National Forum On Judicial Accountability
This message appeals to the interest of Americans in good government. It relates to the devastation heaped on a lawyer for her apparently minor role in pursuing criminal racketeering charges against one or more judges in Maricopa County, Arizona. Her loss of dignity, stability, and personal support is substantially detailed by an online op-ed titled “Maricopa County, AZ Seat to Unprecedented Judicial Corruption”.
Most adults probably have at least some interest in good government. Of course many could care less about the plight of a lawyer, even one with seemingly good intentions, or the prospect of judicial corruption. Ironically, the relative ease with which America’s judiciary can devastate private lawyers, prosecutors, and judges for challenging judicial integrity, reflects a threat to good government in America.
No level or quality of education, experience, responsibility, success, or accolades guarantees a lawyer or judge will not be abruptly excluded from his or her profession; deemed unfit for challenging the integrity of one or more judges. All humans are fallible, but it seems the rigors of becoming and certainly excelling as a lawyer or judge should expose whatever unfitness there is for the task. Yet the arguable best and brightest of America’s legal and judicial systems may be portrayed as taking leave of their senses should any of them harshly assess a judge.
It should be baffling that someone fit to impact life, liberty, and property as lawyers and judges do, may be inclined but considered unfit to critique the profession of which he or she is part. The paradox should have at least civic minded Americans wondering who sets and what are the criteria for levying credible charges against judges as an ethics or criminal matter.
Unfortunately major media relies on American government more than it should for sifting between credible and unreliable judicial critics. But responsible monitoring of America’s judiciary need not take endless combing of alternative media outlets. If enough Americans helped (in a small or big way) ensure legal process is not abused to discredit judicial critics, American government could not easily dictate which of them are or are not legitimate. It is largely if not primarily the proverbial blind eye towards professional discipline and other prosecutions of judicial watchdogs and whistleblowers giving carte blanche to judicial misconduct.
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For whatever reason and whether petty or gross, corruption in the judiciary ensures that corruption remains beyond the law in every other field of government and economic activity in which it may have taken root. Indeed, without an independent judiciary, graft effectively becomes the new ‘rule of law’.
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So judicial watchdogs and whistleblowers (i.e. people attempting to expose judicial misconduct or corruption) help preserve good government, including but not limited to fair and impartial court proceedings.
Some non-lawyers detect judicial misdeeds as proficiently as some lawyers and judges. Hence reasonable minds may not agree on the essentialness of formal legal training in formulating valid charges of judicial misconduct or corruption. In any event, if such charges are to proceed, some form of prosecutor (administrative and/or criminal) must advance them on behalf of appropriate government bodies.
Undoubtedly at times the suspension or disbarment of a prosecutor corresponds with good government. But the absence of buffers between prosecutors and the judicial systems (with their agencies for lawyer discipline) from which prosecuted judges hail, leaves prosecutors unduly vulnerable to retaliatory professional discipline. A grassroots judicial reform organization, National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP), addressed this chilling reality years before TI.
In 2005, NJCDLP proposed federal judicial whistleblower protection dubbed "The Weinstock Act" (TWA). A sister organization known as POPULAR (Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored) later adopted TWA and made it part of a white paper titled “Protecting Judicial Whistleblowers in the War on Poverty”. Another NJCDLP offshoot, National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA), joined POPULAR's quest for federal judicial whistleblower protection and nationalized regulation of lawyer speech rights. NFOJA also promotes model legislation that would empower randomly selected, trained private citizen to oversee state judicial disciplinary processes.
To learn more about NJCDLP and all its projects, please visit www.njcdlp.org
Thank you NFOJA member M. Lanson for sharing this message about beautiful people. Hopefully it helps all of us understand that working to protect private sector lawyers, prosecutors, and judges who choose to be part of combating abuses of America's legal system, in addition to pursuing other worthwile legal/judicial system reforms, is NOT an expression of preference for legal professionals over non-lawyers.
