor the legal profession in their decisions and that this bias has far-reaching and deleterious effects on American law. Read reviews on Overlawyered, Larry Ribstein, Glenn Reynolds, and Cato’s Dan Mitchell. Professor Barton also submitted an amici brief (PDF) with Darryl Brown in the Supreme Court case Turner v. Rogers. 

There are many reasons for this Lawyer-Judge bias, some obvious and some subtle. Fundamentally, it occurs because – regardless of political affiliation, race, or gender – every American judge shares a single characteristic: a career as a lawyer. This shared background results in the lawyer-judge bias. The book begins with a theoretical explanation of why judges naturally favor the interests of the legal profession and follows with case law examples from diverse areas, including legal ethics, criminal procedure, constitutional law, torts, evidence, and the business of law. The book closes with a case study of the Enron fiasco, an argument that the lawyer-judge bias has contributed to the overweening complexity of American law, and suggests some possible solutions. Cambridge University Press

How Democratic is the American Constitution?

How Democratic is the American Constitution? Second Edition


Robert A. Dahl, Author

From Publishers Weekly: In this slim, accessible volume, Yale political science professor emeritus Dahl (On Democracy) takes a critical look at our Constitution and why we continue to uphold it, though it is "a document produced more than two centuries ago by a group of fifty-five mortal men, actually signed by only thirty-nine, and adopted in only thirteen states." As an instrument for truly democratic government, Dahl argues, it fails. With insufficient models to guide them and a distrust of unfettered democracy, the Framers allowed several "undemocratic elements" in: slavery was accepted and suffrage effectively limited to white men. But Dahl saves his most potent criticism for two provisions that have remained unchanged: the electoral college and the Senate, both of which tie votes to geography rather than population, thereby skewing political power toward coalitions of smaller states whose interests may not necessarily coincide with the nation's as a whole. And as the 2000 presidential election illustrated, the electoral college can frustrate the will of the majority. Read more here

How Democratic Is the American Constitution?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

How Democratic is the American Constitution? (2001, ISBN 0-300-09218-0, among others) is a book by political scientist Robert A. Dahl that discusses seven "undemocratic" elements of the United States Constitution. Read more here

 

AR:A Conversation with Robert A. Dahl

Laurence Tribe is a constitutional scholar, a former Harvard Law School Professor, and was Senior Counselor for Access to Justice at the US Justice Department. At a speech in June 2010 at the American Constitution Society, Tribe called Americans’ access to justice a "dramatically understated" crisis, Main Justice reports. "The whole system of justice in America is broken," Tribe said. "The entire legal system is largely structured to be labyrinthine, inaccessible, unusable." Read more on the ABA Journal.

Matt Weidner

My Dear Fellow Attorneys:
Matt Weidner

Fighting For The American People
January 20, 2012

I have spent this week, the week we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr and his accomplishments during the civil rights movement, thinking about the very real parallels between that tumultuous time and where we are today in this country.  Especially today, when I serving a sentence in a jail of sorts, I have been considering how King and his followers were constantly attacked.  The attacks King and his followers suffered are not unlike the attacks that are visited upon those few who are standing up to defend consumers, fight for basic rights and the Rule of Law….

My Dear Fellow Attorneys:

While confined here in a foreclosure courtroom, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of myself and the other foreclosure and consumer defense attorneys by those who do not understand that the work of defending the helpless is the highest calling of the legal profession. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms. Read more here

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court

Attorney and journalist Amy Bach spent eight years investigating the widespread courtroom failures that each day upend lives across America. In the process, she discovered how the professionals who work in the system, however well intentioned, cannot see the harm they are doing to the people they serve. The book is Ordinary Injustice, How America Holds Court. Read more about Amy Bach on the Ordinary Injustice Website.

The stories of grave injustice are all too familiar: the lawyer who sleeps through a trial, the false confessions, the convictions of the innocent. Less visible is the chronic injustice meted out daily by a profoundly defective system.

In a sweeping investigation that moves from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi, Amy Bach reveals a judicial process so deeply compromised that it constitutes a menace to the people it is designed to serve. Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who brings almost no cases to trial; the court that works together to achieve a wrong verdict. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Bach identifies an assembly-line approach that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants to keep the court calendar moving, and she exposes the collusion between judge, prosecutor, and defense that puts the interests of the system above the obligation to the people. It is time, Bach argues, to institute a new method of checks and balances that will make injustice visible—the first and necessary step to any reform. Read more here

Book review, Washington City Paper

 

Book review, Scott Greenfield

 

Justice by the Numbers, Amy Bach, New York Times

 

ABA Journal article on Ordinary Injustice by Amy Bach

Ruling Expands Rights of Accused in Plea Bargains

Justice Kennedy

Justices’ Ruling Expands Rights of Accused in Plea Bargains
The New York Times
By ADAM LIPTAK
March 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to effective lawyers during plea negotiations, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a pair of 5-to-4 decisions that vastly expanded judges’ supervision of the criminal justice system.

The decisions mean that what used to be informal and unregulated deal making is now subject to new constraints when bad legal advice leads defendants to reject favorable plea offers.

"Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. "The right to adequate assistance of counsel cannot be defined or enforced without taking account of the central role plea bargaining takes in securing convictions and determining sentences." Read more here

Lafler v. Cooper, 10-209
10-209 LAFLER v. COOPER.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [177.5 KB]

Related story in the ABA Journal 

For One Prisoner, Nutriloaf Diet May Violate Eighth Amendment, Posner Opinion Says
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
March 28, 2012

A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a prisoner who claimed the nutriloaf he ate in the Milwaukee County Jail was cruel and unusual punishment.

The opinion (PDF) by Judge Richard Posner of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested appointment of counsel for the inmate, Terrance Prude, who vomited and suffered an anal fissure after eating nutriloaf at the jail during a stay to attend court proceedings. Jail officials gave Prude bread and water as a substitute, and his weight dropped from 168 to 154 after two stays at the facility. Other inmates at the jail also vomited after eating nutriloaf. Read more here

Former Federal Prosecutor In D.C. Accused of Misconduct
The Blog of Legal Times
March 29, 2012

A legal ethics committee in Washington is recommending the public reprimand of a former federal prosecutor here who is accused of concealing favorable information from a man charged in an aggravated assault case.

The D.C. Office of Bar Counsel alleged that former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew Kline violated a local rule of professional conduct that says prosecutors cannot intentionally fail to disclose evidence that would benefit a person’s defense.

