Alton H. Maddox, jr. Tel.: (917) 947-8994
Director Fax : (917) 947-8996
1061 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238
May 8, 2014
Hon. Jonathan Lippman
New York Court of Appeals
20 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207
Re: Pagones v. Maddox, Mason, Sharpton and Brawley,
Index No. 4595 (Sup. Ct., Dutchess Co. 1988)
Dear Chief Judge Lippman:
An article in the New York Times on April 30, 2014, entitled “Top State Judge Tightens Rules on Debt Collection”, inspired me to write you to put an end to continuing wrongs in New York and in Virginia. This has been a quarter of a century of legal struggle. See James C. McKinley, Jr., “Top State Judge Tightens Rules on Debt Collection” N.Y. Times, April 30, 2014.
The New York Legislature under CPLR §5402 has already taken some steps to cure the effects of an out-of-state default judgment. No Court, however, should exercise personal jurisdiction over a civil action without service of process. To initiate a civil action, an adult must be served with summons and complaint or, at least, a summons. Retroactive service of process is unknown to the law.
The New York Legislature has focused on “sewer service”. The above-referenced case, however, involves more than “sewer service”. Because most of the counts of the above-referenced complaint sounded in defamation and the grand jury investigation had a “chilling effect” on the parent-child privilege, the Brawley family, in July 1988, had to leave New York without any intention of returning to the state. A fugitive warrant is still active against Glenda Brawley
The legal problem involves Justice Beisner’s finding that “Tawana Brawley was properly served outside of the state pursuant to CPLR §313 on that cause of action” even though she was a minor and without an attorney or a guardian ad litem to protect her. This has allowed ADA Steven Pagones to wrongfully seize Tawana Brawley’s hard earned wages. See Justice Beisner’s Order dated May 6, 1991. See also Justice Beisner’s Interim Order dated December 20, 1990.
Justice Beisner was referring to the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Since Justice Beisner had “pocketed” ADA Pagones’ motion in May 1989 because Tawana Brawley had not reached majority age, the “pocketing” of this motion was to achieve an unlawful objective. Tawana Brawley would not become an adult until December 15, 1989. See Justice Beisner’s Order dated May 6, 1991. See also Justice Beisner’s Interim Order dated December 20, 1990.
On February 28, 1989, the Dutchess County Supreme Court summarily and wrongfully issued an Order barring me from representing Tawana Brawley. It was done without notice, without cause, and without an opportunity to be heard. It allowed Tawana Brawley, a minor, to be vulnerable to all sorts of legal shenanigans. See pp. 1-2 of Justice Beisner’s Opinion dated May 6, 1991.
ADA Pagones filed an affidavit of service claiming that Tawana Brawley was personally served in Virginia with summons and complaint and, perforce, without counsel, on March 7, 1989 while she was a minor and without an attorney or a guardian ad litem. The U.S. Supreme Court decided Dred Scott on March 7, 1857. This was not a coincident. It was a defining moment for me and for Tawana Brawley. It was also a signal to all Black women. See Affidavits of Service.
Tawana Brawley was entitled to “substituted counsel” at the very least. This is a constitutional principle. After I was illegally “barred” on February 28, 1989 from representing Tawana Brawley, the late attorney Hudson Reid sought to represent her and to serve as guardian ad litem. See Justice Beisner’s Order dated December 21, 1989.
Matthew Strong, Tawana Brawley’s uncle was a police officer in Monticello, NY, and had been appointed to serve as guardian ad litem. Justice Beisner refused to acknowledge, in legal papers, however, that Strong had refused to accept the appointment. ADA Pagones was seeking a default judgment against a minor despite CPLR § 1203.
Instead, Justice Beisner ruled that ADA Pagones’ “fully submitted motion and cross-motion” were adjourned, without date, pending the appointment of a guardian ad litem for Tawana Brawley. This was harmful error. It was not a “fully submitted motion and cross-motion” since ADA Pagones had failed to secure a guardian ad litem. See Justice Beisner’s Order dated May 6, 1991, p. 2.
