Edna Jane Favreau's ordeal with the Florida Bar - snapshots of the shysters involved.
THE FLORIDA BAR
Edna Jane Favreau’s Ordeal
In the Den of Vipers
THE BROOD OF VIPERS
David Arthur Walters
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Mathew 12:34 Holy Bible - New International Version
How much justice would a $500 retainer buy in Brevard County, Florida for a hapless victim disabled by domestic violence, sorely in want of protection and a divorce with fair property settlement? Not much in 1995, for Justice was purblind to injustice in the courts of law.
Edna Jane Stewart had a thriving real estate business going when she met her charming beau, Walter Favreau, who had nothing more than the clothes on his back and his Air Force retirement. The marriage certificate had barely dried when the domestic violence proceeded. He liked to smash her head into walls. The violence ramped up: he nearly murdered her by strangulation on one occasion, cutting off oxygen to her brain and leaving her disabled.
Walter was charged and convicted, and let off easy on probation. He cleaned out the bank accounts. Jane ran for her life, and hid until she believed she would obtain justice from the legal system. But the legal system, namely the judges, her husband’s lawyers, and, worse of all, her own shysters, made matters worse, cheating her out of the legal fees she paid and her marital assets, rendering her pauperized and without legal counsel or aid. Literally toothless, she was forced to represent herself pro se the best she could. In fine, the victim was re-victimized; legal abuse syndrome was added to her post-traumatic distress.
JANE’S FIRST LAWYER
Jane borrowed money from her kids to hire Pam Huddleston to protect her interests. The contract fee was $1,500, and Jane expected she would get something substantial; to wit, what she paid for, i.e. justice. “I did not expect the court to grant me an attorney’s help at the beginning of my court cases, so I hired an attorney named Pam Huddleston to take the case to trial. She was paid to take the case to trial, and she agreed to request additional attorney fees from the advantaged side as allowed by Florida law. Instead, she sold out to the other side and canceled that important hearing for interim fees, and then she went skiing.”
Jane had confidence in Ms. Huddleston when she retained her; the lawyer had advertised that she was a “Former State Prosecutor” and a “Former Law Enforcement Officer.” Jane was terribly disappointed. She filed a complaint with The Florida Bar.
In 10 September 1998 correspondence with Patricia A. Savitz at the Florida Bar referencing Florida Bar Case No. 1999-30,325(18C), Jane stated that Mary Pamela Huddleston, contrary to her statement to the Bar, did not represent her “for a brief time” in 1994:
“She did not even show up at the pre-trial on February 2, 1994. And it was noticed to her. She took my money and told me she would help me get a divorce for 1,500.00 dollars and represented to me that she could do that for this amount, and according to the contract that we had and was signed by Ms. Huddleston she agreed to ask the judge to have my former husband pay attorney fees if that amount ran out. Completely unknown to me she went in secret to the court house Dec. 22, 1993 and withdrew without a hearing - the rule says I must be noticed of a hearing so I can be present.”
Jane alleged that that Ms. Huddleston had been known to consort with her husband’s attorney, Melanie M. Kalbac-McMannis: “In my last letter I told you the case number where Ms Huddleston and Ms. Kalbac were accused of working together while on opposite sides in the same time period.”
Jane alleged that the two attorneys had colluded in her case to trick her into thinking a settlement had been made. She had no memory of signing any document other than a settlement: “Ms Huddleston and Ms Kalbac under false pretenses brought me to their office, claiming they had worked out an out of court settlement, which turned out to not be true as the record proves, Clearly and emphatically and beyond any doubt that document was signed under circumstances of severe distress and coercion.”
Brevard County judges had attorneys involved in cases write out orders for them, giving devious attorneys the opportunity to alter orders to favor their clients: according to Jane, Ms. Kalbac altered what the Judge Frank Pound had ordered in the divorce case, particularly in regards to the equal division of marital properties.