A committee of the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility on Wednesday issued a report (PDF) that said Kline kept secret information that would have aided a man’s defense on charges tied to a drive-by shooting in Washington. Read more here

Jurismania: The Madness of American Law

Paul F. Campos is an author, blogger, and Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School. Campos writes a blog for The Daily Beast, another at Lawyers, Guns and Money, and his own blog, Inside the Law School Scam. Paul Campos on Wikipedia 

In Jurismania, Paul Campos asserts that our legal system is beginning to exhibit symptoms of serious mental illness. Trials and appeals that stretch out for years and cost millions, 100 page appellate court opinions, 1,000 page statutes before which even lawyers tremble with fear, and a public that grows more litigious every day all testify to a judicial overkill that borders on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Campos locates the source of such madness, paradoxically, in our worship of reason and the resulting belief that all problems are amenable to legal solutions. In insightful discussions of a wide range of cases, from NCAA regulations of student-athletes to the Simpson trial, from our most intractable social disputes over abortion and physician-assisted suicide to the war on drugs and the increasingly fastidious attempts to regulate behavior in public spaces, Campos shows that the mania for more law exacerbates the very problems it seeks to remedy. In his final chapter, the author calls instead for a humbling recognition of the limits of reason and a much more modest role for our legal system. Read more here

Jurismania publisher Oxford University Press

Book review, The New York Times

Book review, H-Net Online

Justice: An Impossible Dream?
by Dr. Margaret Koch-Nabialczyk

For the first five years of his legal ordeal, Chester considered himself a lonely, unfortunate victim of a mean, unethical lawyer, supported and enabled by a web of his unscrupulous "brothers" and "sisters" utilizing to their own benefit the numerous tools of the ruthless machine of the legal system. However, in the summer of 1998, by some kind of divine serendipity, Chester stumbled upon a book bearing the intriguing title, Jurismania: the Madness of American Law, written by Paul F. Campos, a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. Chester, by no means a bookworm, devoured Campos' difficult treatise while growing increasingly amazed, in fact mesmerized, by its relevance to his own experience. After the first five years of his anguish, Chester started seeing the legal torment imposed on him and his family against a backdrop of an enlightening, though menacing, bigger picture. Read more here

Attorney Dave Marston Compares American Legal Profession to Mafia - endorsed by Pres. Richard Nixon

Former US Attorney and Harvard Law School grad David W. Marston gave his opinion of the justice system in Malice Aforethought: How Lawyers Use Our Secret Rules to Get Rich, Get Sex, Get Even...and Get Away with It.

 

This critique compares the practice of law and the justice system to the Mafia.

"They all have undergone the same tough initiation, and once admitted to membership, all have sworn the same oath. They live by their own rules and have fiercely resisted efforts by outsiders to penetrate their clan. They have a code of silence that makes the Mafia’s dreaded omerta seem gossipy. And while the organization rigidly limits the operations of its members to their assigned turf, their criminal activities within these areas are surprisingly varied." (Page 22, paragraphs 4 & 5)

"It’s not the Mafia. Not the Medellin drug cartel…The members are all lawyers. And the organization is the American legal profession." (Pages 23-24) Read more here

Richard M. Nixon

"Dave Marston’s Malice Aforethought is a fascinating exposé of the illegal, corrupt, and unethical practices of some members of the legal profession. But what is even more disturbing is that those guilty of such practice too often receive only a gentile slap on the wrist for bar associates and others with responsibilities to punish those who engage in such practices. Some of the abuses he describes are so blatant that if they appeared in a movie, viewers would find it hard to believe that they could have been based on fact. Mr. Marston has written one of those rare books in which the facts of the abuses he describes are worse than fiction."

 

- Former President - and a lawyer himself - Richard M. Nixon

Malice Aforethought, Richard Nixon quote
Malice Aforethought, Richard Nixon quote[...]
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Constitutional Guardian

 

Dedicated to the restoration of Justice, Freedom, and Constitutional Government to America, by removing Lawyers from elective office outside the judicial branch, through the ballot box or the courts.

click for video

Joan Heffington is the founder and CEO of the Association for Honest Attorneys (A.H.A!), and author of the book "Ten Secrets You Must Know Before Hiring a Lawyer". Joan speaks for many Americans when she asks: Do attorneys "beat people up" to win lawsuits? We think this is the best-kept secret in America today. It also seems that no matter how good your case is, the side with the most money to pay their attorney wins. So where's the justice?

 

Kansas Attorney General’s office has sued the head of the nonprofit Association for Honest Attorneys, ABA Journal

Foreclosure defense lawyer Matt Weidner was investigated by the Florida Bar for "exercising free speech in the courtroom" according to a story in the ABA Journal Law News Now. The Matt Weidner blog provides insightful information and social commentary. Matt also blogs about a "quiet and powerful revolution that is slowly and methodically making its way across this country" that is "a direct response to the White Collar Criminal Anarchy that stretches from sea to shining sea". Thanks Matt!

Lawyers investigated for criticizing system, Julie Kay
Daily Business Review.com, May 18, 2011
Lawyers investigated for criticizing sys[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [25.1 KB]

Read more about Matt Weidner and his call to action on the New American Revolution page here on the Justice Network

Foreclosure defense lawyer Chip Parker of Jacksonville faced a Florida Bar complaint for comments he made during a CNN interview, according to a story in the ABA Journal Law News Now. He told the network, "Foreclosure courts throughout the state of Florida have adopted a system of ramming foreclosure cases through the final judgments and sale—with very little regard to the rule of law." He also complained of "an attack upon the citizens of the state of Florida by retired judges."

Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans

Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law
Philip K. Howard, Author

 

Philip K. Howard, a lawyer, advises leaders of both parties on legal and regulatory reform. He is chair of Common Good and a contributor to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. In his latest prescriptive survey of American law abuse and its consequences, Howard (The Death of Common Sense, The Collapse of the Common Good) sticks to the formula: one ghastly anecdote after another demonstrating how the justice system hinders freedom and confounds Americans who simply want to do the right thing. Either through litigation or the fear of it, Howard argues, we've ceded our everyday decision-making to the lawyers (Howard writes we "might as well give a legal club to the most unreasonable and selfish person in the enterprise") resulting in everything from "no running on the

playground" signs, to a 5-year-old handcuffed at school by police; from diminishing health care quality and spiraling costs to doctors afraid of discussing treatments among themselves over email. Chair of nonpartisan advocacy organization Common Good, Howard has a great deal of knowledge and a catalog of abuses that will elicit fury and despair. For the third time in some 15 years, Howard agitates for change by asking "How did the land of freedom become a legal minefield?"; in this time of financial depression and political hope, Howard may have found the perfect moment to sound his alarm. Read more

Waterboarding Legal Because Lawyers Said So

Waterboarding Legal - Lawyers Said
Democracy NOW!

November 9, 2010

Matt Lauer: "Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?"

President Bush: "Because the lawyers said it was legal…" Read more here

World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index, 2011

World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index, 2011

Huffington Post story
June 12, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The United States trails most of Western Europe in protecting the right of ordinary citizens to have access to a lawyer regardless of their ability to pay, according to a report released Monday.

