Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network Project Proposal

  1. A clear detailed description of the Project, including particular outputs or products, any arguments and ideas the Project will put forth, and the need for the Project;

The outputs and products of this project are twofold:  1) it will provide a forum for individuals dealing with the courts to control their own access to information by setting up an alternative docketing system to bring publicity to their own cases in a form and manner outside of the control of the lawyers and the courts, and 2) it will establish an alternative media outlet focused specifically on the workings of the third branch of government.

There is no greater need in the modern American political and legal climate than for serious judicial reform, which includes reforms in the very nature of the practice of law, as well as the way that the courts are covered in the media.  The greatest obstacle that is faced in the modern political world is the courts, which, while a co-equal third branch of government, are largely run completely in secret.  The experiential background of this proposal comes from a civil rights practitioner in the Pennsylvania state and federal courts, and the real life experience of representing disenfranchised individuals who have tried to pursue their civil rights claims through the courts.

Currently, and for the past four years, I have been working on an organization I have developed, with the intention of turning it into a credible national civil rights organization, known as the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network.  The major themes of the effort are found at www.pennsylvaniacivilrightslawnetwork.com.  There have been thousands of individuals with whom I have been in contact through the network from all over the country who have had experiences with the courts that have brought them to me.  I continue to work with these people, and have received wide appreciation for my insights into the courts and insights into the difficulties with gaining access to justice.

When an individual experiences the interference with his or her civil rights, i.e., those “inherent, inalienable rights endowed by our creator,” there is a visceral reaction that strikes at the core of their humanity, and is very difficult, and almost impossible, to explain to others who have not shared such an experience.  These individuals come to the legal system feeling broken and abused, and have lost trust in their employers, police, and governments, and have been damaged and injured economically, often facing the very survival of their families, which they risked to do the right thing.

The courage that it takes to be a whistleblower or to stand up to official oppression or abuse is immense.  All-too often, when these injured and abused, courageous people come to the courts with the hope that they finally are going to get the vindication they deserve, they only end up suffering the same abuses, and face the same losses all over again, and walk away feeling doubly damaged and inured with all hope lost.  This is what motivated me to create the Pennsylvania Civil rights Law Network.

One of the key problems that I have noted, both as an active practitioner, and since, is the control that lawyers have over access to justice and how, despite the fact that there are many conscientious lawyers representing individuals across the country, lawyers are an oppressed group of professionals, and those who speak out against the system become targets for the disciplinary enforcement arms of these courts.  While in the past, attorneys performed valuable roles in policing the courts and judges, through the process of acculturation, driven largely by their selfish desires to maximize profits, and protect business interests, attorneys have failed to effectively ensure their clients fair access to justice.

The nature of the practice of law itself has caused the deterioration in the quality of fair and equal access to justice.  Lawyers are more concerned with maintaining their social status, and their ability to get “results” by gaining the favor of judges and other lawyers that the needs of the client are no longer their primary focus.  This may work in many cases, as in the case where a truly guilty client needs a favorable plea, or when a few more dollars are needed in a personal injury settlement, but it does not work when vindication of the core civil rights of an individual are involved, and it does not work when those lawyers need an advocate to fight against that very system.  While it is not this way in every case and with every lawyer, I have been around enough courts, and enough individuals who have come to me after years of abuse and mistreatment by other lawyers, who they have paid many thousands of dollars to, to know that there is a real problem with the quality of representation that people seeking justice get.

The fact is that the control that lawyers and bar associations have over the practice of law is a de facto monopoly that has become a good old boys club, and has enacted rules and practices to make lawyers a necessity, when, in reality, they are not.  Our courtrooms need to be opened up to private litigants, who are the most competent persons to handle their own legal problems, with the assistance of counsel and friends, particularly when it is their very lives and futures on the line, and their core human rights that have been violated.  They are not having their most basic rights adequately protected in the current climate.  Lawyers can be very competent, skilled, and effective, but they can be very unskilled and inept as well, and there is no reason that they need to have an exclusive monopoly on the practice of law.

Judges are almost universally former lawyers, who have come up through the system and been elected or appointed to their positions based upon the affinity of their fellow lawyers, who are the primary contributors to campaigns and supporters of their bids for judgeships.  As a result, the courtrooms have become bastions built up to protect and preserve the institution of the practice of law, and cases and litigants who present a threat to these collegial institutions are treated with hostility.  The very nature of the civil rights practice goes against these institutions, and involves the reality of government being corrupt and elected official and others in who we place our trust as American citizens doing bad things, and present threats to these very institutions.

Lawyers are products of these institutions, and, myself included, have a very hard time accepting that abusive and dishonest public servants exist in our world to the extent they do, and, when the abusiveness and dishonesty occurs in the courts themselves, which is our a co-equal third branch of government, the ability to accept and expose its existence is compounded.

This is due to a confluence of the following factors:  1) lawyers’ need to protect their own standing and financial status, 2) the subconscious need for lawyers to believe they are working in an honorable profession, and 3) the fact that the judges whose conduct has fallen short are the ones who have control over lawyers’ professional lives.  As a result, blind eyes are turned to obvious mistreatment, and psychological defenses are built up to not allow the conduct to be seen or accepted, and the individual litigants who experience it are ostracized and discounted, and justice in American courtrooms suffers greatly.

