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Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government and erected checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. However where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny.
--Patrick Henry--

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Whistleblower (Legal Field) News & Views



September 2008

MINNESOTA   

Report: Medtronic lawyer filed whistleblower suit

A lawsuit reveals that one of Medtronic's own lawyers blew the whistle on how the company allegedly enticed doctors to use its spine products with lavish trips, including forays to a notorious Memphis strip club.

By From staff and wire reports

9-25-08 -- A whistleblower lawsuit against Medtronic Inc. that highlighted perks allegedly paid to doctors was filed by one of the company's lawyers, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. The legal action was ultimately settled in 2006 for $40 million. . . . The 2002 suit, filed by former senior legal counsel Ami P. Kelley, claimed the Fridley-based medical technology giant lavished spine surgeons with a variety of incentives to use its products, including regular entertainment at a Memphis strip club, trips to Alaska and patent royalties on inventions they played no part in. . . . The allegations involve the relationship between Medtronic's spine business and doctors. Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating these relationships, which have also been the focus of at least two other whistleblower lawsuits filed by former employees.


NEW JERSEY  

Judge tosses part of whistleblower's suit against utility board

by Dunstan McNichol/The Star-Ledger

9-18-08 -- Parts of a whistleblower's lawsuit against the Board of Public Utilities and board president Jeanne Fox were thrown out this afternoon, but a Mercer County judge ruled that remaining portions of case should proceed through a full trial. . . . Mercer County Superior Court Judge Andrew J. Smithson pruned two key claims from the case BPU fiscal officer Joseph Potena is pressing against the BPU, Fox and two of her top deputies. . . . Potena has sued his employers claiming he was retaliated against for reporting concerns about mismanagement and cronyism in the BPU's $125 million a year alternate energy subsidy program to state Treasury Department officials in 2004. . . . Today, after Potena's attorney wrapped up his case after a week of testimony, Smithson accepted defense attorney's motions to reject Potena's contention that delays in hiring a friend of his, Bruce Goldberg, in 2003 were part of the alleged retaliation for his whistle-blowing.


July 2007

NEW YORK  

Jailing of Key Witness in Judicial Bribery Case May Discourage Cooperation, Some Say

Daniel Wise, New York Law Journal

7-2-07 -- A judge's decision to disregard the prosecutor's recommendation for probation and instead impose the maximum one-year jail term for Paul Siminovsky, the ex-lawyer who played a key role in convicting former Brooklyn Justice Gerald P. Garson, could discourage potential cooperating witnesses in the future, several veteran defense lawyers said Wednesday. . . . On Tuesday, Acting Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey G. Berry of Orange County, N.Y., sentenced Siminovsky to a year in jail, citing the serious nature of his role in corrupting the judicial system. . . . Even the attorneys who claimed the sentence could have negative consequences said they recognized the judge's concern that serious misdeeds involving the corruption of the judiciary were appropriately punished.


Current Catalog


December 2006

OHIO  

Ohio Whistleblower Gets 8 Years For Criticizing Judge

© 2006 North Country Gazette

12-20-06 -- Government critic and judicial whistleblower Elsebeth Baumgartner has been sentenced to eight years in prison for writing e-mails to a 76-year-old retired visiting judge who is still sitting on the bench adjudicating matters although the Ohio Constitution mandated his removal from the bench when he reached age 70. . . . In an apparent attempt to position herself and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office for Baumgartner's expected constitutional challenge to both the sufficiency and lawfulness of the charges levied against her as well as the procedures exercised in gaining the convictions, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold said that she wasn't sentencing Baumgartner for the content of her speech but rather for her act of exercising that speech. . . . Although Baumgartner was arrested and prosecuted for allegedly intimidating and retaliating against Markus because he refused to disqualify himself from adjudicating matters against her, retiring visiting judge Richard Markus, who has exhibited an extraordinary ego and conceit as well as overwhelming bias against Baumgartner, said last month that he hadn't been intimidated by her.


