Who I Really Am

I’ve been operating this blog under a pseudonym.  As of today I’m identifying myself, because I’m going to try something new, although still related to the blog’s original purpose, that requires me to explain who I am.

Anonymity, or in this case pseudonymity, has its uses in public discourse, just like secrecy and deception have their uses in war.  Do the ends justify the means?  The usual answer is no.  Are there exceptions?  I think so.

We all have to decide for ourselves how much sin we can live with.

I have no illusions that the issues I’ve been dealing with will rise to the top of anyone’s list of things to do just because I start writing about them, with real names and in what we in the military used to call “real time”, on a blog, although more than that is involved here.

That said, and while it’s just my opinion so far, I think those issues should, at least for some people whose job it properly is.  Rise to the top of their list, that is.  I think the rule of law is important, not just for me and the people I represent or have represented, but for everyone.  And I also think that the rule of law in the United States, to the extent it still exists or there is any hope of its restoration, depends to some degree on the very specific problems I’ve been dealing with as a lawyer.  The rule of law is really everyone’s concern, but it is especially the concern of lawyers.  We support the continuing existence of the rule of law through the work that we do on the specific cases we take up.  Not every case implicates the rule of law in what you might call the larger sense; but some do.

The case I am going to describe, which yet has a ways to go before its conclusion, is a representative sample, and a particularly egregious example, of intractable problems, terrible problems experienced not just by me and my client but by many other lawyers and their clients.  And this class of problems is both deadly serious and dangerous for lawyers, but this is what we signed up for.  This is what we really signed up for, whether we realized it at the time or not.

Is trial ‘war’ for a lawyer?  No.  But it can be like war.  There is danger, including physical danger.  There are strategies and tactics.  These can involve deception and evasion.  Just like the outmatched combatant is more likely to rely on these tactics, so is the weaker litigant.  A direct confrontation between unequal forces has a predictable outcome.  Tactics and strategy dictate that the weaker force avoid such a confrontation in favor of better alternatives, even if those alternatives are unorthodox.

I have only represented weaker litigants.  In general, weaker litigants are individuals in a dispute with institutional entities.  In criminal cases that means the defendant, who is matched against the government.  In personal injury cases that means the Plaintiff, who is matched against an insurance company.

Litigation for weaker litigants is high risk economic activity for a lawyer, because while the risk of economic loss is high, professional obligations transcend economic concerns.  If you take that principle seriously – and I do, and every lawyer should – one case can pretty much financially ruin you.  And almost any case you take could turn out to be that one case, because there is almost always some uncertainty going in about just what is going to be required of you.

Such a case came into my office in 2004.

Let’s be clear about something.  Financial ruin is bad, but it’s not the worst thing that can happen to a human being.  And more importantly, financial ruin is not defeat.  It can lead to defeat.  It can look like defeat.  But it is not defeat.

My name is John Regan.  I graduated from Villanova Law School in 1988.  I passed the New York bar examination a couple months later and was admitted to practice in New York State in February, 1989.  I’m admitted in a number of federal courts, including the US Supreme Court.

I resigned as an attorney in New York in December of 2008, but my resignation was “rejected”, although I hasten to add that the purported rejection was not legitimate.  The reason I resigned was that the New York courts and the judges “serving” on them had made a frightful transition from the usual and run of the mill incompetence, bias, corruption, Machiavellian perfidy at one end and nearly inconceivable mental sloth at the other – all of which most any attorney will experience his share, as I certainly did over more than 15 years of practice – into overt, willful, intentional and serious criminal conduct.  I had and have no intention of going down this road with them, which is what I would be doing if I just continued on as an attorney, as if nothing had gone seriously wrong.  Respect for the rule of law, and for my own professional obligations, demanded my resignation, just as it demands what I have undertaken to do in the time since.

Just as it demands what I am doing now.

