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Friday, July 4, 2008

Money-Laundering Judge Disbarred

Money-Laundering Judge Disbarred
New York Lawyer - July 3, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ In a move rare in Ohio and across the country, the state Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred a county judge accused of money laundering and other ethics violations. With the court's action, Highland County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Hoskins becomes the first sitting judge in modern judicial history in Ohio to be removed from the bench. Hoskins' misconduct "caused incalculable harm to the public perception of the judiciary and attorneys," a unanimous Supreme Court concluded. The high court's ruling said Hoskins engaged in a pattern of professional misconduct dating back a decade. The justices said that while Hoskins was serving on the bench, he deliberately concealed his involvement in a real estate purchase. He also illegally released a man from jail who was serving time for a sexual imposition conviction, the Supreme Court said. The court also concluded that during his years as an attorney in private practice, Hoskins made improper and unauthorized withdrawals of money from the estates of several relatives. The court permanently revoked Hoskins' license as an attorney and barred him for life from practicing law in Ohio. It based its decision on what it called a pattern of serious misconduct.

"His misconduct as both a judge and an attorney spanned a protracted period of over 10 years, with much of it occurring after respondent had become judge," the court said. "Clearly, these violations were not isolated incidents in an otherwise unblemished legal career." The court's decision followed the recommendation of the state Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, which rules on misconduct allegations brought against lawyers and judges. George Jonson, an attorney representing Hoskins, said he had no immediate comment Thursday. Hoskins is the first sitting judge in Ohio under the current disciplinary system to be disbarred, said Supreme Court spokesman Chris Davey. In two other cases in the past 15 years, judges were also disbarred but they had already been suspended from the bench because of the allegations against them. In one case, a judge had pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine. In another, the judge was convicted on six counts of extortion. The National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., said Thursday such disbarments are rare nationally.


Anonymous said...

It's ONLY a RARE MOVE because the jerks who oversee the ethics of judges and lawyers are mostly lawyers and judges themselves, or completely beholden and/or controlled by the insiders. Ever hear about the fox watching over the hen house?

Anonymous said...

THOMAS JEFFERSON said, "What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source: November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy, ed., 1939

Anonymous said...

One down and many more to go...

Anonymous said...

"His misconduct as both a judge and an attorney spanned a protracted period of over 10 years, with much of it occurring after respondent had become judge," - how many citizen did this sob hurt? how many people's lives did he destroy? bury him in sand and let the fire ants eat at him

Anonymous said...

Am I dreaming? Is this a nightmare? All of these JUDGES are breaking the law? I'm speechless!

Anonymous said...

He should have been a judge in NY.
Since January, there have been newspaper articles in Saratoga and Albany about the disgraced James A. Montagnino and his attempts to get the nomination to run for Judge in Saratoga.
In two recent newspaper publications, the infamous James A. Montagnino, who was booted out of Westchester for his unethical and illegal conduct and has now changed political parties (he suddenly has decided that being a Democrat is for him) is trying to recreate history as to his sorry past.
This makes at least the third time that Montagnino has said publically that there was (and still is as all the others are still there) case fixing going on in the Court's in Westchester. The first time he made this statement was on the front page of the New York Law Journal in 2006.
Yet despite these very public comments from a long-time insider, nothing has been done to bring these criminals to justice. Even Montagnino himself, who admits to his participation in fixing cases, has been allowed to continue in his position is deciding cases in the New York State Court System.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct has also facilitated this illegal conduct by specifically ignoring the evidence they were given as to Mongagnino's corrupt and illegal actions. They found that the evidence did not warrant an investigation.
What does it take to light a firecracker under their butts?

(link to article in Saratogian:

(link to The Westchester Guardian:
VOL.II NO. XXXXVIII (Thursday, July 03, 2008)

Westchester Courts Exposed!

Judge Candidate’s Startling Allegations About Westchester Courthouse

Editor’s Note: The following ‘White Paper’ statement by Court Attorney/Referee James Montagnino, candidate for Saratoga City Court Judge, originally forwarded to the Saratogian newspaper and published as a Reader’s View feature, is produced here with the author’s consent for the relevance of its claims with regard to the Westchester Courthouse.

