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Monday, May 25, 2009

Corruption Putting Honest Judges in Danger

Threats to Judges, Prosecutors Soaring
Worried Court Personnel Resort To Guards, Identity Shields, Weapons
The Washington Post by Jerry Markon - May 25, 2009

Threats against the nation's judges and prosecutors have sharply increased, prompting hundreds to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals. Many federal judges are altering their routes to work, installing security systems at home, shielding their addresses by paying bills at the courthouse or refraining from registering to vote. Some even pack weapons on the bench. The problem has become so pronounced that a high-tech "threat management" center recently opened in Crystal City, where a staff of about 25 marshals and analysts monitor a 24-hour number for reporting threats, use sophisticated mapping software to track those being threatened and tap into a classified database linked to the FBI and CIA. "I live with a constant heightened sense of awareness," said John R. Adams, a federal judge in Ohio who began taking firearms classes after a federal judge's family was slain in Chicago and takes a pistol to the courthouse on weekends. "If I'm going to carry a firearm, I'd better know how to use it."

The threats and other harassing communications against federal court personnel have more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 to 1,278, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Worried federal officials blame disgruntled defendants whose anger is fueled by the Internet; terrorism and gang cases that bring more violent offenders into federal court; frustration at the economic crisis; and the rise of the "sovereign citizen" movement -- a loose collection of tax protesters, white supremacists and others who don't respect federal authority. Much of the concern was fueled by the slaying of U.S. District Judge Joan H. Lefkow's husband and mother in their Chicago home in 2005 and a rampage 11 days later by an Atlanta rape suspect, who killed a judge, the court stenographer and a deputy. Last year, several pipe bombs exploded outside the federal courthouse in San Diego, and a drug defendant wielding a razor blade briefly choked a federal prosecutor during sentencing in Brooklyn, N.Y. In March, a homicide suspect attacked a judge in a California courtroom and was shot to death by police.

"Judges today have dangerous jobs, and that danger has many dimensions," said David Sellers, a spokesman for the administrative office of the U.S. Courts. "They are worried about security and safety 24 hours a day." Although attacks on federal court personnel have not increased, the explosion of vitriolic threats has prompted a growing law enforcement crackdown aimed at preventing them. The U.S. Marshals Service, which protects judges and prosecutors, says several hundred require 24-hour guard for days, weeks or months at a time each year, depending on the case. "We have to make sure that every judge and prosecutor can go to work every day and carry out the rule of law,'' said Michael Prout, assistant director of judicial security for the marshals, who have trained hundreds of police and deputies to better protect local court officials, an effort that began last year with Northern Virginia and Maryland officers. "It's the core of our civil liberties,'' Prout said.

State court officials are seeing the same trend, although no numbers are available. "There's a higher level of anger, whether it's defendants or their families," said Timothy Fautsko, who coordinates security education for the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg and said threats are coming from violent offenders along with divorce, probate and other civil litigants. The threats are emerging in cases large and small, on the Internet, by telephone, in letters and in person. In the District, two men have pleaded not guilty to charges of vowing to kill a federal prosecutor and kidnap her adult son if she didn't drop a homicide investigation. The judge in the CIA leak case got threatening letters when he ordered Vice President Richard B. Cheney's former chief of staff to prison. A man near Richmond was charged with mailing threats to a prosecutor over three traffic offenses. The face of a federal judge in the District was put in a rifle's cross hairs on the Internet after he issued a controversial environmental ruling, judicial sources said.

Hundreds of threats cascaded into the chambers of John M. Roll, the chief U.S. district judge in Arizona, in February after he allowed a lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against a rancher to go forward. "They cursed him out, threatened to kill his family, said they'd come and take care of him. They really wanted him dead," said a law enforcement official who heard the calls -- which came from as far as Richmond and Baltimore -- but spoke on condition of anonymity because no one has been charged. David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal in Arizona, said deputies went online and found Roll's home address posted on a Web site containing threatening comments. They put the judge under 24-hour protection for about a month, guarding his home in a secluded area just outside Tucson, screening his mail and escorting him to court, to the gym and to Mass. "Some deputies went to church more in a week than they had in their lives," Gonzales said. Roll said that "any judge who goes through this knows it's a stressful situation" and that he and his family were grateful for the protection.

