It’s a long story, how I tried to resign as an attorney and they wouldn’t let me, and how they’ve tried – and so far succeeded – in covering it all up. Maybe it’s an important story, and not just for me. But let me begin by quoting from the seminal US Supreme Court case (Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 US 409) holding that prosecutors are “absolutely immune” from lawsuits holding them liable for constitutional violations, and I ask the reader to keep this in mind as we run through the numbers here:
We emphasize that the immunity of prosecutors from liability in suits under § 1983 does not leave the public powerless to deter misconduct or to punish that which occurs. This Court has never suggested that the policy considerations which compel civil immunity for certain governmental officials also place them beyond the reach of the criminal law. Even judges, cloaked with absolute civil immunity for centuries, could be punished criminally for willful deprivations of constitutional rights on the strength of 18 U. S. C. § 242, the criminal analog of § 1983. O’Shea v. Littleton, 414 U. S. 488, 503 (1974); cf. Gravel v. United States, 408 U. S. 606, 627 (1972). The prosecutor would fare no better for his willful acts. Moreover, a prosecutor stands perhaps unique, among officials whose acts could deprive persons of constitutional rights, in his amenability to professional discipline by an association of his peers. These checks undermine the argument that the imposition of civil liability is the only way to insure that prosecutors are mindful of the constitutional rights of persons accused of crime.
Emphasis, as we say, supplied.
Lawyers, including District Attorneys (in theory) are subject to professional discipline. In New York, that discipline is administered by the four Appellate Divisions, one of which – the Appellate Division, Fourth Department – is the very same court where all this Sephora Davis stuff was going on. And the Appellate Divisions also over see attorney admissions to practice. And they also receive attorney resignations and a panel of judges “rules” on attorney requests for resignation.
When last we left the Sephora Davis saga we had received our ridiculous and malevolent order from the Appellate Division dismissing our Prohibition proceeding, which meant that unless some miracle occurred Sephora Davis would be sent off to prison on January 3, 2007. That ridiculous order came down on December 22, 2006 and indeed Sephora was sent off to state prison on January 3rd 2007.
We have to back up in time a bit and follow a parallel story that has less to do with Sephora Davis and more to do with the apparatus that was (and still is) raping her and trying to kill her, meaning lawyers, judges, courts and their various official and unofficial appendages.
So it’s some months earlier, the spring of 2006 and I am having all kinds of problems with Judge Kohout down in Livingston County Court. To some extent one always runs into problems with judges while representing disfavored litigants and generally speaking you make the best of it and soldier on in the hopes of a half-way decent outcome for the client. But there are times you get on the wrong side of a judge and things just go south. There’s no way to finesse the situation and the judge is just determined to screw over you and your client and if they get in that mode there’s nothing you can do to stop them because they outrank you, other than appeal to some other judge that outranks them. Which you don’t like to have to do because, among other things, it overwhelmingly doesn’t work.
But maybe if you try something less formal, like a back channel thing, you can get past all this and do some good.
So there are these administrative positions that judges hold and one of them is “supervising judge for criminal courts in the seventh judicial district” and Livingston County is in the seventh judicial district. And at the time that position was held by Judge Patricia Marks of the Monroe County Court up in Rochester, which was better than trying to do anything down there in Geneseo where I was becoming increasingly unpopular. And although as a rule I don’t like judges, Judge Marks is an exception. One of the few.
Beyond that, it was common knowledge in the legal community in Rochester that Judge Marks had had some kind of run-in a few years earlier with the Livingston County District Attorney, Tom Moran, the same District Attorney that was prosecuting Sephora Davis. So while it’s too bad that such things happen, to me this was, you know, convenient under the circumstances.
So I asked Judge Marks if I could come and see her and she said yes and we had a meeting. And her law clerk, the young Joseph Valentino was there which was politically astute of her to have her law clerk there and now if they want to deny any of this happened I suppose they can. In any case, I told her about the problems I was having with Moran and this whole case. And then she tells me what her run-in with Moran was: she had basically caught him fabricating evidence. And then she related that subsequent to this run-in, she had encountered Moran at some political function where she was more or less obliged to shake his hand, and that when he shook her hand he squeezed it so hard she thought she was going to faint.
In other words, after she had caught him fabricating evidence he assaulted her.
And at the end of the meeting she recommends that I go to the Attorney Grievance Committee about Moran. Now at this point I had been practicing law for 17 years and had never gone to the Grievance Committee about another lawyer’s conduct. Ever. So I really didn’t like the idea but then I didn’t like Moran to be fabricating evidence and assaulting judges and trying to kill my client either. I did not know for a fact that he was fabricating evidence in the Sephora Davis matter at that point, although I suspected it. What I knew without doubt was that he was withholding a lot of evidence from me.
So I went to the Grievance Committee.
To be continued.