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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Constitution: American Legal Community Failure

Self-regulation: Does it work?

I have my doubts.

Newsflash: PA attorney calls for John C. Yoo's disbarment. Yoo was the mastermind behind various legal arguments the White House used to later justify alleged violations of the law: Prisoner mistreatment, rendition, and the NSA domestic surveillance.

Richard J. Schaedler, an attorney with a clean Pennsylvania attorney discipline record has called for Yoo to be disbarred. Yoo, like Schaedler, is licensed to appear before the Pennsylvania bar.

It remains unclear Schaedler made his comments on the After Downing Street website, or whether he or anyone else has filed a formal complaint in Pennsylvania.

However, in light of the clear written procedures stating how a formal complaint can be handled, in my personal opinion, the comment is unprofessional.

In my view, it would be more effective if an attorney were, if they have substantive allegations based on a review of the record, to file the complaint in formal channels.

Although Yoo is an educator in California, according to the CA State Bar Discipline system, he is not licensed to practice law in California.

Perhaps someone has filed a complaint in California not realizing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has jurisdiction over Yoo's license?


Let's review the comments appearing on the website: Richard J. Schaedler writes:
I'll say this again and again

Submitted by Richard J. Schaedler, Esquire (not verified) on Tue, 2006-01-10 11:31.

I'll say this again and again and again; as a lawyer I am appalled and disgusted by John Yoo. He, by his own words and writings, proves himself to not possess the moral terpitude [stet -- "turpitude"] and character necessary to be an attorney and counselor [stet] at law. HE SHOULD BE DISBARRED.
My response[Crossposted at DowningStret; with Summary at AmericaBlog.]

Richard J. Schaedler,

As you well know disbarment can start after an attorney files a complaint about a peer.

I note you're posting on the board, and suggest that you have carefully reviewed the record. You seem like you're in a good position to rally the evidence.

Yet, given the "lack of national interest" in these legal issues because of the unfavorable weather, perhaps you might know someone in the American Bar Association who could file a formal complaint in Pennsylvania or California?

It's one thing to talk about solutions; but quite another when those most able to start the process simply talk.

Please, if you think Yoo should be disbarred, I encourage you and your law school graduates-friends to organize yourselves to achieve that outcome.

If you believe that Yoo has violated the law, or lacks the requisite moral and character qualifications needed for continued bar membership, then you not only have the right but an obligation as a bar member to start the process to have him disbarred. Clearly, whether you choose to put your money where your mouth is another matter -- as has been the case in America over the issues of torture, NSA misconduct, and other crimes -- arguably impeachable offenses.

Barring unfavorable weather, do you think it might be within the scope of possibility that the American Bar Association members might agree on this solution -- to reduce the concerns to writing and formally submit them to the PA Disciplinary board -- or, as we have seen with GITMO, Eastern Europe, and NSA: Must the nation's international reputation suffer in the wake of egregious abuses captured on film before someone exercises some adult supervision?

Sadly, I sense the abuses will have to be widespread, possibly putting the individual liberties of specific ABA members at risk -- before they [a] see the change in weather weather; then [b] hunt for their umbrellas, much less [c] refer to their codes of professional responsibility or state bar disciplinary procedures; or [d] dare to enforce them.

America's current problems aren't simply one for the leaders, but also the fiduciaries. It's been troubling to realize when we most needed you; the attorneys failed to timely remedy these defects, but gave material information to the President which contributed to this disaster. Hitler's lawyers legalized the Holocaust, but war crimes trials showed us the problems with lawyers -- they can justify in their mind anything if working for powerful clients. It appears many in the American Bar Association have chosen silence because "the case" didn't land on their desk, nor were the clients sufficiently wealthy to warrant attention. Rather, the case was a mere trifle: The American Constitution.

The American Constitution will not be preserved unless the legal community is willing to preserve it. It requires more than words -- a simple an oath for bar membership; but actions -- when it is most difficult when facing and defeating tyranny. America's lawyers work for the client -- I shall never forget where you were when you were most needed: Asleep, and silent -- willing to assent to this non-sense, talking instead of taking action.

You’re not the kind of fiduciary I choose to hire. There are other options.

* * *

Let's consider some issues:

  • Is Schaedler really a lawyer? Check, yes.

  • What kind of law firm does Schaedler work? Banking and Finance, possibly more.

  • What is the relationship between "Yoo's comments on the Constitution" and "Schaedler's comments on the Constitution"?

    This is problematic -- it remains to be understood why a "Banking and Finance" firm has the requisite standing in the legal community to be able to appear before the bar and credibly say, "Yes, we in the banking community can make an informed judgment about Constitutional law."