Over the past four years, in particular, I have witnessed the utter lack of access to courts that individual citizens have as what are called “pro se” litigants, i.e., individuals who choose to attempt to access the courts on their own, without high-priced lawyers who are acculturated products of the system, in order to gain justice in their own cases.  I have worked with numerous such people, courageous and talented people, and it is nothing short of tragic to see and hear about the abject abuses they have suffered through the courts, and the lawyers and judges who run them.

Lawyers and judges control the litigation process through obfuscation and legal chicanery, and the courts themselves conduct almost all of their functions in private, from deliberations to rule making, and, pertinent to this proposal, the media give the courts a free pass in many ways.  While many high profile cases of public importance get wide coverage, and decisions get discussed and debated, there is a real failure of the media in performing the proper policing function of the courts.

The foregoing is the basis for the first aspect of my proposal – a legal private docketing system where individuals can post their own documents in their own cases, and invite readers to view the specific aspects of their cases that reveal the true victimization they have suffered.

While modern courts boast of the access that the average citizen has or may have to their decisions by posting them in user friendly online dockets (for which excessive fees ore often charged), the court opinions that people read often do not resemble the actual facts of their cases; yet the public accepts what the courts say as a true representation of the facts of their cases, and people who get mistreated by the courts, or whose case is compromised by their lawyers, get a third victimization when they have to deal with the shame and humiliation for life of having not received the vindication to which they were entitled.  I have seen it many times.

The private docketing system will allow them to highlight the documents and arguments that they have made that have been discounted and neglected by the courts, and, through the networking aspect of the Civil Rights Law Network, to find other people who have had cases like theirs, and exchange ideas and even documents, so as to reduce the need to rely on lawyers to make the arguments they wish to make.  This will also involve use of the PCRLN youtube channel for publication of testimonial videos.

The second aspect of this proposal relates to an equally important part of the problem regarding access to justice – the failure of the media to provide adequate coverage of the courts in civil rights cases.  These cases often involve public corruption at high levels of state government, or large institutions, which, because of their size and reach, affect cultural climates all across the country, and the mistreatment that litigants receive in the courts often become part of the problem; yet, for institutional reasons, these cases never receive the full coverage in the mainstream press that they deserve.

It cannot be stressed enough how much control that the courts, and particularly the federal courts, have over setting cultural climates and allowing chrony politics to persist.  Almost every civil rights case of varying natures, involves one or more lying witnesses, without which the truth and justice of the cases would be clear; yet, due to political concerns and other agendas, they receive protection by the courts.  In the federal courts in Pennsylvania, there is a real reluctance of the courts to pierce these corrupt institutions, and the judges far-too-often act to protect their political friends and institutions, often lawyers protecting lawyers at all levels by turning a blind eye, over and over, to what are nothing short of perjurers.  One strong rebuke by a federal court could cause a sea change in these corrupt institutions, which, in itself, could serve an effective docket control purpose.

The average American citizen knows very little about the courts, and the vast majority of them never have any dealings with the courts.  What we all know about the courts, i.e., that they are “the best system of justice in the world,” as we learned in our formative years, becomes the lens through which the majority of people view the legal system, and there is a real, and very natural, prejudice, in favor of the system, i.e., people tend to accept what judges say as true and valid, and distrust and view with skepticism any real and valid criticism of the system.  An honest and aggressive media is essential to educating the public that our system does not always provide the quality of justice that we are lead to believe it does.

It is difficult enough for the average reporter who gets a story concerning a case involving issues of public corruption to understand and address the full import of the issues in these cases from a legal standpoint, and these difficulties are magnified when, as is often the case, there are suggestions of misconduct of the courts that all-too-often contribute to the injustice.  It is at this point that the control of the lawyers and the courts presents the obstacle to justice.

The editors who get these stories take them to the lawyers, and the lawyers’ licenses are controlled by the courts, and the newspapers often have legal problems of their own, and they, like most Americans, want to have politically friendly courts, and, as a result, these sensitive stories get scuttled.  These cases often only get media coverage if or when they are thrown out by the courts, in which case the only thing that gets reported is what the judges write in their sanitized opinions based upon their often jaded views of the cases, and the average John Q. Citizen either accepts these opinions as the only truth behind the story, or does not know enough about the workings of the courts to understand that what they read from the courts very often tells very little about the real case that has just been decided, and this, then, becomes the narrative of civil rights in the courts.

What has happened as a result of this dual failing – the lawyers failing to perform their policing function, and the media failing to perform its functions of ensuring openness, is that the courts themselves control the perceptions of their functions.

What is needed, and is already reflected in the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network site, and which will be further developed through the Pennsylvania Gazette, is an effective media outlet that has the courage, commitment, and understanding, to address these civil rights, and other court-related issues, with the depth and insights offered herein.  The Pennsylvania Gazette will be a news agency devoted to coverage of the third branch of our government.

2.  An explanation of how the Project builds on existing efforts or charts new terrain.

While there is starting to be a proliferation of websites from largely disgruntled litigants, there do not appear to be many, or any, with the unique focus, insight, and depth of coverage of the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network, as developed by this writer.  That effort centered largely on and around the civil rights practice of attorneys Don Bailey, and how he became a political target and victim due to his courage in both representing disenfranchised American citizens, and, quintessentially, the “little man” in their courageous battles against their governments and employers who violate their individual civil rights.