Jane objected to Ms. Huddleston’s statement to the Bar that her withdrawal had not hurt Jane: “In the last line of the Aug. 31, 1998 letter, Ms Huddleston claims her withdrawal would not affect the client’s rights. Ms. Huddleston had in her possession the doctor’s letters stating my severe condition pertaining to spouse abuse and the aftermath, of being impaired and subject to post trauma stress disorder; she clearly had first-hand knowledge of my trauma and my poor emotional condition. It is absurd to even attempt to make a statement that her withdrawal would not put me jeopardy.”
The lawyer apparently did not bother to keep a copy of the services contract: “Surely, she was required to keep a copy of our contract as I still have my copy. Ms Huddleston misrepresents what really took place. She did not zealously represent me for the amount of money paid. This is obvious, and on top of that she did grave harm to the disabled client’s case by canceling an important hearing. There is no excuse for this outrageous treatment to her client. As an attorney Ms. Huddleston knew or should have known it was against the rules to try and withdraw without a hearing being held, and at the same time to cancel an important case hearing was outrageous in her actions as it caused the case to clearly appear that she was selling out to the other side.”
Jane summed up the events for The Miami Mirror: “I was told there was going to be an out of court settlement and to come to Pam Huddleston, but when I got there my attorney tricked me and canceled my hearing, which had been scheduled way back but was piggy-backed with a hearing from Ms Kalbac. Huddleston picked up the phone and called the Nancy, assistant to Judge Pound, and cancelled the hearing. But, no ‘out of court’ [settlement] papers were signed. It was a ‘trick’ plain and simple. They were afraid I would be able to get a message to the judge in writing about what tricks they were playing on a disabled impaired woman who needed the laws of ADA to protect her. So, they canceled the hearing so I would not be able to get to the judge. I sent Notice to the judge in writing but Nancy said she was not going to show it to the judge, so I filed it with the clerk of court for the records but no one reads pro se documents.”
We asked Ms. Huddleston for her side of the story. On 26 September 2010 she said she did not remember the complaint against her. “Sorry, I don't know or remember any such complaint. I am in good standing with the Florida Bar. Good luck on helping this lady!!” When shown the advertisement that had attracted Jane to her because Jane thought someone who had prosecuted domestic violence cases would surely do a good job for her, Ms. Huddleston asked, “What’s the point?” She was informed that the point was to get her side of the story, and to see if she might be able to help Jane get justice, she replied: “Nope not interested!! !! I no longer live in FL AND I WOULD NEVER EVER GET BACK INVOLVED WITH THAT CLIENT!! Please cease and decease from contacting me past this email!!!!” Therefore we do not send her copies of articles about her conduct in the matter.
So much for Jane’s first attorney; Jane floundered around on her own until she found her second attorney and gave him a retainer of $500 to defend her against her husband and his new attorney, the notoriously bombastic, Rambo-style attorney, the late Henry Martocci.
We checked with The Florida Bar and found no formal record of complaints made against Ms. Huddleston and Ms. Kalbac. The public record complaint file on Ms. Huddleston, including any public record that there had ever been a complaint, had been destroyed because complaints upon which there are no public disciplinary actions are utterly destroyed one year after the file is closed. In other words, there may have been dozens or even hundreds of complaints made against an officer of the court, but the attorney’s record is wiped clean, purportedly to protect her integrity from allegedly unproven accusations.
JANE’S SECOND LAWYER
Billy Thomas is another matter, as the Bar did take public disciplinary action against him for multiple offenses against various clients.
“Billy Thomas was my second attorney,” Jane recounted. “He sold out to Henry Martocci, and talked about that in front of me. Billy Thomas said he would consolidate the cases and bring closure. My son Joe Stewart gave an affidavit to Mr. Billy Thomas but he did not file it with the court. It looks like Martocci paid him not to help me like he said he was going to do.”
The 1998 affidavit was her son’s testimony about events he had observed. He urged that Henry Martocci be punished by the court for unethical and despicable conduct that shamed the legal profession: “If Henry Martocci is any example of how attorneys work in Brevard County Florida, it is a shame… I urge the court to sanction the attorney Martocci for his frequent deviations from ethical practices, and not overlook his tactics in this matter; including changing Judge's orders in his favor when he writes them. Why attorneys in your State are allowed to write Judge's orders themselves is beyond me,” Mr. Stewart stated. Among other reprehensible things, Mr. Stewart objected to Martocci’s “racist” use of the pejorative term “gook” when referencing Mr. Stewart’s jacket. (We reserve discussion of the late Henry Martocci’s “bomber tactics” and immoral and unethical conduct to a separate article in this series).