CPLR § 1203 requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem before a default judgment could be entered against Tawana Brawley. Justice S. Barrett Hickman, in a decision dated October 9, 1998, found that Strong had never consented to this appointment. See Justice Hickman’s Decision dated October 9, 1998 p. 3. ADA Pagones still bore the responsibility of securing a guardian ad litem.
This unwarranted delay was obviously a “judicial ploy” to wait until Tawana Brawley had reached majority age to arguably validate service of process. See Justice Beisner’s Opinion dated May 6, 1991, p. 2. Tawana Brawley would not reach majority age until after December 15, 1989. ADA Pagones’ motion for a default judgment had been filed on May 29, 1989. It could not enjoy retroactive effect to defeat the statute of limitations which was still running against him.
ADA Pagones’ motion would have been ripe for judicial determination provided that Tawana Brawley had reached majority age by May 29, 1989. Instead, she reached majority age on December 15, 1989. This was the reason for Justice Beisner’s pocketing of ADA Pagones’ motion dated May 29, 1989
Because his motion had been premature especially since he had failed to designate a proposed guardian ad litem and Justice Beisner had refused to acknowledge the application to the court by attorney Reid to be appointed guardian ad litem, service of process would have had to be done again when she was an adult. This never happened. ADA Pagones chose the wrong route and ran into a dead end street.
This was an apparent conspiracy. I had been unlawfully “barred” from representing Tawana Brawley on February 28, 1989. See Justice Beisner’s Decision, May 6, 1991, pp. 1-2. Justice Beisner would pocket ADA Pagones’ motion returnable on May 29, 1989 and wait until May 6, 1991 before he decided it despite CPLR § 2219(a) which requires that a judge must decide a motion within sixty days of its judicial submission. This would have been on or about July 28, 1989.
The decision on ADA Pagones’ motion for a default judgment without the appointment of a guardian ad litem had to wait until Tawana Brawley had reached majority age. This would not happen until after December 15, 1989. ADA Pagones had failed to follow the law including serving Tawana Brawley again after she became an adult.
Justice Beisner ruled on May 6, 1991 that the appointment of a guardian ad litem was unnecessary since Tawana Brawley had reached majority age. This is judicial error and the within belated and extraordinary procedure violated not only CPLR § 2219 (a) but also CPLR § 215. The relevant moment was the age of Tawana Brawley (17) when service of process was effected as a minor. This service of process on March 7, 1989 was defective. But See Justice Beisner’s Order dated May 6, 1991.
ADA Pagones’ complaint and the cause of action involving intentional infliction of emotional distress became time-barred under CPLR § 215 (3). The Full Faith and Credit Clause should not help him in Virginia. Hopefully, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 died on December 18, 1865. Tawana Brawley should be able to recoup all of the illegally-obtained monies obtained by ADA Pagones from her with interest. He is also guilty of attorney misconduct under NY Judiciary Law § 90.
Article 31 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules allows for pre-trial disclosure which should be routine. Its scope is noted as follows: “There shall be full disclosure of all matters and material necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action, regardless of the burden of proof, by (b) a person who possessed a cause of action or defense asserted in the action ….”
It was illegal to suppress the autopsy report, among other things, until after the presentation of evidence on plaintiff’s case at trial. Pre-trial discovery has many purposes including preparation for trial, securing witnesses, obtaining evidence, and preventing surprise. Pre-trial discovery should have been allowed in 1989.
In 1998 and at the beginning of the trial for defamation and also for intentional infliction of emotional distress, Justice Hickman engaged in a classic “bait and switch”. He wrongfully instructed the jury that “truth is not a defense to defamation”. This is contrary to horn book law.
This jury instruction sounded in sedition which even survived the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision of New York Times v. Sullivan. Any justified attack on a white prosecutor in New York evidences an apparent attempt to overthrow white supremacy. This is strange reasoning especially since the prosecutor is also a non-culpable public servant.
