PCRLN meets with Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board Concerning Unconstitutional Treatment and Dismissals of Meritorious Complaints of Judicial Misconduct

Through the efforts of Diane Gochin of the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network (PCRLN), the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board (JCB)  agreed to meet with her and Andy Ostrowski on June 7, 2013,  concerning petitions sent  to the JCB on behalf of a dozen  Pennsylvania citizens from across the Commonwealth,  concerning inaction and dismissal of meritorious complaints of judicial misconduct.  Diane had requested a joint meeting with the other Pennsylvanians who petitioned the JCB for action, but the Board agreed to meet only with her at this time.

Diane’s complaints of judicial misconduct are against two Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judges (one was a  petitioner in the recently-rejected challenge to the constitutionality of the mandatory retirement provision of Pennsylvania Constitution Article 5), over her divorce proceeding, which has been allowed to linger  for over 6 years without even getting to the issue of equitable distribution, despite Diane’s repeated efforts and requests.  The gravamen of her complaints is that these judges are favoring members of the  county bar association, and taking actions that are specifically intended to augment the amount of fees they are generating from her case,  to the detriment of Diane and her children.

During the meeting, which was with four members of the JCB, Diane very passionately, but very appropriately, described to the Board the ravaging effects that the judicial misconduct was having on the futures of her children, one of whom is disabled.   She was very adamant that the apparent abnegation of the functions of the Board, and their dismissal of complaints without any apparent consideration or deliberation whatsoever, was uniformly being experienced by the others with whom she has networked concerning these issues.  A repeated theme  conveyed throughout  her address to JCB,is  that this creating a crisis of confidence of all Pennsylvania citizens in the Courts of this Commonwealth.  In an open letter to the numerous others with whom she has united concerning pursuit of an open meeting with the JCB , Diane described her experience as follows:

Update the Petitions to the Judicial Conduct Board:  Although we had petitioned for an open forum with the Judicial Conduct Board (JCB), they would not provide that option at this time.  However, on June 7th, 2013 I was given the unusual, but very much appreciated opportunity to address [four] members of the JCB at their office in Harrisburg. The [four] members were the Chief Counsel Robert Graci, Superior Court Judge Ann Lazarus, [Elizabeth Flaherty,] and a non-attorney member- Mr. McLaughlin.  I was accompanied by Andy Ostrowski of the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network , a civil rights lawyer and advocate, with whom the Chief Counsel was familiar, but who was not allowed to address the Board members.  I was given a generous amount of time to present my cases, up to an hour and fifteen minutes, but wrapped it up in only 45 minutes.  While I did most of the talking, and the Board members declined to say much of anything, I did come away feeling I had enlightened them to the public discontent with the entire judicial system in Pennsylvania.  One comment by a Board member that I want to address was a very much expected one, and was made by Superior Court Judge Ann Lazarus. – She expressed her concern that I did not understand the authority and powers of the JCB.  The problem for the JCB is that we do understand, and I was very vocal in letting them know that the real problem is that they are not utilizing these power to protect the public.  Instead I stated that they are not doing their jobs, and that they have let the public down. The authority and powers invested in the JCB are being concealed  through intentional distortion of interpretations and misrepresentations of  laws,  by the collective conscious of the indoctrinating and  oppressive influence of the state and county bar associations. I want to assure all of you that I was adamant that they contact each of you who signed a petition and which were sitting on the table in front of them during my meeting.  I focused my diatribe not just on my own cases, but on the severe problems with the judicial process e.g. racketeering by protracting of cases to bleed assets, guardian ad litem and CPS scams, etc.  I  held back nothing and spoke to them candidly letting them know that they are directly responsible for the destruction of many families and lives- both economically and emotionally, because of their inaction and negligence.  I asked them if their children got to go to college- because that was stolen from my children by the courts; I asked them if they were enjoying their fancy houses and cars- things that were stolen from me, and from many people whom I have met over these last few years, trying to bring attention to the fact that this branch of government has been infiltrated by organized crime. One very positive result is that they invited me to resubmit my complaints against two judges- from 2009 and 2010.  I am working on revising them,  and hope to resubmit them early this week.  I will keep you updated on the outcome.  I am attaching two documents for you to read.  One is the 2011 recommendations of Pennsylvania for Modern Courts with which the Board has not complied; and the other is their internal operating procedures. It would be useful to you to familiarize yourself with these and with the Canons of Judicial Conduct, if you have not already, as the goal here is to have all of you receive a review of complaints that you previously had dismissed by the JCB, and for them to agree to an open public forum, with member of the state legislature.

Diane will be resubmitting her complaints, and we expect to be taking further actions in the near future to continue the efforts to petition the JCB to address the concerns of the many others who have been victims of “the system,” with specific proposals as to how to address and correct it.  We will, of course, keep you updated on all these efforts, and with information as to how you can participate.

Thank you.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Who is Mr. McLaughlin, the non-attorney former attorney? Who chose him, the gov? The public should chose the members of this sacred group.

    The conduct board is obliged by judicial canons to assure Pennsylvanians that our judges and lawyers are not playing ball with the law. Why did they fail to seek out Ms. Gochin in order to conduct an exhaustive interview with her? How can they sit back and wait for her to demand a meeting when she states publicly her confidence in the integrity of our courts is shattered? Why did she have to pursue a meeting with them, when they are responsible to satisfy the public that all is on the level?

    Either the canons count or chuck them. They were crafted to protect us, but they do they? They are brain teasers for creative daydreamers how to bypass them. They serve as hindrances, when ignored.

    Andy, are these people paid to be on the Board? How much? Don speaks out about just a few of the myriad violations that are destroying our trust that justice is available and he is suspended and fined? That is an outrage! That is the very heart of the canons. Don’t let anything, ANYTHING, harm the public’s perception in the fairness of the courts. Because, if that happens, democracy, our way of life, is in JEOPARDY.

    I don’t know anything about “the law” but even I can see their pants are down. I am really hot.

  2. Judges must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety

    let’s postpone all further judicial activity until we recognize that our judiciary is no longer a respected institution. let’s call a moratorium on the business of the courts. let’s start from here. let’s build a new justice system that inspires public trust. until trust is restored, nothing these boobs do will help. they are the only ones who just don’t get it. we want, we demand fairness. we are promised that not even the appearance of impropriety on the part of judges will be tolerated.

    Canon 2. Judges should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all their activities.

    A. Judges should respect and comply with the law and should conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

    B. Judges should not allow their family, social, or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. They should not lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others; nor should they convey or knowingly permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. Judges should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.

    Official Note

    Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. Judges must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. They must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. They must therefore accept restrictions on their conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.

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