World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2011 ranked the United States 21st among 66 countries it studied in assuring access to legal counsel. The U.S. did even worse when it came to affording a lawyer, ranking 52nd. Legal assistance is expensive or unavailable to the average person, according to the independent, global human rights group's survey. Read more here

Disbar The Florida Bar - Les Winston

Les Winston says in Florida all other professions except lawyers are governed by the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Only lawyers regulate themselves through the Florida Bar. This has created a dangerous good old boys club and a lot of rotten apples. Read more here 

 

Disbar The Florida Bar, Facebook

Hon. Dennis Jacobs, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit,

The Secret Life of Judges,

75 Fordham L. Rev. 2855 (2007)

"I sometimes think that the problem at bottom is really a lack of respect by lawyers for other people. Judges live chiefly in a circle of lawyers." (par. 4, page 2861)

"But outside that circle there are people who are just as fully absorbed by other pursuits that deserve consideration and respect. Judges need a heightened respect for how nonlawyers solve problems, reach compromises, broker risks, and govern themselves and their institutions. There are lawyers on the one hand; and just about everybody else is the competition in the framing of values and standards of behavior." (par. 5, page 2861)

"The legal mind is indispensable to lawyering, and for other purposes it is perfectly okay in its way. But it has its limitations. For example, every problem-solving profession-except ours--quickly adopts as preferred the solution that is simplest, cheapest, and most efficacious, or (as they say) elegant... (par. 5, p. 2862)

"As a matter of self-awareness and conscience, judges should accept that the legal mind is not the best policy instrument, and that lawyer-driven processes and lawyer-centered solutions can be unwise, insufficient, and unjust, even if our friends and colleagues in the legal profession lead us that way. For the judiciary, this would mean a reduced role, but not a diminished one if the judiciary is elevated by considerations of honor, self-restraint, and respect for other influences." (last par., p. 2863)

 

Dennis Jacobs, The Secret Life of Judges,

75 Fordham L. Rev. 2855 (2007).

Green Bag Award, Judge Dennis Jacobs, The Secret Life of Judges

Story on Salon by Glen Greenwood, domestic Surveillance State

Judge Dennis Jacobs, Wikipedia

Dr. Karin Huffer & Legal Victim Assistance Advocates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Karin Huffer is author of ‘Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome’ and founder of Legal Victim Assistance Advocates

Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome

WARNING: Protracted litigation can be hazardous to your health

"Huffer describes how many victims of white-collar crime, court abuse and bureaucratic bungling have come to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of having brushed up against various phases of our legal system." -- Alan M.Dershowitz, Professor, Harvard Law School

Buy the book Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome on Amazon.com


Injustice The Film: a Film About Greed and Corruption in the American Lawsuit Industry

You may have heard about the movie, "Hot Coffee," which recently aired on HBO. The film was made by a plaintiff lawyer and was described in the Miami Herald as an "unpaid advertisement for personal-injury attorneys and their eternal quest for jackpot justice." Fortunately, the Institute for Legal Reform at the US Chamber of Commerce has just finished a movie that tells the truth about lawsuit abuse. The movie is titled, "Injustice: a Film About Greed and Corruption in the American Lawsuit Industry." Read more here

New Documentary Takes Eye Opening Look at Efforts to Stop Citizens From Being Able to Find Justice in Court
4closurefraud.org
July 31, 2011

A new HBO documentary takes an eye opening look at efforts to stop consumers from being able to find justice in court. Many Americans have bought into the notion that lawsuits are out of control and the judicial system needs to be reformed. The film "Hot Coffee" contends terms like "lawsuit lottery" and "greedy trial lawyers" were actually planted in the public psyche and repeated over and over after being word-smithed and focus-grouped in a public relations campaign by corporate America. "Hot Coffee" reveals how this well planned, well funded crusade has been very successful in stopping consumers from gaining access to the courts when they’ve been harmed, physically or financially. Read more here

Popularity of Once-Much-Emulated US Constitution in Foreign Countries Now in ‘Free Fall,’ Study Says

Popularity of Once-Much-Emulated US Constitution in Foreign Countries Now in ‘Free Fall,’ Study Says
ABA Journal Law News Now
by Martha Neil
February 7, 2012

Only a quarter of a century ago, a Time magazine article on the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution found that the founding document of this country had influenced the national charters of 160 of the 170 countries then in existence.

Today, a study by by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia has determined that the document is far less influential, reports the New York Times (reg. req.).

"Among the world’s democracies," the study concludes, "constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. Constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s."

The U.S. Constitution may have lost popularity because it codifies relatively few rights compared to counterparts such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the newspaper says.

Social Science Research Network provides a link to an abstract of the study, which will be published in an upcoming New York University Law Review article. Read more here

America: An Openly Corrupt Legal System

As Wall St. Polices Itself, Prosecutors Use Softer Approach
The New York Times
by Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story
July 7, 2011

As the financial storm brewed in the summer of 2008 and institutions feared for their survival, a bit of good news bubbled through large banks and the law firms that defend them.

Federal prosecutors officially adopted new guidelines about charging corporations with crimes — a softer approach that, longtime white-collar lawyers and former federal prosecutors say, helps explain the dearth of criminal cases despite a raft of inquiries into the financial crisis. Read more here

"Our legal system has frankly broken down, it has become a cesspool" - Larry Klayman, Esq.

Larry Klayman

Larry Klayman, Esq., founder and former chairman of the successful non-profit foundations Judicial Watch and of Freedom Watch, has dedicated his career to fighting against injustice and restoring ethics to the legal profession and government.

Klayman spoke to Book TV about his book "Whores, Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment", and claims

"Our legal system has frankly broken down, it has become a cesspool"

 "Judges not making decisions on the merits, but on the basis of feathering the nests of those who got them their jobs"

"Lawyers who don’t tell the truth"

 

Klayman has brought lawsuits against Hugo Chavez and OPEC, among others. Klayman details his legal battles with President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton (Chinagate and Filegate), Vice President Dick Cheney (secret energy commission meetings), and the Bush administration over illegal wiretapping of American citizens. His portraits of the likes of Janet Reno, Fred Thompson, Arlen Spector, Judge Denny Chin (who recently presided over the Madoff trial) and other Clinton insiders Klayman considers unethical, and who have come back to power in the Obama administration, reveal not always flattering sides of their well-cultivated images. Klayman also has choice words to say about media figures such as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Paula Zahn, and he accuses media mogul Rupert Murdoch of sandbagging the original publication of WHORES by HarperCollins because of the book's negative portrait of Roger Ailes and Fox News. Above all, WHORES is an impassioned plea for reform of our judicial system with a number of provocative suggestions. Read more here

Larry Elliot Klayman is a member of the Florida Bar, ID number 246220, admitted December 7, 1977. Klayman was reprimanded by the Supreme Court of Florida, case SC11-247 on August 29, 2011

Man self-immolated, could not pay child support

Thomas James Ball self-immolated - Free Keene.com

Free Keene.com

 

"I have 21 years of Army service going back to the Vietnam War. My loyalty to the government should be a given. It is gone. I am certain it will never return regardless of how long I might have lived." - Thomas James Ball in his "last statement" before he self-immolated in front of the courthouse that was integral in destroying his life. Read more here

Thomas James Ball self-immolated, could not pay child support


Thomas Ball reached his breaking point. Driven to desperation by a system that bankrupted him and destroyed his family, Ball walked up to the main door of the Keene County, New Hampshire courthouse, doused himself with gasoline, and lit himself ablaze. Hardly anyone seems to have noticed. Read more here

Bill Moyers Journal, Justice For Sale

Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers Journal, Justice For Sale

How would you feel if you were in court and knew that the opposing lawyer had contributed money to the judge's campaign fund? This is not an improbable hypothetical question, but could be a commonplace occurrence in the 21 states where judges must raise money to campaign for their seats — often from people with business before the court.