James Callender, a supporter of President Thomas Jefferson and a newspaper publisher in Richmond, VA, while suffering a violation of the Sedition Act, sought the position of postmaster of the United States. Instead, Jefferson only offered him a payment of $50 to partially defray a $200 fine for sedition.
This infuriated Callender who retaliated by revealing that “dusky Sally” was living in the “Executive Mansion” as the president’s slave mistress. His cohabitation with Sally Hemings was illegal. In 1803, Callender “drowned” in three feet of water. Apparently, the executive branch of government enjoyed the last word.
Justice Hickman gave ADA Steven Pagones a gift during the trial. He did not have to meet his burden of proof. Instead, Robert Abrams, the state attorney general, had met it for him. The questionable, grand jury report, which arose out of a secret proceeding, satisfied his evidentiary obligation to prove defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Justice Hickman’s Decision of October 9, 1998 p. 13.
A grand jury report is “naked hearsay” and it is certainly inadmissible under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Sullivan to prove the tort of defamation. It was error for Justice Hickman to instruct the jury that ADA Pagones had met his burden of proof based on a grand jury report. See Justice Hickman Decision p. 13.
The landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan was written to give a critic of a public servant a “shield”. It was not written to give a public servant a “sword”. This decision saved Dr. Martin L, King, Jr. from an exorbitant, money judgment in Alabama. Like in Alabama, free speech is not permitted in New York.
The manner of death of Harry Crist, Jr. was a hotly-contested issue at my public, disciplinary hearing in 1993. By making this truthful accusation about a “homicide”, I had been wrongfully charged with a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and, afterwards, punished for exercising free speech. State Attorney General Abrams openly claimed that Crist had killed himself and that I had been lying. In other words, I should not challenge the master-slave relationship.
The autopsy report of Harry Crist had been wrongfully placed under “lock and key” until after the commencement of the trial. He was a police officer and Tawana Brawley had accused him of rape before his death. I had already been given a lifetime ban on May 21, 1990 from the practice of law in New York and elsewhere for violating the master-slave relationship and “speaking truth to power”.
No other reason can explain this decision to ban me from practicing law for life. State Attorney General Abrams is also guilty of attorney misconduct under NY Judiciary Law § 90. He has misconstrued the Thirteenth Amendment and he had sought to revive Dred Scott. The statute of limitations is still running on Crist’s homicide. It is also for a “lifetime”.
During the trial in 1998, I was able to locate, on my own, the pathologist who had examined Crist’s body and had found that his death was a “homicide”. Justice Hickman had refused my application to inspect the autopsy report. The pathologist testified during the “sedition” trial in 1998 that he had not been asked to testify before the grand jury. This would have been fatal to State Attorney General Abrams’ position and to the legal status of the murderers.
State Attorney General Abrams preferred to offer the testimony of a pathologist who had never examined Crist’s body but who supported his theory of the case and his public lies. This was his modus operandi throughout the grand jury investigation. He elevated “expert opinions” over actual facts.
During the liability phase of the trial, the jury found that ADA Pagones had been involved in the kidnapping and rape of Tawana Brawley. This was a devastating, judicial finding as it appears on the verdict sheet and it should have exonerated me from any civil liability and from any disciplinary action. Justice Hickman was also apparently unaware of inconsistent verdicts and lack of proof. It should have also applied to the malicious prosecution of Tawana Brawley. See Verdict Sheet.
To make Tawana Brawley liable, Justice Hickman would have to promote a legal contradiction. Although Tawana Brawley had never publicly pointed a finger at ADA Pagones, according to Justice Hickman, she was, nonetheless, guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Maddox, Mason and Sharpton, on the other hand, were not guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress even though they continued to repeatedly point a finger at ADA Pagones. This was undisputed, trial testimony but Justice Hickman rejected it. See Justice Hickman’s Decision p. 11 n.4
It was of no moment to Justice Hickman, however. His agenda was, apparently, extrajudicial. He asked the jury to consider the damages that my statements had caused to ADA Pagones instead of exempting me from them. I had already been exonerated during the damages phase of the trial by the jury but not by Justice Hickman. He had the final word.