The relatively transparent, “integrated” Florida Bar, the disciplinary “arm” of the Florida Supreme Court which also serves in a representative capacity for all Florida lawyers, produced records of a set of Florida Bar cases under Florida Supreme Court Case No. SC021-2125, which happened to include on the public record of a guilty decision certain cases for which Billy Thomas was found not guilty:
In Case 2001-32,017(18B), the Bar’s Amended Complaint alleged that Billy Thomas had taken a $500 deposit from Albert E. Gibson to inquire into what could be done about a $40,000 judgment against him for child support in Texas. The client called Thomas’ law office to ascertain what progress had been made, but the attorney did not respond. The client’s wife called and asked that her husband be responded to. Billy Thomas then made an angry call to the client, ordering him not to call his office but to wait for a call. Eventually the client, dissatisfied with the lack of progress and Billy Thomas’ angry demeanor, asked for a refund. Bill Thomas refused to make a refund, said he would invent charges amounting to $500, and threatened to bill the client for staff time answering the telephone. A complaint about the fee was made to the Bar, and the matter was set for mediation; however, the attorney was unresponsive, and did not attend the mediation hearing. The Referee found that no meaningful services had been provided other than reviewing the documents and answering the telephone inquiries. In fact, the Referee found evidence that Billy Thomas lacked “professionalism”; nonetheless, the Referee said he was unable to prove that he violated the Rules of the Bar. He recommended a not guilty finding. Incredibly, the Supreme Court of Florida approved of this not guilty finding on August 21, 2003.
In Case 2002-30,199((18B), the Bar’s Amended Complaint alleged that Billy Thomas was retained by Thomas L. McGehee, who advanced him a fee of $1,000 to look after his interests in marital dissolution cases in Nevada and Florida. The client had been personally served in the Florida action brought against him by his wife, but he was wrongly advised by Billy Thomas that Florida did not have jurisdiction. Thomas said he would file a motion for lack of jurisdiction in Florida, but he failed to do so, and the attorney also failed to file a notice of appearance. A default judgment was entered against his client, who was forced to find another attorney to represent him. The Referee found that Thomas has provided no meaningful services in the case. The Bar’s initial attempts to contact Thomas were unfruitful; one inquiry was returned by the Post Office marked ‘Unclaimed’. Thomas finally did make an untimely response, seven and one-half weeks after the initial Bar inquiry. The Amended Complaint alleged violation of several Rules of the Bar, including failure to adequately represent, collection of an improper fee, failure to respond to a Bar inquiry, but the Referee found that Billy Thomas was guilty of some sloppy practices, but did not find that his conduct violated the Rules of the Bar. He recommended a not guilty finding. Incredibly, the Supreme Court of Florida so found on August 21, 2003.
In Case 2002-31,129(18C), the Referee found that Billy Thomas had failed to respond to the Bar’s investigation of alleged misconduct occurring January 14, 2002, and had, in effect, thumbed his nose at the disciplinary system. The misconduct regarded his testimony at a hearing before a grievance committee in the matter of Case 2001-32,017(18B), referenced above. Mr. Thomas testified he had failed to protect his client’s parental rights; he had failed to notify his client that he had to appear before the grievance committee; he had offered to refund the client’s $500 if he would drop the grievance complaint against him; he failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiries in the matter. For all this a mere public reprimand was recommended and given, and all costs were assessed to Billy Thomas, as per the approval of the Referee’s report by the Supreme Court of Florida on August 21. 2003. The Referee in making his recommendation in this case noted and considered that there had been no prior disciplinary history; however, besides the not-guilty cases under the same Supreme Court heading, there may have been and probably was a history of multiple complaints for which no disciplinary action was taken for one reason or the other, most likely including the negligence of the Bar; the Referee would have had no knowledge thereof due to the Supreme Court’s policy requiring the destruction of all such Florida Bar records including the records that there were records, thus covering up what may have been a pattern of misconduct.