November 2006

FLORIDA

Panel Seeks To Remove Judge For Demeaning Other Judges

© 2006 North Country Gazette

A St. Lucie County Court judge is learning first hand not to "rock the boat" and after filing complaints on his fellow judges, alleging that they couldn't be impartial and were allegedly acting improperly, he's had the tables turned on him. . . . Judge Cliff Barnes of the 19th Judicial Circuit is under investigation by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission for allegedly demeaning the integrity and independence of the judiciary by complaining about the propriety of the conduct of the St. Lucie County sheriff, state attorney and public defender and by allegedly writing about the issue as a guest columnist in a local newspaper. . . . Barnes was served notice that the commission has found that probable cause exists to file formal charges against him on Oct. 26. Most of the charges are related to a complaint that Barnes filed with the Fourth District Court of Appeals in July alleging that his fellow judges, the state attorney and the public defender weren't complying with the law at first appearance hearings which are required within 24 hours of a subject's arrest. . . . Barnes has filed his response and has moved to dismiss some of the charges. . . . He specifically called for County Judge Thomas Walsh to recuse himself from criminal hearings, saying that Walsh had a prohibited conflict of interest because he is married to public defender Diamond Litty. . . . The JQC charges that Barnes violated judicial canons by filed a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking the removal of Walsh, saying instead that Barnes' actions created an appearance of impropriety concerning his ability to act in an impartial manner as a judge in criminal proceedings. . . . The judicial disciplinary agency says that by charging specific improprieties of another judge which the JQC is without appropriate foundation, that Barnes has eroded the public confidence in the judicial system. The JQC also claims that by advocating a position that benefits third parties (the public) Barnes has violated the prohibition against a sitting judge practicing law.


Click for more information on Judge Cliff Barnes

Judges Speaking Out on Behalf of  "We the People"  


INDIANA  

Whisteblower is target of disclosures

FEDERAL COURTS: Allegations of racism, retaliation in U.S. attorney's office
By Joe Carlson

11-14-06 -- A self-styled whistleblower in the U.S. attorney's office may have himself become the target of a blown whistle, as two federal judges received paperwork calling into question how he handled three bank fraud cases this year. . . . Assistant U.S. attorney Clarence Butler Jr., 49, a 14-year veteran of the federal prosecutor's office, says the supervisor who took over his division in 2005 has punished him for reporting incidents of racism by others. . . . Butler filed a discrimination claim against the U.S. attorney's office in July spelling out the allegations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission still is considering his complaint. . . . Two months after Butler's claim to the EEOC, federal judges Philip Simon and James Moody received copies of written plea offers between Butler and three bank fraud suspects that should have been made public, but weren't. . . . In written orders, Moody and Simon said Butler's undisclosed plea offers were presented to them by U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen in late September. . . . Van Bokkelen, who is being considered for a federal judgeship, declined to comment Monday. . . . Simon wrote that the prosecutor had decided to present the paperwork, which could have undermined the convictions or caused disciplinary actions "because of his apparent concern that perhaps plea agreements had been entered into by his office that were not disclosed to the court."


September 2006

OHIO  

Ohio Attorney Jailed Again Without Charges

By Greg Szymanski

9-7-6 -- A disbarred Ohio attorney who uncovered massive state and federal corruption has been illegally jailed again for allegedly practicing law without a license. . . . Elsebeth Baumgartner has been held in the Erie County jail for 16 days without charges being filed, a proper arraignment or even the right to a bail hearing. She was put away without her due process and constitutional rights even being recognized similar in style to way political dissidents were treated in Nazi Germany and the old Soviet Union. . . . Called the ultimate travesty of justice by court observers and by her husband, Joe Baumgartner, this most recent jailing of Baumgartner illustrates the kangaroo court-like atmosphere present in Ohio, as her case also clearly illustrates a total breakdown of the rule of law and respect for the rights of an individual. . . . Held in jail as nothing more than a political prisoner based on 'judicial discretion gone haywire', Baumgartner was unavailable for comment. This most recent jail term adds to more than 244 days spent illegally behind bars for trumped-up crimes, including a recent 45 day jail stint for contempt of court, numerous days behind bars for unnecessary psychiatric evaluations and months in jail for merely speaking out at a city council meeting. . . . "This latest jailing is the worst thing I ever witnessed," said Baumgartner's husband, Joe, in a Wednesday telephone conversation. "There were never any charges filed and Judge David Knepper just decided to jail Else for illegally practicing law or giving out legal advice to a friend she met while in jail. It's simply ridiculous but she still is sitting in jail without any rights or even a proper arraignment."