Though many states have elected judges since their founding, in the past 30 years, judicial elections have morphed from low-key affairs to big money campaigns. From 1999-2008, judicial candidates raised $200.04 million, more than double the $85.4 million raised in the previous decade (1989-1998).

Because of the costs of running such a campaign, critics contend that judges have had to become politicians and fundraisers rather than jurists. In a poll by Justice at Stake, 97% of elected state Supreme Court justices said they were under pressure to raise money during their election years. Read more here


Read more about Judicial Misconduct on the Justice Netowrk

Lawyer Gerry Spence says judges should be drafted

Famed trial lawyer Gerry Spence says judges should be drafted:

 

"Our judges should be drafted in the same manner that jurors are drafted-to act as judges for a limited calendar of cases after which they would be released to return to their practices. Every trial lawyer should be required to support the system in this fashion the same as every citizen is required to serve as a juror. If judges were drafted from the trial bar we would soon clear our dockets, because we could call up as many judges as were necessary to bring our dockets current. If judges were drafted, we would no longer be saddled for life with the political cronies of those in power, or be faced with judges who have received campaign contributions from our opponents. To be sure, we would experience some bad judges. But, Lord knows, we have them now - and often for life! On the other hand, we would benefit from the best minds in the legal business, who, under our present system, rarely seek the judiciary." - Gerry Spence, page 57, From Freedom to Slavery, The Rebirth of Tyranny in America. on Amazon.com

Is the 13th Circuit the Worst in Florida? America?

Watch this video of Hillsborough Sheriff Deputy Charlette Marshall-Jones dump quadriplegic Brian Sterner out of a wheelchair and onto a jail floor. Then read about the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Florida where this atrocity occurred and you may find the Worst Circuit Court in Florida, if not the Worst Circuit Court in America.

Is Hillsborough 13th Circuit Court a kangaroo court?

Is Hillsborough 13th Circuit Court a kangaroo court? A kangaroo court is "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted". The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all. A kangaroo court's proceedings deny, hinder or obstruct due process rights in the name of expediency. The first recorded use of the term kangaroo court dates to 1853 in Texas. It comes from the notion of justice proceeding "by leaps", like a kangaroo.

Hillsborough FL Judges Work Part-time, Get Full Pay

Some Hillsborough Co., Florida judges apparently only work part-time hours while collecting a full-time salary of $142,178 plus benefits. This came to my attention June 15, 2010 during the 13th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) interviews to fill the vacancy created when Judge Black was appointed to the 2dDCA. I attended the interviews as a nonlawyer observer. The JNC interviews are open to the public. The JNC was so concerned about judicial workloads that applicants were specifically asked what hours they planned to keep if appointed. 

Applicant Ryan Christopher Rodems (left) described to the JNC criticism he heard about Hillsborough judges leaving court early on Fridays. The situation was so pervasive, Rodems told the JNC, that one could "fire a bullet" in the Hillsborough courthouse it was so empty. On the left is Rodems’ photograph submitted with his application for judge. The photo is not recent and looks about ten years old. (Rodems is heavier and balding now) 

Read the email between JNC Chair Pedro Bajo and Neil Gillespie discussing Rodems’ "fire a bullet" comment, provided below in PDF. Read more on the Justice Network

Email between JNC Chair Pedro Bajo and Neil Gillespie discussing Rodems’ "fire a bullet" comment, Jul-05-10
2010, 07-05-10, email, Pedro Bajo to NJG[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [44.7 KB]

13th Circuit JNC - Judicial Nominating Commission

13th Circuit JNC Interviews from Justice Network on Vimeo.

13th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) June 15, 2010, attempted interviews of applicants for the Circuit Court vacancy created when Gov. Charlie Crist appointed the Honorable Anthony Black to the Second District Court of Appeal. Filmed at the Law Offices of Bajo Cuva, PA, Tampa, Florida. Produced by Neil Gillespie for the Justice Network. Watch on YouTube here

Read more about the Judicial Nominating Commission here

Would you like this garbage can moved closer in case you have the baby?

I witnessed the following while attending a Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) interview in Tampa June 15, 2010 as a civilian observer. This was the 13th Circuit JNC, Hillsborough County, Florida. One commission member asked an applicant for judge if the applicant had seen any behavior from a judge in court that was unprofessional.

The applicant responded that a judge said to a woman who was obviously pregnant and about to give birth, words to the effect "Would you like this garbage can moved closer to you in case you have the baby?" The judge was referring to a trash can in the courtroom.

The JNC asked this question of a number of applicants. Some applicants responded with examples of judicial misconduct. Others applicants were evasive or brushed-off the question. My notes show that applicants who described bad behavior by judges to the JNC were nominated at a rate lower than applicants who did not describe bad behavior by judges to the JNC. Initially I dismissed this as coincidence.

But in hindsight, and with the benefit of subsequent information, in my opinion it is possible that this question is used as a screening tool to eliminate applicants critical of sitting judges, to ensure that nominees, if appointed, will be team players and look the other way if they see another judge engage in misconduct.

 

Read the email between JNC Chair Pedro Bajo and Neil Gillespie discussing the "garbage can" comment, provided below in PDF. Read more on the Justice Network

Email between JNC Chair Pedro Bajo and Neil Gillespie discussing the ‘garbage can’ comment, July 1, 2010
2010, 07-01-10, email, Pedro Bajo to NJG[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [43.0 KB]

Suing Judges: A Study of Judicial Immunity

Prof. Olowofoyeku

Suing Judges: A Study of Judicial Immunity
Abimbola A. Olowofoyeku, Author
Professor of Law, Brunel Law School

Oxford University Press
Amazon.com

"A straightforward comparative case law study of the liability at law of judges and other judicial actors for their acts and statements during the judicial process. This is an issue critical for the vital concept of an independent judiciary, a pillar of the U.S. system....Simply written and clearly organized."--Choice

Suing Judges: A Study of Judicial Immunity

When a person is injured by the act of someone else one response is to seek redress in the courts. When the person to be sued happens to be a judge, a number of potentially insurmountable obstacles often appear. This book presents an in-depth study of the substantive, procedural and theoretical issues that arise when a judge is sued. Drawn mainly from English and American Federal case law, the study also incorporates Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand case law. Read more here

Judicial Immunity, Caught.net

California Deposition Reporter Susan DeMichelle sued Tampa lawyer Michael Laurato over a $481 Invoice

Susan DeMichelle

California deposition reporter Susan DeMichelle sued Tampa lawyer Michael Laurato to get paid for services. Conflict enters fourth year. Read more on the Justice Network.