On of the reasons you will have difficulty getting the litigant population to find empathy to help even a white knight lawyer who spoke up "a little bit" against racketeering by judges is that you have not done THIS KIND OF call for action on helping litigants who are so devastated in their attempts to discipline the black hat attorneys who engage in, and participate with the so-called racketeering judges. Last year when we were busy crying corruption, and collusion, and conspiracy and a host of other bad "c" words, you implored us not to call attorneys and judges corrupt; that we should discuss and educate, and not present ourselves as such "disgruntled" "damaged" "devastated" "dysfunctional" litigants and any other "D' word that you did not want us to use.
Yet, you want us to join the discussion while censuring our language, our emotions our culture, our "uneducated status" (after all - WE are not lawyers). Now that one of your own is injured for daring to speak out, you want us to rally? When we were speaking out - we told to "dial it down" ... be civil .... try to reason, be careful with allegations of racketeering. We have not been able to get ANY in-place grievance process, whistleblowing or disciplinary actions to work on either attorneys OR judges (or psychologist, clerks, Social workers, CPS, law enforcement and so forth). You guys are always
"immuned" or the reply comes back - we did our investigation and there was no problem found. Often postmarked the very next day after you filed the grievance!! How much honest investigation got done from 4pm on Monday to the 8am postmark tuesday that landed back in your mailbox on Wednesday? Really?
I doubt you will get much more than - gee, that's too bad. You mean she was actually retaliated upon for daring to speak out? Or for cooperating with a racketeering investigation? Or she suffered backlash for whistleblowing? Really? What did she lose? Did they take her children - like they did to us? Or clean out her bank accounts? Or just disbar her; our ability to earn a living is the FIRST thing they take from us. welcome to the club. I will be looking forward to seeing what kind, and how much, of a discussion you really get on this went you spent ALL LAST YEAR insisting we were not allowed to use "C" words or "D" words - after all, it makes us just look and sound angry. No place for righteous anger on the path to good government when injustice stands in the way?
What KIND of a rally - do you really expect Zena?
Good post, I agree with you too!
Patrice, your representations of what our organizations have done or not done for non-lawyer litigants are not accurate. We regret that you apparently think they are.
I too have been discouraged as I feel I have been censored in my dislike of attorneys, politicians and of course judges. It seems that the attorneys have brought this upon themselves. They saw what could have happened and said nothing and colluded with each other. Did not speak up and now they are all afraid. I hope that people stop paying for legal services as it is a waste of money. I'd like to see the judges prosecuted along with attorneys who didn't speak up.l I would also like to see the politicians who were paid by the lawyer special interests go to jail also. The corruption is too deep and probably cannot be fixed. The BAR is an evil monster. I once in the myth of justice until I went to court over and over again only to be taken advantage of. It is impossible to get justice in this country. The BAR has stolen our legal system. I warn everyone I know to stay away from the court system. It is broken probably beyond repair.
I agree with you dearly Rebecca,
But, I think we might have away out. I think if we all as victims look up under Title 8, Chapter 39, Section 39.01, 39.02, 39.03 and we all file a complaint under those claims pertaining to their Oath of Office, against them. I think we just might have a chance. I also would like to address something on the ballet for a vote under those claims too.
Anyway, I agree with you 100% with your statement too.
The entire legal system is a criminal system. I would compare it to a gang. The gang leaders are the BAR. They control and initiate the slaves by requiring members to commit acts that are inhumane. When a slave attorney commits these acts, they are reinforced and given recognition. Powerful brainwashing. Powerful indoctrination. Powerful conditioning.
Even when we try to go into that system to redress a wrong, we cannot expect the support of the gang. Too much fear to go against the powerful BAR that has agents in every facet of the government.
Additionally war tactics are used on the common man, who has no defense. It is a system set up to take away our rights instead of defending our rights. We are all slaves to the BAR until they are all removed from any self governing or involvement in the justice system. A common man cannot go into this system and survive without developing severe trauma and battle wounds. What a joke, claim it is justice while using terror tactics to destroy individuals, families and business owners. Why are we sending troops to the Middle East??? Is this an attorney plot to keep the world confused? The BAR needs to be dis-barred!!
