Saturday, May 06, 2006

What happened to the New Jersey Supreme Court?

David Kocieniewski, "Report Finds Patronage Rife At a University," in The New York Times, April 4, 2006, at p. B1: "Patronage hiring was so pervasive at New Jersey's state medical school that job applications were marked with a numeral indicating the potency of the applicant's political connections, according to a report released on Monday by a federal monitor."

Many citizens "have reason to believe" that the same system of political and other biases exists in the state's courtrooms. It is simply not the same experience for a politically connected lawyer walking into a New Jersey courtroom as it is for, say, a solo practitioner, who is challenging the system or wants no part of the political clubhouse.

Judges in New Jersey Superior Court are usually (almost always) products of the same politically connected firms from which those influential lawyers, mostly representing banks and insurance companies and/or organized crime, slither out every morning. Thus, judges will be inclined to "take care" of former colleagues. "What do you need, Joe?"

When a judge greets your adversary by his -- and it is usually "his" -- first name and mentions a recent golf outing, you should worry about your chances of winning your motion, whatever the law and facts happen to be. None of this is spoken, or even hinted at, by lawyers. They usually can't say these things. "Remember, you'll see that judge again." Yet everyone knows what's going on.

I was told that "taking shit from judges is part of being a lawyer." It seems that the lawyers asked to "take shit" fall into the "politically powerless" category and rarely look like -- or socialize with -- the sort of judges who delight in abusing them, usually publicly. An exception is the sold out minority attorney who makes the Faustian bargain of trading his or her identity for professional and political success. (See the swearing in ceremony for former N.J. Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.)

Tried and true responses to independence in New Jersey will always include anonymous smears, preferably disseminated by "domesticated" minority attorneys willing to lend themselves to such loathsome violations of colleagues' or anyone's rights to due process, typically in a behind-the-back, cowardly fashion. "Anonymity" in a smear campaign is a sure sign that you are dealing with the lowest level of hoodlums or some prominent members of the New Jersey Bar Association. Are these overlapping categories? (See my essay on "Chomsky Publisher Jailed in Turkey.")

"While political appointees had received favorable treatment at the school for decades, the report says, the practice became so ingrained by late 2004 that it had evolved into a formal ranking system."

"Candidates who were recommended by then-United States Representative Robert Menendez, State Senator Raymond Lesniak or a handful of others received the highest ranking: 1."

"Those referred by less powerful officials, like members of the medical system's board, would receive a 2 or 3."

This revelation -- which does not come as a shock to anyone who has experienced life in the flower-fragant neighborhoods of the Garden State -- makes explicit a system of "favors" which transforms power and law into something that really happens in dirty backrooms, filled with smoke, from which public and litigants are mostly excluded. (See "Psychological Torture in the American Legal System" at Critical Vision.)

Perhaps lawyers in New Jersey should be assigned a similar number on the basis of their political clout or unofficial "access" to judges, based on their political friendships, so litigants would know which lawyers are in a better position to "take care of things" for them, officially or unofficially.

Secrecy is the enemy of freedom and always undermines legality. A system of secrecy is preserved only through intimidation and social pressure in the legal profession or government, usually "legitimated" by token minority group members used as frontpersons for a corrupt system. Refuse to play that role. Decide not to be a flunky. Such a tainted system is designed to teach a single lesson: "You gotta go along to get along." It will work until that day when you decide not to "get along."

If you are a young lawyer or police officer in New Jersey or anywhere, make today the day when you decide "not to get along." Don't do anything other than the right thing because it's the right thing. Given recent allegations of torture and murder in New Jersey jails, make it a point to treat people with decency and respect no matter what your superiors tell you to do.

"The document is a kind of Rosetta Stone of New Jersey politics, offering a vivid glimpse into a way of doing business ['it's nothing personal'] that is widely assumed but rarely confirmed."

"But the report also details a broad range of financial irregularities that it said plague the university, including influence-peddling, abuse of expense accounts, and sweetheart deals to steer contracts to politically powerful vendors."

Those "politically powerful vendors" will then (probably) kickback some of the loot to their political patrons, right before they are appointed to serve on an ethics committee. Eventually, those "vendors" may also become elected officials and/or judges. Eighteenth century British judges and lawyers wore robes with a discreet pocket in the rear of the garment for convenient depositing of bribes. Perhaps this is a practice that will soon make a come back in New Jersey? Maybe it already has?

The New York Times, May 31, 2006, at p. B4: "Paul A. Coughlin, the former mayor of Hazlet, admitted in Federal District Court yesterday that he took a $3,000 bribe to help a vendor obtain a town contract, federal prosecutors said." This is known in New Jersey legal and political circles as "business as usual." Somehow the state authorities missed this situation.