 

In 2007 Mr. Laurato hired DeMichelle Deposition Reporters of Northern CA but refused to pay a $481 invoice. After unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter she obtained a judgment against him in California court. In 2008 she sought to enforce the judgment in Hillsborough County Small Claims Court, Case No. 09-CC-006533. Mr. Laurato commenced a declaratory judgment action against her August 13, 2009. The case went to bench trial October 25, 2010 before The Honorable Eric Myers, who ruled in favor of Ms. DeMichelle. To defend this case she hired attorney Brian Stayton and traveled 3,000 miles to attend the hearing. Mr. Laurato appealed Judge Myers ruling December 27, 2010, Appellate Case No. 10-CA-024210, Hillsborough Circuit Civil Court. Read more on the Justice Network

Law prof confesses: I am a sociopath

Law prof confesses: I am a sociopath
ABA Journal Law News Now
May 17, 2013
By Debra Cassens Weiss

Could this have been written by one of your law professors? "Remorse is alien to me. I have a penchant for deceit. I am generally free of entangling and irrational emotions. I am strategic and canny, intelligent and confident, but I also struggle to react appropriately to other people's confusing and emotion-driven social cues."

The paragraph is published in a Psychology Today article by an author who says she is a law professor and a diagnosed sociopath. Above the Law notes the "truly chilling article," but blogger Elie Mystal opts to turn "the snark meter way down on this post because, well, I don’t want to be murdered."

The article is adapted from a memoir released on May 14, called Confessions of a Psychopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, written under the pseudonym M. E. Thomas.

Thomas writes that she has never murdered anyone (though she certainly wanted to), nor has she spent time in jail. She is a Sunday school teacher in a church that teaches it is actions, rather than thoughts, that count. She admits to good actions, such as buying a house for her closest friend, as well as bad, including setting up a rival for disappointment in a relationship and beating a childhood friend.

Before becoming a trial lawyer, the author says she prosecuted misdemeanors in the District Attorney’s office and was an associate in a law firm. "My sociopathic traits make me a particularly excellent trial lawyer," Thomas writes. "I'm cool under pressure. I feel no guilt or compunction, which is handy in such a dirty business. Misdemeanor prosecutors almost always have to walk into a trial with cases they've never worked on before. All you can do is bluff and hope that you'll be able to scramble through it. The thing with sociopaths is that we are largely unaffected by fear. Besides, the nature of the crime is of no moral concern to me; I am interested only in winning the legal game."

Thomas says she was not a victim of child abuse, though she grew up in a family "with a violent father and an indifferent, sometimes hysterical, mother. I loathed my father. He was phenomenally unreliable as a breadwinner, and we often came home to find the power shut off because we were months behind in our electricity bill. He spent thousands of dollars on expensive hobbies, while we were bringing oranges from our backyard to school for lunch. The first recurring dream I can remember was about killing him with my bare hands." Read more

The Legal Field Attracts Psychopaths, Author Says; Not That There Is Anything Wrong with That

The Legal Field Attracts Psychopaths, Author Says; Not That There Is Anything Wrong with That
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Debra Cassens Weiss
November 13, 2012

CEOs and lawyers are among the professions with the most psychopaths—evidence that psychopathic traits aren’t all bad, according to a new book by an Oxford research psychologist.

The book is The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What saints, spies and serial killers can teach us about success. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have reviews.

It’s a matter of degree, author Kevin Dutton argues in the book. At the high end of the scale are serial killers like Ted Bundy. But some psychopathic traits can pave the way to success and help people deal with the stresses of living, Dutton says. His "Seven Deadly Wins" are ruthlessness, charm, focus, mental toughness, fearlessness, mindfulness and action.

Dutton says some professions attract people with psychopathic tendencies, and lawyers are second on the list. The Post quotes one successful lawyer who spoke to Dutton. "Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere," the lawyer says. "But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination."

Dutton developed his list of the top psychopathic professions through an online survey last year, he told Smithsonian.com in an interview. "Any situation where you’ve a got a power structure, a hierarchy, the ability to manipulate or wield control over people, you get psychopaths doing very well," Dutton said.

Digital Spy listed Dutton’s top 10 most psychopathic professions: Read more here

Jury Nullification - Fully Informed Jury Association

Benjamin Franklin said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately" at the signing of the Declaration of Independence on August 2nd 1776.

This is true today, metaphorically, with those who confront injustice in Florida courts. One example is Ninth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry who signed a Florida Administrative Court Order in response to representatives of the national non-profit organization Fully Informed Jury Association handing out pamphlets outside the Orange County Courthouse, according a news release by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.


The organization advocates "jury nullification," where jurors can ignore the judge’s instructions if they are "voting their conscience." Iloilo Marguerite Jones of the jury association described the organization as an "educational outfit . . . [whose members] believe in the right of free speech, and peaceful and orderly dissemination of information." Members described the handouts as jury "education" information for distribution to sitting or potential jurors. http://fija.org/

 

On February 8, 2010 Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge David B. Eddy, Marion County, Florida, wrote a memorandum supporting the same pamphlets that are banned in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. See the Fully Informed Jury Association website for the memorandum.

Fred Phelps, disbarred lawyer, WBC pastor

Fred Phelps, WBC Pastor

UPDATE: Fred Phelps has died; blog post by U.S. Judge Richard G. Kopf, Hercules and the Umpire, March 21, 2014

 

Fred Phelps is a disbarred lawyer and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). Phelps has 13 children, 11 of whom are lawyers. Phelps and his church routinely picket the funerals of American service personal killed in the line of duty.

 

Albert Snyder, the father of Matthew Snyder, a Marine who died in the Iraq War, sued Phelps. The case Snyder v. Phelps was decided by the US Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of Phelps in an 8-1 decision, holding that their speech related to a public issue, and was disseminated on a public sidewalk.

Justice Samuel Alito, was the lone dissenting justice in this case, beginning his dissent with, "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case." He concluded, "In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of innocent victims like petitioner."

Opinion: To all the free speech advocates, try saying anything like the Phelps diatribe to a judge, or put it in a pleading, and see how far you get. Sanctions? Contempt? Disbarment?

When the SCOTUS allows free speech in a courtroom or pleading, no matter how hateful, I’ll buy the free speech argument. Otherwise this is little more than government sanctioned desecration of a US serviceman and his family during a funeral. Thanks Justice Alito! - Neil Gillespie

SNYDER v. PHELPS ET AL.
SCOTUS Slip Opinion
SNYDER v. PHELPS ET AL., 09-751.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [245.2 KB]

OCCUPY! - OWS - Occupy Wall Street - OCCUPY!

For more about OWS, see the New American Revolution page

FBI Investigated 'Occupy' As Possible 'Terrorism' Threat, Internal Documents Show
Huffington Post
by Alice Hines
December 23, 2012

According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a "criminal activity" or even "domestic terrorism."

The internal papers were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice fund via a Freedom of Information Act Request. The fund, a legal nonprofit that focuses on civil rights, says it believes the 112 pages of documents, available for public viewing on its website, are only "the tip of the iceberg."