When a defendant fails to appear at trial, she is still entitled to an inquest which means a “testimonial hearing” and a “jury” to ascertain disputed facts relating to damages. Any inquest, if legal, should have happened no later than in 1991. A jury should have conducted it. Justice Hickman conducted a “bench” trial instead of an inquest in 1998.
In his Decision dated May 6, 1991, Justice Beisner ruled: “The hearing to assess damages is deferred until the trial of the action against the remaining defendants (including Tawana Brawley)”. ADA Pagones’ application for a default judgment would be barred by law after twenty years. See CPLR § 211(b). He belatedly sought to enforce it in 2013. The judgment expired in 2009. Also, no reason was given for a delayed inquest. See Justice Beisner’s Decision dated May 6, 1991.
This meant that Justice Hickman himself would not hear any issue on the inquest until he had heard all of the “acts of sedition” at the trial. This would not happen until 1998. Tawana Brawley would be denied a jury as the fact-finder on all disputed facts. This would keep the matter “all in the family”.
Tawana Brawley had already been prejudiced by Justice Beisner’s delay in not deciding ADA Pagones’ May 29, 1989 motion until June 7, 1991. The outcome was wrong. Now, there would be another delay of seven years without according Tawana Brawley the benefit of a hearing by a jury. Instead, any claim of Tawana Brawley would be decided by a judicial officer with questionable legal rulings.
Article IV, sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other State”. Instead of complying with the U.S. Constitution, ADA Pagones only filed a two-page document from New York in Virginia in 2013 denominated “DEFAULT JUDGMENT”. See Default Judgment.
Despite Art. IV, sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commonwealth of Virginia permitted ADA Pagones to file a two-page document denominated “DEFAULT JUDGMENT” which is facially defective for flouting CPLR § 3215 and CPLR § 5401. ADA Pagones should have known of these flaws. In addition, he refused to comply with Art. IV. sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution to enforce a default judgment.
Under the circumstances of this case, this two-page document required a judge’s signature. A judge’s signature is absent from it. ADA Pagones is knowingly operating out-of-bounds in the Commonwealth of Virginia. See CPLR § 3215. New York should not reward him for his misconduct. The “public Acts, records and judicial proceedings” were served on ADA Pagones’ attorneys in Norfolk, VA and filed in the Surry Circuit Court in Surry, VA on July 23, 2013. See CPLR § 211.
My lifetime ban from the practice of law anywhere in the United States has had a “chilling effect” on any attorney who seeks to effectively and competently represent unpopular defendants and to enforce the civil rights laws of New York and of the United States.
By definition, Tawana Brawley is an “unpopular defendant” through state-sanctioned defamation and continued defamation by the Fourth Estate. She is still unable to retain a competent and zealous attorney to refute these bogus claims and to recoup her wages. Dred Scott was unable to recoup his wages in Missouri.
Accordingly, I am demanding that I unconditionally and immediately be reinstated to practice of law not only in New York but also in Pennsylvania and in Georgia in addition to the relevant and accompanying federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. This legal representation is necessary to stop a continuing injustice. Tawana Brawley has a constitutional right to choose her attorney.
My first case will be to immediately vindicate the rights, privileges and immunities of Tawana Brawley. She has a daughter to support. It is unreasonable for ADA Pagones to be a “dependent” of Tawana Brawley under the U.S. Tax Code. Her wages may be threatened at any moment anywhere in the United States.
The decision to reinstate me to the practice of law, immediately and unconditionally, should be seamless. Evidence of exoneration and actual innocence are in “plain view”. The only question is whether Dred Scott is still in effect. This follows from the date and place of service of process. So far, a “Confederate” courthouse in Surry, VA has been Tawana Brawley’s final destination.