The stress nearly overcame Michael Cicconetti, a municipal court judge in Painesville, Ohio, after police played a tape for him of a defendant in a minor tax case plotting to blow up the judge's house. "I hear a man's voice talk about putting a bomb in the house, and another voice says, 'What if there are kids involved?' and the first man says, 'They're just collateral damage,' " the father of five recalled. Cicconetti evacuated his family for a terrifying week in which they were under guard and stayed at friends' houses. "I couldn't go to work for two weeks. I was too shaken up. I couldn't think," he said. For months, the judge was nervous every time a car drove by his home. His children were afraid to go to bed; their grades dropped. The judge now has a security system in his home -- and a stun gun within reach in court. Sibley Reynolds, a state court judge in Alabama who prosecutors said was threatened last year by the son of a defendant convicted of stealing about $3,000 from a humane shelter, packs the real thing -- a Colt automatic pistol. He keeps it under his robe, in his waistband. "I don't go anywhere without my security with me," Reynolds said.

Court officials could not say how often judges arm themselves. But the marshals have installed home security systems for most federal judges since the Lefkow incident, and many are removing their photos from court Web sites and shielding their home addresses. Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan in the District said judges who have handled terrorism matters are hesitant to travel to the Middle East, or to South America if they've had drug-trafficking cases. U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen in Chicago said he has "stopped even mentioning publicly that I have children. Normally, parents want to be visibly associated with their kids. Judges now think everything is on the Internet.'' The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policymaking arm headed by the Supreme Court chief justice, will soon distribute a DVD with security tips. It will be called Project 365, for security 365 days a year. "Judges today are far more security-conscious than they ever have been," said Henry E. Hudson, a federal judge in Richmond who is working on the DVD. "I don't think it's at the point where it's interfering with their judgment and dedication to their jobs.'' Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.


an historian said...

Ask yourself: thoughout history, what precedes a revolution? Yes, the corruption of law and order by corrupt people who improperly act under the color of law. It's not just here in New York, it is a national problem- involving all state and federal systems.

The public is rightfully angry. We just may have reached the boiling point. The next step is either correction or anarchy. Time will tell...

Anonymous said...

I vote for correction.. the stakes are high... and the time is now...

Anonymous said...

This is certainly a well timed article on a long running issue that should help Senator Sampson in his upcoming agenda
“To do away with the whole issue of the conspiracy theorists,”

Anonymous said...

And still no answer regarding the lawless Judges, Lawyers, LEO's, etc.....

Can they spare some lawful ones to take care of that cause and effect???

Anonymous said...

WOW..I can't believe what I'm reading in this article..This really scares me..What kind of world are we living in?

Sick of Government Elite said...

The Original Intent of the CJC

Article 6, § 22[a]of the NYS Constitution says:

The commission on judicial conduct shall receive, initiate, investigate and hear complaints with respect to the conduct, qualifications, fitness to perform or performance of official duties of any judge or justice of the unified court system, AND it may determine **** [a judges] conduct, on or off the bench,****

Judiciary Law § 44 echoes the constitutional rhetoric " Upon receipt of a complaint (a) the commission shall conduct an investigation of the complaint; but the statute also adds "(b) the commission may dismiss the complaint if it determines that the complaint on its face lacks merit"…..

The words 'shall' and 'may' are material. In fact, New York courts say that [w]hile the word "shall" is not always imperative "in the absence of ameliorating or qualifying language or showing of another purpose, the word "shall" is deemed to be mandatory.'

"where affirmative words in the provision of a statute are explicit and peremptory and used in contradistinction to permissive words in another section of the same statute, it will be deemed it was the intention of the legislature to make such section imperative"

As neither constitution or statute makes any exceptions or places limitations on which "conduct, qualifications, fitness to perform or performance of official duties of any judge or justice of the unified court system, on or off the bench,****shall be investigated, how does the Commission determine what lacks merit on it's face?

Here's a clue from the CJC website.

"[Our] objective is to enforce the obligation of judges to observe high standards of conduct*** "while safeguarding their right to decide cases independently.

Wow. Where did that second part come from? Isn't 'safeguarding decisional independence' the reason they have absolute judicial immunity?
How much safeguarding of judges rights is necessary? And where did this objective come from in the first place?

The website also advises " [a]t its meetings, the Commission reviews each new complaint of misconduct and makes an initial decision whether to investigate or dismiss the complaint.

Wow again. Insofar as both constitution and statute very clearly enunciates that " the commission *** shall receive, initiate, investigate and hear complaints ******* what gave the Commission the authority whether to investigate ****

Astonishingly, in its annual report the Commission discloses that of the nearly 40,000 complaints it has received since 1975, 81% were dismissed upon initial review.

I submit that the vast majority of these complaints are not so much about discretionary law as they are about their judges' 'in your face' defiance of established rule[s] of the law and the rights of the parties.