When I cried foul play in my divorce, no one really cared. Now that home owners are facing the same in just system or what some have called a just us system, they may be ready to force some changes on this evil monster that only picks and chooses who will be corrected. Those that are corrected are only the attorneys who want to protect the common man. So the attorneys learn for safety, be a bastard, take advantage of the public, become a psychopath!!
HOW ARE THESE ATTORNEYS ANY DIFFERENT THAN JAMES HOLMES? YOU DON'T NEED TO USE A GUN TO TEAR APART A FAMILY, AN INDIVIDUAL OR A NATION!
The attorneys like to play it BOTH ways. First, they claim all sorts of power as their own by being "officers of the court" and being able to see the judge, go in chambers, cut back door deals, in big cities like Providence get in the "attorney" line to punch and docket motions, and check files; while pro se litigants are left to waiting waiting waiting in a line separated out and not tended to as if THEY do not also need to be at the calendar call or check files or enter papers. Why two line? When they make pro se wait until the attorney line is "serviced" first anyway - relegating us to third class citizens. A line, in order, is a line, fair and square -equal access - end of story. So... attorneys are "officers of the court". And with that comes both privileges AND responsibilities. Oh but, they just want the privileges and none of the moral obligations spelled out in their bogus Code of Professional Conduct which is never upheld, or disciplined (after all - they have "friends" from the Bar Assoc. that work on the boards - not CITIZENS who might care about their conduct and hold them to the so called higher standard that their professional license, and ethics would be to garner such "privileges".
Oh, then lets see - when the attorney bust the 7 day rule, proper notice, not abusing emergency procedure to "get in to see the judge" absent any true emergency, and not timely filing orders or sharing them with the other side, or opportunity to object, and removing things from the file, abusing their "officer of the court" status to intimidate and bully both clerks and people IN the courthouse as well as litigants and third parities OUTSIDE the courthouse - they are immune from normal channels of ethical complaints. After all, the Ethics Commission tells me - attorneys are PRIVATE ACTORS. Oh. So which is it? They serve in a capacity of public trust or they are private - as in a private class above the law? They can't be held on ethics complaints - they are not government employees. They certainly are private actors - corrupting the public trust by abusing privileges to corrupt judicial outcomes per the FBI's definition of PUBLIC CORRUPTION
(oops ... there is that "C" word that is so politically incorrect).
And, when it comes to violating Federal laws like ADA and discriminating and denying access, or outright exploitation of rules and procedures to exploit someone's disabilities - a double whammy, oh, their answer on the complaint is .... they are private actors and have NO OBLIGATION to provide or allow for ADA accommodations on litigants or third parties or to respect the needs of an individual (least of all that individual's privacy, medical and MH information, financial data and phone records, with order of the court). After all - they are OFFICERS of the COURT and can do as they please to get subpoeanas, author and enter orders (without judge's signatures) and shove those orders around town to control people, and to get records, whiplash law enforcement to wrongfully pull someone over, issue bench warrants in the computer, make the clerk's erase transcripts, and abuse the process to get banks, phone companies, landlords, medical providers to release private information through the LICENSE to Bully (called a Bar License) abusing their authority as "officers of the court"
Oh, and when it is found out that they had no court order, or disobeyed a quash, or paid off another private actor (like a social worker, psychologist, landlord, stenographer or whomever) to fix the date, the calendar, the report .... they cannot be held accountable - because they are PRIVATE ACTORS. Really? Does not anyone see through this? When they want to push their weight around and be all that - officers of the court, privileged, licensed, front of the line, in chambers with the judge, writing up orders the way THEY want them to read (and forgetting to share copy with the other side ... and then go enter them at teh clerk's counter- WITHOUT A JUDGE'S SIGNATURE! even the clerk's have no clue they are being manipulated ... or in many cases the judge's, who are overworked and don't follow up on that procedure of PRESENTING and ORDER - opportunity for objection, clarity and entering it ON THE RECORD by the judge - those steps are just merrily skipped you see ... as the attorney goes to their officer, types up an order and trots to the courthouse, gets in front of the line, dockets the order, intimidates everyone with it by flashing "COURT ORDER" all over the place, and then holding the other party in Contempt of an order - they never even saw or were provided!!! OR, even worse - that is signed by a judge!! Really? Attorneys are above having to obey due process, ADA, federal statutes, rules of evidence, HIPAA, candor to the tribunal, respect for the third parties, not acting as a witness, and more - so that when we try to ADDRESS their despicable behavior, there is "No problem found" by their friends at the Disciplinary Board. We cannot get help to rein in this menace. Its a public menace. They believe they can act with immunity AND impunity. There are criminal penalties under RI Title 9 state laws for FALSE FILINGS (sometimes called - Fraud on the court). There are also federal laws against that ... YET, we cannot penalize any attorney - even when their OWN client gets on the witness stand and ADMITS their attorney filed a false affidavit and curtailed someone's liberty for 18 months? Really?