The victim of this official criminal conduct was a young woman I represented named Sephora Davis.  And by raping her violently, at knife point, and abusing their power to effectively attempt to murder her thereafter through provoking a suicide – not to mention concealing and lying and cheating every step of the way – the police, prosecutors and judges involved forced me, sworn to stand with her and against this malevolent and brutal official cruelty, into the position I am in today:  an impoverished and solitary refugee claimant in Canada.

There is an evidentiary hearing scheduled on my refugee claim in Toronto on September 29th beginning at 8:30 at which I will prove everything.  It is the first and only evidentiary hearing that has ever been held in the seven years that legal proceedings have been underway in relation to Sephora Davis:  in practical terms, no such hearing was possible anywhere in the United States because the United States will not permit hearings for victims of official criminal conduct if the officials succeed in charging their victim with a crime first, other than a trial of the victim herself.  Since the whole idea of getting their victim charged is precisely to put her in that disadvantaged position, it is incumbent on her attorney, whose basic job is to protect her rights to due process, to foil the efforts of the guilty officials.

On the surface, the hearing in Toronto on September 29th is about whether I will be able to remain in Canada as a refugee.  But it is also the trial of the judges and other officials involved in the Sephora Davis matter, at which they will have the opportunity to appear and defend themselves if they so choose.  Not that they will have any success if they do:  their guilt is a matter of official record and documentary proof.  If the facts matter, the hearing can have only one outcome.

It’s a shame that I’ve had to go to another country to get a hearing; but that, too, ought to be illuminating about just what has happened in – and to – the United States.

The plan is that there will be more on this.  Much more, though I am still dotting some i’s and crossing some t’s.

22 Comments

Filed under financial crisis, Judicial lying/cheating, Striking lawyers, wrongful convictions

22 responses to “Who I Really Am

  1. September 29th is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, or Michaelmas (and incidentally my birthday). I look forward to reading more on the Sephora Davis matter, and on your resignation from the New York bar, as I looked but was not able to find much about the case online other than an article you wrote summarizing the case and a short New York appellate opinion that is short on details but suggestive.
    I suspected before this post that you were the same John R. who commented as John R. at SJ in the past.
    Although I have far less experience of the law and its heartbreaks than you, I totally get what you mean when you say how just one case can break you. The very first case and trial of my career (a civil case) just about did that, and then the very first criminal trial of my career is doing it again. I feel unlucky like that. Losing even one criminal case for an innocent defendant is one too many, when we know it’s not cancer or a tornado or another force of nature stealing our client’s life but rather the very human malice of the humans who make up the criminal justice system (“colleagues” in a sense, fellow “professionals”) — the system of which we are conceived to be a part.

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    • You know I have to say John that I don’t think so much in terms of winning and losing. More in terms of truth and falsehood. Good and evil. I think of losing as a disaster, but not so much a disaster for me personally; rather like some disaster for the universe as a whole that it’s my job to stop, but I’d be just as happy if somebody else stopped it and it was their job. I just don’t want the disaster to happen at all. There is very little ego involved for me.

      Greenfield’s problem – well one of them anyway – is that he thinks in very egocentric terms in a very unselfconscious way. In other words his ego’s in play all the time without him even being aware of that. And he assumes other people are the same as he is and projects ego-centrism onto them, just as I do the reverse. Or did, for a long time. I have only recently developed any understanding at all of egocentric people. Professional males from big northeast cities are often of this type.

      Several have accused me of making “grand gestures”. That is perhaps what this would be if they did it. But I’m just following a line of reasoning and conduct to its conclusion and accepting what that entails, not seeking it out. I would far prefer to be on the golf course like any other man. I’m not the least bit inclined towards martyrdom. Greenfield has that entirely wrong.

      One cannot be too logical: as Chesterton noted, the problem with a madman is not that he is illogical; it’s that he is only logical. It’s logical to frantically brush off the giant spider; the problem is there is no giant spider.

