Pennsylvania Attorney General Kane Won’t be Intimidated

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Kane

If you are not tuning in to Pennsylvania’s broadcast of their three-ring Judicial circus, you are really missing a great show.  They desperately continue to reach into their designer brief cases and pull out tricks – but they  are just not working.  As Attorney General Kathleen Kane stated “They can arrest me ten times” but she will continue to do her job.  Since her announcement of discovering  thousands of pornographic emails on State servers, Kane has been indicted  and has had her law license suspended – by senders of those emails.  She was arrested twice based on allegations by Frank Fina and Mark Costanza, former OAG prosecutors, who now work with Philadelphia DA Seth Williams. Many of these highly offensive and graphic emails were sent by them while they were investigating convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky.

The PA Supreme Court bench that suspended her law license included Justice Michael Eakin, who also is guilty of sending racist and graphic emails.  But that didn’t phase the General either, even after some of these characters called for her resignation.  The Judiciary is just a row of dominoes falling down one by one, after the General kicked the first tile.

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Who could have expected that  the first female and first Democrat Pennsylvania Attorney General would be spending most of her time busting our own Judicial Branch?  Then again she did run on a platform to expose corruption, but it seems that many citizens  are not able to recognize it now that its in front of their faces. Thus far, Justice Seamus McCaffery resigned last year, Eakin will mostly likely follow, retired Judge Feudale has been thrown onto the barbeque and Montgomery County Judge  William Carpenter, who presided over Kanes indictment- has become paranoid.  He stated during a hearing – that someone is following him.

 I have read just about every article that has been written, regarding the maelstrom that has developed around the Pennsylvania justice system. Even though the General has effectively  destroyed the credibility of scores of prosecutors, attorneys and government officials from the previous administration, the majority of regional newspapers are putting out very slanted stories in favor of the miscreants.   The average person is ignorant of the fact that our cable companies and media outlets are owned either directly or indirectly by these deviants that have infiltrated our government.   I can fully attest to the fact that the mess exposed by the General, was already known by an exclusive group of people like me, that have been struggling to break free of what can only be described as a judicial crime syndicate. Her courage and resolve have brought a measure of solace for the court system casualties,  by exposing to the nonbelievers that  justice in Pennsylvania has been nothing more than a myth for decades.

Having viewed the first released batch of graphic emails sent between judges and prosecutors, Kanes use of the term “offensive,” was an understatement.  They could only have been worse if they were videos instead of pictures.  But I do not believe that her goal was to show that these men who sent these emails, are perverts.  All men are perverts to some degree given the opportunity- its human nature.  That is not to say that their reputations and careers are not completely trashed.

The emails are just a tool; the General’s probable objective has been accomplished.  She has proven that given their responsibilities, these pillars of justice were just a little too cozy to be impartial in a court of law. The cordiality was completely missing in these communications.  Add the money that exchanges hands between most of them during election time, and you can completely eliminate any chance of due process, especially true if you come into their territory as a non-paying, non-club member and attempt to represent yourself.  I have witnessed and experienced this as  both a participant and a spectator at many hearings in Montgomery County Courts, which is also the venue of choice to try to railroad AG Kane.

Pennsylvania judges are now giving the performances of their lives in this three ring circus, with the General as the Ringmaster. They are jumping through hoops trying to weaken this woman of steel. The myriad of charges they have trumped up against her in their efforts to silence her,  are dwarfed in comparison to the 6000 emails being incrementally released.  With each batch, another judge falls off the bench and another public attorney crawls under their desk to conjure up another scheme against Kane.

With all of their brandishing that the Judiciary can police itself,  the General really hit the ball out of the park exposing how the Judicial Conduct Board (JCB) really operates.  Its been over five years since Judge Ciavarelli was convicted for abusing thousands of children in his court, in the Kids for Cash scandal.  While that caused a media frenzy, very little attention was paid as to who was responsible for allowing him to get away with it for almost  seven years. Rumor has it that about 40 different complaints were filed  by the families of those children,  while Joseph Massa, Esq was the Chief Counsel of the JCB.  Has anyone asked whatever happened to him?  He was quietly given an honorable discharge at a beautiful retirement party – no doubt with a sizable public pension. But since his disappearance, little has changed. The JCB is supposed to protect the public from judicial misconduct, but since they operate in secrecy there is no way to measure their effectiveness or integrity.