The site www.pennsylvaniacivilrightslawnetwork.com will be used as the platform from which our effort will be launched.  There is nothing that exists in our country that offers such a comprehensive and aggressive challenge to the legal institutions, including the monopoly that lawyers have on justice in America, and presents a credible alternative to, and check on, the way justice is administered.  It is my firm belief that in the years to come, the subject of this proposal could not just equalize access to justice, but could revolutionize the effectiveness and quality of its administration.

  1. A description of the Project’s expected impact and how you might measure it;

The guiding principle behind this project is that “sunlight is the greatest disinfectant” in the sense that, knowing what this writer knows about lawyers and the courts, the greatest impact that will be had in opening up access to justice for all is to shed light on the real nature of the problems, to put the people back on a par with the courts.  I intend to build into the docketing system specific statistics on handling pro se litigant cases, and measuring the success in civil rights litigation.  The courts do keep fairly detailed statistics on caseloads and types of cases (interestingly, lawyers in civil rights cases receive about 80% of the sanctions administered by federal courts), and these can be modified to provide specific measures of success and advancement in civil rights cases.

  1. A detailed account of how you will achieve your goals, including a communications and/or outreach strategy. Please describe the specific audiences you hope to reach, your reasons for focusing on them, and how you intend to influence them;

The outreach has been effectuated as much as possible under all the present circumstances.  There have been thousands of unique visitors to my site, with as many as 12000 views in some months.  I have a facebook page and twitter for the PCRLN, and many persons in the network who have volunteered some of their time and energies in helping me.  I have the domain for civilrightslawnetwork.com, and will use that to expand the network to each state by adding, for example a .ohio or .texas, etc. to the www.civilrightslawnetwork.com platform.  The Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network will be used as the template.  We will reach disadvantaged litigants, and the lawyers and courts, who will see and know that the people are taking control over their own access to the courts.

I also am a graduate of the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, and have worked with some students there as legal interns, largely on a volunteer basis, though it is difficult to find the best help available without being able to pay them.  My hope and desire, however, which I will continue to work toward, whether or not through the foundation, is to staff the PCRLN with law students and even lawyers who will work individually with litigants in helping with their cases.

  1. The reasons you are especially suited to carry out this Project;

I believe that my website and my videos speak for themselves in terms of the insights that I have into these issues, and that I am uniquely qualified, through experience, to deal with these issues.  I have been involved with many dozens of federal civil rights lawsuits representing clients across all socioeconomic strata, and, in every case, I have been out-resourced exponentially.  There are, of course, other attorneys across the country who have handled cases like I have handled, but what qualifies me uniquely is my commitment to the humanity of my clients and others with whom I deal.  I care about people individually, and have made my career out of service to the person, and not service to the dollar.  I have never turned a client away who needed help because they have not had money because I believe that the true commitment to justice requires selflessness.

  1. A description of how you expect the Project to fit into your career trajectory and future work;

This project, as should be clear from all of the foregoing, is my life, and I will accomplish what I am working on, and be a force for change in the civil rights landscape for years to come.

  1. A Project timeline;

One year would be sufficient to complete this project, and have it set up according to this proposal, with all reporting and a long-term relationship with others established.  I have gotten an extraordinary amount of work done, and established network connections over the past four years, and the past year, in particular.  There are many, many talented and resourceful people outside of the traditional legal system who are fully capable of understanding the legal system, and the travails of what it takes to correct and change it.

  1. An explanation of how you might engage with other projects, and how these interactions could add value both to these other projects and to your Project;

As I have said to many over the past four years, no matter what your issue is, be it race issues, green agenda issues, lgbt issues, banking issues, HOA issues, or any other issue, they all depend on a fair court in the end.  Whether or not any individual dealing with any of these issues ever ends up in a court, they all depend on a fair court.  I have seen from other projects that there is a central focus on the access to justice, and this proposal, and the understanding it brings, will be of tremendous benefit to many of the other projects I have reviewed.

9.  Estimated Fellowship Expenses in USD;

I estimate the expenses of building and marinating the website and databases, which includes the fees for the administrator and basic research, to be $15,000-$20,000 for one year.

10.  Any other relevant information.

The failings that have been generally discussed in this proposal are, in this writer’s view, the core reasons that our society does not progress in the area of civil rights and public corruption, and this proposal presents an innovative and unconventional approach to the most basic of open society challenges – one dealing with the openness of access to justice.

Don Bailey Hearing Transcripts

Don Bailey Disciplinary Hearing Transcripts

We post these transcripts with some reticence because there are certain contextual premises that need to be understood in terms of what a proper due process hearing is intended to encompass in our system of justice.  We also hope to bring them to you in more manageable form.  The premise that will be developed, from the standpoint of this site, is that, although shrinking from nothing factually, these transcripts can be relied upon for nothing as a basis upon which to deprive Mr. Bailey of his liberty and property rights in his chosen occupation.  These are “due process” issues, and have been addressed in the Bailey Docket, and which should have been addressed and resolved prior to ever convening a proper hearing.  There was no reason not to, and these transcripts will be further broken down and studied in that regard, an effort which we had hoped to do by now.

