Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Justice Cardozo Ruled a Fool

Banished from solons’ many homes, I watch
Troops of scuffling scriveners crowd and plea.
The matters of the very poor they botch
And mutter to themselves their plaint: money.

My crime: insist a robed miscreant not
The matters of my many clients try.
Before him their dear interests can but rot
While his brother judges praise him high.

That judges judge a judge my foolish plea.
His crimes when done by others they condemn.
I interfered they said with just decrees,
A burden on lawyers who gifted him.

Gifts to the judge returned - Cardozo’s rule,
Now held to be the ravings of a fool

Thursday, September 23, 2010



"COOK, Richard Baldwin - Suspended for eighteen months by Consent for filing two motions to recuse the judge in a federal lawsuit for alleged misconduct which had no connection with his client’s case and for filing discovery requests in pursuit of this motion against individuals who were not parties to the lawsuit and who did not possess discoverable information. Respondent violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1 (meritorious claims and contentions), 4.4 (respect for rights of third persons), 8.4(a) (violation of Rules of Professional Conduct) and 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). There was no allegation or finding in the disciplinary proceeding before the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana that Respondent made any false statements about the federal judge in his motions to recuse or at any other time."

Couple questions:

1. Why ought it be  improper to complain about a corrupt judge? Why must an attorney demonstrate "a connection" between a dishonest judge's conduct and a client's case?

Even the required-connection principle ignores the fact that this judge presided in a matter effecting some 100 of my clients.

Why ought my clients or any other litigants be made to come before a court with a track record of departing from the FRCP to do favors for his pals and former law partners?

The finding that a lawyer can only come forward with a judicial ethics complaint when the questioned conduct involves that lawyer's case is a novel doctrine that has no precedence or, really, any point, except to penalize a lawyer for reporting judicial bad behavior.

2. It is common for attorney's to file discovery requests against individuals who are "not parties."

To have found these potential witnesses had no "discoverable information" is an assumption made without reference to the actual facts - the miscreant on the bench ordered that no information from them could be obtained.

To find this discovery attempt to be unethical belies the fact that I had been ordered to show cause why I should not be sanctioned by the miscreant judge.

It was both proper and essential that I discover information from the former managing partner of his old law firm, especially after the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council signaled it would do nothing to protect me from this judge, after he announced he was going to punish me for filing a (so-called) confidential judicial complaint.

At no time was my conduct improper.

What was improper - and ignored by the state judges in Louisiana, Hawaii and Maryland who have destroyed my legal career - was that a judge is not supposed to rule on discovery which is directed at his own finances and his own financial misconduct. Each and all of these judges simply ignore this stricture - which is binding upon their own conduct, and is probably the reason why they do not want to go anywhere close to the practice of gift-giving to judges by litigators who appear before them.

3. To rule that I violated various ethical strictures - while steadfastly refusing to do anything at all about my truthful complaints about the judge - belies a degree of cynicism, which ought to make the Louisiana, Hawaii and Maryland Judges embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

Of course, there is no chance of that. But questions remain:

Why do state court judges subject a lawyer to discipline for complaining about judicial misconduct - in a disciplinary proceeding which, by rule, cannot examine the conduct of a judge?

Why are state judges set on protecting a federal district judge from the consequences of his misbehavior?

Why do state judges shield well-connected lawyers, whose documented behavior demonstrates they gifted a federal judge? Is it because state court judges also benefit from lawyer-largesse?

Why do state judges refuse to forward "allegations" of judicial misconduct to a competent prosecutor before throwing a demonstrably honest attorney under the judicial bus?

4. It is worth repeating the final statement of the Maryland summary - out of the mouths of the Maryland judges' chosen guardians of legal ethics:

"There was no allegation or finding in the disciplinary proceeding before the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana that Respondent made any false statements about the federal judge in his motions to recuse or at any other time."

Only judges who are indifferent to the truth and hyper-protective of a miscreant on the bench, would make this statement - while banishing an attorney from the legal profession. Did I say "profession" ? I meant to say "club."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Who is worthy of greater public condemnation, a lawyer who exchanges sex for a controlled substance or a lawyer who complains, truthfully, about the misconduct of a federal judge? 

Well, what you think doesn't matter. What matters is what the judges think. 

In Maryland, the judiciary, by a large margin, prefers the sexual predator with a law license to the honest lawyer, who files a formal complaint about a judge.

The sexual predator get a little frown from the judges, while the honest lawyer, who complains about the misconduct of a federal judge, gets to pick another profession. 

Arguably (as lawyers like to say) a Maryland attorney ought never to lose his/her law license, for making a truthful complaint about a federal judge. 

Arguably. But honesty is not the big deal you might expect it to be to the Maryland judiciary.

An attorney who does complain - about a federal judge who (1) ignores procedural rules to benefit his former law partners (2) takes money gifts from litigators (3) violates the federal judicial complaint rules and the Canons of Judicial Ethics and (4) is in business with lawyers in his court - a lawyer who objects to all this ought to be protected - if not congratulated - for coming forward. Arguably, but never mind. 

The Judicial apparatus in Maryland did not like the fact that I complained - truthfully - about the misconduct of a federal judge. My punishment  - 18 months suspended law license.

In fact, my suspension amounts to a disbarment. I am not going to apologize to Chief Judge Bell for coming forward as I did. I am not going to promise, from now on, to look the other way.

Judge Bell ought to apologize to me and restore my license - after admitting that I was telling the truth about the federal judge. But that is not the way our judicial system works.  

Strict adherence to the factual record takes a back seat, in Maryland, to another judicial value: protection of a miscreant judicial colleague - a fellow jurist who ignores the ethical strictures that are supposed to protect the interests of petitioners and attorneys, alike.  

The judge about whom I complained ought to have been investigated and replaced. My clients should have been protected from such a "judge." But Judge Bell and his employees among the disciplinary counsel could not even bring themselves to admit I was telling the truth. That sort of truth-telling is an embarrassment to Judge Bell. 

Never mind. Experience is wisdom. I am now wise to the bright line rule that governs judicial complaints in Maryland: the judges cover for each other. They prefer to destroy the career of an officer of their own court, than admit that a federal judge is a miscreant who ignores his serious ethical obligations.

Never mind and beware. 

Beware the sexual predator who is allowed to hang on to his law license after a little bitty Oh My, from the be-robed solons who run the judiciary in Maryland.

In Maryland, a lawyer who forces himself sexually on someone in exchange for a controlled drug is viewed in a much kinder light than a lawyer who complains - truthfully - about a judge-on-the-take. 

The soft light glows ever softer the second time around; this attorney had been suspended "briefly" (Baltimore Sun May 18, 2010) once before for sexual misconduct with a client.  

The sort of lawyer - two-times a predator - who coerce sex-for-drugs earns a 60 day suspension. Then it's back to 'business' as usual in the Maryland courts.

Disgusting?  But as legal as can be. 

Get sex for drugs or have sexual contact with a client if you can. But if you are an officer of he court, don't complain about a judge. Then, you are really going to be in trouble with the other judges.

In Maryland, judicial ethics and legal ethics are like the game of limbo: how low can you go?  

(Also posted at MARYLAND, MY MARYLAND)