Thursday, May 26, 2005

Lawyer Malpractice

Do you know personally anyone who has successfully sued a lawyer? Can you even find a lawyer willing to sue another one? You may be surprised how difficult that can be. Try (courtesy of ABA) your state bar association's referral service. See LAW.COM: there are many examples including this one of legal malpractice, but it is difficult for plaintiffs to prevail according to NJ malpractice lawyer Glenn Bergenfield, who actually published a few legal malpractice FAQs.

Now, think of medical malpractice, and ask the same question: Do you know personally anyone who has successfully sued an MD? Remember, undisclosed out-of-court settlements count as successes for LAWYERS and plaintiffs only. Can you even find a lawyer willing to sue an MD?
Unless you are a lawyer or a politician your answers are more likely to be "YES" here than in the former paragraph.

When would you say "Acts of God" are more likely to come into play, with the work of MDs or the work of lawyers? Regardless of your opinion on the death penalty, how often have we heard politicians, usually of the trial-lawyer governed party, the Dems., say that too many men on death row (any number greater than 1) are probably innocent? I stipulate that some have later been found innocent. Well, how did the jury and judge conclude their guilt? If MDs can be sued for malpractice when the outcome goes poorly for the patient, why do lawyers seem to be exempt when the outcome goes poorly for their clients?

Even Clinton's and Nixon's lawyers could not prevent their client's disbarment. Why did they not sue their lawyers, then? Are relationships with lawyers warmer and friendlier than patient relationships with MDs can professionaly get? I rather doubt that, although Nixon (NY) and Clinton (AK) probably relied on trusty friends to defend them. As long as lawyers continue to disproportionately dominate all three branches of our government meaningful regulation of lawyers, which increasingly is needed, will be unlikely.

MDs are regulated by malpractice threats and professional oversight. Lawyers now are subject to relatively nil malpractice threats and professional oversight that more and more merely excuses or condones their bad behavior. See KINGPINS Part II: Pablo Escobar or Members of the Bar, for examples. What can we do? Keep trial lawyers from elected offices other than judgeships, which the legal profession already and permanently owns (one whole branch of government). Our founders never intended 36% of the House and 53% of the Senate to be held by law school graduates.

I am independent: political corruption is not limited to one party, but one profession looks increasingly like it is perfecting a lock on our government from inside all three.

What Should We Have Expected from a Lawyer?

People who know me laugh about my general disdain for lawyers. If there is a choice, I will not vote for a lawyer (especially those who "hide" their law degrees and pretend another profession).

There are many very good lawyers, even a few of my blood relatives. Generally, we have far too many in the U.S. (more than 7 million in our workforce) and that is both parasitic to our economy and paralyzing to our culture. Put lawyers in the command and control loop, however, and we get a "woos" effect on our military. The enemy loves our lawyers and political correctness!

Read about the Navy’s unfortunate role (to wit) in the early Afghan war:As reported by The Los Angeles Times - When Air Force targeters in Afghanistan spotted a Taliban convoy near Kandahar they asked permission to strike. A Pentagon lawyer advised against it, fearing civilians might be killed. The convoy moved forward, allowing the Taliban to reinforce troops faced off against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.A week earlier, it was a lawyer, operating at the right hand of commanding Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who at first advised against firing a missile at a line of jeeps that intelligence officials believed was carrying Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. The lawyer feared the attack might violate a policy against assassinating a head of state.

Or, as reported by the Washington Post, Sunday, November 18, 2001 - As many as 10 times over the last six weeks, the Air Force believed it had top Taliban and al Qaeda members in its cross hairs in Afghanistan but was unable to receive clearance to fire in time to hit them, according to senior Air Force officials. And the ArabNews - The view of Air Force officials is that Franks frequently was swayed by the excessive doubts of his subordinate intelligence officers and his legal adviser. The Central Command’s top lawyer, or JAG—repeatedly refused to permit strikes even when the targets were unambiguously military in nature, an Air Force officer said. At one point in October, a Taliban military convoy was moving north to reinforce positions facing the front lines of the Northern Alliance, the Afghan rebel army. The JAG, Navy Capt. Shelly Young, declined to approve it on the grounds that ”it might be a trick,” the officer said. What was the Navy trying to prove? That lawyers are genderless? Capt. Young did what should have been expected by the Navy. What would Ann Coulter, also a lawyer, have done? I think we know...a better job.

