Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Shocking Lack of Ethical Oversight Over Lawyers and Judges

What Becomes of Bad Lawyers?

The Shocking Lack of Ethical Oversight
Over Lawyers and Judges in New York State
by William Galison

When Bernie Madoff was busted after ten years of blatant fraud involving tens of billions of dollars, law enforcement, financiers and journalists all threw up their hands and muttered "who knew?". Now we know who knew. The SEC, certain media and the FBI were tipped off time after time about this growing scandal, but nobody lifted a finger.

There is a scandal brewing that will dwarf the Madoff fiasco. It regards the so-called "judicial oversight committees" which exist to hold lawyers and judges to attorney ethical rules and judicial laws respectively. In New York State there are the divisional "Grievance Committees" and the "Commission on Judicial Conduct" (CJC).

We have now received information that Marc Dreier's misdeeds had been brought to the attention of the Grievance committee (DDC) years before his arrest, but that the complaints were "whitewashed". The Dreier case is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The amount of money and the numbers of lives affected by a rampant judiciary with no ethical restraints is virtually incalculable.

The corruption in both of these bodies is absolute and flagrant, with not even an effort to give the appearance of legitimacy. Complaints against lawyers with "connections" (or cash on hand) are brazenly whitewashed. Lawyers who act against the connected ones are often sanctioned or disbarred - even if no complaint was brought against them. The huge fees some lawyers command is largely due to the impunity vested on them by the Grievance committees. If your lawyer can destroy evidence, perjure himself or intimidate your opponent with impunity, you have a much better chance of winning. Lawyers who win more charge more. Lawyers who charge more can pay more, and so the circle turns.

Likewise, the CJC dismisses complaints against judges without any investigation or explanation. Judges who dare to challenge the system are punished.

To compound the problem, no attorney will touch cases of alleged corruption against crooked attorneys or judges. They know this means professional suicide.

I am associated with a group of about twenty people, each with a story of abject corruption by the Grievance Committees and/or the CJC. Our complaints against these agencies are not about unfavorable decisions, but about the flagrant lack of due process:

My colleagues include:

A female car accident victim who secretly videot aped her lawyer repeatedly demanding oral sex in return for special influence over Supreme Court judges. Despite the incontrovertible videotaped evidence (which is posted on Youtube), she has never been granted a hearing or investigation in four years.

An Investigating Attorney for the First Departmental Grievance Committee (DDC). Her job was to investigate complaints against lawyers and render a determination of guilt to her superiors. She discovered that her reports were being altered to reflect the opposite of her determination, and that her signature was forged on these decisions. In other words, her superiors were whitewashing certain complaints by changing the determination and crediting that false determination to her! When she complained, she was summarily fired by the DDC and with the approval of now Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. Her case is pending in Federal Court.

An attorney who was disbarred without due process because he stood up for his client against patently illegal acts by a judge upstate.

A survivor of Auschwitz, and the first complainant in the Holocaust restitution case against the Swiss banks. Removed from the case by her lawyer after she exposed graft and corruption by the lawyers and his colleagues. Fourteen Years without a hearing and continued oppression by the court.

Other colleagues include a 29-year veteran NYPD detective who worked at the Manhattan DA's office for years, a now retired NYPD police officer, numerous attorneys, teachers and other professionals from all walks of life. Each of the other stories is as compelling as those mentioned above, and all thoroughly backed by hard documented evidence. Each of these people and dozens more would welcome being interviewed (and investigated) by your program.

This story is of massive public interest because there is hardly a citizen alive who has not been “screwed” by his own attorney, by the dirty tricks of an opposing attorney , and who has not asked "how can they get away with that?".

The problem is, when anybody attempts to fight for justice against the outrageous acts of attorneys, they fall down the black hole of the disciplinary process. 99% give up. The people in our group were determined enough to keep pursuing justice, wherever it lead. What we found at the end of the rabbit hole is a cold, hard admission that the rules of law and due process do not apply here.

The scale and depth of this corruption is staggering. The most disturbing revelation is that the new Chief Judge of New York State, Jonathan Lippman, is a lynchpin of the culture of corruption whose knowing participation is documented in numerous complaints. These complaints, which were PENDING at the time of his confirmation were NOT MENTIONED to the full Senate when they voted on his confirmation. The CJC simply neglected to inform the Senate Judiciary committee that there were pending complaints.

This could be a blockbuster story for the right reporter and venue. The investigation and documentation are effectively done. All that is needed is a reporter smart, honest and brave enough to take on some very powerful bad guys. This story is HUGE and God only knows where it will lead. There will be threats and resistance by the invested powers, but exposing this mess could literally transform society, because judiciary act s affect every aspect of every life. It is not necessary to rehabilitate each of the thousands of bad lawyers and judges in New York State- only to thoroughly overhaul the Grievance Committees and the Commission on Judicial Conduct. With effective oversight agencies there would at least be a deterrent to abuses. As it stands, there is none.

Our groups faith in honest Government and the mainstream press has been shattered over the past five years, but I want to believe that there are still glowing embers of integrity and courage still smoldering somewhere in the media. We hope you are among them.

We look forward to your response.

Will Galison
917 517 7344

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Wil, thanks for throwing my name in as one of the victims of the DDC, CJC, and CJS.

    Freaking unbelievable how those governmental agencies created to protect the citizen are really there to protect the guilty.

    Glad you mentioned that this isn't really about an unfavorable opinion rendered by these agencies, it is really about being denied due process