These hearing transcripts reflect the mockery that can be made when our courts are used as instruments of political oppression instead of affording open access to justice.  We apologize again for the strong opinion, and wish to maintain objectivity, but trust that further study will bear out that conclusion.  The due process issues that were unresolved left Mr. Bailey with very limited opportunity to confront his accusers, and the hearing did not proceed in any orderly fashion, with what appeared to be a coordinated effort between disciplinary counsel and hearing examiner to distract Bailey, avoid issues, and obstruct witnesses.  This was a hearing held by lawyers for lawyers, and should be held to an impeccable standard of due process, respect, and civility, and instead it degenerated into one witness being threatened with arrest for doing nothing but trying to testify completely, other witnesses repeatedly interrupted with discussions that turned the rules of evidence on their head, and a process that is fatally corrupt.  We are sensitive to the reverence with which we hold our esteemed judicial institutions, and it is because of that respect that efforts to denigrate them should be addressed in the strongest of terms.  We believe these proceedings, and everything that underlies them, have denigrated them.

Transcripts

Day one was primarily the testimony in the disciplinary counsel’s case of Judges Conner and Jones, which includes, among many other things, Judge Jones admitting that he has decided issues without waiting for Mr. Bailey to respond because, in essence, he already knew what he was going to say.

Day 1 Disciplinary Board Hearing DBailey

Day two involved a string of Don Bailey’s clients, some of whom have been mentioned in this site, and his colleagues Sam Stretton and Andy Ostrowski about their knowledge of discussions concerning efforts to get Don Bailey, among other things.

HearingDay 2

Further proceedings

After a delay of over 2 months, the Supreme Court has finally issued rules to show cause in connection with the subpoena issues.  More will be provided.

Federal Judge Arthur Schwab has thrown out the Bailey/John Doe case in its entirety, without even allowing the John Does to be named.  More on this as well.

Bailey challenges Supreme Court over due process violations in response to recommended suspension/PCRLN history of coverage of these matters

Bailey Challenges Supreme Court over Due Process Violations in Response to Recommended Suspension

The initial coverage on this site centered on the disciplinary proceedings filed against civil rights lawyer Don Bailey in early 2011.  From the start, we have contended that the Bailey disciplinary proceedings would show the need for court reform through the difficulties that American citizens were having in bringing their claims for the violations of their individual constitutional rights in the courts.  This is what has been shown, and the need for reform remains clear.

On May 1, 2013, the Supreme Court Disciplinary Board, as we predicted, recommended that Don Bailey be suspended from the practice of law for 5 years for doing nothing other than criticizing judges for not being fair, and, on June 7, 2013, Don Bailey filed a response demonstrating clearly both 1) that he was right in so-criticizing, and 2) that, as we have covered at length here, the proceedings against him, because they had a bogus origin and were designed to serve an illicit agenda, were bereft of the most basic due process protections.

We asked, from the beginning on this site, that readers take the time to digest and understand the issues that we have been discussing, and the very important themes that they reveal in the larger context of the access to the courts and justice that individuals in this country have when seeking vindication for the violation of their individual constitutional rights.  Please take the time to read and study both the Recommendation of the Disciplinary Board, and the Bailey Response to Board Recommendation.  The matter now will be finally decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who still have a chance to see that true justice, i.e., constitutional due process, can be done in this case.

As to the general themes set forth in this site, there have been tens of thousands of words written in the articles on this site that address many of the general themes, in the context of the Bailey disciplinary proceedings, and the varying topics addressed throughout.  We had nearly 11,000 views in the month of May, and are on track to eclipse that number for June, and appreciate the reception our honest and coverage of these matters is receiving.  At this time, we refer our readers back through the history of some of the postings specific to the Don Bailey disciplinary proceedings, and the themes they reveal, and ask our newer viewers to familiarize yourself with all of these matters, and the many other topics reported on on this site.

In Civil rights lawyer Don Bailey under attack and he and clients sue federal judges for misbehavior, the Bailey disciplinary proceedings were introduced, upon the commencement of the “hearings” in August, 2011.  We pointed out how these proceedings had their origins over two decades ago in the political career of Don Bailey and how the forces he opposed as an  honest public servant have followed him into his service as an honest civil rights lawyer.  We further pointed out, nearly two years ago, the due process shortcomings that have stated with these proceeding, as clearly aticulated in the June 6, 2013 Bailey response.

In Don Bailey’s opening statement in defense of lawyers and your civil rights, we posted the words of Don in his opening statement that clearly articulated the themes that we have continued to cover.

In The lesson of the Bailey disciplinary hearings (phase one) – reform is needed, we commented on the first two days of the Bailey disciplinary hearings, and how the matters that had been revealed, as discussed, showed the genuine need for reform for the lawyer disciplinary system.

In The Bailey Docket – pleadings and filings in the Bailey disciplinary hearing, we linked in all of the filings from the proceedings so the reader could study these filings on their own, and reach their own judgments about the issues being addressed in the articles on this site.  The erosion of Constitutional rights on a mass scale is done incrementally in individual cases, and, while we appreciate the effort it take to understand these things, and the distraction it is from the daily responsibilities we all have, there is just no way, other than studying thee things for yourselves, that they can be understood.  No single tweet or link can capture all that needs to be said abut these critically important issues.

In UPDATE: Federal Judge recuses herself from civil rights case of Don Bailey and clients/State disciplinary authorities resist release of hearing tapes/Efforts underway to initiate investigations, we referenced the status of the federal court’s response to the ongoing disciplinary proceedings, the continuing due process administrative violations to which Don Bailey was being subjected, and the nature of the further efforts that were needed to correct these deficincies.

