By Lisa Thomson
We all know lawyers are for hire but did you know some Judges are for sale? In our innocence we consider the legal system to be just. We consider a Judge to be the highest moral authority on the law. But it’s important to consider these are idealistic notions. We don’t live in a perfect world so why would our legal system be perfect? Consequently, if you can accept this, you’ll be less naive when you find yourself in a legal predicament. You won’t assume everybody is honest and moral.
With all litigation there is a high risk of loss. However, if you factor in the risk of a judge for sale that risk of loss becomes an immediate reality. It might be as remote as winning the lottery, but it happens and someone ultimately suffers. It’s not just in the movies. A judge is not super human and therefore not above temptation. Some people can be bought and sold, especially people in high positions. Who else is going to get bought? It’s not likely someone is going to buy my decision. My decisions have little bearing on what will unfold in the world today. A politician or a judge can change lives. If we imagine for a moment the possibility of a behind the scenes ‘deal’ in your divorce, think how this can nullify every penny you spend. Every ounce of energy and hope you put into your case is for naught. There is no chance of your being successful if a judge has made his decision before he has seen any of the evidence. Some examples of Judges who have been charged with bribery; Judge Limas from Brownsville TX, Judge Yves Barbonnais from Quebec Superior Court, Judges Ciavarella and Conahan from Pennsylvania, Judge Arthur R. Scott Jr. from Manhattan. Google those names and you will learn what the cases were about and who suffered for the bribery. In some cases children have suffered! These are the names of the ones that got caught. How many more are accepting bribes, and skewing the system right now? Bribed judges are a disgraceful fact of the legal system.
You would also be surprised at the depths a lawyer will sink to in order to see success for their case. Lawyers will mislead the court. They will not refrain from lying if that’s what it takes to put their case forward. I have seen it. If they will lie in a courtroom what else are they doing that we are not privy to? Usually their lies are stated as facts and then they plead ignorance later if called upon by the opposing lawyer or the Judge. I recently observed a lawyer in the courtroom for a civil matter, where he made a statement and when his junior corrected him, he shrugged and said “…in any event, it’s irrelevant”. So what was relevant a moment ago simply becomes irrelevant now that it is exposed as a lie. You may be wondering, how do you determine a good lawyer from a bad one? See my article “Legal Cost vs. Risk Analysis” soon to be posted.
Take my divorce Appeal for an example. There were many peculiarities. One of which was my ex-husband’s matrimonial lawyer who had gone to trial for him, knew the case through and through yet did not take the Appeal. Why suddenly the reluctance to continue? His heart or should I say his reputation, was still very much in it. He immediately resumed correspondence with me following the Appeal decision. He was quite anxious to pressure me to pay his client. Why the sudden rekindled interest in the case? Had he ever actually left the case? That’s a mystery I may never solve.
Another strange occurrence was when the judges requested information after the appeal hearing, about something that was not brought up at anytime during the appeal and in fact, not presented as evidence. It’s even more peculiar that the request centered on the very complaint my husband had all through divorce negotiations. Is it a coincidence that the judges decided to review the one settled issue of the divorce that undeniably was still a bone of contention for my ex? Prior to the Appeal, his lawyer attempted to show the court there was no need for spousal support again, based on this one issue. He failed. However, something magically changed during the Appeal decision. I guess the judge was a mind reader. As this Appeal proves, there are some bizarre judgments that leave people scratching their heads, even in family law.
Although there are many exceptional lawyers out there and just as many honest Judges, we must go into the system with our eyes wide open. We must be cognizant of the possible corruption that resides there. Sadly, we have little recourse if we are a victim of this corruption. The only place to go is the Supreme Court of Canada. It is common knowledge that it’s next to impossible to have a case heard there. You certainly can’t go there simply because you believe you were the victim of an injustice. When I began my journey through divorce I knew lawyers were for hire, but I had no idea some judges are for sale. The ones we know about are only part of the story. Be informed rather than naive. When it comes to legal matters it helps to know the truth about the system. Know that only you have your own best interests at heart. Go in wiser, skeptical and mostly armed with the knowledge that anything can happen.
To further prove the reality of judge bribing, I invite you to read about Judge Garson from the New York Supreme Court.
The New York Times, commenting on Garson’s conviction, observed:
It was news that confirmed every sneaking suspicion, every paranoid fantasy of anyone who had ever felt wronged in a divorce court.
Alberta Court of Appeal Judge Calls for Random Assignment of Judges to Panels– by Cristin Schmitz of Lawyer’s Daily
Copyright 2012 by Lisa Thomson. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission. For information or permission to use this article please contact the author.
I am not a lawyer. I am reporting on my legal experiences.