"This production ... is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement," wrote Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the fund's executive director, in a press release Saturday. Read more

FBI Occupy spy files, declassified
fbi-spy-files-on-the-occupy-movement..pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.6 MB]

Partnership for Civil Justice Fund
617 Florida Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 232-1180

http://www.justiceonline.org/

The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth, According to a Spectacularly Wealthy Guy
The New York Times
By ADAM DAVIDSON
May 1, 2012

Ever since the financial crisis started, we’ve heard plenty from the 1 percent. We’ve heard them giving defensive testimony in Congressional hearings or issuing anodyne statements flanked by lawyers and image consultants. They typically repeat platitudes about investment, risk-taking and job creation with the veiled contempt that the nation doesn’t understand their contribution. You get the sense that they’re afraid to say what they really believe. What do the superrich say when the cameras aren’t there? Read more here

Calif. photographer faces felony conspiracy, misdemeanor trespass charges for "Occupy" coverage
Reporter’s Committee
by Haley Behre
March 19, 2012

A California judge refused to dismiss a felony conspiracy and two misdemeanor trespassing charges against a photojournalist for his coverage of an "Occupy" demonstration in Santa Cruz.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Sillman did rule last week, however, that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence that Bradley Stuart Allen committed felony vandalism, another offense he faced as a result of his newsgathering activities, and dismissed that charge after a hearing last week, Allen’s attorney, Ben Rice, said in an interview.

Allen, another freelance photojournalist and nine others were charged in connection with the three-day occupation of a vacant bank building by a group "acting in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz," according to court documents. Read more here

The Cancer in Occupy
Truthdig
by Chris Hedges
February 6, 2012

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.

Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution. The real enemies, they argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as the Zapatistas. Any group that seeks to rebuild social structures, especially through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, rather than physically destroy, becomes, in the eyes of Black Bloc anarchists, the enemy. Black Bloc anarchists spend most of their fury not on the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or globalism, but on those, such as the Zapatistas, who respond to the problem. It is a grotesque inversion of value systems. Read more here

Move to Amend's Proposed 28th Amendment

Move to Amend
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Move to Amend is a United States national, grassroots organization that works toward removing the influence of money in politics by calling for a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood and declaring that money is not speech. The nonpartisan group was created in response to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling. The ruling held that corporations had a First Amendment right to make expenditures from their general treasuries supporting or opposing candidates for political office. Move to Amend argues that the Court's decision disrupts the democratic process by granting disproportionate influence to the wealthy. Read more here

Move to Amend's Proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution


Section 1 [A corporation is not a person and can be regulated]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. 

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]

Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

Section 3

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press. Read more here

Official Website: Move to Amend

Occupy the Courts Protest - January 20, 2012

Group Opposing Citizens United Pushes ‘Occupy the Courts’ Protest
ABA Journal Law News Now
by Debra Cassens Weiss
January 5, 2012

A group called Move to Amend is calling for a one-day "Occupy the Courts" demonstration to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision finding that corporations have a First Amendment right to support political candidates.

The group dispatched a press release calling for protests at federal courthouses on Jan. 20 to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Recorder’s Legal Pad blog and the New York Observer have stories.

The group’s website has permit applications for would-be protesters, handbills and posters to promote the events, and instructions on how to make a "corporate personhood costume" (PDF). There is also a "corporate personhood song" (PDF) to be sung to the tune of "This Land Is Your Land." The song asserts that corporations "rape and plunder the world’s resources" and "dump big money into elections." First Amendment rights have been stolen by corporations, the song asserts. "Those rights belong to you and me."

Legal Pad has doubts about the federal courts’ reception to such protests. "Now, anyone who’s been through a security screening at a federal building recently knows they aren’t exactly warm and welcoming places for ‘occupations,’ " the blog says. "No word on how courthouse security folks are handling those protest plans." Read more here

Recorded November 3, 2011, 10.15am. The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people's hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies. Read more here

Part II, Chris Hedges Q&A The Death of the Liberal Class

Corporate America Using Police As Hired Thugs

MSNBC interview Chris Hayes and Phila Police Capt Ray Lewis (Ret)

Ray Lewis has been making news this week at Occupy Wall Street. As a retired Philadelphia police captain, Mr. Lewis joined the protests in New York City wearing his officer's uniform. He gave up a peaceful Walden-like existence living in update New York to join the occupation because, as he told Chris, "Their conviction for social justice inspired me." Read more here

New York Police Suppressing OWS Press Coverage

Roundup: Treatment of reporters at NYC Occupy raid

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

November 17, 2011

New York City police are facing tough criticism for their treatment of reporters covering Tuesday's overnight raid of the Zuccotti Park base of the Occupy Wall Street movement for what some journalists are calling and hashtagging a "media blackout."

According to reports by the Associated Press, at least half a dozen journalists, including NYPD-credentialed reporters, were arrested in and around the early-morning eviction: an AP reporter, an AP photographer, a New York Daily News reporter, a freelancer for NPR, a blogger for at The New York Times’ Local East Village, a Vanity Fair correspondent, a news editor for DNAinfo.com and a number of freelancers.

Others reported that police pushed journalists back and even roughed them up to keep journalists from getting close to the raid on Zuccotti Park, where police arrested about 200 protestors under orders from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to clear the encampment for health and safety reasons.

The behavior of authorities toward the media set off a flurry of defense and condemnation as some press advocates questioned if the police were deliberately stifling coverage of the operation. Read more here

Phila Police Capt Ray Lewis (Ret) joins OWS, Arrested

For more about OWS, see the New American Revolution page

Homeland Security Coordinates OWS Crackdowns

Surprise, Homeland Security Coordinates #OWS Crackdowns
Wonkette
November 15, 2011

Remember when people were freaking out over the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and all this other conveniently ready-to-go post-9/11 police state stuff, because it would obviously be just a matter of time before the whole apparatus was turned against non-Muslim Americans when they started getting complain-y about the social injustice and economic injustice and income inequality and endless recession and permanent unemployment? That day is now, and has been for some time. But it’s also now confirmed that it’s now, as some Justice Department official screwed up and admitted that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated the riot-cop raids on a dozen major #Occupy Wall Street demonstration camps nationwide yesterday and today. (Oh, and tonight, too: Seattle is being busted up by the riot cops right now, so be careful out there.) Read more here

Pepper-Spray Brutality at UC Davis

Pepper-Spray Brutality at UC Davis
The Atlantic
by James Fallows
November 19, 2011

 

Selected passages


This Occupy moment is not going to end any time soon. That is not just because of the underlying 99%-1% tensions but also because of police response of this sort -- and because there have been so many similar videos coming from cities across the country.
 
I can't see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we'd react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We'd think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. Read the full story here

Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland

Scott Olsen

"We are Confused" Oakland Police Officer's Association Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland
Zero Hedge
by 4closureFraud 
November 1, 2011

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland from the Oakland Police Officer’s Association

1 November 2011 – Oakland, Ca.

We represent the 645 police officers who work hard every day to protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed with many City beats remaining unprotected by police during the day and evening hours.