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      • The post I put up on my blog today regarding Greenfield’s comments and Tony Serra is a hot mess. I’m still not sure what I meant to say by it. For the last few weeks I’ve been particularly short on my own thoughts and have been content to relay what others have written, as I’ve been in one of my reading modes. To expound on what you’ve just said, I think part of what I was trying to say through Serra’s words is that it’s conceivable that chucking the practice of law may become the logical thing for a person to do. That doesn’t mean one gives up on “justice.” Law, even criminal defense, may not be the highest of callings, as one of its greatest and most admirable practitioners, Serra, acknowledges by acknowledging that he is primarily driven by his own ego. I’ve toyed with the idea of finding another line of work ever since the five judges who own the criminal justice system in my state gratuitously perpetrated a grave and arbitrary injustice on a former client. But whether I’m a lawyer or not at the time, I will be there testifying truthfully at his post-conviction hearing. I don’t have to be a lawyer to do that. And your situation, and your commitment, sounds similar. I see that you used to be a naval officer. I quit the Naval Academy during my third year. I thought I had a higher calling. At the time, I still believed that war was a necessary evil, but I reflected that others very much wanted to do what I was doing, and that war is truly monumentally horrible, and therefore that while war may be a necessary evil I personally was not obligated to participate in it, since others were ready and willing — wanted — to do so. Criminal defense is similarly horrible. What makes the job worthwhile is the innocent defendant (and I interpret “innocence” very broadly here). To defend such a person is truly horrible. Perhaps the egocentrism of a Tony Serra actually makes him better suited for this job, for the same reason it is easier to lose a boxing match than it is to fumble the winning touchdown and therefore lose for the whole team, although even he said he used marijuana to take the edge off the bloodiness and death of his occupation. I was similarly struck by Vincent Bugliosi’s account of his ruminations while the jury was out in the Palmyra murder case. His thoughts were first and foremost for all the work he’d put into the trial and his reputation if he lost, and only secondarily for the fate of his client if he lost.

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        • A would be ring knocker. Unbelievable. You make it through plebe year and quit during the third? You didn’t see it through and get your Ensign-mobile?

          The ego-centric men – and they’re mostly men – are Mike Cernovich’s Alpha males. And Mike is right. They are very destructive sometimes, though I think they often don’t mean to be.

          Tom Moran is one of them.

          It would be better if we stayed in the profession and they left, frankly.

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          • In retrospect, there are few things I could have done with my life that would have been more immoral than to blindly and obediently kill on the orders of politicians, for the sake of “our” so-called “national interests.” I thank my lucky stars that I resigned from the Naval Academy. Self-defense is sometimes necessary. War is not.

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            • As I’ve gotten older I’m more in agreement with you overall; yet the Navy was such a big part of my personality formation I’m hard pressed to distance myself from it. The destroyer Navy in particular is very demanding and seems to imbue that stubborn devotion to duty quality.

              I once had to stay awake for about three days straight loading ammo from a supply ship in the middle of a hurricane, for example. True story.

              Those kinds of experiences change you. Maybe not entirely for the better, but isn’t there something to be said for making a sacrificial effort, even one that might be ultimately wrong headed?

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              • I totally understand. There were a lot of things I loved about the Navy. And my conviction that serving in the military is objectively immoral, a conviction which I didn’t hold until my 30s, does not constitute a blanket judgment towards those who serve. In large part I feel sorry for them, as I feel sorry for the kid I was who joined the Navy at 17, and who thought he was doing something noble and generous. What could be sadder and sorrier than to be put in a situation of kill or be killed, for nothing, and in fact less than nothing.

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  2. Pingback: Defending People » John M. Regan, Jr.’s Bad Beat

  3. bluebird

    It’s good to know you John Regan. I enjoy your blog immensely.

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  4. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I try to make it interesting and meaningful.

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  5. Norm Pattis

    John:

    I look forward to reading about this. Of course, you have opened yourself up to criticism that you are extreme, unhinged, etc. “Reasonable people” would do otherwise, etc. I am not so sure you should give a rat’s ass about reasonable people.

