May It Please the Court

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Richard Baldwin Cook, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 212 pages
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The writer has been deprived of his license to practice law in three states. The basis for these court orders was a confidential complaint made by the writer about the misconduct of a United States District Judge. The complaints included evidence, which pointed to the judge's financial ties to litigators with matters in his court. Nevertheless, the judge's misconduct was overlooked by supervising judges. The writer reviews the court order which drove him from the practice of law. "The point of all this," he concludes, "was to banish me from the legal profession, not to find the truth since bringing truth into the light of day would have been uncomfortable for" the judge. From the book: "Any professional regulatory authority empowered to deprive its members of their reputation and their ability to earn an income should be subject to the highest standards of objectivity and fairness. In the legal community, the opposite is the norm. The rules which govern the behavior of lawyers are explicitly intended to overlook complaints about the venal and self-interested behavior of the most powerful members of the profession. The judges make the rules and see to their own insulation from criticism, oversight and transparency in their dealings with persons interested in judicial outcomes. The judges take pains to block any examination of their off-the-books income streams. Those who are so incautious as to rely on the prescribed complaint rules and who come forward, confidentially, to object to obvious instances of be-robed venality are themselves subjected to the severest sanction." Consideration of salary increases for the judges should be put on hold, the writer asserts. Why? Better rules than the "bogus revised" ones are needed immediately. "In writing their own ethics rules, the judges have given themselves impunity to accept bribes." The writer offers prescriptive comments, including the text of a "Best Practices Declaration," which should be binding upon any who seek a position on the bench, local state or federal.

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The Judges on the Fifth Circuit just threw me away
I complained in confidence to the Judicial Council (another term for the Circuit Judges) about a federal district judge who (1) ignored the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure in order to benefit his old law firm, which had arranged for overseas travel for the judge (2) was taking partnership distributions while sitting on the bench - as I was told (3) was listed as landlord of the law firm while sitting on the federal bench (4) revealed to opposing council that I had filed a confidential complaint against him. There's more. But never mind. These callous circuit judges would not investigate an attorney's complaint about the serious misconduct of a district judge. They never were going to do this - when all they have to do is leave me exposed to the judge about whom I complained - who fined me $15,000 which bankrupted my solo practice. The judge then ordered that I apologize to him or be fined further - thus opening me up to prosecution by the Louisiana disciplinary council. Of course I was found guilty of violating the disciplinary rules - since both lawyers on the disciplinary committee were members of the organization that had been the conduit of the travel gift to the judge. 



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