Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Harriet Miers and the Judiciary

I don't know that I can do anything to elucidate this mudsling-alooza over Harriet Miers and her judicial qualifications (if any). Suffice it to say that I have been growing increasingly very skeptical of late.

Having said this, it is noted that most Americans will be immediately affected not by the nine men and women who sit behind the bench in that classical Corinthian marble building across the street from the United States Capitol, but by the judges of the local trial courts located (often literally) on Main Street in the villages, towns and cities of our country.

Here are two contrasting examples of what is happening with the judges in the local nisi prius courts;

1. On 7 October 2005, the Kansas Supreme Court removed Judge George R. Robertson from the bench of the Kansas 28th Judicial District Court. His Dishonor had, for the better part of a year, been using courthouse computers on courthouse time to view pornographic websites.

2. On 18 March 2005, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct had to decide what to do about Judge Diane S. Lebedeff, who was up before it for giving preferential treatment to friends who appeared in a case before her. The Commission declined to remove Judge Lebedeff from the bench, but instead censured her. This was less than 18 months after the Commission had censured Judge Lebedeff for giving other friends preferential treatment in a prior case. Diane Lebedeff is still sitting on the bench, and if I ever appear before her I can be assured that I will not receive preferential treatment because I do not know her.

I would say that the Lebedeff matter speaks for itself, but that would be understatement. On 22 February 1996, the New York Law Journal featured a page one article entitled "Kaye Warns Judiciary is Threatened," in which it was reported that the top judge in New York, Court of Appeals Judge Judith S. Kaye, expressed "grave concern" that recent criticism of certain judges would have a chilling effect upon judicial independence and respect for the judiciary. Also appearing on the very same first page of the 22 February 1996 the New York Law Journal was an article entitled "Removal of Nassau County Judge Urged by Judicial Conduct Panel," detailing the recommended unbenching of Judge B. Marc Mogil for sending harassive anonymous faxes to an attorney with whom he had a personal vendetta.

The Lebedeff matter merely gave lie to the contention that the two contrasting articles on the front page of the 22 February 1996 New York Law Journal was a mere case of misfortuitous timing. In the almost ten years since, many more New York judges have sullied the bench with their misconduct. Indeed, within the past month, Judge David Gross of the Nassau County District Court has been suspended with pay after being indicted on money laundering charges.

Judge Kaye's concern about judicial independence is certainly quite valid, but how can she ever expect the public and the bar to respect the judiciary if, at any given time, one or more of her cadre of black-robed bench brats is in the process of acting up?

Without in any way detracting from the seriousness of this Harriet Miers thing, it is by no means the only issue imperiling the American judiciary.


  • At 08 January, 2006 19:05, Blogger patentgate said…

    Patentgate ~ I wonder if this recent concern of Proskauer in electronic evidence is a result of their attempt to suppress evidence against their firm in the matter of stolen patents from Iviewit technologies. The theft of the intellectual properties has led to court room requests for Proskauer to procure documents they have stored electronically and their refusal to submit such documents, case Palm Beach County, Proskauer Rose LLP v. Iviewit Holdings, Iviewit Technologies and Iviewit.com, Inc. It has also been uncovered that these corporations in this case were actually illegal set up by Proskauer to mirror their client, Iviewit's companies, in efforts to steal intellectual properties through an intricate artifice to defraud inventors and investors of their technologies. Further, Proskauer has converted these technologies by setting up an anticompetitive monopolistic patent pooling scheme commonly known as MPEG or MPEGLA, whereby Kenneth Rubenstein acted as counsel to Iviewit and then stole the technologies he was supposed to patent for Iviewit, to proliferate in his patent pool that he controls with Proskauer and others.

    The inventions were invented by Eliot Bernstein, Jude Rosario, Zackirul Shirajee and others and where Proskauer representing these inventors went about a series of frauds to steal them and monetize them through MPEG. The crimes are currently under investigation at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the attorneys are under investigation with the United States Patent & Trademark Office Office of Enrollment and Discipline which requlates corruption by federally approved patent attorneys registered with the USPTO. Other law firms such as Foley and Lardner are involved in the missapropriations.

    Read the entire story at http://www.iviewit.tv or the blog Patentgate at http://patentgate.blogspot.com .

    Proskauer partners Steven C. Krane, former President of the New York State Bar Association and Stephen Krane who is married to Chief Judge of the New York courts Judge Judith Kaye have also been implicated in attempting to derail Iviewit's legal efforts through undisclosed conflicts of interest and violations of Supreme Court offices in New York's bar association.


  • At 13 December, 2011 01:07, Blogger PoloniusMonk said…

    Your rant about Judge Lebedeff is absurd; you obviously have not read the commission's decision. She was censured for giving the appearance of impropriety, not for any actual misbehavior. I have appeared before her numerous times, and although I have very little respect for the NY judiciary in general, I have always found her both fair and polite. I'm not surprised that you would go off half-cocked about something you know nothing about since you describe yourself as a Republican, i.e., a champion of more wealth and power for the wealthy and powerful or the dupe of those who are. PS: I agree with you about Marty Glickman.

  • At 13 December, 2011 04:10, Blogger Expatriate Owl said…

    "[N]ot only did they lunch together and have private meetings and conversations in court, but on several occasions respondent specifically excused the other attorneys in the case so that she could “gossip” privately with Mr. Batra."

    Polonius, if a judge treats the parties and/or their counsel with any material disparity, then it is preferential treatment even if the ultimate ruling is in fact completely fair and just.

    I have served as an Arbitrator in Civil Court and in District Court, and, in such capacity, have had occasion to personally know some of the counsel standing before me.

    The mere appearance of favoritism is just as bad as actual favoritism.

    Familiarity with counsel does not, in and of itself, warrant recusal (though familiarity with their clients certainly does, and I have in fact recused myself in more than one such instance). But as long as the proceeding before the judge or arbitrator is pending, and the gavel has not hit the bench to close the matter, then each lawyer in the matter should be privy to all conversations between judge/arbitrator and any one lawyer on the case.

    Diane Lebedeff's conduct fell far short of that standard. She got off easy with a censure.

  • At 13 December, 2011 04:16, Blogger Expatriate Owl said…


    Because only a judiciary that is impartial in both fact and appearance can put an effective check on the power of the powerful.

    Ravi Batra, who had that private gossip session with Judge Lebedeff in her chambers, is far more rich and powerful than you or I.

    Which one of us is advocating for the extension of power for the rich and powerful?


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