 His replacement, Robert Gaci, is continuing this tradition, and showing to be of the same caliber, with the handling of Justice Michael Eakin’s involvement in the email scandal. His Board found no wrongdoing, and has yet to address the failure of Eakin to recuse from the bench which decided to suspend Kanes law license, before she was convicted of breaking any laws.   In light of her having publicly released racist and graphic   emails sent by him, Eakin may have had just a slight conflict of interest.

The JCB  receives about seven to eight hundred complaints per year.  In 2013, only six cases received any attention.  When I say attention – I mean they get a letter in the mail that that they had been a bad boy or girl.  Only one judge that year is no longer on the bench. He got to resign and keep his pension.  With what we are seeing now in the initial attempt by the JCB to dismiss the complaint against  their crony, Justice Michael Eakin, is there any doubt how many of the other hundreds of complaints, that were dismissed, were actually valid?

My own case is a good example of JCB self-reaching. I filed several complaints between 2008 and 2012 were all dismissed.  However, the fourth one in 2013, happened to be one of those six that did result in an action. Although it was deemed as “dismissed”   by Chief Counsel Graci this time, the Defendant, Montgomery County Judge Kelly C. Wall is still on the bench.  She had failed to address very time sensitive motions for four years, and neglected to report it under Rule 703,  that judges are supposed to file every six months for late dispositions. She caused my family  great financial damage, but is still collecting her salary.  Wall did however, recuse “herself” a few weeks after I met with members of the JCB.  When asked if he was responsible for her removal, Graci stated he cannot comment on any actions the Board may have taken.   Through another channel I found out Wall  got  a letter of reprimand,  I got a dismissal letter and was told by Chief Counsel Graci, that they have no mechanisms for restitution.  Now I have   a new judge that is just as bad – and am in my ninth year still in family court.

Kane is using our modern day  tools – the ubiquitous emails – to expose that we have an entire branch of government that has gone awry.  While those of us in civil, and especially in family court, are waiting for our hero to appear,  so far the focus has only been on the criminal venues.   The condition of the Judiciary in the civil courts is  quantitatively, if not qualitatively just as bad.     But for the very observant, Kane is giving an enema to the entire system, while risking her own career.  Her  battles are very clearly  beginning to have  an effect outside her realm,  ironically again emerging first in Montgomery County.  Last week,  they proudly made an announcement that they are changing from an “attorney driven” to “court driven” judicial administration, while at the same time admitting they had a backlog of 5000  cases back to 1980. 

I found this admission a bit shocking.  Since when are courts “attorney driven?”    What this truly means for those of you that have been trapped in their clutches, is that they are sugar-coating what was really racketeering between judges and lawyers.  Because if they admitted to that, they might have to confiscate all the money that was extorted from you, used to buy their fancy houses and cars – and give it back to its rightful owners.  That is unless people are willing to form an army, march on the court houses and demand restitution.

While so many of us have been screaming into thin air, AG Kane has finally brought this all to the surface.  One Senator, Anthony Williams, has picked up a baton and demanded that Justice Eakin resign, and that we amend the State Constitution to separate the JCB from its marriage to  the Supreme Court. He is one of the few legislators who is not a lawyer, something we need more of.  I do not think the full immensity of this is finished rising to the surface, like pond scum after a storm.  Pennsylvania is going to be skimming the scum as it continues to surface for a long time.  The question is, how they are going to handle all the collateral damage?

Even though Kane has chosen not to run again for office, if there is a write-in option, I will be filling in her name. There hasn’t been so much affirmation on corruption since President Kennedy made his “secret society” speech. If only they had invented email in 1961.

