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What Becomes of Bad Lawyers?
The Shocking Lack of Ethical Oversight Over Lawyers and Judges in New York State
There is a story of critical importance in New York State which has received virtually no coverage in the press. It regards the so-called "judicial oversight committees" which exist to hold lawyers and judges to attorney ethical rules and judicial laws respectively. In New York State there are the divisional "Grievance Committees" and the "Commission on Judicial Conduct" (CJC).
The corruption in both of these bodies is absolute and flagrant, with not even an effort made at the appearance of legitimacy. Complaints against lawyers with "connections" (or cash on hand) are whitewashed. Lawyers who act against the connected ones are often sanctioned or disbarred - even if no complaint was brought against them. The huge fees some lawyers command is largely due to the impunity vested on them by the Grievance committees. If your lawyer can destroy evidence, perjure himself or intimidate your opponent with impunity, you have a much better chance of winning. Huge fees mean bigger bribes and so it goes in the Judicial circle jerk. Likewise, the CJC dismisses complaints against judges without any investigation or explanation. Judges who dare to challenge the system are punished. To compound the problem, no attorney will touch cases of alleged corruption against crooked attorneys or judges. They know this means professional suicide. There exists an affiliation of people, each with a story of abject corruption by the Grievance Committees and/or the CJC. Their complaints against these agencies are not about unfavorable decisions, but about the flagrant lack of and abuse of due process:
This affiliation includes:
**A woman who secretly videotaped her lawyer demanding “blow jobs” in return for special influence over Supreme Court judges. Despite the incontrovertible videotaped evidence, she has never been granted a hearing or investigation in four years.
**A woman who was an investigating attorney for the First Departmental Grievance Committee (DDC). Her job was to investigate complaints against lawyers and render a determination of guilt to her superiors. She discovered that her reports were being altered to reflect the opposite intent of her determination, and that her signature was forged on these decisions. In other words, her superiors were whitewashing certain complaints by changing the determination and crediting that false determination to this woman. When she complained, she was summarily fired by the DDC and with the approval of now Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. Her case is pending in Federal Court.
**A lawyer who was disbarred without due process because he stood up for his client against patently illegal acts by a judge upstate.
**A woman who is a survivor of Auschwitz, and the first complainant in the Holocaust restitution case against the Swiss banks. Removed from the case by her lawyer after she exposed graft and corruption by the lawyers and his colleagues. Fourteen Years without a hearing. There are countless other stories, each as egregious as the above, and each thoroughly backed by documented evidence. This is an important and eminently newsworthy story because there is hardly a citizen alive who has not been damaged by his own lawyer, or by dirty tricks of an opposing lawyer, and who has not asked "how can they get away with that?"
The problem is, when anybody attempts to fight back against the outrageous acts of lawyers they fall down the black hole of the disciplinary process. 99% give up. The people in this group were determined enough to keep pursuing justice, wherever it lead. What they found at the end of the rabbit hole is a cold, hard f**k you". A de-facto admission that the rules of law and due process do not apply here. The scale and depth of this corruption is staggering. The most disturbing revelation is that the new Chief Judge of New York State, Jonathan Lippman, is a lynchpin of the culture of corruption whose knowing participation is documented in numerous complaints. To change the status quo it is not necessary to rehabilitate each of the thousands of bad lawyers and judges in New York State- only to thoroughly overhaul the Grievance Committees and the Commission on Judicial Conduct. With effective oversight agencies there would at least be a deterrent to abuses. As it stands, there is none.