Having been declared unfit for Judicial Office in July, 1998, because, according to the per curium opinion, I put my own interests above that of society, lacked judicial temperament and violated the law, I remove my name from consideration to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
In addition to my having been declared legally incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial, along with allegations I was a domestic abuser, racist, sexist and insane, I would refuse to serve even if I were nominated and approved; the process would be too painful. I have been beaten and abused quite enough. Not tough or thick skinned, anymore. The establishment won. It destroyed my dreams, my legal and judicial career; took my Mother, home and place in the community; and ruined any chance I could do social justice, leaving the world better than I found it. Find someone else, Mr. President, I have been made quite miserable enough.
And, this time, during the interviews, when my removal came up, I would tell you honestly what I did and what I think of the Criminal Justice System, unrestrained by the hope I would have been reprimanded and put back on the bench when I kept my mouth shut and the hope I would get the exalted job on the Court.
Sadly, Judge Kaye just died and I never got to ask her if she read the record and really believed the finding that she based my removal on. Judge Lippman lives, as do Judge Ciparick and my erstwhile lawyer. One day, maybe I will find out what happened to me. 20 years, almost to the day, and, yes, I have not gotten over it and never will.
My qualifications, Mr. President, make me the ideal choice for the job. I would bring life experience to the interviews. When I raised the issue during my misconduct hearings, the Commissar ridiculed me for my “morning milk,” “legal realism” approach to the job. I was against mass incarceration, putting drug users in jail and exacting fines from those who had no money and no jobs. I refused to set silly bails asked by recently admitted with large law school debts ADAs reading off cue cards handed to them by Supervisors in lofty offices making more than I was, preferring to find alternatives based on community ties. But, alas, that caused me to be denominated as “anti-prosecutorial.” Now, who knows.
Twenty-five years ago, when I was still somebody, I met Justice Scalia at a Judge’s reception at New York County Lawyers. I was a NYC Criminal Court Judge, a Dinkin’s appointee, sitting in the Bronx, moving the calendar, deciding motions and conducting trials. I asked him, after introducing myself, if he thought that sitting in a trial court doing the work most judge do would have made him a better judge. The handlers gasped, as he sipped his wine and responded (don’t remember exactly due to my then anxiety and present aging brain, but close enough): “… don’t know how you do it. In a millisecond, you make a decision to admit or deny and then years later, I get a case which I discuss for 6 months with three of the smartest people to graduate from law school and decide whether you were right or wrong.”
In my legal career, I represented a couple of Bank Robbers. One, my first Federal case, resulted in a dismissal. My investigator, Sharon Duckman, believe it or not, and I timed the trip from the bank to where the alleged thief, my knuckle headed client, was arrested, and, argued, along with some other evidence, that he could not have covered the distance at rush hour. In another case, one which I acted as standby counsel didn’t end up the same way. My client, a man with a prior for the same charge, received a pack that blew up, covering him with orange sludge. Captured on video, the FBI agent who had previously arrested him, recognized his face and proceeded directly to his home. My client let him in, made a full confession and then either allowed the agent to search his house or they got a search warrant, I cannot remember which, leading to the discovery of the clothes, bank bag and some other detritus connecting him to the crime. Oh, did I mention a handwriting expert tied him to the demand note? I did the opening and the closing statements and cross-examined the agent. He represented himself, doing the rest. A jury convicted him. Sentenced to 20 or 30 years, he brought an ineffective assistance of counsel motion against me, arguing I didn’t ask the agent the questions he wanted asked.
I spoke with a few other bank robbers and may have represented one or two. They struck me as being different. Bold. Defiant. Fearless. One told me the drug of choice for bank robbers was coke, because you needed courage, even if falsely provided by drugs, to walk into a bank and demand money. Armed or not armed, the robber has to have a plan. The guys with the loot stand behind counters. People with guns guard them. Cameras record everything. Silent alarms notify the cops. Slick, direct and quick. Come in unobtrusively, make a demand, take the money and run. The robber has to have an entrance plan and an exit plan.
Read today that Dave Parker robbed a bank. Don’t care if he did it or didn’t do it. No one hurt physically. Sure some traumatic effects on the bank people. People who rob banks don’t think about such things. I wonder what they do think about? Can’t be that they will enjoy the money and live happily ever after. Maybe they do, who knows?
I got one idea. Getting cold out there. When you don’t have a place to live and you have drug and alcohol problems, in addition to a TBI, going to jail rather than a more serious and tragic alternative, could be an easy way out. Who knows? He deserves a fair trial and a just sentence. But it’s a drastic solution to a solvable problem.
Does he want you to vote or does he want you to vote for someone?
Larry Glen and Kevin couldn’t decide if the pieces which look like furniture were art. They had no trouble deciding that, on this cold day, it wasn’t a good idea to sit on either the sofa or the chair. Both are made of metal and it was 5 degrees.
I mean, what is art? The chair image ain’t the chair; it represents the chair, lacks the function of the chair, has its design, but it ain’t real. It must be art, eh? Too cold, though to talk with these connoisseurs about the topic. It was too cold to even have a camera; I shot with Canon S90, which I kept in my pocket where it fogged up.
Kevin came from Barre. “Don’t drink the water there,” I was told when we came to VT. He has stage 5 colon cancer. In town to go to the doctor and see his social worker, he hopes that Make a Wish will send him to Japan for his last fling to see amime and the life there. He don’t care about cold. He’s still alive. Go live, my man. You have courage.
Larry and Matt Sweet have a tent. No way these guys do the shelter thing; too many rules. Know how to camp in the tent. Keep out the drafts and cold air.
Joe knows some kids, maybe college kids, who let him sleep in a utility room. They give him beer, pot, and food. He offered me some of his pina colada. Not exactly a drink I would drink, assuming I would drink in the park on a day like this, even if I were thirsty or going through withdrawl. I associate pina coladas with warm weather and tropical breezes, not sub arctic cold.
Connor and Country. I cannot be sure. They were looking for someone or something, they thought.
Keith came out for tobacco. I could not see coming out for something to smoke. A hospital appointment, sure; you got nowhere to go or you don’t know where you are, sure; but tobacco …. What a country. We all get a vote, too.
Damn, it was cold. And the cold doesn’t usually bother me. Tomorrow, colder. Joe said only the really hard core would be out tomorrow. We will see.
Like Kristof in the NYT News of the Week in Review this Sunday, I have to wonder, or rather rethink my views on the First Amendment. Let’s edit that. I have to rethink my views on a lot of things. My experiences from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the first decade of the 21st Century have gotten so confusing that I don’t know what I really believe about a wide number of issues. Consider that a liberal rag, The New Republic, one which guided my ideology in my more formative years recognizes that Islam may be at odds with the Constitution. How about that, sports fans?