Some Insight into Candidates for Pennsylvania Supreme Court

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2015 supreme court picks

There is  always going to be something you will not agree with for each candidate – that’s why it says these picks are the lesser of all the evils.  Only one thing will ensure justice in our courts – and that is very consistent and aggressive oversight  of all judges, so that they will fear for their jobs if they abuse their power.  In reality, they are merely public servants that are supposed to be applying the law as closely as possible to each case.  They have no power to make the law, but as we have seen that is exactly what they have been doing, especially in the lower courts, and that needs to stop. 

There is a saying that if you want to fix a problem in America, you do it by eliminating who profits from it. It’s a no brainer that if lawyers are focusing contributions  to a candidate for judge, they have their own self- interests in mind, however, there are other things to consider in choosing who to vote for the State Supreme Court.  

And it is not easy to find lawyer contributions thanks to Political Action Committees (PACs), often with names that sound like public interest groups. One PAC lining the pockets of the candidates’ campaigns was Committee for a Better Tomorrow. According to its own finance report, Committee for a Better Tomorrow receives most of its funds from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. During the latest reporting cycle, it gave $575,000 to Christine Donohue, $500,000 to Kevin Dougherty and $450,000 to David Wecht,  who are the three Democrats running for the Supreme Court. During the prior reporting cycle, the PAC gave each of those candidates $125,000 as well as $10,000 to Republican candidate  Judith Olsen.

The Committee for a Better Tomorrow also gave $450,000 to another PAC, Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform, which recently launched inappropriate negative campaign ads aimed at Paul Panepinto, (running as an Independent) and Michael George and Ann Covey, two of the Republican candidates. In the previous reporting cycle, Committee for a Better Tomorrow gave $150,000 to Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform.

The Coalition for People’s Property Rights, which is funded by businesses and some attorneys, made equal, but much smaller contributions.  According to the PAC’s campaign finance report, it gave $40,000 each to Republicans Ann Covey, and Michael A. George . Paul Panepinto is the only independent, non major party candidate, with the least funding, with Ann Covey and Michael George, all having less than half of the funding of Wecht, Dougherty, and Donahue. 

On the other hand, PCN broadcast a panel where the candidates were asked questions by local reporters, on October 26th.  With respect to that presentation, some of the best answers were given by Wecht, who is promoting video cameras in the court rooms, and was outspoken about inappropriate relationships between judges and lawyers.  Michael George was the only one with a sense of humor, the most spontaneous and came off as the most honest and sincere candidate. The other candidate that was appealing was Paul Panepinto, who formerly was a Republican, but could not get an endorsement.  He is running on a shoestring budget as an Independent. His answers were also very candid and critical of the current system that we all know needs a good cleansing.  Those are my three picks for Supreme Court- Wecht, George and Panepinto,  and it just so happens they are one Republican, one Democrat and an Independent. That was not a consideration in choosing them – it just worked out that way.  

A large influence on this decision came from watching the over hour-long video of the debate on PCN TV.  Ann Covey came off in the questioning as too austere, claiming she has never made an error in her rulings and had no major complaints regarding the current Judicial Conduct Board.  Christine Donahue had suspicious body language- she was the only candidate that had her hands under the table the entire time.  That may seem silly in picking a candidate – but in my mind it could also mean she is hiding something.  Donahue also seemed to have no problem with the current Judicial Conduct Board.  The rumor mill has it that Dougherty is heavily backed by the Zappala family – who were tied to the Kids for Cash scandal.

Watching the candidates perform  just enforced my initial impression of them from reading whatever came out in the media and in reviewing decisions they had written.  From my personal experience with the Superior Court – most of them are  not doing their job – and Donahue and Olsen are two Superior Court Judges. While Wecht is also on the Superior Court – he has written some decisions and made public statements that show he is willing to confront and change the current system. They all claimed they do not treat pro se litigants any differently, however not one has ever been given allocutor by the Supreme Court – at least not that I could find – in the last decade. It is not a surprise that there are no available statistics on the unrepresented in Superior Court. I do not recall any of them addressing the major mess of the family court system – and that was a big disappointment.