In The struggle behind the civil rights struggle, we pointed out the burdens and difficulties involved in representing injured individual American citizens in general in the courts of the United States, and how those burden are magnified in a climate of hostility toward civil rights cases in general, and how the ongoing disciplinary proceedings were a further impediment to the innocent individual citizens who were being represented by Don Bailey.

In Bailey clients demand cases be reopened/Hearing transcripts now available, we covered the efforts that Don Bailey’s clients were undertaking to seek to remedy the additional harms to them that were being caused by the agenda to “get” him, and how the discilinary proceedings revealed to them how him that

In The role of partisan politics in PCRLN – the Bailey “shit storm”

In Bailey motion demands that Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismiss disciplinary action against him

In PCRLN call goes out to Senators Casey and Toomey

In The politics of personal destruction – anatomy of the judicial lynching of Don Bailey – Caputo piles on

In Supreme Courts act in Silent Synchrony – Bailey disciplinary motions Secretly denied – once again no due process!

In “I thought my case just fell between the cracks” – Bailey client motions to open updates, etc.

In Bailey responds (loudly and clearly) to state and federal disciplinary actions – proves state and federal complicity – and lack of basis to any charge of misconduct

In NEWS RELEASE: Andy Ostrowski and PCRLN file federal action based upon violations by courts and authorities in Bailey disciplinary proceedings

Ostrowski and Bailey discipline expose a critical problem with the system of justice – the suppression of lawyers’ free speech rights

Ostrowski and Bailey Discipline Expose a Critical Problem with the System of Justice – the Suppression of Lawyers’ Free Speech Rights

My self-imposed task on this site, from its very inception, was to make the esoteric intricacies of the way the courts operate, and the way practice of law is conducted, understandable to those who have never even stepped foot in a courtroom.

I’ve written upwards of 100,000 words on this site, and linked documents to that many, and many more, words providing the contextual background for all the conclusions that I have made; yet still have had an abiding feeling that not enough has been said to make it clear and simple to understand, though I am sure that if anyone was able to take the time away from our busy lives to study what has been said here, the dynamics are pretty well laid out.

Hubert Gilroy, the disciplinary counsel appointed by United States District Judge Yvette Kane to oppose my reinstatement in the federal court, as outlined in my recent updates, did more to assist my effort here than I had done in all the prior things I had written – he opposed my reinstatement on what I have discussed on, and linked to, this site.  See PCRLN/Ostrowski videos and this site generally.

I have engaged in political speech, i.e., words critical of the third branch of our government, and, as the briefs below clearly reveal, Mr, Gilroy will only be able to oppose my reinstatement on the mere fact alone that I have written and spoken these words.  Every word I have written and uttered has been done so in good faith, and believing them all to be true.  Further, I submit that every statement of fact I have made is demonstrably true, and that every inference is eminently reasonable.

My First Amendment rights are being trampled because I am (or was or will be) a lawyer who is being critical of the courts.  The implications of that are grave for every person seeking access to a court expecting it to be fair and honest.

Ostrowski Hearing Brief (author – Ostrowski)     Ostrowski Hearing Brief (author – Bailey)

Don Bailey has been suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for 5 years, a total travesty that was only made possible through catastrophic deprivations of his due process rights, and the coverage of his disciplinary proceedings through this site should be studied and understood by anyone seriously interested in real judicial reform.  See the Bailey due process violations/PCRLN coverage article.  Don has been victimized because he did as a lawyer what I have done as a non-lawyer.  Don is a hero, and his commitment and accomplishments should be celebrated, and will be someday, and we will continue to cover the progress of his case, as there surely is much more to be heard from Don.

In the brief that Don wrote on my behalf, and with my immense gratitude, he cited the words of our own United States Supreme Court in a landmark case called New York Times v. Sullivan, words that are very clear and simple for any American to understand:

The general proposition that freedom of expression upon public questions is secured by the First Amendment has long been settled by our decisions. The constitutional safeguard, we have said, was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.  The maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes may be obtained by lawful means, an opportunity essential to the security of the Republic, is a fundamental principle of our constitutional system.  *  *  *   Those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law—the argument of force in its worst form. 

Don succinctly summarized the grave problems that these disciplinary proceedings have revealed as follows:

There is no greater threat to the security, stability, and political health of the United States of America and of our courts than the oppressive effect of judicial control of attorney licensure and discipline which is focused on suppressing, punishing, and deterring criticism from lawyers.   …….  If Ostrowski had criticized the mob, he would never be challenged on those grounds. If he rudely and discourteously attacked the government of China he would be okay . If he engaged in criticisms of the legislature and of the President, not a word would be said to him. But while he is not even practicing law, if he expresses a critical opinion about public officials who happen to be judges, then he is denied the right to practice in our courts. The courts of the United States of America do not belong to our judges, they belong to the people. Judges have no more individual rights than other American citizens and should not be privileged such that an attorney is at risk for his right and opportunity to earn a living because according to the opinion of a jurist he has cast critical light upon the judiciary. The ultimate irony is that the very institution charged with the protection of individual rights in our country is clearly the most destructive of those ends. An oppressed attorney class does not serve the “public interest”. This court should assume the role of constructively confronting these deficiencies and free Mr. Ostrowski from the restraints he is suffering.

