The case, Morin vs. Tormey, involves a former New York State chief Family Court clerk who filed a federal complaint alleging that she was forced from her job because she would not conspire to spread negative information about a State Supreme Court candidate. (See the Complaint to the right, "Former NY State Chief Court Clerk Sues Judges in Federal Court")
The lawsuit against 5th Judicial District Administrative Judge James Tormey III, his former executive assistant John Voninski, Family Court Judge Bryan Hedges and Hedges' law clerk, William Dowling was filed by Ms. Bobette Morin earlier this year. The case has only made headlines upstate, but is being widely watched as the first real confrontation with out-of-control power bullies, the likes of which that haven't been seen since Tammany Hall days in the 1800's.
This story was first reported by The Post-Standard's Jim O'Hara. See "Judge says former clerk can pursue suit" to the right, marked "Jim O'Hara - October 13, 2007" The Post-Standard
At Thursday's hearing, Judge Hurd ruled against the New York State Office of Court Administration ("OCA") attorneys' request that the entire case be dismissed. While closing certain aspects of Morin's claims, the Court ordered the continuance of the charges in which four state officials acted in their individual capacities to undermine her First Amendment free speech rights.
OCA - Office of Contrived Annihilation
Morin alleges that she was the target of a well-known OCA procedure- personal annihilation- which was thrust upon her when she refused to conspire with the judges, and which resulted in a storm of retaliatory acts, including assignments for vacationing clerks in far away places. And before the barrage began, Ms. Morin says, she was pointedly asked whether or not she was a "team player."
Legal experts note that since the counts against OCA were dismissed, the interesting question becomes whether the four individual defendants will be represented at the taxpayers' expense or whether they are going to have to dig into their own pockets to pay for their defense counsel.
One former federal prosecutor familiar with the Morin-Tormey case is not encouraged. "The court's ruling looks like a set-up to a quick burial," he says. "It's quite surprising, though, given the fact that the defendants could only have acted in their official capacity when they retaliated against the plaintiff by transferring her to far away offices, and by moving her to a window-less basement office with water leaking from an adjacent toilet." He believes an appeal to the 2nd Circuit, Court of Appeals in Manhattan would be appropriate- and successful.
A veteran court observer believes that OCA has already begun distancing itself from the biggest troublemakers within the court system, saying, "Ethics' Chief Counsel Cahill was pointed to the door recently and will be formally replaced any day; and it looks like Tormey and his cronies are being sent up the creek without a paddle- with no OCA protection." He quickly added, "No one at OCA wants a Federal Monitor put in place, and that's a real concern."
One insider, and who asked that her name be withheld, asked, "What about indemnification if Ms. Morin is ultimately successful? Do defendants Tormey, Voninski, Hedges and Dowling then sue OCA? That'll be interesting, she laughs."
The Need for a Federal Monitor
But while the plaintiff's attorneys continue with discovery against the defendants in their individual capacity, the retaliatory cloud of OCA-perfected-threats loom to any participants who would likely prefer not to be OCA's next target. The OCA handbook is clear: "You're next, if you say or do anything against the powers-that-be."
Federal Judge Hurd might bury another OCA atrocity, but he just may be the man to start the process of fixing the broken and abused state court system. While Justice Hurd has been at the federal courthouse for over 15 years, his vast knowledge of the New York court system's dysfunctionality goes back over 40 years.
"Judge Hurd is not happy about the falling level of integrity, and the nearly absent faith and trust, in New York's court system," says a former court clerk. "He knows how vicious some people at OCA can be, but he just might do something."
One Administrative Mess After Another
The majority of OCA complaints concerning corruption are found in just a handful of New York's 12 Judicial Districts. And the brazen continuance and acceptance of the improper activity begs for the appointment of federal monitor. Especially in light of the flat refusal by involved administrative judges to embrace the opportunity to clean up the corruption their own inaction or lack of oversight has fueled.
No one can recall any administrative judge ever publicly announcing ANY comprehensive plan to address any corruption under his or her authority. Is it any wonder why OCA's condition is now beyond critical- it is dead, impotent- a reckless, integrity-bankrupt $2.5 billion dollar disgrace.
As reported on this forum on Monday, June 11, 2007, the latest look at a New York State Judicial District administrative office, provided by the Morin filing, followed The Westchester Guardian report just a few weeks earlier that a criminal investigation was called for involving the alleged improper actions of Westchester County Surrogate Judge Anthony A. Scarpino and New York City Administrative Judge Jacqueline W. Silbermann.
Corruption is Very Time-Consuming
On the same day of the Morin-Tormey federal hearing in Utica, The New York Law Journal published "NY Judge Files Three Lawsuits Over Rivals' Endorsements By Minor Parties." The 9th Judicial District has also been on the "retaliatory" radar screen since a shake up last year involving allegations of rampant judicial steering and case interference by Administrative Judge Francis A. Nicolai.
** On October 11, 2007, this forum reported on the 9th Judicial District story, CLICK HERE FOR "Administrative Judge Nicolai Upset Election Can't Be Fixed."
** Also see our Thursday, September 20, 2007 story,
CLICK HERE FOR "Nostalgically, One Last Rigged Supreme Court Judge Election."
A month earlier, on Tuesday, September 11, 2007, this forum posted "3 Judges Covered Crony's 9/11 Donation Fraud." That story named 9th Judicial District Administrative Judge Francis Nicolai in furthering a cover up of over $100,000.00 stolen from American Red Cross 9/11 donations, and which subsequently resulted in a fraud against an insurance company that partially paid out on a submitted theft claim. It is alleged that an attorney from a White Plains, New York, law firm, McCarthy Fingar, filed fraudulent papers in that matter, and while various judges either looked the other way, remained silent or ordered questionable and obstructive directives to protect a political friend.
CLICK HERE TO SEE "3 Judges Covered Crony's 9/11 Donation Fraud."
It appears, for now, that one epicenter of court chaos is located in The Wild, Wild, West(chester), the seat of the five counties making up the 9th Judicial District. While we leave the full story to the upcoming federal indictments, here are some examples of how court business is conducted around White Plains:
** New Federal Pirro Probe – Jeanine Cost Westchester County Millions
Monday, March 19, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Friday, April 6, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
"Garson" - accurately describes the corruptive court chaos in the 2nd Judicial District.
Back at the Ranch
Returning to the 1st Judicial District, who can forget the $40 Million Dollar Judge who, it was recently revealed, allegedly misled then-Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman in obtaining a waiver of the rules so he would be named executor and trustee over 2 non-relative's estates and trusts. (Judge Lippman's successor, Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau is currently reviewing the matter.)
Incredibly, that Lippman/Ramos waiver includes "pre-approval" to be executor of the living widow's affairs. See our Wednesday, September 12, 2007, post, "40 Million Dollar Judge Silent on Judicial Pay Raise." CLICK HERE
New York Citizens to Feds: "Washington, We have a Problem"
We echo the view of the many viewers who have shouted, "Bring in the Feds." The New York State court system is broken-- paralyzed by abuse and corruption. The New York State court system needs a federal monitor. Ms. Morin, her attorneys and the Hon. David N. Hurd, sua sponte, could- and should, ask for one now.
** "One of the Few to Confront Corruption Flees Albany"
Sunday, September 9, 2007
…Remember the words of David Grandeau, "Ethics Matters."
** 40 Million Dollar Judge Has No Conflicts
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
…. Judge Ramos will not recuse himself……
** NYSE Grasso Langone Judge Gets $20 Million Sweetheart Deal
Thursday, July 26, 2007
…we were subsequently corrected: not $20 Million, but $40 Million….