There are many ways of bribing judges, including some that are probably legal or difficult to establish as illegal. When the litigant in a case is in a position, someday, to nominate the judge to higher office or to arrange other goodies for him or her, it has an amazing way of focusing a judge's attention on the merits of his or her argument, even when that argument lacks or has no merit.

It must be a comfort to the citizens of New Jersey, at a time when the "gimmicks" (Gov. Jon S. Corzine's term) of the past have resulted in the disappearance of millions -- or even billions -- of public dollars, to provide oil paintings of judges at public expense, as schools in poor districts are asked to make sacrifices. Despite the expense, these paintings are not exactly "museum quality." Luckily, we also have nice large color photographs of these distinguished jurists, both individual and collective photos (also paid for with your tax dollars), that we can all treasure.

Posting "Anonymous" and false Internet smears about me will not change the anger many residents of New Jersey feel towards their corrupt institutions and the sold out persons inhabitting them, like maggotts growing in a moldy piece of cheese. "What goes around comes around," is another bit of Jersey wisdom. I wish to be just as fair in my comments -- indeed, more so -- as "others" in the past, acting for the state of New Jersey have been to their adversaries, or to me.

I realize that I am making myself a target for reprisals and that most people in the system are intimidated. No doubt additional "anonymous" smears will be next. It is possible that I will experience an "unfortunate accident" after saying this. I may be accused of violating the "Wildlife and Hunting Act of 1735" by stepping on a centipede, so as to be prosecuted accordingly, only to suffer another unfortunate accident while incarcerated. (Has anyone seen Zulima Farber, Esq.?) I may be accused of urinating in public. If so, I won't say where I hope that will be. I may have to put up with continuing insults and threats directed at family members and friends, or at me. Daily obstructions and virus troubles are a feature of my writing experience.

These are standard methods for dealing with critics in the Garden State, violence or frame ups. Nothing surprises me when it comes to New Jersey's power-structure, official and unofficial. The fawning acquiescence in oppression by some minority and other attorneys concerned for their prospects is understandable, if sickening. Somebody has to say these things, in other words, and I am well beyond being intimidated at this point in my life.

I have experienced great difficulties in accessing this blog today, yet again, changing my password several times to do so. The format may be defaced by "cyber attacks" on this blog, so that my profile will be moved to the bottom of the page. I fully expect more such difficulties in the days and weeks ahead. An effort will be made to deny me an audience or prevent publication my work. (The number of my readers is not being reported accurately.) I can not think of a better confirmation of what I am saying about the need to remove the thugs who now control so much of New Jersey government and law than these sophomoric antics and harassment or efforts at censorship.

It is impossible to respect any person or institution -- especially a tribunal -- capable of remaining indifferent (at best) to the continuing violation of any human being's rights taking place under their noses -- especially the right to freedom of expression and/or physical safety -- while hypocritically invoking the same Constitution, which is violated by them on a daily basis, to judge the actions of others. (See "There comes a time when silence is betrayal" at Critical Vision.)

"Last week ... a final draft of the report was given to the United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie [ -- who must be the busiest federal prosecutor in the country. Mr. Christie, who has already earned a place in heaven,] ... said he may prosecute some school employees for abusing taxpayer funds, two high-level officials of the school resigned: one an administrator who is accused in the report of using an expense account to pay for personal travel, the other Dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine, whom the report accused of misallocating tens of thousands of dollars for personal gain."

There is more.

"University officials dole out HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in no-bid contracts each year, and the monitor is still investigating reports that millions went to firms that were POLITICALLY CONNECTED, had questionable qualifications and -- in some cases -- DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE PERFORMED ANY TANGIBLE WORK."

Mysteriously, these law firms that do no work for their huge fees, paid for with public funds -- and not because they are prevented from doing it through license suspensions -- or that bill hundreds of thousands of dollars (allegedly) for copying a file, do not concern the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), which prefers to "solicit" grievances (usually secretly) against apolitical solo practioners, preferably those with few resources. As they probably whisper with a smile in Trenton, "What the hell, it's only our old law firm. After all, aren't they taking us all out to lunch later? Who cares if they overbill?" (See "Is New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Porritz unethical or only incompetent?" at Philosopher's Quest.)

Ronald Smothers reports in "Group Sues Over Security Records," The New York Times, May 5, 2006, at p. B4: "The American Civil Liberties Union's New Jersey office filed a public records law suit yesterday to discover how municipalities determined potential political threats in their applications for federal Homeland Security grants. The A.C.L.U. wants to know whether anyone was singled out because of legitimate political activity. The group also accuses former Attorney General Peter C. Harvey of misleading them in his response to an earlier law suit seeking the information. ..." (emphasis added).