By James Montagnino

I worked my way through law school as a mechanic and a truck driver. My legal career began 22 years ago in the Bronx D.A.’s Office, after which I served as an assistant D.A. in Westchester County. I prosecuted cases that ranged from DWI to the murder of a Yonkers police officer. Later, doing public defense work, I had the opportunity to see the other side of the justice system.

In 1995, I began my judicial career as principal law clerk to a county judge. Then, in 1999, I was asked to serve as a court attorney and referee in the matrimonial part in Westchester County. I presided over contested divorce cases for seven years from commencement to final judgment. I learned how difficult and challenging it is to make decisions that impact upon people’s lives. I also learned that with every ruling, a judge makes one temporary friend and one permanent enemy.

I saw the dark side of the downstate court system. Litigants with the right connections were able to get cases transferred away from judges who didn’t see things their way. On more than one occasion, a judge was even directed to change rulings that he had made because one of the parties had secretly contacted that judge’s superior to ask for a favor. With great reluctance, I did what I saw as my duty and reported this misconduct to the authorities in the court system.

“Litigants with the right connections were able to get cases transferred away from judges who didn’t see things their way. On more than one occasion, a judge was even directed to change rulings that he had made because one of the parties had secretly contacted that judge’s superior to ask for a favor.”
Within days of my complaint, some of the people involved in this “steering” and “fixing” of cases dug up a handful of litigants who were unhappy with rulings I had made. In retaliation for my having reported their wrongdoing, they tried to discredit me with claims of bias. After a full investigation, however, I was exonerated. As to my complaints of misconduct, they led to sweeping changes made in the way in which matrimonial cases were to be assigned and handled in the future.

I now work as a Court Attorney/Referee in the Supreme Court in the Capital District. My wife Nancy, whom I met and married in law school 22 years ago, is also an attorney. She now works with the mentally ill in the Adirondack Region. Our daughter Alexandra, 14, and our son Max, 11, are enjoying school here. Alex just completed a series of performances in a play at Caffe Lena, while Max is a patrol leader and first class scout in Troop 24.

My campaign committee will not seek or accept contributions from lawyers who practice in Saratoga. Instead, I am grateful for the support of people like former Mayor Valerie Keehn and the Skidmore Democrats, who have given this campaign their heartfelt endorsement.

I want to bring my years of judicial experience into service for our community. I believe that there’s no “small claim” when it’s your claim, there’s no “simple assault” when it’s your nose, and there’s no “petit larceny” when it’s your property.

Anonymous said...

CJC and OCA are acronyms that could not be more in LOVE! Never trust anything that has STATE OF NY before its name..they ALL protect each other.I know, I have dealt with many NY agencies, while investigating OCA, and what they all did was a sure collusion!

Anonymous said...

put rockets in all their pockets

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is wonderful. Our judges can be bought, like a bunch of neighborhood two-bit criminals. Wow, this is really great. This is not a good situation, obviously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring in the federal government when the state governments can't control their own affairs.

Anonymous said...

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. VOLTAIRE

Anonymous said...

some people in the judiciary are for sale and others are only for rent. Don't know about this bloke. Most people believe this goes on all over the country. I don't know of anyone who has a scintilla of faith or trust in any attorney or for that matter any Judge. They have to extract as much money from you as they possibly can, that's how they stay in business.

Anonymous said...

I remember when working as a court clerk and the judges found out that the citizens watch group was in the building...they would freak and insist that they be informed where they were in the courthouse at all times!
So to get to true accountability the simple way.... we should use strong citizen watch groups and the feds with their powers of warrant and warrantless wiretaps!
Guaranteed, these two groups will send all the slug judges, either into jail or private practice!
I know theses dresses hate, to have either group monitoring them!

Anonymous said...

this bum was a real MEAT eater as we say in NY if you know what I mean

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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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