From my standpoint, in the brief that I wrote, I summarized my position on the application of this principle in my case as follows:

Petitioner understands that, perhaps, some of the hyperbole and/or rhetoric he used in his videos and other materials are not the most comfortable or convenient things for this Court to hear about the other judges of this Court, and his views of the system of justice, and the Middle District Courts, and no one is sorrier than Petitioner for having said, and felt the need to say, these things, but, again, they are all true and/or were made in good faith and with a reasonable belief of their truthfulness.  Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recently pointed out that Judges are fair game and must be open to criticism.  The complement to criticism, of course, is to acknowledge and act on the criticisms in some open and honest form or fashion.  All of this began with honest criticisms of members of the judiciary, mostly in the Middle District, and none of it was ever addressed.  When Petitioner made these criticisms as a lawyer, they were not addressed, when he directed correspondence to the court as a non-lawyer, they were not addressed, and the failure and refusal to address honest and good faith criticism naturally only leaves one to assume that those criticisms are accurate and true.  This is why they continued to be made, and even had taken on a more aggressive, and less objectively respectful, character, but none of it changes the fact that the Petitioner reasonably believed and believes the truthfulness of every word he has ever uttered, and all were made in good faith.  For these reasons, there is no proper basis upon which to deny Petitioner reinstatement to the roll of attorneys in this Court. Petitioner concludes, however, by expressly and sincerely apologizing for any feelings of animosity and disrespect his comments engendered.  There is not one word that Petitioner has uttered about any judge or practitioner that will create any lasting problems respecting the authority of even those as to whom the comments have been directed, and there is now, and never has been, any agenda of the Petitioner to do anything other than to appear before the Courts of the United States of America and to represent persons who have been hurt and harmed, and are in need of representation by competent legal counsel, and to practice his profession, and make his living in doing so. This Court pointed out during the August 27, 2013 hearing, it was up to Petitioner to persuade the Court that he was fit to return to the active roll of attorneys in the Middle District.  Petitioner submits that has been done.

I hope people have the time and opportunity to read and understand the things that are discussed here and throughout this site – there are implications to all of it on your personal lives that may not be understood until it is too late for you to not be victimized by them.

Thank you.

Ostrowski hearing transcript and update

As I mentioned in my previous post after my August 27, 2013 federal court hearing relative to my reinstatement to practice, I would post the hearing transcript when it is received, and I have received a copy.  Here it is – Ostrowski August 27, 2013 Motion Hearing Transcript.

The witnesses were Stephen Schwartz. M.D., who is my current treating physician, Stefan Kruszewski, M.D., who is the doctor whose misconduct was central to my motion, as set out in the Ostrowski seeks reinstatement, and me.  My testimony begins on page 104.  The last update I shared was a description of the hearing, and I will keep the updates coming. My purpose in all of this is to give as many people as possible a view of what goes in in and around the court system in America.  Please have a look.

I have a brief due regarding my motion to reinstate, and some motions that will be contesting some of the attorney disciplinary rules as they apply to me, and as they are written, and will continue to update you on thee and other matters.

Thank you.

Ostrowski discipline update/PCRLN activities at issue in right to practice law

Ostrowski Discipline Update/PCRLN Activities at Issue in Right to Practice Law

I had a hearing yesterday in United States District Court in Williamsport, PA concerning my application to be readmitted to the roll of attorneys in the federal court, Middle District of Pennsylvania before Judge Matthew Brann.  There are applications still pending in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the other federal district courts in Pennsylvania.

The motion was based primarily upon the abuse and mistreatment I suffered at the hands of Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, which led directly to the personal circumstances that were behind the issues that led to my 2010 suspension from practice.  I called my current treating physician, and Dr. Kruszewski did appear in response to my subpoena.  I have no doubt that my testimony in the hearing before federal Judge Brann presented a compelling testament to my competency and fitness to practice law.

Here is a copy of the transcript.

My readmission was opposed by the assigned disciplinary counsel, Hubert Gilroy, who was appointed by Chief Middle District Judge Yvette Kane, on the grounds that things that I have said in the videos that I have posted here, and correspondence I sent, and things I have posted on the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network site, disqualify me from practice because they demonstrate a lack of regard for the authority of the courts.  This, of course, is a false proposition, because I have the utmost regard for the role of the courts in regulating the affairs of men, and every word I have written and spoken has been communicated with the intention of improving the quality of, and access to, justice for every American.   What I have said is true, and, at the very least, has been said with a reasonable belief in its truthfulness, and the evidence to support all of it is right here on this site.

The only evidence presented by Mr. Gilroy was my words – he presented no witnesses to contradict anything I have ever said.  The issue that the Judge is going to need to decide is whether the mere fact alone that I said these words, all said on this site, and in correspondence sent to Judges, Senators, and even the President, some of which were delivered by me personally to the offices of Senators Casey and Toomey on Capitol Hill, is reason in and of itself to refuse to return me to the roll of attorneys in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Brann will have to decide these legal issues, which will be part of the post-hearing briefing, and, should I not be readmitted, a clear issue will be presented for review by higher courts, including the Unites States Supreme Court, if necessary, as to whether attorneys have the same First Amendment rights as other Americans, and, if not, what that means to the practice of law, and access to justice in America.