And we cannot discipline false "emergency filings" absent any true emergency or raping and violating privacy information. Yet, god forbid, we get a little editing help from a law student or copy stuff off the web as to language and law and quote our OWN state statutes as a citation or use basic clear honest writing that outlines the problem, what law or rule or procedure was violated and ask for remedy ... OH MY - we are trotted off to the disciplinary committee (the special session one) under charges of UPL!!
Really? And what about attorneys who practice UPM (Unauthorized practice of medicine) repeatedly on people - yet we cannot even get a hearing date to file the paperwork. They get our medical and mental health records - are not AT ALL qualified to review, assess, interpret or diagnose anything, whether illness, disorder, dysfunction, disability either temporary or permanent or even global functioning, trauma, etc... and YET - they ATTORNEY alleges (as an officer of the court - you see - who's reputation is meant to be impeccable an above, totally above reproach and questioning) all the attorney has to do is ALLEGE some kind of illness or crime or threat or danger -and voila! The judge makes their ruling - for the attorney, and against the person.
Where in there is ANY attorney or judge - QUALIFIED to interpret medical and mental health reports?Oh, they are immune, from any wrong doing,I Forgot. What was I thinking? They can do whatever they please, they are above the law, and all are "Officers of the Court" with privileges, you see.
And when HIPAA clearly spells out criminal penalties for obtaining and disseminating and violating records privacy for person gain, or malicious harm intentions - the DOJ comes in WHEN? To help us prosecute either the judge OR the attorney - OR both, who do such things? How do we get help? That is no more enforced than the state level false filings penalties (unless of course one is pro se, you get 8- 30- days in jail promptly and severe economic sanctions and fines - not the least of which is paying the opposing counsel - who does it as matter of everyday operations and practice). Do you NOT see the problem here?
NFOJA has some nerve censoring us, failing to understand the double standard, polishing off the attorney corps (and the occasional white knight) as a stellar "officer of the court" operating at some of the highest standards of profession and practice in society along with our other licensed professionals called doctors, engineers, ordained and faith based leaders, and yes, attorneys (supposedly). They are licensed and boarded for a reason - because they work in very serious capacities of public trust. YET - the attorneys routinely abuse it and bust the public trust and have NO accountability (except to their mother and father on the bench - even using those words: MY FATHER). Really? Judicial cannons and tenure are another farce. Never touched. I thought that was what NFOJA was all about.
NFOJA wants us to rally for a "Devastated" attorney who dared to speak out? Really? That's one of those "D" words that we could not have the discussion about last year, it was off limits. When an attorney loses their bar license - that's devastation?? really? Go get a job. There are lines at the day labor window. When we lose OUR jobs from being whiplashed into court hearing after hearing, continuance after continuance, protraction after contempt, after summons after hearing, after change of calendar ( almost ALWAYS to accommodate the attorneys on the case ...) NO ONE CARES.