The public might have expected something harsher than a public slap on the wrist in those cases. Other attorneys have been disbarred for far less.
The Bar produced another set of cases against Billy Thomas under Florida Supreme Court Case No. SC-03-2151, we did not obtain the particulars on each case, but we have the Referees findings as follows:
In Case 2002-30,991(18B), Billy Thomas failed to adequately communicate with his client.
In Case 2002-31,128(18B), Billy Thomas failed to adequately communicate with his client, and he failed to respond in a timely fashion to the Bar’s inquiries.
In Case 2002-30,898(18B), Billy Thomas failed to provide complete trust account records as per a subpoena, and he failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiry in a timely fashion. The trust account records he did supply indicated technical trust account violations.
In Case 2002-31,361(18B), Billy Thomas failed to adequately communicate with his client, and he failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiries. He represented the husband in a dissolution of marriage case while representing both husband and wife in a bankruptcy case.
In Case 2002-31,724(18B), Billy Thomas failed to adequately communicate with his client, and he failed to respond completely or in a timely fashion to the Bar’s inquiry.
In Case 2002-31,866(18B), Billy Thomas failed to adequately communicate with his client, and he failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiry.
In Case 2003-30,745(18B), Billy Thomas failed to respond to Bar inquiries.
In Case 2005-30,305(18B), Billy Thomas failed to refund $30 in costs to a client.
For all the above, Billy Thomas was suspended from the practice of law for ten days, not including weekends. He was ordered to refund the $30 and to pay restitution to another client in the amount of $500 – probably the $500 he cheated Albert E. Gibson out of. The penalty was absurd. The attorney is presently in good standing with the Bar, and we have no way of knowing how many complaints have been made against him since then and the records utterly destroyed by The Florida Bar because it did not see fit to punish him at all. We could resort to the court to obtain all the records of complaints against officers of the law, although they are now trying to secrete them, but officers of the court abuse the “inherent” or divine power of the court to protect their reputations.
JANE’S THIRD LAWYER
“Lindsey Moore was my third attorney,” Jane said. “He took $2,000 and some office furniture from my son. He was disbarred for harming my case.” The Florida Bar promptly produced the following information:
In Case 96-31,284, Linsey Moore provided assistance to Edna Jane Favreau in her pro se appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeals from the final judgment of the dissolution of marriage; she sought to avoid the sale of jointly owned property and obtain an injunction against her former husband’s continued violence against her. Moore failed to advise her of a hearing date in the injunction case and failed to attend the hearing himself, resulting in the dismissal of the case. Moore also filed a suit in the wrong court, the United States District Court, averring that the circuit court judge had failed to provide Favreau, who was indigent, with legal counsel; he withdrew from that case without notifying Favreau. He failed to respond adequately to her grievances and made false and misleading statements: he accused her of perjury, alleging that she and another client had threatened him, and said that her grievances were the result of membership in race-hatred and paramilitary organizations.
In Case 96-31,293, Linsey Moore failed to inform his client Newton G. Ferguson, who had been previously representing himself, of a hearing and of his withdrawal from the case, and refused to return Ferguson’s files.
In Case 96-31,706, Linsey Moore represented Norma Vaughn in a suit deemed improper, against a federal judge and clerk of the court, and in federal court he improperly asserted that his client’s former attorney was guilty of malpractice. He failed to obey the court’s order to show cause why he should not be sanctioned, and the court imposed sanctions on him for filing a frivolous complaint.
In Case 96-31,739, Linsey Moore informed a court that he had a conflict of interest in an unauthorized practice of law case, but he failed to withdraw.
In Case 96-31,911, Linsey Moore failed to fully respond to subpoena of his trust account records so The Florida Bar could conduct an audit of same.
