* * A Simple Solution Called J.A.I.L.
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California April 25, 2001A Simple Solution Called J.A.I.L.Although the following article was sent to J.A.I.L. by Ron Loeber, Lt.JIC, New York J.A.I.L. last January, it is still as true today as it was when written. Sorry for the delay, however we are under an avalanche of emails and it's only getting worse as J.A.I.L. continues to grow by geometric proportions. We don't complain about the growth, only about our inability to keep up with it.We're doing our best. Thanks for your patience Ron.-Barbie-Isn't all of this just more reason for a simple solution called J.A.I.L.?--Ron Loeber, valortoo@...the censure of Judge RecantBelow is the NY Law Journal report, sent to us by one of our JAILers, of the censure of a Manhattan Criminal Court Judge. Read it carefully. What do you think would happen to you or me if, in our dealings with persons appearing as government, we conducted ourselves in a manner that was "coercive" and against the law? When is the last time you coerced a judge or a cop... or your legislator?Below the NY Law Journal report is the direct link to the website of the Commission on Judicial Conduct's actual censure of Judge Recant. Please take the time to open the link and read carefully what it says. When you do, please take particular notice of the paragraph which says, "...the Administrator of the Commission, respondent and respondent's counsel entered into an Agreed Statement of Facts... stipulating that the Commission make its determination based upon the agreed facts, jointly that respondent be censured and waiving further submissions and oral argument". [Emphasis added]Look up "stipulation" in a law dictionary. Then look up "agreement" and other related "legal words". Then think about it. Didn't the accused (the judge) and our supposed watchdog (the Commission) admit to us that they entered into a contract for their own mutual benefit? Isn't that what they are telling us with their fine fancy words and the use of sophistry? What about all the facts upon which there was no agreement? Why didn't they try those facts? Didn't the accused, by contract, fix her own punishment? Or do we misunderstand and this is simply a case where not only do judges, and those protecting them, enjoy the Divine Right of Kings... but also have the Divine insight and wisdom of a Deity?If the Commission on Judicial Conduct only disciplines a judge for those facts upon which the judge agrees in a Complaint made by a citizen and does not pursue the facts upon which the judge and citizen disagree, then why does a judge agree to anything? Does any of this make sense? Anyone got any ideas?Well... the answer is real cute. We're not sure what the name of the game they are playing is called, but we have discovered some of the rules. Believe it or not, if a judge agrees with a factual allegation in a complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct but does not agree with the rest of factual allegations in the complaint, the case is closed with a slap on the hand and there is no appeal... BY ANYONE. Do you understand what we are saying folks? Do you understand the implications?Applying that same unique principal to history, if Butch Cassedy and the Sundance Kid had merely admitted to the fact that they were in a bank at the time it was robbed and the teller shot... they would have been okay. Think what someone could do with that who was absent integrity and honor. They wouldn't have to work for a living and their enemies would be dead.What do you think would have been the outcome if the people adjudicating the Complaint and making the decision were those who "...have attained to the age of thirty years, and have been nine years a citizen... and have been an inhabitant... for two years immediately prior to having his/her name drawn. Those not eligible... shall include elected and appointed officials, members of the State Bar, judges (active or retired), judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment, or parole from a conviction of a felonious crime against persons."Isn't all of this just more reason for a simple solution called J.A.I.L.?Ron Loeber, Lt.JICNew York JAIL4JudgesJudge Recant Censured for Abuse of Judicial Power
By Tom Perrotta ~ New York Law Journal ~ December 13, 2001
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Donna G. Recant was censured Wednesday by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for abuse of judicial power and attempting to coerce guilty pleas.
The commission said that in numerous cases in 1998 and 1999, Judge Recant, 45, "violated well-established ethical standards" and "acted in a manner that was coercive, discourteous and contrary to law." The commission also found that the judge had a private conversation with a prosecutor's supervisor and improperly dismissed attorneys from her courtroom. Judge Recant's attorneys, Michael S. Ross, a private practitioner, and Milton Mollen, of Herrick, Feinstein, said the judge would accept the commission's ruling. The attorneys said the judge had no further comment. The commission noted three instances in which Judge Recant tried to use bail to coerce defendants to plead guilty to crimes.
In one case, she set bail at $500 although the prosecution had not requested it. When the defendant's attorney objected and asked why the judge was setting bail, Judge Recant replied: "Because the way I see it is because he won't plea. That's why."
On another occasion, the judge called the supervisor of an assistant district attorney into her chambers and explained in private that the attorney had erred in the way he tried to introduce evidence into a case. The supervisor later asked the attorney how his case was going and arranged for a more experienced attorney to review some rules with him.
The supervisor did not tell the attorney about her conversation with the judge, and the commission found that the judge was not aware that the supervisor later approached the attorney. The attorney was later allowed to introduce evidence of a defendant's prior conviction.
Two times the judge ordered an attorney out of her courtroom, one time saying: "You're excused. Leave the courtroom as soon as we are done with this. Don't come back." The attorney, a member of the 18-B panel that represents indigent defendants, had declined a plea offer made to her client
because she said she had not been given enough time to consult with the client.
The commission illustrated Judge Recant's mistreatment of those who appeared in her courtroom by recounting a conversation she had with a defendant whose children were causing a disturbance. After telling the defendant that her courtroom was not a place for children, the judge told the defendant that she did not like the defendant's attitude, and said, "I don't want to hear anything out of your mouth."
When the woman objected to the judges language, the judge had her moved to the bench where prisoners were seated until the woman's lawyer arrived. The woman was handcuffed while sitting on the bench, but the commission said the judge did not witness the woman being handcuffed because she had gone to call the woman's lawyer.
The judge was also cited for her treatment of a defendant's mother, who was chewing gum in the courtroom. When the judge told the woman to "stop with the gum," a defense attorney told the judge that the woman did not speak English.
Judge Recant replied this was not her "problem," and that if the woman wanted to come to an American courtroom, she could learn to speak English or leave.
Judge Recant has had other altercations with defendants and defense attorneys that were not raised by the commission in its opinion. In April 1999, the judge sentenced a Legal Aid lawyer to 10 days in jail for contempt of court, after the lawyer failed to apologize for a rude remark. The lawyer was handcuffed to a bench for more than an hour and held in custody for four hours until the judge's sentence was stayed (NYLJ, April 5, 1999).
About 75 Legal Aid lawyers gathered in the judge's courtroom after the incident. A week later the Office of Court Administration began to investigate threatening remarks made about the judge by unidentified Legal Aid attorneys (NYLJ, April 12, 1999).
Judge Recant's term in the bench expires in December 2005. Seven members of the commission concurred on the censure ruling. One member did not participate and two others were not present for the proceeding. The finding marks the second time this week that the commission has reprimanded a judge. On Tuesday, the commission also recommended censure of Westchester Supreme Court Justice John P. DiBlasi.
Date Received: December 12, 2001