The CJC website says that" By offering a forum for citizens with conduct-related complaints, and by disciplining those judges who transgress ethical constraints, the Commission seeks to insure compliance with established standards of ethical judicial behavior, thereby promoting public confidence in the integrity and honor of the judiciary **

I don't buy it. Public confidence is not promoted by 81% dismissal rate. The problem is that "The Commission does not act as an appellate court. It does not review judicial decisions or alleged errors of law," is the Rule and not the exception. In the final analysis, WHO is safeguarding the People's rights to have their cases decided on the law, the first time, without having to incur the additional expense of appeal?

Anonymous said...

How can you dismiss a case if you don't take the complaint or ask what the specific charges are....John Postel....Rochester???

Because she was a female Administrator of the 8th Dist and he was the Chief of Courts outside of NYC...did you know they could never be found guilty?

You owe me left me stranded and unemployed...I want to know!

Also...Tim Fautsko...referenced above as chief of security for the national state court my first cousin. MAYBE I should have him check OCA's complete security setup and employees...what do you think Lippman? Is banning a citizen from all courts existing... legal??

Seems OCA cannot devise any laws to support banning public people from public buildings...or so they say in discovery...but they utilize the procedure anyway and with a few people they seem to be unable to name....but I can! It's definitely used for anyone OCA/ hacks seem to hate or fear for the sake of hating or fearing....all of which smells like massive abuse of power with an excellent situation for job removal, compounded with a serious need for imprisonment!

Look for an overview or investigation of the OCA power setup...of their uniformed security staff and their many political appointee commandos!

Anonymous said...

I dont know who wrote the above blog but s[he] indicates having been banned from public buildings. I would like to know more about that

Anonymous said...

What would you like to happened...I have the memos and OCA knows they sent them to all security(uniformed guards with weapons).... in all of the 8th judicial courts...where I never ever worked or even entered in 30 yrs!
They then said they did not do it( such blatant judicial liars)..even knowing I have possession, as do several others of 2 of these they denied(3rd) writing is missing....all stating....banned till further notice...which has yet to be granted) in addition to several conversations with their administrators throughout the past 5 years.... permitting me to go to court on specific days,(jury duty etc.) without ever stating I did not need permission to enter the courthouses.
All of this along with that paperwork, are the names of the employees who had to check with the Judge who gave the order and allowed me to be present in a public courthouse... which proves otherwise. I am still banned from all courthouses or risk arrest!
Anything else you need?

Correct 8th judicial district?

Anonymous said...

No. I dont NEED anything. I am only interested. The same thing happened to me.

Anonymous said...

BTW. Have you read the case of Scott Huminski ?

Anonymous said...

a friend mentioned seeing Mike Barnacle appear on tv recently who commented that if the Media Covered the COURTS as much as Sports the People would be UP in ARMS seeing what goes on in the system.

having practiced in upstate over 13 years and seeing what i am seeing in the "related" cases and at this blog i believe it.

often wake up thinking it was a bad dream and ended up in some facsist or stalinist type regime and more, even worse what has happened to children and families!

Anonymous said...

To the person who was banned from OCA courthouses as a member of the public or otherwise...would you please give your name and contact information to Frank Brady...I could use this for federal court summary judgment.... to prove even more so that OCA is lying in discovery, and has banned people outside of Buffalo City Court... in retaliation and with no purpose or legal right... and then denying that action to federal court in legal requests for discovery!

Did you know that OCA allows a convicted rapist( who used a gun) who did 15 yrs in Attica... to roam the courthouses..which he does have a right to do..but... because he lives with the chief clerk of that court for the past 19 yrs and her lack of knowledge and ethics does not comprehend that that freedom exists for all American people and not just her own family... has strongly assisted in drafting and demanding that order to ban me and 2 others from her discriminatory domain... while also acting as a long time gender bias member and advocate for rights for women and minorities?

Did you also know this woman had my male friend .. who she fired 6 months after me... and is my witness... followed by one assigned member of the court security staff for several hours at taxpayers that time they were sheriff's deputies...wherever he went, when he was there on business, including the bathroom...just 2 yrs ago...while OCA states in federal court discovery last month...they never ban or follow people ever, and they have nothing to supply to show that the state court system ever did or continues to do ....these courthouse Bans or personal security followings. Are they so blatantly arrogant to deny activity where we have names, dates and memos?

Add all the other murderers, rapists, thieves etc. that enter all the public areas in the courthouses all day long...and ask yourself how has OCA been able to get away with this specific crime of banning individuals whom they dislike, from courthouses they presume they own personally.... for all these years of the Kaye and Lippman Administrations??

Is it a lack of mirrors or deficient morals? Buffalo City Court and the 8th Judicial District should be at these meetings as defts... or a meeting should definitely be held in Buffalo NY...ASAP!

Blog Archive

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
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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