In Case 97-30,886, Linsey Moore, in Wanda J. Moore v. Solomon Joseph Parrish, Moore failed to respond to court orders, failed to respond to a judge’s telephone call, and failed to attend a hearing or to contact the court, therefore the judge asked The Florida Bar to discipline him.
In Case 97-30,915, Linsey Moore took $500 from Tanya Ruffin, who was the sole beneficiary of a will, to represent her in probate, and to act as the personal representative of the estate, to evict tenants from a property held by the estate, a dual representation that constituted a conflict of interest. The eviction action was never filed. Ms. Ruffin repeatedly tried to contact him. He avoided her and withdrew from the case without notifying her. The probate case was dismissed because he did not appear at the hearing.
The Florida Bar found that he had engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Among other things, his behavior was unlawful and dishonest; he failed to act diligently and promptly on behalf of his clients; he failed to keep clients informed; he failed to protect his clients’ interests when terminating representation; he represented multiple clients creating a conflict of interest; he violated trust account rules. Incredibly, he was allowed to cop a plea. For all of the above, he received a one-year suspension from the practice of law, instead of permanent disbarment, and he was ordered to show rehabilitation before reinstated.
We are not surprised to hear that Mr. Moore got into hot water again after resuming his practice. We find the following allegations in the complaints:
In Case 97-31,218 (18C), Moore failed to account for and refund a balance of money in an inmate’s bank account that he was handling for the inmate, and he failed to respond to the Bar’s disciplinary inquiries.
In Case 97-31,219 (18C), Mark S. Duhrkoff told Moore that he could not afford a $3,500 fee to represent him in a child molestation and police misconduct case he had brought against the city and the police department. Moore said he would take $1,500 down and the balance could be worked out. Duhrkoff borrowed $1,500 from his mother and gave it to Moore. The lawyer just cashed the check, not putting it in a trust account as he should have done. Duhrkoff became concerned about the status of the case and sent Moore a letter, but the client received no response, so he sent another letter demanding a refund and his file, but neither the refund nor the file was forthcoming from the lawyer. Moore did not respond to Bar inquiries. The Referee found that little or no services were performed for the $1,500.
In Case 97-31,319 (18C), Moore agreed to handle, free of charge, Herbert E. Berisford’s case against his employer for retirement funds. But he did not provide any services, did not respond to his client’s inquiries, and he failed to return his client’s documents.
In Case 97-31,477 (18C), Moore mishandled cases involving malpractice claim, and a defamation claim, against his fellow attorney John J. Malone. He took an action he had not discussed with his client, and Malone found it difficult to find him, which resulted in delays. Moore drew up a motion but did not bother to file it. He demanded a $3,500 contingency fee in one of the cases, but said he would take $1,500 down. He cashed the check the same day he got it. Prior to an important hearing, he called to say he was withdrawing from that case; evidently he had intended to pocket the money and provide no services.
The specific violations of Bar Rules cited in the complaint are legion. Moore did not answer the complaints or appear at the hearing the Bar action, so he was in default. The Referee recommended a guilty finding on all counts, and disbarment. Finally, after all this damage and probably more damage for which the records were destroyed had been done to victims of legal abuse, The Florida Supreme Court so held on July 9, 1998.
Talk about conflict of interest: At this point we have some cause to wonder why The Florida Bar is allowed to discipline as well as represent the legal profession, to wonder why the disciplinary function has not been split off and handed over to the executive branch of government with non-lawyers in charge of consumer complaints, as has been done in the mother country of English law.
JANE’S FOURTH LAWYER
“Howard Weiss was my next attorney. We met for about 45 minutes. I paid him to make a call to the opposing attorney. He just sat there after taking my money. He did not do what he promised to do. He pulled out because he would not stand up against Henry Martocci.”
Between attorneys from time to time, Jane was forced to fend for herself in court the best she could, albeit terrorized by the threat of future violence, disabled from mental and physical trauma of domestic violence already experienced, and suffering from multiple strokes.
“The paper had published my account of how the court was mistreating crime victims. I wanted and needed a good attorney, but then no local attorney was willing to help me with the cases against my former husband,” Jane related, “allowing Judge Bruce Jacobus to do many things that were clearly wrong.