When we are thrown in jail for 8 days on a Family Court hold against all due process, no habeus corpus, no law being broken and the friday weekend duty judge schedules something for next week, and we lost our job - gee, for not showing up for 8 days and not calling anyone? NO ONE CARES.
When the landlord responds the neighbors complaint of a smell next door and finds the dog dead from lack of care, because the owner was jailed for no reason over the Thanksgiving holiday and anyone with a key or ability to respond or help that person in circle of family and friends, and even the rental office itself - is closed for the long weekend ...NO ONE CARES
and when you do show up in court traumatized, now grieving and even likely angry - you are then greeted with a psych eval, told you are crazy, then pathologized and crimnialized in the context of your "DEVASTATION" at such injustice, maltreatment and outright harm and injury. NO ONE CARES and you cannot even find the proper protocol, form, place, address, person, name or to turn to FILE A COMPLAINT! And if you do manage to start balking, and talking and complaining about all this - in the professional world I work in - its called whistleblowing or we have the Inspector General to go to for help - you simply get sanctioned, and gag ordered, retaliated upon and more.
You want us to rally around your Bar friend - who tweeted a little bit about malfeasance from the bench? Really? I think all you are going to get is; WELCOME TO OUR WORLD. Go get a job, get in line, the back of the line, and gee, you know - why doesn't she file a complaint or something to Ethics Board? They'll fix her right up - won't they?
Good god. You MUST be kidding that you would expect the INJURED litigant population to respond.
Those damaged by the court system and by unscrupulous attorneys and judges will not have the bandwidth to respond to this in any way but: join the club.
Those who have NOT brushed up against the court system, will greet her the way they do us - well, there must be some mistake, gee can't you file a grievance, wow - that doesn't sound fair, uhhh... you must have DONE something wrong to be so targeted; well - that's what you get, you can't fight city hall....
gee little victimized attorney - just forget about it and move on. they have more power than you do, why do you care about the truth? there is no place for truth in the justice system (well you get what you deserve, you should have known better than to go up against them). Gee, why don't you just give up law and go do something else - you know, get a job. I hear Walmart is hiring. Oh, years of education? I'm sorry -its a bad economy... just go do something and get your mind off it... stop complaining. Oh? You feel trauamatized, worried, can't pay your billl, anxiety, ambiguous loss, grief, depressed, maybe even a touch hypervigilant - shades of PTSD coming your way? TOO BAD. Find something else to do.
has she been taken through that gauntlet yet - by the UNINFORMED general public you want to rally? Because at least from the injured litigant population, she wont get those lines. At least not from us, as we know how she feels, how that feels and we - of all people - would never SILENCE a victim of trauma and tell them to go do something else as if the years of dedication to her professional development mean nothing. Have no value, even well - maybe her life (feeling suicidal??) Get over it.
WE would never do that to her. However, we are ALSO not going to rally around her "devastation" as you put over being shut down, gagged, or otherwise sanctioned - for speaking out. You guys don't do it for us! You tell us to “Calm down”. We had ALOT of positive momentum last year at this time until attorneys, NFOJA included, yanked on the leash to slow us down, calm down, censor our approach - for what?
When YOU ATTORNEYS start engaging in real, honest, gritty, high value PEER mediation and hold one another accountable - and start disciplining each OTHER - then we will rally. As along as you want all the privileges for yourselves and none for us, and all the remedy and no self-discipline, we can't buy it.
Either you start UPHOLDING the Code Of Professional Conduct, fling against and even suing one another or forget trying to get support out of us. You don't demonstrate your own self-discipline. The same goes with the mental health community - which should be SCREAMING at the tops of the hills about getting you attorneys out of their profession, privacy, and dignity of the people they treat. It is WAY outside of your competence area as attorneys - to invade a competency area of a psychologist.
I cannot get a SINGLE attorney, to go into federal court or to help me file with the DOJ to have them investigate and prosecute the private gain, malicious harm HIPAA violations - NEVER mind the abject competency issues related to the Bar Code of Professional Conduct OR the attorneys and judges invading the psychologist to bully them into violating PRIMARY ETHICAL PRINCIPLES in their profession of First Do No Harm.