Isn't "misleading" an adversary in sworn pleadings "unethical"? How shocking that the OAE is not concerned about this. I wonder why? Maybe this publicity will force them to take an interest in Mr. Harvey's actions. Who is selected for SECRET harassment in New Jersey? Is the OAE being used as a weapon against "controversial" or overly "independent" attorneys? Is the OAE a private army against legal professionals who "don't play ball" with the powers that be? Is there a secret "enemies-of-the-boys-downtown-list"? Who is secretly selecting these "enemies" to be "monitored"? What is the secret role of "therapists" (like Terry T. and Diana Lisa R., or has she married and changed her name, despite her self-proclaimed gay life-style?) in these clandestine "operations"? Are people being questioned under hypnosis and in an otherwise impaired state -- what drugs are they being given? -- and are they questioned by paid forensic psychiatrists, on behalf of the OAE or other state agencies or entities, about matters that could expose them or others to liability? Is it possible that the OAE participates in or is aware of such criminal inquiries, in violation of the subject's right to silence, to counsel and not to testify against him- or herself? What do you say, John? Does the OAE engage in cover-ups of such illegalities? Does the OAE engage in criminal conspiracies to violate federal civil rights, disregarding federal civil rights law? What does the "E" stand for in that acronym? Perhaps it is a "means and ends" kind of a thing.

The time for cover-ups and threats is over. Victims of psychological torture in New Jersey now stand before that state's tainted tribunals, demanding the truth about what has been done to them and by whom -- along with the right to face their tormentors -- while insisting on justice.

Surprise, surprise ... "Karen Golding, 36, the former state lobbyist and campaign aide to Gov. Jon S. Corzine who was charged with stalking Joseph Cryan, ... will not be prosecuted by being admitted to a Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), which will have the effect of keeping the truth in this case, whatever it may be, out of the public record." John Holl, "Trenton: Lobbyist Will Not be Prosecuted," The New York Times, May 5, 2006, at p. B4. This will ensure that the public will never know what was really going on or who was behind this little episode of possible political spying, or worse. Who will be the next politician or judge targeted by use of these tactics? Who is behind them? Mayor Healy, Ms. Farber, now allegations against Sentor Menendez. Will Corzine be next? Or will it be a federal judge?

"According to John Inglesino, Esq., an attorney working with federal monitor and former federal judge, Herbert Stern, Esq.: 'The auditing and compliance were grossly deficient, and that aided in creating an environment where U.M.D.N.J. has been used as a political patronage machine.' ..."

Get this: "The most pointed findings in the 80 page report concern the use of the school and its $1.6 billion budget as a 'vehicle of patronage and favor-peddling.' ..."

The report suggests to many readers that an "unholy alliance" existed (or exists?) among psychologists, mental health facilities as well as official and unofficial political-criminal power structures in New Jersey. Psychologists play "Igor" to the politicians' "Dr. Frankenstein," probably even providing torture services for a small fee. Of course, this is only speculation -- at this point -- but continue to check this blog (assuming viruses and other attempts to silence me fail!) for more revelations in the days and weeks ahead, based on anticipated news accounts:

"... investigators found evidence that the school's mental health clinic may have inflated costs and received as much as $70 million in unwarranted reimbursement [for what? torture?] from the state and federal government." (See "The Ministry of Therapy" and "An Open Letter to My Torturers" at Philosopher's Quest.) Nina Bernstein, "9/11 Detainees Describe Abuse Involving Dogs," The New York Times, April 3, 2006, at pp. B1-B2 (allegations of psychological and physical torture in New Jersey jails equal to the horrors at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo).

How come no one noticed anything "amiss" for years in New Jersey law enforcement? Well, intelligence had a way of leaking out or getting to politicians ahead of time, so Governor Corzine (who will also make it to heaven, where he will sell tax-deferred bonds) has sought to remedy this problem by creating a Homeland Security Czar (HSC) with real power. Whoever is appointed to that position has my sympathy and should expect to put in a little overtime. Wisely, Mr. Corzine has selected a person for that position without ties to the criminal-political organization that has secretly "run" things in New Jersey for decades, by claiming an affiliation with the Democrats. (See "Same Old, Same Old," "Let's see what he's got under his fingernails," at Philosopher's Quest and .)

This may be a moment of truth for New Jersey Democrats. Where do they stand? With the political machines and the boys in the smoke-filled rooms? Or with the advocates of much-needed reforms that will benefit the people of New Jersey?