“Oh, yes, there was an attorney by the name of Keith Williams, the attorney who told Judge Bruce Jacobus that all I could do would be to file a tort action against my former husband, so the judge put that in his order. Mr. Williams said he would represent me if I signed over my residence to him, which he said he would not take possession of until my death, but I was afraid to do that, because who can trust an attorney? The good attorneys in town said they were too busy to take my case. They were afraid to deal with Henry Martocci, the attorney on the other side in Judge Jacobus’ court.”
We note here a 9 November publication by the Miami Herald of a New York Times Service article on the purportedly new practice of lawyers taking second mortgages on clients’ homes to secure a fee amounting to 40% of the amount of reduction in the amount allegedly owed due to a foreclosure dispute. Some defense lawyers were quoted as saying the practice is “creepy” and “crass” but it does afford lawyers an opportunity to get paid by hard pressed clients. An attorney who says he now collects $500 per month from 500 clients on such deals was quoted as saying foreclosure defense in itself was once considered the “lowest of the low – below the divorce guys, below ambulance chasers.”
JANE’S FIFTH LAWYER
Human nature predisposes us to easily recall offenses and to dispraise the persons offending us, neglecting to remember and praise those persons who have done us well. Highly esteemed professionals might tell us that the bad apples in their own baskets are few in number; therefore we should not blame entire professions for the misdeeds of a few practitioners. Long gone are the Revolutionary days when “Kill the lawyers” was a common clamor, for lawyers have had a big hand winning the liberties we enjoy, although the Law is still largely what rich and powerful people do.
However, now that some of the most respected and trusted lawyers have been exposed as crooks, we do not know how credible the profession is. Some critics including members of the bar believe it is rotten to the core; but it is no more corrupt than the people it represents, and that is where reform is first needed.
In any case, we know only a small number of lawyers, and they may have done us well, but we do not make a point of publicly praising them for what we expected them to do. Instead, we love to complain about our disappointing experiences. Yet we do not pay any attention to The Florida Bar or its disciplinary process. Those of us who have done so believe that The Florida Bar, despite the good work it has done, has been too discriminatory, favoring powerful law firms and smacking down criticism from uncooperative lawyers; we believe it has been far too lax, allowing abuses to continue for many years before finally disbarring offensive lawyers; it has been much too opaque due to its destruction of consumer complaints that it chooses to do nothing about.
Considerable improvement is obviously needed. After all, are not all lawyers by nature shysters? No, not really. Jane’s fifth attorney stepped up and actually tried help her.
“My fifth attorney was Edward Tietig, the attorney the judge would not listen to when he told the judge that I was impaired too much to do my own case,” Jane said, showing me a Motion For Determination of Competency filed in her dissolution of marriage case 93-9107 in August 1996. In that Motion Mr. Tietig averred: “In the course of talking with Mrs. Favreau and examining the files and correspondence and determining and mental and physical condition, Petitioner formed the opinion that Mrs. Favreau’s mental state was such that she could not exercise competent judgment in her legal and financial affairs. As a result of that determination, Petitioner found it incumbent upon him, as an officer of the court, to inform the Court of this circumstance, and he did so by Report to the Court, dated July 10, 1996…”
“No one would help me except for Edward Tietig,” Jane stated, “who really tried to help me although he did not get paid, but whom Judge Jacobus would not listen to. The attorneys I had gotten took my money and abandoned me, finally forcing me to represent myself. I can point out on the transcript where the opposing attorney laughed at me, a woman impaired by her former husband’s violent crime. Judge Jacobus bullied attorney Tietig and refused to allow him to talk, and attorney Tietig did not want to deal with Martocci so he withdrew. Judge Jacobus violated my rights as a victim of domestic violence when he refused to allow Tietig to show him I had not been given an Order to show the value of the family assets – Judge Jacobus just ignored Mr. Tietig.”
The disciplinary records still intact demonstrate an abusive pattern of malpractice and unethical and immoral conduct. Those records alone give us cause to believe Jane’s allegations are meritorious.
