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Monday, January 7, 2008

Judge Suspended for Dual Role as Jurist and Lawyer (MORE, CLICK HERE)

I Object! I Sustain Me!: Local Judge Suspended for Dual Role as Jurist and Lawyer in Three Cases
New York Lawyer - News Watch - January 7, 2008
By Douglas S. Malan - The Connecticut Law Tribune

Richard J. Guliani's 16-year term as probate judge for the District of Portland included his handling three cases in which he served not only as judge but also as attorney. This conflict of interest earned Guliani a six-month suspension from practicing law, starting Dec. 10 and running through June 5.

Guliani admitted wrongdoing in August, nearly one year after he had served a 30-day suspension for failing to communicate with a client regarding an irrevocable trust worth more than $100,000.

His term as probate judge ended in January 2007 after he declined to seek re-election.

Judge James J. Lawlor, the state's probate court administrator, filed the grievance after Guliani's successor in Portland, Stephen E. Kinsella, discovered Guliani's unethical behavior when reviewing a matter involving the late Vincent W. Olson's estate, which remains open.

"It was a huge disappointment to me," Lawlor said. "We still have outstanding issues" because of Guliani's misconduct.

Kinsella found that in 1998, Guliani represented Olson's daughter, Shirley, who was executrix of the estate. Guliani granted the daughter real estate from her father's will without "a finding that it was in the best interests of the parties" involved, according to the determination of probable causeby the Middletown Judicial District grievance panel.

In the Olson case, Guliani ruled that his $15,000 in legal fees were "presumptively reasonable."

He based the figure on a fee schedule that stated the reasonable fee for the work he performed "would be an amount not more than 4.5 percent of the gross taxable estate."

"This schedule is used by some Probate Courts to determine if fiduciary and legal fees claimed in an estate are reasonable and not subject to further question or inquiry by a Probate Court," he explained to Olson in a November 1998 letter.

The local grievance panel also determined that Guliani used the probate court office for his own private practice. Letterhead for Guliani's law firm that he used in correspondence with Olson includes a telephone and fax number that connects to the probate court offices in Portland.

Lawlor also charged, and the grievance panel confirmed, that Guliani involved himself in two other files as both attorney and judge. These included an estate for which he improperly rescinded an admission of the will to probate and an estate for which he served as witness to a will and had a claim filed for $650 in legal services.

Guliani, who was admitted to the bar in 1977, did not respond to a message left on his answering machine seeking comment.

His disciplinary history includes three reprimands in 2004 for failing to pay fees associated with real estate closings and failing to respond to a grievance.

Guliani did not respond to Lawlor's complaint but did sign his name last August to the presentment order that led to his suspension.

Lawlor said recent legislation has empowered his office to remove cases to other judges if he determines it necessary, though he does not have the power to sanction judges.

"We have more ability to intercede and ensure that services are being delivered properly," Lawlor said.

Portland attorney George A. Law was appointed trustee for Guliani's clients. He filed a motion in late December asking the court for guidance in handling the matter because Guliani has failed to communicate or cooperate with him.


Anonymous said...

This is outrageous behavior by a judge. And this idiot did this for one reason: BECAUSE HE COULD GET AWAY IT !!!

Anonymous said...

I've been involved with New York and Connecticut estate proceedings. Both states are corrupt; it's all about the lawyers. Start putting some of these lawyers and judges in JAIL.

Anonymous said...

Section 3 of the Rules of the Court of Claims contradict the NYS Constitution!!!!!!!!

Acoording to Section 3, a judge of the Court of Claims is not allowed to serve as an arbiter in any other court.
The NYS Constitution, however, explicitely states that a Court of Claims judge can be appointed to the Supreme Court.

I know a corrupt judge (Robert Neary) who at the same time (Sep 2006 - Sep 2007) operated in both courts.

This is scandalous.

Check the references bellow:
Rules of NYS Court of Claims:
"Section 3. Prohibitions as to judges.
A judge shall not during his term of office practice the profession of law or act as referee in any action or proceeding in any court of this state. A judge shall not hold any other office or public trust to which any salary or compensation is attached and shall be subject to the same prohibitions as a justice of the supreme court."

Constitution of the NYS, ARTICLE VI, §26 b:
A judge of the court of claims may perform the duties of office
or hold court in any county and may be temporarily assigned to the
supreme court in any judicial district.

Anonymous said...

In ny the judges don't have to have outside work. They just get paid back by their lawyer friends by insuring thoose certain lawyers have HUGE billable hours, get good rulings, etc. It's criminal.

Anonymous said...

Something should be done to expose Patrick Carr and Anne Penachio both lawyers practicing in the White Plains Court who are in league with Justice Peter Rosato to destroy a large closely-knit Westchester family and have 91 yr. old widow declared incompetent so they can divide and conquer her estate and money. The hearings were a true mockery of justice in which Rosato presided like a fascist dictator and only allowed testimony from the Carr, a lawyer the widow fired months before and who therefore should never have been allowed to petition the court to find the widow incompetent - without any medical corroboration I should add. Rosato refused to hear any defense of the widow mounted by 4 attorneys representing the widow's family. Now the widow is at the mercy of Rosato's hand-picked guardian who is a stranger to the widow (against guardianship statute) and who is hostile to her family. The widow's huge family - 6 daughters, 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren are hindered from visiting the widow and the guardian has made it known that she wants to move the widow to a nurisng home even though the judge and guardian and other corrupt lawyer are aware that the widow has a loyal staff and 24 hour nurses' aides as well as a family that will always take care of her. Talk about thick as thieves!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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