Mr. Gilroy was also appointed by Judge Kane to be a special investigator in the federal aspect of the disciplinary proceeding against Don Bailey, and a letter I sent to him on January 24, 2011, and copied to all of the other Judges in the Middle District, and to others, including Senators Casey and Toomey, while I was suspended, was presented as evidence.  All of the remaining evidence opposing my reinstatement were statements and writings by me subsequent to that letter.

Judge Brann is a new federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and took his seat on the bench just this year.  Many of the comments that I have made were made about his colleagues in the Middle District in Harrisburg – Judges Kane, Conner, and Jones – in relation to the Don Bailey disciplinary proceedings.  I understand the realities of my situation as well as anyone, but, again, know that nothing that I have said will keep me from appearing before any of these judges, and treating them with the decorum, respect, and dignity that they, and the system of justice derived from the authority of men, deserve, and as I have always conducted myself.  All of this was made clear to Judge Brann, and the matter is turned over to his discretion.

Regardless of the outcome, the efforts of the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network will continue, and I will provide updates soon on ventures that we are continuing to work on.  Equal access to justice under the law is our organizing principle, and, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Thank you.

PCRLN meets with Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board concerning unconstitutional treatment and dismissals of meritorious complaints of judicial misconduct

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.

Bailey challenges Supreme Court with serious due process deprivations in response to recommended suspension of law license/PCRLN history of coverage

The initial coverage on this site centered on the disciplinary proceedings filed against civil rights lawyer Don Bailey in early 2011.  From the start, we have contended that the Bailey disciplinary proceedings would show the need for court reform through the difficulties that American citizens were having in bringing their claims for the violations of their individual constitutional rights in the courts.  This is what has been shown, and the need for reform remains clear.

On May 1, 2013, the Supreme Court Disciplinary Board, as we predicted, recommended that Don Bailey be suspended from the practice of law for 5 years for doing nothing other than criticizing judges for not being fair, and, on June 7, 2013, Don Bailey filed a response demonstrating clearly both 1) that he was right in so-criticizing, and 2) that, as we have covered at length here, the proceedings against him, because they had a bogus origin and were designed to serve an illicit agenda, were bereft of the most basic due process protections.

We asked, from the beginning on this site, that readers take the time to digest and understand the issues that we have been discussing, and the very important themes that they reveal in the larger context of the access to the courts and justice that individuals in this country have when seeking vindication for the violation of their individual constitutional rights.  Please take the time to read and study both the Recommendation of the Disciplinary Board, and the Bailey Response to Board Recommendation.  The matter now will be finally decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who still have a chance to see that true justice, i.e., constitutional due process, can be done in this case.

As to the general themes set forth in this site, there have been tens of thousands of words written in the articles on this site that address many of the general themes, in the context of the Bailey disciplinary proceedings, and the varying topics addressed throughout.  We had nearly 11,000 views in the month of May, and are on track to eclipse that number for June, and appreciate the reception our honest and coverage of these matters is receiving.  At this time, we refer our readers back through the history of some of the postings specific to the Don Bailey disciplinary proceedings, and the themes they reveal, and ask our newer viewers to familiarize yourself with all of these matters, and the many other topics reported on on this site.

In Civil rights lawyer Don Bailey under attack and he and clients sue federal judges for misbehavior, the Bailey disciplinary proceedings were introduced, upon the commencement of the “hearings” in August, 2011.  We pointed out how these proceedings had their origins over two decades ago in the political career of Don Bailey and how the forces he opposed as an  honest public servant have followed him into his service as an honest civil rights lawyer.  We further pointed out, nearly two years ago, the due process shortcomings that have stated with these proceeding, as clearly aticulated in the June 6, 2013 Bailey response.

In Don Bailey’s opening statement in defense of lawyers and your civil rights, we posted the words of Don in his opening statement that clearly articulated the themes that we have continued to cover.

In The lesson of the Bailey disciplinary hearings (phase one) – reform is needed, we commented on the first two days of the Bailey disciplinary hearings, and how the matters that had been revealed, as discussed, showed the genuine need for reform for the lawyer disciplinary system.

In The Bailey Docket – pleadings and filings in the Bailey disciplinary hearing, we linked in all of the filings from the proceedings so the reader could study these filings on their own, and reach their own judgments about the issues being addressed in the articles on this site.  The erosion of Constitutional rights on a mass scale is done incrementally in individual cases, and, while we appreciate the effort it take to understand these things, and the distraction it is from the daily responsibilities we all have, there is just no way, other than studying thee things for yourselves, that they can be understood.  No single tweet or link can capture all that needs to be said abut these critically important issues.

In UPDATE: Federal Judge recuses herself from civil rights case of Don Bailey and clients/State disciplinary authorities resist release of hearing tapes/Efforts underway to initiate investigations, we referenced the status of the federal court’s response to the ongoing disciplinary proceedings, the continuing due process administrative violations to which Don Bailey was being subjected, and the nature of the further efforts that were needed to correct these deficincies.

In The struggle behind the civil rights struggle, we pointed out the burdens and difficulties involved in representing injured individual American citizens in general in the courts of the United States, and how those burden are magnified in a climate of hostility toward civil rights cases in general, and how the ongoing disciplinary proceedings were a further impediment to the innocent individual citizens who were being represented by Don Bailey.