"Corzine created the $141, 000-a-year post in the wake of an acrimonious turf war between state police and the Office of Counter-Terrorism over control of New Jersey's anti-terrorism efforts. Corzine signed an executive Order designed to put an end to lingering jurisdictional disputes." See Michael Maddux, "Corzine Names Homeland Security Czar," March 17, 2006, North

A follow-up piece by David Kocieniewski is pretty blunt, "New Jersey Medical School Gives Blatant Lesson in Spoils System," The New York Times, April 5, 2006, at p. B1:

"... Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers, said that even in New Jersey's checkered political history, it was shocking to find that government officials had 'taken an institution of higher learning, and a source of health care for thousands of people, and filled it with hacks.' "


"When asked whether the current investigation would provide the school with lasting insulation from political influence, Mr. Baker replied: 'I'm always hopeful. But I always end up disappointed.' "

Guess what just happened at U.M.D.N.J.?

"Computer hackers gained access to the social security numbers and other confidential financial information of almost 2000 students and alumni of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, university officials say. The breach first reported by the Star Ledger yesterday, was discovered on February 24, although university officials did not say when the hacking occurred. ... the information included aid and loan data for about 700 students and 1,150 alumni." The New York Times, April 10, 2006, at p. B4.

If federal officials come to the door asking for financial information to prove that students, who were allegedly receiving financial aid, actually got the money they were due based on paperwork -- as opposed to having that money go in someone else's pocket -- it may now be impossible to "verify" all records. These are very convenient "hackers." I wonder what other records "disappeared" and why it took two months for the university to mention this strange theft of financial information.

A new surprise has been provided to us by Ronald Smothers, in "Reports of Shredding Lead to Subpoenas for University," The New York Times, May 19, 2006, at p. B4: "Federal prosecutors subpoenaed a wide range of documents on Thursday from the southern campus of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as part of their investigation into allegations of corruption and patronage at the institution, a lawyer for the university said."

Get this next move:

"... FBI agents raided the state university ... to stop the shredding of documents in the office of Warren S. Wallace, the senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the School of Osteopathic Medicine." [I wonder who gave them a "heads up" on which documents to shred?]

A hot line has been installed by the feds to encourage phone calls any time further destruction of prospective evidence is about to take place or new information of bribery, corruption and theft in New Jersey is available. In other words, they expect daily calls on that number, some (I hope!) concerning the state's well-fed and well-paid judges, who even now are pondering the need for life-size statues of each of them to be placed in state buildings.

It is anyone's guess how much of this loot that disappears from the state's coffers gets back to specific judges or elected officials under the table. The feds seem to be turning over a lot of governmental rocks in New Jersey, with all sorts of disgusting and slimy things turning up in the process. And there is said to be MUCH MORE still to come!

Tina Kelley, "Dismissed Chief Accused of Breaching Ethics," in The New York Times, June 6, 2006, at p. B4: "... Mr. Wallace arranged for a friend to receive a catering contract outside the required bidding process. He also ordered some of his employees to report about $2,500.00 of his expenses as theirs then reimburse him later, [allowing] him to approve his own expenses and make them look smaller than they were."

Everything from arranging medical school admissions to falsifying records to get bonuses took place at the school, with the protection (I believe) of judges and politicians, who probably shared in the loot.

In a follow-up piece by David Kocieniewski, "Medical School Chief Starts With Triage for Its Image," The New York Times, April 23, 2006, at METRO Section, N p. 36, the new President of U.M.D.N.J. seemingly admits that: "Medicaid fraud might actually have involved $70 million. Since that money would have to be repaid, [guess who gets to pay it back?] it could mean that the school will face a budget crisis along with its legal, organizational and public relations problem."

New Jersey politicians not only "misappropriate" (is that kind of like stealing?) public money, apparently, but they get the public to reimburse the institutions they took it from, probably so they can "misappropriate" it again. That's what I call "moxy," among other things. Appointed judges, for some reason, never see a thing. They have parties to attend. Their law clerks are busy. We must not ask too much of them.

I urge New Jersey's current elected or former officials and judges -- especially those who happen to be Catholics, but who have not attended confession in a while -- to think of your sins and pray, since the feds seem to be pretty serious this time about rounding up the usual suspects. For once -- at least so far -- it appears that "the fix is not in," which is an unprecedented situation in New Jersey litigation.

If you live in New Jersey and wish to see this sickening corruption and hypocrisy finally halted and punished, then please provide any assistance that you can to FEDERAL authorities investigating political and legal corruption in your state. Also, let the judges and courts know how you feel about them. Tell them that you think that torture is unethical and that so are many of them. Tell them how repugnant their hypocrisy and imbecility is to you. Tell them that you would like them to reflect a little more on their moral responsibilities before they judge others. Tell them to have the decency to tell victims the truth concerning the tortures to which those victims have been subjected. Give 'em a call. Don't let them feel lonely.

The bad guys are FINALLY on the run.



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