Judges and lawyers bemoan how much the legal system is clogged up by pro se litigants, and they wrack their brains and wring their hands for a remedy to the mess. At least Jane did better than the shysters she was able to hire. At least she created a record that truly reflects the worst nature of the Florida bar. Eventually the court ordered her to file no more pleadings except through some licensed lawyer who would not represent her, and ordered any further pleadings to be shredded. Fortunately she is not in jail for appealing that decision.
Despite the official rhetoric about improvements made and to be made, there are plenty of bottom-feeding shysters to this very day, preying on people who can barely scrape together whatever $500 to $1,500 in 1995 dollars is worth today, and then throwing them to the sharks to defend themselves the best way they can. The marital property stolen from Jane by the organized system of injustice in Brevard County and the State of Florida was worth far more than that; the damage she still suffers from legal abuse is incalculable. Most legal victims walk away, give up, lie down and die, but Jane retained her dignity by fighting for her rights, which are the rights everyone should have rich or poor.
Hope springs eternal. Jane believes that one day her cases will be reopened with the help of a licensed errant knight after all these years, on the grounds that there was a fraud perpetrated upon the courts. We shall soon expose in some depth the misconduct of the attorneys who worked for her former husband. We have already rendered a brief account of the conduct of one of the judges in respect to Jane’s case. Our examination of conduct of the judges involved as well as that of her own attorneys suggests that the court participate in defrauding itself; that is, that the judicial system itself is a fraud on the people, the sort of fraud that caused American dissenters to cry “Burn down the courthouse!”
No, Jane is not the only victim of legal abuse, nor is she the worst case. No doubt the number is legion in every county – a Roman legion comprised about 10,000 soldiers. We have not heard about most of them. The awful truth is that most of us do not want to hear about their miseries. For example, we would rather write Jane off as a “crazy old toothless woman who got what she had coming for marrying such a man and who should just move on instead of bucking the system.” “If it were not for the grace of God, this could happen to you?” it is said, but powerful people believe they are already saved hence are immune no matter what they do.
Indeed, we want to think positively, to leave our bad experiences behind us, to focus on good and to hypothesize that evil is only the absence of good, forgetting that s/he who ignores evil is good for nothing.
The Law is essentially what rich and powerful people do. They can afford what is called justice, and can even buy legislatures to legalize their crimes. What can victims re-victimized by judicial abuse do without professional representation, without a professional voice? The vast majority of family law cases, for example, have one side without an attorney; one side must represent itself pro se, and basically rely on the integrity of the system, on the judgment of judges and the good will of opposing attorneys who are not supposed to be their advocates.
Perchance the elected judges in Florida are attorneys whom the bar did not discipline and for whom all records of complaints were utterly destroyed by administrative rule of the Supreme Court. Perhaps the judges have become too full of themselves given the judiciary’s self-discovered “inherent” or virtually divine power to judge. The innocents can only clamor for mercy so that their innocence will not be treated so cruelly, but there is no benevolent king nor is there a god to distribute the large scale discretionary justice required to balance the scales. Lawyers chip in pro bono services or wash their hand with cash contributions therefor, and legal aid societies solicit funds, yet still there is a notorious dearth of legal aid, and that is no accident.
Yes, something may be done about a particularly outrageous case if the outcry reaches the “legitimate” media. But the organized mainstream press is hardly likely to bite too hard the hand of the system that feeds it and polishes its press shield, or offend too many of the potentates it worships for their power and who constitute its major source of “important” news.
And woe unto not only the clamoring victim, whom few people believe, but unto the heroic lawyer who breaks ranks and blows the whistle on judicial misconduct; s/he may be not only disbarred but pursued to hell and back by the attorney general for criminal contempt of court.
Nevertheless, everyone including lawyers must, like Jane, clamor for justice, and insist, as did the Hebrews, that one day justice inevitably be done no matter how high off the hog the offenders are eating, so that one day the officers and justices of the court who have such contempt for the court as to defraud it will have their just deserts on this very earth, and be cast into the same pit where they have dumped the innocents.