Harvard Promotes Using Volunteer Attorneys as Prosecutors

This WISTV article is a good example of how fast we are regressing in blind acquiesence of our court system to the monopoly "ofthebar." In a well-intentioned move Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and The Council For Excellence In Government have recognized a program in South Carolina allowing volunteer attorneys to prosecute criminal domestic violence cases in local court jurisdictions lacking government prosecutors.

Currently, application is limited to cases that would have been prosecuted by the investigating police officer instead of a trained lawyer. Who knows what steps will be taken next to have foxes guarding the henhouse. Trusting trial attorneys to act in pure prosecutorial fashion (no influence peddling or kickbacks) is potentially disasterous for the state. More importantly, it desensitizes the public to the independence and conflict of interest required for the appearance of fairness.

Here Harvard has applauded SC's program as "innovative" and is considering awarding SC a grant. Read about South Carolina lawyers (#1) in my March 10, 2005 post under Kingpins Part II: Pablo Escobar or Members Ofthebar. Wow, appears to be a total breakdown of due process!

Lawyers as Parasites (Infestations Ofthebar and More)

More and more attorneys are joining their parasitic peers as their numbers increase (over 7 million in the U.S. alone according to or about 6% of our 125 Million workforce are law grads) and competition for jobs in politics, courts, government, industry (executives at all of the fortune 100 and every major insurance company), grant-recipients (not-for-profits), lobbyists, and litigators increases. Like the criminals they protect, such lawyers will do almost anything to reap dollars other than an honest day's work. These people did not attend law school to serve mankind (although oddly, some state Trial Lawyer's Association ads state they are there "To help you"). They want to live large withoutlifting a finger to produce like honest folk.

Kevin O'Hanlon did an AP report today "Lawsuits over disabled-access law unfounded, business owners say": Long story short, one judge is suggesting ..."a large number of ADA lawsuits are frivilous actions by a small number of disabled people and their lawyers." One litigant had filed 200 ADA lawsuits in just a few years, most of them using the same attorney. The suing paraplegic left the impression that he is a "professional pawn in a scheme to bilk attorney's fees" from those being sued. Another wheelchair-bound plaintiff brought 400 lawsuits since 1998, demanding up to $4,000 a day until the business is in "compliance." He then agrees to out of court cash settlements which include attorneys fees and more. When organized crime used such tactics, it was called "extortion," was illegal and prosecuted. Isn't it wonderful that the new capos of organized crime are attorneys, their shakedown schemes although extortive are not illegal and never prosecuted. You may want to read the earlier blog "Kingpins Part II - Pablo Escobar or Members Ofthe bar for examples of errant lawyer sentencing. What happened to the death penalty for drug kingpins? Have you noticed the increasing number of businesses conducted by convicts not smart enough to stay out of jail? Such businesses are very clever schemes to defraud elderly people (usually of their life savings). To my knowledge, lawyers have yet to be connected with one of their clever prison schemes. When it does (if it has) it will be covered up by a compliant media and condoning judges. Any sentence would be minimal (a "white collar" offense for lawyers) with probation most likely.

Ever noticed lawyers suing phyicians for malpractice if things do not go right? Do you think lawyers are ever sued for malpractice when things do not go just right? Ha ha! These are the nobles of America. They have created their own class of de facto exemptions. If you think we need more lawyers and lawyer-politicians, it is the best career choice for your children. A day of major reckoning is looming, however.With your help, all this will change.

Think twice before voting for a lawyer of either party. Corruption of the profession is widespread, self-serving and embodied in the U.S. political structure at every level. It got out of control when pensions for congressman became too attractive for the lazy to pass up.

Kingpins Part II: Pablo Escobar or Members Ofthebar?

The following examples are by no means exhaustive examples. Please do not get me wrong, I know we have many lawyers of impeccable integrity. Some are members of my own family.We need good, honest lawyers in this country. It looks like we have so many lawyers that the bad ones are creating a terrific PR headache for the others, both professionally and politically.

Suppose judges (politically appointed lawyers) like to think they are highly esteemed pinnacles of their chosen profession. (Not very hard to believe, is it?) Suppose public perception of the legal profession is regularly tarnished, however. Would judges lean toward leniency for rotten lawyers, if that helped control the PR damage? Here are some actual cases for you to consider:

# 1 No kingpins here? Ex-prosecutor, others plead guilty in SC drug case (Columbia-AP) Feb. 18, 2005 - South Carolina attorney general's office announced that three lawyers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine……..they can all complete their probation in two years if terms of their sentencing are met. A non-lawyer was named a fugitive in a related indictment carrying a 25-year sentence… (blog: Would lawyers who had already conspired to distribute cocaine also have conspired to testify against a non-lawyer for reduced sentences…)?