    Norm

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    • Hello Norm. Nice to see you over here.

      I didn’t and don’t expect to be festooned. I’m just going to put everything up and tell it as it happened. People can then decide for themselves whether I am unhinged or unreasonable, or others are.

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  6. bluebird

    Will some one be representing you at this hearing on September 29th? How have you been managing in Toronto (which is huge)?

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    • I’m too poor to afford a lawyer. And for that an other reasons I probably wouldn’t be a good client.

      I haven’t been managing too well in Toronto. Don’t have a steady job. Broke. Worked the clean up crew at the Rogers Centre a few times. I remember being very sore afterwards.

      I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes but people look at it and think there must be something wrong. And there is, but not with me. At least I don’t think so.

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  7. Pingback: Who Is "Atticus Finch" ? And Why Should We Care? | Koehler Law

  8. Judith St.Clair

    Criminal law is the HIGHEST calling. Maybe not for some sleazy private attorneys, and maybe not for the public defenders who don’t truly give a good g.d. About their clients … But to those of us who believe… I mean REALLY believe.. We choose the philosophy, the hope in justice, and the need to speak up and out for the PERsecuted. We choose this not because we are a less worthy barrister than others of you but because we can’t sit around believing in the right to a trial and the presumption of innocence, and because we can not sit on the sidelines and hope some brand new, green, unskilled p.d. is adequately protecting every citizens rights from the bottom up. Down here in the trenches … We fight! And we gladly suffer the absolute lack of any sort of a paycheck, the blatant disrespect and abasement from our fellow attorneys, the constant threats of violence and requests for a real attorney from the client we bust our balls protecting, and the default and garnishment of our ridiculously high student loans. So sorry for the tirade six months after the last comment, but my heart screamed when I read “criminal law may not be the highest calling” because to me……it’s the only calling at all.

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  9. Keith Petti

    I would love to converse with you about some disgusting behavior of Tom Moran and the Livingston Co justice system. If you are interested my email address is mrpetti@yahoo.com

    I recently retired as Dansville administrator. I battled with Tom on a couple of issues. [ed. note: comment abridged out of an abundance of caution which, though unusual around here, sometimes asserts itself.]

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    • Appreciate the comment. Although it may sometimes seem that way, this really isn’t a personal grudge match between me and Tom Moran. The problems leading to this atrocity are much bigger than him. It is, after all, the Solicitor General of the United States who argued before the Supreme Court in the 2009 case Pottawattamie County v. McGhee that there was no “free standing” right not to be “framed” by the government. That, at the very least, is as much a problem as prosecutors like Moran are. The implicit idea that somehow the only remedy for prosecutor misconduct of this magnitude is for prosecutors to be relied upon to restrain themselves should be seen for the fatuous proposition that it is. The natural check upon such misconduct is a far more vigorous adversary process (meaning, of course, the defense lawyer), and of course truly impartial judges. We dare not think of this as a pipe dream. Too many, on all sides of the system, think that way, though.

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  10. Steven T. Reczek

    John,
    I’ve followed your blogs. Keep it up.
    Steve

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  11. Rolf Rosendahl

    Great to hear there are still “ethical” concepts that lead to lawyers resigning after 15 years, I applaud. However, consider a non-member of the bar anywhere who instead learned the law while serving 15 years in prison for allegedly “growing” an ounce” of weed. All you have to do to see why a “jailhouse lawyer” who was wrongfully convicted comments on this site is go to Google and type Rosendahl v. Jeremiah Nixon, et al., and you can understand that question. I can’t even get a Work Study job at University of Missouri dumping trash cans and am now forced to quit school just short of graduation because I can’t pay rent and utilities and “maxed out” my financial aid this semester. I now live on Food Stamps and a prayer. And society always says: “get a job” you!!! There is an old saying: “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” All I want is any minimum wage part-time job as I have no place to move to but “the street” and being homeless holding a small cardboard sign is something I have done before going to college.

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