On or about October 7, 1988, the Dutchess County Grand Jury, through the state attorney general, publicized the grand jury report which purportedly called for me, according to State Attorney General Abrams, to be disciplined, as an attorney, by the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts. This is an abuse of the grand jury process.
Under Article 190 of the CPL, a grand jury report usually applies to a “public servant”. The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department promulgates and enforces its disciplinary rules for attorneys. A grand jury report is not a legal basis for attorney disciplinary action. This intermediate appellate court should know its own disciplinary rules for attorneys.
When the New York Times asked Robert Straus, chief counsel to the Grievance Committee for the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts, about its intention to discipline me, he stated, as was widely publicized in the New York Times on or about October 7, 1988, that any disciplinary investigation would be “barred” by the attorney-client privilege. This is hornbook law. See “Abrams Calls for Inquiries on Brawley Lawyers’ Role”, New York Times, Oct. 7, 1988.
In a bill of attainder dated June 20, 1988, five members of the New York State Assembly had complained to the Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee about my conduct being seditious and my “making a mockery of our state’s legal system”. This conduct was supposed to be “reprehensible”. These allegations were made on the official stationary of “The Assembly, State of New York”. See letter of the “Assembly” dated June 20, 1988. The signatories included the following assemblymen:
1. Assemb. Neil W. Kelleher
Chairman, Republican Conference
2. Assemb. Robert D’Andrea
3. Assemb. Glenn Harris
4. Assemb. James Tedisco
5. Assemb. Chris Ortloff
The signatories included the most racist and rabid members of the New York State Assembly. Their performances as legislators were far from stellar. In the meantime, the Democratic Party tacitly embraced the sinister actions of these rabid racists. This happened under the “merger of powers” doctrine. The “separation of powers” doctrine went on vacation.
This firm stance by the Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee to protect the attorney-client privilege would continue until after I sought to depose ADA Pagones in 1989. The Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee changed its tune from “bass” to “soprano” to accommodate ADA Pagones. He sought to tailor his testimony for the upcoming trial.
The Brooklyn Appeals Court, in effect, informed ADA Pagones, that its hands were tied. By law, ADA Pagones had to be deposed. ADA Pagones never had a firm understanding of the CPLR. I had employed a “military” move to place ADA Pagones in the hot seat. He was apparently unaware of CPLR § 3106 (a).
Later, the Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee would come to his rescue. It ordered me to violate the attorney-client privilege and testify against Tawana Brawley. It was a strong-arm tactic. This stance morphed into a fictitious claim that I had failed to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation. Obviously, ADA Pagones intent was to be given the “fruits” of this disciplinary investigation on a silver platter.
In May 1990, the Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee, amid the trial of People v. Sharpton, summoned me to its Brooklyn offices to testify against both Tawana Brawley and Al Sharpton. Mr. Straus told the late Dr. William A. Jones and me that my testimony would be immediately given to the state attorney general for immediate use in his prosecution of my client, Al Sharpton.
By this time, the prosecution was desperate and on a life support system and Pagones would later be employed by the office of New York State Attorney General during the “sedition” trial. This was an irreconcilable conflict-of-interest and the office of state attorney general made numerous appearances on behalf of Mr. Pagones. This was the basis that Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady had employed to rescue himself.
Within two weeks, I would be summarily given a lifetime ban from practicing law in New York without any semblance of a hearing and without regard to the “needs” of my clients. For me, this was a Catch-22. In a belated, public hearing in 1993, I was also accused of not protecting the rights of my clients after May 21, 1990.
No client appeared at the hearing to testify against me. I had insisted that the Black community be able to watch a “judicial lynching”. This hearing, by demand, was held in the ceremonial courtroom of the Brooklyn Supreme Court. The transcript should be available and open for public inspection.
New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer had later reneged on political promises that he had made to the Black community in order to secure its vote in winning his election to the office of state attorney general. This promise was publicized in newspapers. He had promised that I would be immediately and unconditionally reinstated to the practice of law. The Black vote was critical to his political success.
