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Saturday, April 24, 2010

NY Daily News: Make Justice Blind Again

Make justice blind again for New York's judiciary
The New York Daily News - OP-ED- by Victor A. Kovner - April 23, 2010

New York City's public campaign financing system has proven to be a model for the nation in regulating how money - in the form of campaign contributions to candidates - can distort the selection process of our elected officials. Unfortunately, the judiciary - where the nexus of money, politics and official performance is most corrosive to public confidence in the administration of justice - does not fall under its mandate. The Fund for Modern Courts is today issuing a report containing a proposal we believe would strengthen public confidence absent a broader reform of the judicial selection process. Modern Courts has long supported merit selection of judges at all levels of our multilayered judicial system. But currently, most judges in the Supreme and Civil Courts, among others, are chosen in elections where few voters know the candidates, and ethical obligations constrain the candidates from presenting more than their resumes and endorsements. And virtually the only contributors to judicial candidates, other than the candidates' personal assets, are lawyers, many of whom will then appear before those judges. That is not a recipe for justice and fairness.

Many judges run first in party primaries, prior to a general election against another party's candidate. State Supreme Court justices are nominated in party-controlled judicial conventions where partisan concerns trump quality concerns. Sometimes the same candidate is cross-endorsed on two or more party lines, making elections mere formalities. Moving to merit selection would require a lengthy process of state constitutional change, led by partisan officials who benefit from the current system. We cannot wait that long. Modern Courts wants the Administrative Board of the Courts to adopt a per se rule requiring judges to recuse themselves from cases in which any party - the defendant, plaintiff, any holder of more than 5% of the stock in one of the parties, any insurance company with an interest in the outcome, or the attorneys - has made contributions to the judge's campaign totaling $1,000 or more. This rule would avoid the kind of egregious behavior cited by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in Caperton vs. A.T. Massey Coal Co., which found that a judge on West Virginia's highest court should have recused himself in a case in which Massey's CEO independently spent $3 million to oppose a judge's reelection just as the company's appeal of a $50 million jury verdict was about to go before that court.

New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, is beyond that pressure since we ended direct election to that bench in 1978 and shifted to a merit appointive system. But principal entry-level judicial positions require contested elections in which candidates must raise and spend money to achieve office. This issue has gained urgency after the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, which held that the First Amendment prevents the government from limiting independent corporate and union expenditures in political campaigns, including judicial campaigns. As Associate Justice John Paul Stevens (pictured above) noted in his dissent, states cannot limit corporate contributions "even if they believe such limits to be critical to maintaining the integrity of their judicial systems." Modern Courts believes that requiring judges to recuse themselves when parties before them have made significant campaign contributions will avoid abuses and strengthen public confidence in the administration of justice. Kovner is the chair of the Fund for Modern Courts.


Anonymous said...

you can put all the laws and regulations in place that you want but remember that the lawyers are in charge and will figure a way around anything....they have made us, the citizens their subjects...a pox on all their houses...don't trust them at all.

T Finnan said...

The only thing NY Justice is blind to is the law, honor and decency. In the fantasy land of judges selected on merit with bar committees, we have the example of Chief Judge Lippman. If lawyers/bar associations pick judges, we'll get judges responsive to lawyers, instead of to politicians/parties, and not to the People. We need judicial retention elections every two years, with public reporting of all complaints (including acting in cases with questionable bias)to the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the outcome of such reports. More rules about conflicts would be ignored by higher courts covering for their brethren. Only the full light of public exposure and vote them out can work.

Eliot Bernstein Iviewit said...

Laws just or unjust may govern mens actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where and in a moment the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.: Sir Winston Churchill

So it appears time for the spark to ignite and burn the whole system down and from the ashes rebuild our nation from the tyrannous coup headed by lawyers, judges, prosecutors and politicians. All whom failed to uphold the Democracy when charged as gatekeepers, instead choosing to engorge themselves at the expense of the hard working People of this Nation whom they despise, in their delusions of inherited elitism. As always, sparks free at

Eliot I. Bernstein
MAD Inventor
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Anonymous said...

What about ETHICS? The illegal system responds "Hey, we don't need no stinkin ethics!" The appointment of Judges will only compound the CORRUPTION. The federal felon and disgraced former NYS Chief Judge Sol Wachler had worked on that scheme. The attorneys would love that since then they would control their complete game.

Iviewit / PatentGate / Eliot Bernstein said...

“Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. ~Louis D. Brandeis (American Supreme Court Justice, 1856-1941)

Anonymous said...

Look at Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. from Goshen New York in Orange County been protected by the Office of the Attorney General in New York State because her husband Patrick Lupinetti, Esq. used to work for the AG's Office in Rockland County as a ADA for Medicaid Fraud (2007). This criminal is been protected by the local DA in Orange County, by judges in the Goshen Family and Supreme Court in particurlar been protected by the Senior Judge. The Orange County and the local CPS refuses to investigated any cases of child porn, rape of a minor, the pandering of a minor and fraud involving Berncadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. I believe this pimp is been protected because she makes lots of mula for these ccriminals by selling children in child custody cases and who knows where else such as adoptions. Of course all of the allegations above and below including documentation and other evidence against this criminal have been ignored, set aside, burried under different index numbers and placed in the garbage. This intestinal blockage is been protected in order to used the court as a pedophilia ring, she has her own "forensic helpers" and more. Why is it that the FBI and ICE have not crack down on this criminal by investigating the Lupinettis' for racketerring and in particurlar Bernadette E. Lupinetti for trafficking of minor with the use of a United Stated Court of Law for sexual performances there is plenty of evidence against her in order to open every single case she has been involved and looking at the patterns of abuse and corruption of these human waste. SAVE THE AMERICAN CHILDREN FROM THE REIGN OF TERROR CREATED BY THESE CORRUPT OFFICER OF THE COURT.

Anonymous said...

Sources tell that a former and retired AG investigator by the name of Thomas Testo received formal complaints against Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. and failed to investigated and to present the documentation to indicted this rat.

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