As your police officers, we are confused. Read more here

Occupy Tampa, October 6, 2011

Occupy Tampa
Gaslight Park Protest

October 6, 2011
by The Justice Network

America is broken. That was the message of the Occupy Tampa protesters in Gaslight Park Thursday. The peaceful assembly was attended by several hundred diverse protesters. Although the park is located right across from Tampa Police headquarters, no officers showed up in the park, and only a handful watched from afar. Read more here

Chris Hedges: "This one could take them all down."

Chris Hedges: "This one could take them all down."

Occupy TVNY has this interview with Chris Hedges, who, during the major global protests on Saturday, compared Occupy Wall Street to the other movements he’s covered around the world, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Read more on truthdig

Chris Hedges on Wikipedia 

Hypocrisy has its own elegant symmetry - Julie Metz

 

Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, ideals, thoughts, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. Read more on Wikipedia

 

Hypocrisy on Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The Patriotic Millionaires

The Patriotic Millionaires

We are here representing a group of 200 Americans with incomes over $1 million per year. To put that figure in perspective, the United States has a population of around 308 million people. Of those people, roughly 400,000 have incomes of over $1 million a year. For those of you without calculators handy, we are NOT the 1%, we are the 0.1%. . . and we should pay a higher tax rate. We want to pay a higher tax rate. And in response to a suggestion from Grover Norquist, Senator Hatch and other conservatives, that we just write an extra check to the IRS, let us clarify our position. We want EVERYONE in the country who is fortunate enough to make more than a million a year to pay a higher tax rate. This ‘everyone’ will include the 50% of congress people and senators who are millionaires. Read more here November 16, 2011 Statement to the Press 

Statement to the Press By the Patriotic Millionaires
November 16, 2011
StatementToThePress.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [48.4 KB]

US millionaires ask Congress to 'Raise our taxes' 

Al Jazeera

 

Nearly 140 millionaires asked a divided US Congress on Wednesday to increase their taxes for the sake of the nation. "Please do the right thing," the entrepreneurs and business leaders wrote President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, noting that they benefited from a sound economy and now want others to do so. "Raise our taxes." Read more here

American Civil Liberties Union Sues Florida Court

ACLU Charges High-Speed Florida Foreclosure Courts Deprive Homeowners Of Chance To Defend Homes

April 7, 2011

"Mass Foreclosure Docket" In Lee County Ignores Procedural Safeguards In Rush To Clear Cases

UPDATE: Writ of Prohibition DENIED. Read the 2dDCA docket here, case no. 2D11-1728, writ denied June 24, 2011. Read Matt Weidner’s comments here, on the Matt Weidner Blog. 

CAPE CORAL, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a petition in a Florida appellate court charging that the foreclosure court system in Lee County systematically denies homeowners a fair opportunity to defend their homes against foreclosure.

The special "mass foreclosure docket" established in December 2008 operates under rules that differ substantially from those that govern the rest of Lee County’s civil cases and was designed to speed through as many foreclosure cases as possible without providing homeowners facing foreclosure a meaningful opportunity to develop their cases or present defenses, according to the petition.
Read more here

In Prison for Taking a Liar Loan

Charlie Engle

In Prison for Taking a Liar Loan

The New York Times

By JOE NOCERA
March 25, 2011

A few weeks ago, when the Justice Department decided not to prosecute Angelo Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide, I wrote a column lamenting the fact that none of the big fish were likely to go to prison for their roles in the financial crisis. Soon after that column ran, I received an e-mail from a man named Richard Engle, who informed me that I was wrong. There was, in fact, someone behind bars for what he’d supposedly done during the subprime bubble. It was his 48-year-old son, Charlie.


On Valentine’s Day, the elder Mr. Engle said, his son had entered a minimum-security prison in Beaver, W.Va., to begin serving a 21-month sentence for mortgage fraud. He then proceeded to tell me the tale of how federal agents nabbed his son — a tale he backed up with reams of documents and records that suggest, if nothing else, that when the federal government is truly motivated, there is no mountain it won’t move to prosecute someone it wants to nail. And it was definitely motivated to nail Charlie Engle.

Read more here

Neil H. MacBride prosecuted Charlie Engle

Neil H. MacBride

Neil H. MacBride was nominated by President Obama. Under MacBride's tenure, his office prosecuted 48 year old Charlie Engle for allegedly stating a false income on his mortgage application. During the investigation prosecutors used an undercover female agent to seduce Mr. Engle and extract evidence. Mr. Engle was sentenced to almost two years in prison for defaulting on his loan. Meanwhile, the CEO of Countrywide Mortgage Company walks free. Read more on Wikipedia and in the New York Times

Florida Courts in Crisis - Total Meltdown Coming?

Under Threat of Foreclosure
St. Petersburg Times
March 20, 2011


Florida's foreclosure crisis seems like a never-ending nightmare. Mortgages are caught up in MERS, an electronic database that most homeowners never heard of until the foreclosure crisis. Homeowners in foreclosure are worried that robo signing by lenders' employees may have led to mortgage fraud. The mortgage process itself is under scrutiny by the courts and government regulators who are asking: How could something so simple as a home loan go so terribly wrong?
Read more here

Why The Foreclosure Mess Cannot Be Solved

Why the Foreclosure Mess Settlement Proposal Can't Fix the Damage

Daily Finance

By ABIGAIL FIELD

March 18, 2011

Ever since this fall, when the mortgage industry's robo-signing scandal first broke, people have been aware that banks have been illegally foreclosing on homes. Now there's a huge fight over what to do about that, mostly focused on a 27-page proposal that was supposed to represent the consensus of the 50 state attorneys general, but apparently doesn't. On top of that effort came a report of a "shock and awe" modification push from the federal government, but as Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism details, it's neither good policy nor practical. Read more here

The Coming Collapse of Real Estate in Florida

Matt Weidner, foreclosure defense attorney, St. Petersburg, FL

The Coming Collapse of Real Estate in Florida on YouTube 

Sloppy foreclosure process could undermine Florida

Robert Trigaux

Why sloppy foreclosure process could undermine Florida
St. Petersburg Times
by Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist
October 3, 2010

There's no polite way to put this. A growing cancer is infecting the backlogged legal process of foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homes in Florida.

It's endangering the legal and economic stability of this state. And it's exposing an appalling lack of leadership, first for allowing such a breakdown in the legal system and, now, for failing to own up to this mess and get it fixed

How bad is it? Laws governing who actually owns a foreclosed home are becoming so suspect a new buzzword is emerging: blighted titles. Even the tepid rebound of Florida's economy may face crippling delays in resolving hundreds of thousands of foreclosures in the Sunshine State.

What's wrong? The accuracy and truthfulness of an immense flood of legal documents and affidavits some lenders and their hired lawyers use to foreclose on homes have come under such critical attack that some major banks are suspending their court cases pending internal reviews.