Subsequently, I filed a federal civil rights action styled Maddox v. Prudenti et. al., Index No. CV-5444 (U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. 2004). It was unsuccessful because the state attorney general misrepresented the facts. He had also spoken to the Brooklyn Federal Court about my status as an attorney with a “forked tongue”. This is prosecutorial misconduct. See Civil Docket.
New York, in response to this civil rights action, represented that I had been “disbarred” from the practice of law. Although the Brooklyn Appeals Court did, on May 21, 1990, issue, in effect, a lifetime ban, the state attorney general knew that I had never been accorded a “disbarment hearing”. At this point, I had been suspended for nearly a decade. My only option was a federal civil rights action.
The Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee, in my application for reinstatement, had already treated me as a “disbarred lawyer”. I was unable to surmount this bogus claim even through federal litigation. A disbarred attorney has no right to reinstatement to the practice of law. I was wrongfully suspended from the practice of law. There is a difference. In the Brooklyn Federal Court, this was a disputed issue.
I am the only lawyer in the history of American jurisprudence to have ever received a lifetime ban based on a bill of attainder. This is unconstitutional. I am also the only attorney in New York history to demand and receive a public disciplinary hearing. This was done to put “sunshine” on a judicial lynching. It happened in a Brooklyn courthouse.
No client testified that I had engaged in any act of “professional misconduct, malpractice, fraud, deceit, crime or misdemeanor or any conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” as required by NY Judiciary Law § 90. There had been no complaint of attorney misconduct by any client before May 21, 1990. The Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee had failed to prove its case.
Moreover and most importantly, no member of the New York Assembly appeared at any disciplinary hearing to testify against me. This was obviously a denial of the right of confrontation and also a denial of due process. This would send a dangerous message to attorneys, however. Your political beliefs should not stray too far from the center of the political spectrum.
I came to New York in 1973 to work as a poverty lawyer. I was employed by Community Action for Legal Services. In 1984 and before I started the private practice of law in Brooklyn, I took a “vow of poverty”. This would include a mostly pro bono practice of law and I vowed not to support my practice with any taxpayer funds.
I was arrested in a Manhattan courtroom on July 11, 1984 for representing an “unpopular defendant”, Willie Bosket. My law practice went downhill, precipitously. No one would retain an attorney presumably headed to prison. During my entire practice of law, I only enjoyed one week of vacation. Wrongful convictions still continued unabated. White supremacy never takes a vacation.
A jury acquitted me of all charges in December 1985 in New York County. The following month, I had to commence the pro bono trial of People v. Jonah Perry in Manhattan Supreme Court. Jonah Perry was attending an Ivy League institution. After the acquittal of Jonah Perry, an IRS agent knocked on my door to give me some “bad news”.
The IRS had selected me to defray the escalating, tax bill of the National Conference of Black Lawyers even though I had never headed it or had been on its board of directors. The IRS agent told me that this unearned, tax obligation was for my not knowing how to keep my big mouth shut. Legally and financially, I never survived these incidents. I would have to operate on “fumes” until May 21, 1990.
This tax liability was about Twenty-five Thousand Dollars. I had gone eighteen months, since July 1988, without a sustainable clientele and, now, I had to obtain a substantial loan to continue my role as private attorney general and in order to continue to defend the rights of Blacks. I found only one person who was willing to loan me a substantial sum of money –Una Mulzac. I repaid this debt in full.
New York had refused to protect the legal rights of Blacks. If I had not obtained a substantial loan to pay off the IRS, Blacks in New York would have never known about a special prosecutor or a private attorney general. More innocent Blacks would have gone to prison especially those persons who are defined as “unpopular”.