    * * *

    Schaedler isn't listed in the attorney list for his firm. He's asking that we seriously consider that Yoo be disbarred, but he hasn't taken the time to ensure that he's listed?!?

  • Nothing on the disciplinary board.

  • Membership is active

  • Nothing under his file.

    Apparently, he's in good standing -- so why the delay in organizing other attorneys to rally to what some argue is "self evident": The need to review Yoo's fitness to continue practicing as an attorney.

    Maybe if the weather cooperates, someone might ask Richard directly.

    Just think, the community could have a "big rally" at Westside Park: "What's up with Yoo?"

    Maybe someone will pass these posters around: Click here.

    John Yoo -- alleged war criminal -- has many friends with Revolutionary Worker Online.

    * * *

    Yoo's Bio doesn't list where he's authorized to practice law: Not California.

    Allegations Yoo is a war criminal -- is this probative?

    But let's not stop there. Guess where Yoo is licensed: That's right Pennyslvania.

    Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

    * * *

    Recap. Let's review what we have.

    1. Shaedler -- an attorney we know has no disciplinary problems, and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania -- is making claims that another attorney, John C. Yoo, should be disbarred.

    2. Schaedler and Yoo share a common bar: Pennsylvania.

    3. Yoo's PA Attorney number is 69500 and has no disciplinary action.


    What is stopping a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania -- Schaedler -- from filing a formal grievance against another attorney -- Yoo -- apparently qualified to appear before the same courts: Pennsylvania.

    Maybe someone can enlighten the world why an attorney in Pennsylvania -- who is an alleged war criminal -- continues to educate students in California -- where is in apparently not licensed -- but the attorneys from Pennsylvania who are "shocked" at what is going on haven't filed a complaint against a peer?

    Please, tell us something that resembles English.

    * * *

    Here are the PA disciplinary guidelines to have someone debarred. Sese Page 16 of 88.

    Here are the questions:

    A. What is the allegation that is warranting disbarment?

    B. What are the facts upon which this allegation is made?

    C. Is there someone who wants to put this allegation in writing?

    D. Are they prepared to sign it?

    Richard Schaedler, if you believe that John C. Yoo should be disbarred, then I remain unclear why you are unwilling to start the process. It is in your own state. You have already made a public statement with your name. It's not as though you are afraid of "having your name" associated with this issue.

    So what is the issue:

  • A. Does Schaedler or others in PA not believe that the PA Supreme Court will take action?

  • B. Does someone have information that would tend to suggest that despite the requirements in Section 87.1. Initiation of investigations [to immediately launch an investigation based on a written complaint], that no such investigation would occur?

  • C. Is someone concerned that the complaint will be blocked? According to Section 87.2, "Verification of the complaint shall not be required."

  • D. Is someone concerned that they "don't know how to fill out the paperwork?" According to Section 87.2, "If necessary the Office of Disciplinary Counsel will assist the complainant in reducing the grievance to writing."

  • E. Is someone not sure "which forms" to use? According to Section 87.3, "The Office of Disciplinary Counsel shall furnish blank complaint forms (Form DB-2) (Complaint Against Attorney) to each person who alleges misconduct against an attorney."

    * * *


    PA Disciplinary system has a clear, simple, and ready to assist process. We remain unclear why, despite public assertions by Schaedler -- that Yoo should be disbarred -- that this apparently has not been either [a] reduced to writing, or [b] not investigated.

    It is a separate matter whether Schaedler has complained, but the investigation continues; or whether the complaints against Yoo have been found without merit.

    Where are we going with this: Schaedler or anyone else alleging Yoo is a war criminal and unfit to be an attorney -- are you willing to put this in writing and accept the decision of the PA Supreme Court?

    Choose A or B

    [ ] A. “Yes, I will file a formal written complaint.” [Put your money where your mouth is]

    [ ] B. “No, I will do nothing, but complain about it on websites.” [Apparent American approach to all issues.]

    * * *

    If you believe that Yoo's conduct warrants disbarment, put it in writing for the PA Supreme Court to review.

    I have little patience when people -- well versed in the State Statutes -- complain about their legal peers, but appear to reduce their concerns "in writing" in the wrong forum.

    * * *

    For those who may need clarification, a website is not the same as the PA Supreme Court disciplinary system.

    For those who are slow:

    A. This is the wrong forum: No;

    B. This is the right forum: Yes.

    * * *

    Again, for those who are confused:

    Happy face: Yes, this is the right place to make a written complaint about an attorney to investigate whether they should be disbarred;

    Unhappy face: No, this does nothing to process a complaint.