Any attorney who willfully invades the therapist-client privilege and bullies them into HARMING their patient and violating the ethics of care (while screaming attorney-client privilege as the reason their client cannot turn over financial records) should be DISBARRED. Its inhumane and hateful and an abject insult to BOTH professions, never mind the injury caused to the party caught in the middle.
This message is a reply to multiple comments previously posted: The alphabet soup of grassroots organizations I help administer (NJCDLP, NFOJA, POPULAR, & OAK) are advocates in and of themselves. The value or lack of merit of their programs, services, and initiatives are for each of us to determine. Hopefully inclinations to support or rebuff me are not major considerations in that process.
I deeply regret that anyone considers himself or herself censured by my insights or perspective based on my experiences, especially those different from theirs. Of course I hasten to ask -- Why must it be fatal to our quest for justice that we sometimes disagree? What I find fatal to the quest is a general unwillingness to consider opposing viewpoints; ground related analyses with logic and rationality (while appropriately allowing for subjectivity and human emotion); respect apparent expertise; and refrain from vilifying well-meaning people.
If our quest is truly for justice, then it seems we should press to identify what it takes to reach that destination. Sure, we can content ourselves to "try this and try that" for infinity. Or we can be more deliberate. Towards that end, I have had occasion to say that "this should be done" or "this should not be done", always quickly adding "based on this . . ." If need be, that's where discussion and debate can begin. Perhaps the premises or foundation of my recommendation(s) are flawed. I find no sin in corrections as they move us closer to what is true or right.
Undoubtedly some would rather avoid debate and discussion and accordingly gravitate towards people with whom they agree. That's fine; in fact it's wonderful if those with whom we agree are actually charting a viable path to justice. If not -- well, we all can predict the outcome which will be apparent, sooner or later.
I experience the censorship as duplicitous. When you now call it "corruption" in your opening up this "discussion" that's okay language. When we were calling it that all last summer and fall - you suggested that we tone it down. When we were taking VERY REAL actions to audit our state judiciary spending months and many tireless hours writing APRA and FOIA requests to follow the money and have real identifiable, GROUND related, FACT based analysis of what is really going on, and how federal money flows (We like to say "laundered" that is OUR differing perspective from yours) through the state and county political subdivisions - at every turn it was ATTORNEYS who stopped that progress, that ground related analysis, that fact gathering and evidence collection. EVERY TIME. It was not a case of "discussing" ad infintum about what to try, we could try this or that - we were DOING it and it hit a nerve and attorneys came raining down on us with leashes and motions and running interference. Why is that?
We WERE working on legislative movement, crafting new legislation, agitating for more accountability, and partnering with our local whistleblower groups Operation Clean Government, and Common Cause and small very local ones in the city. We did run a legislative meetup. We DID speak out at multiple hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. We DID speak out at a Judicial Nominating Commission on appointments for judicial vacancies and successfully PRE-EMPTED one of the candidate off the list that went to the governor last summer. That attorney will NOT become a judge, not on OUR watch. And, to this date - we had caused so much public outcry - that the two judicial vacancies on the RI Family Court remain UNFILLED.
Is this just discussion? I think not. The people - to a person - who slowed us down, interfered, retaliated, and did other things to us to STOP this progress, were ALL ATTORNEYS. So lets have the discussion, and see if you can offer some "educated perspective" to me, since I seem to be not doing anything, and only vilifying or not appreciating your experience - then PLEASE: help me to understand why ATTORNEYS block our grass roots progress in Rhode Island? Every time. If you want details of how - I have an entire box.
We are logic and we are rational and we want audits of the Judiciary. END OF STORY. That is not irrational.
Attorneys - you see - have blocked the requests for audits. WHY? Help me gain perspective and help me understand why - and maybe it will be easier for me to dial down my outrage on what I experience as very duplicitous messaging coming from you. Please help broaden my perspective here publicly so others who feel the same way I do - may also benefit from the discussion. yes?