Greg Szymanski

Greg also has his own daily show on the Genesis Communications Network. Go to www.gcnlive.com Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at www.LewisNews.com. He also writes for his own site www.arcticbeacon.com  . . . Listen to my Radio Broadcast live Monday night at 8pm Pacific time on LewisNews, returning Jan. 1 2006 Radio http://webs.lewisnews.com/radio/index.htm. Greg is also regular on Rense.com the first Thursday of every month at 9-10 pm pacific time.


PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY
Catch-22 for Suspended Lawyer?
Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer
A lawyer whose license was suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court but who later won the right to resume practicing in federal court claims he faces an impossible ethical dilemma since Pennsylvania's highest court has ruled that such lawyers are barred from opening a Pennsylvania office to support that federal practice. . . . Attorney Robert B. Surrick has filed suit in federal court to challenge that ruling, arguing that in those rare cases where the federal courts allow a suspended lawyer to practice, the state courts must allow the lawyer to open an office. . . . Surrick is one of three lawyers -- along with Frank Marcone and Robert F. Simone -- who have won the right to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania despite the fact that his Pennsylvania license is currently suspended.

BUY

 


MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY

Why I Continue to Fight...

Judicial Intimidation in Norfolk County, Massachusetts

 My girlfriend and I were victims of retribution, chilling of First Amendment rights and harassment by Judge David Koppelman of Norfolk Probate and Family Court in Canton, Massachusetts.

 In 1999 I was legal counsel for a father's rights group. We sued the State court system for violating the constitutional rights of male litigants. The case was widely publicized. I received significant media attention, was named lawyer of the year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and received congratulatory messages from the Mass Bar Association, praise from the Boston Herald and a plaque from the State Senate. I was even on TV in China, as well as the BBC and CNN, AP and NPR. CBS News also did a segment. My domestic relations practice dramatically increased.  The lawsuit strongly criticized two judges (Harms and Sheave) in Norfolk Probate. Although the federal court refused to let the suit go forward, I succeeded in bringing the issue to the fore, and was in the press around the country for weeks,

 A few years later, Judge Koppelman and Judge Harms assumed control over the guardianship of my girlfriend's brother, who has schizophrenia... They appointed a lawyer for him who immediately began to accuse my girlfriend and me of embezzlement from him. A guardian was appointed who, despite obvious attempts at intimidating him, cleared us. I took the precaution of hiring one of the elder statesmen of the Boston bar who confirmed that there was a vendetta directed against me.

 It was too late, though, for my girlfriend.

 She suffered a stroke within a few hours of learning of the accusation, was hospitalized, and is now on blood pressure medication. She had to have two MIRís and stay in the hospital for a week; she is a diabetic in her mid-fifties, and very fragile. These judges literally almost killed her.

 I am planning demonstrations and other acts of protest this summer in Canton, Massachusetts.

Attorney David Grossack

617-965-9300


 
 

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ďThe law makes a promiseóneutrality. If the promise gets broken, the law as we know it ceases to exist. All thatís left is the dictate of a tyrant, or perhaps a mob.Ē

Excerpt from: Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy. Address to American Bar Association symposium, Bulwarks of the Republic: Judicial Independence and Accountability in the American System of Justice, held December 4-5, 1998, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 


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INAUGURATED ON: September 30, 2006
Updated: 01/11/2010