In Bailey clients demand cases be reopened/Hearing transcripts now available, we covered the efforts that Don Bailey’s clients were undertaking to seek to remedy the additional harms to them that were being caused by the agenda to “get” him, and how the disciplinary proceedings revealed to them that they were being further victimized and having their access to the courts cut off because of who their attorney is.

In The role of partisan politics in PCRLN – the Bailey “shit storm”, we introduced how the $1.5 million jury verdict in favor of two Attorney General narcotics agents represented by Don Bailey, against then Attorney General Mike Fisher and others was taken away, and the suspicious court and political connections that were behind it, and the relation of that case to the disciplinary proceedings.

In Bailey motion demands that Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismiss disciplinary action against him, we discussed an additional filing that Bailey made, in December, 2011, seking to have the Supreme Court take action to dismiss the disciplinary proceedings baed upon the clear due process violations that had already been revealed as of that point.

In PCRLN call goes out to Senators Casey and Toomey, we introduced our political efforts, which are continuing, to take the matters directly to our United States Senators to seek formal political reform for the issues being revealed through the disciplinary proceedings.

In The politics of personal destruction – anatomy of the judicial lynching of Don Bailey – Caputo piles on, we discussed the true power of the judicial pen and the black robe in creating impressions and dictating the course of public opinion, and how their misuse was behind every negative pubic impression created about Don Bailey.

In Supreme Courts act in Silent Synchrony – Bailey disciplinary motions Secretly denied – once again no due process!, we pointed out how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was failing to take action during the course of the proceedings on the clear record of due process violations to intervene and end them.  Of course, the Supreme Court still has the final say in these proceedings, and the record has been even further developed, and the chance for the Supreme Court to make a statement in favor of due process and real justice remains.

In “I thought my case just fell between the cracks” – Bailey client motions to open updates, etc., we discussed the notion of how difficult it is for people to understand the shortcomings in the judicial process unless and until they experience it for themselves, and how devoted study and understanding by many numbers of people was critical if these issues were ever gong to be properly addressed, and needed reforms instituted, so that having your rights violated is not the only way to understand these things.

In Bailey responds (loudly and clearly) to state and federal disciplinary actions – proves state and federal complicity – and lack of basis to any charge of misconduct, we linked in a 75 page response that Don Bailey filed over a year ago, before any findings were ever made by the Disciplinary Board.  Review of this clear and substantial document and comparison to the May 1, 2013 recommendation by the Disciplinary Board reveals that either it was not even read, or that it was completely disregarded.  Don Bailey, and all of his many past, current, and future clients are entitled to more due process than having the efforts he is making to defend himself and protect his license, and their access to courts completely disregarded.  There is a supreme arrogance of power among and by lawyers to assume that they can act in such an arbitrary and capricious fashion, and to have any chance of maintaining some semblance of public integrity.

In NEWS RELEASE: Andy Ostrowski and PCRLN file federal action based upon violations by courts and authorities in Bailey disciplinary proceedings, we highlighted the experience of this process through the experience of Andy Ostrowski, and how he was specifically mistreated by the disciplinary authorities in connection with the Bailey disciplinary proceedings.  This lawsuit also called into question the constitutionality of Article 5, Section 10(c) of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and how that provision lends itself to the due process abuses that have pervaded the Bailey disciplinary proceedings, as covered on this site.

There are many more articles in a variety of contexts addressing these and other themes that are inimical to the equal access to justice for all, as was the stated principle and purpose of this site from its inception in February, 2011, as set forth on our Welcome page.  We will continue to bring you coverage of these and more civil rights issues as we continue to expand our reach and coverage in our state and country.

Thank you.

Introducing PCRLN youtube channel and Pennsylvania Gazette

Viewership is up at this site, with 10,000 views from 6000 discrete viewers expected for the month of May alone, substantially eclipsing the numbers for any previous month in the two years of our existence, and we are pleased to announce two new ventures we have been working on to expand the scope and coverage of the civil rights issues we have been bringing you.

The first is the PCRLN youtube channel.  The videos on that site right now are limited to Andy Ostrowski discussing various aspects of the Bailey disciplinary proceedings, and the practice of civil rights law in the Pennsylvania courts, but we are working on a plan to expand the scope of such coverage.

The plan is to use the PCRLN channel to expand the coverage and exposure brought to civil rights cases and issues beyond the exposure that individuals can get through the courts, and to keep these issues in the pubic spotlight in keeping with the purpose of this organization to promote equal access to justice for all, and to reveal the need for political reforms and policies geared toward that end.

The other venture we are working on is the Pennsylvania Gazette.  This is a new “online newspaper,” using this organizations news-gathering functions to cover issues related to the courts, and matters connected to government transparency and and integrity.  There is a lack of adequate coverage, for institutional reasons, relating to the coverage that the courts receive through the mainstream media and we are working on ways to bring more thorough and complete journalistic coverage to these issues.

We hope to cover many whistlebower-type issues, and the platform allows anyone with stories to tell to have access as reporters and editors to tell your stories there.  We will be conducting this enterprise in accordance with the highest standards of journalistic integrity, and will be bringing you more on this venture as it develops.  Please have a look at it, and become a registered user, and watch for updates and news stories to begin populating the site in the near future.

Thank you.

Working to provide equal justice under the law in Pennsylvania