Thursday, June 28, 2012

DDC Whistleblower Attorney Christine Anderson Is Back In Federal Court

NY Legal Ethics Scandal Whistleblower Back in Federal Court
Witness Tampering Brings NY Attorney Christine Anderson Back to Federal Court
An Ethics Rouser EXCLUSIVE by Abe King - June 27, 2012 
Widespread 'Ethics' Corruption Now Includes Threat on Witness in a Federal Proceeding

The Corruption at Manhattan's so-called 'Ethics' Oversight Committee is again before Federal District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. Christine Anderson, a New York attorney for nearly 30 years, filed her latest papers on June 25, 2012.  Anderson has requested that Judge Scheindlin reopen her case as details recently revealed in another federal proceeding showed that an Anderson witness was threatened. It was a federal crime to engage in witness tampering or to threaten a witness in a federal proceeding.

Recently, The Second Circuit Court of Appeals guided Anderson to the District Court:  "At a stated term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, in the City of New York, on the 11th day of May, two thousand twelve.
 Present:Chester J. Straub, Robert D. Sack, Gerard E. Lynch, Circuit Judges - FILED MAY 11, 2012 Appellant, pro se, moves to recall the mandate. Upon due consideration, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is DENIED. Appellant has not made a showing of exceptional circumstances that would entitle her to the requested relief.See British Int'l Ins. Co. Ltd. v. Seguros La Republica, S.A., 354 F.3d 120, 123 (2d Cir. 2003). Moreover, the argument in Appellant's motion, which relies on "newly discovered evidence," is more appropriately raised in a Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion filed in the district court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2); Standard Oil Co. of Cal. v. United States, 429 U.S. 17, 18-19 (1976) (holding that a party may pursue in the district court a Rule 60(b) motion to vacate a judgment that an appellate court has upheld, because the district court "is not flouting the mandate by acting on the motion" where "the appellate mandate relates to the record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with later events"); DeWeerth v. Baldinger, 38 F.3d 1266, 1270 (2d Cir. 1994) (interpreting Standard Oil to stand for the proposition that "a district court may consider a Rule 60(b) motion when 'later events' arise that were not previously considered by the appellate court")."


Many will argue that positive changes have come to the Manhattan legal ethics committee under First Department Presiding Justice Gonzalez and Chief Counsel Jorge Depico- both appointed after the Anderson scandal first went public. But long-standing questions remain unanswered: exactly how corrupt was the Manhattan attorney 'ethics' department,  why were serious ethics complaints involving  favored attorneys improperly whitewashed, and why hasn't any corrective action resulted. The widespread allegations of cover-up, favoritism and retaliation within and about Manhattan's 'ethics' oversight system were, in minute measure, secretly addressed, but public confidence in the legal ethics oversight body remains non-existent.

Endless Whitewashing

Attorney Anderson filed her federal lawsuit against The New York State Office of Court Administration on October 26, 2007, in The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The allegations by Christine Anderson, a respected insider, revealed a previously hidden look into systemic corruption within the statewide court system and, most horrifically, concerned the very body charged with overseeing ethics and integrity within the state's courts. The named defendants originally included The State of New York's Office of Court Administration (OCA), and the Hon. John Buckley, Thomas J. Cahill, Sherry K. Cohen, Catherine O'Hagen Wolfe and David Spokony- then all senior level state employees involved with the 1st Judicial Department's Departmental Disciplinary Committee (DDC), which is charged with overseeing the ethics of attorneys in The Bronx and Manhattan. The papers filed in federal court included, "Plaintiff requests the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee the day-to-day operations of the DDC for an indefinite period." Alan Friedberg, formerly the deputy counsel at the statewide Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC), became Chief Counsel at the DDC until pushed out, and has since returned to the CJC. Mr. Friedberg has himself become a lighting rod for corruption allegations along with his former, and now-again, associate Robert Tembeckjian who runs the statewide judicial 'ethics' group as Chief Counsel.

An October 30, 2007 article in the
 New York Law Journal by Daniel Wise described Anderson's firing, "... in retaliation for complaining that her superiors had engaged in a 'pattern and practice of whitewashing and routinely dismissing complaints against certain select attorneys'" and noted that Christine C. Anderson had worked for the disciplinary committee for six years. The article revealed that Ms. Anderson asked that a federal monitor be appointed to oversee the disciplinary committee's operations, and explained that, "In 2005, Ms. Anderson charged in her complaint, she discovered that the chief counsel of the disciplinary committee, Thomas J. Cahill, and Sherry K. Cohen, its first deputy counsel, were "apparently engaged in a 'numbers game' and practice" of "selectively" dismissing complaints against attorneys for their "own personal and political reasons." Sherry Cohen, now in private practice specializing in ethics, was also accused of digging her nails into Anderson's hands- an admitted event that led to Cohen's attendance in an appropriate anger management type program. The New York Law Journal also reported that that the first 'whitewash' alleged by Anderson involved 'a highly sensitive investigation,' which had uncovered 'overwhelming concrete evidence of misconduct' by an attorney. Cohen made the complaint disappear despite the recommendation that a formal complaint be filed against the lawyer.  Anderson also claimed that a large ethics complaint file containing "indisputable evidence of misconduct" had been 'gutted.'" And another incident involving Sherry Cohen saw a complaint whitewashed because Cohen said, "she had a prior 'working relationship' with the attorney for the lawyer under investigation and sought to avoid having his client formally charged 'as a favor.'"


No comments:

Post a Comment