"Sheer volume allowed perversions in the legal system to be overlooked," says Mark Stopa, a Tampa lawyer who helps people fight foreclosures. Read more here

Wharton Magazine: The U.S. residential real estate market is in a full-blown crisis

No Magic Bullet

Wharton Magazine

By Steven Kurutz

Winter 2011

 

"Equally troubling is the number of homeowners underwater, with mortgage loans that exceed the value of their property, which ticked up to 23.2 percent, meaning nearly 14 million U.S. homes have negative equity—a statistic unlikely to shore up home values. All of this has economists, politicians and the American people wondering how much longer the country will remain mired in the housing mess, and how we can pull ourselves out without sliding into the no-growth economy of 1990s Japan". Read more here in the Wharton Magazine

David J. Stern: The man behind the crumbling foreclosure empire

David J. Stern: The man behind the crumbling foreclosure empire

Sun Sentinel, By Diane C. Lade
March 15, 2011


Attorney David J. Stern has spent much of the past year in the spotlight, as reports of legal troubles plaguing Florida's home foreclosure system continue to emerge.

Stern's Plantation-based foreclosure practice is one of eight under investigation by the Florida attorney general for allegations of fabricating documents, slipshod paperwork and questionable fees.

The mortgage lenders who once loved him have severed their business ties with him. DJSP Enterprises, a company he created to handle nonlegal foreclosure work, has been sued by former employees who claim the company violated layoff notification laws as it slashed its staff to about 50. Last week, Stern announced that he will cease the law firm's home repossession operations
March 31.

The details of the lifestyle Stern, 50, built from the hundreds of millions his law firm and DJSP made repossessing people's homes are legend: an armada of luxury vehicles that includes Porsches and Ferraris, two private jets, an 8,300-foot, $7.2 million vacation cabin near Vail.
Read more here

Florida Sen. Joe Negron defends Foreclosure Mills

Joe Negron

Florida Sen. Joe Negron is quoted in the Palm Beach Post defending Foreclosure Mills: "In most occupations, whether it’s making doughnuts or running a sporting goods store, having more volume is better than having less volume. It may, in fact, be a commentary on your capability and your competitive advantage rather than something that we should disparage," Negron said. "Foreclosure mill could also be called very busy law firm because you provide excellent service to your clients."

Matt Weidner says (sarcastically) I would like to apologize to all the Foreclosure Mills out there (excuse me, I mean Most Excellent Law Firms). I, and other members of the press had been using the term in a derogatory manner, but according to a State Senator, this is not at all fair. Read more here

Joe Negron's campaign website, claims he was an attorney with the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt. Joe Negron’s current Bar directory page shows he is an attorney with the Gunster law firm.

As a lawyer formerly with Akerman Senterfitt and now with Gunster, Sen. Negron should know that foreclosure mills bear no comparison to doughnut shops or sporting good stores.

Maybe Akerman Senterfitt or Gunster can step in and enter appearance for the 100,000 foreclosure cases dumped by David J. Stern, the ‘foreclosure king’ gone bust? Or is David J. Stern just a (formerly) very busy law firm? Calling Sen. Negron, Gunster, and Akerman Senterfitt, where are you?

Sen. J.D. Alexander, pay Florida judges bonuses

Sen. J.D. Alexander

Sen. J.D. Alexander suggests paying Florida judges bonuses to hear more cases
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

By Steve Bousquet

March 23, 2011

An incentive plan for trial court judges to speed up their dockets gets a hostile reception.

TALLAHASSEE - As Florida courts groan under the weight of heavy case backlogs, a powerful senator is suggesting a highly controversial remedy: paying judges more money to hear more cases. Republican Sen. J.D. Alexander, the influential budget chairman from Lake Wales, wants to pay trial court judges up to an additional $12,000 a year if they meet specific numerical quarterly performance goals. The extra money would be dished out in $3,000 increments.
Read more

Michael Moore: America is Not Broke

Michael Moore

Michael Moore

March 5, 2011


America is not broke

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic..
.Read more here

Warren Buffett on Class Warfare: The Rich are Winning!

Warren Buffett says "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." Buffett also says the rich should be paying more taxes, and claims his tax rate is lower that that of his secretary. Read more on Freakonomics

They only call it class warfare when people fight back

Warren Buffett: Rich Taxed Too Little, Poor Too Much

Warren Buffet says the term "death tax" is intellectually dishonest. Buffett further debunks the myth with the example of Lenona Helmsley’s dog ‘Trouble’ who stood to inherit either $12 million, or $22 million without the estate tax. Buffett said dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise in America.

Buffett on Wikipedia

Inside Job - Financial Crisis of 2007-2010

Inside Job is a 2010 documentary film about the financial crisis of 2007-2010 directed by Charles H. Ferguson. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010. Ferguson has described the film as being about "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption." The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2011. Read more here on Wikipedia

INSIDE JOB Official Trailer in HD!

Eliot Spitzer is the only American who ever took substantive action to stop Wall Street before it wrecked Main Street, according to the Draft Spitzer blog

Read about Client 9: The Eliot Spitzer case: How we were bamboozled on Salon.com

Client 9 takes an in-depth look at the rapid rise and dramatic fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. As NY's Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer prosecuted crimes by America’s largest financial institutions and some of the most powerful executives in the country. After his election as Governor, many believed he was on his way to becoming the President. Then The New York Times revealed that Spitzer had been caught seeing prostitutes, and the "Sheriff of Wall Street" fell quickly from grace. With unique access, the film explores the hidden contours of hubris, sex and power.

Eliot Spitzer on Wikipedia

Amerika is not a democracy but a Kleptocracy

Attorney Matt Weidner asks "When will Amerika? Judges? Law Enforcement? "Leaders"? Anyone stand up and fight the tyranny and treason that is happening across our country?... I think Amerika is not a democracy but a Kleptocracy. Both parties…all parties are working as hard and as fast as they can to steal, connive, cheat and dupe everyone else, particularly those less economically sophisticated or powerful." Read more here

Understanding Kleptocracy

Kleptocracy is not a sometime thing. It is about looting anything that can be looted, as much as it can be looted, anywhere it can be looted. It is a serious, and very criminal, undertaking. And it has real victims. People's lives are ruined by it. People die from it. Read more here

Sanders Filibuster Begins...

Full Congressional Record, Transcript of Sanders Filibuster

The Speech, US Senator Bernie Sanders

The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class
US Senator Bernie Sanders, Author

On Friday, December 10, 2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the United States Senate and began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight and a half hours. And it hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator’s offices in Vermont and Washington. President Obama reportedly held an impromptu press conference with former President Clinton to deflect media attention away from Sanders’ speech. Editorials and news coverage appeared throughout the world.

In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the very, very rich, and set a terrible precedent by establishing a "payroll tax holiday" diverting revenue away from the Social Security Trust Fund, and threatening the fund’s very future.

Senator Bernie Sanders is the longest-serving Independent in the history of the United States Congress. He has represented Vermont in the Senate for four years and in the House for sixteen years. He served four terms as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, during which time the city was recognized as one of the most livable cities in America.
Read more here on Amazon.com

Friends of Bernie Sanders

 

Bernie Sanders on Wikipedia