This became glaringly obvious in many other cases of racial injustice. Blacks woefully needed a “private attorney general” to offset prosecutorial misconduct and decrease racially-motivated crimes and wrongful convictions. My achievements over the past forty years have been unparalleled. New York State owes me. I am a judgment creditor. See Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
This was an expensive proposition. I am also entitled to thousands of dollars under Article 18-b of the County Law. New York State should suspend, if not extirpate, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 on or before May 21, 2014 and acknowledge that it should seek “forgiveness” for its debt. See for example, People v. Andre Nichols. Otherwise, taxpayers, who are already subjected to a regressive tax, would be subject to an additional, tax burden.
Again, I should also be immediately and unconditionally reinstated to the practice of law in New York, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Tawana Brawley should be allowed to come out of hiding to avoid the stench and reach of unconstitutional, long-arm jurisdiction. She is currently residing in a “safe house” in an anonymous location. The fugitive warrant against Glenda Brawley should be suppressed forthwith.
In 1990, the New York State Bar Association gave a well-publicized award to attorney Barry Slotnick for successfully defending Bernard Goetz, a white “vigilante”, and also for the defense of a white preacher in Harlem who had been convicted of rape. The Black community viewed the criminal justice system as employing a double standard of justice. See Barry Slotnick.
Goetz, a white “vigilante” had “Stood His Ground” in a New York subway even though New York lacked a “Stand Your Ground” law. His life had not been endangered. He pumped slugs in four, unarmed Black teenagers. He “beat” a conviction for criminal assault because of Dred Scott.
Slotnick had also successfully represented a white preacher on appeal for raping Black women in the preacher’s Harlem church. This judicial award for successfully representing a rapist is consistent with white supremacy. It is o.k. for a white man to rape a Black woman in New York. New York is Scottsboro, AL in 1931.
It is not permissible, however, for a white prosecutor in Durham, NC to competently and zealously represent a Black, female, rape victim without being given a lifetime ban from the practice of law. White prosecutors in New York would never even consider a complaint by a Black female against a white man.
Black attorneys in Alabama unabashedly ran for the tall grass in 1931 to avoid facing a lynch mob. White attorneys were unwilling to provide these nine Blacks with a legal defense except in a kangaroo trial. This led to a landmark decision in the U.S. Supreme Court. See Powell v. Alabama.
All of the Black attorneys in the “Central Park 7” were severely disciplined for defending innocent, Black defendants against a white woman suffering from complete amnesia. Three of these attorneys were given lifetime bans. Judicial lynchings are permitted in New York. New York still refuses to compensate the “Central Park 7”. This is worse than the “Scottsboro Boys” case.
On the other hand, the New York Legislature issued a lifetime ban against me in 1990 for practicing law in New York on behalf of unpopular, Black defendants including Andre Nichols, Tawana Brawley, Al Sharpton and the “Central Park 7”. This was happening while the New York State Bar Association was honoring Slotnick for successfully representing white supremacists.
According to some of the white members of the New York State Bar Association, I should have known better than to get involved in the well-founded claim of a Black teenager who had accused white men in law enforcement of raping her. I would have to pay dearly. This is also consistent with white supremacy.
My lifetime ban from the practice of law in New York and elsewhere calls for a glaring need to revolutionize all attorney disciplinary rules in New York and to ban the use of a grand jury as a “sword” to keep progressive lawyers in check. This has been the historic role of the grand jury.
The abuses in the above-referenced case would have never happened with the assistance of counsel. The perpetrator became the victim and the victim became the perpetrator. It did not help that a blue-ribbon commission in 1991 had found that New York’s judicial system was “infested with racism”. The issue of racism remains unaddressed in New York’s judicial system.
Once upon a time, Rev. Sharpton said, “When whites have a problem, they call for Maalox. When Blacks have a problem, they call for Maddox”. This was a testament to my fulfilling the role of private attorney general in New York and in representing the downtrodden and the despised pro bono.
Since May 1990, no Black attorney in New York has accepted a pro bono case to represent an “unpopular” defendant in a controversial case. I have no intention, at my age, of actually resuming the practice of law but I do intend to overturn dangerous precedents, as an attorney, that are having a “chilling effect” on the actions of young, progressive attorneys.
Very truly yours,
cc: Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York