# 2 Definitely no Kingpin here? Ex-prosecutor's guilty plea caught State Bar unaware (Enric Volante, ARIZONA DAILY STAR) Arizona’s State Bar was unaware that attorney Lourdes Lopez had pleaded guilty to fraud until it learned about it from news reports Lopez resigned as prosecutor for Pima County Attorney's Office in August 2002. A federal judge dismissed the charges after Lopez got in no further trouble and complied with conditions in her plea agreement.

# 3 No Kingpin Even here? Ex-prosecutor faces 11 charges (LINDA FRIEDLIEB, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette April 12, 1997) A federal grand jury in Little Rock charged Dan Harmon, 52, of Benton, businessman Roger C. Walls of Sheridan and Sheridan attorney William A. Murphy with violating the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.According to the indictment "In reality, the defendants operated the Seventh Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's Office as a conduit to obtain monetary benefits to themselves and others, and to participate in and conceal criminal activities,''. Harmon faced one charge of racketeering, two of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride, four of conspiracy to extort money, two of conspiracy to manufacture drugs, one of witness tampering and one of retaliation against a witness.In 1999, U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner sentenced him to eight years in prison, ordered him to pay $16,000 in restitution to victims of two extortion schemes and fined him $25,000.

# 4 No Kingpin Even here? Indictment Charges Former Justice Official, Others With Racketeering Jun. 5, 1995 - The government charged three criminal defense lawyers, including a former, high-level, Justice Department official (Michael Abbell) and 56 others with being members of a racketeering enterprise and participating in the conspiracy that allegedly imported more than 220 tons of cocaine, a charge that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.The 161-page indictment also alleges that the three lawyers and three other lawyers who have previously pleaded guilty "prepared false affidavits, delivered drug money to pay legal fees and warned clients of pending charges." In addition, they were charged with helping to launder drug proceeds, hindering prosecutions, fabricating evidence, intimidating government witnesses, and revealing the identity of an informant who investigators say was later murdered by cartel hitman. Abbell was sentenced to 87 months' imprisonment.

Do you see any pattern of trial lawyer corruption and sentencing leniency yet?These lawyers did not see much either: Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick said in a statement that the attorneys' action in the case "goes far beyond zealous representation of a client."Senator John Kerry (D-MA) said only it was inappropriate for Abbell to be "providing expertise to major cocaine traffickers that he obtained while he was working for the U.S. Justice Department."Note: Criminal defense attorneys even complained that the last case highlights troubling breeches of attorney-client confidentiality by the government (Saundra Torry, "Defense Counselors Say Probe Attacks Lawyer-Client Relationship," Washington Post, June 6, 1995, p. A16). Is enough publicity given to cases when lawyers are caught? Could this be due to media bias and links to a certain political party that is lead by the “trial lawyer/criminal defense attorney” profession? Do punishments fit the crime? What would your punishment probably have been in each case? Does the legal system cut lawyers a “professional break? Are lawyers now to be treated as a special class of citizen? Lawyers in general have a duty to report unethical conduct. Whether they have to report on themselves is another question.

Of seven Democrats who participated in the recent "compromise" on the president's federal judge appointments, all are lawyers. That is significantly higher than the proportion of Senate Democrats as a total who are lawyers (66%).

For the Republican compromisers, 57% were lawyers also significantly higher than the overall proportion of Senate Republicans who are lawyers (40%). A notable member of the "Republic Seven" was previously the single, Republican member of the notorious "Keating Five". His crime, for which Democrat lawyer-politicians saved his butt with the other four (the Democratic party at the time controlled the Senate) raised mortgage rates for ordinary Americans for decades. Might he owe the Dems some favor?

The 14 tell us how they think of themselves as preservationists of a more "collegial" Senate. The statistics lead me to believe we should elect only lawyers to assure collegiality (as if that were a worthy goal by itself). Nor are voters so naive as to believe that the much publicized meetings of the 14 this time, have not secretly occurred at other times. In otherwords, the chicanery factor argues as strongly against election of lawyers to the U.S. Senate as the collegial factor (think of collegial as a codeword for public decorum through private extortion) argues for attorney exclusivity. Sooner or later, Americans must come to grips with those who, only one step removed from con-artists, have gradually subverted the formal separation of powers in the three branches of government through lawyerly collegiality.

