A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

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THE JUDGE FROM HELL

I have to accomplish what I wish to accomplish on this subject in a series.

PART I

Bribery, a form of pecuniary corruption, is an act usually implying money or gift given that alters the behaviour of the recipient in ways not consistent with the duties of that person or in breach of law. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity. http://www.uslaw.com/us_law_dictionary/b/Bribery

 

There are codes of ethics and professional codes of responsibility providing standards for the conduct of attorneys and judges in every single state and territory of this country.

Discussions are long and tedious at times. There is case law on the books discussing every sentence contained n these codes.

Everyday life makes some decisions difficult to say the least.

Suppose you are a district judge and you are scheduled as the ‘night court judge’ for a few days. That is, you are the judge that the prosecutor must approach in the event that an emergency arises calling for a warrant or a temporary order.

What if the warrant or order involves a relative of yours? What if your clients of your old law firm?

Situations like the foregoing make for interesting discussions in some legal forum.

Other issues surround the nature of the beast; that is the structural problems inherent in any judicial system.

I mean the judge sees and acts in concert with the local DA every hour of every day. So to simply legislate that there shall never be ex parte contacts between a judge and the DA is ridiculous.

Yet to expound some silly ideal that a judge is somehow a neutral party in criminal proceedings defies the imagination.

It is The People vs. Smith, or State vs. Smith and the judge and the DA get their checks from the same taxpayer fund. And both the judge and the DA may even have to run for their respective offices seeking campaign contributions from various sources.

But this is a structural problem inherent in any judicial system; although the electoral process is not always present. That issue is being debated throughout this country.

So in any discussion concerning conflicts of interest it is important to understand that there are always conflicts of interest present in our judicial system. And just because a judge or DA appears to have a conflict of interest in any particular proceeding does not label that judge or attorney as a criminal.

The basic tenet involved in any conflict issue is the following:

The attorney shall avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of New Orleans was impeached by the House in March and a committee of 12 senators spent most of the last 10 days hearing 30 hours of testimony from 27 witnesses regarding the four articles of impeachment.

The proceedings included tales of a Las Vegas bachelor party, buckets of shrimp and other highlights of the often-sordid state of Louisiana politics. (Colleague Ann Gerhart brilliantly captured the scene last week.)

The Senate Impeachment Trial Committee, chaired by Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), plans to submit a full report on the proceedings to the full Senate by mid-November. Aides stress that the report will not recommend how the full Senate should vote, but will instead summarize the testimony and evidence for each senator to review.

Once the Senate is ready to debate and vote on the case, Porteous’s lawyers and members of the House of Representatives will make their closing arguments on the Senate floor. A conviction on just one of the articles is enough to remove Porteous from office

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/09/federal_judges_impeachment_tri.html

 

Porteous is a Federal Judge in Louisiana; appointed by–of all people–Bill Clinton.

In order to get rid of a Federal Judge who is appointed for life, the House must vote a Bill of Impeachment against a robed rogue and then the Senate must try the matter.

So in a sense both Houses of Congress must set aside their responsibilities to 320 million people in order to strip some prick of his office.

The House of Representatives has delivered the Bill of Impeachment by vote to the Senate and this coming week final arguments will be heard.

And it seems a certainty that Porteous will be out of a job and lose a lucrative pension.

Title 18, Chapter 11 Sections 201 et seq.

) Whoever—

(1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent—

(A) to influence any official act; or

(B) to influence such public official or person who has been selected to be a public official to commit or aid in committing, or collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or

(C) to induce such public official or such person who has been selected to be a public official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official or person;

(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:

(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;

(B) being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or

(C) being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person;

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/201.html

Committee that tried Porteous is now charged with providing an objective summary of the evidence so that the full Senate can decide his fate. But it will be a major challenge to find any favorable evidence to summarize. For Porteous, who hasn’t done a lick of work for the last two years, it will soon be bye-bye to a $174,000 salary, and he can forget about that fat pension.

His only faint hope is to persuade enough senators that, since the Justice Department declined to indict him, his antics do not amount to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution requires for removal. But politics may be just as important as constitutional exegesis in an impeachment trial, and it does not augur well for Porteous that four articles were unanimously approved in the House.

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2010/09/with_friends_like_judge_porteo.html

 

So what is the judge actually guilty of? Judge Proteous is guilty of taking bribes—plain and simple. The various links tell me that Judge Proteous has been engaged in this type of bribery for decades.  He was a state judge before his appointment by the Clinton Administration and he was taking bribes as a state judge.

And his defense to all these charges; to this despicable pattern of conduct? It is the Louisiana way.

AND IT APPEARS THAT JUDGE PROTEOUS IS NOT FACING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

I think what bothers me more about all this is this example of collateral damage:

Another thing about the impeachment trial and revelations of perks to Judge Porteous, it is perplexing for us who know about ongoing judicial improprieties which have nothing to do with Porteous, to see him being impeached, yet other miscreants – including lawyers and corporations who paid Porteous bribes, are continuing their business-as-usual offenses

http://newsblaze.com/story/20100922041842lawg.nb/topstory.html

 

I am going to end this with a discussion of Judge Porteous’ defense. He is claiming it is the way of things in Louisiana. It is the normal course of business in Louisiana.

And all I could think as I read these links and watched some of the Senate trial today on CSPAN, was this man’s mind set as he sat in judgment of others.

I cannot imagine a defense counsel in a gang drug bust standing up in front of this judge contending that the activity from which the charges arose were a result of normal volkskunde.  This is just the normal course of business in our area. This is just part of our cultural system.

Damn!!!

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Comments on: "CONFLICTS OF INTEREST" (9)

  1. It boggles the mind, Dickon, it truly does. That being said, I’m so glad we have someone with your knowledge here to make all of this clear as you bring it to light. I’m very grateful.

  2. In this case Dick, the line that has been crossed isn’t in the least bit fuzzy.

    However, we have evolved a federal system which routinely operates in an ever widening zone of fuzziness which excuses all manner of questionable conduct. In particular, the growing abuses of campaign finance, the associations it creates, and of the way some politicians manage those finances are an affront to fairness, ethical conduct and our legal system. It’s become painfully obvious that this has harmed the nation in ways which cannot be described as minor. In the collective, this is way worse than what any single judge could ever do.

    • Beyond comprehension. And every minute of every hour of every day, people are tried, convicted and imprisoned by these hypocrites.

      Boggles the mind!!

  3. another trope said:

    Sandra Day O’Conner was livid over the decision to allow corporations unlimited spending in elections because most judges have to run election campaign that are becoming like all elections increasingly expensive. So in all likelihood we can expect judges to become more and more beholden to the big wealhy donors just like the politicians.

    • We would have special sessions in court just for unlawful detainers. It was created so that one company could come in and kick the no good tenants out of their homes.

      I am sure there are sessions created in courts all over this great country to speed up mortgage foreclosure.

      The courts are able to ease the pain of our corporations; pains caused by those neer do wells we call citizens. ha

    • And Sandra Day was likely the only one of those Supremes in living memory who ever ran for office!

  4. “robed rogue” – now there’s a new term for many in the Vatican! Where conflicts of interest abound… but move along, nothing to see …

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