Our government is dangerously close to de facto rule by one profession (class rule) that is more evil and corrupt than any racketeering influence or corrupt organization. -Vigilis

Monday, May 23, 2005

EARLY WARNING: Colonization of the Senate

Colonization of the Senate - Definition: Degradation of the constitutional system of checks and balances on the three, separated branches of government resulting from a single profession's dominance in both the U.S. Senate (lawyers comprise over half of all Senators) and the Federal Judiciary (where lawyers comprise 100%). Individual lawyers can be fine, upstanding people and some even make great, elected officials. The legal profession is also a necessity. The object of this warning is not to deny members of the legal establishment their opportunity to be elected to office, it is to declare the obvious threat to the intended checks and balances devised by this great nation's founders. Currently, the system of checks has been subverted by an imbalance of lawyers. Voters are urged to consider the merit of this warning and use their utmost selectivity before electing or re-electing lawyers of either party to the U.S. Senate. Like parasitic termite infestations, Colonization of the Senate carries serious perils. Lawyers in the Senate present especially unique threats to 'checks and balances' for four reasons. First, the legal profession is given naturally to "judge worship." The deference given judges by lawyers is natural for reasons of job security and career advancement; but it is also much higher than that of ordinary citizens or non-lawyer politicians. Secondly, federal judges are appointed lawyers, and those appointed for life become the epitome of ascendency in the legal profession. Thirdly, lawyers outnumber other professions in at least two of our three branches of government. Senators (6 year terms) hold sway over representatives (elected to only 2 year terms); over 30% of House members are also lawyers. Finally, many of the lawyer-Senators are former trial attorneys or litigators, meaning their professional ethic has allowed conning juries with plausible defenses to free the guilty, seeking minimum sentences for convicts (recidivism boosts lawyer employment as new crimes and trials require three lawyers -a judge, defense attorney and prosecutor). Litigators are often practiced in extortive "out-of-court" settlements and class actions that benefit no one as much as themselves. Unlike termites, Senators can only be exterminated (from office) once every six years. Consequently the legal profession is booming in America with 7,000,000 lawyers fully employed. Why does one country require 70% of the world's lawyers? Interesting, but that is not the point. Simply, the Senate's "collegial" power structure equates as lawyers with the power to make judges or be appointed for life play ball so they never have to go before the wrong judge. What a shame, but the cure for it has been mentioned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Who Are the U.S. Drug Kingpins?

Tell the truth. If old enough to have first heard the term "drug kingpin" in 1988, when Title 28 C.F.R. 26.3 became the law of our homeland, did you ever imagine that kingpins would be elusive foreignors instead of clandestine domestics? Had you ever heard of Pablo Escobar? Importation of any illegal commodity in heavy demand enriches domestic financiers. Who are they? Try to name even one. Their return on the underlying investment must beat bank rates, yet where does it go?A former prosecutor has written an interesting book about Jimmy Hoffa's murder (I Heard You Paint Houses, a 2004 best seller by Charles Brandt). You probably missed this book -it was trememdously overshadowed by last year's election cycle. Read it before Hollywood botches the movie. Find out not only who did Hoffa, but who did JFK and why. Heck, even learn why Ramsey Clark was appointed US Attorney General, forcing his Supreme Court Justice dad to step down due to the conflict of interest created. What a son he was! You will also hear confirmation of political links to organized crime and mob links to undercover U.S. operations. What you absolutely will not find out is who was issuing instructions to Russell Bufalino. Hint: not some mafioso in Sicily. Are you starting to form your big picture?Fast forward to 2005. Lawyers comprise 36% of the U.S. House and 53% of the Senate. (Why is it so difficult to find out who is a lawyer*?) We almost had two more lawyers as head of our Executive branch! Lawyers control a major political party and have stealth operatives in the other one. Don't forget...100% of the Supreme Court and the lower courts are already and ALWAYS lawyers. The U.S. electorate is not yet convinced that lawyers' access to power needs to be minimized due to conflict of interest. More on that, later...Question of the day: *Mike Taibi is a...a) journalistb) lawyerc) journalist and lawyerd) neithere) don't care (I 'm a Yellow-dog Democrat)Answer will be given later.Next Time: Pablo Escobar or Members Ofthebar?